A number of Jihadist web forums have reportedly been hit by a cyber-attack. US Republican candidate Rick Santorum engaged in some Obama bashing. And 8 sets of quadruplets cause mischief in the streets of New York.
Jihadist web forums hit by cyberattack?
Jihadist web forums are experiencing service outages … these websites are a key part of Al Qaeda’s recruitment strategy and some of the terrorist network’s main message forums have been offline for close to two weeks now. And according to experts interviewed by the Washington Post, this could be the result of a cyber-attack launched by a hacker group or the result of deliberate actions taken by an international government.
And if this is the case, it would not be the first time a government has launched this type of operation. Britain’s MI6 sabotaged the distribution of an English language webzine created by the terrorist organization, replacing a manual on how to make homemade bombs with cake recipes.
But terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann offers another explanation for the problems the Jihadi web is currently encountering. He is not excluding the theory that the outage is linked to the recent arrest in Spain of Mudhar al-Malki, the alleged administrator of several terrorist forums. The sites could have been deactivated to stop them being infiltrated by intelligence services.
Whatever the reason, this wave of outages has revived debate on how to deal with these web forums that glorify terrorism. Journalist Nathan Pippenger has written about it on the website of “The New Republic” magazine. He wonders if it would be better to simply shut them down, or monitor them to glean information about the people that visit them.
USA: Santorum video evokes horror classics to bash Obama
A video clip capturing all the sinister images and techniques used in horror films to paint an apocalyptic vision of what the United States may resemble in 2014 if Barack Obama is reelected as president in November. This is the latest initiative from the campaign team behind republican nomination candidate Rick Santorum, in a bid to win over conservative voters. The campaign ad is called “Welcome to Obamaville”. The unnerving narrator plays on the fears of the people of America, accusing the current president of letting fuel prices soar, attacking people’s freedom of religion and doing nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
The smear video, which is aired both online and on the television, has sparked lively reactions. The Democratic National Committee was one of the first to respond, condemning what it describes it as a “new low”. The Democrat party slams, amongst other things, the extract in which Barack Obama is likened to Iranian head of state Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by quickly flashing alternating images of the two. The committee is asking supporters of the White House occupant to help “fight back” against this type of attack which they say is quite simply a misinformation campaign.
And the web is now abuzz with comments from anonymous web users, criticizing and poking fun at this campaign ad which many feel has gone too far. Most of those who watched the video on YouTube do not appear very taken with the message it is trying to convey, and Santorum’s critics have been having a field day making parodies of the controversial video, like this fake ad called “Santorumville” which has altered the original narration to say that electing the former Pennsylvania senator would pose a greater threat to the US.
Famous paintings turned into 8-Bit art
South Korean artist Joo Jaebum is a fan of pixels and this is definitely reflected in his latest creations; he has turned some of the world’s most famous masterpieces, like Van Gogh’s self-portrait, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl earring into 8-bit art, with astonishing results… With these well-known faces now resembling video games ‘characters.
Tendance du jour sur les réseaux sociaux
Russian web users have dubbed their deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov « Shuvalov, the thief »; a nickname that suits him right down to the ground, following Friday’s allegations by anti-corruption blogger Alexeï Navalny that Vladimir Putin’s close ally has taken tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes over the past few years. A campaign has been started on social networks calling for him to be prosecuted and although he denies the accusations, this affair could well have a harmful effect on his political career.
Video of the day
Get 8 sets of identical quadruplets to walk around a park in New York and watch the reactions from passersby… This is the latest production from the group “Improv’ Everywhere”, which specializes in staging wacky artistic performances in public places. You can check out the novel project in this video; it certainly turned a head or two in the Big Apple.