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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


March 27, 2003

Al Jazeera Banned from NY Stock Exchange and NASDAQ

'New York Stock Exchange Bars Al-Jazeera Reporter' (3/24/03 - Reuters via Yahoo)

On Monday (March 24), Al Jazeera's two correspondents were suddenly banned from the floor of the NY Stock Exchange after 5 years. The NYSE rep who broke the news said it was because of "crowding" -- but Al Jazeera was the only network out of 23 to lose its credentials. But NYSE can't even keep its story straight: other news outlets have been told variously it was because of "security concerns," and because press credentials are only for networks providing "responsible" coverage. Another NYSE spokesman said it wants to give priority to networks that "investors look to to find out what's going on in the market" -- apparently failing to realize how many Arab-speakers watch Al Jazeera for just that.

But whatever the reason given, it had nothing -- nothing I tell you! -- with the fact that the Bush Admin. is furious at Al Jazeera for recently broadcasting the (ahem) "interrogation" of American POW's in Iraq. Perhaps there's something to this: the BBC broadcast the very same footage, but didn't lose its credentials.

Al Jazeera had been broadcasting from the floor of the Stock Exchange for five years.

The very next day, the NASDAQ also banned Al-Jazeera reporters from its floor. According to NASDAQ spokeswoman Silvia Davi, the network asked Nasdaq for permission to broadcast live reports from its building in Times Square, but the request was denied.

Ms. Davi declined to expand on why they refused permission to Al Jazeera.

Purely coincidentally, I'm sure, Al Jazeera's web site has been the subject of hacker attacks, especially since they broadcast the POW footage. Their brand-new english-language site -- which debuted the same day the NYSE banned them from the floor -- was taken down by a denial of service attack.

Another attack on March 27 replaced the network's homepage with the image of a large U.S. flag and the slogans, "Let Freedom Ring" and "God bless our troops." The page was signed with the word "Patriot." According to Voice of America (the US-funded propaganda outlet), a group called the "Freedom Cyber Force Militia" has claimed credit for the hijacking. VOA also reported that the "group intercepted traffic intended for Al-Jazeera's English-and-Arabic-language Web sites and redirected it to a page operated by an Internet company in the western U.S. state of Utah. The Utah company later shut down that site."

The Pentagon made no secret that cyber-attacks were to be a key part of its invasion of Iraq. But surely that's just a coincidence.

[Read the source...]

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