On September 9, 2004, the Treasury Department designated as terrorists the US branch of the Saudi-based Al Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHF) and one of its directors, Suliman Al-Buthe, who appeared in an FBI suspect list already in May 2002. This designation is puzzling in view of Saudi Arabia’s June 2004 declaration that it dissolved the Foundation. Why, then, was the US branch allowed to continue its operations until now? And why is Al Haramain’s website still on?
On September 10th, a day after Al Haramain designation, its website (www.alharamain.org), which is registered and run by Al-Buthe, disingenuously stated that America’s financial war on terror is doomed to failure because it is “smearing anyone who attempted to understand the root causes of anti-American terrorism,” and that in the US attempts to part the terrorists from their money “the collateral damage are the poor, the orphans and the children.”
At the time of this writing, Al Haramain is also listed as a member on the website of the Friends of Charities Association (www.foca.net), which is registered by the same Suliman Al-Buthe, and hosted by W3Gateway.com Inc. of Houston, Texas. According to its website, FOCA, was established in January 2004, in Washington DC, “represents some of the leading charities who have devoted their existence to translating donor intent into action to relieve suffering illiteracy and poverty around the world.” Among its listed members are two major Saudi organizations with documented ties to Islamists terrorism – the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO).
And W3Gateway is not the only US web hosting company that provides services to terror organizations. Virginia-based Network Solutions hosts both Hezbollah and Palestinian Jihad websites. Both organizations are designated by the US government as terrorist organizations, as is Hamas, which operates its primary English-language site (palestine-info.co.uk) from the Washington, DC datacenter of HopOne Internet Corporation.
In response to reports that Network Solutions is providing services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (palestineway.com), a current customer wrote to the company to complain. A company representative responded that, “Network Solutions has no responsibility or duty to police the rights of trademark owners concerning domain names.” This response sidesteps the issue, which is that an American company is providing services to a designated terrorist organization or individual. The Network Solutions representative added that “If the domain owner in question is conducting criminal activity we would ask you to defer to either the police or the proper authorities”—a strange comment, considering the fact that the company is the one conducting activity in violation of U.S. laws and regulations that prohibit any support to terrorists, including selling services to, and receiving money directly or indirectly from, designated terrorists or their representatives.
Network Solutions also provides services to Hassan Nasrallah (Nasrallah.net), the Secretary-General of Hezbollah and a designated terrorist. They will even forward your letter to him if you write to Attn: Nasrallah.net, c/o Network Solutions, P. O. Box 447, Herndon, VA 20172-0447.
Another American company, the Washington, DC-based Intelsat, is the owner and operator of the Telestar 5 satellite, through which a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week stream of Iran-inspired Hezbollah propaganda flows freely into North America via the Al Manar TV channel. These broadcasts include frequently repeated advertisements showing Lady Liberty’s face as a skull, a knife in her hand, with cannons at her feet and a banner proclaiming: “She owes blood to the whole universe.” Al Manar also broadcasts trailers of sermons showing Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah calling for “Death to America!” while a mob of Hezbollah terrorists shout “Death to America!” in response, only to provoke Nasrallah’s yelling: “This will not kill America. Raise your voices!”
While the US is right to criticize the European Union, which according to William Pope, a State Department anti-terrorism coordinator, "has been reluctant to take steps to block the assets of charities linked to Hamas and Hezbollah, even though these groups repeatedly engage in deadly terrorist attacks, and the charitable activities help draw recruits," the US can do more to enforce its own laws to prevent American companies from doing business with terrorists. These websites and TV broadcasts are allowed to operate, allegedly to be monitored by the intelligence community. However, while this monitoring goes on, the Islamists’ hate propaganda continues to poison the minds of millions worldwide, and the terrorists go on killing.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is a member of the Committee On The Present Danger (www.fightingterror.org), a bipartisan education and advocacy organization dedicated to building a national consensus for fighting terror around the globe. She is the author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, and Director of American Center for Democracy.