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Guantanamo Officers Caught Modifying Wikipedia

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the heavy-hands-in-the-cookie-jar dept.

Government 598

James Hardine writes "Wikileaks reports that US armed forces personnel at Guantanamo have conducted propaganda attacks over the Internet. (The story has been picked up by the NYTimes, The Inquirer, the New York Daily News, and the AP.) The activities documented by Wikileaks include deleting Guantanamo detainees' ID numbers from Wikipedia, posting of self-praising comments on news websites in response to negative articles, promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as 'an admitted transsexual' (misspelling the word 'transsexual'). Guantanamo spokesman Lt. Col. Bush blasted Wikileaks for identifying one 'mass communications officer' by name, who has since received death threats for 'simply doing his job — posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo.'"

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598 comments

Minor gripe (3, Interesting)

Shanoyu (975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718478)

I would be hard pressed to call editing wikipedia articles to favor oneself "conducting a propaganda campaign", much in the same way that I would feel awkward referring to updating my blog as a press release.

Re:Minor gripe (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718500)

I would be hard pressed to call editing wikipedia articles to favor oneself "conducting a propaganda campaign", much in the same way that I would feel awkward referring to updating my blog as a press release.

When it is a government employee doing this, on the clock, paid for by tax dollars, as part of their official duties... well that is what propaganda is. Why the hell are we paying for "mass communications officers" in the first place? Does anyone support their tax dollars going to pay for someone to go post positive comments on Digg about government programs? Say, are you by any chance a "mass communications officer?"

Re:Minor gripe (0, Flamebait)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718522)

Rearm with rubberbands and spitballs.

End the whole bloody military lie - its a corporate welfare program without end.

Re:Minor gripe (4, Funny)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718696)

Why the hell are we paying for "mass communications officers" in the first place?

Because they are a part of the modern military: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_operations [wikipedia.org] (read it quick before it get's edited)

Now you might think that it would be wrong for the US Government to use a part of the military against US citizens, but then you would be supporting the terrorists. Here's why: The Terrorists can read the internet. It's OK to trample on you if it is in the name of Stopping The Terrorists. Any red blooded American should be proud to read purposefully distorted information, because they know that it is the only way to Stop The Terrorists and protect Freedom. America, fuck yeah.

Re:Minor gripe (2, Interesting)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718844)

Why the hell are we paying for "mass communications officers" in the first place?

Public relations? Winning of hearts and minds? Press liaison?

All are fairly legit functions of any administration, as is outright propaganda. You don't think Congress funds Voice of America because they listen to it on their car radios on the way to work in the morning?

With respect to the hearts and minds angle, there was a big push on this during the time of the Iraq invasion. The cynical interpretation was that the effort was made only to mollify the critics, but my guess is that the Bush folks actually believed it would help, and believed in whatever message they were trying to spread. Don't recall her name at the moment, but Bush put one of his loyal, long-time staffers in charge of overseeing what was to be a wide-ranging series of programs that would include public, private and military initiatives. As to what effect a PR campaign run by middle-aged woman from Texas could have on the popular sentiments of the Muslim world and those listening on elsewhere is left to the reader to decide, but FWIW, she left the Bush administration a few months ago.

Re:Minor gripe (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21719066)

When it is a government employee doing this, on the clock, paid for by tax dollars, as part of their official duties... well that is what propaganda is

So none of the shit done for free by revolutionaries is propaganda then?

You're a bigger idiot than kdawson, I have to wonder if you morons have any idea how ridiculous and reactionary you look when you spew garbage like this.

Re:Minor gripe (5, Informative)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718526)

I wouldn't. Propaganda just means tilting public opinion towards positive through use of the media and other mass communications, with an implication (but not requirement) that it's less than honest. That could be adding positive info, that could be deleting negative info, given access. Wiki is unusual in that it would actually let you do the latter, oversight considerations aside.

Enough people don't understand that Wiki's only -really- valid as a collection of other cites and take it at face value that this sort of thing could be very effective if it's not outed.

Re:Minor gripe (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718538)

So you're saying that...

promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as 'an admitted transsexual' (misspelling the word 'transsexual').
... is not propaganda? It's not like they were editing Wikipedia entries on baking cakes here, the intention is obvious.

Wait, maybe you're one of them!

Re:Minor gripe (2)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718746)

Mod parent up. Giving carte blanche to edit materials that reflects one's self or self interests will lead to entries like this. Anonymity (or pseudo-anonymity) permits people to do naughty, self-promoting things. People aren't going to be unbiased about themselves, or their perceived missions in life. Such is the need for referential integrity.

The parent message points out, and correctly, that wikipedia and other self-edit mechanisms are going to be rife for objective reporting in sheep's clothing. If you want veracity, wikipedia isn't it, and cannot be made so given its current editing bias criteria.

Was it abused? Sure. And what else is new???? Surely you don't believe that such a medium can be impartial..... and manipulated by everyone for that person's own purposes? Why does it surprise people when someone fingerfarts an entry into open wikis?

Tag suggestion (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718496)

This lowly anon humbly suggests tagging the story "ministryoftruth".

Seems rather appropriate.

Meh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718502)

Lets have a pity party and dance to the music of the worlds smallest violins.

Fuck Bush (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718504)

Only people who share your viewpoint may edit wikipedia. People who have first hand knowledge may not. That is the cardinal rule. Experts may not edit Wikipedia if their viewpoint (or the facts) might conflict with yours. Remember, hating Bush is the end all and be all of Wikipedia.

Re:Fuck Bush (4, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718614)

Only people who share your viewpoint may edit wikipedia. People who have first hand knowledge may not. That is the cardinal rule.
Did you even read the summary?

...even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as 'an admitted transsexual' (misspelling the word 'transsexual')
You're telling me that they have first hand knowledge of this?

Oh right you just wanted to troll about Wikipedia, my mistake.

Yawn... (0, Flamebait)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718514)

Sorry if I can't build up any outrage over this. Wikipedia needs to remove the biased log in its own eye before bitching about specks in the eyes of others. This is what you get when you allow anyone to edit any article.

Ignorant (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718692)

So ignore a truth unless the person saying it is guilt-free? Facts don't stand on their own anymore?

Re:Ignorant (-1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719032)

Who says that wikileaks has "facts". They are an organization with international support, and so to some extent, act against the interests of the united states as a sovereign nation.

Re:Yawn... (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718708)

Yeah, it's not the military's fault that they are employing military personal to vandalize non-profit organization's websites with biased propaganda. It's wikipedia's fault! *eyeroll*

Re:Yawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718906)

I totally agree with you.

It is better when unemployed civilians vandalize non-profit organization's websites with biased propaganda. It's wikipedia's fault! *eyeroll*

*eyeroll* indeed.

Re:Yawn... (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718898)

Uh, it was intentional posting of misinformation.

Unless someone can find a citation for Castro's admission that he is a transsexual.

Re:Yawn... (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719062)

Uh, it was intentional posting of misinformation.

Unless someone can find a citation for Castro's admission that he is a transsexual.


It was a joke, you dope. Christ, you lefties are a bunch of heavy handed high falooting thugs.

In other news, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718528)

The mass communications officer is expected to make a full recovery as a Slashdot editor and meta-moderator.

Altering Wikipedia is an assigned job??? (5, Funny)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718542)

Guantanamo spokesman Lt. Col. Bush blasted Wikileaks for identifying one 'mass communications officer' by name, who has since received death threats for 'simply doing his job -- posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo.'
Lemme guess: The officers name is Winston Smith, and he is assigned to the Ministry of Truth?

Re:Altering Wikipedia is an assigned job??? (2, Funny)

snarkh (118018) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718774)


No, the guy is working for the Ministry of Love over there. That's why the outrage.

Re:Altering Wikipedia is an assigned job??? (5, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718830)

According to the article:

Wolff, Richard M. MC1, USN, Mass Communication Specialist/Webmaster
Joint Task Force Guantanamo APO AE 09360 Cuba
Phone: 011-5399-8135
Ph DSN: 660-8135
Email: richard.m.wolff@jtfgtmo.southcom.mil
Alt Email: usnavymc1@yahoo.com


Wouldn't want that to get misplaced.

Eerie Similarity Between Washington and Moscow (5, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718896)

There is an eerie similarity between (1) this incident involving military officers employed by Washington and (2) several incidents involving bloggers employed by the Kremlin. The American military officers modified information on a website by removing negative statements about the American government and by adding favorable statements. The officers also added negative statements about "enemies" of the USA.

As for the pro-Kremlin bloggers, A recent report [rferl.org] by Radio Free Europe states, "A new generation of pro-Kremlin bloggers, for example, is being cultivated to spread Putin's word online -- and to rapidly disrupt the activities of Russia's opponents, both real and imagined.

When Kasparov's Other Russia held a rally in Moscow on April 14, for example, a group of pro-Kremlin bloggers from the Young Guard youth movement flooded the Internet with reports of a smaller pro-regime demonstration on the same day. In doing so, they crowded out postings about the opposition march on Russia's top web portals -- creating a virtual news blackout in one of the last refuges of free media in the county. Pavel Danilin, the pro-Putin blogger who spearheaded the effort bragged to 'The Washington Post' that his team 'played it beautifully.'"

Is Russia becoming more like the USA, or is the USA becoming more like Russia?

uhm... (1)

pkadd (1203286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718544)

Wasn't this covered a few days ago?

Re:uhm... (1, Interesting)

Gloy (1151691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718610)

No, that was the CIA. Apparently every time some organization some people don't like edits Wikipedia, it's news, and grounds for a conspiracy theory. I'm not sure why.

Re:uhm... (5, Insightful)

f_raze13 (982309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718724)

This is different. The article specifically states that the soldier is their "mass communications specialist", and that he was being paid to edit the articles to support Guantanamo.

I could see your point if the article read "military IPs used to edit wikipedia", but this is being financed by the government. Lt. Col. Ed Bush came right out and said that their "mass communications specialist" was just doing his job.

Re:uhm... (2)

zaunuz (624853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718644)

You are probably remembering the article where IPs traced to CIA was used to edit the wikipedia-article about the iraq war

Wow what a shock (0, Troll)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718550)

Different people have different opinions on political topics. Next you're going to tell me the wikipedia article on Linux is not very nice towards Microsoft.

Re:Wow what a shock (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718596)

A better analogy would be "next you're going to tell me that Linus Torvals is working for the government and, while on the tax-payer's dime, is posting false information and deleting content that may be true but negative toward linux on wikipedia".

Also, the ideal goal is to keep Wikipedia as void of 'opinion' as possible anyway.

Re:Wow what a shock (4, Insightful)

niiler (716140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718624)

While it is true that every bit of information out there is shaded by personal perceptions, I can better make my own informed decisions vis-a-vis said information if I know who is communicating it to me. What this information officer was doing is repugnant in a democratic society where people need to make informed choices. Saying that we've been doing it since forever doesn't set precedent as propaganda's general purpose is to control the public opinion: it seems antithetical to democratic societies. And while Wikipedia is not perfect on political topics, at least it's something and we can make discoveries about the editorial leanings of the contributors.

Re:Wow what a shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718668)

Exactly... Isn't the whole point of Wikipedia that *anyone* can change it!

Re:Wow what a shock (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718760)

Exactly... Isn't the whole point of Wikipedia that *anyone* can change it!

That is the point of wikipedia. That is not the important part of this story and, in fact, it mentions Digg and several other sites. The point of this story is the government is spending our tax dollars to spread "positive reviews" and misinformation related to government projects, thereby undermining the fourth estate. The other point of this story is they are incompetent at it and admit to doing it. Can't you muster up just a little bit of indignation that instead of providing ten poverty stricken youth with full scholarships to university we're paying at least one incompetent hack that money to lie to us on Web forums?

Re:Wow what a shock (4, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719012)

This isn't a matter of opinion. This is a matter of obscuring or removing factual information portraying what actually happened. To lie about something factual is entirely different than offering an opinion. And the motive is obvious - to circumvent accountability.

Curse them, this is our Internet! (4, Funny)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718554)

Certain people shouldn't be allowed to post comments or edit Wikipedia. We gotta lock the Internet down; it's the only way to preserve freedom of expression.

Re:Curse them, this is our Internet! (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718714)

Yea, i mean, WE started the internet. The military and government funding had nothing to do with it. ARPAnet is just a fairytale. The military should know that we own this place, not them!

Re:Curse them, this is our Internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718900)

Posting anonymously as I have already moderated in this thread:
I don't know how to mod this one.
I think it's funny, but not funny for a +1 Funny, as it is a sad truth that people actually use this kind of logic.
It is insightful if you read it with a healthy overdose of sarcasm.
It is flamebait, too.
So what do I do, asshole? What do I do?

It's ridiculous! (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718576)

Government employees have the same right to free expression as I do!

I can't stand it when people have a different world view than I do, and then go out there modifying a website designed to be modifiable by anyone.

How dare they!

Actually, the guys at Gitmo are probably the ones with the most information that goes on there. I'd rather have their input in the articles than every random jackass from Daily Kos, who exist simply to fan flames and spread rumors.

And, for the record, I think it's very, very wrong to house these guys at Gitmo. This "new kind of enemy stuff" is pure bullshit. Enemy combatants, who disguise themselves as civilians, are spies. Spies are supposed to be *executed*, not detained.

Two images come to mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718590)

The employee, formerly employed as a Microsoft "astroturfer" .....

The SS officer who claimed he was just following orders ....

This is why military intelligence is an oxymoron (5, Insightful)

rgoldste (213339) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718598)

I'm shocked that the military would try to edit Gitmo facts out of Wikipedia. Don't they know that pages' history is saved, so that improper deletions can be easily restored? Don't they know that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of editors paranoid enough about the Bush administration and war on terror to monitor the Gitmo page? Couldn't the military be doing something, um, useful to prosecute the war on terror? Didn't the military realize that these efforts would come back to bite them in the ass (thanks Wikileaks!) and further hamper their efforts?

And regarding Lt. Col. Bush's "He was just doing his job" defense, I'd like to note that that defense hasn't been recognized in law since at least Nuremburg.

We apparently can't get ethical intelligence officers, but can we at least get intelligent intelligence officers?

Something is very broken when.... (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718678)

a military prison has a spin-meister.

Re:Something is very broken when.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718936)

Something is also very broken when... ...military prisons exist in the first place. The military is NOT a state-within-the-state; it should NOT have its own jurisdiction, its own laws, and its own prisons, not for soldiers and ESPECIALLY not for unrelated folks.

Re:Something is very broken when.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21719000)

I think a simpler (more human?) explanation is that the employees are bored and tired of being called assholes for doing their jobs. Its not like they can just up-and-quit like civilian employees. (Or maybe they can.) It's "dirty work" for negative public appreciation, all in the name of protecting people who probably should learn to better protect themselves. I'd hate to be a there-- detained or employed.

Mischief boosts morale.

Re:This is why military intelligence is an oxymoro (1)

whatevah (1130459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718960)

Military intelligence two words combined that can't make sense.... (Megadeth-Hangar 18) ;)

Re:This is why military intelligence is an oxymoro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21719050)

What's funny is that these same paranoid editors will still be called tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists, even when this obviously shows that it is justified paranoia.

i live in the USA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718616)

I don't get these flagwavers, the kind that go out and change Wikipedia. My Dad is one of them, and he shouldn't be. He flunked out of an Arkansas community college in the 60s so they sent him to Vietnam. That would pretty much sour me on any country, but there's Dad, still waving the fucking flag and taking off his hat at baseball games. What a douchebag.

I fucking hate my country. And not just because of Guantanamo and this whole "war on terror" nonsense. I hate the fact that we talk about how "free" we are when we've got more of our population in prison than any other country in the world. I hate the fact that someone that robs a bank at gunpoint gets 5 years while someone that downloads dirty pics of a 14 year old gets 3 times that, and yet they still let the local high school cheerleaders hold "bikini carwashes". I thought looking at under age girls was bad? What the hell?

I hate all this mandatory sentencing shit that ties judges hands, I hate the way my employer can declare bankruptcy, stiff me on my last 2 paychecks, and the executives walk away scot-free. If I'm a day fucking late on my credit card bill I've got fuckers calling me on the phone and telling me I'm a deadbeat. Hey, what about the 300K/year CEO that owes me 2 paychecks? Oh no, thats just a failed business, he'll get another high paying executive salary somewhere else, but god, he's no deadbeat.

I got to leave the country for 2 weeks once, I went to a USENIX in Stockholm. Did you know you can walk in the parks at night there? It was fucking amazing. I was WALKING in a park at night and not a single cop tased me or beat me with his nightstick.

Fuck the United States. I hate it here. Go ahead. Call me a pinko. It fucking sucks here, the quality of life is shit, the hypocrisy is intolerable.

Re:i live in the USA (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718712)

Did you know you can walk in the parks at night there?
You can't walk in parks at night in America? Never knew that, lol..

Re:i live in the USA (2, Funny)

MLease (652529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718850)

Well, you can. But in big city parks, such as Central Park in NYC, it's not a good idea.

-Mike

Re:i live in the USA (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718902)

hmm, actually I thought central park was the one park you could be in at night.

Most parks in the midwestern US are "closed" at night, and if the police catch you there, they will assume you are doing something illegal (drugs, sex)

Re:i live in the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718804)

More people are behind bars in the United States than any other country, according to available official figures. As of 2006 ... 2.2 million were incarcerated. China with 20% of the world's population ranks second with a reported 1.5 million followed by Russia with 870,000.

Then, in the same section one paragraph down:

The prison population in China was 111 per 100,000 in 2001 (sentenced prisoners only), although this figure is highly disputed. Chinese human rights activist Harry Wu, who spent 19 years in forced-labor camps for criticizing the government, estimates that 16 to 20 million of his countrymen are incarcerated, including common criminals, political prisoners, and people in involuntary job placements. Even ten million prisoners would mean a rate of 793 per 100,000.

While I have no doubt that an activist might even unknowingly inflate his numbers, I also do not doubt China's motive and ability to hide these numbers.

Re:i live in the USA (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718868)

as to why internet child porn downloaders get longer terms than bank robbers, I'm not sure if thats true.

If it is, I'd guess that it's because it's cheaper to incarcerate a pedophile than a bank robber. And commercial prisons do need cheap labor.

Re:i live in the USA (1)

DirtyShaman (976105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718892)

You're a pinko. And you need to get rid of your father issues. It sounds like you need to see a psychiatrist.

Your dad is a smart man... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718956)

I guess even smart men can have terrorists for children. Maybe you should sit down with him and ask him why he loves his country so much even though they sent him against his will to fight a meaningless war. Who knows, you might learn something.

misspelling? (1, Interesting)

clragon (923326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718626)

and even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as 'an admitted transsexual' (misspelling the word 'transsexual').

This is not mentioned in the article, nor appears on the actual wikipedia edit history [wikipedia.org] .

Re:misspelling? (4, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718882)



From the article in question:

This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person, Assange said in a telephone interview from Paris.

Army Lt. Col. Ed Bush, a prison camps spokesman, said there is no official attempt to alter information posted elsewhere but said the military seeks to correct what it believes is incorrect or outdated information about the prison.

Bush declined to answer questions about the Castro posting.

Assange said that in January 2006, someone at Guantánamo wrote in a Wikipedia profile of the Cuban president: Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual, the unknown writer said, misspelling the word transsexual.

The U.S. has no formal relations with Cuba and has maintained its base in the southeast of the island over the objections of the Castro government.


So, that's a lie. Also, from the link you posted:

Revision as of 20:55, 16 January 2006 (edit) ...my comrades: when he made his report he was fair enough to acknowledge as an incontestable fact that we maintained a high spirit of chivalry throughout the struggle.'' [http://www.marxists.org/history/cuba/archive/castro/1953/10/16.htm]

Revision as of 22:22, 16 January 2006 (edit) ...my comrades: when he made his report he was fair enough to acknowledge as an incontestable fact that we maintained a high spirit of chivalry throughout the struggle.'' [http://www.marxists.org/history/cuba/archive/castro/1953/10/16.htm] + Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual.


So, you're not just a liar, but also an idiot.

Re:misspelling? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21719020)

You got modded up informative +1, but I am not finding those edits ANYWHERE. There are edits on those dates, but not the ones that you posted. I am being led to believe that you have made those edits up in an effort to look informative and gain free karma.

Re:misspelling? (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718928)

The user in question [wikipedia.org] is simply a common wikipedia vandal. The only pro-US change he made was calling Fidel Castro a transsexual, yet he goes on to call the president "George Wanker Bush" and a "fag". Those two edits were the only politic-related pages he altered. Furthermore, his IP resolves to Romania, which is nowhere near Guantanamo or any place I would choose to conveniently locate a pro-US wikipedia propaganda artist.

This article is already suspect... trying to take advantage of people already existing opinions to make them lower their guard.

The US government aren't the only people with an agenda. Some mass media (for example, NYT) have an unfortunate bias that prevents them from delivering consistently objective stories about important topics such as government corruption, propaganda, fund misappropriation, wrongdoing, and so on, preying on their audience and further muddying the issue.

Re:misspelling? (4, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719018)

The user in question is simply a common wikipedia vandal. The only pro-US change he made was calling Fidel Castro a transsexual, yet he goes on to call the president "George Wanker Bush" and a "fag". Those two edits were the only politic-related pages he altered. Furthermore, his IP resolves to Romania, which is nowhere near Guantanamo or any place I would choose to conveniently locate a pro-US wikipedia propaganda artist.

More lies and propaganda. The link you posted was to the person who edited BEFORE it was altered. The link to the actual user who did this is here [wikipedia.org]

Reverse DNS lookup reveals that IP belongs to:

130.22.190.5 resolves to
"public.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil"
Top Level Domain: "southcom.mil"

So, how much do you guys get paid for doing this?

What's really funny (4, Insightful)

zullnero (833754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718632)

Is the officer defending his guy for "just doing his job" to abuse privately owned and operated websites and spread misinformation. His job? I'm sorry, but spreading (mis)information is what the whole .gov domain was created for. There's no need to deface private websites and spam comments pages...and be paid to do it with our tax dollars. You do that, you deserve what's coming to you and it should be the military's duty to make sure they aren't assigning soldiers to such incredibly wasteful activities.

Only one way to deal with this... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718636)

Vote for RON PAUL in 2008: http://www.ronpaul2008.com/ [ronpaul2008.com]

Be part of the Tea Party and Donate TODAY!!

The incompetence of goverment.... (5, Interesting)

budword (680846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718654)

The incompetence of government is our only real chance at safely. These people are the reason I don't believe the government has covered up UFO's or a massive 9/11 conspiracy. They aren't competent. They can't find their own ass using both hands, much less scratch it without getting caught. The fixed ratio of stupidity to malice being constant means the damage these people can do will be sort term. (Short term being years though.) Much the same way the malice/stupidity ratio lead to the Nazi's being responsible for the very mistakes that lead to their defeat.

Re:The incompetence of goverment.... (2, Insightful)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718728)

It's not just government which are incompetent. Most the big corporations excel at incompetence even more. That's whats good about small businesses, having the MD in the office - who's house and life savings are on the line if the business fails - is a great way to encourage competence.

As soon as you get national/multinational organizations, be they governmental or corporate, incompetence inevitable creeps in.

Re:The incompetence of goverment.... (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718982)

That's just what they want you to think!

Re:The incompetence of goverment.... (1)

hyldain (893984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719008)

The biggest lie the Devil ever told was when he convinced the world he wasn't real.

While I don't believe our government is as competent as it should be, I don't believe the incompetence argument works.

Incompetency by the government actually works in their favor, for the powerful ones who actually call the shots. Because it breeds that same argument. "Oh they're just morons. I don't need to worry about them.."

Not to bring up crazy talk, but there is overwhelming evidence that our government allowed Pearl Harbor to take place so that we would have the political support of the masses to enter World War II. Sixty years on, we don't think about that. We only think, "Gee, those Japanese were bastards for doing that." It's taught in our children's history books that we had to retaliate to pay back the Japanese and prove America was strong. Not that it could have been prevented and that the military knew it was going to happen. A lot can be learned in sixty years. In 2061 will we be saying the same thing about September 11th?

But this isn't a conspiracy thread. The reason I bring Pearl Harbor up, is because it is all propaganda in one form or another. From these Guantanamo events to Pearl Harbor to September 11th. I have a hard time believing our government would be against using propaganda at any level, even that which takes civilian lives, as they have proven they can do so to achieve what they want, time and time again, if it is important enough to them.

The question we have to ask ourselves is, "Is it important enough to us, as citizens of the United States?"

What a pathetic administration (1, Offtopic)

rpp3po (641313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718662)

fighting for "the free world"... America has lost all of its moral credibility in the world. I'm still looking up to the fathers of your constitution. That's some of the best lines of code ever written. Very, very wise men... Look what you made out of this today, look at who got 50% of your votes at the last election. That's so sad.

Re:What a pathetic administration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718834)

No.

What is sad is the other guy got more votes.

Not that the other guy would have been a better President, but that a majority thought so.

We elected the lesser of two evils.

Again.

That is sad.

lol? Fucking LOL? Are you kidding me?! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718672)

From the wikileak page where a purported posting from a military communications / journalist / etc officer is displayed:

[quote] I got a little lazy and gained a few pounds, ok more than a few... lol.[/quote]

Please tell me that a supposed journalist and professional communications specialist did not just use 'lol'.

Re:lol? Fucking LOL? Are you kidding me?! (1)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718872)

Person who spends every minute of his professional life worrying about spelling, punctuation and proper words shockingly doesn't adhere to same when he gets a moment to himself.

News at 11.

Re:lol? Fucking LOL? Are you kidding me?! (1, Troll)

Troed (102527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719002)

Why not? Are you under the impression that a language is static, with well defined rules on how a new word comes into use and gets added to the official lingo?

Ur teh oldie.

Okay, so who isn't doing this? (1, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718686)

You can't sit here and tell me that New Soviet Russia, China, Cuba, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Iran, Brazil, Christmas Island, don't do the same thing. Or that Adobe, Microsoft, militant Linux users (also known as half of slashdot), Apple, militant Apple users (15% of Slashdot), Greenpeace, PETA, the NRA, Moveon.org, Swift Boat Vets for Truth, the Minutemen and so on and so forth don't do the same thing?

The only difference between Propaganda, PR, and Marketing is just the spelling.

Re:Okay, so who isn't doing this? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718796)

So do you have any proof of the Russian, Cuban, Canadian and UK governments editing Wikipedia to add transsexual references?

"It's ok because everyone else is doing it", is just the weakest excuse for justifying this thing especially when they're not, which is more mis-information.

Re:Okay, so who isn't doing this? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718816)

OK, everyone does it, it's a perfectly legitimate activity. So why were they trying to keep this a secret?

Re:Okay, so who isn't doing this? (1)

rpp3po (641313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718846)

That's bullshit. Calling government officials spending tax dollars on public manipulation in the same as interest groups paid for doing the same. In many European countries the former would be illegal. And there are reasons for it. Relativistic dumb heads and ignorants like you are those who pave the way for the morally corrupt.

Re:Okay, so who isn't doing this? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718884)

So, um... in New Soviet Russia, propaganda spells you?

Re:Okay, so who isn't doing this? (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718964)

The only difference between Propaganda, PR, and Marketing is just the spelling.

Well, and the fact that our tax dollars pay for propaganda.

Re:Okay, so who isn't doing this? (2, Insightful)

gomiam (587421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718994)

Yes, because the land-of-freedom USA are supposed to be like Russia, China, etc. Congratulations on that Insightful vote, you didn't really deserve it. Oh, I don't belong to the USA and I don't like many of their current policies, but your point is quite senseless.

Correcting falsehoods (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718694)

Maybe they're trying to correct falsehoods like the US not allowing some Muslim prisoners to pray and not given a copy of the Koran. However, this would be odd when it's widely known Gitmo Muslims are allowed to pray, given a copy of the Koran, and even have an arrow painted on the floor of their cell pointing towards Mecca.

Re:Correcting falsehoods (1)

rpp3po (641313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718748)

...and even have an arrow painted on the floor of their cell pointing towards Mecca.
Well that may be part of the torture. ;) They change it one degree a day while you sleep, but will tell you they did not. Over time you think you are turning mad (as they even relocate the little pencil marks that you apply to monitor any changes).

Re:Correcting falsehoods (1)

Poodleboy (226682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719040)

Oh, aren't we great? Welcome to Guantanamo--here is your Koran, Mecca is that way. Excuse me a moment while I put a bag over your head and connect this car battery to your testicles...

Re:Correcting falsehoods (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718988)

Calling Castro "an admitted transsexual" and deleting the identities of prisoners is not correcting falsehoods.

That said, there's a difference between a propaganda campaign orchestrated at high levels, vs. some bored private being a dork. Then again, powerful people tend to do their dirty work through disposable minions, so it's not always easy to tell.

Call the Waaaaaambulance? (2, Interesting)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718698)

So the edit [wikipedia.org] , changed the title of link to the article "War in Afghanistan (2001-present)" to say 'War in Afghanistan' instead of 'Invasion of Afghanistan' and I'm supposed to get worked up over it?

Just may be me, but calling it Invasion of Afghanistan is just a clever way of trying to spin it the other direction.

Re:Call the Waaaaaambulance? (1)

atriusofbricia (686672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718948)

You forgot that almost all of the "terrible" edits were the horrible and inconceivable act of removing....... ID NUMBERS!!!! Clearly this is propaganda on a scale not seen since World War II! Damn them and removing those ID Numbers!!! (The Castro edit, if I'm reading the diff right, took place just shy of two years ago.. breaking news indeed) And I agree, calling it the "Invasion of Afghanistan" is simply an attempt to spin it the other way. Is not "War in Afghanistan" more NPOV? I also see that certain types of mods are out in force.. How is the parent flamebait? Because he pointed out the facts?

Re:Call the Waaaaaambulance? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718952)

Umm, dude. It was an invasion. Have you already forgotten how American troops (and those from allied nations) traveled large distances to attack the Afghani lands?

If anything, it should actually be referred to as the "Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan." That better describes the fact that there was not only the initial invasion by foreign troops, but that there has also been a prolonged (and generally unsuccessful) occupation of that nation.

Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718706)

I completely agree with Linus on this one.
The man is quite correct on the matter.

Can't happen here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718732)

promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg
Thank God this kind of self-promotion cannot happen on Slashdot.

Nothing will come of this story, unfortunately (1)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718740)

The article doesn't assert anywhere that these amateurish Gitmo propaganda efforts were actually successful. (And they probably haven't been.) This doesn't look good, but few will likely follow this story: it'll likely be an occasional footnote in articles critiquing Gitmo's larger transgressions.

Jeez, who cares. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718742)

The "detainees" are the scum of the earth. They are lucky that they weren't executed outright. We should honor the brave men and women who put up with the hardship of guarding this scum. I have no more pity for the terrorist "detainees" than I would have for Joseph Mengele, Klaus Barbie, or Adolph Eichmann.

Expert on subject modifying Wikipedia! Horror! (0, Flamebait)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718762)

Those bastards!

Re:Expert on subject modifying Wikipedia! Horror! (1)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718894)

There is a rule against modifying your own wiki page. This applies to organizations as well as individuals, largely because of ulterior motives like this.

Where did they find the time? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718788)

Where did they find the time to to edits? I thought they spent all their time getting really Gay with all the prisoners.... you know parading them around naked, stacking them up naked, sticking stuff in their ass... Don't ask, don't tell indeed...

OMG! WAR CRIMES! (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718848)

even altering Wikipedia's entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as 'an admitted transsexual' (misspelling the word 'transsexual').
Here's the deal: a couple guys - I'll make a wild ass guess here and assume 11B's - had some time to kill and wanted to laugh. Editing Castro's wikipedia entry qualifies.

The Left is the Right's bestest friend. :)

Tired news (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718904)

Honestly, is any "XXXXX caught modifying wikipedia" article really newsworthy nowadays?

Wikipedia is editable by anyone.
It's human nature to want to modify bad news about yourself or your business.

Crappy Opsec In Action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21718966)

Y'know, in every DoD contractor and military facility I've worked in/visited, there are "practice opsec" posters all over the place. Everybody with a security clearance goes through a yearly security practices briefing to - among other things - remind folks to keep a low public presence. The DoD is aware that "public" includes "on-line".

Obviously, Mr. Wolff wasn't paying attention in class, and has never tried to google himself.

Very scary (1)

Poodleboy (226682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718974)

It's scary enough that in this country we have soldiers who seem to believe that political propaganda (or politics in general) belong to their job descriptions. What's even more frightening is that some of this discussion is about whether or not it's appropriate for Wikipedia to throw stones, entirely missing the point. Is our misunderstanding of our own birth as a nation so broken that we cannot recall that George Washington himself refused the presidency until he resigned his command on the very principle that the military should have no part in politics? What is this, Stalinist Russia?

You retards! (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21718980)

Don't you think it is ironic that organizations that argue about goverment power are using the same methods they say are wrong to try and argue their point? Here we are with all of these organizations having their IP tracked, and suddenly, if someone posts, its a matter of publicity.

That should tell you more than anything that the lion's share of these "freedom" organizations are really just doing it to cash in. Every retarded liberal getting angry about a post by some freedom organization, moved to scream about the horror of the abuses, only wishing they had more money to give to save the world, are just as dumb as a two year old whining for Thomas the Tank Engine or Ronald McDonald. Give me some money and here's your cheeseburger of freedom, you dopes. You are ver useful engines!

All of these "freedom" organizations turn quite orwellian themselves whenever someone disagrees with them. There's no salvation there. I mean, if you want to go find a bunch of Nazis, go onto any of these places like wikileaks or moveon or dailykos and say, "hey, I think Bush is great!". You'll find more group think, suppression of dissent, and threats of violence, as you would in any organization or institution that they try to do. God forbid that the guys at Gitmo go and write their own take on the situation. Of course, they are in the wrong to do anything, because, they are automatically evil.

And yeah, I think its funny that the gitmo guys wrote that Fidel Castro is a transexual. I might write in Wikipedia that Fidel Castro is also a vampire. Fricking Commy Bastard, and that's a fact.

Soldier may die: Film at eleven (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719044)

A death threat? Did I read that right? Excuse me, but isn't dealing with people who want to kill you (and your countrymen) the first duty of anyone who puts on a military uniform? Does it matter that it's personal?

We've got grunts overseas dealing with the daily threat of being sent home in a box because of some kook's roadside IED, just for trying to set up a local police force, and this guy can't handle being "outed" for a bad PR whitewash?

So get him some freaking security, Lt. Col. Bush. This is the U.S. military, not Madison Avenue! Protect our man for doing his job, or court marshal him for doing otherwise, but for Chrissakes stop whining. When a CIA agent gets outed, they get protection if it's possible. This guy was doing no less important a job, the same job in fact, and this should be seen as a reasonable consequence of that job.

Why Langley isn't handling this kind of thing is beyond me, however. This is spy stuff.

Finally, if you are an *American* that "outed" anyone, take a good, hard look at your priorities. Screwing this administration isn't worth, to my mind, screwing the long-term credibility of our country. Clearly, that's the President's job.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

--
Toro

there's a fine line between (1)

xPsi (851544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21719058)

being a responsible whistleblower and a fud engine. Wikileaks seem to ride that line pretty damn closely sometimes. I wonder if wikileaks has ever edited their own wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] ?


From TFA:

This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person
If a wikipedia edit comes from an IP address from Guantanamo Bay, does it necessarily follow that the edit is "American government speaking to the American people?" I'm not so sure. It seems like most of these edits didn't fall within wikipedia's guidelines anyway and would be quickly reverted or changed by any one of thousands of other rabid editors on wikipedia. For this reason, wikipedia is not a good propaganda engine. But if the information provided from Guantanamo fits within the wikipedia guidelines (some of then changes actually did) then fair is fair.
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