Right now all the world is focusing on the potential dangers of Wikileaks. Some support the organization’s use of free speech in leaking classified information. Others rightly understand that the site hurts America’s standing in the world, and more importantly, endangers our troops. But is the world focused on the wrong Web site when there’s another site that has aided in countless acts of terror against America and around the world?
It’s hard to believe YouTube has only been around about five years now. YouTube is easily one of the most popular Web sites in America and in many parts of the world. It’s a great tool for promoting information, watching television, and laughing at people’s dumb videos gone viral. However, the site has also long been a useful weapon of terrorists organizations.
Many in radical Islam have seen YouTube as their #1 resource for terrorist recruitment. Take American cleric Anwar Awlaki, whom U.S. officials have designated a “global terrorist,” for example. Awlaki loves to post videos promoting terror and his videos often will reveal links to Islamic militant websites.
U.S. law enforcement officials think Awlaki’s preaching influenced Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is accused of trying to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day; Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber; and Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people at Ft. Hood, Texas, in November 2009.
It’s shocking when you realize that practically every major act of terror we’ve heard about the last few years in America may have begun on YouTube. In November the video sharing website, because of strong government pressure, finally deleted hundreds of Awlaki videos, but there are still many remaining on the site.
YouTube has continually resisted any government interference in what they do. Multiple politicians, most noticeably Joe Lieberman, have tried for years to get the site to remove all the terrorist recruiting videos. This past week YouTube finally took a small step in addressing the issue. They have added the ability for viewers to flag videos under “promotes terrorism.” So it is up to the people to police the terror sites.