Terrifying Vision of a Devastated America

Eric writes: "Alex, please look into this one" -- Al-Qaeda's terrifying vision of a devastated America in the wake of a nuclear attack.

According to the Daily Mail article, a computer-generated image of what Washington DC would look like after a nuclear attack was recently posted on an Islamic extremist website. Simultaneously, there have been rumors circulating suggesting that "the FBI was warning that an Al Qaeda video was about to be released urging militants to use weapons of mass destruction to attack the West."

Turns out that the FBI hasn't issued such a warning. Nor is the picture of Washington in ruins an Al-Qaeda creation. It's actually a piece of concept art that was used to promote the game Fallout 3, from Bethesda Softworks. Shacknews.com reports:

The artwork was released as part of Bethesda's early promotional campaigns for Fallout 3, which takes place in and around the Washington, D.C. area decades after a nuclear catastrophe. The image appeared on the Daily Mail's website under the headline "Al-Qaeda's terrifying vision of a devastated America in the wake of a nuclear attack."...
The image also appeared on the Australian news outlet News.com.au, citing terror watchdog organization SITE Intel as having released the image "which reportedly appeared on an Islamist forum."
Though several members of the press have since pointed out the gaffe, neither the Daily Mail nor News.com.au have updated their stories with corrections or retractions of the claim.

What occurs to me, when I look at the picture, is how unlikely it is that the Capitol Building would survive a nuclear attack. Growing up in DC, I always heard that the one building in the city most likely to survive a nuclear bomb would be the National Cathedral since its walls are massively thick.

Hate Crimes/Terror Photos

Posted on Mon Jun 02, 2008


That is what defines the picture though not too many would recognize it as D.C. without that landmark.
Posted by N E O  on  Mon Jun 02, 2008  at  04:36 PM
nitpick : it's devAstated
Posted by P.falc  on  Mon Jun 02, 2008  at  07:25 PM
Thanks, P.falc. Corrected.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Jun 02, 2008  at  10:43 PM
I'd actually seen those pictures before (having toured the Fallout 3 site).. Frankly, there's some really nifty concepts for a post-apocalyptic world that I'll be stealing for our Gamma World campaign.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Tue Jun 03, 2008  at  01:38 AM
See also http://kotaku.com/5011945/site-refutes-fallout-3-goof-is-not-red+faced

'SITE reported to its subscribers that extremists posted the image to a password-protected forum affiliated with al-Qaeda. This is entirely accurate... This report in its entirety is also completely accurate.'
Posted by Robert Seddon  on  Tue Jun 03, 2008  at  03:26 AM
Looks like the pictures of devasatated new York in Heroes. Also like a documentary about what the Earth will look like after people have died out/left/ascended/whereever we go, that had footage of famous buildings collapsing. In fact, this could have been done by just anyone BUT Al-Qaeda, who's videos are always really crap and have no special effects at all. I mean, the set is a flag!
Posted by Nona  on  Tue Jun 03, 2008  at  06:27 AM
So, is anybody investigating Bethesda Software for promoting extremist terrorism?

Just asking.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Wed Jun 04, 2008  at  09:07 AM
My first thought on seeing the picture was also that the Capitol would not be likely to be the only thing still standing in the neighborhood. It was (poorly) built in stages over about 100 years (they kept running out of money), and nowadays it is constantly undergoing structural repairs to keep it from falling down. It looks nice, though.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Wed Jun 04, 2008  at  09:10 AM
Interesting to note is that the dome of the capital is not made of concrete as it appears. Technology of the time mad it impossible to build a dome as tall and narrow without inner supports.

It is actually made of cast iron, painted white.

Posted by Dan Sz.  on  Wed Jun 04, 2008  at  10:06 AM
The picture reminds me of pictures of London during the Blitz - the dome of St Paul's cathedral standing triumphant amidst the devastation. (Well, it could have given someone the idea ...)
Posted by Dale irwin  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  10:13 PM
This picture is impossibly Beautifull.
Posted by GoJo  on  Tue Apr 14, 2009  at  07:23 PM
yes but il'kill'ya is most definately a washington creation

Done at the height of the ussr-afgani war for approx 15 billion dollars....american tax dollars at work and reagans darkest legacy
Posted by paolo capelugi  on  Tue Jul 31, 2012  at  09:37 AM
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