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June 11, 2014 0

Hezbollah World Cup Competition Brought To You By WhatsApp

Update — 6/12/14: As of today, the com­pe­ti­tion adver­tise­ment on Al Manar (see image below), no longer includes the What­sApp logo.

Hezbollah’s satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion, Al Manar TV, has launched an online com­pe­ti­tion in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that uses the California-based instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice WhatsApp.wolrd-cup-soccer-hezbollah-al-manar-whatsapp

The com­pe­ti­tion, adver­tised by the Al Manar TV web­site, will award a par­tic­i­pant who cor­rectly selects the win­ning team in the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croa­tia on June 12. Par­tic­i­pants sub­mit their selec­tion via What­sApp and a win­ner will be selected on June 13.

The com­pe­ti­tion rules say that only Lebanese are allowed to par­tic­i­pate by send­ing their per­sonal infor­ma­tion and selec­tion to Al Manar TV through What­sApp. The com­pe­ti­tion is spon­sored by a group of local busi­nesses in Lebanon, includ­ing restau­rants and shops. It is unclear what “reward” the win­ner will receive.

The com­pe­ti­tion is the lat­est exam­ple of how ter­ror­ist groups like Hezbol­lah use tech­nol­ogy to inter­act with indi­vid­u­als and engage with a younger generation.

Al Manar TV, which is listed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist Entity,”first began using the What­sApp ser­vice in Jan­u­ary of 2014 as a way to reach and inter­act with their audi­ence world­wide and to deliver break­ing news via texts deliv­ered to smartphones.

Al Manar TV broad­casts Hezbollah’s mes­sages of hate and vio­lence, dis­sem­i­nates anti-Semitic and anti-American pro­pa­ganda and glo­ri­fies sui­cide bomb­ings to mil­lions of view­ers in the Arab world, Europe and South East Asia 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In July of 2012, ADL exposed Al Manar’s efforts to cre­ate free appli­ca­tions for smart­phones avail­able through iTunes and other online stores. The appli­ca­tion was removed from the iTunes store and Hezbol­lah issued a state­ment blam­ing ADL for the removal of its applications.

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May 12, 2014 0

Pro-“Resistance” Conference In Beirut Draws American Activists

A recent con­fer­ence held in Beirut to dis­cuss issues related to Pales­tin­ian polit­i­cal pris­on­ers fea­tured the par­tic­i­pa­tion of mem­bers of sev­eral Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist groups, as well as the atten­dance of at least three Amer­i­can activists.Arab-International Forum of the Solidarity Organizations Supporting Freedom Prisoners in the Prisons of the Zionist Occupation

For­mer U.S. Attor­ney Gen­eral Ram­sey Clark, a founder of the Inter­na­tional Action Cen­ter (IAC), report­edly brought an Amer­i­can del­e­ga­tion to the con­fer­ence, billed in the Arab media as “The Arab-International Forum of the Sol­i­dar­ity Orga­ni­za­tions Sup­port­ing Free­dom Pris­on­ers in the Pris­ons of the Zion­ist Occu­pa­tion.” The Amer­i­can activists were joined by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Pop­u­lar Front for the Lib­er­a­tion of Pales­tine (PFLP) and Pales­tin­ian Islamic Jihad, as well as ambas­sadors from sev­eral coun­tries, includ­ing Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Morocco, and Sudan.

The con­fer­ence took place at the Com­modore Hotel in Beirut on April 30. Maher al-Taher, the Polit­i­cal Sec­re­tary of the PFLP, spoke at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the con­fer­ence and deliv­ered greet­ings from the PFLP’s Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Ahmad Sa’adat who is cur­rently serv­ing a 30 year sen­tence in an Israeli prison for his role in lead­ing the PFLP. In his remarks, Al-Taher said, “Sa’adat’s mes­sage is to end the nego­ti­a­tions entirely; they have failed and this has been proven repeat­edly. We must develop a new strat­egy on the basis of Pales­tin­ian resistance.”

Char­lotte Kates, a long­time activist with Al-Awda and a coor­di­na­tor for the North Amer­i­can Net­work for the Stead­fast Sup­port of Pris­on­ers, also spoke at the con­fer­ence. Accord­ing to a news arti­cle about the con­fer­ence in The Ambas­sador, a daily Lebanese Arabic-language news­pa­per, she said: “We remain in sup­port of the cause, which the pris­on­ers have been killed and fought for…and top­ping it is the Right of Return and the lib­er­a­tion of their coun­try from the occupation…We are in sol­i­dar­ity with the pris­on­ers and in sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tin­ian cause, and we declare and stand by the side of the Pales­tin­ian and Arab resistance.”

Accord­ing to a news arti­cle about the con­fer­ence from Al Watan Voice, a daily Pales­tin­ian Arabic-language news­pa­per, other notable atten­dees of the con­fer­ence were Issa Qaraqe, the Pales­tin­ian Min­is­ter of Pris­on­ers’ Affairs and Fadwa Bargh­outi, the wife of impris­oned Fatah leader Mar­warn Bargh­outi. Dur­ing her address, Bargh­outi report­edly said, “We are here to revive the issue of the pris­on­ers and to expose the crimes of the Israeli occu­pa­tion in inter­na­tional forums.”

This is not the first time a con­fer­ence held in Beirut fea­tur­ing Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist groups has attracted West­ern­ers. In Jan­u­ary 2009 and 2010, sim­i­lar con­fer­ences were held in Beirut, which Clark and other Amer­i­can activists attended as well.

News reports indi­cate that this year’s con­fer­ence con­cluded with a series of pro­posed action steps, includ­ing an affir­ma­tion by par­tic­i­pants “that the Resis­tance option in all its forms is the short­est way to lib­er­ate the pris­on­ers from Israeli jails.” A sec­ond action step from the con­fer­ence report­edly called for Boy­cott, Divest­ment, and Sanc­tions (BDS) cam­paigns against “all for­eign com­pa­nies and states that pro­vide logis­tic, secu­rity, or admin­is­tra­tive sup­port” to Israel on issues related to deten­tion of pris­on­ers in Israeli jails.

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March 12, 2014 0

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

Lebanon and Palestine’s vic­tory over the Zion­ist regime rep­re­sented a glimpse of the IRGC’s power*
(Defa­Press – March 5, 2014)

Gen­eral Ramezan Sharif of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps boasted of the IRGC’s mil­i­tary prowess and sup­port for ter­ror­ist groups in Lebanon and Pales­tine. “A glimpse of the IRGC’s [power] was the aid to the vic­tory of Lebanon and Pales­tine in transna­tional areas which the enemy itself is well aware of… Today the Islamic Repub­lic will bring the largest dam­age to Amer­ica for the small­est mis­take. The enemy knows well that it is unable to pro­vide secu­rity for the Zion­ist regime and this is the bless­ing of the IRGC’s power in the area of defense.”

Supreme Leader: Arro­gant pow­ers Spoil­ing from inside

khamenei-iran-anti-west

Supreme Leader Khamenei meet­ing with mem­bers of Iran’s Assem­bly of Experts 

(Fars News Agency – March 6, 2014)

In a meet­ing with mem­bers of Iran’s Assem­bly of Experts, Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Khamenei stated, “The super­fi­cial tran­quil­ity of the arro­gant pow­ers and the con­ven­tional pow­ers rul­ing the world are being destroyed and one of its signs is the eco­nomic cri­sis in Europe and the US and the signs of their eco­nomic bank­ruptcy is becom­ing visible.”

Iran­ian envoy blames Israel for Syr­ian tragedy
(Fars News Agency – March 6, 2014)

Iran’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Lebanon said in a meet­ing with Lebanese Prime Min­is­ter Fouad Sin­iora, that “the Zion­ist regime” is assist­ing rebel groups in Syria and car­ing for those injured in Israeli mil­i­tary field hospitals.

The Iran­ian nation will bury the hopes of Amer­ica and Israel one by one*
(Tas­nim News Agency – March 6, 2014)

IRGC Deputy Com­man­der Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami said in a state­ment in response to the AIPAC con­fer­ence last week in Wash­ing­ton D.C., “The same way that we buried the enemy front in the past. Today, too, the Iran­ian nation will bury the hopes of the Amer­i­can lead­ers who are by the side of their Zion­ist friends. Be sure that the enemy is unable to do any­thing greater than it has done in the last 35 years. They did every­thing they could do and they have been faced with defeat.”

Tehran, Ash­ton pushes focus on nego­ti­a­tions with top Iran­ian offi­cials*(Kay­han – March 9, 2014)

In response to EU for­eign pol­icy chief Cather­ine Ashton’s offi­cial visit to Tehran, Ali Akbar Velay­ati, a for­mer Iran­ian for­eign min­is­ter and spe­cial advi­sor to the Supreme Leader, crit­i­cized U.S. offi­cials and their threats against Iran. Velay­ati said, “Instances of these types of [unpro­duc­tive] com­ments [regard­ing sanc­tions] by John Kerry and the Pres­i­dent of the United States are against Iran and are due to pres­sure from the Zion­ists,” Velay­ati said at a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing his meet­ing with Ashton.

Al-Zahar: Iran, Hamas to fur­ther deepen rela­tions soon
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

Mah­moud Al-Zahar, a senior Hamas offi­cial in Gaza, spoke of improv­ing rela­tions between the Islamist mil­i­tant group and Iran, “The Hamas move­ment and Iran have taken spe­cial mea­sures and we will see many changes in these rela­tions soon.”

Pres­i­dent Rouhani: Regional peace, sta­bil­ity impos­si­ble with­out Iran’s part­ner­ship
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

In a meet­ing with fam­ily mem­bers of Iran­ian sol­diers killed dur­ing the Iran-Iraq war, Pres­i­dent Rouhani com­mented, “If the enemy once thought in the early days of the (Islamic) Rev­o­lu­tion that Iran was a weak coun­try and could be destroyed by mil­i­tary attack, today it is obvi­ous to every­one that Iran is the most pow­er­ful and mighty coun­try in the region.”

Leader’s Aide: Islamic Ummah to con­tinue sup­port for Pales­tine, resis­tance against Israel
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

Address­ing a gath­er­ing of the High Coun­cil of the Islamic Awak­en­ing World Forum this week, Velay­ati, the spe­cial advi­sor to the Supreme Leader, pledged con­tin­ued sup­port for Pales­tine against Israel. “The enemy is attempt­ing to mar­gin­al­ize the Pales­tin­ian issue and draw it off the Mus­lim world’s priorities…The Islamic Ummah will con­tinue its sup­port for the oppressed Pales­tin­ian peo­ple and resis­tance against the Zion­ist regime,” Velay­ati said to the gathering.

Our fin­ger is on the trig­ger to destroy the Zion­ist regime from a dis­tance of 1,400 kilo­me­ters*
(Tas­nim News Agency – March 10, 2014

Address­ing a sem­i­nar on the Role of the Mus­lim World on Tues­day, IRGC Deputy Com­man­der Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami said, “From a dis­tance of 1400 kilo­me­ters, our fin­ger is on the trig­ger to destroy the Zion­ist regime. It is Islam that has given us the power and expan­sion to dom­i­nate the hearts of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple from such geo­graph­i­cal dis­tances. Islam gives us hope and force, which allows us to be able to use the nec­es­sary force and capac­i­ties to destroy the Zion­ist regime, and until that day comes, our fin­ger will remain on the trigger.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Israel’s ‘cam­paign between the wars’ with Iran (Al-Monitor – March 7, 2014)

Last week’s Israeli naval inter­cep­tion of Gaza-bound mis­siles from Iran poses the ques­tion whether Pres­i­dent Rouhani was involved in the plan­ning and/or exe­cu­tion of the shipment.

Iran pres­i­dent con­demns hard-line media crack­down
(Wash­ing­ton Post – March 8, 2014)

In a meet­ing with the nation’s news­pa­per man­agers, Pres­i­dent Rouhani crit­i­cized the clos­ing of two reformist-leaning news­pa­pers in recent months. “Stop­ping the oper­a­tion and clos­ing (news­pa­pers) is the last solu­tion – not the first one,” Rouhani said. He added, “Why today is some media absolutely free and some oth­ers have lit­tle share of this free­dom? Gov­ern­ment crit­ics and oppo­nents are free and will be free but let government’s sup­port­ers also enjoy the same free­dom and secu­rity as well.”

Mercy and social media slow the noose in Iran
(New York Times – March 8, 2014)

As exe­cu­tion by pub­lic hang­ing has steadily risen since Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s elec­tion in June 2013, Ira­ni­ans increas­ingly resort to social media to spread awareness.

Will Iran’s ‘end to extrem­ism’ take hold?
(Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – March 9, 2014)

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani met with Cather­ine Ash­ton, the Euro­pean Union’s for­eign pol­icy chief, in her first visit to the Islamic Repub­lic since her appointment.

Iran tells EU’s Ash­ton nuclear deal pos­si­ble ‘in months’
(BBC – March 9, 2014)

Dur­ing a meet­ing with EU for­eign pol­icy chief Cather­ine Ash­ton in Tehran, For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif stated that a nuclear deal could be reached “in four or five months and even shorter.”

Thwarted, for now, Iran’s bid to tar­get all of Israel from Gaza
(Times of Israel – March 10, 2014)

An analy­sis of Iran’s endeav­ors to arm mil­i­tant groups in Gaza and Lebanon with far-reaching mis­siles that can strike any­where in Israel.

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