The site boasts of how the group "...used one of its own special types of resistance against the Zionist enemy that is the suicide attacks. These attacks dealt great losses to the enemy on all thinkable levels such as militarily and mentally. The attacks also raised the moral [sic] across the whole Islamic nation."
The Web site of the Islamic Resistance Support Association also is hosted by the same Canton company, SkyNetWEB. IRSA's site lists the names, photos and biographies of men killed in their fight against Israel under a section labeled "martyrs."
Everything from their marital status to the cause of their death is listed. The listings go back to the 1960s, and most appear to have been killed in fights with the Israeli military.
"Hussein Mohsen," killed, "In an attack on the "Israeli" enemy." "Nimr Ali Ftouni," killed "In a gunbattle at Houla deep inside the "Israeli" occupation region." But others are more vague: "Youssef Kataya," killed "In a course of executing his Islamic sacred duty."
SkyNetWEB was purchased in 2000 by Affinity Internet Inc., a California-based Web-hosting provider.
When asked how much and when his company knew about the two sites, Jim Collins, Affinity's chief operating officer, said: "Affinity provides hosting for more than 120,000 customers and more than 500,000 domains, making it impossible to constantly monitor customers' Web sites or activities. In addition to that, approximately 55 percent of our sites are sold and controlled [by] resellers who lease the space from us."
Collins also is wary of losing the company's status as a "conduit" company, which allows it to exist merely as a provider for the flow of information across the Internet. He said that if his company were to make a conscious effort to monitor content, it might lose that status. That could leave Affinity legally responsible for the content on every site they host.
As to whether the company planned to shut down Hezbollah's site, Collins deferred to federal agencies. "When we are made aware of any violations of our usage policy we take immediate action and contact the proper authorities. ...In many cases, authorities will approach companies such as ours and request that the sites stay online for monitoring. Beyond that, I can't say anything."
Affinity has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and El Segundo, Calif., with data centers in Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Baltimore.
Tracking them down
In the complex world of Internet hosting, controversial Web sites often disappear overnight and accountability can be hard to come by. Shut down a Web site in one location and another provider, unwittingly or not, will have the material up within weeks, days or minutes.
To track down the owner and hosting provider of a Web address, public databases were queried. Some of the information -- such as the owner of the domain name -- can be falsified.
Hizbollah.tv, for instance, is purportedly owned by a Mohamad Hejazi in Beirut. But the company that hosts a Web site cannot be falsified because of something called an IP, or Internet Protocol, address.
The Internet is built around these IP addresses. They are the string of numbers that designate Web sites and individual users on the Web. For example, SunSpot's IP address is 22.214.171.124.
Broad ranges of IP addresses are doled out from large companies such as UUNet to Internet resellers. Those resellers then sell individual IP addresses to anyone who wants to set up a Web site or blocks of IP addresses to companies that want to host multiple sites.
And that's how an entity that identifies itself as Norsac ended up with six IP addresses that host Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance Support Association.
Public records show Norsac purchased a block of IP addresses -- ranging from 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52 -- from SkyNetWEB, which provides a rack space and bandwidth for Norsac's server in Canton.