YouTube has begun removing al-Qaeda videos from its website after the British Government contacted the White House to complain about the material.
A number of clips by Anwar al-Awlaki, believed to have been the mastermind of the cargo bomb plot, were deleted from the video sharing site last night. However scores more, including incendiary calls to wage war on non-Muslims, remain.
A Google search for one of the most provocative videos – entitled 44 Ways to Support Jihad – on Google brings up more than a hundred results from YouTube. Two of the three top results have now been blocked although the bulk of the rest remain available.
Users clicking on the deleted content were confronted with a message saying “This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s terms of service.”
YouTube says its community guidelines “prohibit dangerous or illegal activities such as bomb-making, hate speech or incitement to commit specific and serious acts of violence”.
A source at Google, which owns the video sharing site, confirmed that staff had begun to take down al-Awlaki’s videos after being alerted by the Telegraph’s report.
The issue came to light following the case of Roshonara Choudhry who became the first al-Qaeda fanatic to attempt a political assassination in Britain when she stabbed Stephen Timms at his constituency surgery in May.
After she was convicted of attempted murder yesterday, it emerged that British-born Choudhry had been radicalised by watching internet videos of al-Awlaki.
Baroness Neville-Jones, the security minister, has called on President Barack Obama’s administration to “take down this hateful material” in cases where servers were based in the US. She said websites that “incite cold-blooded murder” would “categorically not be allowed in the UK”.
Al-Awlaki is thought to have been behind at least two printer cartridges which were turned into complex bombs and posted to the US last week. He was also linked to the September 11 attacks and the attempted bombing of an airliner over Detroit last year.
Lady Neville-Jones was so concerned about the problem that she flew to Washington last week to insist on action during a speech at the influential Brookings Institute think tank. In private comments to the institute, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, she said: “When you have incitement to murder, when you have people actively calling for the killing of their fellow citizens and when you have the means to stop that person doing so, then I believe we should act.
“Those websites would categorically not be allowed in the UK.
“They incite cold-blooded murder and as such are surely contrary to the public good.”
“If they were hosted in the UK then we would take them down but this is a global problem. Many of these websites are hosted in America and we look forward to working even more closely with you to take down this hateful material.”
The Home Office confirmed yesterday that pressure was being put on the White House to remove the sermons. A spokesman for the US State Department would say only that it had “significant legal authorities” to act “where activities on the internet pose a clear threat to the public”.
By Duncan Gardham, Gordon Rayner and John Bingham
Published: 10:48AM GMT 03 Nov 2010
Source: The Telegraph