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Pentagon Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book 306

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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  • 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.

  • by heptapod ( 243146 ) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:23AM (#33703054) Journal

    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 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.

  • 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 DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @10:54AM (#33703252)

    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.

  • by rajafarian ( 49150 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:13AM (#33703368)

    Of course such a move violates our 9th and 10th Amendment rights.

    I'm not sure (you may be right) but I'm a little concerned that disclosure of ACTA [wikipedia.org] is being labeled as a matter of national security and the Executive office wants to get itself an Internet kill switch [internetki...hobama.com]. I can't help but feel our federal government is setting itself up to perform "biblical" levels of censorship.

  • A Different Angle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kd5zex ( 1030436 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @11:15AM (#33703380)

    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 on the internets.

  • 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.
  • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Sunday September 26, 2010 @01:30PM (#33704136)

    Sorry, but no. Most editors are "artists" at heart and anti-censorship. If you go back around 30 years, most publishing houses were controlled by people who were "artists at heart and anti-censorship". That's no longer true.

    Most publisher these days have been bought up by larger companies, and the publishing business generally has little to do with the goals of the owning conglomerate. Those who work directly in the publishing arm of the conglomerate may still feel the same way, but policy and many actions are dictated by those who, for instance, are more interested in selling liquor (Heublein, e.g.)

    Some have speculated that this is a part of a concerted effort to ensure that the media forward the conservative political agenda, and it's difficult to come up with any other reason why such relatively unprofitable enterprises would have been bought by conglomerates. But this isn't actual proof. OTOH, it is worth noting that political demonstrations no longer receive much media coverage, even though one would think them as newsworthy as ever. (Or even more so, as now they are rarer.) (Again, this isn't proof. Merely an interesting coincidence. But I know which way I'd bet if offered a wager.)

  • Re:Consistency (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:00PM (#33705018)

    It is correct to blame Obama because he is the commander in chief. For such an office to refrain from taking action is to approve the action that was taken. If he chose, he could act to remove the bar to reprinting the original edition. He hasn't. Until he does, he is tacitly approving the action. (If he waits until after the second edition is printed to take action, he will continue to justly deserve to be blamed for the action, as it's unlikely that the publisher would re-instate the original edition at that point.)

  • Still stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <chris.travers@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday September 26, 2010 @04:52PM (#33705330) Homepage Journal

    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 Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday September 26, 2010 @05:50PM (#33705628)

    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 years, but the relatively minor displacement in Palestine of only a few years later still has people living in refugee camps.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @06:05AM (#33709290) Journal
    "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 thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed – when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way, to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women." - OBL.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.