What if I told you that YouTube is abetting radical jihadi terrorism in the United States? What if I also told you that YouTube management has turned a blind eye to appeals to cease doing so? Wouldn't you want to have YouTube management hear your outcry?
In September 2011, a CIA predator drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, the notorious American radical Islamist emir of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, whose social media sermons advocate killing Americans in the U.S. and who is "instigator-in-chief" of plots to attack the West.
From his eternal hell, al-Awalki's ghost needs no visa to reach deep into our heartland to radicalize and inspire terror against us. Before al-Awlaki was killed, he became a trained bomber, teaching Al Qaeda sympathizers how to construct bombs to sneak aboard aircraft. But his most murderous talent was his fiery social media sermons calling on the rampant killing of Americans.
Preached in colloquial American English, each inflammatory sermon can be found on global social media platforms, most importantly on YouTube - many "sermons" designed to incite, radicalize, and compel Americans to turn against their fellow American in the name of jihad.
His hand reaches from the grave time and again to take control of the minds of lone wolf jihadi terrorists, self-radicalized by a combination of his incitement and the social media invective of the Islamic State.
No Trump-inspired ban on Muslims can deter al-Awlaki from haunting us until Americans -- fed up with Orlando, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Bataclan, and Boston -- demand that YouTube management cease propagating al-Awlaki's evil radical Islamic sermons on its social media platform and take him down.
Virtually each time the FBI has investigated lone wolf attacks and conspiracies (almost 25% of ALL terror suspects prosecuted by the U.S. in recent years (65 out of 287) were, according to the FBI, primarily incited by the fiery terrorist). It pains my soul to hear time and again that al-Awlaki's murderous incitement is complicit in so many radical Islamic attacks against Americans.
According to New York Times Reporter Scott Shane, author of "Objective Troy" -- a chronicle of al-Awlaki's life -- just type "Anwar al-Awlaki" into YouTube's search bar and you will get no less than 40,000 hits - including hundreds of recorded sermons preaching death to Americans.
After the Orlando horror, I spent hours digging through this trash trove of jihadi video claptrap YouTube has accorded al-Awlaki. The most sinister digital legacy is his 2010 sermon, al-Awlaki details in sordid detail, why it is the duty of every Muslim to kill Americans.
The following is just a small list of the terrorism which al-Awlaki inspired before and after his death:
1. Mohammed Youssuf Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old electrical engineer, opened fire at two military installations in Chattanooga, TN, killing four marines and a sailor. The FBI opened his computer and found he was watching al-Awlaki sermons on YouTube.
2. In 2009, Col. Nidal Hassan fatally shot 13 and severely wounded another 30 Americans at Fort Hood. The FBI uncovered 18 emails exchanged between Hassan and al-Awlaki in which Hassan sought training to perform jihad on Americans.
3. Also in 2009, Carlos Bledsoe (aka Abdulhakim Mohammed) attacked a Little Rock, AR army recruitment station, killing one officer and wounding another. He cited al-Awlaki as his "teacher" and spiritual inspiration.
4. In May, 2015, two men opened fire in Garland, Texas at a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest; each had CDs of al-Awlaki's sermons.
5. Before flying off to join ISIS in Syria, Shannon Conley, a 19-year-old "Islam for Dummies" convert left behind for the FBI a pile of al-Awlaki CDs and a long history on his computer of YouTube al-Awlaki downloads.
6. The Tsarnaev brothers' 2013 Boston Marathon attack owed much to al-Awlaki. Dshokhar, the younger brother, lauded on-line al-Awlaki's YouTube sermon for training him and his older brother how to build the two pressure-cooker bombs.
7. The Kouachi brothers' Charlie Hebdo massacre last public words before dying was to laud "Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki" for inspiring their deadly terror.
8. In San Bernardino in December, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 injured by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik - the FBI acknowledged that the long social media trail of radicalization included joint and separate homages to al-Awlaki.
Want more evidence? A few months ago, ISIS formed the "Anwar al-Awlaki Brigade" a terror unit composed of English-speaking foreign fighters whose purpose is to plan and attack English-speaking countries.
American's urgent, last straw with YouTube's dalliance with al-Awlaki must be the slaughter in Orlando. While last week's Orlando massacre perpetrated by Omar Mateen is still under investigation, FBI Director Comey publicly acknowledged that agents had investigated Mateen in 2014 for watching YouTube videos of al-Awlaki, and Mateen apparently made two unexplained trips to Saudi Arabia where al-Awlaki's supporters thrive in hiding as members of Al Qaeda's Arabian Peninsula cell.
Counter-terrorism officials whom I consulted are downright furious at YouTube, which despite plea after urgent plea has turned a deaf ear to their appeals to take down the inciting and most egregious al-Awlaki videos. YouTube is so tone deaf to these appeals that it has actually argued that al-Awlaki's sermons are not a causal link to lone-wolf acts of terror. Huh?
Admittedly, the nexus between freedom of speech and incitement is opaque, but at what price are we protecting al-Awlaki's freedom to incite and radicalize? Since when under the First Amendment is freedom of speech protected when radical Islamic terror incitement inspires the death of innocent Americans?
Last year, the Counter Extremism Project, a bi-partisan advocacy group, called on YouTube and other platforms to permanently ban al-Awalki's hate speech. "Like child porn, it should be...removed," it urged, all to no avail!
The NRA-type apologists on the far left (including the ACLU and fringe Muslim advocacy organizations) who advocate keeping al-Awlaki alive on YouTube argue (unpersuasively to reasoned ears) there is no "one-to-one relationship between radicalized Americans watching al-Awlaki's sermons and carrying out terrorist attacks."
That is akin to asserting guns don't kill people; people kill people! Their alibis to keep al-Awlaki on social media fail to muster legal legitimacy given the long (and growing) list of radical Islamist terror atrocities inspired directly by this terrorist.
YouTube has been playing cat and mouse with Americans who have suffered death and mayhem from al-Awlaki's ghost for almost six years. In 2010, under pressure from Congress, YouTube assured that it was removing hundreds of al-Awlaki's videos and would not "...tolerate content that incites violence." But a check by the New York Times several months later revealed that his most extreme was still available on YouTube. So much for voluntary cooperation and YouTube credibility.
In December, 2015, YouTube officials feebly asserted that it "...permits videos posted with a clear news or documentary purpose," as its pretext to keep al-Awlaki's venomous sermons uploaded, even though "YouTube has clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence." Now
if that isn't twisted logic, what is??
Admittedly, not all of al-Awlaki's toxic sermons cross the line into the incitement of terror, but why not remove the material that does?
Experts acknowledge, as do I, that it is impossible to erase al-Awlaki's poison from the internet, since it can be reposted. But many internet sites, such as Facebook, deserve kudos for using software to take down terrorist materials. So why not YouTube? Where is its fundamental respect for American lives lost and injured?
That is a question that can no longer be left to YouTube since it refuses to act despite (empty) assurances to the contrary.
Americans from all walks of life who desire to have YouTube act consistent with similar voluntary guidelines adopted by Yahoo and Facebook need to take the fight to YouTube directly since its management considers it corporate policy to keep al-Awlaki's worst inflammatory sermons on its platform, even if Americans suffer as a result.
Furthermore, it is an act of corporate cowardice for YouTube to assert it does not have the technical capacity to act - it does, just as it has the technical capacity to remove child porn.
If you care enough about the terrorist victims of Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston and other atrocities, the time has long past to chip away at the sources of radical Islamic terror which radicalize Americans to kill in the name of Islam on the internet.
CALL TO ACTION: ADD YOU VOICE TO THE YOUTUBE PETITION
Please go the following www.change.org petition web-site and add your voice to urge YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to take a stand against Islamic-inspired terrorism. Please send the petition or link to everyone and anyone you know. Together, Americans of all persuasions and political leanings can help stop further Orlando-type terrorism from occurring by urging YouTube management to act responsibly by removing Anwar al-Awlaki's jihadi hate speech.