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Videogames Used to Train Terrorists? 265

kalpatin writes "Reuters reports that videogames are being used to train terrorists. The title Counter-Strike is apparently being used as a tool to prepare individuals for a mission: blowing up an oil tanker. The ultimate goal is to 'make the strait of Hormuz impassable, the Jomhouri-ye Eslami daily reported. About two-fifths of globally traded oil passes through the channel. The game illustrates a warning by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said in June that oil exports in the Gulf region could be seriously endangered if the United States made a wrong move on Iran.'"
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Videogames Used to Train Terrorists?

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  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:39PM (#16278547) Homepage Journal
    And yet we focus on video games?

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:52PM (#16278777)
      All you learn is how to move a mouse/controller.

      I think that we should support any terrorist who wants to use a video game as "training". It will make them that much easier to capture.
      • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:58PM (#16278897) Homepage Journal
        So true, anyone who thinks that CS will prepare you for accurately shooting a weapon, or pressure under fire, is on crack.

        You want to learn to shoot? Spend 8 hours a day in shooting positions snapping in for a week. You want pressure and anxiety? Get arrested in Tijuana.

        • by arivanov ( 12034 )
          None of that is necessary to interrupt shipping in the Gulf. All one needs is a antiship missile or two. Alternatively, a cluster of anti-ship mines dropped overnight in the ship path will be nearly as effective.

          Hezbollah showed the world that terrorist organisations both have this kit and the capability to use it. No need to play silly first person shoot-em-ups. In fact the question nowdays is not an "if it will happen", it is "when".
        • So true, anyone who thinks that CS will prepare you for accurately shooting a weapon, or pressure under fire, is on crack.

          including these guys? []
      • If you had bother reading. They train with real guns, but are using video games to train tactics.
        Which can make sense.
        • Nope. (Score:5, Informative)

          by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:34PM (#16279567)
          They train with real guns, but are using video games to train tactics.
          Which can make sense.

          Nope. They won't learn anything more about tactics than they would reading a book.

          To train tactics, you have to practice the tactics with your team. Video game characters all have the same characteristics. People do not. The biggest differences are speed and grace/clumsiness.

          And that doesn't even address the issue that most terrorist's "tactics" at the moment are "strap on the bomb, walk to the target and detonate yourself". If you're in a CS-type firefight, you've already fucked up the mission.
          • You're right on the fact that all the video game characters in a game like CS:S have the same speed, height, etc. However, if you have a real team on each side of the game, it can indeed help you develop teamwork, teach you what you should be aware of in an urban setting, and how to be aware of things like ammo supply and grenades.

            It's not REALISTIC, of course - CS:S is more of a shoot'em'up type game. Perhaps America's Army would be a better represnetation of squad combat. But just the same, I play p
          • by bunions ( 970377 )
            > Nope. They won't learn anything more about tactics than they would reading a book.

            The Army and USMC seem to disagree, as they have reasonably well-developed pilot programs to use COTS videogames and adapt them to serve as squad-level tactics simulators. It's not the only form of training, of course, nor will it ever take the place of actually crawling around in the mud, but there is evidence that it's better than classroom-only instruction.
      • That sounds like my co-worker's attitude towards UT.

        Him: "I need to learn to dodge and evade."
        Other: "Didn't they teach you that in the military?"
        Him: "Not with a keyboard and mouse."
    • by Skevin ( 16048 ) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:19PM (#16279269) Journal
      Yes, video games have been used to train terrorists for years. Case in point:

      Pacman trains potential terrorists to avoid TSA guards in twisty airports, surviving indefinitely by eating crumbs off the floor if you have to (my first time on O'Hare, it may as well have been a maze).

      Frogger teaches potential terrorists to hide amongst crowded streets until they are ready to deliver a lethal payload to a densely populated area.

      I won't even get started about Elevator Action.

      Time Pilot trains potential terrorists to crash your plane into larger aircraft when they're too drunk to shoot straight.

      Terrorists use Tetris to learn to lay down acoutic floor tile over hidden trap doors to hide even more games^W training software from authorities.

      Centipede trains terrorists to destroy entire trains, one car at a time. The bombing in Spain was performed by a terrorist who had a console cabinet of Centipede in his garage.

      Dig Dug provides a methodic exercise for Terrorists to develop complex subterranean networks by which to pump deadly nerve agents into unsuspecting groups. This video game was implicated in the Sarin gas attack in the Japanese subway several years ago.

      There are several other known, but classified, examples perpetrated by the terrorist group Ar'Qaida, who have set up several cells masquerading with fronts such as "Chuck E. Cheese" and "Dave and Buster's". Be alert. Be vigilant. The Computer is not your friend.
    • Your comparision is not good, as there are plenty of people who want to ban guns AND videogames. For many people, your gun analogy means "video games are like guns... guns should be banned... therefore video games should be banned".

      If you want to make a funny comparison, for some easy slashdot karma, you should have compared video games to toilet paper or food and water - items also used by terrorists during training yet are for the most part harmless. Gun evoke hysteria with many in the slashdot crowd.
      • by RingDev ( 879105 )
        1) +Funny gains no karma
        2) Gun control is a legitimate concern.

        My point was not to be funny, so much as point out the apparent irony. We blame games for violence yet we allow children and unstable people have access to fire arms. Not necessarily tied to Terrorism, but I got kinda tweaked this morning when I heard about yet another school shooting where a high school kid with a troubled past took his father's gun and shot the principal. I can't say for sure, but I would be willing to guess that as a non-mili
        • Violent video games don't kill people... Guns + Violent video games is what really kills people. Just ask old Jack Thompson... (before the flames start, yes, I was being very sarcastic. Couldn't you tell by my tone?)
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:41PM (#16278567) Homepage
    ITs unclear, but it sounds like its just a cool CounterStrike map.

    If so, where can we get it, it sounds like fun!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 )
      Congratulations, you've just been added to the terrorist suspect list ;-)
      • Congratulations, you've just been added to the terrorist suspect list ;-)

        Awww, it's not that hard to get on. All you have to do it write "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on a plastic bag and bam. You're on the list :-)

        Welcome to the club ;-)

        (note to self... must start selling "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" T-Shirts and profit!)
    • by usrusr ( 654450 )
      yeah, the description of that tanker having exactly two "bomb-spots" did ring a bell.
  • AA (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:41PM (#16278577)
    I've heard that America's Army is useful for understanding the American military mindset. Maybe it should be reclassified as a state secret...
    • I believe when you log in you see the opposing team as the terrorists and yourself as an American solider. So clearly there are no terrorists playing this game? Or maybe everyone is?!
  • WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    So now I'm a terrorist because I can use a mouse and a keyboard?

    Insane bastard writers article
    Posts article
    Slashdot picks it up

    I swear if someone is training this way they are about as dangerous as your average DnD player with a sharp pencil.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

      by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:46PM (#16278661) Journal
      very true, although I could use something like this to plan a mission I would die immidiately if my gun didn't act exactly like it does in the game, people have better than average AI, I actually die when I get shot once (and a medi-pack couldn't stop the blood and make me ready for action again).
      I would also need to be able to find guns lying around...

      Other than that it would be exactly like the game and I'd be an ace terrorist.
    • nothing to see here.

  • Why, YES! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ludomancer ( 921940 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:41PM (#16278587)
    They are. It goes both ways I think: []

    • by cvd6262 ( 180823 )
      They are. It goes both ways I think: []

      Yes, but in AA, you can never be the terrorists. Your team always appears in US issue clothing, and the enemies in hoods and masks. Obviously, it can't be used for training terrorists then.

  • Hope so (Score:5, Funny)

    by Unc-70 ( 975866 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:44PM (#16278629)
    The thought of highly trained terrorists running around shouting 'BOOOOM Headshot' whilst shooting or stabbing randomly at the scenery or team mates, does not fill me with fear.
    • Re:Hope so (Score:5, Funny)

      by wired_LAIN ( 974675 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:05PM (#16279001)
      CIA agent: Sir, the terrorists seem to be using some sort of code...
      Terrorist 1: d00d these guys are camping.
      Terrorist 2: fuxing n00bs. use noob stick gogo pwn them.
      Terrorist 1: OMG lag!!! they r using som hax. cia clan sux i'm out.
      Terrorist 2: *shoots terrorist 1*
      Terrorist 1: why u TKing??? fag
      Terrorist 2: gg no re
    • One participant was heard to comment "what do you mean there's no respawn in the live exercise??!" before stalking off the field. Others were seen to be having difficulties in climbing ladders with carrying several kilograms of weapons and explosives, while still more were seen attempting to bunny-hop their way across open fields.
  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:50PM (#16278739)
    Where can we download a copy of their mission? I wanna try it!

    That said, of course, if the US had a copy of their mission, they'd know the plan and how to guard it pretty well.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mmalove ( 919245 )
      I'd daresay we could even "train" for it.


      Videogames do not train you how to shoot a gun. They don't teach you how to handle yourself in a lifethreatening situation. They don't help make you run faster.

      They are a good teambuilding exercise, but certainly not a core piece of developing a person into a deadly machine.

      That said, that title/summary is very very misleading. The article should have been - 8 independant game developers create CS like game with more realistic terrorist target. No where in
  • by Xaroth ( 67516 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:51PM (#16278749) Homepage
    And here I thought that CounterStrike would only train terrorists to lay on the ground, half-dead, shouting "OMG WTF AWP CAMPING FAG!1!1!!". Advanced CounterStrike classes involve running around vandalizing walls with pr0n.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Lord Kano ( 13027 )
      Advanced CounterStrike classes involve running around vandalizing walls with pr0n.

      I used to spray Mr. Goatse with the caption "I fucked you" whenever I'd get a particularly sweet kill.

      • No wonder you got "sweet kills"... 13 year olds were sitting in front of their PCs twitching in horror when they seen that.
  • by spinkham ( 56603 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:12PM (#16279145)
    In a recent report, it was discovered that toilet paper is used by terrorists during training.
    Free yourselves from the potential dangers of terrorism by burning all your TP!
  • by ConfusedSelfHating ( 1000521 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:14PM (#16279179)
    It's designed to inflame Muslim passion against the United States and the Western world. The Iranian government in particular wants to distract its population from the failing economy. The radical president of Iran was elected to fix economic woes, but he has been sidetracked by international conflict. It's also meant as a threat: bomb Iran and we will cut off your oil supply. Only in the mind of Jack Thompson do video games train people to become professional killers.

    I strongly doubt that the Iranians would not use Iranian special forces to accomplish such a mission and instead use a 15 year old kid who played the game two times. Instead they want the kid to join the Iranian military or just shut up about the poor Iranian economy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

      It's also meant as a threat: bomb Iran and we will cut off your oil supply.

      Attacking Iran is quite possibly the worst mistake the U.S. could make.

      Iran wouldn't just bottle up Hormuz, they'd have their extremist buddies throughout the Middle East attacking oil pipelines and refineries. Not to mention they'd start shunting serious money to the insurgents in Iraq & Afghanistan.

      Oil prices would spike, violence would escalate, 2 countries would be further destabilized...

      There's a reason the U.N. is telling A

      • by inKubus ( 199753 )
        Attacking Iran is quite possibly the worst mistake the U.S. could make.

        You assume that our representatives have US in mind. See, while it would be bad for the American People, it would not be bad for say.. the director of an oil company.
    • Is this some satire that went over peoples heads?

      "It's (This story is) designed to inflame American passion against Iran and the Muslim world. The American government in particular wants to distract its population from the failing economy. The radical president of America was elected to fix economic woes, but he has been sidetracked by international conflict."

      Or is that just unintentionally funny... Your post could easily be about the news story about the game and not the actual game itself.

    • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:34PM (#16280807) Homepage
      "The Iranian government in particular wants to distract its population from the failing economy. The radical president of Iran was elected to fix economic woes, but he has been sidetracked by international conflict."

      There are some serious spelling errors here. You misspelled "American" as "Iranian" and "the USA" as "Iran".
  • Train? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khuffie ( 818093 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:18PM (#16279265) Homepage
    Where in the article does it say the game is used to 'train' terrorists? Where does it mention the word 'terrorists' for that matter?

    It's a friggin' game. A lot of US-made games show conflicts in areas in the Middle East. Oooh. Terrorist training!

  • Real Terror (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:20PM (#16279301) Homepage Journal
    Videogames might or might not be used to train "terrorists". Until there's actual evidence of an Iranian training videogame, rather than just scary announcements by a controlled Iranian news organization, all we're sure of is that Iran is threatening to block the straits one way or another.

    Of course, the US has sent a nuclear aircraft carrier, the Enterprise, to the region, possibly to confront Iran directly [] - the Enterprise as instrumental in "Operation Praying Mantis" [], the largest surface naval battle since WWII, between the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf in 1988. So the threats are flying thick and heavy in both directions.

    But this is no videogame. The people who will die and get maimed will be real. Everyone has to look away from the screens and at the reality to see that this story is part of the propaganda war between the US and Iran, and recognize our own roles perpetuating and even escalating it.
    • I had no idea reuters was "a controlled Iranian news organization"..

      • Now who is being naive? Everyone knows the "liberal media" is really controlled by a cabal of fundamentalist Muslims...
      • All of the Reuters info about the game comes from a single Iranian report.

        FTA: "The game, "Counter Strike", invites players to plant two bombs on the oil tanker to sink it and make the strait of Hormuz impassable, the Jomhouri-ye Eslami daily reported."

        Reuters didn't even remark on the videogame called "Counterstrike" so popular in the US and elsewhere. It just picked up an Iranian report, entirely likely just propaganda vaporware, and created a story about it.

        I didn't say that Reuters was "a controlled Ira
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:23PM (#16279371)
    Gentlemen, it's time we declared a war on food.

    For far too long, food has been aiding and abeting terrorists all over the world. It makes them stronger and healthier, keeping them in a dangerously potent condition. Studies conducted throughout history show that as stockpiles of food decrease, the morale and will of an enemy grows lower. We cannot afford to lose this vital tool in the war for freedom.

    I hereby ask all Americans to voluntarily discard any food they are in possession of before it falls into the hands of the terrorists. Food has betrayed us by helping our enemies, and we can show no quarter. Remember, if it's not with us, it's with the terrorists.
  • Could it be that part of the motivation behind this article is the "murder simulator" argument some of the anti-gaming pundits have been trolling around since the Columbine incident? Maybe they're hoping to score points with voters by tying the "terrorism" angle in with the recent rash of school shootings to make their position seem more epic than it really is...
  • I have learned that the preperation and consumption of food based nourishment is an essential part of terrorist training!
    I pray the government will legislate against food ASAP! If you aren't against food, you are for terrorism!
  • So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) < minus cat> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:31PM (#16279483) Journal
    So what?

    The US have plenty of "antiterrorist" video games.

    The US have plenty of nukular weapons.

    Why are the yankees allowed to have video games and not the iranians?

    Why are the yankees allowed to have nukular weapons and not the iranians?

    • by usrusr ( 654450 )
      "as every other people of the world the iranian people have the undeniable right to use violent video games for peaceful purposes!" heh, i want him to say that in some hyped up speech in front of the UN
    • Because Iranians are terrorists that hate freedom and want nothing more than to destroy everyone and everything. While we are freedom loving, do no wrong Americans who are the only ones who can really be trusted to have nukes and killing machines and video games because obviously we'd never use them maliciously or without being provoked, obviously...
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:49PM (#16279839) Journal
    So Iran's government likes a video game about blowing up its enemies' stuff. "America's Army" is a piece of American propaganda about killing its enemies and blowing stuff up. Different enemies, but it's still militarist propaganda. And just because it's from your political opponents doesn't make it terrorism - blowing up civilians to cause fear is terrorism, but blowing up oil tankers to stop your enemies from having access to oil is just war. Back during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, Iraq couldn't ship oil through the Gulf because of Iranian attacks on ships - most of it went by truck down through Jordan.


    In contrast, Doom is about blowing up monsters while remembering not to use the rocket launcher in enclosed spaces, and you get to use cool weapons like a BFG-9000.

    • by phorm ( 591458 )
      Is America's Army open source? Perhaps we can give the source to both, let the two happily modify it for "training" or whatever stupid purpose they come up with, and then in the end we have a really good, open, free FPS :-)
  • CTs can use it to train too.
  • So does this mean that the U.S. Army is training terrorists because they have produced this video game []?

    (For those thinking to mod me Troll or Flamebait, look up the word sarcasm)

  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:05PM (#16280193)
    Why are people in such an uproar about this acting as if Iranians can't play Counter Strike? There's a lot of clueless folks commenting on this...

    As for a potential cultural aspect of this? I'm sure some Islamic groups make an uproar anytime Muslims are shown as "terrorists" in popular western games. It happens on both sides, just because you only see one side of it doesn't mean that the other side is sitting still.

    For God's sake, these are the same people who burn churches and embasseys when a cartoon comes out of their main prophet, do you really think CS missions like Arab Streets simply go by unnoticed in their culture.

    The bottom line is that no one is banning a single thing (that takes care of about 20% of the posts I've read so far), no one is doing anything different today than they have in the past and...


    Let's not take this too seriously. There's nothing substantial to see here aside from people who are making this into something that it simply isn't.
  • They're using Counter Strike to train???
    Awesome. I couldn't ask for a better combat simulation... except maybe frogger.
    So now we'll have to be on the lookout for terrorists standing hovering in the air with 1" of their feet touching hanging signs, making 100yd headshots with Mac10s, and never using grenades since they only kill in about a 5-10' radius? Or maybe they'll just buy an AWM and shoot it into the side of a mountain our guys are behind, hoping to hit one with the amazing 50' of stone-penetrating .3
  • by brennz ( 715237 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:10PM (#16280305)
    CS is nothing like real life.

    First of all, lets talk about weapons.
    M249 SAW, IRL this is the best weapon at the squad level. High cylic rate, accuracy like an M240 but light enough to easily run with, has a bipod. Great for 3-5 round bursts. You could say that an M4/M16 with an M203 attached might be overall more versatile, but still not so great at killing people. In CS, an M249 is the worst weapon you can choose, IRL the best. Don't argue with me on this, I've shot in excess of 10,000 rounds using an M60, and several thousands using both the m16, m4, m249 and M240G (was a machine gunner while active duty).

    CS teaches people nothing about trigger pulling, breathing, good shooting form, proper ways to rush, pegging a target, etc. There is no concept of rolling in CS, no idea of the prone position, and the list goes on and on.

    CS teaches nothing about operating at the true squad tactics in urban/MOUT operations.

    Night vision in CS? lol. The US is so experienced at night ops, we actually want to do operations then.

    Tactics? jump in, bunny hop, squat shoot strafe, squat shoot. I'd love to see some fundies try that against the US marines/army. They'll get those 40 virgins alot sooner lol.

    Iran should keep in mind, their core competentcy is in terrorism and spouting anti-semetic hogwash, not confronting enemies in a real state vs. state conflict on the battlefield. It isn't like Israel is ready to drop the bomb on them already.

  • To prepare for the next desert storm?
  • Counter-Strike?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guysmiley777 ( 880063 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:19PM (#16280467)
    Soooo, we can expect terrorists to be trying to snipe while doing a crouching bunny-hop? I guess it will at least make them easier to spot...

    I'd think a better "training" tool would be a Rainbow Six/Rogue Spear type game, where the object is to succeed without the enemy getting a shot off.

    This is total FUD BS. Oh noes! Teh terrorists are using verbal speech to perfect their terrorist tactics!!! Must ban verbal speech!!!1!
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:23PM (#16280533)
    Yes, it's well known that Iran wants to close the Strait of Hormuz as a wartime retalliation to a preemptive US attack. I'm quite sure they're training for this now. However, we're talking about a mission of the Iranian national army, not some plain-clothed terrorists. And you can believe me, the government of Iran has much better resources for simulation and training than Counterstrike.

    As for terrorist groups, the tactical mission of closing the Strait of Hormuz is completely out of reach, and even if it weren't, how's Counterstrike going to help them plan? I imagine that sea-borne terrorists would use light boats or diving gear and place improvised mines into the narrow shipping lanes. So how do you propose they use Counterstrike to plan their mission?

    Right, you have no idea. That's because this story, like many others, gets written before anybody thinks about it. This is written simply because it fits the convenient script according to which "They're evil and they're plotting" - which is scare tactic that's supposed to make it easier for us to abandon our freedoms and turn them over to the government.

  • Counter Strike?? If you want to teach terrorists the fine art of teabagging...

    Why hasn't anyone made a stink about "America's Army"? I remember thinking that game was so cool because we could go online and find real soldiers using real military tactics that we could test our skillz against. (Then I realized they were so predictable, they sucked worse than 10 year old noobs and the game got dull.) Wouldn't a game that teaches western combat doctrine with players from the real military be a much more effecti
  • Bin Laden ordered Al-Qaeda to attack oil facilities several years ago. To date, the attacks consist of an attempt to drive two cars through the outer perimeter fence of a Saudi oil refinery. [] Two suicide bombers set off their explosives and started a small fire, which was quickly put out.

  • Sadly, I can see this sort of story being used to make an endrun around constitutional free speech protections in the name of national security. I wouldn't at all be surprised to see the likes of Jack Thompson take this approach once the "video games are harmful to children" approach to banning/restricting games runs its course in the courts.
  • I mean, really, are we afraid of fat, lazy, anti-social islamic facists who live in the basement of their parents' tent? I guess their next tactic will be to bring down our economy by downloading MP3s instead of buying the CDs.
  • If all the terrorists are using is Counter Strike and as_oilrig ... I already feel safer.

    Maybe we can show them how to boost through the ceiling. It would be fun to watch Ashad trying to boost his fellow mate through the ceiling :)
  • Flight Simulator (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:28PM (#16281935) Homepage Journal
    In all seriousness, I used to spend a lot of time on Flight Simulator trying to fly my plane between the two towers of the World Trade Center. It's a lot harder than you might think. Hitting the corner of one of the towers head on must be even harder.
  • Is Jack Thompson around? Anywhere?

  • F#$% Reuters for running this lame ass article with no context, poor research, and sinister implications.

    I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that we're talking about a multi-player game here.

    How many such games produced in the west allow you to kill Muslims/Arabs/Chinese/Vietnamese/Germans/etc... and blow up their strategic assets?

    How many of the gamers who play those games give an ideological shit which side they're playing on? (that's a good question, but I suspect that in the West, and certain

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