June 19, 2012
Jawa Report is More Effective Against FTO Propaganda Than All Governments Combined Period
Its sad really.
From the new head of al Qaeda core, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to terror propagandist Ayman al-Awlaki, using the Internet to spread the jihadist message is a tool of the trade for terrorists.We against videos that are by specially designated foreign terrorist organizations or individuals or videos that advocate for those same FTOs. Just looking back at our recent counter terrorism archive Jawa Report bloggers and readers have easily matched that number in the last few months. And we're not really trying all that hard.
In the last six months of 2011, Google agreed to remove some 640 terrorist videos from YouTube at the request of law enforcement officials in the United Kingdom, because the videos violated the company's guidelines.
...According to Google, the U.S. government made 1,759 requests for content to be removed from YouTube from July to December of last year. Of those requests, only one removal was in the name of national security but no details were provided on the nature of the request.
We probably got that many video's taking out the user Mr3133169. So in our opinion Google's statement is one of those tasty treats fed to the press so that it can claim it is doing something about the distribution of terrorist propaganda on Youtube.
A search on Ayman al-Zawahiri who is mentioned in the articles this morning returns About 1,420 results. A search this morning on al-Qaeda's production house as-Sahab returns About 4,020 results.
A Painfully inadequate whack a mole strategy.
"In a sense, [it's] a whack-a-mole type of thing where especially activists in the West create 20 or 30 YouTube accounts, and they primarily use one and then if somebody flags, it they just take it down and go to the next one.That is often the case but user 1Alramy3 had a whole series of channels he removed himself after the 1Alramy3 account was taken down. The heat of the spotlight you know.
But some experts say there can be hidden benefits to keeping some of this material online.I don't want to poo poo on that too hard. But most of that intelligence can be gathered from the top tier forums where the propaganda originates. Youtube or as we like to call it Jihadtube is mainly a platform to distribute the propaganda widely.
Fishman said the videos are a source of information that is important to intelligence agencies worldwide.
"One of the values of these videos being out there, we can sort of understand what our enemies are thinking about or what these kinds of folks are thinking about," Fishman said.
Take downs have their advantages as the dedicated Jihadi will be forced to make some moves, which can also be monitored. Don't forget that the investigation of Babar Ahmad was started by Civilian complaints and a takedown of his Azzam.com website. The take down forced Ahmad to move his website and in the process his identity was revealed to counter Jihad activists who then complained to public officials.
A take down on Youtube can have a similar effect. Forcing a user to spend hours re-uploading content. An activity which is also quite useful for intelligence purposes.
Still the current approach at Youtube is inadequate. Eyeballs are being radicalized faster than intelligence and counter terrorism can track them. The consequences of which are known, Jawa Report was complaining about the French speaking Jihadi community long before Mohammad Merah's murder spree.
A more active approach of seeking out prohibited content, removing and recording those activities will herd more dedicated and dangerous cats onto lesser known areas. Thus making the key players easier to follow, help slow the radicalization of new terrorists and make casual supporters less comfortable.