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Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula: President Obama Right, Fox Nation Wrong

Reported by Alex - January 6, 2010 -

Over at Fox Nation last night there was much hooting and howling over the site editor’s latest “find” : a statement by President Obama that the existence of the US prison at Guantanamo “was an explicit rationale for the formation of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”. Okay, I’ll admit that sounded a little strange to me, too, since al Qaeda existed prior to the 9/11 attacks, after which the prison was opened and filled with suspects. But knowing that President Obama is too smart to make a mistake like that, I did my homework et voila: the President is correct. Did the editors of Fox Nation really get this wrong, or did they keep the truth under wraps knowing that their followers are too stupid/blinded by ideology/uncaring/all of the above to do a simple Google search?

Originally, al Qaeda was (and still is) a loose network of relatively independent groups, without a name until it was dubbed “al Qaeda” - possibly after one of its training camps, or by the FBI when they needed one identifying name for the widespread coalition. The meaning of “al Qaeda” is actually “the base” or “the foundation” and it was originally a descriptive term rather than the name of an organization.

This information may come as a surprise to many, but “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” is actually the name of an official and distinct wing of the greater al Qaeda network operating in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, formed around 2003 and recognized by the larger network when the two smaller groups officially merged in 2009. (Sources here and here.)

Hmmm... formed around 2003? Anyone recognize that date? Why yes, that was the year that George W. Bush decided to “bring democracy” to Iraq, a year or so after Gitmo was opened and filled with suspected terrorists, wanna-be-terrorists, and got-brownish-skin-and-talk-funny-so-they-might-be terrorists. Here are a few things that happened in the course of that year:

- rumors (which turned out to be true) circulated of wholesale roundups of suspects which included innocent parties who were turned over to the US for a reward (in other words, sold into captivity);
- the first detainees arrived at the camp and were held outdoor in wire mesh cages;
- photos were released of prisoners bound, on their knees and wearing goggles;
- the Bush administration declared that the prisoners were not protected by the Geneva Conventions;
- torture was redefined to allow for the use of, errrrr, torture at the camp.

(Sources: al-Jazeera, Washington Post.)

Pretty good fodder for recruitment to the al-Qaeda, cause, dontcha think? Well, the howlers over at the Fox Zoo don’t think so. Why, them Moslems (sic) just hate us for our freedoms! And to pick another nit, isn’t Obummer a traitor for sayin’ that Guantanamo is a “reason” for al Qaeda to form? Well, no, actually: he said “rationale”, which means that it’s one of the reasons al Qaeda give, not that President Obama himself thinks it was a “good reason”. Nor did he say that Guantanamo was the “root cause” of the Christmas terror plot, as the headline claims.

Why am I, a very occasional blogger with no formal background in journalism, able to pull all this information together in under an hour, while one of the online presences of the rich and powerful Murdoch empire seems unable to pull anything out of anywhere, except from its collective posterior? We report, you decide.

"There must be a story up here somewhere..."