Senator Lieberman Tries Hunting Down Terrorist Videos On YouTube

from the easier-than-finding-real-terrorists dept

Folks in Congress sure are scared of any kind of popular new internet application being used by terrorists -- quite often blaming the technology rather than looking for ways to use it to their advantage. They've targeted file sharing networks, Second Life and the whole internet as being terrorist havens. Now, Senator Joe Lieberman, who heads the Senate Committee on Homeland Security is upset with Google for letting terrorists post videos on YouTube. Last week he sent a note asking them to take all of the videos down. YouTube employees went through the videos and took down the ones that violated the site's terms of service, but left most of them up, as they neither showed violence nor promoted hate speech. Lieberman is not too happy about this and has sent a second letter, asking that the videos be taken down.

This seems particularly silly for a variety of reasons. First off, it's most likely that these types of videos are preaching to the choir. It's hard to see too many folks watching some poorly produced al-Qaeda propaganda videos and suddenly deciding to join up. But, more importantly, by leaving these videos out in the open, it allows lots of folks to respond to them, criticize them and show them up for the awful propaganda they represent. In other words, why be scared of these videos when you can actually respond? Trying to force them offline suggests that we don't think we can win the argument (and even helps to legitimize those who put up the videos). If these videos are promoting ignorant propaganda, the best response is to rebut, refute or even ridicule them -- not bury them. Finally, leaving the videos up gives the government an excellent way to track what the groups are doing, rather than having their actions hidden away on other sites. If they got taken offline by Google/YouTube it would be a matter of minutes before they showed up on other sites where it might even be more difficult for US officials to track them and see what messages terrorists are spreading. Weren't we fighting against terrorists to stand up for principles like free speech and the belief that speech can be a weapon against propaganda?

Filed Under: free speech, joe lieberman, terrorists, videos
Companies: google, youtube


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  1. identicon
    anti-inertia, 20 May 2008 @ 1:08pm

    Ignorance is NOT bliss

    I hate to be redundant, but I must repeat my comments on this with another news source.

    Our foreign policy is the issue. And it's not just about invasion and occupation of Muslim countries, but also about playing cop in the Muslim World as a whole. Couple that with support for their corrupt leaders, and a running (of what seems to be a limitless) tab for Israel and we will never cease to have hatred aimed at our way of life, our land, at our very existence.

    Not many know that we give more to Israel than we do the rest of the World combined. We give them more than the per capita of Spain. And for what? In the decades that have passed, what has it gained us, the region over there and/or the whole notion of "peace" in the Middle East? NADA. ZELCH. NOTHING. We need to simply bud out.

    I don't want to make this about Israel, it's not. It's about our support of what seems to be in constant opposite to all that is Muslims and Islam.

    Unfortunately, it's all fueled by ignorance. Ignorance of a religion that is forced, I believe, to react in a manner against its very nature. Deep down, Islam is one of the Abrahamic religions. Muslims MUST believe in Jesus , Moses, Noah, Abraham, etc. Muslims MUST (as an article of faith) believe in the Bible, the Torah, and all the other "books" that have proceeded them. Muslims believe in the immaculate conception, the honor of Mary and her family, the split of the sea by Moses, amongst many other things.

    I don't want to make this about Muslims either. It's about narrow minded politics-driven individuals with biases like Lieberman. I wonder what country he leans towards? Hmmmm!

    What he's proposing, ultimately, is a violation to our civil rights. Rights we've already had violated with the Patriot Act.

    It's simple. We have a deficit. We have needs within this country. Spend the money here. Fix my social security. Offer subsidized benefits. Take care of our growing baby boomers and elders. Invest in our education. I'm not saying don't protect our land & borders, but protection does not mean invasion, interference, etc.

    We have people outside of our country dying with bullets that have our name on them! Let me kill your children, in front of you, with everything made in (let's say) Brazil and see how you feel about that country after time. It's only a matter of time, I bet, before you're acting in a worse manner than most would expect of you.

    Stop and look at what Lieberman has supported in the past.

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