Pentagon Acknowledges Censoring Casualty Sites

by Ragnar Schierholz

Eric Umansky reports:

Last week, I received an email from a marine in Iraq who said his network was blocking him from visiting, a site that compiles casualty figures for Americans Iraq, as well as CNN’s page on servicemembers killed in the war. [...]

Read the full message here.

Now is that freedom, is that democracy? Admitted, in the military some standards are different, but THAT different?


From the manual of the "Bundeswehr" when you start your draft: "As a soldier you are a Citizen in uniform. However your rights as a citizen are limited. You do not have the right of free speech, the right to be silent ...."
Seems to be systematic.

Maybe someone can teach the guys how to use proxies?
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2004-09-21

Well, there's a slight difference though (I think).
As an employee, you are supposed to show a certain loyalty to your employer. An employee can't go about and tell stories about his employer. If something's wrong, there are other channels to deal with that. At least to a certain level. And in the military that level is undoubtedly higher than in public service, and even more than in regular business.
But denying free access to information is another level. If there's anything wrong with the reports shown on those websites, well, there should be other means to ensure proper work of journalists.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2004-09-21

from a technical point of view: a soldier works better if he believes in what he does. Knowing too much about casualties could have a negative impact on this believe.
And besides: even if the soldier would know about everything, and starts thinking... what possiblilies does he have? Should he say "hey, I don't wanto to attack that target, I'm off"...?

I do not say the deny to free information is good, I just say I understand that from a technical point of view.

Julian Buss, 2004-09-21

Seems to me just to be an extension of the censorship the US instated during Vietnam. To keep their own forces in the dark about how many casulaties and how many US troops were now in the conflict. Some of the reason for this was as Julian says about not wanting to negatively impact their moral.

British forces are also very limited as to what they can access whilst on operations, but that tends to have more to with the separation of the grids for military use and those for internet use with their being very few internet-connected computers available.

Kitty, 2004-09-21

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