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May 5, 2015 9:40 am

Man BBC Described as ‘Businessman’ is Designated as Global Terrorist by US Government

avatar by Hadar Sela

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A screen shot of video footage of the summer 2012 terrorist attack on a tour bus carrying Israelis in Burgas, Bulgaria. Photo: YouTube.

A man described twice by the BBC as “a businessman” in an article from September 2013 has been named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the US State Department.

Hussein Atris is a member of Hizballah’s overseas terrorism unit. In 2012, Atris was arrested in Thailand in connection with a terror warning about a possible attack in Bangkok. Atris was found to be hiding nearly three tons of ammonium nitrate, a component in the manufacture of explosives. In 2013, a Thai court sentenced Atris to two years and eight months in prison for illegally possessing the materials. He was released in September 2014, and traveled to Sweden and later Lebanon, where he is believed to be located currently.

In its reporting at the time of Atris’ arrest and trial (here,herehere, and here), the BBC consistently misrepresented Hezbollah’s terror designation, suggesting to audiences that the United States alone considers it a terrorist organization.

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In fact, Hezbollah is also considered a terrorist entity by the governments of Canada, Israel, France, and the Netherlands, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council and Bahrain. Australia, the United Kingdom, and the EU proscribe what they define as Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist group –  although such a distinction is, of course, at odds with the facts.

The BBC also promoted the myth of a separate Hezbollah “armed wing” in its September 2013 report about two additional individuals designated in the same US State Department announcement.

On July 18, 2012, a bombing at the airport in Burgas, Bulgaria killed six people, including five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian citizen. In July 2013, Meliad Farah and Hassan el-Hajj Hassan were publicly identified as key suspects in the bombing, which has been attributed to Hizballah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Both are believed to be located in Lebanon.

Notable in the BBC’s coverage of the Burgas terror attack is the fact that it provided a generous platform for Hezbollah denial of involvement – see for example here.

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