The boom in online social networking has come both with positive and with negative consequences for those who view it as the new frontier in communication. On the one hand, the process of social networking has once more contracted the world, making communication across national lines even easier and, in some cases, allowing people to struggle for freedom against repressive regimes. On the other hand, as anyone who has spent five minutes in a facebook conversation with someone demonstrably less intelligent and more stubborn will attest, the fact that social networking has become so pervasive means that a great deal more idiotic and/or evil people are being invited to spew their poisonous attitudes all over the world-wide web.
Fortunately, this downside has its own upside - we now know exactly who to watch out for. And based on a series of Tweets uncovered by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), at least one person we should be watching out for is one Abu Abd Al-Rahman, who tweeted in response to a video of US Marines arriving in Yemen that their arrival was "an opportunity for the mujahideen to taste the flavor of white meat." Naturally enough, this Tweet was in Arabic, but MEMRI took the trouble of translating it, as well as providing screenshots of all the various tweets that included the video in question:
MEMRI also notes:
The linked video includes a segment of a clip aired by the Al-Masira TV channel with what it calls exclusive footage showing U.S. troops, some of whom can be heard speaking English, gathering at Port Salif and walking around with their military gear prior to boarding a bus. The poor-quality footage appears to have been filmed with a cell phone, likely without the knowledge of those being filmed.
It should be noted that numerous other jihadis, among them "ansaruddin," re-Tweeted the post.
MEMRI has also taken the liberty of identifying a few other accounts now being used on social networking sites by either known jihadists or people with strong jihadist sympathies. Consider some of the following quote from this report:
My brothers and sisters, supporters of jihad and the mujahideen everywhere. I pray to Allah, Lord of the universe, to accept our righteous actions. With the grace of Allah, a new Twitter page has been launched under the name 'Jihad News.' This page will share news of jihad and the mujahideen from everywhere in the world. It will also publish speeches by the leaders of jihad, as well as Koranic verses, sayings from the hadith, the words of scholars, and other things. It will also be possible to follow what is published on the page via mobile phone.
Curious readers are invited to read the full report, which focuses on the work of one ansaruddin1, a user who apparently makes a habit of reposting news items with an Al-Qaeda friendly bent, and whose user image is nothing less than the black flag that symbolizes the famous terrorist organization.
For our part, we are fairly sure 140 characters were never meant to be this terrifying.