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Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the for-the-greater-good dept.
Bennett Haselton writes After footage of James Foley's beheading by ISIS terrorists was posted online on Tuesday, Twitter and Youtube elected to remove any footage or links to the footage posted by users. Obviously this reduces the incentive for terrorist groups to post such content, by shrinking their audience, but it also reduces the public's access to information. Would it be ethical to make the content available, if it was preceded by an advertisement for a cause that runs counter to everything ISIS stands for? Read below to see what Bennett has to say.

This Slate article by Lily Hay Newman summarizes the pros and cons of Twitter's and Youtube's decision to remove the footage. (Interestingly, note that the quotes in favor of censoring the images all came from average users, while the arguments against censoring the content, were quotations from respected journalism experts.) In addition to agreeing more with the anti-censorship arguments, I've also felt that for a news organization to tell their readers, "We have elected not to publish the link," smacks of elitism -- because certainly they feel that they are entitled to view the video in the course of their research. If a group of journalists in a news office were working together to find the video online, and one of them announced to the room, "Well, I've found the link, but I've made a decision not to share it with the rest of you," they would rightly be fired. But when the same journalists announce they're not going to share the link with the rest of us, that's considered an ethics call.

But that's in a simple binary choice between publishing and not publishing the content. Suppose you had the option of posting the video, preceded by a (non-skippable) message exhorting users to donate to the Red Cross, or some other organization that was either fighting ISIS directly, or mitigating the damage they're doing? (And then if users post links to the video at any other source, then rather than suspending those users' accounts or removing the content outright, Twitter and Youtube could mandate that users link instead to the PSA-prepended version.)

If this sounds idiotic at first, I'm not suggesting just taking the average banal Red Cross PSA and splicing it in at the beginning, followed by the execution video. The Red Cross could (hastily) record an announcement specifically addressing the situation, reminding people of the similar brutalities that are being committed every day, and the need for support and help. Attempting to secure permission from the victim's family would be a good idea too. To avoid accusations that the Red Cross was attempting to "profit" from the tragedy, any funds raised via a direct prompt in the ad (such as as 5-digit number that you can text to make a donation) would have to go into an account earmarked strictly to be used only for aid to victims, not for Red Cross employees' salaries or for any other purpose whatsoever.

Of course, no matter how many times you emphasize that funds being raised are absolutely being used only to help victims, some viewers will react with disgust at the idea of the video pre-mercial being used for "fundraising". But while it would be very tricky to get the message right in practice, I don't think I would object in principle to a pre-pended message in front of the video, that either raised funds for humanitarian aid, or otherwise counteracted the goals of the terrorists.

So if Youtube allows the video to be posted along with a pre-pended PSA, this trivially achieves the goal of "making the information available to the public"; does it also prevent the dissemination of the video from helping ISIS, and does it reduce the incentive for terrorists to release similar videos in the future? Or to put it precisely, (1) does releasing the video this way, sufficiently undermine the goals of ISIS? and (2) would ISIS perceive that their goals are undermined if we release the video this way?

Unfortunately, when the goal of an organization is to spread terror, then humanitarian aid to their victims may not undermine their goal as much as we might hope, because the point of launching a newsworthy terror attack is usually not to harm the victims directly but to terrorize the rest of the population. If the original victims are rescued and nursed back to health after the cameras have stopped rolling, that doesn't neutralize the intimidating effect on everyone else.

But perhaps that just means that the Red Cross is not the right organization to benefit from a PSA posted at the beginning of the video. If we want to make sure ISIS is harmed every time someone watches the video -- and more importantly, that ISIS knows it is being harmed every time someone watches the video -- then maybe it should be pre-pended with a message exhorting people to sign up for training with the armed services, to help wipe ISIS off the face of the Earth.

Yes, that would elicit howls of protest from some people who might not have objected to the Red Cross PSA, but the goal should not be to favor some cuddly organization that is the least controversial to everybody. The goal should be to punish ISIS to the maximum extent with every additional viewing of the video, in order to reduce the chances that ISIS, or anyone else, would release a video like that again. What is the one thing that ISIS would least want people to see before watching their gruesome propaganda clip? If the answer is, "A message urging people to join the military and fight against ISIS," then that's what should be put in front of the video.

It all still sounds like quite a bizarre idea, to me as well, but the fact remains that if we're going to support making the video available at all, this seems like the way to do it that would harm ISIS instead of benefiting them. Perhaps someone else can think of a better way. (On the other hand, to people who think the video should be suppressed, it's all a moot point anyway.)

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Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

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  • by geek (5680) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:14AM (#47747995) Homepage

    As far as I am concerned, no one should comment on it unless they've seen it. The arm chair quarterbacks who are removed from the issue and not exposed to it should shut the hell up.

    The video is horrifying and Youtube and other services removing it is an injustice to humanity. People should see this and remember it. Just as people should see the horrors of the holocaust and remember. All removing the content does is ensure people are ignorant to the truth. Look how well banning Nazi memorabilia has worked out in France where they now have a HUGE uptick in the amount of anti-semitism.

    Hiding the unpleasantness in life does not make it go away.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:20AM (#47748057) Homepage Journal

      But I can tell from your attitude, you'll be outraged the moment trolls start posting the video with humorous audio editing.

      And if you allow the video, that's exactly what will happen. Respect for the dead starts with not spreading their demise to every curious onlooker.

      • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:31AM (#47748185)
        you simply can't stop information on the internet. You can try but you will fail. If the trolls want to do such things, it says more about them than it does about anything else.

        I'm all in favor of requiring an active action to view the video. Rather than Twitter taking down links, just modify them to require a click before it plays so people who don't want to see it aren't forced to experience it. But blocking it? simply won't work.
      • by Njorthbiatr (3776975) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:31AM (#47748197)
        The dead are dead, the respect is for the living who believe in the ridiculous notion of respect for the dead. Censorship is wrong, and more important in this case, completely ineffective. So ISIS is going to stop beheading people because they can't upload it to youtube? Please, please don't make me laugh. The only thing that's sickening are people who are crying to censor it. Censor whatever you want, it doesn't stop atrocities from happening. It's disgusting that some people are in so much denial they feel the need to force it upon other people. You don't stop this by running away like a coward and being all hushed. Freakin' ridiculous.
        • by Ravaldy (2621787)

          I agree with your statement that censorship is wrong BUT I must inject that allowing them to show the horrible things they do does nothing to further any causes other than their own. Did I see the video? Yes I did. Did I need to see it to understand how horrible things are there? No.

          In the current state of internet I agree with censorship but as the internets anonymous nature dissolves and accountability becomes possible again, I will agree far more with your statement.

          • Did you have an emotional response to the video? That emotional response is what is needed. Logic is nice and fine and all that, but when facing the horrors of evil, we must summon the gut wrenching emotions needed to effectively combat the horrors we face. Not seeing the video is a form of willful apathy, IMHO.

            • by ichthus (72442)

              Not seeing the video is a form of willful apathy, IMHO.

              I disagree. I have not watched it, because I am making a conscientious decision to filter input that may (almost certainly) affect my psyche. I'm far from apathetic, though.

              Do you believe that we must all view video of a rape to attain any sympathy for the victim?

        • While I agree with everything you've said, I'd just like to add one more point.

          You're not the only one that's upset over this censorship. Today everyone seems to be very much opposed to censorship, whether or not such censorship would limit the reach of ISIS' message. However, whenever there's some school shooting, we're the same ones scrambling to blame the media for focusing on the shooter, turning him (it's invariably a male) into a celebrity, and encouraging others to follow these same footsteps to fa
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          The only thing that's sickening are people who are crying to censor it.

          YouTube and Twitter and every other private organization has every right to take down material they find offensive, and it is not censorship when they do it. They are not stopping you from publishing anything, they are only saying you will not use THEIR SYSTEMS to do so. They have that right. Calling it censorship just dilutes the true meaning of the word.

          And the fact that the only thing you find sickening about the whole matter is this "censorship" speaks volumes about you.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        There is a balance to be struck. Western media tends to heavily sanitize war and it disconnects people from the consequences of the actions taken on their behalf. On the other hand, even in death those who were killed have a right to some dignity.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)
        What interests me is the fact that someone thinks the Red Cross is antithetical to ISIS. They are I am sure not aligned. But the Red Cross would send in food and medicine to help ISIS if they allowed it.

        Antithetical would be some pro Jewish or pro Christian org.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Yes. I thought the same as well. Other options would be organizations affiliated with the Iraqi or Kurdish governments. Those are the ones that are in direct opposition to ISIS today.

          There's also Assad, but he's not exactly a poster boy for being more civilized.

    • by sycodon (149926) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:23AM (#47748103)

      Could it be the HUGE uptick in the amount of anti-semitism is the result of the immigration of a HUGE number Islamic radicals?

      • by nbauman (624611)

        Could it be the HUGE uptick in the amount of anti-semitism is the result of the immigration of a HUGE number Islamic radicals?

        More likely the result of things like this. But even Khalid Mashal said that he opposes Zionism, not Jews.

        http://www2.ohchr.org/english/... [ohchr.org]

        773. At about 12.50 p.m., Khalid Abd Rabbo, his wife Kawthar, their three daughters, Souad (aged 9), Samar (aged 5) and Amal (aged 3), and his mother, Hajja Souad Abd Rabbo, stepped out of the house, all of them carrying white flags. Less than 10 metres from the door was a tank, turned towards their house. Two soldiers were sitting on top of it having a snack (one was

    • I know that someone was beheaded. It is clear that this is an horrible and cruel act, that nobody and nobody's family should experience. What information does it add to watch the video? You can convey the relevant information in text.

      • by nbauman (624611)

        I know that someone was beheaded. It is clear that this is an horrible and cruel act, that nobody and nobody's family should experience. What information does it add to watch the video? You can convey the relevant information in text.

        That depends on how important it is to you to find out the truth.

        If you're just the average surfer taking ten minutes off his job to catch up on the news, then no, you don't have to know.

        But if you have some important reason for getting to the bottom of it, then you would want to know all the information first-hand.

        For example, I read an article in the National Law Journal about how defense lawyers should deal with video and audio recorded evidence.

        The first step, the guy said, was to play the recordings an

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      It's a bit ironic that you feel the need to attempt to silence opposition by claiming some sort of moral superiority in having watched that video. Isn't that a form of censorship as well? Why are you opposed to a debate of the merits of such a decision?

      I'm perfectly aware that the video is horrifying, and have no wish to subject myself to it. Why would I have to do so to recognize the face of evil? I learned all I need to know about the topic by searching for some online articles. For a man to cut off

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Look how well banning Nazi memorabilia has worked out in France where they now have a HUGE uptick in the amount of anti-semitism.

      The world wide uptick in antisemitism (and antizionism) is a direct response to Israel's treatment of Palestine.

      In Europe, that's on top of xenophobia that has been exacerbated by the protracted recovery from the great recession.

    • by Krojack (575051) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:01PM (#47748505)

      I saw the nick berg beheading years ago and I'm still horrified to this day. I will not watch this one because of that.

      This IMO, is a special case and I personally think Youtube, Twitter and all other media should do what the family members would like.

    • by janoc (699997)

      While I agree with your statement about removal of the video, the part on antisemitism in France is BS.

      The recent uptick of antisemitism in France has nothing whatsoever to do with the ban on sale of nazi memorabilia (which is, btw, banned in Germany and many other countries as well), but with the war in Gaza. The people who attacked the Jewish stores and places of worship in the recent riots are mostly young Arabs (and there are plenty of them here in France due to the French involvement in Northern Africa

    • This whole attitude of "until you've seen what I've seen, you have no right to comment on it" notion is pure lunacy.

      Yes, having seen something will change one's perspective, and yes, a person may be more capable of making a well-reasoned judgment after having seen that something, but the idea that they shouldn't be allowed to comment until they've seen it is a form of the very censorship that you're trying to stop. Surely you can appreciate the irony in your very own statements. I agree with you that people

    • I agree with the general concept you're espousing, twice over in fact. Certainly, one should be wary of commenting about issues they know nothing about, and some things you can't really understand based on a bit of reading. I'm pretty sure I can understand what happened in that video without actually seeing it, though. I'm reminded of the axiom "what has been seen cannot be unseen".

      Certainly, one should be wary of commenting about issues they know nothing about. "Gun control" regulation in the US is an exa

    • You ARE aware that this is the internet? And aside of "everything can be turned into porn", the second rule of the internet is "everything can be ridiculed". The more horrifying, the more likely. How long do you think 'til we get the videos with new audio comments? How about something along the lines of a sports comment with a heartfelt "it's good!" the moment the head drops?

      There is a reason executions are not even televised in the US, the country that makes a spectacle out of everything. Because even the

    • by CptPicard (680154) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:51PM (#47748969)

      How about child pornography? It's perverted stuff, and the underage participants are duly protected from having their pictures from being posted online for "informative" purposes. Just see how well your defense of "I forced myself to watch it because I want to remind myself of how vile it is" would work if caught with the material.

      As far as decapitations go, I can well imagine it's gruesome stuff. I don't need to see someone lose his life like that just out of sick curiosity.

    • The idea is a good one, but I wouldn't make the ad a Red Cross PSA. That would set up an unwanted mental association between the Red Cross and jihadist savagery, which would be counterproductive. Instead, I would mess with the terrorists in the same way the video is designed to mess with us. Oderint, dum metuant as the Romans put it: if they're going to hate us, then let them fear us.

      My PSA attached to the video would look more like a military recruiting spot, but instead of the usual "Army strong" patrioti

    • So you're saying, "You can't claim that there's no value in watching the video unless you've seen it." On the face of it, it seems reasonable. But then, if I were to claim that there's no value in watching it, then why would I have watched it? If I had chosen to watch it of my own accord, then it would actually undercut my argument that there's not value in watching it. Obviously I would have thought that there was *some* value, or I wouldn't have watched it.

      It's a little like saying, "I'm against gun

    • A cross. Yes. That should work.

  • Bennett Haselton (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I have no opinion on the video, but these posts of Bennett's are too heinous to be redeemed by support of any good cause.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:15AM (#47748009) Homepage Journal

    Snuff films don't educate. We're all becoming a bit more desensitized to this kind of thing thanks to the internet, but there isn't actually anything to be learned from watching a man die.

    It's against youtube's TOS(because they run a content censored site) and so they take it down. I don't tend to endorse censorship, but classes of censorship that the distributor is reasonably upfront about, and has a reasonable basis, I just can't muster that righteous anger the summary is exhorting.

    • Oh, and just to reinforce the fact that I did read the summary, the presence or absence of an attached PSA for a charitable organization makes no real difference.

    • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:36AM (#47748261)

      First off, I think we should put PSAs over Bennett's stories. It might give people a reason to click them, especially if Dice donated some small amount of money to whatever charity group has the PSA out.

      That said, "snuff" videos do educate people. One of the most famous (which was circulating as "Faces of Death: Senator Suicide" on Kazaa back when I was in middle school and was the talk of all of the kids on the bus) is Budd Dwyer's suicide by self-inflicted gunshot, which was recorded by a bunch of TV news crews who had come expecting him to resign from his position as a state senator after he was charged with corruption. Instead, they watched as this guy read a statement and then pulled a gun out of a manila envelope. If you watch the tapes - the unedited ones - you can hear people in the background pleading with him to drop the gun, because at the time they thought he was going to shoot at them. Then, he turns the gun on himself, while TV cameras are capturing the entire event.

      The professor of one of my first college classes (I was a journalism major and don't regret it even though I can't find a job) started his class off with that video - and I think I was the only person in the room other than him who knew what was going to happen. The footage is horrifying, but it proves a point in that you can never go into a story expecting anything, and what happens if something like this occurs. Many of the media outlets that recorded Dwyer's suicide refused to show any of the footage at all, even before he pulled the gun out. Others showed it right up until the gun came out - I think one went so far as to show the manila envelope that had the gun in it but not the gun itself.

      I learned two valuable things that day - the first that you can never take a story for granted. No one who was there that day thought it was going to be anything more than a minor politician reading off a prepared statement, and were only there to get perhaps 5 seconds of footage - Dwyer saying that he would be stepping down as a state senator. Instead, they wound up with a national-level story on their hands and one of the most well-known ethical dilemmas of journalism. The second was never to trust a manila envelope. Those things are nothing but trouble.

      • First off, I think we should put PSAs over Bennett's stories.

        Yes, and it should link to this [amazon.com], this [amazon.com], and this [amazon.com].

        That last one was used as an ESL textbook at my university, but Bennet could truly benefit from it. (it's actually a really good book, 90% of the internet could use it).

      • If this is your takeaway from that footage and you are proposing that watching this footage can have a valuable effect for viewers, it does not surprise me that you can't find a job using your journalism BA.

        In your entire discussion of this topic, you ignore the relationship his suicide has to the larger community. You are caught up in the graphic sensationalism of the State Senator suddenly pulling out a gun and shooting himself. You treat the end of his life as if the meaning is journalists should pay a
    • We're all becoming a bit more desensitized to this kind of thing thanks to the internet...

      Are you one of those people who want to sanitize war and make look all glorious and stuff? You know what's fucked up? People complaining about publishing nasty videos and pictures and not the people who actually produce the content. It's like those complaining about Snowden instead of the crimes he exposed. You all need to shift your target.

      • by nbauman (624611)

        Are you one of those people who want to sanitize war and make look all glorious and stuff? You know what's fucked up? People complaining about publishing nasty videos and pictures and not the people who actually produce the content.

        Robert Fisk showed a photo of the war in Afghanistan.

        The BBC showed a photo of a man was holding a girl of about 3 or 4, who looks like she was sleeping.

        Then Fisk showed the uncropped photo. The girl's leg was blown off, and she was obviously dead.

        (I can no longer find the photos online, so I can't link to it.)

        Opponents of the war would say that, "If you can't stand seeing the consequences of war, don't elect politicians who vote for them."

        I don't know if showing pictures will get people to stop electing th

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I think you vastly underestimate the difference between knowing that "people" in the abstract, far away sense are tortured and killed compared to people you can put a name and face on. If you had to see a third world slum kid over webcam for 10 seconds each day, look him in the eyes and tell him you're not donating anything today I think most would crumble very, very rapidly even if we were relatively short on cash themselves. Yes, their goal is to spread fear and terror. The flip side of that is also to sp

  • I kind of doubt that the Red Cross wants their brand slapped on a video that is going to be associated with feelings of rage and extreme negativity by every single viewer. No matter how it was spun, "Act now to prevent..." would come off as a thousand times worse than the very worst of those "show you pictures of starving kids in Africa before hitting you up for a donation" Sally Struthers commercials.

  • by Njovich (553857) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:23AM (#47748091)

    The Red Cross is non-political for a reason.

    If they pick a side they will endanger countless of workers from the Red Cross. The goal of the Red Cross is to provide humanitarian aid and emergency relief.

    ISIS may be a bunch of evil maniacs, but let the judging be done by other organisations that don't have to help civilians in the frontlines.

  • How about post a PSA in it's place, and just not include the snuff films?

  • I was thinking from the title it would be more about how Journalists who get killed gets so much more attention and call to action from both sides of the political spectrum, then say a Red Cross worker or the countless other civilian groups who are facing danger on a daily bases from these people.

    If it were a religious (Say a Christian charity) group who had one of its members kills the right will be all angry about it, but the left would be mediocre. However if it was an organized non-religious not for pr

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:28AM (#47748151) Homepage

    "but it also reduces the public's access to information"

    A) What information does it supposedly reduce? I'm pretty sure you can tell me that something happened without showing me a video. Did you know that there was a 3 car pileup on route 3? Why no I don't because I haven't seen a video of it!

    B) Removing the video caused the information to proliferate more due to the Streisand Effect. I literally hadn't heard about the incident until all the fuss was raised about the removal of the video.

    • by ClintJCL (264898)
      You are unfairly forcing others to operate by the same faith in information sources that you have.
      • It's hard to take seriously any idiot who argues for his right to watch a gruesome beheading, and more specifically, that a company has an obligation to host said video.
        • by ClintJCL (264898)
          It's hard to take seriously anyone who uses both ad hominem and strawman in the same comment.
          • Very good. You can regurgitate the phrases you have seen others use on Slashdot. The real question is, can you think for yourself and come to an intelligent conclusion? Perhaps you can, but to date I have seen no evidence of it.
            • by ClintJCL (264898)
              It's a matter of choosing my battles. I don't make it a point to explain myself to people who willfully misunderstand me. I think there's some instagrammed stock photobullshit that probably has those words in front of it in cursive on a tumblr somewhere...
              • Imagine my surprise that your post is about how you think there might be something else you saw on the internet that you could regurgitate, but you aren't smart enough to remember what it was.
                • by ClintJCL (264898)
                  Imagine my surprise where you continue your ad hominem tactics, and pretend like remembering instagram motivators is a measure of intelligence.
                  • No. I was pointing out that not being able to think for yourself is an indicator of a lack thereof.
                    • by ClintJCL (264898)
                      More ad hominem bullshit from the pro-censor bootlicker. (I waited this long. May as well join you in hell.)
        • by jedidiah (1196)

          A beheading? Really? You think that's gruesome? There's probably footage from the evening news from the Vietnam era that's more disturbing. If you widen the scope to historical documentation in general, things get even far more disturbing.

          The Nazis were proud of what they did. They were also highly organized and highly diligent. They documented their own atrocities.

          Stuff they produced makes an execution look positively tame.

          Suppressing or hiding from information in a free society is really not a productive

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Maybe you should start following some proper news outlets, including some run by traditional news organisations, you know, the ones that search for news and publish it. Go out of your basement and buy a newspaper or so. Or if that's too much, try the online BBC news [bbc.com].

      If you only found out about this by reading about the removal of the video, you're really looking in the wrong places for your news.

      • "Maybe you should start following some proper news outlets"

        Why? What would be the benefit? In my observation I hear about anything that directly affects me from others, with the sole exception of tech news.

        Why am I going to watch the news to get answers to questions like: What house burned down today? What idiot tried to rob what store today? What criminal with a badge shot somebody because they didn't like them today? What atrocities happened overseas today?

        The news is the same every day. It doesn't

  • by jaeztheangel (2644535) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:28AM (#47748157)
    There are plenty of angry young idiots who will exult in it - let's not give them the pleasure.
  • of course they should show it. banning events from your service just means that the people who want to see it will seek it out elsewhere.

    I myself have no desire to watch it or Faces of Death or the snuffing of human life in 40's WWII newsreels. Man is a terrible creature.

  • Or videos of disasters that affected hundreds if not thousands of people.

    Or videos of killings in civil (and other) wars.

    Or videos of plane crashes.

    And list goes on and on and on.

    But hey - make sure noone sees the video of beheading done by very same people US government has been supporting.

    Because that could make US government look more bad (as if it's even possible anymore).

  • No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmhysong (1560115) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:40AM (#47748295)

    I don't want to see it, I wouldn't want any kid of mine to see it, and the thought of gore groupies getting a kick out of it sickens me. Also, if it was a family member of mine who was beheaded, I'd be furious at anyone who posted the video.

    I know what the word beheaded means, I don't need to see it.

  • I suspect Youtube and Twitters removal of the material had less to do with politics, terrorism or anything else you mentioned and had more to do with the video being about the most disgusting thing you could possibly imagine being hosted on their site. This is a breach of their terms of service, plain and simple. The political and social ramifications aside, there is no way either site would ever allow this sort of thing on their site. The first time some soccer mom stumbles across this youtubes getting ban

  • "Would it be ethical to make the content available, if it was preceded by an advertisement for a cause that runs counter to everything ISIS stands for?" NO
  • Another option (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kanweg (771128) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:47AM (#47748383)

    Put a text label next to the guy on the left reading "hero". Explain why: A man facing his death like Foley did; I don't think I could have handled it like that.
    Put a text label to the guy on the right reading "nutcase who believes in nonsense, I'll explain why now".
    - Explain that the sun is 150 million kilometers from the sun, and that the sun doesn't sink in a mud pool.
    - Explain that the earth rotates about the sun, how this causes the sun to rise at some place on earth at any time. So, there is no deity that tells the sun when to rise.

    Point out the surahs in the koran where the two stupid assertions are made.
    Then point out that the guy who wrote surahs in the koran wasn't aware of this knowledge, so the koran is not the word of god (and no, it is not misinterpretation. The koran itself says it is clear and unambiguous).

    I don't think IS would like to see Foley labeled as hero and explained why the anonymous coward (why hide your face if you believe you're doing something noble?) is nuts in an easy to understand and verify manner.

    Bert
    As a bonus, you could point out that the knife did what you expect from a knife handled that way. Personally I'd be impressed if he'd prayed him to death. They don't try that. Doesn't work. The deity doesn't exist.

  • Properganda Warfare (Score:4, Interesting)

    by James McGuigan (852772) on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:50AM (#47748407) Homepage

    "The internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it"

    On a technical level, the video is now out there on the internet and once out you can't put the genie back in the bottle.

    Islamic State is a new "empire" currently conducting a war of expansion, much like many of the Western European powers did during the last millennium. The Geneva conventions are in essence a gentleman's agreement between the members of the "nation-state" club as to how to conduct war in a "civilized" manner. Islamic State rejects the fundamental notion that it needs to be bound by the rules and traditions of "western civilization".

    In essence what they have done is to publicly execute a hostage for non-payment of ransom, a common practice several centuries ago.

    The more political issue is censorship and properganda warfare, who gets to control which information we see. Censorship or adding a non-skippable PSA is all about attempting to control the message, that the little people must not be allowed to think the wrong things, doubly so in a democracy. The war against communism followed a similar pattern of attempting to censor "subversive" ideas, such that Western Civilization isn't the only way to run things.

    • by bigpat (158134)

      On the Western Values issue. I don't think the problem is that we are imposing our values on others. I think the problem is that we aren't even adequately promoting those values here at home. We end up calling for Democracy and Freedom in the rest of the world and then sending arms to whichever dictator and despot is the most willing to brutally suppress any groups that might threaten our foreign policy. Even when those groups are moderate groups simply looking for a more equitable system of government

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2014 @11:53AM (#47748429)

    No, no, hell no. There's nothing ethical about using the beheading of a person as a fund raising tool. What the hell is wrong with you...

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:31PM (#47748773)
    i think it is important that we remember that this is what Islam stands for. Not extremist Islam or a fringe, but exactly what the warlord Muhammad taught. read the Qur'an and you will see many explicit instructions to behead "enemies of Islam" and take women as sex slaves. All Muslims are instructed to subdue non muslims, and give them the choice of living as second class citizens and paying a punitive tax, converting to islam, or being killed.
  • Murder is a bad thing (let's at least agree on that). So why is the beheading of one person so drastically more awful than the deliberate killing (usually with a gun) of thousands of people whose only crime was not practising the exact same brand of Islam as ISIS? Does nobody here, or at YouFaceTubeBook, care that ISIS is deliberately killing whole villages?
    Would it have been OK to kill a kidnapped journalist with a Kevorkian cocktail?

  • But if there was some PSA at the beginning of the video, wouldn't people simply edit it to chop that off, then redistribute it?

    Then it would accomplish little.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:39PM (#47748839)

    That's what puzzles me to no end. Why would they want to show us how they behead someone?

    To make use hate them? Our media accomplish that easily already, but thanks for the aid.
    To make us fear them? Why should I fear a bunch of religious lunatics somewhere off in lalaland? Hell, I'm more afraid of the religious loonies in the Bible belt!
    To show us they can do it? Any idiot can kill someone who can't defend himself, no big deal about that.

    So, what should that accomplish? I'm sitting here, puzzled, shrugging my shoulders with a "meh".

    • Maybe just that they want an audience...?

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      Apparently you don't understand how shocking it is to watch someone being beheaded and you should watch the video in order to be shocked because, you know, it is shocking. (perhaps someone can explain this line of reasoning to me).

      Never mind that the terrorists made the video to further their cause and a lot of people watching the video will be young men watching it for the lols. What next, youtube videos of peoples reaction to the beheading?

      If the video made people understand how atrocious wars are and mad

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      I'm no expert but I'd say it is jihadist and promotional, it shows that they believe steadfastly in what they are doing and think this will cause other extreme Muslims to join them. It seems to work. (note I do realise most Muslims abhor the beheading).

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:41PM (#47748853) Homepage Journal

    No you are not helping by watching this at all.
    And how are you restricting information from the public? You know that the journalist was beheaded so what information is restricted?
    Also you can find the video if you want, believe it or not Twitter and Youtube are not the only websites on the internet.
    Censorship is when you are forbidden from transmitting information by any means.
    Editorial control is when a channel decides that information is not appropriate for that channel for example you do not see restaurant reviews often on Slashdot.
    Civilisation is society judging you for what you say, act, write, advocate, or do.

  • Can we stop with the screaming of censorship every time a website run by private individuals decides what is or is not appropriate for their website? YouTube and Twitter run their own networks and are free to implement whatever policies they want regarding what videos or other media is served from their site. Of course, they may suffer in the marketplace based on their policy decisions, but sometimes even the right decision has negative consequences.

    Personally, if I ran YouTube or Twitter I would have made

  • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sunking2 (521698) on Monday August 25, 2014 @12:45PM (#47748899)
    The real question is why do we live in a society that thinks they need actually see this as opposed to reading. I didn't need to to go search out the video to understand the significance of what happened. I think the fact we live in a society that seems to "need" to see such is very telling. Whether you've seen it or not changes none of the facts, and in no way should influence how you feel about such matters.
    • by ChipMonk (711367)
      It's one thing to read a clinical description of a concussion, or read a description of the experience written by someone who has experienced it. It is something quite different to experience a concussion yourself. No verbal content can convey the depth and breadth of the misery.
  • It makes a mockery of the idea of journalistic integrity. The beheading video is billed as an ISIS propaganda piece, so does anyone actually think that adding more propaganda would legitimize it? Methinks not.

    There is simply no good from adding corporate enforced! bias, for funding or whatever. The objectionable parts are not the news, nor a beheading. The objectionable part is the context, which includes things like trolls or even auto-starting videos on facebook. I've dropped people for less, for sharing

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