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Terrorist Messages Live on YouTube

Posted February. 14, 2007 07:57,   


A man who claims to be an Iraqi sniper explains how to attack U.S. soldiers. He aims his gun at a group of soldiers. In a moment, one of the soldiers falls to the ground. While these events unfold, music is playing.

These are the contents of a video clip shot in Iraq posted on YouTube, a video sharing website. Nowadays, it has been easy to find clips praising Islam or censuring the U.S. on YouTube.

The recent issue of BusinessWeek publicized an article which reports that the radical video messages of some Muslims criticizing the West, especially the U.S., have become a YouTube administrators’ headache.

Although militant Islamic groups used to post these kinds of messages on their own homepages, their influence had been marginal and their speed of propagation had been slow, except for some extreme killing scenes. However, now as they turned to global media video-sharing, “dangerous” clips have been posted from time to time.

A man shouting the name of Osama bin Laden ahead of committing a suicide bombing attack, people lauding Al Qaeda, people shouting for joy as they watch the 9/11 terrorist attacks… all of these videos are easily accessible.

The clip with the sniping scene has recorded 30,000 hits since it has been posted. One of the users commented, “I don’t follow these stupid idiots who think they are Muslim and kill innocent people, which is against Islam.” Another harshly replied, “Do u call U.S. soldiers innocent people? Why are they there? Kill them as they kill our bros and sisters out there.”

The operators of YouTube are deleting these posts according to their policy which bans violence and hate speech. Nevertheless, it’s not easy to keep full control of the uploads as similar content with different subject lines are posted almost simultaneously.

"It`s going to get worse,” said Mark Rasch, a former Justice Department computer crimes prosecutor. “We are going to see real-time executions with higher production values."