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Islamic militants recruit using U.S. video games ! - 5/5/2006 2:14:01 PM   
SiliconFreak


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The makers of combat video games have unwittingly become part of a global propaganda campaign by Islamic militants to exhort Muslim youths to take up arms against the United States, officials said on Thursday.

Tech-savvy militants from al-Qaida and other groups have modified video war games so that U.S. troops play the role of bad guys in running gunfights against heavily armed Islamic radical heroes, Defense Department official and contractors told Congress.

The games appear on militant Web sites, where youths as young as 7 can play at being troop-killing urban guerillas after registering with the site's sponsors.

"What we have seen is that any video game that comes out ... they'll modify it and change the game for their needs," said Dan Devlin, a Defense Department public diplomacy specialist.

Devlin spoke before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, at which contractors from San Diego-based Science Applications International, or SAIC, gave lawmakers a presentation that focused on Iraq as an engine for Islamic militant propaganda from Indonesia to Turkey and Chechnya.

SAIC has a $7 million Defense Department contract to monitor 1,500 militant Web sites that provide al-Qaida and other militant organizations with a main venue for communications, fund-raising, recruitment and training.

The sites use a variety of emotionally charged content, from images of real U.S. soldiers being hit by snipers in Iraq to video-recordings of American televangelists including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell making disparaging remarks about Islam.

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