(New York, NY) - Domain registrar and webhosting companies have played an increasingly larger role in the proliferation of online extremism. Recently, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) spotlighted a website from the terror group Kataib Hezbollah (KH), which since 2016 has been hosted by GoDaddy. The website boasts of “[cutting] off the hand of America” and KH is responsible for the killings hundreds of American soldiers, UN workers and civilians – a clear violation of GoDaddy’s terms of services and grounds for removal.
Reporting for 9News, Mark Saunokonoko writes of KH’s extensive history targeting western troops. First designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2009, the organization’s founder, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was “the alleged mastermind behind the 1983 truck and car bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait.” Mr. Saunokonoko then approached GoDaddy, questioning why the company chose to continue hosting KH. In response, GoDaddy acknowledged the apparent terms of service violations, but claimed the terror group’s website remains online because the company was working with United States law enforcement.
But as CEP Executive Director David Ibsen previously wrote, “There are ways for law enforcement to monitor these groups without providing them a platform to grow and inspire violence.” In fact, there are more than one thousand website registrars available online, including non-U.S. providers. Further, GoDaddy has taken down other extremist content before, most notably that of the white supremacist group Daily Stormer and Richard Spencer’s altright.com. In the absence of national public outcry, GoDaddy’s “selective outrage” undermines any claim it has of consistently operating by any strict set of principles.
Click here to read 9News reporter Mark Saunokonoko’s investigation on GoDaddy.
Click here for CEP Executive Director David Ibsen’s op-ed on GoDaddy.
Exclusive: American Web Giant Does Business With Terrorists Who Killed Hundreds Of US Soldiers In Iraq [Excerpt]
February 11, 2019
The inflammatory website of a violent terrorist group responsible for killing hundreds of US and coalition soldiers in Iraq is currently being hosted by one of America's biggest web companies, nine.com.au can exclusively reveal.
Kataib Hezbollah (KH), an Iranian-sponsored militia which targeted American soldiers and their allies, including the Australian Defence Force, during the insurgency in Iraq, was designated a Foreign Terrorist Group in 2009 by the US government.
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a Washington DC-based think tank which monitors terrorist and extremist groups, told nine.com.au that since 2016 it has repeatedly urged GoDaddy to shut down KH's online presence, without success
"There is a very clear case to shut Kataib Hezbollah down," Daniel Roth, a CEP researcher who unearthed the group's commercial link with GoDaddy, said.
When approached by nine.com.au, GoDaddy spokesperson Dan Race acknowledged the KH website breached the company's terms of service, which prohibits customers using its online services to promote or encourage terrorism.
"Although we do not comment on specific complaints we receive, we can confirm that we followed established procedures and forwarded this site to federal law enforcement to investigate and determine the most appropriate course of action. GoDaddy will continue to work with law enforcement on this matter," Mr Race added.
But Mr Roth said he was sceptical of GoDaddy's "boilerplate-type" response, blasting it as "pathetic and unsatisfactory".
"It is possible there is intelligence gathering. But it is unclear whether or not GoDaddy is actually working with law enforcement and intelligence agencies."