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Government Books Censorship The Military United States Your Rights Online

Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book 347

Posted by samzenpus
from the sorry-we're-all-out dept.
jamie writes "Operation Dark Heart, a book about the adventures and frustrations of an Army officer who served in Afghanistan, has ruffled some feathers at the Pentagon. From the article: 'The Defense Department is attempting to buy the entire first printing — 10,000 copies — of a memoir by a controversial former Defense Intelligence Agency officer so that the book can be destroyed, according to military and other sources."
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Pentagon Aims To Buy Up Book

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  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:52PM (#33547872)

    Your tax dollars at work...

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:53PM (#33547874)

    I think our government should just abolish the first amendment. They clearly don't believe in it. This just makes me so sick. Where is wikileaks when you need them?

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:53PM (#33547882)
    Didn't the Church of Scientology do something similar to this once?
  • Kindle Version (Score:4, Insightful)

    by virtigex (323685) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:53PM (#33547888)
    Maybe he should also publish a Kindle version. The author could really clean up then.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:01PM (#33547984)

    It's really censorship if they're taking actions to make sure that certain views aren't expressed. Censorship doesn't have to be illegal to be censorship.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:04PM (#33548004) Homepage

    The first amendment is irrelevant. From TFA, the military's attempting to keep hidden the real names of intelligence officers involved with some actions. Any criticism of the military actions is still likely in the second edition, which is already approved. The first amendment does not grant the right to endanger others by means of speech. It grants the right to hold and express any opinions you want, and Congress will not render such expression illegal.

  • by BlakJak-ZL1VMF (256320) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:07PM (#33548020) Homepage

    mod parent up, case dismissed, nothing to see here, move along...

    misleading blurbs FTL.

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:08PM (#33548034) Journal

    But when the first printing sells out, the publisher is only going to print more. Clearly this is a scam to funnel taxpayer money into the pockets of this "former officer", paying a hefty fee to the publisher to launder the dough.

  • by Nailer235 (1822054) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:13PM (#33548088)
    No kidding, let's not become the Fox News of the internet.
  • by Jawnn (445279) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:14PM (#33548096)

    ...Clearly this is a scam to funnel taxpayer money into the pockets of this "former officer", paying a hefty fee to the publisher to launder the dough.

    How and where, exactly, is this made "clear"?
    Oh. You were joking? Silly me for missing the sarcasm. In that case, it's not the least bit funny. This action by our nation's military is deeply troubling. No matter how you figure who is writing the check, that the military is attempting to suppress information that the public has a right to see is frightening in it's implications.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:19PM (#33548146) Homepage Journal
    Since when does publishers have to get OK from the government on what to print? The freedom of the press guarantees that the government will not interfere in publishers work. Then, if, after the fact, they find that something libelous or damaging has been printed, they can take action. But not before that. That is censorship.
  • by 0123456 (636235) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:22PM (#33548166)

    Don't US officers have to agree to let the military vet any books about their experiences if they want the job?

  • by pancakegeels (673199) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:32PM (#33548252)
    presumably you'd have to do a denial of service? This is an argument for eBooks that I hadn't considered before....
  • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:45PM (#33548348)

    "I think at the point that they are using any resources (yours or their own) to make some determination as to what you can/cannot read. That is censorship."

    So is security classification. Perhaps we should not have any such, and trust everyone with everything. Surely the world will embrace our example and instantly do likewise.

  • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:05PM (#33548476)

    It's actually the honourable thing to do in this case - along with firing whoever signed off on it in the Reserve component.

    Once you accept that "a lot of material that shouldn't have been printed in the first place" indeed shouldn't have been printed, sure.

    However, it's still censorship. The only question is whether we approve of it.

  • by lordmetroid (708723) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:10PM (#33548492)
    Yeah, it is so easy to say no when one party has immense firepower and the vail of legitimacy to make you dissapear if you do not agree.
  • by theCzechGuy (1888010) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:16PM (#33548526)
    Nope, the "editing" is still censorship. There are many forms of censorship and reasons to do it, but the fact there is some kind of censorship in most states, even those that are supposed to be democratic. After all, the communists didn't prevent most authors and journalists from publishing, they just asserted the right to say what is ok and what isn't. And when it wasn't, there was editing. Yet saying the communist didn't censor the newspapers that were published is a little bit of a stretch. Like many thing the problem of censorship is not a black and white thing and there is no clearly visible line that has the freedom and law on one side and the orwellian nightmare on the other.
  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:20PM (#33548556) Journal

    It'll never end...

    The real destruction of the constitution started in 1798 with the Alien and Sedition Acts. Some might even say the Whiskey tax of 1791 was a breach.. Either way the path is well worn..

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@nOSpaM.barbara-hudson.com> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:43PM (#33548708) Journal
    Is it censorship? Yes.
    Do you want someone killed because someone else screwed up in a cooperative deal that was supposed to prevent this? No.

    Not all censorship is created equal.
    We don't publish the names of children who are victims of sexual abuse.
    Is that censorship? Yes. Is it wrong? No.

    We don't publish the names of rape victims.
    Is that censorship? Yes. Is it wrong? No.

    We don't publish the names of stalking victims.
    Is that censorship? Yes. Is it wrong? No.

    We don't publish your credit card info all over the net (hopefully)
    Is that censorship? Yes. Is it wrong? No.

    We may disagree on the standard for reasonableness, but some things really don't need to be "out there".

    We practice censorship all the time.
    I won't watch "Silence of the Lambs" because I walked in on the scene where some guy is hunched over a sewing machine.
    "What's he doing?"
    "Making a woman suit."
    "A what?"
    "He killed these women, skinned them, and now he's ..."
    "Bye!"

    For me, that's not entertainment. For someone else, it is. And after hopping over to Wikipedia and reading the plot summary, I don't think I missed anything.

    Adults can decide to watch it, but I think we'd agree that children below a certain age (as determined by their parents) shouldn't watch stuff like that, without triggering the "think of the children" or "censorship" alarms.

  • by Americano (920576) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:00PM (#33548836)

    I'm sorry, before I can take your post seriously, I require full disclosure, in the form of all of your personal information, Anonymous Coward.

    Please submit it for open discussion, and then we can continue talking about how the only way to discuss anything is with all information being freely available to the public.

    I mean, fair is fair, right?

  • by Americano (920576) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:06PM (#33548884)

    Tell you what - I'm okay with MY tax money compensating someone for the DoD's screw-up, so why don't you cover universal health care for me, and I'll pay for the books?

  • by Zixaphir (845917) <Jinira&hotmail,com> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @06:12PM (#33548930) Homepage
    Because you can't read the damned book. God.
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@smok[ ]cube.be ['ing' in gap]> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:38PM (#33549366) Homepage

    The government does not have their 'own' resources. The government deciding to do a book burning is basically censorship very similar to the church buying up bibles in the Middle Ages to burn them.

  • Wow! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:08PM (#33549482)

    The first printing was so popular, we're going to crank out another 100K pronto!

  • ....profit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ukemike (956477) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:29PM (#33549570) Homepage
    1. Write book the military doesn't want seen in public
    2. Publish
    3. Let Pentagon buy up entire printing
    4. Keep making more printings for them to buy
    5. PROFIT!!!
  • by turbidostato (878842) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:03PM (#33549756)

    "Wait, you mean that asking an author to not print something, getting that author's agreement, and then paying for the printing cost of books that had the material the author agreed to remove is censorship?"

    (the music from The Godfather sounds)
    I'll make him an offer he can't refuse.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:21PM (#33549842) Journal

    Personally I believe the only way forward is for ALL drugs to be legal, and here is why: I'm sorry if I don't get this quote right, or if I attribute it to the wrong person,(I believe it was from William F. Buckley Jr) but it really helped explain it simply..."If I put a bottle on a table with a skull and crossbones on it, and I say to you "This is poison, it will destroy your health, marriage, family, and finally kill you" and you push past me and down the bottle? STUPID YOU! Why should I have to saddle MY family and MY country with billions in debt and taxes to build cages and armed guards around that bottle?"

    As for TFA, frankly with the amount of pure bald faced lies we have seen coming from the military (we're winning? civilian deaths are low! the government there works!) I wouldn't trust them to tell me water was wet if it was raining on my head.If you want people to support you then you have to stop CONSTANTLY LYING. So until they do a 180 on their current SOP I'm gonna have to vote for them being lying scumbags and call this censorship. After all, if you go ahead and trust the person of has repeatedly lied to you over and over and over again, who is the fool?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @10:20PM (#33550100)

    This guy didn't get permission to print this book before he published and now is in hot water over it.

    He did get permission and he's not in hot water. From the article:

    Shaffer's book was reviewed and cleared in writing by the Army Reserve earlier this year, but this summer the Defense Intelligence Agency objected to the use of the names of American intelligence officers, among other issues.

  • by liquidsin (398151) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @10:33PM (#33550144) Homepage

    whoa, whoa, whoa! so i was involuntarily entered into a contract whereby "the nation" gains wealth from the sweat of my brow, because they shoved some paperwork under my mom's nose when i was born and told her to sign it? that seems a little shady, wouldn't you say?

    also, it seems to me like gold isn't so worthless after all. as a matter of fact, it's been so stable over time that many investors maintain it as a hedge in case fiat currencies fail.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:02PM (#33550276)

    The issue is, of course, that the publisher paid to have a first run done. Would rather suck if they couldn't sell any of those. It would be a big sunk cost. Never mind if the government would even have the authority to tell them not to sell it, it would be a really dick move, one that would hurt the publisher. So the government instead said "We'll just buy up the entire production run. You agree to sell them to nobody else, we take all of them and destroy them, you go ahead with the 2nd edition with our blessing." Government is happy, they got the names redacted. Publisher is happy, they didn't lose money. Life is good.

  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:18PM (#33550350) Homepage

    ...if the entire first printing sells out almost immediately (Regardless of the reason), doesn't that pretty much ensure it will get another printing?

  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... x.com minus berr> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:46PM (#33550498) Homepage

    Indeed, the 'state secret' privilege is an entire fraud, as is 95% of the stuff we have classified.

    The only thing the government should be able to keep secret are future or active military operations, still-living intelligent assets, and some stuff like military blueprints and things.

    There is no military operation older than a month in the past that should be kept secret. What, are our enemies using carrier snails? I think they've pretty much figured out what happened. All reports generated should be public, period.

    There will be moron who talk about classified 'tactics' and crap. They're lying. Our military has no secret skills that let them do things. Ask a soldier. There's stuff they don't want to talk about in advance, before the enemy figures out they can do it, but once you start doing things in a war, um, duh, the enemy knows it.

    No, the reason the military keeps operations secret is not a damn thing to do with tactics, which the enemy can figure out pretty easily. It's to do with the fact the military makes blunt statements about innocents getting killed, and, um, the public doesn't like that.

    Yes, the military would not, due to public pressure, be able to fight any recent wars if everything it did was open to the public...and that's a good thing. If the public doesn't like an action the government does, perhaps the government shouldn't fucking do it. Not speak vaguely about what it does and pretend everything is some huge important secret.

    Now, I'll agree that sometimes we do need to keep secrets that are outside that. For example, perhaps we have evidence some Russia diplomat is selling nuclear secrets to Iran, and the CIA shoots him. Well, okay, we don't want that public, okay. Not to keep it from Russia, who probably figured it out, but to keep it officially from Russia.

    But if there's something like that that does need to be kept secret, it should have to go through a fucking closed session of Congress and specifically be classified that way. No, not 'notify' half a dozen people, and threaten them if they tell anyone, the congress should actually vote on it, or decide to just tell everyone. Giving the damn branch of government, hell, the specific group that did it, the power to classify it, is utterly absurd. And it's doubly absurd to let them assert they have a right to keep it secret in court.

    Granted, this incident seems pretty reasonable. This isn't the government keeping anything secret, but working with a publisher and author to voluntarily keep information secret. The problem isn't the 'secret' stuff we hear about.

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @01:34AM (#33550884) Homepage Journal

    But, how many stupids are there in the world? How many people exist that are too immature and not evolved enough to have the sense not to swallow the entire content? Who pays to clean up that mess?

    The consumers can pay for it, by way of a tax on the drugs, like they already do for tobacco and alcohol.

    You are honestly suggesting we legalize all drugs? No controls at all?

    I'm not him, but I think that's the right idea. The problems caused by prohibition far outweigh the problems caused by the drugs themselves.

    What about the medical profession, prescriptions exist for good reason, far more than just limiting supply to drug users.

    Such as?

    I'm having a hard time thinking of a good reason to require prescriptions for anything except antibiotics (since improper use can create resistant strains).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @01:35AM (#33550888)

    Why is this even a story?!

    So that people don't just make shit up.

    This guy didn't get permission to print this book before he published and now is in hot water over it.

    1. He DID have permission, and the manuscript was cleared for publication by the military.
    2. They missed a few things.
    3. Because they cleared it originally, but the books are already printed, the military is buying up the entire print run since the mistake was on their side.
    4. The author is NOT in hot water.

    Or to answer you 1st question again, in a different fashion, it's so when Trolls like you just start making shit up, the rest of us can read the story and find out what actually happened.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @12:00PM (#33553490) Journal

    You sound like an outsider so I will pose this response in as clear and of modern of times as possible.

    I certainly hope so! You guys need a complete remake. There are two things that Americans are obsessed for no apparent reasons: The constitution and the divine wisdom of the founding fathers. (Well, there are more then two but only those are relevant here)

    The thing is that the constitution was drafted centuries ago. By people who lived centuries ago and were just normal (though perhaps clever) humans. The world has changed in pretty much every possible way. Whether it comes to issues about communication, privacy, immigration, economy, weapon rights... In every possible aspect there are numerous entirely new issues that was not even possible to foresee when the constitution was drafted. There have been new theories in economy, politics and philosophy and whole new concepts have came up in all the areas... In other words: The constitution of the USA is a completely obsolete document.

    The obsession with the constitution is because it's a document that gives the federal government it's power. The federal government was originally designed to simple be a common head of state and to settle matters between the states. The constitution is divided into 3 sections, 2 of which are basically the same. The first section described the only power the federal government has, the rest is left to the states and to the people where it respectfully belongs.

    The second part is called the bill of rights, this is the original 10 amendment (there was 12 originally but 2 of them took several decades after the constitution was ratified by all the states to be passed). These bill of rights do not give anyone any rights, they expressly forbid the government of the US or it's states from taking inherent rights away from us. Then there are the amendments. These are all the amendments after the first 10 which has been made for whatever reason as society deemed necessary. It requires a good deal of support in order to get an amendment passed and there was actually two amendments that would/could be unconstitutional (depending on the date passed).

    Now, how this all sorts together in modern times, support the EU became some massive monolithic organization that was imposing it's will on all the member countries. Some say it already is, but suppose that over the next couple of years, the EU government took control of all the military forces of it's member states, started declaring what kind of health care they could have, what kind of elections they could have, who could become citizens of the member states and so on. Also suppose they started taxing individuals within each member state. Now suppose a bunch of radicals decided it would be easier to change policy in England or France by simply passing laws in the EU which England and France were bound by.

    So you might say, but that will never happen, their charter doesn't permit it. Then someone comes along and says "the EU charter was drafted decades ago, by people who lived decades ago, it means nothing today because thigns have changed and aren't the same. I don't care that there is an amendment process to change the charter- it's simply too hard to get 3/4 of the people to agree on what I see needs changed". Now do you see where this is going? If the document that limits the power of government over the people is ignored for your convenience, it can be ignored for anyone else'. So why is there a document that limits the power of a governing body in the first place? Well, because people thought it would be good to limit that governing body's power to avoid certain things. Now we have to get into the founding fathers to find out what those things were and if it's a good idea or not. And no, this isn't limited to just the US, any country that has a constitution or charter or even the EU has founding fathers who directed the organization of that country or governing body certain ways for certain reasons. If those r

  • by flajann (658201) <flajann&linuxbloke,com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @02:32PM (#33554516) Homepage Journal

    I know you're trolling but I'll bite.

    I'm not trolling, actually, but that's besides the point.

    The US is no longer on the Gold standard because Gold is worthless.

    Worthless? Really? Can I have your gold then? I watch the financial markets nearly every day and gold is anything but worthless.

    What is valuable is debt aka IOUs or promissory notes aka US Dollars otherwise known as Government issued Reserve Notes. Debt is backed by labor or goods and services which have real intrinsic value.

    Ah, see, you are proving my point already, but let's continue.

    Gold is only useful in niche electronic components and fashion jewelry.

    FYI Reserve Notes are backed by Birth Certificates which have an economic value of ~$750000 - $1000000 for the lifetime of the individual, which is how much that Citizen is expected to contribute to the national economy in their lifetime in labor, services, intellectual property, etc.

    So us human citizens are being used as collateral for the debt! Ah, therein lies the rub! Unless you have infinite growth, this model fails. The planet is only so big, and there are only so many resources, places to live, farmland, etc. Population growth cannot continue to grow indefinitely -- it's mathematically impossible.

    So now what happens when your assumptions of infinite growth are dashed to the hills? You have enslaved all of your citizens into paying off this debt, and you have to use force to "exact tribute " -- the IRS -- but now the bottom falls out because you hit zero population growth, or perhaps population begins to decline.

    So now your creditors become restless and may wish to call back in the loan in full. Or drop you as a basis. Hello, what has China been doing recently? Making lots of noise about switching from the USD to some other standard for world currency -- like GOLD!

    Why don't you explain to China and India how "worthless" gold is. Go ahead. I dare ya.

    So to summarize we exchanged an economy backed by a semi-rare earth mineral for an economy backed by a population of contributing citizens and abstracted into a commodity by the vehicle of debt and debt reserve notes ( US Dollars).

    To rephrase what you've just stated, "we" -- really the US government, not us -- took us off a solid standard with builtin accountability, sold us all out and decided to use you and me as collateral for a debt they keep running up, higher and deeper.

    The wars fought today have nothing to do with "National Security" and everything to do with control of resources to keep the illusion going that the debt model will continue indefinitely -- which it will not.

    You may love a world of debt servitude, but I do not. You and I did not choose to become debt slaves -- we were signed up for it at birth, and you fully admit it.

    So thank you for making my point for me. I couldn't have said it better myself!!!!!

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