The US forces' apparent moves to block frontline troops from accessing online media have been strongly criticised, and not just on free-speech grounds. US military bloggers, or "milbloggers", were at first, apparently, savagely muzzled - you didn't hear that here - and then supposedly freed to write again, as the US Army …
There's more to this story than bandwidth
Pentagon is not happy with the troops telling the US public stuff they don't want told.
They're currently trying to prevent Congress even asking the troops questions:
"The guidelines, described in an April 19 memo to the staff director of the House Armed Services Committee, adds that all field-level officers and enlisted personnel must be "deemed appropriate" by the Department of Defense before they can participate in personal briefings for members of Congress or their staffs; in addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded."
Wilkie's memo also stipulated that any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his top-level aides."
This is straight contempt of Congress, Congress can subpoena whoever it wants to. ANYONE without limit. What happened next is the most staggering power play ever. Officers answerable to Congress walked out of a hearing as though they are exempt from Congressional power:
"Defense Department lawyers sought to apply the guidelines to the testimony of three Army officers -- a captain, a major, and a lieutenant colonel -- set to testify about their first-hand experience training Iraqi security forces.
A few minutes into the proceedings, a representative from the Pentagon's Office of General Counsel tried to apply the new provisions. Speaking from the audience, he declared that the officers could not participate if the meeting was being recorded for a transcript...The panel's Democratic chairman, ...and ranking Republican both insisted a transcript would be kept and the Pentagon entourage, including the officers, "theatrically stormed out of the room,".
The military is above the legislature. Welcome to the new America. Creepy czars announce propaganda wars and the military gives Congress Democrats and Republicans the bird.
This isn't new
I work IT for the Army, and these sites have always been filtered, every military network I've been on. It's just official now. Even when I was in Iraq they had these sites in a Websense filter and such.
From an IT standpoint it's a great move, at least on the MySpace part because lots of users are idiots and will just about fall for any scam that's out there. Spyware and malware would become a big problem. Plus noone would ever get work done, believe me most of our users waste time on the internet as it is.
The people crying that it's a stifling of free speech are just idiots. I've always been able to get to email and plenty of other sites on military networks. Hell you can CGI Proxy most times anyways, so if you have the know how, nothings stopping you anyways.
I saw this in the newspaper and my first thought was "They're already banned....and always have been..."
and I quote
There's a lot to be said for posting your footage out. I can't remember who said it, but, 'ever underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of videotapes'.
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