First Published: 2013-01-24

 

Clinton unveils US ‘new weapon’ to fight Qaeda: Social media

 

US State Department starts two organizations to deal with countering extremism on Internet, will use tools such as Twitter to combat anti-Americanism.

 

Middle East Online

‘Social media is a great tool’

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised Wednesday that the United States would use the Internet and social media in its fight against Al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamist groups.

The outgoing top diplomat said the US State Department had "started two organizations to deal with countering violent extremism" on the Internet, and would use tools such as Twitter to combat online anti-Americanism.

"Social media is a great tool," Clinton told lawmakers when speaking to Congress about the deadly attack on a US mission in Benghazi, Libya four months ago.

The new operation she has set up is "staffed with inter-agency experts," and "I'm not saying anything that's classified, but it's beginning to try to respond to Al-Qaeda and other jihadist propaganda.

"If they put up a video which talks about how terrible Americans are, we put up a video which talks about, you know, how terrible they are," Clinton said.

"We're trying to meet them in the media channels (in which) they are communicating with people."

Referring back to the Cold War era during "our fight against international communism," Clinton said media tactics had worked well and that in 2013 the United States would confront a similar challenge with an up-to-date strategy.

"We did a lot of things really well. I mean, we kept people's hopes alive, we communicated with freedom lovers and advocates behind the Iron Curtain. We did it through media, we did it through our values."

Clinton's testimony came on the eve of Thursday's Senate hearing to confirm her successor, John Kerry, who is expected to be easily voted in and could take over within days.

The outgoing Secretary insisted there was no cover-up of events in Benghazi, when dozens of heavily-armed Al-Qaeda-linked militants overran the US mission compound and a nearby CIA-run annex.

The incident set off an eight-hour firefight in which four people, including US ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.

 

Iraq investigates Mosul civilian deaths

Iran to symbolically sanction 15 US companies

Syria fighting damages IS-held dam posing rising water risk

Yemeni rebel supporters flood streets on conflict’s anniversary

Cities, monuments dim lights for Earth Hour

In Algeria, everyone wants to be MP, few likely to vote

Iran to appeal seizure of 9/11 compensation money

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing after assassination of official

Deep concern as Israeli laws entrench the occupation

Turkey’s Kurds could sway tight referendum vote

Al-Qaeda, on the rise again, hits Assad where it hurts

US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan

Israel’s air strike on Syria spooks Middle East

Gunmen kill Hamas official in Gaza

Separate Syria air strikes kill at least 32

UN says Israel has ignored resolution on illegal settlements

Veteran politician says Turkey referendum a 'test' for Kurds

More Algerian women in work, but husbands control wages

Beirut university settles US lawsuit over Hezbollah

1.1 million weekend travellers from Dubai hit by laptop ban

Shiite Lebanese women endure painful custody battles

Russia, China seek Iraq chemical weapons probe

Besieged Syrians struggle with dwindling dialysis supplies

Syria army retakes Damascus areas from rebels

Syria says peace talks must first focus on 'terrorism'

12 Syrian refugees dead after boat sinks off Turkey coast

Mosul displaced head into unknown

As war keeps them away, Yemen children dream of school

Ousted Egyptian president Mubarak freed from detention

Iraq's Sadr threatens boycott if election law unchanged

Israel, US fail to reach settlement agreement

Yemen rebel missile kills Saudi soldier

Turkish FM in Switzerland amid rising tensions with Europe

Two more 'significant arrests' over London attack

Britain arrests eight as IS claims Westminster attack

Man attempts to drive into crowd of shoppers in Belgium’s Antwerp

Palestinian FA chief says ball in Israel's court

Israel arrests Jewish teen over anti-Semitic terror threats

An Egypt court is to reopen a corruption probe into Mubarak

Bahrain frees award-winning AFP photographer

Erdogan slams 'pressure' on Turks in Bulgaria ahead of vote

Israel policeman suspended after caught on video beating Palestinian

Turkey summons Russia envoy over soldier death in Syria

Bahrain sentences three to death for police bombings

UN-backed Syria talks restart in Geneva