Friday, March 24, 2006

Treasury Dept. Deals Major Blow to Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV, Iranian Sponsors Says Coalition Against Terrorist Media

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, U.S. Newswire: Press Release
The Coalition Against Terrorist Media has praised the U.S. Treasury Department for naming Hezbollah's al-Manar television, as well as al-Nour Radio and the Lebanese Media Group, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity. Al-Manar runs programming designed to recruit terrorists and incite violent attacks. Much of its funding is provided by Iran. READ MORE

"Today's action gives the government the tools it needs to cripple al-Manar's broadcasts, which spread the Iranian regime's propaganda, support terrorism, recruit suicide bombers, and incite violent attacks," said Mark Dubowitz, COO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which founded the coalition. "We congratulate the federal government on providing the means to aggressively pursue al-Manar and those who do business with it. Otherwise, the pursuit of al-Manar becomes a game of Whack-a-Mole where every time you take it off of one satellite provider, it pops up on another."

"Deserving of special praise are Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) for their leadership in bringing this issue before the Senate and Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Gary Ackerman (D-NY), and Mike Pence (R-IN) for championing the designation in the House," Dubowitz said.

"The U.S. government sent a clear signal to our allies in Europe that we must speak with a united voice against terrorist incitement to violence," said Roberta Bonazzi of the European Foundation for Democracy, a founding member of the coalition. "This moves us a big step closer to eliminating al-Manar from the global airwaves. It is a real defeat for Iran's efforts to spread its message of hatred and violence."

Coalition Against Terrorist Media and al-Manar Background:

-- Since its founding in 2004, the coalition has met with more than 800 government and private sector officials around the globe urging action against al-Manar.

-- The coalition has been instrumental in removing al-Manar from eight satellites broadcasting into North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

-- Naming al-Manar as an SDGT has been the coalition's number one U.S. priority by:

o Briefing officials throughout the Treasury Department, State Department, and national security and intelligence agencies;

o Working closely with Senators Nelson (D-FL) and Smith (R-OR) on a bipartisan letter to President Bush signed by 51 senators requesting that al-Manar be named an SDGT entity and on a subsequent unanimous consent vote by the Senate in favor of the SDGT designation.

o Supporting U.S. House Members in their efforts to add language on al-Manar to the 2005 State Department Authorization Bill.

-- The SDGT designation gives the federal government powerful new tools to go after al-Manar's sources of funding and organizations that do business with al-Manar, thus greatly limiting its operational capability.

-- Two satellites continue to broadcast al-Manar: ARABSAT, majority-owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, and Nilesat, whose largest shareholder is the government of Egypt. These satellites reach the Middle East, Europe and North Africa.

-- The coalition has been working closely with corporations that have advertised on al-Manar. As a result of the coalition's outreach, al-Manar has lost nearly $2 million in ad revenue.

-- Al-Manar is the official global satellite television station of the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Until the 9/11 attacks, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group.

-- Al-Manar broadcasts programming designed to recruit suicide bombers and incite violent attacks. Its broadcasts include after-school videos glorifying suicide bombers; vile anti-American and anti-Semitic programming, including the malicious blood libel falsely accusing Jews of killing Christian children to make food for Passover; and videos urging suicide bombers to kill coalition soldiers in Iraq. Al-Manar and al-Nour broadcasts have also raised funds for Hezbollah and sought recruits for military training.

-- Al-Manar receives substantial funding from Iran and has been cited as being part of Iran's campaign against the West.

The Coalition Against Terrorist Media is a project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. For more information on the effort to remove al-Manar from the global airwaves, please visit The Foundation for Defense of Democracies is a non partisan policy institute focused on defeating terrorism and fostering democratic values. For more information, please visit