By Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
Washington Times | August 16, 2007
On Aug. 8, the Treasury Department finally listed the Al-Salah Society as “one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charities.” The director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Adam Szubin, said, “Today’s action alerts the word to the true nature of Al-Salah and cuts it off from the U.S. financial system.” An Aug. 1 report by the Gelilot, Israel-based Intelligence and Information Center, documents that while the U.S. government attempts to stop U.S. funds from benefiting Hamas, American companies continue to facilitate Hamas fundraising and incitement by selling them Internet and television services. They thereby enable Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by the United States in 1995 — to spread its virulent anti-American propaganda, and to recruit, communicate and raise money.
A recent example of Hamas propaganda available in the United States through its Palestinian Information Center, Palestine-info.com, is a cartoon of a sinister-looking Condoleezza Rice as the Wicked Witch of the West, riding a broomstick on yet another visit to the Middle East.
A. Aaron Weisburd of Internet-Haganah.com reports that Hamas purchased more than 61 percent of its Internet services for 18 Web sites from U.S. and Canadian providers.
According to the Patriot Act, everyone affiliated with or supporting them are also deemed terrorists. Thus, North American corporations that sell server space and IP services to Hamas aid and abet a terrorist network. The Lebanon-based “Palestine-info” operation, run by Nizar Hussein, takes marching orders directly from Hamas chief Khaled Meshal in Damascus. Its 20 or so Web sites include news, media, “security force,” civilian and chat-forum outlets in eight languages targeting Middle East and Western Muslims alike, as well as the international community.
Besides English and Arabic, Palestine-info also transmits in Farsi, Urdu, Russian (for Chechens), French (for North Africans), Malaysian and Turkish. Their domains include: Palestine-info, Palestine-info-urdu.com, palestine-persian.info and palestine-info.net.Hamas also operates other Internet and television sites, including: paltime.net; palestiniangallery.com; alresalah.info; fm-m.com; felesteen.ps; al-fateh.net; mujamaa .org; islamic-block.net; alkotla.com; palestinianforum.com; aqsatv.ps and tanfithya.com.The U.S. network-access and domain-name register companies selling services to these Hamas Web sites include: Domainbank.com; register.com; Network Solutions LLC; OnlineNIC, Inc.; GoDaddy.com; eNom, Inc.; Defender Technologies Group; and Oversee.net.
Canadian firms selling service to Hamas include: Groupe iWeb Technologies. Inc., Tucows, Inc and NIC.ps.
It is an “irony of the digital age that that Internet — invented by the Department of Defense as a way to ensure undisrupted communications in the event of an enemy attack — is now being used to recruit and train the terrorists who plot such lethal attacks against Americans and other Western targets,” said Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman at a May 3 Senate hearing on “The Internet, a Portal for Islamist Extremists.”
We need not stand helplessly by while terrorist groups work to destroy us. Their Web sites can be shuttered, especially when IP companies are American. The Patriot Act, passed by a large bipartisan majority after September 11 and renewed on March 9, 2006, defines facilitation of terrorist communications services as a terrorist act.
While the United States blocks business and charitable assets of those linked to Hamas, and other Islamic terror organizations, it should enforce existing laws to stop American companies from doing business with terrorists. Designating more terrorist groups to the list — such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guards — would not be as effective as it could be if, like Hamas, they can continue to spread their propaganda and raise money through U.S. and Canadian Internet providers.
Congress could also further enhance the “Know Your Customer” requirements, as in the banking industry, for all Internet service providers, specifically for network-access and domain-name register companies. This idea was proposed previously but Congress has failed to act.
One alleged reason that Web sites and TV broadcasts are allowed to operate in North America is so that the intelligence community can monitor them.
But while intelligence “monitors” them, Islamist hate propaganda continues to poison millions of minds worldwide, drawing recruits and raising funds. And the terrorists go on killing.
Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of American Center for Democracy and a member of the board of the Committee for the Present Danger. Alyssa A. Lappen is a Senior Fellow at American Center for Democracy. Both authors are contributing editors to the American Congress for Truth.
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