The Blaze on May 1, 2013, reported on two stations illegally broadcasting Hezbollah and Hamas television channels in the United States and potentially radicalizing would-be terrorists within America’s borders. Excerpts below:
The Lawfare Project has found that two television stations-NileSat IPTV in New Jersey and ArabTV4ALL in California-are broadcasting transmissions from pro-Hamas (al-Aqsa) and pro-Hezbollah (al-Manar) television stations. According to a memo prepared by the Lawfare Project and shown to the Blaze, both al-Aqsa and al-Manar target children in their broadcasts and encourage them to become suicide bombers.
Al-Aqsa uses popular cartoon figures to indoctrinate children and incite them toward hatred and violence.
In 2010, the French government outlawed al-Aqsa broadcasts “because the channel repeatedly violated European laws by showing programs which incited hatred or violence for reasons of religion or nationality, mostly against Israel and Judaism.”
Pro-Hezbollah al-Manar is also banned in France, as well as Holland, Spain, and Germany. On September 17, 2001, the network became the first media outlet to allege Israeli and Jewish involvement with the 9-11 attacks.
Like al-Aqsa, al-Manar targets children.
Al-Manar also provides a free live stream over the Internet. It is unclear whether this live stream programming is the exact same programming as is available via NileSat IPTV and ArabTV4All.
Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Manar TV are not “U.S. channels” but rather are more correctly described as foreign channels that can be subscribed to and viewed in the United States.
According to the Lawfare Project’s memo on the broadcasts, AdvancedTV Network currently supplies over 600 Arabic channels from Nilesat and Arabsat directly via the Internet, and its services are made available through resellers within North America, like NileSat IPTV and ArabTV4All.
Brooke Goldstein, director of the Lawfare Project, points out that broadcasting terrorist-inspired hate messages may constitute material assistance to a terrorist organization and be illegal.
“We contacted NileSatIPTV way back and they confirmed they air the Hezbollah and Hamas channels,” explains Goldstein.
“It’s unthinkable, especially in light of the Boston terror attacks, that our government continues to allow Hamas and Hezbollah, two designated foreign terrorist organizations, to openly and illegally broadcast their stations within our borders — stations aimed at radicalizing and recruiting Muslim youth towards violence, a most egregious form of child abuse,” she says.
Goldstein, a New York-based human rights attorney, says there is no First Amendment protection for these two television programs and points to legal precedent indicating that such broadcasts constitute material support for the terrorist groups.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has been very clear-there is no First Amendment right whatsoever to provide material support to designated terrorist organizations,” she explains. “If this administration is serious about tackling homegrown radicalization, it must at the very least immediately prosecute those who act so brazenly and openly in violation of the law.”
Goldstein says the Lawfare Project has been in contact with New Jersey authorities about criminal enforcement, which have been slow about enforcement.
Goldstein points to the case of Javed Iqbal as a legal precedent. Iqbal was a Pakistani businessman who pleaded guilty to one federal count of providing material support and resources to Hezbollah. Iqbal and his associate had accepted thousands of dollars each month from al-Manar to broadcast the station to their North American customers, and had supplied al-Manar with equipment necessary to produce and promote its broadcasts.
Despite receiving numerous warnings about al-Manar’s relationship to Hezbollah and despite the March 2006 designation of al-Manar as a supporter of terrorism, Iqbal continued to actively market the al-Manar station to his customers in Brooklyn, providing the station as part of an “Arabic package,” which consisted of a variety of benign Middle Eastern channels in addition to al-Manar.
Iqbal was sentenced to 69 months in federal prison.