The Jerusalem Post reports: The Pakistan-born owner of a satellite TV company has pleaded guilty to providing material aid to a terrorist organization by letting customers receive broadcasts from Hizbullah’s television station.
Javed Iqbal entered the plea in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday. He declined comment afterward. As part of the plea, Iqbal agreed to serve a prison term of up to six and a half years. Sentencing was set for March 24.
Prosecutors said Iqbal used satellite dishes on his Staten Island home to distribute broadcasts of Al Manar, the television station of the Lebanon-based organization that has been fighting Israel since the early 1980s.
Israel and the US consider Hizbullah a terrorist organization and accuse it of being behind deadly attacks in Lebanon and abroad.
Iqbal, 45, was born in Pakistan but has lived in the United States for more than 20 years. He is a permanent resident with five children. A former New York Police Department officer was among those who signed his $250,000 bail package.
Although Americans are granted freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution, the government contended in this case that Iqbal was not entitled to arrange the satellite broadcast of an organization designated as a terrorist group, regardless of the message.
Lebanon’s information minister, Ghazi Aridi, had criticized Iqbal’s arrest, calling it an “attack against freedoms (that) robs a large section of people from watching a specific channel.”
Commentary: needless to say, the Justice Department under President Obama could drop the charges, but the sad, and frightening, reality is that it will not. So much for Obama’s “yes we can” and promises of change crap. Equally frightening is the silence surrounding this case. With the possible exception of people with severe brain damage, it is plainly clear to anyone that the US list of “terrorist organizations” is purely a political tool to brand some groups and not others, depending on their stance towards the USA and Israel. This is how the Albanian KLA has turned into a liberation army, while Ronald Reagan’s Afghan “freedom fighters” were turned into terrorists (presumably, they were not terrorists during the Soviet occupation). This is also how Hezbollah is considered as “terrorist”. Bottom line?
Phase one: any organization worldwide the US government does not like, it can brand as “terrorist”. Phase two: spreading any information about this organization becomes a federal crime. Phase three: Anyone challenging this risks being jailed.
Is this really the freedoms the Founding Fathers of the United States envisioned for the American people? Is this really the kind of society the Obama administration wants to foster?
Where is Amnesty International? Where is Human Rights Watch? Where are all the “doubleplusgoodthinking” human rights activists?
As Saint Gregory the Theologian once wrote: By Silence is God Betrayed
Je suis degoute :)
At this rate, I imagine it won’t be long before linking to a transcript of a speech from Osama Bin Laden could be construed as a violation of this law. Where is the ACLU on this matter?
I’m curious why he entered a guilty plea? We will see if he spends anytime in jail. If he does not, the government may have offered him a deal to avoid going to trial.
If it were to go to trial and the government were to lose, it would wipe out any future cases of the sort. I’m no lawyer so I can’t comment.
@everybody: I do not know the details, but I am sorry that he did not fight this in court and agreed to a plea bargain. I vaguely remember a similar case of a college student who was charged with putting Hamas propaganda on a website. If my memory is correct, the case went to court and Uncle Shmuel LOST!
If anybody remembers this case and the details please post them here, ok?!
@VS: “…but I am sorry that he did not fight this in court and agreed to a plea bargain…»
I can see at least a couple of reasons for him:
«He is a permanent resident with five children»
How about a promise to get deported from the States with all FIVE children, his wife, old folks, live ban on getting any of them back in the US.
It seems like a legitimate reason for the guy to agree on a few years in a US prison instead of a life term in Pakistan for his family.
He probably did not fight as he may have been threatened with Gitmo . Anything but Gitmo . :)
Saker, dude, you surely can’t be surprised by this or by the non-reaction of the Obama administration to this non-event?
I have no love for Hezbollah but I can understand the reasons why they have support and I think that the censorship applied in this case is a result of the bankruptcy of the ideology of the real state-sponsors of terror that offer no alternative vision or argument against what al-Manar has to say.
Having no message to offer, the state-sponsors of terror resort to censorship.
But the heat is on, isn’t it? Surely you get it here? I get Google coming by half a dozen times a day just to make sure I’m being a “good” girl. And now that the US Treasury has added PJAK to their bogus List, I’ve had those fuckers coming around.
Anyway, gotcha linked today.
@Mizgin: hey, long time no see, dear friend! Welcome back. how have you been?!
Yeah, I was not surprised by Obama’s puppeteers using the same policies and tactics as Dubya’s. After all, only the puppet has changed, not the puppeteers.
One on hand, having a (half-) Black guy elected as President is a monumental event, truly a watershed for a country with an uninterrupted history of racism, but on the other, Obama will prove to be an immense disappointment to all the folks who voted for him hoping for “change”. I think of Obama as “imperialism with a human face” (as opposed to Dubya being “imperialism with a simian face”).
Google does not allow me to see the IP of the folks visiting my blog, so I have no idea how often Uncle Shmuel checks on me. I am quite sure that I am not violating any law, no matter how absurd, since, after all, I am not connected to any presumably bad guys in any fashion.
I wonder – do you know why PJAK gets blacklisted by the US at the exact same moment when the MKO gets taken OFF the bad guys list by the EU?!
You may not be violating any law that you know of. But if you’re posting news from overseas that conflicts with the prevailing paradigm, then you probably are breaking a law. You know that “free speech” is just a part of the facade that is democracy.
Why don’t you check out Sitemeter (sitemeter.com)? They have a free statistics tracker and you’ll be able to see who’s watching.
As for PJAK, I suspect that they were not willing to work against Kurdish interests just to go along with whatever it was that the CIA wanted. CIA tried to do this with PKK back in 2003 to early 2004. CIA convinced a few leaders to begin to dismantle PKK’s discipline, thereby atttempting to destroy it. When this failed because other leaders like Murat Karayilan corrected the situation.
The collaborators left Qendil and soon a new organization appeared, the PWD. Two years later their leader was killed by unknown assassins in Silemani–PUK territory with an MIT office–and PWD’s own report said that a CIA bomb expert was on scene to check the damage to the vehicle that blew up, killing Kani Yilmaz. PWD stated it would publish all the evidence of the assassination, but never did.
PWD was the CIA’s own attempt to destroy PKK and it failed. The Americans have effectively neutralized other formerly armed organizations operating in East Kurdistan, such as KOMALA and now use these groups as mouthpieces against PKK and PJAK. I suspect they attempted to do the same with PJAK but, again, failed.
@Mizgin: thanks for the tip, I have added sitemeter to my blog. We will see how much attention the crazies pay to my humble blog.
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