Perspectives

Can the U.S. Government close your Twitter & Facebook Accounts?

By Glenn Greenwald | Last updated: Jan 3, 2012 - 2:00:19 PM

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The Obama administration and The New York Times are teaming up to expose and combat the grave threat posed by a Twitter account, purportedly operated by the Somali group Shabab, and in doing so, are highlighting the simultaneous absurdity and perniciousness of the War on Terror. This latest tale of Dark Terrorist Evil began on December 14 when the NYT‘s Jeffrey Gettleman directed intrepid journalistic light on the Twitter account maintained under the name “HSMPress,” which claims to be the press office of Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahedeen, the Shabab’s full name. Gettleman’s article included this passage early on in its account:

But terrorism experts say that Twitter terrorism is part of an emerging trend and that several other Qaeda franchises -- a few years ago the Shabab pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda -- are increasingly using social media like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter.

That has to be the single most amusing phrase ever to appear unironically in the Paper of Record: Twitter terrorism. And, of course, the authority cited for this menacing trend is that ubiquitous sham community calling itself “terrorism experts,” which exists to provide the imprimatur of scholarly Seriousness on every last bit of inane fear-mongering hysteria.

That cottage industry (like the government’s demands for greater power and Endless War) remains vibrant only if Terrorism does (that is, Terrorism by Muslims: a propagandistic redundancy). Thus, with Osama bin Laden dead, a full decade elapsed since the last successful Terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and the original Al Qaeda group rendered inoperable, these experts are now warning the nation about lurking sleeper tweets.

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