In issuing its findings of fact and conclusions of law ACMA found that Al Manar did not violate Australian law, and was free to broadcast in the country
In response, those crusading against Al Manar have issued their boiler plate objections including implying Australian anti-Semitism, ACMA incompetence and growing and dangerous Muslim influence.
Mark Leibler, AIJAC ‘s national chairman, said his organization was ” outraged that ACMA ignored evidence that ads of a particular charity, al-Emdad were shown on Al Manar. Claiming this was a breach of Australia’s anti-terrorism standards”.
The council’s executive director, Colin Rubenstein, urged ACMA, despite its findings, to ban the TV station ” because it is associated with Hezbollah, which itself is Terrorist listed by the federal government. Rubenstein added “Al-Manar’s raison d’etre is to radicalize Muslims around the world, including in Australia, to support Hezbollah’s terrorist methods and goals. AIJAC believes any media organization owned and/or operated by any banned terrorist organization should also be banned in Australia.”
Outside College Hall on the campus of the American University of Beirut, some students were discussing the ACMA decision. One young man from Egypt explained, “All Hezbollah has ever asked from those who may be wary of the Party for some reason or another is to keep an open mind. Sit with us, dialogue with us, give us a fair hearing on the facts as you see them. This is all Hezbollah or any party has the right to ask. Australia, to its great credit did just that. I have never met an Australian but I think they must be very fair minded people.”
One political consequence of ACMA ruling may be to kill H.R. 2278, Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakas’ “Terror TV” bill that AIPAC told him would target Al Manar and Hamas’ TV station Al Aqsa, but it turns out would affect more than 64 Arab and Muslim satellite channels in 24 countries. The bill is currently in John Kerry’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will likely never get out. “It’s a goofy bill, we don’t need the problems it would cause especially given the near universal condemnation it received from every government in the Middle East”, one of Kerry’s aides explained.
Meanwhile, Australian’s Zionist lobby received a triple painful dose of disappointment from the Grinch who stole Hankakah this year when in addition to the ACMA shock, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced that his government would be tripling its contributions to, one of AIJAC’s long pursued targets for dismantlement, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by providing AUD 18 million over the coming three years.
As if that were not enough holiday season punishment, AIJAC’s Reubenstein ruminated about the fact that Secret cables from the US embassy in Canberra, provided exclusively to the Sydney Morning Herald by fellow Australian Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, reveal that some Australian officials do not share the US-Israel assessment that Iran is a “rogue state”. Australian intelligence agencies, much like the CIA and other western intelligence, actually see Iran’s nuclear program as a strategy to deter foreign attacks, implying a possible positive aspect to Iran’s work in the nuclear field.
AIJAC, while not giving up trying to close Al Manar in Australia, is now planning a geographical shift of its crusade, for the time being. The executive director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, on 12/11/10 called on Canberra to demand that the Indonesian government immediately cancel the PT Indosat satellite with Al Manar “and finally grasp the true nature of the station, particularly the danger al-Manar poses vis-a-vis the radicalization of Indonesian Muslims”.
What Israel and its international lobby appear concerned with, and not without some basis, given the potential penumbral effects of ACMA’s ruling and what it means for the rest of the US-Israel politically inspired terrorism lists.
The American justice system is obviously not perfect. But to quote Julian Assange’s on his release from Wandsworth’s Victorian era prison on 12/16/10 with respect to Britain, “If justice is not always an outcome, at least it is not dead yet.” In addition to what ACMA’s administrative agency and quasi judicial findings did for broadcasting rights and free journalism, lawyers in America are hoping to do for many individuals unjustly targeted with various T-listings. There are many egregious cases that have never been judicially reviewed since the Plaintiffs are abroad. Some are extreme cases including one where children are T listed from traveling to the US to visit loved ones, as is the case with one former Minister in Lebanon’s government and a leading political figure who has never been charged with terrorism and is not affiliated with Hezbollah or any other US T listed group.
Given the chance that American justice is not dead yet, it is hoped that, judicial review, on a case by case basis will shed light on the disgrace that is the US Treasury Department’s over broad and likely to be found illegal corralling of citizens who might object to aspects of American foreign policy in the Middle East. If they receive a fair hearing on the facts, and unless a solid case to the contrary is proved and not merely hinted at, many are expected to be immediately de-listed.
If American courts apply the same fair standards exhibited by ACMA in Australia, in addition to the hapless fish netted individuals, Al Manar TV Channel, Nour Radio Station, and Jihad al Binna, and Waad Construction companies, among others, could be in a short line to be T de-listed. And none too soon.