Monday, May 14, 2007

Pentagon blocks websites from staff and troops

New York Times, May 14 - This is yet another case of institutional censorship that is just not going to work. The Pentagon has banned access to MySpace, YouTube, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos, FileCabi, BlackPlanet, Hi5, Pandora, MTV, 1.fm, live365 and Photobucket. They cited technical and security concerns - “We’ve got to have the networks open to do our mission. They have to be reliable, timely and secure.” Private internet connections still have access, but most troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are limited to Pentagon service, Stars and Stripes notes.

"Today’s Web site ban and last month’s revision of military blogging policy were partly justified by operational security concerns. Howevere in reality this is just a censorsjip issue - seeking to reduce the voices of individual soldiers by making it more difficult to publish their own material and not allowing them to see or hear information that the Pentagon doesn't want them to see or hear.

Oddly, the ban also arrived as the American military started to increase its profile on YouTube, posting official footage that seeks to counter other footage on YouTube that is less than supportive of the Pentagon and US military actions.

Through their blogging policy and this comprehnsive site ban they have muffled free speech, evn free speech in support of their policies and actions. It is a loss for everyone, and will prove to be an example of great folly - many will find a way around this, and many will still find access to these sites.

1 comment:

RoseCovered Glasses said...

Your post has some excellent points. I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak. Here's some additional data:

The U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered in the Pentagon, is one of the most massive organizations on the planet, with net annual operating costs of $635 billion, assets worth $1.3 trillion, liabilities of $1.9 trillion and more that 2.9 million military and civilian personnel as of fiscal year 2005.

It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years.

What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing and SAIC. If you would like to read how they control our government, please see:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/spinney_testimony_060402.htm

The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/odyssey-of-armaments.html

On the same subject, you may also be interested in the following sites from the "Project On Government Oversight", observing it's 25th Anniversary and from "Defense In the National Interest", inspired by Franklin Spinney and contributed to by active/reserve, former, or retired military personnel.

http://pogo.org/

http://www.d-n-i.net/top_level/about_us.htm