Anwar Al Awlaki Jihad Videos
Pressure from American and British officials has forced YouTube to remove hundreds of "jihad" videos by Anwar Al Awlaki, the US born imam who has been accused of inspiring violence and hatred toward the west.
Recently in the UK, an official request was made to YouTube video social network to remove these videos and one New York congressman, Anthony Weiner, informed YouTube of hundreds of such videos with Anwar Al Awlaki in them. The pressure from the US and UK came at the same time as two potential bombs were discovered within the cargo hold of planes bound for Chicago, USA, from Yemen (Al Awlaki's current residence) this past Friday. More claims have been aimed at a group there in Yemen suspected of ties to Al Qaeda.
YouTube issued a formal statement saying their site had in fact, complied and did remove videos containing violations of YouTube rules and regulations dealing with "dangerous or illegal activities" like hate speech, inciting to commit violence, bomb-making or from members who resister any designated foreign terrorist organizations, or promote these types of agendas.
YouTube's representative also mentioned that Google.com (owner of YouTube) works to "balance the freedom of expression with averting calls to violence". The representative went on to talk about "these difficult times" and YouTube's commitment to carefully review any and all material brought to their attention for review, confirming YouTube would continue to remove all content inciting violence according to their policies. The statement included reassurance that "purely religious" videos would "remain on the site".
New York's congressman Weiner, complained that YouTube gave him a "bureaucratic" reply at first, but after he home-made bomb in the printer was discovered in a plane coming from Yemen, YouTube was ready to take his demand more seriously once the bomb scare occurred. Weiner was quoted as saying about Anwar Al Awlaki that, "It's becoming increasingly clear, this guy's an international terrorist, using their service for illegal things".
UK -- Britain worries increase dramatically over Anwar Al Awlaki's impact on YouTube audiences since Wednesday's developments. And an official report came from Prime Minister David Cameron's office, announcing a member of Yemeni Qaeda had been arrested earlier this year in a previously undisclosed bombing plot against the country.
One young woman is reported to have embraced Anwar Al Awlaki's cause by watching hours of his videos - and was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to murder a prominent legislator.
Security agencies in Britain been dealing with numerous terrorist plans over recent years, most turned out not to cause any real damage with the exception of the attack on the London transit system in 2005, commonly referred to as "7/7" due to it occurring on July 7th of that year.
Some high ranking security officials here have been issuing a series of warnings, claiming an increase of "dire threat" coming from terrorist groups linked to Osama Bin Laden, but based in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.
Jonathan Evans, chief of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, said recently that Mr. Awlaki and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were “of particular concern” in the light of their role in the attempted bombing on Dec. 25 of an American trans-Atlantic airliner approaching Detroit, and “because he preaches and teaches in the English language, which makes his message easier to access and understand for Western audiences.”
Last May, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s staff asked Google to remove about 120 terrorist recruitment videos from YouTube. Google removed some videos that showed gratuitous violence or hate speech, but refused to take down others.
“YouTube and Google deserve credit for trying to distinguish videos that are merely offensive from those that show graphic violence or hate speech or risk inciting imminent violence, which is the line American courts have drawn in free speech cases since the 1960s,” Professor Rosen said.
YouTube has faced other periods of pressure to remove videos linked to radical Islamists. Jeffrey Rosen, a professor of law at George Washington University who has written extensively about YouTube’s policies, including in The New York Times Magazine, said that in 2007, the Labour Government in Britain called on YouTube to block terrorist recruitment videos featuring Islamic fighters with guns and rockets.