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In an interesting development, a special Saudi Arabian criminal court recently began a criminal trial where one of the defendants is charged with among other counts, providing PR support to terrorists. Among the criminal charges being faced: “utilizing media to support terrorism, publishing inflammatory statements on a number of electronic sites.” One wonders if Saudi Arabia is charging people in criminal court for providing Public Relations support for terrorists, why are terrorists allowed to continue using American technology and PR Firms to spread their message?
There are many great uses for Public Relations, but a justified cause is not enough to be right these days, either in politics or in business. In any battle, preparation for any war includes a PR battle plan, and the bad guys seemingly get it. Terrorists and their supporters continue to use modern day public relations tools and they are increasingly skilled at doing so.
Hamas, which was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State in April 1993, tweets regularly at http://twitter.com/hamasinfo. This, despite a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice statement that Hamas threatened the United States through covert cells on American soil.
One can join the over 9500 followers of The al-Qassam Brigades in their very active twitter account at http://twitter.com/AlqassamBrigade – an organization which was founded in 1992 as Hamas’ military wing, and only 10 years ago was designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization.
In March 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions against Al-Aqsa TV and designated it a terrorism-financing organization which serves as a primary Hamas media outlet that airs programs “designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood.” They continue to tweet at http://twitter.com/AqsaTVChannel.
Hezbollah tweets regularly from al-Manar News account http://twitter.com/almanarnews, with over 11,000 followers. A recent English-language tweet links to a story on Al-Manar News which states: “Ahmadinjead: Central Bank Strong Enough to Defeat US plans.”
Will Twitter allow this to continue even as Saudi Arabia prosecutes someone for providing PR support to terrorists? Is Twitter enabling terrorists to spread their word and succeed? I recently wrote about how PR firms assist in selling terror and brutality. From Assad’s Syrian regime to previous representation of Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizbullah have hired PR agencies to lobby for them in the press and on the world stage.
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