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Censorship The Military

Military Steps Up War On Blogs 338

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-post-don't-read dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The military's war on blogs, first reported last spring, is picking up. Now the Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read. One senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so 'utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.'"
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Military Steps Up War On Blogs

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  • by esocid (946821) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:25PM (#22592444) Journal
    Is Bush going to come out in a month and give a 'mission accomplished' speech after we defeat all the blogs?
  • by cyberworm (710231) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (mrowrebyc)> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:25PM (#22592448) Homepage
    He should read the blogs that are out there... I see this as a way to keep military personnel from losing intelligence.

  • by Stanistani (808333)
    >One senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so 'utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.'

    Presumably he didn't post that on his blog...
  • by frietbsd (943773) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:31PM (#22592508)
    First the embedded reporters disappeared, how can we get any thrustworthy information about the battlefield now? can't we handle the truth?
    • Vietnam lessons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:41PM (#22592608) Homepage Journal
      Looks like they learned something from Vietnam after all.

      The American public is very happy to support war so long as 'war' is sort of an abstract thing happening "over there". They're more than happy to 'support the troops' and make grand speeches about the trials and tribulations and the suffering of "our boys overseas"--so long as they don't -see- it.

      Once any given generation -sees- the dirty, bloody, nasty physical reality of war--the coffins coming home, the frontline reports with people getting blown up on camera, the interviews with the troops who have been worn down by months of stress--they stop supporting the 'cause' and start making ugly noises about bringing the troops home.

      So they started with disguising the casualties--excluding people from photographing the coffins. No highly visible casualties? Then any losses are, for everyone outside the families--families that are, by and large, "in" the establishment itself (base housing and that sort of thing)--abstract. Just numbers.

      Then quietly weed out the embedded reporters. Reasons of security, you know. Have to make sure the press stays 'safe'.

      And now making sure that there's as little other information exchange between the armed services and the outside world as possible.

      It's all to be expected, really.
      • Re:Vietnam lessons (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mister Whirly (964219) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:20PM (#22593074) Homepage
        Exactly. If there is one thing the armed forces learned from Vietnam it is control the information given out by the press. I remember a general's response to the question of why dead bodies and such were not allowed to be shown in the US was something like "If we let the public see what was really happening, to see dead bodies and destruction, they would never support the war."
        To me it sounded like the best reason FOR showing the pictures.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by PRDS (1009871)
          To me, it makes sense to block these sites for the sake of OPSEC. If I post on a blog saying "6 B-52s are flying into Lajes Field tomorrow" that is an OPSEC indicator that could be used, along with other information, to piece together what a mission is possibly going to entail. It may give an enemy [who also use this "internet" thing BTW] a picture into operations. Its easy enough to get information in our modern world, and the last thing they need is help from insiders, who eagerly and innocently, who want
      • by MrSteveSD (801820)
        It's true that western militaries are much better at media management now. Aside from preventing journalists from seeing bad things, they can also use the embedding to ensure that the journalist talks to the right people. For example, they can take a journalist to see particular individuals in an Afghan village who miraculously all think the US or UK military are great.

        The idea of embedded journalism goes beyond the military though. The journalist Pepe Escobar recently coined the term "Embedded With Powe
      • by sheldon (2322)
        Well, this is the "lesson" the Bush administration thinks they learned from Vietnam. But isn't it interesting how it's not really working? 70% of the nation is ready to pull out of Iraq.

        The American public will support a war which is either necessary, or we are winning. But if the war is not necessary, and we are not winning, then there will be a demand to get out.

        A big mistake from Vietnam, is using rhetoric to try to convince the American people that the War of Choice is actually a War of Necessity. E
      • by jcnnghm (538570)
        War has gotten to be incredibly politically expensive. I wonder if we would have entered WWI or WWII if we had the extensive media coverage then that we have now. WWI in particular was quite nasty with the gas, artillery, and charges into machine gun fire. I don't think a conflict with that kind of destruction of human life would last months, let alone years, with the current coverage.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by baboo_jackal (1021741)

        The American public is very happy to support war so long as 'war' is sort of an abstract thing happening "over there". They're more than happy to 'support the troops' and make grand speeches about the trials and tribulations and the suffering of "our boys overseas"--so long as they don't -see- ... the dirty, bloody, nasty physical reality of war.

        And that's why the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who willingly volunteer to fight the wars that preserve our right to dissent and protest ought to be lauded as heroes. If you're one of those reprehensible citizens who choose to impugn them by calling them stupid, ignorant, or whatever makes you feel better about yourself for simultaneously enjoying something and also stating that the manner in which it's provided is horrible, the nagging feeling that keeps you up at night is the truth that thos

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Digi-John (692918)
      Yes, the embedded reporters...
      "I'm here in a bunker outside of Baghdad, and while I don't really know anything about military operations, I can assure you that there is a lot of noise out here. Let me sketch a little map in the sand to show you where we're gonna move next..."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LoofWaffle (976969)
      They've "disappeared" because it is far less newsworthy to see the military perform its daily peacekeeping mission than it is to see who got cut from American Idol. Personally, I'm glad there are fewer battlefield correspondents because out military has a hard enough time looking out for themselves, let alone civilians trying to capture the most sensational camera angle. As for being able to handle the truth, the answer is 'no' we can't, which is why we find solace in who got cut from American Idol.
    • by couchslug (175151)
      Battlefield? From the Air Force? ROFL...

      IMO they more likely don't want attention whores posting with their name and rank rather than trying to censor anything that might be embarrassing that actually happens in war. Typical USAF deployed life is probably the most comfortable in military history for the VAST majority of airmen. Full Metal Jacket it ain't!
  • by Lucas123 (935744) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:32PM (#22592520) Homepage
    Bullets are ineffective and dropping a high voltage electrical wire onto blobs doesn't do anything. In fact, it sets diners on fire. A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is the best way to stop ... oh, wait. You said 'blog'. Sorry.
  • Land of the Free. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:33PM (#22592532)
    It's ironic that in the "Land of the Free" by joining the organization tasked with defending it you lose your Freedom to virtually congregate and by extension freedom of thought among peers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Xelios (822510)
      Land of the free indeed. Just yesterday I was trying to read a blog about the wiretapping progr--- TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED - ERROR CODE 403
    • Quick correction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by keineobachtubersie (1244154) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#22592708)
      "you give away your Freedom to virtually congregate and by extension freedom of thought among peers."

      The distinction is important, and not just semantically.

      And I can't figure out how you think they're losing "freedom of thought", as far as I'm aware, the military has no way to know what you're thinking (I hope...) so that part of your post really doesn't make any sense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by headkase (533448)
        Because it was based on the summary alone I wish my response was better. As to Freedom of Thought, original thinking is the exception not the rule when it comes to interacting with complex situations. We let others preprocess the minutae into various interpretations and then like chinese food we choose a little from column A and a bit from column B. So by limiting the opinions someone is exposed to then you are also limiting the opinions they can build off of the exposure or in effect censuring how their
      • by timeOday (582209)

        And I can't figure out how you think they're losing "freedom of thought", as far as I'm aware, the military has no way to know what you're thinking
        Simple, because you can't process information you cannot access.
      • by morari (1080535)
        It's pretty simple. Anyone that joins the armed forces doesn't think.

        Last time I checked, it's my own government that distresses me and tries its best to keep me down. Never once has any Muslim extremist bothered me personally. The U.S. government does so every single day though.

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:02PM (#22592868) Homepage Journal
      and repercussions for going over the line.

      I think the important part is that people forget that when you join the military (ex Air Force here) you give up a lot of your rights. You do so willingly. You do so with the expectation that it is for the common good. Don't take this as an ego trip, but for me today's soldiers are the people I look up to. To willfully put yourself in harms way in support of others, the majority of which will never know your sacrifice, is to be a true hero. Not some insipid hollyweird starlet, some sports player, or the latest American idol. These soldiers are of the same stock as firemen and policeman. They step up so the rest of us don't have to. Yet we don't always respect their contribution or what they give up. Some of them might not fully understand the later but I put this as coming from a society of entitlement viewpoint that comes to a screeching halt when you join.

      So while I do not find too much wrong in limiting what they can say, especially with the fact that enemy of the day has near instant access to it, I think it does deserve a good amount of thought before it goes too far into restrictive. I know my friends letters from the first Desert Storm were monitored but that was easy to do, all mail went through the military. With the internet a big exposure is created and any attempt to close it appears as an affront. It is, but its one voluntarily entered. The military cannot afford to be all open and exposed. It doesn't work well in that environment. A good military works best when it can control the variables. There are some it can and this is one area where it can do something. Your there to do a job and the people around you don't need extra risk because you slipped up.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by pembo13 (770295)
        Well, from what I have heard (and I would like to emphasize this is just what I heard) quite a large number of recruits only join for lack of any other viable options in life. Also, it is a fast track road to citizenship. It isn't what I would generally consider "willingly".
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by morari (1080535)

          Well, from what I have heard (and I would like to emphasize this is just what I heard) quite a large number of recruits only join for lack of any other viable options in life.

          This is true. This is also why the large majority of recruits are some of the least educated, and come from lower class demographics. People that have a chance in life and plan to do something with themselves aren't as willing to give it away to line the pockets of politicians. It's ironic really, that they citizens most abused by the government are almost always the very ones tricked into defending it with their own blood.

      • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:35PM (#22593248) Homepage Journal
        If something is truly a right, an inalienable right, then it cannot be given, taken or surrendered. Those things that are given or taken are called privileges. A parent can grant or withdraw privileges from their children, for example, but cannot withdraw those children's rights. (Thus, countries that withdraw privileges are quite literally "nanny states".)

        The question is, is free speech actually a right or is it merely a privilege that the privileged are granted? If it is the former, then that is absolute and inviolate. There's no two ways about it. If it is the latter, then yes, certain jobs may withdraw certain privileges that would be granted to others.

        What you can't have is it both ways. I honestly don't care which American society wants to define it as being, as it is using an ambiguous interpretation that is far too often more about convenience than about standards in life. Less ambiguity, even if more restrictive, can't be any worse.

      • I think the important part is that people forget that when you join the military (ex Air Force here) you give up a lot of your rights. You do so willingly.

        Except when you're drafted.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mr. Slippery (47854)

        To willfully put yourself in harms way in support of others, the majority of which will never know your sacrifice, is to be a true hero.

        That depends on what "others" one is supporting, now, doesn't it?

        To put yourself in harm's way in support of innocent people, to defend them against aggression, is indeed heroic.

        To put yourself in harm's way to carry out an aggression in support of someone's political or economic interests is to be at best a sucker who mistakenly thinks he's supporting innocents, an

      • by nbert (785663)
        Even though I'm very pacifist* in my beliefs and curriculum (there's still a general draft in my country but I decided to help the disabled to make up for it, which is possible), I totally agree with your viewpoint. The only problem I see is that any technical solution will be overridden by anyone with computer skills, thereby rendering any measures in that direction counterproductive.

        I just studied in China for a term and I was really worried about access to my usual news sources, which were blocked by t
    • by copponex (13876)
      This has never been the Land of the Free. There's always exceptions. People have fought and died to free Native Americans, blacks, women, immigrants, all of whom live inside the United States. We haven't had true equality among our own citizens - and I mean, in a purely legal capacity - until the 70s. Even now, Native American reservations aren't truly sovereign, as they are supposed to be.

      Anyone who thinks the American military gives a shit about anyone's rights hasn't been paying attention. These are the
      • now tell us how the track record of the usa on freedom in your mind compares to the track record on freedom of any other major power in the world at present and throughout history

        no one expects the usa to be perfect, but it receives higher marks than most. well, i said no one expects the usa to be perfect, that's not true... there's you
        • America does not have to be a superpower in order to be a democracy. In fact, forming a global empire is as far from a constitutional republic as a nation can get.

          Let's ask your question in a different way: Is there any country with more disregard for basic human rights than the United States or our "coalition" on the War on Terror?

          Which, coincidentally, we are winning for the terrorists?
          • i would say most countries have worse freedoms and rights than the usa... for its citizens

            and the usa DOES project its use of force...

            against really vile regimes

            what's the matter with that?

            the top poster complains about a number of countries the usa picked on during the cold war. as if those crimes happened in a vacuum, without the ussr doing anything bad on the other side. not that that excuses the usa's cold war crimes, i just think it's intellectually dishonest to complain so vociferously about the usa,
            • by copponex (13876) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @05:50PM (#22594224) Homepage
              I can't even scream this loudly enough if you were here in person. China is a communist dictatorship which I have no control over. Russia is a pseudo-democratic dictatorship that I have no control over. When my government is doing evil, I complain bitterly about it. What good does bitching about China or Iran do? Absolutely nothing! Which is the only thing these so called pundits and reporters do - bitch about things that we cannot control, while ignoring the fact that WE have a part to play in our own destiny.

              Vile regimes? How about Saudi Arabia? How about Pakistan? How about our One China policy? You completely missed the point of my first post. America does not care if you're a vile regime, as long as you do what we tell you to do. That's why Saddam had our public support - we removed him from our Terrorist States list in the early 80s so we could sell him weapons. Weapons which he used to exterminate hundreds of thousands of people, which didn't bother us in the slightest. Like the slaughter of the people of East Timor, also in the hundreds of thousands, didn't even cause us to stop selling weapons to Indonesia.

              You are paying attention to the smoke and the mirrors, and not the real issues. This is not a pissing contest. This is a matter of injustice, and what we can do about it. So, if saying that the US is as good as Russia helps you sleep at night, by all means, get back in front of the TV and tuck in. Celebrate your freedom by doing fuck all. Trust the government. Ignore the fact that the president today is asking the public to provide immunity to telcos to spy on the public. Ignore the blood in the streets in Baghdad. Ignore the cries of injustice in the inner city. Ignore the fact that we spend more money on the military than any other expenditure in our budget, and more than any other country by any measurement (per capita, GDP, whatever.)

              The sad thing is, you are the perfect American citizen. Because you are listless, thoughtless, you follow orders, and you ask no questions. If this sounds familiar to communist ideals, perhaps that should be alarming?
    • by couchslug (175151)
      The military already blocks many sites from viewing by base personnel. They presumably don't block Slashdot because so many geeks like to view it. They don't filter personal internet accounts (dorm dwellers pay for civilian internet service like anyone else) and those don't go through their base firewall. For example, personal internet access in South Korea is through Korean ISPs. No filtering, no attempts to enforce RIAA nonsense on base, nada.

      The "freedom to virtually congregate" does not apply to work co
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by qoncept (599709)
      Ever read the Uniform Code of Military Justice? You don't lose it. You waive it. Along with many other things. Did I mention how happy I am to be out?
    • by ElMiguel (117685)

      It's ironic that in the "Land of the Free" by joining the organization tasked with defending it you lose your Freedom to virtually congregate and by extension freedom of thought among peers.

      It's not any more ironic than if you have a McDonald's hamburger and you don't love it. Nowadays "land of the free" is just a self-congratulatory slogan with no substance.

  • by Osurak (1013927) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:35PM (#22592540)
    The article is posted on http://blog.wired.com/ [wired.com] and is therefore blocked by the filter it's complaining about.
    • From what I can tell here at McChord, the filter for key words in the URL. "blog", "webmail", and so on.
  • by e03179 (578506) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:35PM (#22592546) Homepage
    How many hundreds of hours of training do warfighters get on the operation and maintenance of their M16 rifle?

    How many hours of training do they get on the topics of personal publishing, viral marketing, and information security awareness in today's age of instant global communication?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by console0 (896579)

      How many hundreds of hours of training do warfighters get on the operation and maintenance of their M16 rifle?
      If we are talking about the Air Force here, about two. And I don't mean two hundred.
    • In the Air Force, we get quite a bit of it, most of it useless. To the people I work with, learning about trojans and phishing is like teaching a group of cheerleaders the finer points of magnetohydrodynamics. It isn't that they aren't smart, but the way of thinking that geeks take for granted just doesn't correlate to how most people think. I'm talking about logic, induction, deduction, critical thinking, etc. To most people, someone who understands the windows registry or how to set up a firewall is an ex
  • by Ophion (58479) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:35PM (#22592552)
    -hand brandishing egg over skillet-
    -crack-
    -sizzle-

    This is your brain on blogs.

  • Same as letters home (Score:5, Informative)

    by esocid (946821) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:37PM (#22592564) Journal

    The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned.
    Is that not what they do when soldiers write letters? I thought the military screens, and sometimes redacts parts of letters that reveal information that they don't think should be freely disclosed. But the summary goes a little far. The soldiers aren't limited to what blogs they can read. It simply limits which ones they can register for and/or post info. I would hope this is limited to military personnel and not journalists who are with soldiers.
    This does however remind me of that story a while back about soldiers trading pretty grotesque pictures [cnn.com] for access to pr0n sites.
    • RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

      by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:53PM (#22592750)
      How is it that the summary goes a little far by directly quoting the article? Unless the article is completely wrong, this is about limiting which blogs can be read.
      • by esocid (946821)
        whoops, didn't even see that second link. my bad, it must have been blocked by the military when I first browsed it. well then it is granted that the military is going way too far to "protect" the morale? or prevent them from viewing possible dissension about the war.

        "Often, we block first and then review exceptions," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, a Cyber Command spokesman.

        Nice policy there. Why allow unbiased info to get through that filter when you can just carpet bomb it all without batting an eye

    • But the summary goes a little far. The soldiers aren't limited to what blogs they can read. It simply limits which ones they can register for and/or post info.

      Here at McChord, that's not true in a practical sense. They filter for key words in the URL such as "blog" and "webmail" and several others. Also, spacific sites *are* blocked, while "friendly" blogs may not be. Also, well known proxies are blocked, as are most p2p, torrent, mp3, and other media sites.

      At least that's my experience here.

  • by Wandering Wombat (531833) <mightyjalapeno.gmail@com> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:40PM (#22592590) Homepage Journal
    ... when I clicked "Read More", I was told the article was unavailable. That's FAST censorship!
  • So lets list 'em... (Score:4, Informative)

    by i.r.id10t (595143) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:40PM (#22592598)
    So lets list our favorites, or good ones, or whatever...

    http://michaelyon-online.com/ [michaelyon-online.com] - embedded reporter with no corporate sponsor, etc. Does it all on his own, takes *amazing* photos, and writes well...

    • by FleaPlus (6935)
      There's also "the other Michael" who's also an independent reporter embedded in Iraq who relies on reader donations, Michael Totten:

      http://www.michaeltotten.com/ [michaeltotten.com]

      An interesting quote from his most recent post:

      We cut into the trash yard behind the mosque so no one would see us coming. Rusted cars were piled up against the wall behind the mosque and repair shops. This, supposedly, is where the Iraqi man found the IED, but it seemed an unlikely place for it. Most IEDs are mortar rounds, artillery shells, or anti-tank mines deployed alongside or underneath roads.

      "Don't get any closer," Corporal Waddle said. "We need to stay out of the blast radius in case it blows."

      One Marine, whose name I didn't catch, accompanied the Iraqi man to the location of the explosive. "It's an 82mm mortar round," he said when he returned. "It's not an IED. Most likely a round that didn't go off when it was fired."

      Every time I thought something vaguely exciting might happen, it didn't happen. There is no war in Western Iraq any more. This is a mop-up.

  • by imipak (254310) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:44PM (#22592632) Journal
    For some reason [drudgereport.com], the word "blog" is not terribly popular [bbc.co.uk] around the Department of Defence in London tonight...

    Incidentally, you might not have noticed it amongst all the great News happening around us, but oil is back knocking on the door [google.com] of the all-time record high (yes, adjusted for inflation) set in April 1980. Strange the way timings go, isn't it.

    • by damburger (981828)

      I am annoyed at how pissy the Army got about this. To expect the local media to shut up about this is overstepping their authority, let alone expecting foreign media to do it. Governments are militaries need to have it drilled into them that the media does not exist to protect their secrets, rally their troops, or spread their propaganda. Unfortunately, enough of the media is willing to do just that, and it has emboldened those who think information is a weapon to be used by the state against its people.

  • by xutopia (469129) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#22592704) Homepage
    In Soviet Russia the government limits what you can talk about. In contemporary America you are sheltered for your own good.
  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#22592712) Journal

    The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word "blog" in its web address. It's the latest move in a larger struggle within the military over the value -- and hazards -- of the sites. At least one senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so "utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream."

    Until recently, each major command of the Air Force had some control over what sites their troops could visit, the Air Force Times reports. Then the Air Force Network Operations Center, under the service's new "Cyber Command," took over.

    AFNOC has imposed bans on all sites with "blog" in their URLs, thus cutting off any sites hosted by Blogspot. Other blogs, and sites in general, are blocked based on content reviews performed at the base, command and AFNOC level ...

    The idea isn't to keep airmen in the dark -- they can still access news sources that are "primary, official-use sources," said Maj. Henry Schott, A5 for Air Force Network Operations. "Basically ... if it's a place like The New York Times, an established, reputable media outlet, then it's fairly cut and dry that that's a good source, an authorized source," he said ...

    AFNOC blocks sites by using Blue Coat software, which categorizes sites based on their content and allows users to block sub-categories as they choose.

    "Often, we block first and then review exceptions," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, a Cyber Command spokesman.

    As a result, airmen posting online have cited instances of seemingly innocuous sites -- such as educational databases and some work-related sites -- getting wrapped up in broad proxy filters.

    "A couple of years back, I fought this issue concerning the Counterterrorism Blog," one Air Force officer tells Danger Room. "An AF [Air Force] professional education course website recommended it as a great source for daily worldwide CT [counterterrorism] news. However it had been banned, because it called itself a blog. And as we all know, all blogs are bad!"

    He's joking, of course. But blogs and social networking sites have faced all sorts of restrictions on military networks, for all sorts of reasons. MySpace and YouTube are officially banned, for eating up too much bandwidth. Stringent regulations, read literally, require Army officers to review each and every item one of his soldiers puts online, in case they leak secrets. And in televised commercials, screensavers and fliers, troops are told that blogging is a major security risk -- even though official sites have proven to leak many, many more secrets. Now there's the Air Force's argument, that blogs aren't legitimate media outlets -- and therefore, shouldn't be read at work.

    But this view isn't universally held in the military. Many believe blogs to be a valuable source of information -- and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, at home and abroad. Gen. David Petraeus, who heads the U.S. effort in Iraq, has commended military bloggers. Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, who replaced Petraeus as the head of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, recently wrote (in a blog post, no less) that soldiers should be encouraged to "get onto blogs and [s]end their YouTube videos to their friends and family."

    Within the Air Force, there's also a strong contingent that wants to see open access to the sites -- and is mortified by the AFNOC's restrictions. "When I hear stuff this utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.... Piles of torn out hair are accumulating around my desk as we speak," one senior Air Force official writes in an e-mail. "I'm certain that by blocking blogs for official use, our airmen will never, ever be able to read them on their own home computers, so we have indeed saved them from a contaminating influence. Sorry, didn't mean to drip sarcasm on your rug."

    One of the blogs banned is

  • by damburger (981828) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:51PM (#22592724)

    Bear in mind I am not American, but from what I understand it is fairly costly to go to university there, and one of the easiest ways for people not born into money to finance themselves is to join the military for a bit before they go.

    Now, centres of power have an uneasy relationship with academia. On the one hand, healthy universities are vital to maintaining a countries technological and scientific edge. On the other hand, putting lots of smart, young people with fresh ideas in one place and giving them free time often breeds 'disrespectful' thinking.

    But the US government seems to have found a solution. Get the kids to join up so the military has first swing at their impressionable minds. Give them the states point of view and only the states point of view, and teach them that opposition to this point of view is treason. Create the us-and-them mentality cults use to make their victims hostile to information that might free them from the lies they have been told. Or, to save time, let Rupert Murdoch do it for you.

    Now, this might be a bit tinfoil hat for you, but it doesn't require anything secret or anything that violates physics or the boundaries of current technology. It just requires that the people in charge of your country are totalitarian shits who will exploit any opportunity to control the environment and thus the minds of the people, especially young people.

    • Bear in mind I am not American, but from what I understand it is fairly costly to go to university there, and one of the easiest ways for people not born into money to finance themselves is to join the military for a bit before they go.

      That's true... kind of. We have what we call the "GI Bill", which was created back in 1944, 64 years ago, for veterans returning from WWII, and it helps pay for portions of the cost of higher education. Amounts vary depending on length of service. Serving in the military isn't what I would call easy, though. Especially not in wartime. As a previous poster indicated, there are many other ways of securing finances to attend college. It's a perk for joining the military, but usually not the reason.

      Now, centres of power have an uneasy relationship with academia. On the one hand, healthy universities are vital to maintaining a countries technological and scientific edge. On the other hand, putting lots of smart, young people with fresh ideas in one place and giving them free time often breeds 'disrespectful' thinking.

      I don't ag

      • by damburger (981828)

        Sorry, you misunderstood me. I don't claim this has been going on for 65 years, but that it is relatively new. And I don't mean to say the military has a poor relationship with academia, the government does, and they see the military as a tool to undermine dissent in universities.

        Donald Rumsfeld himself spoke of 'putting starch in their collars' a few years back, which to me is a veiled reference to an intention to change the opinions of youth through military service.

  • Looks like some on the stargate project posted some info that should of not been put on the internet and this is a big cover up..........gfdsagdsdshds............ NO CARRIER
  • Blogs!=News (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the computer guy nex (916959) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:56PM (#22592784)
    I can't read blogs, myspace, or facebook at work either. This is far from censorship.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rampantbaboon (946107)
      Right, but you can go home and spend your downtime browsing whatever the hell you'd like. Imagine if to be employed with your company they required that you use their filter for every internet connection you have. And if you don't want to abide by that, you're guilty of a crime. We can't get streaming media at work, but I loves me the youtubes at night.
  • I guess this new dictate hasn't reached us low peons.

    I work for the Air Force, both state-side and at deployed locations, and have not seen any message traffic on this at all...

    • by geekoid (135745)
      There so good you don't even know your not supposed to do it.
    • I'm Air Force, too.

      I kept a blog the first time I went to Iraq- just personal stuff, how I was doing, what my days were like. I consciously left out anything that I could construe as valuable intel (names, schedules, specific locations of things, etc.). In fact, I thought I did a good job of making it into a personal blog and keeping the military part out of it, except for the stories that would only really happen to me as a result of being IN the military. You know. This was fine, it was a great way for my
  • This limit is not on what blogs a soldier can read, but on which ones the soldier can post. They don't care what information is coming into the soldier, they just don't want a solider inadvertently leaking classified info..
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by RoboRay (735839)
      You are absolutely incorrect. I am currently deployed in Iraq and using an Air Force network for internet access.

      ALL blogs are blocked from viewing by the net-nanny software the Air Force has deployed. I mean, EVERYTHING, including anything with "blog" in the URL or title like some of the regular columns on BBC and other major news websites.

      The Air Force is highly discriminatory about what information is accessible to deployed troops. I'm just amazed they haven't blocked /. I guess the techies running t
  • after all, they're supposed to maintain discipline and allegiance and the internet is awash with temptations to be independent in deed and, most dangerously, in thought.

    The last thing he military needs and wants it independent thinkers.

    And all of this has come about as an unforeseen, uncontrolled and unwanted consequence to a system designer's answer to a simple question about increasing the survivability of communications networks in the event of nuclear war.
  • The DoD will just assume they can't read anyway.
  • Disobedience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chuckymonkey (1059244) <charles.d.burton@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 28, 2008 @05:15PM (#22593812) Journal
    You know, I spent two years in Iraq and we never had to do this. During the second tour they tried, but there was a simple fix for all of us. We bought a satellite dish and a year's subscription to the internet from a company in Italy. Divided among 30 people it wasn't very expensive at all. The leadership tried to get in on it so they could censor, but a few "anonymous" whispers to embedded media later and they left us the fuck alone. Damn the leadership hated me.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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