Military censorship, it’s not what you think

Briefly, the military is censoring, but it’s not what you think. They are censoring the websurfing of troops in Iraq, using filtering software to protect children and citizens of Muslim countries from accessing "questionable" content. While preventing porn surfing could be seen as reasonable (trying to accomodate the filter notion), but the implementation is much broader and blocks political speech. What is Centcom’s take on this? I don’t know, but it’ll be interesting to find out.

See Wonkett’s We’re Bringing the War Back Home and Our Boys Need Gossip, a listing by BoingBoing of some of the blocked sites, and Kathryn Cramer’s always penetrating analysis and deep sea dredging (be sure to review her side links on the "SmartFilter Lowdown" for other offsite news and analysis). Kathryn notes, among other things, some of the states licensing SmartFilter: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Should our troops be subject to the same censorship? Beyond using the troops as props (sourced from TPM), is the Administration really concerned about the Zogby poll (with or without various repudiations and concerns about its accuracy), or MilitaryTimes polls that continue to show the military on a different page than their civilian leadership?

Is this really necessary? Is this a necessary and proper use of our resources? Are we that concerned about the time our guys are spending on "subversive" blogs and news sources?

The is a natural, and unfortunate, extension of the McCarthyism of the White House’s rhetoric: "you’re with us or against us and I don’t care if you’re really with actually because I’ll do what I want".

4 thoughts on “Military censorship, it’s not what you think

  1. Onboard the ship last week (for the first time in a while as I’m TDY to a naval air field), I noticed I could not access ZenPundit, Coming Anarchy, Talking Points Memo, Wonkette and a few other notable blogs and sites. In addition to losing our online e-mail access (no YAHOO!, GMAIL, HOTMAIL, AOL, etc, which is bunk because the ship’s e-mail network is down 50% of the time), this seems to be an insidious attempt to control information and limit alternative viewpoints.

  2. Hi Dan,The Navy has not yet decided to insult TDAXP, but they certainly insulted MSNBC, XXL (hip hop music website), the London Telegraph and a number of other sites I could not seem to access yesterday while onboard the ship. The censorship (besides the left wing blogs like KOS and crap like MTV and XXL and internet e-mail accounts) increasingly seems to have no rhyme or reason. For example, Coming Anarchy was “blocked by network administrator” or whatever before, but yesterday it was good. Ditto for the Lebanon based Daily Star. Oh well?

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