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. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops’ online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.I think that it is understandable that the military would want to keep secret information which endangers our troops. What is not acceptable is the effort to keep a lid on any information which contradicts BushCo's happy talk about Iraq.
I think that the latter may be the motivation behind this new policy. A few months ago this blog had a visit from someone from CentCom after I put up a post with the title We Aren't Winning in Iraq. Here is a screenshot of my StatCounter entry for the visit.
I was rather perplexed by the whole thing since the post was little more than a graphic from an LATimes article. Then I ran across this.
My post didn't and couldn't, since I'm not in the military, contain any sensitive information. In fact the only thing that I added to the LATimes information was my opinion that we aren't winning in Iraq. Yet CentCom spent nearly two minutes looking at my very short post. This leads me to suspect that this latest move by the Pentagon may have more to do with silencing critics than it does protecting our troops.
According to news reports, an Army unit called the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC) reviews hundreds of thousands of websites every month, notifying webmasters and bloggers when it sees information it finds inappropriate. Some bloggers have told reporters that they have cut back on their posts or shut down their sites altogether because of the activities of the AWRAC. EFF filed its suit after the Department of Defense and Army failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about the blog monitoring program.
"Soldiers should be free to blog their thoughts at this critical point in the national debate on the war in Iraq," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "If the Army is coloring or curtailing soldiers' published opinions, Americans need to know about that interference."
Technorati Tags: BushCo, Iraq, blogs, CentCom, AWRAC
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