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US Military targets bloggers

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posted on Oct, 16 2006 @ 09:00 PM

Army "Big Brother" Unit Targets Bloggers

Bloggers: "Big Brother is not watching you, but 10 members of a Virginia National Guard unit might be," according to the Army. The Manassas-based Guardsmen are on a one-year assignment to clamp down on both "official and unofficial Army Web sites for operational security violations."...

..."So much for military blogging," said one officer, deployed in Iraq, when the ruling came down. Not that the officer -- an active blogger back in the States -- was doing much public writing while on the front lines. "The Army's guidance on OPSEC [operational security] has been broad and ambiguous enough to chill my speech," he wrote to me. "Discretion is clearly the better part of valor where OPSEC rules are concerned, because the sensitivity of any particular detail is in the eye of the beholder."

How could we have any better idea of what occurs in a war zone, than by reading a blog of someone personally involved?

It seems, they have already been successful in shutting down a number of bloggers, who were able and willing to relate their experiences first hand:

...As of today, May 5th, 2006, I am officially shutting down my blog... There are certin [sic] commands out there that do NOT want me to blog... they have been trying very hard to find out who I am and shut me down... I really don't want to end my military career over a blog - it has gotten THAT bad!...

A real loss for those of us who seek to gain a better understanding of the "War On Terror".

...In an age when so many troops have access to the Internet -- and "open source intelligence" is becoming so critical -- it's only natural that military higher-ups have grown concerned about what's posted online. But OPSEC isn't the only dimension to the counter-terror fight. This is, as the cliche goes, a battle of hearts and minds, after all. That battle largely takes place in the press, broadly defined. And, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld observed earlier this year, "our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but... our country has not adapted." Just the other day, the New York Times shrieked about Iraqi insurgents using YouTube to spread fear.

So you would think that the Defense Department would be doing everything it could to encourage positive coverage of the war –- to bring stories of brave American troops, risking their lives for Mideast democracy, to the Internet browsers everywhere. But Rumsfeld's penchant for secrecy -- and the military's fear that even the smallest, most innocuous detail about American operations could give insurgents the upper hand –- has scuttled this crucial media mission.


As it is rammed down our throats how tech savvy the enemy is, the efforts made by our own allied troops to positively report first hand experiences from the front line are being curtailed.

Here's a piece that I hope illustrates my point somewhat:


Iraq and Afghanistan are very far away for most Americans. Yet in hundreds of military blogs it's possible to read the experiences, thoughts, fears and hopes of the men and women serving there.

``Technology has made this a new war,'' writes ``Molly Pitcher'' (molly..., an Army wife. ``I think the recent `Doonesbury' series on e-mail and spouses is pretty on target. . . . The communications technology can be a mixed blessing. When you hear from your loved one every day and then suddenly not for 48 hours, you begin to picture all sorts of horrors.''

Technology isn't just changing how we fight wars. It's allowing those who fight to speak directly to those who wait at home, unfiltered by a journalist, general or politician. GI Joe and GI Jane can speak for themselves. And we're all better off because of it.


I just thought I would put this out there. After all, we are still riding the wave into this brave new Internet world. The success of blogs right here at ATS illustrates perfectly how each and every one of us with an Internet connection can illuminate the lives of others, purely through relating common everyday happenings.

In a time of war, when every mainstream media corporation seems to serve it's own agenda, first hand unbiased information from those at the sharp end should prove to be invaluable in allowing us to see what is really going on. Of course, it should be no surprise that the powers that be don't want this to happen.

Military Blogs

[edit on 16/10/06 by Implosion]

posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 12:59 AM
I believe the "real time" information and experiences being posted on these bloggs, could not only compramise the Military in the region but also let the rest of the World know what's really happening in Iraq and etc..

We can't have that happening can we?

posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 05:08 AM
So what ?

military censorship has always occurred . the naive assumption that it should just ignore technological leaps is simply asinine .

It is now more than ever that the dangers of real time intelligence leakage are at their highest

This is made worse by the fact that the tech savvy enemy , your cited sources acknowledge can mine online unclassified information automatically , and create a frighteningly accurate database of allied deployments , strengths , weaknesses etc

A letter or article published in a soldiers home town paper 5 weeks after he returns home , only gives insights into trends and strategy – a daily updated blog , gives a real time picture – and when combined with all the other blogs , news , huminit , elint etc – it gives the enemy the big picture

Each individual blog may be insignificant – but there are 1000s of them – that is the problem .

Email and WWW access are laid on for troops as a perk , not a right . troops accept that , so should you .

The “ modern problem “ is the expectation that everything should be instant , push button gratification . I am not that old [ honest ] but remember when there were no mobile phones , email , WWW etc – for 6 month deployments all I had to keep in touch were letters via BFPO – often phonecalls were EMERGENCY ONLY

And my father before me was away for > 11 months , missing my birth and the first 6 months of my life .

Nowadays I see people who react badly if they loose celphone signals whike they go under a bridge – oh how times have changed

Military regulations have always swung a sledgehammer to crack walnuts . that is just the way it is , it is better to be safe than sorry

During WWII , the Japanese “fell for “ an intentional real time intelligence “ leak “ and tipped their hand that midway island was indeed target AF , the confirmation allowed USN planners to throw their entire forces into the midway battle with confidence – the subsequent battle was a turning point of the pacific campaign

During the Falklands conflict , the BBC [ who should have known better ] broadcast on would service news that 2PARA had moved up to moody brook farm , and gave our exact location – fortunately the Argentineans ignored it wrongly suspecting it was propaganda disinformation .

Those are two extreme examples – but in this information age – insignificant and seemingly unconnected factoids , can be built up to form a database of prime inteligence

no single peice of data is significant , but the whole is dynamite .

What seems inconsequential trivial to a private blogging from bargam , might be the key that confirms reams of previously unverified data sitting in the files of Iranian military intelligence

Why do people want to make life easier for the allies enemies , current or future ?

[edit on 18-10-2006 by ignorant_ape]

posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 12:09 PM
Obviously, where there is a possible security risk, then bloggers should be curtailed. However, in this case, it appears that the "security risk" lies, to use the words of the article posted, squarely in "the eyes of the beholder".

Here we have service men and women, fighting in far flung lands, so the likes of you and I can sleep at night purely trying to represent the facts of their reality. The sort of truth that you're not going to find by watching the TV.

How can you say "So what?", do you unflinchingly believe everything that you are told? Oh, they say its in the interests of security, therefore it must be?

I think I would be more inclined to listen to the views of those living this reality, then those who sit on high and pontificate.

Another Milblogger Bows Out

"Dave" has been in and out of the military since 1981. Now, he's getting ready to deploy to Iraq. So he decided to start a blog, as "a place... to share [his] thoughts, feelings, and observations, before, during, and after the Army Reserve is done with [him]." He managed to put up a couple of entries -- and pictures of his cats, Stinky Pooh and Buddy Badger."

But Dave has pulled the plug on his blog, just six weeks after he started it. Why? "Today we had a briefing on Blogs 'do's and don't' for the Army," he writes. "It appears to be very subjective as to what is and isn't allowed, so to keep from violating some Army reg, policy, or wish of the commander, I will have this as my last post." Then Dave linked to Defense Tech's post from last week, on the Army's "Big Brother" unit.

Now, Dave clearly wasn't going to be a model spokesperson for the military. He laughed at the Army's new slogan. And he wrote darkly about how the service "turned me from a career soldier loving the Army to someone that couldn't wait to get out just that quick."

But still. This is someone who plunged back into military life, long after he was out. Someone who wrote of his desire to be "an outstanding soldier, a mentor, a leader, someone who cared enough to make a difference." Isn't that exactly who the Army wants telling its story? And isn't Dave's online retreat exactly what friends of the military, like Andi and Blackfive, have been warning about?


I'm afraid nothing in the above passage constitutes a security risk, unless of course Stinky Pooh and Buddy Badger are deep cover operatives of course.

The fact is, Dave is deemed worthy to fight and die if need be, in faraway war many call illegal, but he isn't allowed to share his innermost thoughts about his everyday life with a wider community. This is not only a disgusting way to treat those who should be held in the highest regard, but it also denies the rest of us a chance to get some small indication of what is really going on in these war zones, as related by a normal everyday person, with no set agenda.

[edit on 18/10/06 by Implosion]

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