TCS Daily has a piece out today that contains some amazing information. In their essay, J. Peter Pham and Michael I. Krauss write about how Hezbollah intimidates and controls the Western media:
Time magazine stringer Christopher Allbritton, writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, casually illustrated this latter technique: “To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one.”
My first response was how did Hezbollah get access to journalists passports? Michael Totten describes how his was confiscated by Hezbollah when he traveled to Lebanon after Syria withdrew its forces:
There were two separate entrances, one for women, the other for journalists and VIPs. A gaggle of Hezbollah security agents manned the doors. Several sat behind a long table. This, apparently, was where I was supposed to check in.
I showed my passport and press credentials to the man who looked like he was in charge. He stuffed them in his briefcase.
“Which hotel are you staying at?” he said.
I didn’t like the idea of telling Hezbollah where they could find me. Fairly or not, they are listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization. But I answered his question. I didn’t tell him I planned to move into an apartment two days later.
He also wrote in the same piece that Hezbollah threatened his life as well. Interestingly, the Hezbollah member who made the threat was none other than Hussein Nablousi in response to a joke Michael wrote on his blog:
“You are propagandizing against us!”
“Stop yelling at me,” I said.
“You insulted Hezbollah!”
“Actually, I insulted Americans who know nothing about Hezbollah. Can’t you read?”
“Who do you think we are? We know who you are, we read everything you write, and we know where you live.”
We know where you live. He threatened me with physical violence. And for what? For making fun of Americans on a blog.
The funny thing is Hezbollah did not know where I lived. Two hours before Hussein called me I had moved out of my hotel and into an apartment. The previous tenant hadn’t even left yet, and she witnessed Hezbollah’s threatening phone call. Hussein screamed so loudly into the phone she could hear him.
Two days later I called him back. He nervously denied that he ever threatened me.
Read Michael’s entire piece. It’s both scary and fascinating at the same time.