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Connecting the Dots - Is a Terrorist-Allied TV Company Infiltrating Our Media?

Written by W. Thomas Smith Jr

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W. Thomas Smith Jr., January 29, 2008
Family Security Matters: On January 25th, ABC News ran a segment, Deadly Attack in Lebanon, about last week’s assassination of Lebanese national counterterrorism police officer, Capt. Wissam Eid. What was surprising about the film footage – perhaps even disturbing – was to see where it originated.

 As I wrote on Friday for WorldNetDaily’s G2 Bulletin

“The depth to which Hezbollah – and other international terrorist groups – has permeated Western media remains to be seen. They are in deep, unfortunately, and the truth of the matter is only just now beginning to surface.” 

The ABC footage, which may be viewed here (not sure how long the link will remain active, especially after this information is published), comes from Orange TV (OTV), the publicly traded, satellite-television company based in Lebanon and founded last year by Gen. Michel Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). 

OTV began broadcasting in July, and today may be viewed on the Internet as well as satellite-television frequencies in many parts of the world. 

This all may seem somewhat innocuous, except for the fact that Aoun and his FPM are closely allied to Hezbollah; and so – by association – is Aoun’s TV company. It wasn’t the film’s content that was problematic – it was, after all, only footage of burning cars and firefighters working in the aftermath of the explosion that killed Eid and several others – but it was the indirect promotion of a TV company founded, perhaps in part, with blood money.

Last October, Counterterrorism Blog reported:

“The joint venture between Hezbollah and the ‘Free Patriotic Movement’ of former General Michel Aoun is growing stronger by the day. Since Hezbollah, a designated terrorist organization by the U.S. Government, and its Al Manar television network are banned from transmitting to the U.S., they are now relying on the media outlet of former General Michel Aoun, Orange TV, to spread Iranian-inspired Jihadist propaganda and ideology.”

Indeed. So why is one of America’s top television broadcasting companies using media products produced by an ally of Hezbollah? Who knows? And we’re not sure if there is – or was temporarily – an agreement between ABC and OTV to use OTV’s footage. But agreement or not, using media products developed by OTV is lending public legitimacy to a company with very close ties to international terrorists.

Of course we’ve seen the Al Jazeera tapes of Osama bin Laden broadcast on all of the mainstream television networks. But that’s because Al Jazeera is the broadcasting company the terrorists use. That’s the originator of the tape as far as the general public is concerned. The public is very familiar with Al Jazeera’s often pro-Jihadist slant. Al Jazeera’s agenda has been widely publicized – the name itself is a walking disclaimer of sorts – so we all take what that company broadcasts with a proverbial grain of salt. It is, after all, Al Jazeera, and we understand exactly for what purposes their footage is broadcast.

Few however, have heard of Orange TV or al Manar, for that matter: the latter being Hezbollah’s television station. Al Manar was at one time being broadcast via satellite over much of Europe, Africa, and the Far East until the U.S. government and others shut down much of that company’s overseas broadcasting operations. And when it was discovered that some American companies were continuing to advertise on al Manar in Lebanon, they too were pressed to pull out … and did.

So what about Orange TV? What’s next? Perhaps American viewers will find themselves getting at least a portion of their international news from a pro-Hezbollah OTV reporter providing on-camera color-commentary about the “good things” Hezbollah is doing for the world. Don’t be surprised.
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FamilySecurityMatters.org contributing editor W. Thomas Smith Jr. is director of the Counterterrorism Research Center of the Family Security Foundation. A former U.S. Marine infantry leader and shipboard counterterrorism instructor, Smith writes about military/defense issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq and Lebanon. He is the author of six books, and his articles have appeared in USA Today, George, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, National Review Online, CBS News, Townhall.com, The Washington Times, and others.
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