Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Enemy Media

In the Long War - dang near everything is either a weapon or can be weaponized rather quickly.

"Media technologies—satellite television, radio, and the Internet—have become operational weapons used by radicals to plan, recruit, train, fundraise and incite.

"Free speech protections may protect the hateful content of their messages, but by using media as direct operational weapons, these terrorist groups are crossing all free speech red lines.

Countering such time traveling intolerant influence, Free world's policymaker cats and counterterrorism officials need to hook up and treat certain multi media outlets as indistinguishable from the terrorist organizations that use them—by banning, jamming and shutting down the media outlets where possible, and by countering their messaging with alternatives.

Wouldn't hurt if a few transmitters magically went off line -- or even better, their signals co opted by -- uh, worldly programming.

The most proficient killers and serial tormentors of Americans til 911 time are the dreaded Iranian created Hiz'B'Allah.

Their multi media outlets are currently running into a a spot of transmissionus interruptus. Not so long ago Great Satan righteously branded HBA's al Manar and al Nour as terrorist organizations

Al-Qaeda’s media and technological savvy is no accident. It is a deliberate strategic goal outlined by al-Qaeda’s senior leadership.

In a letter to former Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote: “We are in a battle, and more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media… we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our people.”

So what can be done?

Actually -- a great deal:

"The Treasury Department can and should increase its designation portfolio beyond Hezbollah’s al-Manar and the Iraqi-Syrian al-Zawraa channel to include Hamas’s al-Aqsa television station, the radio assets of Maulana Fazlullah, and the online properties of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and any other terrorist groups which use media to incite to violence and provide operational support for terrorist attacks.

"The private sector must also be encouraged to monitor and self-regulate. Policymakers should encourage media entrepreneurs to follow the lead of Google, which has removed numerous violent al-Qaeda videos, and the ten satellite providers and numerous corporations that ended their distribution and advertising support of al-Manar.

"In making the decision not to facilitate the transmission of terrorist media, these companies will be making a sound business decision to avoid real reputational risk—specifically, in not having their corporate reputations undermined and their shareholder value diminished as a result of being identified, fairly or not, with the activities of terrorist organizations.

While the proliferation of these media properties makes designation (and private sector action) a game of “whack-a-mole,” requiring ongoing action against substitute media properties that arise to replace those which have been shut down or curtailed, this is a deadly game that can be won. To do so, policymakers, counterterrorism officials and media executives must exercise vigilance and perseverance.

"For example, while it is still in business, al-Manar is struggling to find substitute satellite providers to replace the ten operators which have discontinued transmitting its content. With its continued distribution by Nilesat into Europe, North Africa and the Middle East now under intense scrutiny by Egyptian authorities, and fears that the Saudi government may follow suit, Hezbollah is scrambling to find a substitute supplier in Turkey.

"For the moment, however, Turkish officials appear unwilling to allow that country’s satellite provider to pick up the signal. The United States must ensure that Turkey does not—and that other countries where al-Manar is shopping for distribution make the same decision.

"If such legal, diplomatic and political efforts fail, however, terrorist media represents a viable military target. The precedent exists: during the war in Kosovo, NATO planes bombed the Belgrade-based headquarters of Radio Television of Serbia—an attack that was justified by the Alliance as a legitimate way to end the broadcasting of Slobodan Milosevic’s violent call to arms.

"Today, recognizing the dangers of terrorist radio, U.S. officials are already doing much the same, jamming the FM radio signals of Pakistani terrorist groups to prevent them from assisting in the planning and execution of attacks. In the future, more direct action may be necessary.

"Another tool is available as well. After years of American and European political and legal action against al-Manar, growing government and private-sector condemnation of al-Aqsa, the belated but timely recognition of the dangers of Mullah radio in Pakistan, and ongoing counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda’s media properties, these terrorist groups—and their Western apologists—can no longer pretend that these are legitimate media outlets deserving of free-speech protection.

"Hate speech and violent incitement have been prosecuted as war crimes, initially at the Nuremberg trials against the Nazi regime after World War II and, in 2003, against three Rwandan media executives who used Rwanda’s Radio Mille Collines to call for the extermination of Rwanda’s Tutsis. At that time, Reed Brody, legal counsel to Human Rights Watch, made the case that “if you fan the flames, you’ll have to face the consequences"

"By doing just that—by inciting attacks, by actively recruiting and fundraising and providing pre-attack surveillance and operational assistance for terror attacks—today’s terrorist media outlets are doing more than yelling fire in a crowded movie theater.

"They are providing the match, the gasoline, and the arsonist. It is high time they were held accountable for it.

Pic "Enjoy the Silence"