Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., called Monday for YouTube to take down al-Qaida videos that users had posted, but the site said most of the videos his office had flagged did not contain material that violated their guidelines and rejected his request that they act to remove all material from U.S. designated terror groups.
In a letter to Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive officer of Google Inc., which owns YouTube, Lieberman urged the popular video-sharing service to enforce its own “community guidelines” against “graphic or gratuitous violence” and said the company should change its rules “to address violent extremist material.”
In the letter, released to the media and dated Monday, Lieberman wrote that removing videos produced by al-Qaida and other extremist groups should be straightforward, because “so many of the Islamist terrorist organizations brand their material with logos or icons identifying their provenance.”
In a blog posting, YouTube said it welcomed the dialogue with Lieberman but noted that “most of the videos” his office had drawn to their attention “did not contain violent or hate speech content” and had therefore not been removed from the site “because they do not violate our Community Guidelines.”
YouTube, which hosts millions of videos posted every day by its user-community, also rejected the idea that it should pre-screen content for videos produced by al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
The blog posting said the site “encourages free speech and defends everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. We believe that YouTube is a richer and more relevant platform for users precisely because it hosts a diverse range of views, and rather than stifle debate we allow our users to view all acceptable content and make up their own minds.”
Yeah. Right. You can bet your ass that if the Ku Klux Klan put out a video of a mock lynching, the YouTube libs would get apoplexy.
A Lieberman aide said the material he was concerned about went beyond the bounds of acceptable free speech.
“It is not reasonable, let alone legal, for an al-Qaida spokesman to visit the United States and try to recruit and build support here,” the aide told UPI. “Why is it reasonable for the same person to do that in this virtual community?”
Well, apparently it’s not unreasonable according to some members of academic intelligentsia:
The answer Lieberman’s critics offer is that he is misunderstanding the nature of the Internet. “There is nothing YouTube or Sen. Lieberman can do to keep these videos off the Internet,” John Morris, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told UPI, adding that many of the propaganda videos produced by al-Qaida and other groups “contained nothing that is illegal.”
……”If automated means were used to identify material, would a news report or documentary containing the same material … be blocked or removed simply because the logo (of al-Qaida or another terror group) appeared (in it)?” asked Ben Venzke of Intel Center, a private sector contractor that monitors extremist Web communications for clients including the U.S. government.
Context, Venzke, context. A news report may contain a recent Bin Laden video, but it isn’t necessarily portrayed for the same use as the ones on MEMRI, Al Jazeera, or the ones that pop up on MySpace or YouTube.
……Nonetheless, Lieberman’s aide said the senator was just asking the company to enforce its own rules and that many of the videos YouTube declined to take down “are in our opinion clearly in violation of the community guidelines. … YouTube is still not enforcing its own rules.”
In his letter, Lieberman quoted the community guidelines: “Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don’t post it.”
Many of the videos produced by al-Qaida’s media arms in Iraq and Afghanistan “show attacks on U.S. forces in which American soldiers are injured and, in some cases, killed,” wrote Lieberman.
……But Venzke echoed the feelings of several intelligence professionals UPI has spoken to about this issue — that Lieberman is barking up the wrong tree. “Removing material from YouTube would have little to no effect on key terrorist groups’ primary dissemination efforts,” he told UPI. “There are no major jihadi groups … using YouTube as their primary release point.”
YouTube allows jihadist agitprop, and MySpace removes a video of a Koran shooting:
The FBI will investigate an online video that showed two men shooting a Quran with a military-style rifle and then leaving the bullet-riddled holy book outside a Chattanooga mosque, an agent said.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations asked the Justice Department to investigate, FBI agent Tim Burke said Monday.
The same CAIR investigated for ties to Hamas? That CAIR?
The video, titled “kill the koran,” was posted on the MySpace.com social networking Web service last month, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Islamic group. He said it may be as much as a year old. The video had been removed Tuesday.
A man on the Web site identified himself as “mully88” and claimed to live in Chattanooga. His profile listed as heroes “anybody that has killed a muslim or at least tried to kill a muslim.” His Web page also contains slurs against Hispanics and blacks.
The video shows the man purchasing a Quran at a bookstore, taking it to a wooded area and shooting the book, then throwing it on the ground outside the door of the Chattanooga Islamic center.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called it a possible civil rights violation. Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar compared it to burning a cross.
“By throwing the bullet-riddled Quran at the mosque, we believe the perpetrators went beyond the limits of free speech by taking part in an overt act of religious intimidation,” Iftikhar said.
CAIR, a U.S.-based terrorist front that engages in malicious litigation and proselytizing to push their radical Islamic agenda, making analogies about cross burning or religious intimidation.
If it weren’t so despicable it would be funny.
I’ve viewed numerous videos posted by Army Apache pilots for instance, that demonstrate their awesome firepower against enemy targets. I’m all for showing the bad guys getting blown to smithereens, but allowing equal access to the enemy in a “Fairness Doctrine” kind of way, should not be part of American video web pages.
Rags like New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times already skew their ‘reporting’ and editorials toward the muslim extremists. YouTube has been added to the list of propaganda outlets for Bin Laden’s spawns.