Movie Clip Mistaken for Al Qaeda Video

Oops:

Reuters quoted a Pentagon official, Dan Devlin, as saying, "What we have seen is that any video game that comes out... (al Qaeda will) modify it and change the game for their needs."

The influential committee, chaired by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), watched footage of animated combat in which characters depicted as Islamic insurgents killed U.S. troops in battle. The video began with the voice of a male narrator saying, "I was just a boy when the infidels came to my village in Blackhawk helicopters..."

Several GP readers immediately noticed that the voice-over was actually lifted from Team America: World Police, an outrageous 2004 satirical film produced by the creators of the popular South Park comedy series. At about the same time, gamers involved in the online Battlefield 2 community were pointing out the video footage shown to Congress was not a mod of BF2 at all, but standard game footage from EA's Special Forces BF2 add-on module, a retail product widely available in the United States and elsewhere.

Posted on May 24, 2006 at 2:14 PM • 20 Comments

Comments

AGMay 24, 2006 3:08 PM

Well that sucks...when all my BF2 buddys heard there was an Al Qeada Mod for BF2 they all asked the same thing, "Is it any good?"

Finding out it is all fake... dang.

maryMay 24, 2006 3:23 PM

They missed the best part:

"I was just a boy when the infidels came to my village in their Blackhawk helicopters. The infidels fired at the oilfields and they lit up like the eyes of Allah. Burning oil rained down from the sky and cooked everything it touched. I could only hide myself and cry as my goats were consumed by the fire of black liquid death."

JosephMay 24, 2006 4:04 PM

Yes, it was just a mistake. Oops. Too bad the game developers and script writers have already been moved to Guantanamo and tortured without representation or trial. I'm sure the government will release them eventually, as soon as we are sure they aren't terrorists...

acMay 24, 2006 5:28 PM

@Joseph

If they ever get released, they'd better know Albanian! ;-)

We laugh because if we don't, we cry. My kids won't believe me when I tell them how great freedom was.

karlMay 24, 2006 8:58 PM

@ac

At the rate things are going, you'll be lucky if your kids don't *have you arrested* for "telling them how great freedom was".

Nick LancasterMay 24, 2006 10:12 PM

Don't tell them that sniper rifles are very popular in BF2 and other FPS games, it'll just make them even more worried.

This is the DaVinci Code problem - good people will somehow turn into anti-Christian fanatics because they read a mystery novel, or that a two-and-a-half hour film is sufficient to convert someone into an adherent of a specific Gnostic text.

By these lights, I should be volunteering for futuristic bloodsports sponsored by the Liandri Corporation. Where's my flak cannon?

MichaelMay 25, 2006 12:56 AM

Well, more politicians, as usual mostly Republicans, using "terrorists" to push their own unrelated agenda. Are we surprised?

GilMay 25, 2006 1:36 AM

Heh. I wonder if the government will allow, in a couple of years, Halliburton to spinoff a corporation named Liandri, to solve the unlawful enemy combatant problem and the pourous border problem in one fell swoop. Soccer stadia worldwide will shake in the awe and wonder that is:

"Unreasonable search and Tournament: Gitmo of the Year Edition"

Clive RobinsonMay 25, 2006 7:38 AM

You just could not make this sort of thing up...

Which reminds me Bruce how are the Movi-Plots comming along, and are you going to read one out next time you have to appear before a Gov enquiry?

Vive le Qu├ębecMay 25, 2006 7:50 AM

That just one more proof that the US government is totally insanne!

AGMay 25, 2006 11:45 AM

I still think an Al Qaeda Mod would be interesting... always good to get into the head of the enemy

BennyMay 25, 2006 1:50 PM

I don't think a mod for this game (an online multi-player shooter, if I'm not mistaken) will give us a great deal of insight into how terrorists operate.

Nick LancasterMay 25, 2006 3:07 PM

Nope. A mod for BF2 wouldn't make you an expert on terrorism any more than playing SOCOM 2 makes you a Navy SEAL. These guys have been watching too many late-night repeats of 'Red Dawn' and 'Invasion USA'.

Davi OttenheimerMay 25, 2006 5:18 PM

Reminds me of that old debate about the video game called Custer's Revenge (later called Westward Ho).

I heard reports of this actually making it to an arcade version and being installed in bars around the midwest. Could be urban legend, but Nintendo apparently tried to prevent this kind of game from spreading by introducing an authentication chip requirement (alas, which was circumvented by several simple methods).

Wikipedia has a good summary of the game and why it was so controversial:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Custer's_Revenge

Gee, look how far we've come in terms of gaming the gaming systems.

MikeMay 26, 2006 11:30 PM

That reminds me of this 2004 story in U.S. News and World Reports:

"It was the lead item on the government's daily threat matrix one day last April. Don Emilio Fulci described by an FBI tipster as a reclusive but evil millionaire, had formed a terrorist group that was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington, D.C. That day even FBI director Robert Mueller was briefed on the Fulci matter. But as the day went on without incident, a White House staffer had a brainstorm: He Googled Fulci. His findings: Fulci is the crime boss in the popular video game Headhunter. 'Stand down,' came the order from embarrassed national security types."

http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/whispers/articles/040517/17whisplead_2.htm

g.May 28, 2006 1:32 PM

I found the coverage of this issue from Gonzalo Frasca of watercoolergames very insightful.
"May 09, 2006: Confirmed: US Representatives shown parody videogame as evidence of terrorist activities"
http://www.watercoolergames.org/archives/000555.shtml

"May 12, 2006: Transcripts from the "fake terrorist videogame" Hearings now available"
http://www.watercoolergames.org/archives/000556.shtml

and most recently how Reuters kinda sorta backpedaled on their misreporting 3 weeks ago:
http://www.watercoolergames.org/archives/000559.shtml

KendalMay 28, 2006 10:38 PM

Reds Under the Bed!?

This is an example of what happens when a country's well-oiled propoganda machine is running out of control. Even those who should know better than making ad-hoc attempts at spotting terrorists fall prey to the machine.

What we're experiencing here is the fallout from being in a 'War on Terror.'

Think about this;
- What does it mean to have a war on a noun?
- How does that then become an avenue for loose justification of war-related activities, (eg, Person 'A' comes from country 'B' who attacked us, country 'C' is known to harbor terrorists, maybe 'B' and 'C' are somehow linked by terror, lets go to war with 'C'.)?
- How does this become an argurment to infringe on rights, when the lawmakers and leaders tell us that our rights and the war on terror are purchased from the same bank account, or are at two ends of the same scale?
- What impact does the war on terror have when we are told (indirectly) that every citizen is enlisted?

There's a psychological vacuum when fighting an unknown, unseen enemy, who may be your neighbor, who could strike at any time, who 'hates our way of life.' Anybody and everybody clings to any skerrick of tangible evidence of the enemy. In a war against the wind, a swaying tree is not the enemy, nor is a ceiling fan.

If you want to go to war on the wind, you have to know about what produces and sustains it, where it comes from, where it's likely to blow. We haven't seen any government come out with a study into why 'they' hate us, why 'they' hate our way of life, or even what 'they' really want to achieve by terrorising us.

Never mind the spin, Devlin has fallen prey to the same fears we all have, and clutched tightly to an empty hope, thinking that he'd found a tangible proof to justify an intangeble war.

Until western governments start out on a search for the reasons behind terrorism, we'll all be sucked into the psychological vacuum Devlin finds himself in, and it won't stop, and it will never go away.

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