Virtual Terrorists

While I have fairly strong political opinions, I don’t discuss them on this blog. Partly because I don’t want to offend my readers, but mostly because this is a blog about games. And while games have all sorts of politics in them (guild politics, developer/player politics) they don’t usually have much to do with the real world body politik. Games are meant to be fun, relaxing, and a diversion from the real world.

Until now.

Sometimes you read something like this article in The Australian newspaper which makes you grieve for the future of intelligence. Terrorists Practice on Cyber Game. Here’s a quote.

The head of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre in Canberra, Kevin Zuccato, has warned that terrorists can gain training in games such as Second Life and another game known as the World of Warcraft, using weapons similar to those in the real world.


As far as I know, the only weapon World of Warcraft has that is in any way similar to real world (modern) weapons are the guns. And they’re pretty slow. Take a soldier in any of the worlds poorest armies, and he’s probably packing an AK47 which has a much higher rate of fire than the most epic WoW gun. I doubt that even an army of a thousand berserking Orc Jihadists would in any way pose much of a threat to a squad of well armed US or Aussie soldiers.

I don’t know about Second Life though since I’ve never played it. From what I understand, players can create almost anything in the game. This means there is a lot more scope for evil mischief. Maybe the terrorists are planning on sending a million flying penises to disrupt the next sitting of Congress or the Australian Parliment. As that Dwarf in the Burning Steppes says, (I can’t remember his name) that will certainly scare the children.

Here’s another quote.

International terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna says the use of the virtual world for terrorist training is a new phenomenon that has not been discussed outside intelligence agencies.

And do you know why it hasn’t been discussed outside of intelligence agencies?

Because they don’t want to look like bloody idiots.

This is the same sort of rubbish that was spouted about how children were using Doom to practice using guns, after the Columbine High School shooting. I’m sorry, but I can’t see how swinging a mouse around in a game gives you any skills towards the real world use of a gun. That’s akin to saying that a high level Command and Conquer player should be directing a real world army, since he’s really good at strategy.

The scary thing is that our governments are using the terrorism angle to tread on our freedoms. Last Friday, while driving home from work, there was a news report that said that the Australian Government was considering legislation to ban Film, Literature, and Games that in any way promote terrorism.

With reports like the one in The Australian being presented does this mean that the government would consider banning WoW?

You could play as a team of terrorists in Counterstrike. Does that count as promoting terrorism?

And what about movies like V for Vendetta that promote the violent overthrow of a government. Will the Australian government ban those sort of movies?

I’m wondering where it will all end.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. No more politics. I promise. 🙂

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