A written report titled “Argentina designates Hezbollah as terrorist organisation” appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on July 18th.
“Argentina has designated Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organisation and frozen its assets.
It accuses the Shia Islamist group of being behind two attacks on its soil.
The announcement was made on the 25th anniversary of one – the bombing of the Amia Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires, in which 85 people died.”
Later on in the report readers were told that:
“The attack on the Amia centre – which Argentina said was planned and financed by Iran, and carried out by Hezbollah – was the South American country’s deadliest terrorist attack.”
As has been standard practice for years in BBC reporting on the AMIA attack, the report then went on to note denials from Hizballah and Iran but failed to inform audiences of the wealth of evidence available which indicates that such denials are to be viewed with a considerable amount of scepticism.
“Both Iran and Hezbollah have denied any involvement. No-one has ever been brought to trial in connection with the bombing.”
Like the BBC profile of Hizballah (which has not been updated for over three years) to which readers were provided with a link, the report also gave readers an incomplete view of the designation of Hizballah.
“Hezbollah is also designated by the US, UK, Israel and several Gulf Arab states, but Argentina is the first country in Latin America to do so.”
BBC audiences found the following cryptic statement:
“Argentine officials say Hezbollah is engaged in illegal activities between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay to finance its operations elsewhere.”
Readers were not informed that a year ago the Argentinian government froze the financial assets of fourteen Lebanese residents of the Tri-Border Area who were part of an organisation linked to Hizballah or that the governments of Brazil and Paraguay have also taken steps – as the BBC knows – against Hizballah’s terror-financing activities in that region.
The report did however close by telling BBC audiences that “[t]he US, along with Israel, had pushed for Argentina to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organisation”.