“US ‘Seizes’ Web Domains Related to Hezbollah” — by Peoples Dispatch

Hezbollah posters around the streets of Baalbek, Lebanon, 2009. (Will De Freitas, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Most of the dozen or so domains seized on Thursday were registered in the U.S. and belonged to Al Manar TV which is affiliated with the Lebanese resistance group.

“The U.S. government seized over a dozen web domains belonging to the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah and others on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Justice said that the web domains were operated by persons or groups who had been sanctioned by the U.S. government. 

Most of these domains were registered in the U.S. and belonged to Al Manar TV which is affiliated with Hezbollah, such as almanarnews.org, manarnews.org and almanartv.org, among others.  

Other prominent web domains include sites belonging to Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem and the website related to the Islamic Resistance Support Association, a charity in Lebanon. 

Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem, in Beirut in 2009. (Sebastian Baryli, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Visitors trying to access these websites can now see a message declaring that “this website has been seized by the United State government.” However, Al-Manar’s main Lebanese domain is still operating.  

In a statement, the Justice Department said the domains were being used by “Specially Designated Nationals (SNDs), Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) and their members associated with Lebanese Hezbollah.”

Hezbollah, which was founded in 1980 to resist the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and is now the largest political group in the country’s parliament, has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S, and its allies.  

[Related: THE ANGRY ARAB: How the US Controls Lebanon]

The U.S. government has been selectively targeting media groups and websites critical of its policies in the last few years. It similarly seized the domain of Iranian news channel Press Tv in 2021. The sites of Yemeni Al-Masirah and Palestinian Palestine Today were also seized. All three news outlets have been critical of U.S, interventions in the region and the occupation of Palestine by its closest ally Israel.

Neither Al-Manar nor Hezbollah have issued any statements on the move so far. When Al-Masirah’s web domain was similarly seized in 2021 its statement then said, such moves expose “the falsehood of the slogans of freedom of expression and all other headlines promoted by the United States of America, including its ability to confront the truth.” “

Credit: People’s Dispatch. Publication: Consortium Action News. Published: May 13th 2023. Source Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2023/05/12/us-seizes-web-domains-related-to-hezbollah/

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