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Pentagon Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book 306

Posted by timothy
from the in-soviet-union-books-burn-you dept.
mykos writes "Remember when the Pentagon said they were arranging a taxpayer-funded, government-sponsored book burning a couple weeks ago? Well, they made good on that threat, purchasing 9,500 copies of the book to be destroyed. The publisher, St. Martin's Press, has redacted anything the Pentagon told them to redact in the upcoming second run of the book. They Department of Defense has not yet paid for the burned books, but says they are 'in the process.' Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham gave this statement: 'DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security.' Whew, looks like we're safe now."
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Pentagon Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book

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  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:20AM (#33702662)
    Why exactly is the publisher cooperating? On the one hand, the DoD is going to pay for every copy, so the publisher has guaranteed revenue if they print uncensored copies. On the other hand, if the publisher cares about getting this information out, why would they redact it?

    Something about this smells funny.
    • by Hatta (162192) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:23AM (#33702682) Journal

      What makes you think a book publisher cares about getting information out?

      • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:25AM (#33703064)

        from my reading of it the last time this was on slashdot the author is quite happy with the arrangement.
        The publisher is quite happy with the arrangement.
        And the pentagon is quite happy with the arrangement.

        Unless the author or publisher is being threatened in some way this doesn't strike me as like the government trying to shut down a newspaper or silence a reporter.
        I don't even see what all the fuss is about.

        • by canajin56 (660655) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:46AM (#33703206)
          Yeah, but the author has changed his mind from last time, going on CNN to say how this is intimidation and retaliation, and how burning a book in the digital age won't stop freedom, etc. But, basically, he was naming names and specific cities and buildings, and he was discussing classified operations in detail. The Pentagon wants some of that redacted. He says "I sumbitted it for approval!" but the Pentagon says he was supposed to submit it to them, not just to his superior officer. (He kept it within his unit). Last time, it sounded like both he and the publisher agreed with everything. But now he's talking to CNN about how everything they removed is "ludicrous" and none of it was important, and so on.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            >>>the author has changed his mind from last time, going on CNN

            Oh good. Got the video available on youtube or some other site? If true it reminds me of how Tom Clancy faced a mini-interrogation after he published Red Storm Rising. They accused him of knowing too much about US weapons and their capabilities, and had considered banning the book, until Mr. Clancy proved that all of his information came from public sources (like Janes).

          • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @03:28PM (#33704842) Journal

            What's ludicrous is the apparent self promotion of the book.

            So let's look at it from another perspective, perhaps the authors perspective. He wrote a book, submitted it to his CO instead of the pentagon for review. Ok honest mistake. The pentagon wanted some things removes, he was fine with that but printing had already started. So the government buys the first run of the print so no one is out any money and this guy isn't facing jail time for disclosing national security information or top secrete information. Along comes his publicists and says we need to spend X money to promote the book or else it won't sell that much. The publicists then says, we can save some of that money if you claim you are being censored unfairly and object to everything the government removed even though you are ok with it all.

            So the author does an about face, goes all over national Television claiming he was wronged and the government spending a crap load of money to buy the first run of books is proof. He then adopts the claim that what the government removed was insignificant to the content of the book so buy it, it's still good. Hell, I bet you will buy the book just to see if you can tell what was removed from it.

            It's nothing but a win-win for the author and his change of heart can be summed up as not letting a disaster go to waste. He benefited from writing the book, from getting it cleared the wrong way, from making the appropriate changes, and now he is benefiting from complaining about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        There has to be one person at the bitch with a conscience. Why hasn't that person heard of BitTorrent?
    • by Devout_IPUite (1284636) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:29AM (#33702700)
      The Pentagon didn't really 'buy' the books. They paid for them. There's a difference.

      Some body at the pentagon "Oh, shit, this has classified intel in it. Call up the publisher"

      Some body at the publisher "We'd love to help protect national security, but we don't want to take a multi thousand dollar hit to costs"

      Some body at the pentagon "Yes, we can compensate American citizens for damages incurred by helping us protect national security"

      Some body in the press "OMG THE PENTAGON IS BURNING BOOKS!"

      Captain Picard *headpalm*

      The question we should be asking is not "Should the pentagon be burning books?", it's "Should the pentagon have (so much) classified information?"
      • by EdZ (755139) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:14AM (#33702984)
        Basically:
        1) Publisher contacted Pentagon, said "we have this book, can you check nothing classified has been inadvertantly included"
        2) Pentagon: "Sure, everything is fine, go ahead"
        3) Publisher prints book
        4) Pentagon: "Oh shit, we missed (thing that is still classified), you can't sell this!"
        5) Publisher: "Couldn't you have told us that before we spent all this money on an unsellable book?!"
        6) Pentagon: "Our bad, we'll 'buy' the existing copies, destroy them, and you can print a second run with free publicity"
        7) Publisher: "Sure thing"
        • Still stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

          by einhverfr (238914)

          I thought the printing run was 10000 copies.

          9500 copies means 500 copies survive somewhere. Now anyone who really cares will seek out one of those 500 copies and compare it to the second printing to see what was redacted.

      • by tomhath (637240)
        Do you think it's in anyone's interest to allow the publication of the names of people who are collecting intel after the government has spent years training them and putting them in positions to actually collect information? This is very much like the Valerie Plame outing a few years ago, at the time some people acted like it was the crime of the century.
        • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:52AM (#33703238)

          Yes, it is. Revealing them can allow us to realize whom we've been trusting with our money, our information, and to set policies. For example, Manuel Noriegas's status as a recipient of CIA intelligence and funding and trainee of the "School of the Americas" contributed to his eventual takeover of Panama and control of its cocaine trade. Don't you think it would have been helpful to know exactly what money or support he got from the US, and useful to know what gangsters we're currently supporting and funding worldwide? And wouldn't it have been helpful to know, in advance of the war, that the claims about Iraq purchasing "yellowcake" uranium ore came from, so that they could be exposed before a war costing billions of US dollars and thousands of US lives, and which cost us any hope of lasting victory in Afghanistan?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by heptapod (243146)

        You're an idiot. Censorship is still censorship even if the book is bought up then burned claiming it's legitimate because they bought the book and have the right to do anything with it that they want short of violating ACTA or the DMCA.

        The Pentagon slipped up being overzealous. The Wikileaks fiasco showed us that nobody reported on the data made available to the internet. Mainstream medial outlets were besides themselves asking "Was this ethical?" and masturbating over what it means to be a journalist. Had

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sco08y (615665)

          Had the Pentagon shrugged and allowed the book to be published nobody would've cared beyond the media exclaiming "Secrets! In this book!" completely avoiding any issues meant to be brought to light by Mr. Shaffer's memoir.

          Those secrets would've remained hidden in plain sight. Everyone would continue to not care about Afghanistan and the status quo would have remained without burning books.

          While there are people in the DOD who certainly do handle PR, there are other people who handle intelligence, others who handle counter-intelligence, etc.

          Most people in the DOD don't care in the slightest what's on TV. To them, that's someone else's job. The intel folks, who are probably calling the shots, want stuff redacted because they've got ongoing military and intelligence operations that can be disrupted if the enemy gets that information.

          The operations that this guy was a part of probably didn't sto

      • by copponex (13876) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:53AM (#33703248) Homepage

        Some body at the pentagon "Oh, shit, this has classified intel in it. Call up the publisher... "The question we should be asking is not "Should the pentagon be burning books?", it's "Should the pentagon have (so much) classified information?"

        According to the NYT article [nytimes.com],

        The Defense Department’s handling of Colonel Shaffer’s account of his experiences in Afghanistan in 2003 appears to have been bungled from the beginning. The Army reviewed the manuscript, negotiated modest changes and approved it for publication in January.

        Then, in July, the Defense Intelligence Agency saw a copy, showed it to the N.S.A. and other agencies, and decided that some 250 passages contained classified information. But advance copies were already out to potential reviewers and the Military Book Club, and the first 10,000 copies were in a warehouse. Those are the copies the Pentagon is arranging to buy and pulp.

        So the Army cleared it, but then the nebulous "Homeland Security" apparatus decided that the Army didn't do a good job. Keep in mind, this is the same intelligence community that missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, missed the WTC bombing in '93, missed the attacks in Kenya, missed the attacks on the Cole, missed 9/11, missed WMD in Iraq... do I really have to continue?

        There's a fucking secret army of contract killers that aren't part of the government, a vast secret police that has virtually abolished every thing we pretended was civil liberties and due process, but in newspeak, that's called patriotism.

        Paying your fair share of taxes while our nation is engaged in two wars which supposedly are an existential threat to our way of life... well, that's fucking communism.

        It's enough to drive a person insane.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        The question we should be asking is not "Should the pentagon be burning books?", it's "Should the pentagon have (so much) classified information?"

        Depends on what the data in question was. Some things really would effect our security. ( others, not so much )

        Since i missed the first story, does anyone know what really was in the books that was so bad? Or is it still the abstract 'names, techniques and places' excuse?

      • Some body at the pentagon "Oh, shit, this has classified intel in it. Call up the publisher"
        Some body at the publisher "We'd love to help protect national security, but we don't want to take a multi thousand dollar hit to costs"
        Some body at the pentagon "Yes, we can compensate American citizens for damages incurred by helping us protect national security"
        Some body in the press "OMG THE PENTAGON IS BURNING BOOKS!"
        Captain Picard *headpalm*

        Julian Assange : "Yay ! More stuff to upload onto WikiLeaks !"

        Sweden : "...hum, our server start to get a little bit full...."

        Some body at the pentagon : "Look ! This time we have definite and conclusive proof that Julian Assange is an evil pedo-terrorist ! And it's complete coincidence that we have found it just right now"

        Swedish Judge : "Nah, sorry. Still looks photoshoped. The light isn't quite right"

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Trevorm7 (1082535)

        Captain Picard *headpalm*

        *facepalm*

    • by Seth024 (1241160) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:31AM (#33702728)
      They were always willing to cooperate but they already made the first run. It's just the DoD paying for the damages of forgetting to censor something in the book beforehand.
      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        The publisher will make record sales. Good incentive to keep publishing.

    • by camperslo (704715)

      This doesn't seem to be a case of forced censorship at all. The publisher agrees that the names that slipped through in the first batch shouldn't be in circulation because it puts lives in danger. No scandal or opinion is being suppressed here.

      It's a fairly safe bet that the costs the publisher gets reimbursed for won't be the full retail book price. It's normal for clearance to be required when someone involved with classified missions releases information. The government is covering the cost of a scre

    • Sounds like they just got a gig to sell a bunch of books that they printed. That is their job.

    • ... where you can say what you like, if you get permission first.

      Seriously, guys, look at how we do it in the rest of the world. Learn from the experience of others. When Britain let America run its own affairs, it was a bit like leaving a house full of teenagers alone for a weekend with the keys to the gun cabinet and wine cellar.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      How is this Censorship?

      They are selling a product.

  • by fictionpuss (1136565) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:21AM (#33702666)

    ..and the Streisand effect they are now creating ensures that the redacted information is rapidly identified and disseminated?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Americano (920576)

      Considering the author and the publisher are cooperating, let's guess never?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nospam007 (722110) *

        What about the layouter, the graphics guy, the printer, the corrector and 20 other people who might have a PDF?

        • by Americano (920576)

          Well, let's guess that those people will probably care about staying out of prison more than they will care about letting the public know about the names of undercover operatives.

        • What do you want to bet, in the next month or so, Wikileaks gets a copy of *that* 1st edition PDF...

          • in the next month or so

            Which, by some incredible random chance, happens to also be the day when the Swedish justice system receives an anonymous envelope containing (badly photoshopped) proof that Julian Assange is, in fact, an Evil Pedo-Terrorist ! What a coincidence !

        • Welcome to the wonders of the information age !

          Were, to properly censor and/or restrict access to some critical (or DRM-protected) piece of information, you have to be sure to control every single copy of it, flawlessly, forever.

          And all it takes is one single copy falling in the wrong hands for the magic of costless digital duplication to work and the whole internet being inundated with copies.

        • by fractoid (1076465)

          What about the layouter, the graphics guy, the printer, the corrector and 20 other people who might have a PDF?

          I hope one of them uploads it soon, I want to read it now... though I hope they take some care. If it's not too heavy on formatting then just squish it down to plain text and bounce it off a few anonymous servers. If it needs more presentation then I'd recommend printing it out, photocopying it at a public library in a large city, then scanning it back in at another public library and upload the scans from there. Avoid anywhere with too many cameras or that requires you to sign in. Avoid anywhere that you w

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617)

      As much as I would like to cry "wasted taxpayer money" or "censorship" I can't see where this is either.

      As far as censorship goes, the people wishing to express themselves or to share information are not being violated. On the contrary, they are as interested in limiting the information as is the pentagon.

      As far as "wasted tax money" goes? Well, yeah... okay, I will concede that there is an element of waste here, but it is not enough to get angry over. You want to get angry? Ask the government to explai

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        As much as I would like to cry "wasted taxpayer money" or "censorship" I can't see where this is either.

        We can't know without the work in question, which our government has censored so that we can't see it. It's censorship when it's done by the government, for good or ill.

        As far as "wasted tax money" goes? Well, yeah... okay, I will concede that there is an element of waste here, but it is not enough to get angry over.

        I am angry over every unnecessary expenditure.

        You want to get angry? Ask the government to explain why so much "foreign aid" is being sent to Israel. They are far from helpless and hopeless. They are not starving. They aren't suffering at the hands of an oppressive nation. So why?

        The UN created the nation of Israel to keep the middle east fighting one another for the foreseeable future, and as the nominal leader of the UN (that is to say, the most puissant nation in the UN Security Council, the only nations who actually have a say in the UN) the USA is funding the status

        • by cgenman (325138) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:03AM (#33703296) Homepage

          The UN created the nation of Israel to keep the middle east fighting one another for the foreseeable future, and as the nominal leader of the UN (that is to say, the most puissant nation in the UN Security Council, the only nations who actually have a say in the UN) the USA is funding the status quo. It's not very complicated.

          The UN created the nation of Israel at the end of World War 2 because it needed a grand anti-axis gesture, and had learned nothing about the dangers of displacing existing people for societal engineering reasons. That it has kept the middle east in turmoil is probably legitimately an accidental side effect, rather than an intentional one.

          • The UN created the nation of Israel at the end of World War 2 because it needed a grand anti-axis gesture

            The UN created Israel because the proto-Israelis were in rebellion against the British Mandate, and when the British reported that they couldn't maintain the peace the UN came up with a partition plan.

            It's surely true that the genocide of WWII caused a great deal of sympathy for the Jews in Palestine, but saying that the UN created Israel as a result is at best misleading.

            and had learned nothing about the dangers of displacing existing people for societal engineering reasons.

            What's shameful is that the truly massive population displacements in eastern Europe at the end of WWII have been settled for about sixty

        • by jimicus (737525)

          As far as "wasted tax money" goes? Well, yeah... okay, I will concede that there is an element of waste here, but it is not enough to get angry over.

          I am angry over every unnecessary expenditure.

          Being as the government has already decided it wants the information suppressed, the only question is how would they do it. In some countries, I have no doubt the government would simply order the publisher to hand over the books with no compensation. You'll note that they didn't do that here.

      • >>>they are as interested in limiting the information as is the pentagon.

        I would be too if the Pentagon told me, "Either you censor the second printing, or we'll throw you in jail for violating the Patriot Act." And don't tell me it can't happen. They did the same to Alice Paul and the suffragettes, when the Dept of Defense jailed them for violating the 1910s version of the Patriot Act. (And all they wanted was the right to vote.)

      • by boxwood (1742976)

        Israel provides valuable intel to the US. Intel on extremists in the Middle East.

        Also the aid is attached to an agreement that Israel will buy weapons from the US. This means that Israel develops tactics and strategies using the same weapons that US forces use. This information is shared with the US military and results in fewer casualties of American soldiers.

        Are you arguing that spending money on information that saves American lives is a waste of money?

        • by cgenman (325138)

          Israel provides valuable intel to the US. Intel on extremists in the Middle East.

          If any of this was involved in the run-up to Iraq, we can see just how valuable that intel really is.

          This information is shared with the US military and results in fewer casualties of American soldiers.

          We give over 3 billion dollars a year to Israel. If the goal was developing tactics and strategies for desert forces with US weaponry, I'm sure 3 billion dollars would buy a lot of training time at a facility in the Saudi desert

        • by erroneus (253617)

          Hahaha. Really? You don't see where the problem in the middle east started? There was no big problem before Israel was created. By supporting Israel, we are creating and maintaining enemies. This is good business if you are in the Military Industrial Complex. It's bad if you are interested in the safety and security of the U.S. nation and its people.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TapeCutter (624760) *
          "Also the aid is attached to an agreement that Israel will buy weapons from the US. This means that Israel develops tactics and strategies using the same weapons that US forces use. This information is shared with the US military and results in fewer casualties of American soldiers."

          "Allah knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I
    • by sco08y (615665)

      ..and the Streisand effect they are now creating ensures that the redacted information is rapidly identified and disseminated?

      Got two grand to blow on Ebay?

      Really, if the idiots in the Reserve had done their job, this stuff would be just as censored, only without the spectacle of a book burning.

      Every government operation with any kind of security has burn bins available precisely for destroying books. There are tremendous amounts of information destroyed every day, and most of it is just classified secret, so it's totally mundane.

      The waste is incredible, whether it's civilian or military it doesn't matter.

    • ...and on how long it takes him to prove that the latest definite and conclusive proof that he is an Evil Pedo-Terrorist (that just happens by random chance to have been discovered just right now, exactly during the book censoring scandal - what a coincidence) is, in fact, badly photoshopped.

  • Public Money (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:22AM (#33702674)

    So I can I sue to get my book? After all, I paid for it.

    • Sure you can, but how much are you willing to spend to get your part, which is, let's see, 138M tax payers, 10K books, leaves you with 1/13,800th of a book. With any luck, it'll be an entire word.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Myopic (18616)

      Stupid. Do you also try to claim one of the bricks in the Hoover Dam? one square inch of the National Mall? two annual trips on Air Force One?

      Give me a fucking break. It's hard to believe a human being would actually type that out and post it on the internet. (Actually, I guess that's not hard to believe.)

  • by durrr (1316311) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:29AM (#33702712)
    The authour should've seen this coming and made the first print run 9,5 million books instead.
    • by jimicus (737525)

      The publisher decides how many copies the first print run gets, and unless it's a very well known author who's more-or-less guaranteed to get to the top of the bestseller lists immediately after publication (think the Terry Pratchetts of this world), there's no chance they'll order a massive print run.

    • by MiniMike (234881) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @02:19PM (#33704408)

      He should have sold electronic copies and let the Pentagon keep buying until they "ran out"...

  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:30AM (#33702716) Homepage

    ...because I'm not sure what point to make. Or even if any point needs to be made at all. But I feel compelled to post a link.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451 [wikipedia.org]

  • Come on bittorrent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr_bubb (1171001) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @09:31AM (#33702730)
    Bittorrent will have to become the only media that counts anymore. Once upon a time, the NYT and Washington Post would risk everything to publish the Pentagon Papers or the works of WoodStein. Now, in our burgeoning police state, we're reliant on WikiLeaks and bittorrent to speak truth to power. It's heartbreaking.
  • Did the author get any from the first print run?
    Usually a set number are put aside for the author during printing.
    They are then sent out. The rest of the books are then 'for sale'.
    Lets hope someone got copy in the wild and one day we get to compare the 'approved' version to the non redacted edition.
  • So in practice the censorship is going to get more and more intense, although surely in a very covert manner, all the time banging into our heads "You have freedom. There is no censorship and no propaganda. You can trust us, we care for you first."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451 [wikipedia.org] was a nice book-burning-society story.
    Well this seems to be a primary target for p2p legitimate uses... Is there no torrent for this?
    • by boxwood (1742976)

      is it really censorship if the author agrees to it? Sounds to me its more of a situation where the pentagon phones up the author, let him know that he mentions a person in the book who is still active in the field, and he'll be in danger once the book is published. The author said "oh shit, I didn't realize that, the intention of my book isn't to put someone's life in danger, I'll change it up so that doesn't happen."

  • So where is the link to the full text of the original? IS this Slashdot or f'ing CNN?
  • by Allnighte (1794642) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:12AM (#33702970)
    From the previous /. story that covered this, in the comments:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1784344&cid=33547938 [slashdot.org]

    "The blurb is intentionally misleading here. The govt gave the OK for the book but then upon a later review they were worried about some names released and a 2nd printing has already been agreed upon by both parties. They are just deciding what to do with 10k books that were already printed. Obviously the publisher spent money to already print them so they aren't going to just destroy them."

    So nothing to see here, move along...
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Maybe they're negotiating to only pay the costs of the publisher, without the profits of the first print run.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pooh666 (624584)
      These are not the droids you are looking for.. YES SIR!! btw Sir, who are we calling terrorists today?
  • Banned Books Week http://bannedbooksweek.org/ [bannedbooksweek.org]

  • by ronmon (95471) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:28AM (#33703094)
    I was in the USAF ~30 years ago working for the USAFSS, later ESC. We were tasked by NSA and in fact my last posting was at Ft. Meade (NSA HQ) after several years in the far east. My TS/SCI clearance gave me access not only to Top Secret information, but the source of that information as well. You don't get drafted into this kind of work. It is something you have to work hard for and vetting for a clearance is extremely rigorous. The agreements that you sign entail many restrictions and if you don't want to be bound by them, don't sign them. If you have some kind of moral or ethical problem with that, stay out of the business. I have no sympathy for anyone who gives away national secrets. Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I have no sympathy for anyone who gives away national secrets. Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

      So just to be clear, if some illegal act done in the name of the people of the USA has been classed as a national secret, then if someone should bring this to light so that we can see what is being done in our name they are a criminal? No, they are a patriot.

    • by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:44AM (#33703194)
      The problem is "National Secret" sometimes means "Embarrassing things we don't want the people to know about to give them more reasons to want us out of power." Go read about the AEC and Manhattan Project sponsored plutonium injections, and radioactive iron experiments on pregnant women. Also go see how the military exposed infantry and pilots to radioactive fallout intentionally to see what would happen. The only way to guarantee the government and military not get out of hand is to have some transparency. Im not saying we should send a list of all out sub locations to the Chinese, Im saying it is too easy to classify information that should be known about as early as possible to limit unethical things happening. Or do you think its okay to let soldiers wait in trenches near ground zero of a nuclear explosion and also let pilots fly through the resulting mushroom cloud?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
        The only way to guarantee the government and military not get out of hand is to have some transparency.

        The problem is 'some transparency' = "We (the Pentagon) get to say what is transparent and what isn't".
        Exactly the situation we have now.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Yvan256 (722131)

          Explanation for the graphics guys out there: the Pentagon is kinda like the alpha channel.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't get drafted into this kind of work. It is something you have to work hard for and vetting for a clearance is extremely rigorous. The agreements that you sign entail many restrictions and if you don't want to be bound by them, don't sign them. If you have some kind of moral or ethical problem with that, stay out of the business.

      As somebody else who has a TS/SCI clearance and makes regular trips to Ft. Meade, I have to disagree with you. It's not hard to get a clearance; get a job with a government contractor, get on a project that you need a clearance for, and they'll put in the paperwork. They do a background check (just to ensure there's no obvious reason you'd betray the US), then you have to pass a polygraph test (which is pure snake oil and anybody can do it), and then you have a clearance. The vetting isn't nearly as rigo

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:31AM (#33703108)

    I think a legitimate tension exists regarding govermental secrecy:


    • We citizens don't want our goverments to be secretive, because that can be used to pull a fast one on us and/or to establish autocracy. And it can be used to hide the funneling of money to private interests and friends of those in power, without scrutiny. And besides, if the government's authority flows from us, maybe we just don't feel like letting it be secretive. It's the government's obligation to suck it up and exert no more power over us than we collectively authorize.

    • During wartime, and to some extent during peace time, we need to government to keep secret in general, so that our adversaries don't know certain things (force levels, where our nuclear subs are located, etc.)

    The problem with perpetual war is that it makes the second point above be more legitimately compelling than during peace time. But that reduces our abilities to keep our government in check, which is always risky for the citizenry.

    This is one good reason to not pursue forgeign policies that have us constantly in a state of low-level war around the world. It reduces the legitimate reasons for giving those in power an environment in which they can screw over the rest of us.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:47AM (#33703210)
      We also would save a ton of money in taxes. What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that we have military bases in almost every country in the world. Why? It doesn't make us safer if we have a large ground force in stable areas like Germany but it wastes a lot of money.

      The problem with our foreign policy is it is based on this mythical idea that somehow we can keep information from everyone all the time. That if we restrict access to -insert "hostile" country here- they will never gain -insert military technology here- and the world will maintain its status quo. Rather than a foreign policy that makes sure that hostile countries aren't hostile to us.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DoofusOfDeath (636671)

        Rather than a foreign policy that makes sure that hostile countries aren't hostile to us.

        I don't think it's entirely possible to head off foreign aggression. If I recall, many of Germany's neighbors discovered that at the beginning of WWII.

        But I mostly agree with your point. There's no clear reason why we need to be the enemy of Russia, China, some of South America, and a sizable fraction of the Middle East.

  • They Department of Defense has not yet paid for the burned books, but says they are 'in the process.'

    "In the process"???

    Uh-huh. I'm from New York, and until the money is handed over and IN THE BANK, then handing over the merchandise will likewise, be "in the process". Heck, that's pretty much a standard across the entire planet.

    As Watto would say: What, you think you're some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I'm a Toydarian. Mind tricks donnat work on me. Only money. No money, no parts, n

  • I previously heard the first run would have 10,000 copies printed; now we are hearing 9,500.
  • by Peet42 (904274)
    ...did they buy up all the Kindle copies too?
  • A Different Angle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kd5zex (1030436)

    I smell a PSYOP, please follow along.

    1. DOD needs to move the public opinion.
    2. DOD tasks "former" Army officer with penning a book as Americans don't respond well to leafleting.
    3. DOD realizes that no one will want to read said book.
    4. DOD says "Frack! We screwed up! There is sensitive info in there, buy the first printing a destroy all of them."
    5. Instant book sales and publicity (AKA: Propaganda).

    If the author was really trying to get the info out he would have self published it in PDF and released it

  • by Scarred Intellect (1648867) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:29AM (#33703460) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe you guys, can you honestly forget about this article, that was handily posted two weeks ago: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/09/11/1944227/Pentagon-Aims-To-Buy-Up-Book" [slashdot.org]

    This was pointed out then that it was just more of a misunderstanding than anything else, so why is everyone reacting to it like it's a brand new issue?

    ..usually it takes just a few comments down to find one that refers back to a previously posted article here on Slashdot, either the same article (more and more common, lately) or one from the recent past.
  • i guess noone is selling that bullshit slogan anymore ?
  • by VanessaE (970834) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:39AM (#33703514) Homepage

    I sent the following email to Macmillan, parent company of St. Martin's Press. I didn't hear about the book until it was too late; needless to say, I'm PISSED:

    ----------

    Please forward this to St. Martin's Press, this is meant specifically for them, though it also pertains to Macmillan as well.
    ===

    As a natural born American citizen and someone who cares deeply about her civil rights, I am writing to tell you how utterly disgusted and angry I am at your company for censoring a publication at the Department of Defense's request. I refer to Operation Dark Heart, detailing Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's time fighting in Afghanistan.

    To make matters even worse, I am especially angry at your company for ALLOWING THE ENTIRE FIRST RUN OF BOOKS TO BE DESTROYED BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT!!

    Remember Germany during World War II? The Nazi Party? This was the very tactic that government used to control the spread of information - gather up every book, scroll, and other publication they could find that covered the subject they wanted to suppress, by any means necessary (usually by direct theft), and burn them, often quite publicly in huge middle-of-the-street piles.

    This is not Nazi Germany, this is America. This is NOT supposed to happen here!

    What happened to the concept of Freedom of the Press? Freedom of Speech? Does the First Amendment mean nothing anymore? You are a book publisher. Therefore, you are a member of the Press, as the word was defined when our Constitution was first put into practice. That definition has not been changed in our Constitution, therefore, the First Amendment would have protected your right to continue to publish the information in that book - that was part of its original purpose.

    Don't tell me you couldn't have known - the warnings were in the news on September 10th. Don't tell me you needed the money - the destroyed content is worth less than $260,000 retail, compared to over $1 Billion in total sales in the past year. You had the right and the absolute DUTY to refuse sale of those books, knowing full well they were to be destroyed, and you have the right and the DUTY to argue against the government where censorship of any work is concerned, especially since this government has played the "national security" card WAY too many times. I am so utterly angry with your company and everyone therein who had anything whatsoever to do with allowing this to happen, that I will NEVER AGAIN buy anything from ANY company under your purview.

    You have lost all credibility in the eyes of whatever Americans still exist who believe in the protection of their rights.

    9500 books. DESTROYED. Shame on you. Shame on all of the people who continue to work for you from this point forward.

    I understand there were 10,000 copies made in the first run, meaning that nearly 500 of them made it into private hands (or eventually will). With any luck, at least one will get scanned and put online in text form, uncensored, unrestricted, and freely available (and it won't be my doing, so call off your lawyers). If you don't understand why I say this, look up the "Streisand Effect" sometime.

  • Consistency (Score:4, Interesting)

    by afabbro (33948) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @12:42PM (#33703858) Homepage
    If this was 2004, the article headline would be "Bush Administration Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book". In 2010, of course, we can't blame Obama for these things.

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