In the News
June 23, 2021
U.S. Police Powers Seize and Shut Down 36 Overseas Websites
U.S. police powers on June 22 seized and shut down 36 websites owned and controlled outside the United States. The attacked websites include the well-known media sites Press TV and Al-Alam held by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU). Those two sites are Iran’s main English and Arabic language broadcasters. Press TV anchorwoman Marzieh Hashemi said the U.S. gave the company no reason for the seizure or any prior warning.
The U.S. police powers also seized the Al-Masirah TV channel in Yemen, three sites in Iraq including a TV news channel operated by the political group Kata’ib Hizballah, and the news website Palestine Today. The U.S. also attacked Bahrain’s LuaLua TV, which has offices in London, England and Beirut, Lebanon.
Iran’s foreign ministry denounced the seizures as a “systematic effort to distort freedom of speech on a global level and silence independent voices in media.” Iran’s spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh criticized the “shameful double standards” of the U.S. regarding freedom of expression. Khatibzadeh said Iran rejects the United States’ “illegal and bullying action” adding, “The current administration of the United States has followed exactly the path of the previous U.S. administration, which will result in nothing but a double defeat for Washington.”
The spokesperson for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, Shahrokh Nazemi said the United States was trying to muzzle free speech. He said, “While rejecting this illegal and bullying action, which is an attempt at limiting the freedom of expression, the issue will be pursued through legal channels.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) company accused the U.S. of repressing freedom of expression and joining forces with Israel and Saudi Arabia “to block pro-resistance media outlets exposing the crimes of U.S. allies in the region.” The IRIB said it will not let the media of the resistance be silenced and in fact almost immediately restarted broadcasting the Iranian websites with newly registered domains.
The Iranian Fars News Agency accused the U.S. government of targeting websites that belong to the resistance movement in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. U.S. police powers seized Fars’ website in 2018, when it was registered as a .com domain. The news agency switched to an Iranian domain of .ir and came back online.
Yemen’s Houthi political movement branded the action “American piracy and copyright confiscation” saying, “The government of the United States of America is banning the Al-Masirah website without any justification or even prior notice.” Al-Masirah along with LuaLua have since established new websites with their names but new domains.
This recent U.S. attack is a continuation of efforts to silence the voices of people around the world. Last October, the U.S. seized just under 100 political and cultural websites with programming originating in Central and West Asia and North Africa.
The U.S. police powers say they have the power to do so as they control the Internet including its domain names .com, .net and others. The U.S. government said it will use its power to silence all those “waging a global disinformation campaign to influence U.S. policy and push Iranian propaganda around the world.” Since 2016, the U.S. military handed official control over domain names to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private organization based in California.
The attempts to block the voices of people in Asia, Africa and elsewhere are one front of the all-sided U.S. imperialist striving to control the world and destroy those who refuse to comply. These attacks include military aggression and intimidation, Special Operations, assassinations, sanctions, blockades, cultural aggression and other forms of propaganda and interference.
(With files from Al Jazeera and Xinhua)