US Ostrich Policy And The Internet

By | by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
Thursday, January 20th, 2005 @ 7:37PM

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“America and the free world are once again engaged in a long-term struggle against an ideology of hatred and tyranny and terror and hopelessness. And we must confront these challenges with …vision …  courage and …boldness, “ stated Condoleezza Rice at her confirmation hearing today. Yet, the Iranian sponsored Hizballah is allowed to spread its hate propaganda in the U.S. through American hosting websites.

It is no secret that Iran is helping Syria to train terrorists to cause further mayhem in Iraq, and to attack Iraqi and American targets in order to disrupt the upcoming election.

Another open secret is, that Iran “would never scrap its nuclear fuel cycle work”,i.e. it has no intention whatsoever to stop its nuclear weapon program, as stated by an Iranian official. No doubt, these developments are being monitored carefully by the US, although it is unclear what the administration can do about it at this time.

There is one thing the U.S can do. It can stop the 22 Hizballah websites that are hosted, registered and maintained by Companies in the U.S. On December 17, 2004, the Department of State designated Al-Manar, the Hezbollah satellite TV station broadcasting from Lebanon, as a terrorist organization and banned its broadcasting in the US. Yet, more than a month later, its continues to broadcast on the Internet.

In a new survey by Haganah, a U.S Internet monitoring organization, 25 active Hizballah websites were identified; “one is hosted in the UK, two are hosted in Iran and the remaining 22 sites are hosted by Companies in the United States”.

But, providing communication services to terrorists is against the law. The Patriot Act, enacted by a huge, bipartisan majority after September 11, 2001, defines the facilitation of communication for terrorist purposes as a terrorist act. Thus, providing Internet services to Hizballah, a designated terrorist group meets that criterion. Why then, is the U.S Government allowing Companies such as Bulkregister, LLC in Baltimore, Maryland to provide domain name registrations to 17 Hizballah domains? Or Hostway Corporation in Chicago, IL, to host 8 Hizballah websites?

The Washington State based eNom Inc. hosts two Hizballah domains, that serve Hizballah’s Al Manar TV. The programs in English are being broadcasted in the U.S and Canada. They carry the Iranian agenda, anti-Israeli, anti-American and virulent anti-Semitic propaganda. They also collects funds for “charities” for martyrs and their families, and for schools that educate future martyrs and orphans. The website also offers live, 24 hour broadcasts of constant hate propaganda, and “news” from Iran, challenging the U.S. attempts to stop Iran’s nuclear armament – calling them lies.

Last December, the French had banned Al Manar from broadcasting in France, despite the fact that the broadcasts were not anti-French, they were merely anti-Semitic. What is the U.S Government waiting for?

The California based RackForce Hosting Inc., hosts the Islamic Resistance Support Association, a Hizballah site, which posts anti-Semitic propaganda, and quotes French articles to justify armed resistance against the Infidels. It glorifies “suicide (martyrdom) bombers”, and celebrates the Hizballah widows, and calls for donations to further the Hizballah cause. The other Hizballah websites do much of the same.

Since the Patriot Act had already defined providing the facilitation of communication to terrorist organizations as a crime, the incoming Congress should enact new legislation requiring American-based ISPs to demand that their clients, the web-hosting companies, identify their customers. This can be done through methods similar to Know Your Customer procedures, which are already in place for American banks. As for foreign Web-hosting companies, OFAC regulations and the executive orders behind them are the perfect control mechanism.

Indeed, fighting the spread the Islamist’s ideology requires vision and courage. What we also need is to correct our shortsightedness regarding the spread of Iran’s and the Hizballah’s hate propaganda and fundraising operations in the U.S. through the Internet.  For that we need the political will to pass and enforce the appropriate legislation.

Categories: Cyber, U.S. Policy

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