How Terrorist Propaganda Kills
By: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 10, 2004
Tony Blair and the Europeans are focusing their attention on the creation of a Palestinian state as the magic formula for peace in the Middle East. At the same time, they are turning a blind eye to the growing propaganda and fundraising campaign on websites and TV stations in their own countries.
The Europeans’ behavior is not surprising. Their top foreign policy official, Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, expressed a “deep sadness” over the death of Yasser Arafat, the failed Palestinian leader who initiated the culture of death and destruction. Solana further suggested that the best way to commemorate him is to follow in his footsteps. In fact, he outdid Arafat by negotiating with HAMAS, which the EU itself has designated as a terrorist organization.
The most active HAMAS front organization worldwide is the London-based Interpal, which publishes anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda, and which in 2003 alone sent more than $20 million to different HAMAS organizations in the Palestinian territories. In addition to fundraising in England in Pounds Sterling, Interpal lists on its website four different bank accounts to which contributors can send money. All the accounts are with Nat West Bank, and the international scope of the organization is evident by dedicated dollar and euro accounts.
And England is not alone. While the French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin is calling to shut down Al-Manar, Hizbollah’s TV broascasting in France, his country continues to host the Paris-based HAMAS front organization, Votre Partenaire Humanitaire en Palestine (CBSP), which also publishes anti-West hate propaganda, and whose website calls for contributions to be sent to a Post Office box in Nancy.
Other European countries also allow HAMAS propaganda websites and fundraising. Sweden, which “supports democratic development in the Palestinian territories,” apparently does not see any contradiction in its support of the Malmo-based HAMAS front Al-Aqsa Spannmal Stiftelse, which invites contributors to send money to its BankGiro account. The Swiss, who carried several of Arafat’s secret bank accounts for decades, and whose foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey warmly eulogized Arafat, is also hosting the Association De Secours Palestinien – Suise and the Humanitare Hilfsorganisation Fur Palastina – Schweiz, with a UBS account which in turn transfers the money to HAMAS in the West Bank and Gaza. The Austrian HAMAS front, Palastinensische Ver. In Osterreich, features anti-Israeli propaganda and lists its account for donations in Austria Creditanstalt Bank. And the Italians, who support President Bush’s War on Terror, allow HAMAS’ Associazione Benefica di Solidarieta con il Popolo Palestinese not only to spread its hateful messages on the their internet providers, but also to collect funds through an account at Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Genoa, funds which are then sent on to the Palestinian territories.
Equally disturbing is the Europeans’ blasé attitude towards the virulently anti-American and anti-Israeli broadcasts of the Iranian-sponsored and controlled TV network, Al-Manar. This Hizbollah mouthpiece spews anti-American incitement and propaganda, which has increased dramatically since the Iraq War. Al-Manar, through its programs, also serves as a fundraising vehicle for both the Islamic Jihad and HAMAS organizations in the Palestinian territories.
The French Eutelsat satellite company, which was formed by the European Space Agency, distributes Al-Manar to Europe and North Africa. The Dutch New Skies Satellites (NSS) company, recently acquired by the American Blackstone Group, distributes Al-Manar to North Africa and parts of Europe. Despite its suffering radical Islamist terror last March, and subsequently arresting many Islamist operatives, Spain allows the Madrid-based Hispasat company to continue broadcasting Al-Manar to South American countries, where the number of Muslim converts is growing exponentially.
What is most surprising, however, is that California-based Telestar, the world’s largest global satellite corporation, facilitates the broadcasting of Al-Manar into North America and Canada. It is surprising because the Patriot Act defines the facilitation of communication for terrorist purposes as a terrorist act. Providing satellite broadcasting and internet services to terrorist groups meets that criterion.
As part of the revised agenda for President Bush’s second term, Congress should enact legislation requiring American-based satellite and internet service providers to identify and monitor their clients, and the clients of their clients, in order to prevent the facilitation of terrorist communications. This can be done through methods similar to Know Your Customer procedures, which are set in place in financial institutions to follow the money trail. As for foreign satellite and Web-hosting companies, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations and the executive orders behind them seem to be a perfect control mechanism.
Rachel Ehrenfeld is author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – And How to Stop It; the Director of the New York-based American Center for Democracy; and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
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