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Journalist Tricked Captors Into Twitter Access

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the 140-characters-of-freedom dept.

Social Networks 141

itwbennett writes "Kosuke Tsuneoka, a Japanese freelance journalist held captive in Afghanistan since April 1, was released over the weekend. His freedom came a day after he sent two Twitter messages from a captor's phone. 'i am still allive [sic], but in jail,' read a message sent at 1:15 p.m. GMT on Friday. It was followed a few minutes later with a second message, also in English, that read, 'here is archi in kunduz. in the jail of commander lativ.' The message referred to the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz where he was being held. On Tuesday, speaking in Tokyo, Tsuneoka revealed how he managed to convince his captors to give him access to the Internet. 'He asked me if I knew how to use it, so I had a look and explained it to him,' said Tsuneoka. 'I called the customer care number and activated the phone,' he said."

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141 comments

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1st (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33502926)

nig nig nig

Jedi-ish (2, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502964)

FTA:

"I don't think they realize they were tricked," he said.

The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Re:Jedi-ish (3, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505840)

Spaceballs-ish.

Evil will always triumph over good. Because good is dumb.

step 2 missing (2, Funny)

punkmanandy (592682) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502980)

Step 1: Tweet
Step 2: ???
Step 3: FREEDOM!

Re:step 2 missing (4, Informative)

adwarf (1002867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503192)

Per this article (http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6698137-how-abducted-reporter-kosuke-tsuneoka-used-twitter-while-in-captivity) they released him because was muslim... So his tweets had nothing to do with anything....

Re:step 2 missing (4, Insightful)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504510)

Well, it says "in part" because he was a Muslim. Probably more in part due to the Japanese government knowing exactly where he was being held so they could apply pressure accordingly. It's not random that a guy goes missing on April 1st, makes a few help me tweets on September 3rd and is then released a day or so later.

Re:step 2 missing (0, Offtopic)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505594)

I hope his experience taught him something about Islam. I know for a fact that pork and booze is plentiful in Japan, I suggest he consume both to excess.

Re:step 2 missing (2, Insightful)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506338)

I hope his experience taught him something about Islam.

That not all Muslims are the same? Yeah, that must be it.

Re:step 2 missing (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505934)

It's not random that a guy goes missing on April 1st, makes a few help me tweets on September 3rd and is then released a day or so later.

Maybe we're mixing up cause and effect? Maybe they decided they were going to release him, and one of the captors said, "Hey, he seems to know a lot about this Internet stuff. Before we let him go, can I see if he can get the Internet working on my phone?"

Re:step 2 missing (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505146)

Except, you see, to provide more tweet porn for the media-masturbation cycle. Nothing gets a journalist harder than a twit.

Twitter, instead of (1)

Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503006)

Twitter, instead of, you know, email. Because it's more likely to be real.

Re:Twitter, instead of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503108)

twitter, because if they havent heard of it, they probably wouldnt realise it was a bad idea to let him have it.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

Some.Net(Guy) (1733146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503454)

TFA said that the guard didn't know what the internet was. i'm pretty sure that that could extend to email as well. i'm not saying it wasn't clever, but i feel like if i am captured by the taliban and have internet access for a small window of time, i'm going to send an email to someone like my parents or a close friend.

Re:Twitter, instead of (3, Insightful)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504004)

Or to every address in my contact list.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

daniorerio (1070048) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506386)

And you know, get marked as spam and reach nobody in the end

Re:Twitter, instead of (2, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506396)

Oh come one, SOMEONE is bound to have hotmail.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503276)

Twitter, instead of, you know, email. Because it's more likely to be real.

Or maybe, and I know this may be hard to realize for those of us who have had smartphones for years and years, it was just a standard, plain vanilla cell phone capable of only sms and phone calls.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503330)

According to TFA, it was a Nokia N70.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503340)

Is a nokia N70 a plain jane cell phone?

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503398)

Does it matter, if the account doesn't support email? I could put my company SIM into a smartphone but I still couldn't send emails.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504570)

If you can browse the web, you can send e-mail. There are enough of web-to-mail gateways out there, many of which only requires you to enter a captcha in order to prove you're not a spam bot.
Not to mention that lots of government agencies have web forms for providing feedback. Even the Japanese government, I'm sure.

Plus, there are plenty of services that allow you to post without logging in, and far more than SMS length messages too. This would be one such place.
(Never mind that a real cry for help here would probably be modded into oblivion, and not acted on.)

The guy probably used Twitter because that's what he was familiar with, not necessarily because it was the best choice. After all, why would he expect that someone monitored the feed? But good for him that it was seen.

Re:Twitter, instead of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505034)

Is a nokia N70 a plain jane cell phone?

I guess it's a jail cell phone.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503370)

The E70 is an early smartphone. And he had demoed the internet to the Taliban guys. I am assuming, however, that you did not RTFA.

RTFA - it was a Symbian smartphone (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503494)

The phone, a Nokia N70

That's a Symbian smartphone. Disclaimer: this info was based off what the journalist said.

There seems to be a lot of doubt spreading 'round. I'm not sure what motives there are, however. The Afghani scumbag certainly didn't have any motive to play along with the stunt.

Re:Twitter, instead of (3, Insightful)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504016)

Beyond the obvious fact that he may not have a web mail account, Twitter is a pretty smart choice. He was trying to broadcast to the world that he was alive. If he quickly sent an email to one or two people, it could have been lost or overlooked in a dozen ways. By getting a tweet through he was assured that all of his followers would see it.

I'd say he may have found the one instance where tweeting is actually a really good idea.

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

Dark$ide (732508) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506188)

By getting a tweet through he was assured that all of his followers would see it.

I'd say he may have found the one instance where tweeting is actually a really good idea.

There's an interesting use of the word "assured". It's a good job his followers weren't using Tweetdeck or he'd still be in jail. Tweetdeck has an amazing ability to hide tweets from the user there's no "assured" about Tweetdeck.

Re:Twitter, instead of (2, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504560)

Yes, when you get a hold of some guy's phone for a couple minutes, you are going to set up your email account, log in, remember the email addresses of your friends, and send them mail.

Or you can go on twitter and leave a message that all your followers will see. And no, if you have been missing for months and suddenly post a message, they are not going to think "nah, this is twitter, it's probably fake, we'll just ignore this".

Re:Twitter, instead of (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505720)

Twitter, instead of, you know, email. Because it's more likely to be real.

Twitter, instead of email as it needs to be sent via SMS rather then GRPS/WAP which likely does not have coverage in Afghanistan's southern cave region. Yes, they are services by AT&T too.

bad move by captors (1)

spartacus_prime (861925) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503018)

I thought prisoners were only allowed one phone call in jail!

Re:bad move by captors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503886)

I thought prisoners were only allowed one phone call in jail!

1 phone call = 2 tweets + 1 al jazeera vizit

Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503086)

"I don't think they realize they were tricked," he said.

Please explain the trick. The story summary states "he managed to convince his captors to give him access to the Internet."
There is no information in the article that indicates that the Internet access was gained by "a trick". The journalist asked.
Furthermore, there is no information in the article that indicates that the Twitter access had ANY role in his release.

If I ask you for your userid and password, did I get them by tricking you? NO.

The Slashdot summary AND the story is another example of journalistic idiocy.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503118)

I don't think his captors were aware of the tweets he made.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503166)

RTFA. He told them Twitter was a way to reach more Japanese journalists.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503240)

"...his captors were [not] aware of the CONTENT OF THE tweets he made."

They thought he was helping THEM. He was helping himself.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (5, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503236)

There is no information in the article that indicates that the Internet access was gained by "a trick". The journalist asked.

It's not spelled out, but it's in the article:

The soldier had heard of the Internet, but he didn't know what it was. When Tsuneoka mentioned it to him, he was eager to see it, but the phone wasn't signed up to receive the carrier's GPRS data service for accessing the Internet. "I called the customer care number and activated the phone," he said. Soon after he had the captor's phone configured for Internet access. "Once I told them I was able to access, they said 'how do you use it?', 'can we see Al Jazeera?'." Tsuneoka said he explained they just needed to type "Al Jazeera" into Google search to access the Qatar-based TV news network's website. "But if you are going to do anything, you should use Twitter," he said he told them. "They asked what that was. And I told them that if you write something on it, then you can reach many Japanese journalists. So they said, 'try it'."

Simple social engineering, he befriended the guard, and showed the guard how to better use his "keys".

All that said, I agree it's still a leap of faith to conclude that the Twitter access freed the journalist... for all we know, he was already on the way out by way of negotiations with the captors, and the Twitter incident was ... incidental to the real release reasons. Poorly written article indeed.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (2, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503578)

I agree it's still a leap of faith to conclude that the Twitter access freed the journalist...

How much VC funding has twitter spent? $50M or so? Gotta get some good press out there in order to recoup that investment.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (4, Interesting)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504502)

Tricking his captors into letting him send a Tweet is nothing compared to tricking VC's into giving twitter $50M.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (0)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504554)

You have a gift for stating the obvious - you must practice quite a bit.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505216)

The point I was making is that the reason the article's logic, what rsborg called "a leap of faith," is so poor is that twitter needs to be seen as something more than just a bunch of twits - that the article may even be the result of pay-for-play to promote the company as something more important and valuable than it really is.

It's like saying "Suits are back!" [paulgraham.com]

Funny thing, your oddly moderated woooosh! of a post would fit in twitter's 140 character limit.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (4, Insightful)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503278)

The low ranking soldier that he managed to trick did not know how to use his fancy new phone; had only heard of the internet and didn't know how to use it or what it was capable of; and had certainly never heard of twitter before. The low ranking soldier had no idea that the prisoner just sent messages to the entire world while showing him "how to use the internet". The low ranking soldier was probably instructed not to let the prisoner make any calls, and as far as he knew he didn't.

You could say "how is this trickery if he did it right in front of the guard?" and to you I would say "the best magicians do their tricks right in front of their audience"

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505004)

The guy says in TFA that he quite explicitly explained what the effect of him posting something on Twitter would be:

"They asked what that was. And I told them that if you write something on it, then you can reach many Japanese journalists. So they said, 'try it'."

So then, where's the trick, again?

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503310)

Is this a subtle joke that went over my head? And if not, who modded this garbage "insightful"?

The "trick" is explained in the story (note: while slashdot summaries are often atrocious, summaries are not expected to contain all of the information.) He didn't trick them into giving him access to the internet (nor does it say anywhere that he did) but rather tricked them into letting him use twitter.

Twitter was how he communicated that a) he was alive and being held captive, and b) where he was. If that had no role in his release, this was a remarkable coincidence after more than 5 months of his disappearance.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (2)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503322)

*waves hand in front of someone* I am the rightful owner of this userid and password. Now THAT would be tricking someone if it worked. :)

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (1)

lineswine (731846) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504910)

Gee yeah! So Star Wars is real, right? (Get out of your basement more, sparky)

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503480)

If I ask you for your userid and password, did I get them by tricking you? NO.

Well that depends. If you said you needed it to fix a problem with my fstab (or clean up my registry for winxp users or whatever), but actually what you did was install a rootkit, then yes, you tricked me into giving you my password.

If a journalist says they're just going to help their jailer activate their phone, but then uses it to send for help, then they tricked their captor.

The real Kilgore Trout would have a more expansive definition of "trick" than the needlessly narrow one you are using, and especially not one that presumed it can't be a trick if the one being tricked would have to be dumber than a box of rocks to fall for it.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503722)

"I don't think they realize they were tricked," he said.

Please explain the trick. The story summary states "he managed to convince his captors to give him access to the Internet."
There is no information in the article that indicates that the Internet access was gained by "a trick".

That depends on what you consider a trick. Exploiting someones ignorance can be considered a trick (like a magic trick, where the magician has more information about the deck of cards than you do). The more common way (at least on /.) is to work around some limitation by fooling a system/using it in a way it wasn't designed to be used. By that definition, this wasn't a trick.

Re:Journalists Trick Slashdot Into Believing Story (1)

bliz1985 (923307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504650)

"If I ask you for your userid and password, did I get them by tricking you?"

If I gave them to you when you asked, you did not get the password and username by tricking me. But if I wasn't aware of the potential consequences of doing so, I am tricked into doing something I shouldn't have done.

Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (5, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503122)

That is some Odysseus-grade cunning right there. You've done your species proud. Please have lots of grandkids and then tell them about this repeatedly.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503414)

Let's hope all terrorists/insurgents are as gullible or as stupid as these guys.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504316)

Ignorance makes you much more gullible.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (2, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504572)

Well, you probably don't know how to butcher a goat, either - "gullibility" and "stupidity" are largely contextual.

I say, let's hope more of them get exposed to the Internet and the wider world in general because that tends to (though not always!) curb extremism.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (2, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504990)

The guard did something under the pretense that the prisoner was doing something helpful for him.

That is stupid and/or gullible.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505022)

I say, let's hope more of them get exposed to the Internet and the wider world in general because that tends to (though not always!) curb extremism.

Not really, it doesn't. If you remember those studies in UK, the second generation of Muslim immigrants was both more outwardly westernized (clothing, behavior, use of modern tech), and much more radicalized than their parent (I think it was 25% saying that they support al-Qaeda?). The Net may expose you to a multitude of opinions, but people are very good at ignoring all but those that tell them what they like to hear; and Islamic extremism has mastered the art of propaganda very, very well.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (1)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505538)

The Internet makes you stupid. Most opinions on the internet are from clueless wannabe experts and philosophers.

Re:Welcome home, Tsuneoka-san. (2, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505980)

It does both.

Some people embrace the new, the foreign, the unknown, and eagerly incorporate it into their own identity. At least partially.

Others see it as threatening, dangerous, a temptation to be resisted, and react by withdrawing, becoming more fundamentalist.

I tend to think isolation and failed integration is the largest enabler for the latter. Too many may live -in- the west physically, but nevertheless have a parallell society with little actual integration. Live in their own areas, go to their own schools, shop in their own shops, have friends mainly from the region they come from, rather than the region they live in.

On the flipside, there's many people who live -in- the middle east, but nevertheless *do* have friends and contacts in other cultures, I am certain, that serves as a pretty good vaccine against extremism. It's one thing to say "death to America!", it's another thing to say "death to my friend John, with the part-time job and 2 daugthers that started school last month."

It works in reverse too. I've got a much more nuanced view of the middle east now that I've got friends there. I'm much less inclined to knee-jerk along the "they're all the same" lines. Because guess what, they're not.

Please help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503272)

GPS Position: 1031'6"E, 4155'2"N. My captors only let me access to slashdot, saying that would be harmless.

Re:Please help (2, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503404)

1031'6"E, 4155'2"N.

You've got me going around in circles...

Re:Please help (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503548)

They were right. Good Luck!

Re:Please help (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504838)

Depending on whereslashdot's failed to distinguish UTF-8, that's either in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Italy or on a glacier near the Chinia/Mongolia border. Either way dude, slashdot's a US-centric site, so don't expect us to be much help.

Okay, but... (3, Interesting)

bynary (827120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503294)

...how was he actually rescued? I see correlation between his tweets and his release but no causation.

Re:Okay, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503822)

If Wikileaks has taught us anything, the answer is most likely that the person holding him was bribed.

Re:Okay, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503838)

How he was actually rescued is left as an exercise for the readers' imagination, you insensitive clod!

Re:Okay, but... (2, Insightful)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503964)

there was no direct causation mentioned specifically in the article, but if you apply Occam's razor to the problem the simplest and most likely solution seems: no one had heard from him (probably even about him) and had no way of knowing who he was with or where. Given that specific information it's easy to make the treats or promises to obtain his release.

And yeah, I know what they say about assumptions but there is such a thing as a safe one.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

hex0D (1890162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503978)

of course I meant to type 'threats' above, but I kind of like the humor of my mistake seeing it now

Re:Okay, but... (1)

bucktug (306690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504012)

Will you shoot the blue earth down?
In the space station
Polishing the ray gun
You say correllation is not causation .... I know your a supra genius.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

aiht (1017790) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504890)

You say correllation is not causation .... I know your a supra genius.

No, your a supra genius.
*shudders* Now I feel dirty.

Tweet had no influence on release (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504444)

...how was he actually rescued? I see correlation between his tweets and his release but no causation.

Its just a coincidence that someone who was released had previously sent out a tweet. My understanding from reading elsewhere (yahoo news) is that the ransom was *not* paid. However since the victim was a muslim the kidnappers felt they could not kill him, so they let him go.

Re:Okay, but... (2)

listentoreason (1726940) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504920)

Once his captors were connected to Twitter they would simply freeze motionless for several hours, two or three times a day. He merely had to wait for one of these moments and then just walk away.

Re:Okay, but... (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505732)

He really shouldn't have disclosed the Twitter connection. Now the terrorists won't let anyone touch a phone!

Please stop (3, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503372)

Mr. Tsuneoka, the last thing we need is more confusion about the Internet, especially amongst new users. Please stop spreading misinformation, and apologize to those you've misled! In the future, give only meaningful, accurate information to help users understand what's going on. Explain that Twitter is a social network that allows users to reach many the general public, rather than just journalists. Help educate the world!

Re:Please stop (2, Funny)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503606)

You first, when you get kidnapped.

Re:Please stop (1)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504104)

Woosh!

ooOK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503506)

As warm and fuzzy as all this sounds, I'm a little more interested in how he managed to "trick" them into not decapitating him and/or releasing him.

Twitter is now the tool to use (1)

DrData99 (916924) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503514)

Who knew that if you are having a heart attack or in a Taliban prison that Twitter is now the only thing you need.
Thanks Slashdot!

Another jailbreak on another smartphone... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503620)

And to think so many people devalue the benefits of jailbreaking...

Re:Another jailbreak on another smartphone... (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506084)

In Soviet Russia, phone jailbreaks you!

...would have been a really good joke if it had been anywhere other than bloody Afghanistan.

And they say Customer Service isn't any help... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503636)

Oh, and you losers in Gurgaon...

Thanks! Good job! We love ya!

Anonymous Coward (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503738)

How many more journalist will you get killed by putting these stories on /.?

Hawiian Good Luck Sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503858)

That is almost as funny as the crew of the USS Pueblo giving the Hawiian Good Luck Sign for a North Korean propaganda photo.

http://www.headlife.net/2008/01/23/the-origins-of-the-hawaiian-good-luck-sign/

Ha! (3, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504190)

Yes, I find it humorous that some Taliban soldiers don't actually know what the internet is.

It makes me wonder about all the other modern advancements they are unaware of. Space craft? Aircraft carriers? Oprah? No wonder they are so willing to fight a war against enemies who have such vast amounts of technology at their disposal. If they knew how disadvantaged they were, maybe they would just stop.

Re:Ha! (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505040)

If you have an absolute, unwavering belief that God blesses your fight and guides your hand, and whatever shiny toys your opponents may enjoy are poisonous gifts of Satan that can only lead one to destruction and hell, why would you ever stop, even if it's an AK vs an aircraft carrier? For one thing, if God is with you, then surely the AK is good enough to win - when the time is right - and for another, the worst-case scenario is that you die and end up in heaven (and the bastard that killed you is stuck here with Oprah!).

Re:Ha! (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505098)

Luckily, soldiers with this line of thought also don't think much of using the iron sights on their AKs. After all, if Allah wills it, the bullets will find their targets.

Re:Ha! (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505128)

Ah, if only it worked that way.

I've heard a story about Chechnya, that local Wahhabi terrorists consider underwear un-Islamic because it was not worn in Prophet's times by him or any of his followers. So, they take it, there might be no harm in it, but they cannot be sure - so they don't wear it. And then one Russian journalist noted that Prophet's army didn't have AKs, either, but somehow that doesn't make a connection.

Re:Ha! (3, Informative)

doubtless (267357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505290)

except that his captors weren't Taliban but a group of corrupt local warlords trying to stir the taliban government.

this is from his tweet - http://twitter.com/shamilsh/status/23085559558 [twitter.com]

Re:Ha! (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505540)

Yes, I find it humorous that some American soldiers don't actually know who Allah is.

It makes me wonder about all the other parts of the Koran they are unaware of. Ramadan? Muhammad? The battle of Yamama? No wonder they are so willing to fight a war against enemies who have the vast resources of Allah at their disposal. If they knew how disadvantaged they were, maybe they would just stop.

Re:Ha! (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505588)

At least you didn't include a FTFY. It is terribly annoying when some stranger assumes they understand your train of thought when they clearly only understand the opposite.

Truth be told, nothing had garnered more insight into Islam than the current wars of ideology, at least as far as the West is concerned.

Do I know more about Islam than I did on that fateful morning in September... of course I do. TBH, I recently transfered to a Jesuit university because it was the most distinguished and accepting of the institutions I was considering. I don't often defend any kind of religion, but in this case, I was impressed by their insight into what I was looking for. A school that accepted me for me (I'm an agnostic theist) and wasn't there to simply make a buck or evangelize.

Ha Ha Ha (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505848)

I find it humorous that some American soldiers don't actually know who Allah is.
It makes me wonder about all the other parts of the Koran they are unaware of.

That all sounds nice and sensitive and empathetic, but how many other stone age mythologies should they study? Should they be knowledgeable of the differences between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam? Or the peculiarities of the Wahhabists or the Druze?
FYI, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Guru Granth Sahib, and Kitab Al Hikma are all sacred texts of large religious groups in Iraq/Afghanistan and their immediate vicinity (apart from the Torah, Old and New Testaments, and Koran). And this does not include other religions of the region which either lack canonical texts (Jainism) or for which multiple canonical texts exist (Buddhism). Also, the study of certain other ancient texts (e.g. Avesta, Book of Breathings) should be avoided, since knowledge of their content would prevent sympathetic attitudes towards some of the above-mentioned texts. American forces are posted in several states in Central Asia - how much do you know of the religions of that region?
IMHO, knowledge of local religions and their vitriolic schisms is as likely to harm as to help in soldiering.

Are You Saying we should turn Oprah on them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505618)

Now that would truly end this war on terrorism ... yes no?

after all, it would be more progress then the other O

cheers

Re:Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505648)

And yet they are winning.

Re:Ha! (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505714)

If both sides played by the same rules there would be a much different outcome. As it stands, you have to realize, we are fighting people who don't even know what the internet is. If I was in charge, I would saturate their world with digital knowledge. As devoted as they are to a cause, it seems to me they would make great IT drones.

Re:Ha! (1)

Mr_Miagi (1648543) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506242)

Good thing the journalist didn't introduce the captors to WoW...

Why are we losing? (1)

unixguy48 (539273) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504400)

Remind me again why we are losing this war?

Breaking News (4, Funny)

rshxd (1875730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504486)

Twitter was used for something useful! Stop the presses!!!!

Re:Breaking News (2, Funny)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504786)

Don't worry, it won't happen again.

Who tricked who? (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504704)

The Afghani soldier just got a Westerner to activate an internet-enabled Symbian smartphone for him.

Weak minds....criminal minds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505038)

Jeez. What idiots.

Minions... whatcha gonna do? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505250)

Good minions and henchmen are SO hard to find these days....

No one ever said Muslims were smart... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505356)

No one besides Obongo, that is. NASA's new mission: to boldly proclaim common myths about how many great things the head-chopping parasites have contributed to civilization.

That One Phone Call... (1)

H3xx (662833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505662)

Twitter has too many prerequisites for it to be useful in a situation like this; you need a cell phone whose number is not linked to a previous Twitter account, with MMS capabilities and a network that supports it, or a computer with access to the internet, a usable keyboard and a browser/email client. It's actually just short of a miracle he was able to use a cell phone while in jail—most jails will only allow you access to one POTS call, and many times you do not have access to the keypad while you are using it.

There needs to exist a service that will accept incoming vocal transmissions, transcribe them, then post them on Twitter.

Help! (1)

Anonymous Squonk (128339) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505966)

I'm being held in the castle Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh!

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