I have avoided writing about this until now, because there was little substantial evidence to back up the rumors, but now that has changed.
Al Jazeera English has been prostituted, and is no longer a reliable source of information.
This all began a bit over a year ago, with the departure in late 2011 of Wada Khanfar, who had been director-general of Al Jazeera since its inception. At that time, there were rumors that the Emir of Qatar, who owns Al Jazeera, was ending his previous policy of non-interference. Apparently, the Arab Spring has frightened the Emir, as it has frightened all the despots of the Middle East, and he has decided to cast his lot whole-heartedly with the Western Powers.
The first rumors emerged about a year ago, during the Libyan campaign, alleging that much of AJ's supposedly "live" coverage from Tripoli was actually shot upon a sound stage in Doha, (Qatar), which was made up to look just like the main square in Tripoli (Libya). Certainly, beyond a doubt, Al Jazeera was leading the charge in the information war against the Gaddafi regime.
At about that same time, the USA suddenly stopped blocking AJ from broadcasting in the USA, with no explanation of why, other than the usual mealy-mouthed bureaucratic bullshit.
And, over the last year, Al Jazeera has been leading the propaganda campaign against Syria, lobbying hard for military intervention, while totally ignoring the disturbing indications that there is an orchestrated covert effort by western powers to destabilize Syria. This, along with the Libyan campaign, is another step in the plan of Middle East conquest laid out by PNAC, the Project for a New American Century.
At this point, it is worth digressing a bit in order to interject a note of cold realism. The peoples of the western world in general, and we Americans in particular, have a painfully naive yearning for situations to be simple. Mesmerized by movies and television, we desperately want it all to be a simple matter of good guys and bad guys, white hats and black, with a happy ending where the hero marries the girl and they all live happily ever after.
Life is not like that, however desperately we may wish it to be.
In the Middle East, there are no good guys. It is never a matter of good guys versus bad guys. It is a matter of bad guys versus worse guys. There are no heroes, and every faction's hands are bloody up to the armpits. No amount of denial or wishful thinking will change this.
Similarly, there are no completely neutral, completely reliable sources of information in the world. This is a Holy Grail which does not exist. The only thing a netizen can do, is to take in what she can from what sources seem least biased, and attempt to triangulate an approximate truth from there.
Bashar al Assad, while not quite the evil tyrant his father was, is certainly no angel. But he is the chief of state of a sovereign nation. And there is a well-orchestrated effort underway to overthrow the Assad government. This effort consists of mercenaries, spies, and "journalists" who are in the employ of western intelligence agencies. The narrative being related to us by the mainstream media is an absolute fabrication.
For a first-hand account of events in Syria by French journalist Thierry Meyssan, see this story.
For the now-emerging details of increasing resignations from Al Jazeera, in protest against the increasingly obvious political agenda of its new directors, see the video below.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
And yet, again, remember to keep your salt shaker handy. Russia Today is a useful source of information, but they are far from unbiased.
Hang on to your hat, dear reader, it is going to be a wild ride from here. Let's just hope your faithful correspondent is still alive and blogging a year from now. Let's hope there is still an intact world in which bloggers can exist, a year from now. Keep your head up, your eyes and ears open, and don't forget to check your six.