More jihad .... faster , faster, please! How's that working out for ya, Europe? Al-Manar is a US designated terrorist entity.
Al-Manar TV, Banned By The U.S. And U.K., Now Hosted On U.K. And Netherlands Servers MEMRI
The public relations efforts of Hizbullah are aggressive and sophisticated; Hizbullah is very active on social media with current accounts on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook (over eight accounts have been created and taken down over the past year), and attempts at apps on Apple, Google, and Android. While it maintains a radio station, Al-Nour, its most important PR front is its Al-Manar TV station and the Al-Manar TV website, which is the main outlet conveying Hizbullah's activity to the world.
Since Al-Manar TV began broadcasting via satellite in 2000, it has been at the center of controversy throughout the West. The channel has been banned in various capacities in the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, Spain, Netherlands, and elsewhere. While these countries have been successful in keeping Al-Manar TV off the airwaves, Hizbullah has managed to circumvent the ban with its multiple-language website, www3.almanar.com.lb, which live-streams its programming.
Thus, the effort to thwart Hizbullah's PR activities by these countries – the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, Spain, and Netherlands – is hampered by the fact that U.K. and Netherlands servers are hosting Hizbullah's website.
The 2004 U.S. And U.K. Precedent For Shutting Down Hizbullah's Websites
Countries often shut down websites belonging to terrorist organizations upon learning that they are hosted on servers on their own soil. The most recent example was Malaysia – on November 1, 2012, the Malaysian newspaper The Star published a report titled "Local Server Shuts Down Al-Qaeda's Online Library After Being Alerted." According to the article, Tawhed.net, known to be one of the largest Al-Qaeda affiliated websites, was removed from a Kuala Lumpur server last week.
In August 2004, the U.S. and U.K. carried out a joint online strike against Hizbullah's online presence. At that time, Hizbullah's main websites were Hizbullah.org and, for Al-Manar, Hizbullah.tv, and both were hosted on servers in the U.S. and U.K. A Hizbullah official told Reuters that the U.S. and British ISPs hosting the Hizbullah websites had shut them down, and that "these are [judicial] measures American and British firms are taking against our sites." He added, "Our hosts closed them down because of accusations related to terrorism." The Hizbullah official went on to state that the group was looking for new hosts and hoped to be back online within days, and that "these sort of [judicial] measures have been happening for a while now. Every so often our sites get closed. This time it was two sites at once."
Al-Manar Website Now Hosted On Servers In U.K., Netherlands
While some European countries have not recognized Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, the U.K. and Netherlands, like the U.S., officially classify it as a terrorist organization. The U.K. lists Hizbullah's military wing as a terrorist group, while the Netherlands, like the U.S., does not distinguish between Hizbullah's political and military wings and considers the entire group to be a terrorist organization.
Notably, in January 2006, Netherlands officials blocked Al-Manar satellite broadcasts to the country, and formally banned the channel. As recently as August 9, 2012, at the sidelines of EU Foreign Ministries meeting in Cyprus, the British and Netherlands governments called on the entire EU to follow their lead and designate Hizbullah an official terrorist organization and to impose sanctions on its military wing.
However, the primary servers for Al-Manar's Internet domain, www3.almanar.com.lb, are currently located in the U.K. and Netherlands.
Looking Up Almanar.com.lb: IP Addresses And The Companies Hosting Them On WHOIS
A DNSBL Lookup and Trace Route on www3.almanar.com.lb turns up three IP addresses; an ownership check on these IP addresses will identify the companies hosting them.
Almanar.com.lb's IP addresses and the companies hosting them are:
- IP 22.214.171.124 – LeaseWeb, Netherlands
- IP 126.96.36.199 – Coreix, UK
- IP 188.8.131.52 – ServerSpace, UK
See Appendix II for a week review of www3.AlManar.com.lb movement between servers in the U.K. and Netherlands.
1. LeaseWeb – Amsterdam, Netherlands – And U.S., and Germany
LeaseWeb, http://www.leaseweb.com/en, provides dedicated server hosting, cloud and collocations. It is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with offices in Manassas, VA, and Frankfurt, Germany. Contact information given: Phone (US) +1 571 814 3777; email email@example.com http://www.leaseweb.com/en/contact.
2. Coreix – London, UK
Coreix.net, http://www.coreix.net/aboutus/company, is Coreix Limited, registered at Third Floor, Refuge House, 9-10 River Front, Enfield, EN1 3SZ, telephone +44 207-183-1725. Coreix states that it "specializes in providing high availability hosting services and solutions for businesses." Contact information given: Phone 44 207 183 1725. Abuse contact information given: 03334560247, firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. ServerSpace Ltds - London UK
ServerSpace, www.serverspace.co.uk, located in London, says that it "provides hosting and connectivity services." Contact phone number given: 0800 142 2882.
Appendix I: Using WHOIS Information To Identify Companies Hosting Terrorist Websites On Their Servers
Like all websites, those belonging to terrorist organizations have domain names whose ownership information can be looked up using the WHOIS protocol. When a new domain name is registered, the domain owner is required to submit information to the WHOIS database; however, some domain owners opt to use domain privacy services offered by registrars or third-party privacy protection companies. This option leaves them technically compliant but enables them to avoid listing their actual information in the database.
WHOIS is a protocol used for querying the domain name ownership database. WHOIS is used for determining the registration status of domain names and assisting law enforcement in enforcing national and international laws. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) exercises control of the WHOIS databases, under the authority of the U.S. Commerce Department.
Appendix II: Using The PING Utility Tracing Almanar.com.lb As It Jumps From Server To Server, Country To Country: A Week In Review
*Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI