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September 12, 2014

Hezbollah Android App Re-Launched For The Third Time

Update – 9/19/14: In response to the removal of the app from the Google Play store, Al Manar posted a statement attributing the removal to a “campaign by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League” and promised to find “alternative ways to provide the application for Android phones.”

Update – 9/13/14: ADL alerted Google to the re-launched app on September 12. The app was removed from Google play later that day. ADL applauds Google’s response to Al-Manar’s repeated attempts to re-introduce this app. 

Last week, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm which is listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity” by the U.S. government, launched an Android phone app through the Google Play online store providing mobile access to its satellite television station, also known as al-Manar.

Hezbollah's al-Manar app for android

Hezbollah’s al-Manar app for android

Al-Manar advertised the launch of the app on the landing page of its website. The announcement asked media network followers to install the app on their phones to receive al-Manar content and news, including high priority alerts.

This is the third time Hezbollah has launched an app with that function; the two prior apps were removed from Google Play. In July 2012, Al Manar first advertised its newly-launched application providing mobile access to its satellite TV. Available originally through Apple’s iTunes service, Apple soon removed the app for violating its terms of service. After the app was removed from iTunes, Hezbollah tried to re-launch it again for Android phones only, but the app was soon removed from Google Play as well. In March 2014 free mobile applications appeared on iTunes and Google Play to provide access to Al Manar programs via iPhone and Android smartphones once more.

Hezbollah has attempted to use mobile apps in other contexts as well.  In June 2014, Al Manar TVlaunched an online competition in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that used the California-based instant messaging service WhatsApp.The competition called on users to submit predictions for which teams would win and offered prizes for selecting the winning teams. In January 2014, Al Manar started using WhatsAppto deliver “breaking news” via text messages to subscribers and to allow its supporters to interact with the station.  In February 2013, the military branch of Hezbollah, The Islamic Resistance (“Al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya”) provided a collection of free Farsi and Arabic language podcasts on iTunes. The podcasts promoted both the terrorist group’s and the Iranian regime’s militant propaganda.

Continuous attempts by the terrorist group to re-launch their smart phone app demonstrate their determination to exploit modern technology to broadcast messages of hate and terrorism to their supporters worldwide.

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March 28, 2014

Hezbollah Is Still Trying To Broadcast Messages To Your Handheld

Hezbollah’s media arm Al Manar launched free mobile appliAl Manar Appcations on iTunes and Google Play this month, the satellite station’s second attempt to spread their hate messages to iPhone and Android users.

In July 2012, ADL exposed the first app launched by Hezbollah, which was also available on Apple and Google Play, and the app was subsequently removed. ADL swiftly notified Apple and Google about the new apps this time as well. The iTunes version has already been removed but the application is still available on Google Play.

The iTunes app, called LCG, is a less advanced app than its predecessor but still had the ability to provide live streaming to Al Manar’s television station. Al Manar broad­casts Hezbollah’s mes­sages of hate and vio­lence, disseminates anti-Semitic and anti-American pro­pa­ganda, and glo­ri­fies sui­cide bomb­ings to its viewers. The new app also provided access to featured videos of senior officials of both Iran and Hezbollah.

Hezbol­lah is a U.S. des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion, and Al Manar was listed as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist” by the Depart­ment of the Trea­sury in 2006.

The repeated attempts by Hezbollah to establish a presence and provide access to its content via users’ cellphones underscores the high premium the terrorist group gives to modern technology. In January 2014, Al Manar launched a WhatsApp profile presumably in an effort to provide a faster and more direct way of communicating with its users.

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January 31, 2013

App Developer Supplies Iranian Broadcasts Despite International Efforts

A UK-based mobile application developer named Shabbir Hassanally has created a series of apps allowing users to access news from a number of Iranian television stations whose transmissions have been blocked since late last year.

Hassanally is the co-founder Code of Zero, a firm responsible for the development of official apps for several of Iranian news stations, including Iran’s English-language propaganda station Press TV, and its sister station, Spanish-language Hispan TV, both of which promote virulent anti-Semitic and anti-West propaganda.

The apps are available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Marketplace for free and allow Iranian propaganda to reach an even wider audience.

In October 2012, the France-based satellite carrier Eutelsat banned the broadcast of 19 television and radio stations from Iran’s state broadcaster, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). A couple months later, HispanSat, a Spain-based satellite provider that broadcast Hispan TV, followed suit and ended its transmission of IRIB stations. Both satellite carriers have cited EU sanctions against Iran as part of the basis to discontinue the transmission of IRIB stations in the West.

Hassanally has a history of involvement with Iranian-backed programs and organizations. Hassanally was responsible for the management of the official website for the 2012 Global March To Jerusalem (GMJ), a campaign that coordinated efforts by activists to cross Israel’s borders and enter Jerusalem. Additionally, Hassanally hosts the official site for the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM), a UK-based Shi’a organization that promotes the Iranian regime’s ideology.

In December 2012, the Anti-Defamation League released its report, Iran’s Press TV: Broadcasting Anti-Semitism To The English Speaking World.

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