U.S. sees softening in Hezbollah TV

Dec. 19, 2005 at 9:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A new report from U.S. intelligence says that al-Manar television, the station run by terror group Hezbollah, has recently softened its anti-American stance.

"Al-Manar continues its negative treatment of the United States but has dropped the more incendiary anti-U.S. material seen in the past," states a report on the TV station from the U.S. Open Source Intelligence Center, obtained and posted on the Web by the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.

"Anti-U.S. material has largely been confined to newscasts and political talk shows," says the report, which notes that the station's anti-Israel messages are not so confined, appearing even in its programming for children.

The Open Source Intelligence Center, opened last month as part of a drive to increase the use made of publicly available material by U.S. intelligence, also notes that "Al-Manar's reporting on Iraq adopts a critical tone toward U.S. policies and actions but condemns insurgent bombings targeting Iraqi civilians."

The station refers to Iraqis killed both by U.S. military and by insurgents as "martyrs" and "highlights popular Iraqi opposition to such acts," says the report, adding the station also "highlights reconstruction efforts and portrays them as the benefit of establishing security."

The report says that Al-Manar continues to broadcast speeches and remarks by Hezbollah leaders with anti-U.S. themes, but adds that the authors have not spotted "the kind of egregious anti-U.S. videos once seen, such as those aired during 2003-2004 that compared President Bush to Hitler and suggested that the US was a 'terrorist,' using missiles to kill babies."

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