Al Qaeda’s Vision Of Devastated Journalism

Nevada is laid to waste. The desert is a blackened, smoking ruin. Vegas has been razed. Countless thousands are dead.

This is the apocalyptic scene terrorists hope to create if they ever get their hands on a nuclear bomb. The computer generated image below was posted on an Islamic extremists’ Bebo page yesterday.


It appeared as rumours spread the Internet that the FBI, CIA and MFI were warning that an Al Qaeda video was about to be released urging militants to use weapons of mass destruction to attack the West. The information was said to be coming from ‘groups that pay very little attention to which website they’re reading’.

The FBI was quick to point out that it had not issued any warning, that the video was not an official Al Qaeda release, and that there is no truth to this story on any level. Importantly, we are printing it despite this and stating that it is real, in order to sell newspapers.

U.S analysts we made up said a lot of effort has been put into the video we haven’t seen and don’t link to. The same expertise seems to have gone into creating this image of a devastated Nevada.

Last night FBI sources we like to think we have contact details for said Al Qaeda was desperate to get its hands on Fallout 3, and couldn’t wait for Autumn.

So far that is only a dream… or, as this picture suggests, a demonstration of how contemptuously useless we are at reporting news, caring only about scaremongering and making up any rubbish we like rather than doing even the most elementary research.


  1. Jeremy says:

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Laugh, probably, because it’s not from an American outlet.

    Btw, awesome post.

  2. Donald Duck says:

    Why do you even read the Daily mail? Stick to The Guardian, Le Monde or something else that actually has intelligent life writing the stories.

  3. GiGinge says:

    I disagree the Daily Mail is quite hilarious (if it wasn’t so scary) to read mainly to see who they’re blaming this time (music/teachers/immigrants/pedophiles/rapists/benefit cheats/violent videogames/all of the above)

  4. Ging says:

    An Oz paper picked it up too, not sure who ran with the story first though (they both appeared on the 29th).

    It amuses.

  5. John Walker says:

    Mr Duck – I do not read the Daily Mail. I do, however, pay attention when it does something this stupid. And no, it wasn’t alone. It was all sourced from an organisation called SITE, as Kotaku reports here:

    link to

  6. The_B says:

    I think it’s a head to wall moment for all journalists everywhere…

  7. Cunningbeef says:

    Fallout 3… So very harrowing…

  8. Jochen Scheisse says:

    SITE themselves, who characterize themselves as “a leading provider of intelligence to governments” (insert joke), have already put a statement online:

    Read it here

  9. The Shed says:

    It did sound far too un-PC to be any remotely serious or truth-based issue, thanks terrormongerers. Jesus Christ.

  10. Nick says:

    “It’s terrible”, one reporter was heard to say, “Like Oblivion.. with guns..”

  11. Donald Duck says:

    Mr. Walker – Ha that’s pretty funny. I just figured the Daily Mail made a big deal over something they read on some blog. Didn’t realize it came from an organization that deals specifically with online terrorist activity.
    EDIT – OK so absolutely not SITEs fault then.

  12. dishwasherlove says:

    Nice work with the parody RPS. Wasteland is awesome.

  13. someone says:

    Well done!

  14. Albides says:

    Jim Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by people who actually do run the country; The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; The Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; And the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
    Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?
    Bernard Woolley: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

    It is hilarious though. And I can’t help thinking it would give armloads of comedy show material, like variations of “Hitler was a failed artist” jokes and sketches involving stern politicians saying “we do not negotiate with terrorists, nor do we conduct dialogues with confrontational art”.

  15. Kitt Basch says:

    I think it’s all a façade. The level of “unintentional” hilarity Daily Mail achieve in a major national newspaper borders on comedy genius.
    Have a look at these:
    link to

  16. James T says:

    “It’s terrible”, one reporter was heard to say, “Like Oblivion.. with guns..”


  17. Tomzor! says:

    It’s not just the daily mail. The telegraph and Washington Post are turd papers too.

  18. Albides says:

    An expert had this to say. “Well, due to the hadith against representations of living things, muslim fundamentalists have really cornered the market on post-apocalyptic art…”

  19. Andrew Armstrong says:

    Of course it was partially SITE’s fault. They put up the image, which shouldn’t be on their site in the first place. I mean, what’s next, we get them posting all the game related devastation artwork put up in some “password protected terrorist forum”?!

    They’re the scaremongers posting up game images for no apparent reason. That’s not intelligence, it’s rubbish.

  20. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Eh, but scaremongering is their game. Can’t everyone heal the lepers for a living. At least they didn’t lie – the picture is about as related to terrorism as google, because terrorists (or rather people sympathizing with/using the boards of terrorists) used it.

  21. Dracko says:

    Did you just call the Guardian intelligent, Donald? Honestly?

  22. Stuk says:

    Did anyone else get this “advert” on the Daily Mail page: link to , which links to the Press Complaints Commission? Coincidence? I think not… :)

  23. Muzman says:

    This is great, churnalism at its best. You’d think someone at some stage would ask what the big deal was; “Yes they want to destroy Washington DC, yes we knew that. Does this suggest they have the means at all or anything relevant?”
    “It’s worse than that. It means they’ve got Photoshop! Psychological warfare! And this is only the beginning!. Terrorist inspired You’reTheManNowDogs could sap our collective will to fight. God help us if they find lensflare. The CIA is rushing in to production at great expense fake warez Arabic versions of photoshop with all the commands badly translated and mixed up. That should buy us a week or two.”

  24. Kieron Gillen says:

    They’ve been known to give me money. That implies they’re not entirely without brains.


  25. Sideath says:

    link to

    Heh. That would explain the lack of comments.

  26. James says:

    In Australia, we save all our best idiotic hysteria and lack of basic research for our current affairs shows. Current holder of the title is the all-powerful Today Tonight.

    On a less tangential note, however, that’s one pretty looking screenshot. I mean, it’s not certainly not representative of in-game footage, but wow…

  27. Alex says:

    They’ve been known to give me money. That implies they’re not entirely without brains.

    That could work just as easily against you, you know… only joking! Here, have a smiley :D !

    Love that little detail of SITE being situated in Bethesda.

  28. Jochen Scheisse says:

    It’s not a screenshot, it’s concept art.

  29. Nick says:

    Terrorist concept art.

  30. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Improvised Terrorist Concept Art (ITCA).

  31. Fleimur says:

    Just be thankful they didn’t find any pictures from Wasteland, that would have been really scary

  32. Verdugo says:

    Oh wow.

  33. mandaya says:

    I wonder why Boingboing didn’t pick this up. I – and I guess many others – suggested this story, but they didn’t move a muscle. I guess Cory needed the space for another “Little Brother”-reading announcement. :-)

  34. Zuffox says:

    Why is your post not yellow background-ified, Kieron? Have you been dethroned from the merry, pink candy kingdom of RPS-land?

  35. John Walker says:

    His admission meant he was automatically fired.

  36. Thingus says:

    I find the fact that the Telegraph reported it first funniest, implying that the Fail reporter (no offense meant, RPS team) probably just read the article and rewrote it in their own words.

    I read Private Eye :D

  37. Donald Duck says:

    Dracko – Honestly, yes, touch my heart and feel for yourself/hope to die. Any newspaper that has Charlie Brooker as a regular writer gets my official seal of approval/Greenland.

  38. Mike says:

    I say we send the SAS into Bethseda, just to make sure.

  39. MarvintheParanoidAndroid says:

    Oh, the Daily Mail… always there when you need something to make you despair at the human race.

    I feel all superior for reading the Guardian now.

  40. Taximan says:

    Craig Mullins works for Jihadists! World-reknown Hawaii-based concept artist plots destructive attacks on US Capital.

  41. Muzman says:

    Is it Mullins? I thought it might be but there’s a lot of guys looking like him these days.

  42. Ed says:

    Mr Duck – I do not read the Daily Mail.

    Yeah. Unless it’s got 40 pictures of Kylie, anyway.

  43. Ryan says:

    Funny. Onion worthy.

  44. James G says:

    I never know whether to laugh or cry at the Mail (Wail, Fail, Heil, or whatever nickname you decide to go with). It stories are often so far over the top, that they would seem like parodys if they appeared anywhere else. Then again I am a bleeding heart, cardigan wearing, hummous eating, Grauniad reader, so I suppose it is only natural that the Mail is my sworn enemy. (As I’m sure I am of them. Although being straight, white, male and British means that I’m probably not near the top of their hit-list.)

  45. John Walker says:

    Edward, that’s a terrible lie and you know it. But I especially liked the flight attendant who so sincerely apologised to me when I questioned the Daily Mail as the only available paper. (Er, that’s enough inside comments).

  46. Ed says:

    True, true. Well, okay, you ‘peer over’ when it has 40 pictures of pop’s chameleon. And – oh look! – I appear to have (dramatically) misspelt ‘perv’.

  47. caesarbear says:

    How long before “All your base are belong to us” becomes the cry of support for Jihadist terror?

  48. Erik Novales says:

    That picture is of the Ag Center silo in Wasteland, no? You should have used a screenshot of Needles after going crazy with the howitzer…at least that would have some dodgy rubble sprites in it.

  49. Acosta says:

    My commentary to this Pullitzer worthy piece of journalism:

    “So, terrorists are using official art of a commercial videogame to illustrate their “nightmare” (link to If they are cheap enough to not make their own illustrations, I wouldn’t worry too much about their capacity to destroy the world.

    In any case, dear Mr Wigmore, are you completely sure this image is part of a scary internet discussion of islamist militants dreaming to nuke the white house? Have you considered that yours facts are actually wrong and this image belongs to a discussion about a videogame, and has nothing to do with terrorism, at all?

    Maybe you should consider it.


    Is not like it’s going to pass their filter. They are probably better controlling the user’s posts than getting their facts straight, but hopefully if they receive more commentaries like this one, they will feel just little of professional embarrassment.

  50. Birdoman says:

    link to – a good, and terribly depressing read about the state of the media.