Embassy Row: Drugs and terror

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Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is warning about the links between Latin American drug lords and Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorists.

He noted that a recent news report “reconstructs the labyrinthine and lethal connection” among Mexico’s violent Los Zetas drug cartel, Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorists and Iran’s Quds Force, a special army unit that spreads Iran’s Islamic extremism.

Mr. Oren cited a Wall Street Journal report that also details how “massive” amounts of money are smuggled from Iran through used-car dealerships in Mexico.

“Once connected, the dots portray a global Iranian network of drug-funded terror that will not hesitate to kill hundreds of innocent civilians all over there world, as well as in America’s capital,” he said on his Facebook page this week.

In February, the ambassador accused the Quds Force of plotting with Mexican drug dealers to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

GAME OF CLONES

The U.S. ambassador to Australia is a big fan of “Game of Thrones,” the blood- and lust-filled HBO fantasy series about noble families in some faraway place fighting for dominion over their rivals.

However, he is upset that Australians are stealing the U.S.-made television program in record numbers, while the defiant denizens Down Under are telling him to mind his own business.

The series, now in its third season, is a “great epic chronicling the devious machinations” of the antagonists as they fight for the throne of a mythical kingdom, Ambassador Jeffrey L. Bleich wrote on his Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, nearly as epic and devious as the drama is its unprecedented theft by online viewers around the world,” he wrote under the heading “Game of Clones.”

Mr. Bleich noted that the file-sharing news site TorrentFreak estimated that “Game of Thrones’ is the most-pirated TV series of 2012, with more than 4.2 million viewers illegally downloading one episode, alone, last year.

“As the ambassador here in Australia, it was especially troubling to find out that Australian fans were some of the worst offenders with among the highest piracy rates of ‘Game of Thrones’ in the world,” he wrote.

Mr. Bleich posted his Facebook scolding last week on U.N. World Book and Copyright Day, warning that “piracy is not some victimless crime.” The former San Francisco lawyer noted that actors, screenwriters, directors and film crews rely on the sale of their product to make their living.

“So to me, Copyright Day is about celebrating and protecting the power of great writers, painters, singers, composers, actors, dancers and other artists to bring us together and enrich our lives,” he said.

Australians who responded to his finger-wagging called him a hypocrite and elitist. They complained about exorbitant entertainment taxes and the failure of Australian television to broadcast some of the programs they illegally download.

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About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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