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Military Steps Up War On Blogs

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the don't-post-don't-read dept.

Censorship 338

An anonymous reader writes "The military's war on blogs, first reported last spring, is picking up. Now the Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read. One senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so 'utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.'"

cancel ×

338 comments

When's the next speech (5, Funny)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592444)

Is Bush going to come out in a month and give a 'mission accomplished' speech after we defeat all the blogs?

Re:When's the next speech (3, Informative)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592752)

after we defeat all the blogs?
Granted all of us here on /. can probably agree what constitutes a blog. However if you look at the strict definition, Dictionary.com: A weblog. (Weblog: "A website that displays in chronological order the postings by one or more individuals and usually has links to comments on specific postings.")

By that definition wouldn't they have to block news.google.com and news.yahoo.com among a multitude of others?

Re:When's the next speech (2, Insightful)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592836)

Or even.... SLASHDOT!!! Let's see how many nerd deserters there are gonna be.

Re:When's the next speech (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593058)

come on! mod the parent at least to funny. it was and it wasn't even a "frist post"-post

If he thinks the policy is stupid... (2, Funny)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592448)

He should read the blogs that are out there... I see this as a way to keep military personnel from losing intelligence.

Re:If he thinks the policy is stupid... (4, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592476)

It *is* a stupid policy.

If you don't want your troops to lose morale because of the blogs, let them know what's really going on ... oops, that won't work either ...

Next step - installing spyware, so that in Soviet Amerikan Army, blog reads YOU!

Re:If he thinks the policy is stupid... (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592840)

It's not as bad as you think. Essentially, we were just trying to give the men an excuse for not reading the article.

Re:If he thinks the policy is stupid... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593340)

Yeah, because if it's on the Intertubes, you know it's from a reliable, knowledgeable source.

Re:If he thinks the policy is stupid... (2, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593426)

Yeah, because if it's on the Intertubes, you know it's from a reliable, knowledgeable source.

If you can't trust your GIs to read a blog and make up their own minds, you have bigger problems ...

Troops listened to Tokyo Rose [wikipedia.org] during WW2 - it didn't change the outcome.

Re:If he thinks the policy is stupid... (0, Troll)

holyspidoo (1195369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593258)

They have intelligence to lose?

PressedWords (2, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592458)

>One senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so 'utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.'

Presumably he didn't post that on his blog...

Re:PressedWords (4, Interesting)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592650)

Presumably he didn't post that on his blog...

Don't be so sure. From FTA:

Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, who replaced Petraeus as the head of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, recently wrote (in a blog post, no less)

out of sight out of mind? (3, Interesting)

frietbsd (943773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592508)

First the embedded reporters disappeared, how can we get any thrustworthy information about the battlefield now? can't we handle the truth?

Vietnam lessons (5, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592608)

Looks like they learned something from Vietnam after all.

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

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

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

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

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

It's all to be expected, really.

The only way to peace is to make relationships. (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592890)

It's not government by the military, it is government by oil and weapons investors. The military just kills those who would not allow oil and weapons profits.

The only way to peace is to make relationships. Violence only breeds more violence.

Re:The only way to peace is to make relationships. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22593152)

The only way to peace is to make relationships. Violence only breeds more violence.
Make love, not war -- is that why you're hawking IUDs on your website?

Re:Vietnam lessons (4, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593074)

Exactly. If there is one thing the armed forces learned from Vietnam it is control the information given out by the press. I remember a general's response to the question of why dead bodies and such were not allowed to be shown in the US was something like "If we let the public see what was really happening, to see dead bodies and destruction, they would never support the war."
To me it sounded like the best reason FOR showing the pictures.

Re:out of sight out of mind? (2, Funny)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592796)

Yes, the embedded reporters...
"I'm here in a bunker outside of Baghdad, and while I don't really know anything about military operations, I can assure you that there is a lot of noise out here. Let me sketch a little map in the sand to show you where we're gonna move next..."

Re:out of sight out of mind? (2, Insightful)

LoofWaffle (976969) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593144)

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

Re:out of sight out of mind? (1)

lionforce5 (1033490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593286)

First the embedded reporters disappeared, how can we get any thrustworthy information about the battlefield now? can't we handle the truth?
I can think of a few thrustworthy reporters whose coverage I'd like to see...

Carbon dioxide (2, Funny)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592520)

Bullets are ineffective and dropping a high voltage electrical wire onto blobs doesn't do anything. In fact, it sets diners on fire. A carbon dioxide fire extinguisher is the best way to stop ... oh, wait. You said 'blog'. Sorry.

Re:Carbon dioxide (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593004)

As Emily Litella would say: "Oh. Oh, that's something quite different... Never mind!"

Land of the Free. (3, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592532)

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

Re:Land of the Free. (2, Funny)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592656)

Land of the free indeed. Just yesterday I was trying to read a blog about the wiretapping progr--- TRANSMISSION INTERRUPTED - ERROR CODE 403

Re:Land of the Free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22592766)

You are not funny. Deal with it.

Re:Land of the Free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22592904)

What do you think they are, Candle Jack? This is ju-

Quick correction (5, Insightful)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592708)

"you give away your Freedom to virtually congregate and by extension freedom of thought among peers."

The distinction is important, and not just semantically.

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

Re:Quick correction (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592854)

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

Re:Quick correction (0)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593080)

"So by limiting the opinions someone is exposed to then you are also limiting the opinions they can build off of the exposure or in effect censuring how their thought process' could have developed."

Two things.

First, they're not being limited to what they're exposed to, they're being limited from contributing. You need to read the article again (assuming you've already read it...)

But let's tackle that bolded part. Your ... logic... would cause any instance of a failure to provide information (not actively prevent, by your logic, but not provide) to be a violation of rights. So not providing them with access to every piece of information ever created would be, based on your statement, a violation of their rights.

Are you sure you don't want to clarify this so it's not so ridiculous?

Re:Quick correction (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593350)

You need to pay attention to my username ;) I do go off on tangents.

Re:Quick correction (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592962)

as far as I'm aware, the military has no way to know what you're thinking
Don't be sure. And quit daydreaming about Lindsay Lohan, she's way out of your league and she's a drug addict anyway.

Thanks,
The U.S. Military

Re:Quick correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22593148)

Just out of curiosity, how can you give away your freedom if it's intrinsic to your being instead of being granted by some legal document, like the US constitution?

Re:Quick correction (1)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593262)

"Just out of curiosity, how can you give away your freedom if it's intrinsic to your being instead of being granted by some legal document, like the US constitution?"

If you'd bothered to read the Constitution instead of pretending you did, you'd know the answer to that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Section_8:_Powers_of_Congress [wikipedia.org]

"To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;"

No freedom is being given away, no matter how much hyperbole you use.

Freedom has responsibilities. (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592868)

and repercussions for going over the line.

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

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

Re:Freedom has responsibilities. (1, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593212)

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

Hmm. Not sure about that. (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593248)

If something is truly a right, an inalienable right, then it cannot be given, taken or surrendered. Those things that are given or taken are called privileges. A parent can grant or withdraw privileges from their children, for example, but cannot withdraw those children's rights. (Thus, countries that withdraw privileges are quite literally "nanny states".)

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

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

Hmm, doesn't matter what you're sure of (1)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593326)

"If something is truly a right, an inalienable right, then it cannot be given, taken or surrendered"

All right, then why can't I own nuclear weapons?

Land of the powerful. (2, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592896)

This has never been the Land of the Free. There's always exceptions. People have fought and died to free Native Americans, blacks, women, immigrants, all of whom live inside the United States. We haven't had true equality among our own citizens - and I mean, in a purely legal capacity - until the 70s. Even now, Native American reservations aren't truly sovereign, as they are supposed to be.

Anyone who thinks the American military gives a shit about anyone's rights hasn't been paying attention. These are the same guys (currently, this is literal - half of the executive branch are old white men from the Reagan administration) who sold weapons to a sworn enemy during wartime in order to fund right-wing guerrillas who were busy raping and murdering everyone from indigenous people to other Americans daring to raise awareness about the genocide. (Read about Dianna Ortiz - she was a nun who was abducted, tortured, and gang-raped for twenty four hours at the direction of the CIA).

Hell, look at Palestine. We hem and haw about freedom, but if we don't like who you elect, we try to economically sabotage and militarily exterminate the new government. This has been consistent US policy since the 50s. (Chile, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama...) America isn't much better than the British Empire was in the 1700s. We just have a much better PR department. By the way, who's suspending habeas corpus now? Oh, that's right...

In short, America does not give a fuck about freedom. We care that you do what you're told. That's why Saddam Hussein is underground and the King of Saudi Arabia is making out with our president in Texas.

Apropos of a police state: (0, Flamebait)

copponex (13876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593092)

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/02/28/prison.population.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

If you're an American adult, there's a 1% chance you're currently in jail. If you're a black male between the ages of 20 and 34, there's an 11% chance you're currently in jail.

As the article notes, that's more prisoners per capita than Russia or China.

im not sure that's a problem (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593308)

plenty of those offenses are lame (marijuana should be legal of course), but i think chinese and russians would complain about too many criminals running around the streets due to corruption and laziness, not celebrating their vast freedoms as compared to the usa

Re:Apropos of a police state: (3, Insightful)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593398)

"As the article notes, that's more prisoners per capita than Russia or China"

I'm not sure referencing two notoriously lawless countries makes the point you think it does.

got it (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593184)

now tell us how the track record of the usa on freedom in your mind compares to the track record on freedom of any other major power in the world at present and throughout history

no one expects the usa to be perfect, but it receives higher marks than most. well, i said no one expects the usa to be perfect, that's not true... there's you

Re:Land of the powerful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22593316)

Yet you are free enough to write this crap.

And not that I'm suggesting you go somewhere else, but I'm surprised you haven't, given your total lack of respect for the accomplishments our nation has achieved.

I suppose you look up to JFK, who engineered the Bay of Bigs fiasco. Then there is Johnson, who lied to congress to get the Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed and ultimately was responsible for the deaths or more American soldiers than even the most delusional Bush hater would dare claim. Or maybe Carter, who pretty much handed Iran over to the Islamic terrorists. I know, Bill Clinton. He got blow jobs at work, by a subordinate. I wouldn't recommend you try that because for you and I, that will land us in a lawsuit for sure.

So, as you can see, America has had several unsavory characters at the helm, but in the end, everyone still wants to come here and you apparently don't want to go anywhere else.

Re:Land of the Free. (1)

GeordieMac (1010817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592984)

Censoring the internet is just the latest form of book burning. Since they can't burn the internet, they are finding other ways to prevent the spread of ideas. Of course, the military is a kind of communist entity; central planning, top-down hierarchical organization, rigid pay structure. always found that a bit ironic.

Re:Land of the Free. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593120)

The military already blocks many sites from viewing by base personnel. They presumably don't block Slashdot because so many geeks like to view it. They don't filter personal internet accounts (dorm dwellers pay for civilian internet service like anyone else) and those don't go through their base firewall. For example, personal internet access in South Korea is through Korean ISPs. No filtering, no attempts to enforce RIAA nonsense on base, nada.

The "freedom to virtually congregate" does not apply to work computers. (FWIW, Slashdot and other geek sites aren't blocked. Even your military likes fucking off at work. )

Re:Land of the Free. (2, Interesting)

qoncept (599709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593312)

Ever read the Uniform Code of Military Justice? You don't lose it. You waive it. Along with many other things. Did I mention how happy I am to be out?

Shock!! Horror!! (-1, Redundant)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592538)

Outrage was caused today when it was learned that the military actually wages war.

In other news, sailors set sail, lawyers tell the truth and pigs fly.

Re:Shock!! Horror!! (1)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592662)

Flamebait..... ooooookayyy....

For those of us who aren't related to Mr. Data, parent was actually a joke. Next time I'll post in binary...

Ah, irony... (5, Funny)

Osurak (1013927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592540)

The article is posted on http://blog.wired.com/ [wired.com] and is therefore blocked by the filter it's complaining about.

Re:Ah, irony... (0, Offtopic)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592760)

I see the flamebait mafia is at it again. What is it today? A lobotomite's free for all? Someone mod the parent up - it isn't flamebait by any measure...

Re:Ah, irony... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593150)

From what I can tell here at McChord, the filter for key words in the URL. "blog", "webmail", and so on.

Re:Ah, irony...the AF way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22593296)

In yet another twist of Irony, the actual article was picked up by the Air Force's daily Aim Points news aggregation site that is recommended reading. http://aimpoints.hq.af.mil/display.cfm?id=24302 [af.mil]

From my stateside USAF-issue computer and connection I verified today that I was able to read the Wired blogs, and Michael Yon's blog mentioned later in this article as well without hitting the filter. Slashdot is unblocked, save for Ask Slashdot and the Games sections.

Posted AC for obvious reasons.

It's a training issue; not a free speech issue? (4, Insightful)

e03179 (578506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592546)

How many hundreds of hours of training do warfighters get on the operation and maintenance of their M16 rifle?

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

Re:It's a training issue; not a free speech issue? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592674)

Should not those topics be of relevance to -everybody- in this 'age of instant global communication'?

Should not those topics thus be taught in, say, high school? Say, in the required 'introduction to computers' course that everyone has to go through these days?

Re:It's a training issue; not a free speech issue? (2, Funny)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592866)

I know my Intro class would have been a lot more interesting if we got to handle M16's. At least it would have given me a leg up when I was in boot camp.

Re:It's a training issue; not a free speech issue? (2, Informative)

console0 (896579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592812)

How many hundreds of hours of training do warfighters get on the operation and maintenance of their M16 rifle?
If we are talking about the Air Force here, about two. And I don't mean two hundred.

Re:It's a training issue; not a free speech issue? (1)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593360)

In the Air Force, we get quite a bit of it, most of it useless. To the people I work with, learning about trojans and phishing is like teaching a group of cheerleaders the finer points of magnetohydrodynamics. It isn't that they aren't smart, but the way of thinking that geeks take for granted just doesn't correlate to how most people think. I'm talking about logic, induction, deduction, critical thinking, etc. To most people, someone who understands the windows registry or how to set up a firewall is an expert.

Back on topic, I think I spend about 4 hours a years on mandatory INFOSEC and "Information Awareness". Yes, that's what they call it.

-b

War on Blogs (3, Funny)

Ophion (58479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592552)

-hand brandishing egg over skillet-
-crack-
-sizzle-

This is your brain on blogs.

China? (0, Flamebait)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592560)

Does this remind anyone of China a little bit? It is somewhat different, but overall, blocking blogs and websites? Whats next? Making it illegal to discuss the things on these blogs too? What about our firs amendment? What about our freedom? The freedom of the troops? Did they sign anywhere that they would waive their rights? Did we?

Re:China? (2, Informative)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592900)

Actually, yes, they were instructed on what rights they were giving up, given a valid enlistment contract to sign, and then swore an oath in the presence of a commissioned officer that they were performing such actions.

Same as letters home (4, Informative)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592564)

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

Re:Same as letters home (1)

chiefloko (450100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592638)

I find it extremely difficult as a civilian to understand...how the people tasked to protect our freedom's have their lifeline taken away. Coming from a military household and having a close friend killed in Iraq, leaves me to wonder and protect the friends I have overseas now.

"No issues- in fact I appreciate your forwarding it on. I actually like our friendship better because of its non-military affiliation. I like having military friends- but I like having friend friends more. In the end, it will have been part of my life- a darker part for different reasons- but also a challenging and rewarding time as well.

I figure I will have one room in the house; a study, or a library, and it will contain all of my memories, medals and regalia. As sometimes we have to let in the past hurtful memories, I will go into that room on occasions- but I think most of the days it will just be a closed door in the hallway.

I still talk with my Doctor here (or Sqdn Physician's Assistant). He treated me for my wounds as well as my PTSD. We're good friends and he has assured me that when this is over he will get me every bit of disability coming that he can- even if it is enough to warrant a monthly paycheck.

Truth be told, I worry about depression. Sometimes I get into 'funks' that in my younger years would come and go- but have since intensified and been more frequent since my first tour. I also had periods of 'happy' before my first tour, where now I have periods of 'content' and 'worry' between my funks. Mostly fear of going back to a funk, going back to work (from a weekend, off of leave, or something similar), or going back to war.

I have a happy painted picture of what I imagine my life post-military to be like, and it is vastly different than what I think reality will be. I don't want to establish a boundary or pre-conceived notion only to perpetuate a false promise in my head. But I do worry about keeping a job, or having a social life and / or relationship with the types of feelings I feel; the occasional violence if I indulge in too much drink; and the low points when I don't want to get out of bed.

I hope that these too will pass. Religion plays a large part of my life- for as crazy as it sounds, and I laughed at **** for making a similar statement- And it helped me through my worst time ever- and I hope that my faith and sacrifices here will continue to help me through tough times. For in the end, being so close to death on a daily basis (even though I don't feel afraid of it or like it can touch me right now) when my card is pulled- all I have is my past, and my faith on which to be judged.

Someday we'll sit around the Bar and share a beer and just be, again. Some day you will sit in my house and I will louche you a glass of original Pernod Fils Absinthe from 1910, and we'll get drunk and relive days of old glory. (I've gotten big into Absinthe in Germany and have amassed quite a collection) Until then, we will keep being us, where we are.

I look forward to those days; I also requested my R&R in mid-May. If you're free, I think you owe me a tour of the Big Apple for a long weekend.

Take care my friend- thanks for being there for me when I always needed it- and even though if it doesn't seem it, you have.

-Me "

RTFA (3, Informative)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592750)

How is it that the summary goes a little far by directly quoting the article? Unless the article is completely wrong, this is about limiting which blogs can be read.

Re:RTFA (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592910)

whoops, didn't even see that second link. my bad, it must have been blocked by the military when I first browsed it. well then it is granted that the military is going way too far to "protect" the morale? or prevent them from viewing possible dissension about the war.

"Often, we block first and then review exceptions," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, a Cyber Command spokesman.
Nice policy there. Why allow unbiased info to get through that filter when you can just carpet bomb it all without batting an eye.

Re:Same as letters home (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592924)

I'm all for freedom of speech, but the military can do whatever the hell they want to restrict soldiers from leaking intelligence and keep moral. As long as it has no effect on the civilians I don't care. My friend is in the military and as long as he is over there in Iraq... I'm not going to discuss with him how much I think the war is a farce and how bad his Commander in Chief is. I don't want him to have any doubts about what about he is doing over there (even if he shouldn't be over there in the first place). Doubts get you killed.

Now when he gets out this summer I'm going to tell him how I really feel!

Re:Same as letters home (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593206)

But the summary goes a little far. The soldiers aren't limited to what blogs they can read. It simply limits which ones they can register for and/or post info.
Here at McChord, that's not true in a practical sense. They filter for key words in the URL such as "blog" and "webmail" and several others. Also, spacific sites *are* blocked, while "friendly" blogs may not be. Also, well known proxies are blocked, as are most p2p, torrent, mp3, and other media sites.

At least that's my experience here.

Awesomeness... (2, Funny)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592590)

... when I clicked "Read More", I was told the article was unavailable. That's FAST censorship!

Proxy... (1)

Kev647 (904931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592592)

Can these soldiers just use proxy websites to hide/mask/alter their IP addresses?

So lets list 'em... (3, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592598)

So lets list our favorites, or good ones, or whatever...

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

Blogs not the UK .mil favourite word (2, Informative)

imipak (254310) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592632)

For some reason [drudgereport.com] , the word "blog" is not terribly popular [bbc.co.uk] around the Department of Defence in London tonight...

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

Re:Blogs not the UK .mil favourite word (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592830)

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

The War On Stupidity (1)

geekgirlandrea (1148779) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592690)

One senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so 'utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream.'

If this person considers utter stupidity a thing to be avoided, then doesn't it rather seem that joining the military was a bit of a bad move?

Re:The War On Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22592882)

The Air Force official probably doesn't think so.

Why might that be?

In Contemporary America (2, Interesting)

xutopia (469129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592704)

In Soviet Russia the government limits what you can talk about. In contemporary America you are sheltered for your own good.

For The Military Inevitably Blocked (It's a blog!) (4, Informative)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592712)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the blogs banned is In From the Cold, which examines military, intelligence and political affairs from a largely right-of-center perspective. It's written by "Nathan Hale," the pseudonym for a former journalist and Air Force intelligence officer, who spent more than two decades in the service. He tells Danger Room, "If knowledge and information are power -- and no one disputes that -- then why not trust your people and empower them to explore all sides of issues affecting the service, air power and national security?"

Obviously, DoD [Department of Defense] can decide what internet content should be filtered -- they spent billions on the IT architecture and billions more to maintain it. But if it's a matter of "ensuring worker productivity" and deterring "wasteful surfing of the internet," does it really make sense to block relatively small blogs (that just happen to focus on military and security issues), while allowing everyone to access ESPN or FoxSports? Wonder how much work time will be lost on filling out "March Madness" brackets, versus reading a military or intelligence blog?

In short, there doesn't seem to be any consistency in the current DoD policy. And that's no surprise. A few months ago, a senior Pentagon P.A. [public affairs] official told me that his service had no plans to engage the blogosphere, because their studies showed that "people don't rely on blogs for news and information." And he said it with a straight face.

The Air Force recently launched an $81 million marketing campaign to convince lawmakers and average citizens of its relevance in today's fights. By making it harder for troops to blog, an Air Force officer says, the service had undermined "some of their most credible advocates."

"The Air Force isn't getting the planes that they want because they are incapable of communicating their usefulness and applicability in this new war. Because Air Force officers talk more like corporate bureaucrats than cocky war fighters, no one is inspired or convinced of their pressing (and quite legitimate) need to modernize the force," he adds. "Air Force bloggers spoke the lingo of someone heavily invested in the fight, because they operate outside the survival-minded careerist world of public affairs, with many of them penning blog posts from theater."

Perhaps, says retired Air Force Col. Tom Ehrhard, who's now a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. But there are legitimate security reasons why blogs need to be restricted. Adversaries may be using blogs to take advantage of airmen, he notes.

It is increasingly clear that active exploitation could take advantage of airmen and civilians who want to inform and correct the often outrageous, false assertions on these blogs. In doing so, it is easy for well-meaning insiders to violate operational security (OPSEC) tenets, either directly or tangentially. We are in a different world today when it comes to sensitive military information, and foreign intelligence operatives surely understand this and will exploit it. As a former member of Strategic Air Command, where OPSEC was (rightly) an obsession, this has been obvious to me for some time in reading aerospace-oriented blogs. This policy strikes me as a timely reminder to Air Force professionals that they should be on guard when blogging, because someone is watching.

Re:For The Military Inevitably Blocked (It's a blo (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592922)

Don't you think they'd have blocked /. too? (anybody know?)

I fear this is even more sinister than it appears (3, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592724)

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

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

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

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

You might fear that, you'd be wrong (1)

keineobachtubersie (1244154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592844)

ut from what I understand it is fairly costly to go to university there

No. It is possible, for instance, to get a 4 year degree from a state university for around $15,000. Spread out over, say, 6 years because you're working, that's 2500 a year. Not what a reasonable person would call costly.

and one of the easiest ways for people not born into money to finance themselves is to join the military for a bit before they go.


Loans and grants are far easier, and available to virtually ANYONE. If you've defaulted on a previous student loan or are convicted of certain offenses, you're out. Otherwise, you're in. And no, credit worthiness is not an issue.

Since your first two assumptions are debunked, I'd have to say that the rest of your post really doesn't have much merit.

Re:I fear this is even more sinister than it appea (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593376)

Bear in mind I am not American, but from what I understand it is fairly costly to go to university there, and one of the easiest ways for people not born into money to finance themselves is to join the military for a bit before they go.
That's true... kind of. We have what we call the "GI Bill", which was created back in 1944, 64 years ago, for veterans returning from WWII, and it helps pay for portions of the cost of higher education. Amounts vary depending on length of service. Serving in the military isn't what I would call easy, though. Especially not in wartime. As a previous poster indicated, there are many other ways of securing finances to attend college. It's a perk for joining the military, but usually not the reason.

Now, centres of power have an uneasy relationship with academia. On the one hand, healthy universities are vital to maintaining a countries technological and scientific edge. On the other hand, putting lots of smart, young people with fresh ideas in one place and giving them free time often breeds 'disrespectful' thinking.
I don't agree with this statement at all. The military has a great relationship with academia. There's a river of money flowing from the military and its associated civilian agencies to higher education institutions. For example, Los Alamos National Laboratory, where they perform weapons research, is run under contract by University of California. It's well known that DARPA, which is a US federal agency, funded development of TCP/IP by higher education institutions because they needed a communications network that could survive if major pieces of it were destroyed.

Even if this were some nearly 65-year-old government conspiracy, the number of active duty military in the US is currently less than one half of one percent of the total population. We maintain one of the smallest per-capita armed forces in the world.

No, the colleges are doing a fine job of stifling free thinking all by themselves, sadly. But do remove the tin foil hat in this particular case, please.

soldiers need to organize (1, Insightful)

nickhart (1009937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592732)

Soldiers should form a union. The military treats them like garbage--they have no rights, inadequate health care, often inadequate equipment and are forced to perform immoral and illegal acts. When caught, it is *they* who go on trial and not the civilian and military leaders who ordered the crimes.

I'm sure plenty of people will argue that they shouldn't have a union because it will hurt "readiness" or something like that. After all, we need unquestioning killers to defend America, right? Wrong. I can't recall the last time the US military was actually used to defend America. Instead it is used around the globe to oppress and kill, and it only benefits our wealthy rulers to have their unquestioned obedience. If it actually came to defending the US from an invasion, the soldiers would have every reason to step up and defend their country. (But seriously, we spend more on our military than the entire rest of the world combined. What military would invade us?)

The Viet Nam war was ended because soldiers organized and refused to continue fighting the war. Already active-duty soldiers and veterans are organizing against the current wars [ivaw.org] . They deserve our support, and hopefully someday GI's will have some rights and real say in military policy.

Re:soldiers need to organize (1)

FlameSnyper (31312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592872)

inadequate health care

Huh? Isn't that what this country wants? Both Obama and Hillary are promising it... the glorious days of state-sponsored (one-pay) universal health care.

Have you been to the VA lately?

Re:soldiers need to organize (2, Insightful)

nickhart (1009937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593028)

Neither Clinton nor Obama are promising single payer health care. They both propose half-assed privately run plans which ensure the for-profit health care industry remains intact. Their plans will do little to move us toward a genuine national health care system. Hardly surprising considering the vast sums of money they both receive from the industry.

Re:soldiers need to organize (1)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593310)

Huh? Isn't that what this country wants?

Absolutely not. There is a reason why Hillary's universal health care bill is sitting out in Congress without a cosponser... it is too liberal for even Ted Kennedy to touch it.

If we have learned anything over the past few hundred years, we have learned that the more Government control there is the more things are screwed up. It is the exact reason our education system fell behind and is why our automobile industry is heading down that path (congress telling automakers what kind of cars they can/can't make).

Socialism is never the answer.

Re:soldiers need to organize (1)

snowful (1231472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593436)

I have been to the VA lately. Quite a bit, actually. I get better health care, both physical and mental, than I ever could have received on the outside. My experience is perhaps a little different than what you hear in the news?

BTW, joining the military was one of the best decisions of my life.

Looks like some on the stargate project posted.... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592780)

Looks like some on the stargate project posted some info that should of not been put on the internet and this is a big cover up..........gfdsagdsdshds............ NO CARRIER

Blogs!=News (3, Insightful)

the computer guy nex (916959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592784)

I can't read blogs, myspace, or facebook at work either. This is far from censorship.

Re:Blogs!=News (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592972)

The difference is this: you are not required to live at work. Unless you work for Google, of course.

Re:Blogs!=News (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593336)

Well, in fairness, you are not required to join the armed forces either.

Re:Blogs!=News (2, Insightful)

Rampantbaboon (946107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593234)

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

Camels (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592790)

They don't want the fly boys to know they are bombing camels not tanks!

Hmmm... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592878)

I guess this new dictate hasn't reached us low peons.

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

Re:Hmmm... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593284)

There so good you don't even know your not supposed to do it.

Another misleading summary... (2, Informative)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22592952)

This limit is not on what blogs a soldier can read, but on which ones the soldier can post. They don't care what information is coming into the soldier, they just don't want a solider inadvertently leaking classified info..

Re:Another misleading summary... (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593302)

The official professed reason is no leaking classified info, but believe me, they'll censor plenty more than just what's classified.

What Combat Fatalities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22592978)


What is fascinating about the "War in Iraq" is that a "combat fatality" in Iraq occurs if the fatality occurs on the ground . If the fatality occurs during airlift, there is no combat fatality. A couple of the years ago the total combat deaths was rumored to be in the
12,000 to 17,000 range

What is shocking is that both the mainstream and non-mainstream media ignore it. .

 

Don't be so melodramatic. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22593002)

I'm am work, in the Air Force, and I can still read Slashdot, and post to it to. And no, it's not cleared with my "superior officer." Which, by the way, is just equivilent to a supervisor. I don't have to snap to attention, salute, report, and say "Sir! The airman requests permission to proceed with blog post!" I don't see it as anything other then a company filtering because of "lost productivity." Which you may or not be against, but regardless, it's like people bringing up children when talking about crime. Saying it's "military" is supposed to make it more dramatic, but it need not be.

Re:Don't be so melodramatic. (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593232)

Too bad you posted AC, but I served 26 years in the AF (retired last year) and will happily confirm everything you posted. What civilians don't get is how mellow the AF life really is. BFD if they filter a few sites or snivel about blog posts.
If you are going to post controversial shit you just omit your name and rank so it does not appear to have AF sanction.

Blogger theme song (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593026)

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take my blogs from me...

with apologies to Joss Whedon

Start with the Queers (1)

agent (7471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593250)

Hitler's approch was all wrong. It should have been Queer, then Jew; PeTA members last. Extra points for a Queer Jew!

I really feel sorry for the command structure (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22593410)

after all, they're supposed to maintain discipline and allegiance and the internet is awash with temptations to be independent in deed and, most dangerously, in thought.

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

And all of this has come about as an unforeseen, uncontrolled and unwanted consequence to a system designer's answer to a simple question about increasing the survivability of communications networks in the event of nuclear war.
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