OpEdNews Op Eds

Soldiers Lose The War For Their Freedom of Speech

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It


Soldiers serving in Iraq have been banned from sending out clips and images of the war. The very freedoms they are fighting for - are denied to them.

In August of this year, the Department of Defense (DoD)'s web site announced the following "Effective immediately, no information may be placed on websites that are readily accessible to the public unless it has been reviewed for security concerns and approved in accordance with Deputy Secretary of Defense Memorandum web site policies and procedures."

The Manassas based Virginia National Guard unit have chosen a mere 10 people to report information, blogs, videos, and photos on all sites created or utilised by soldiers. Any information or images they do not approve of, or appear to be a "potential operational security" (OPSEC) violation, are reported to the Army's Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC).

The majority of OPSEC violations found so far on Army milblogs have been "For Official Use Only" (FOUO) documents, and distribution of personal information such as name, address, and age.

Currently there are an estimated 1,200 military blogs (milblogs), where soldiers are (were) free to share information back and forth between family and friends.

"The military's stepped up surveillance of online activity also means an increasing risk to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members who use online communities," said Kathi S. Westcott, deputy director of law for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "Service members must be especially cautious about posting any information online which reveals their sexual orientation. While online communities can be an important communication tool for military personnel, they can also lead to investigations and dismissals under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"

These milblogs served several purposes which included - reaching out to a loved one back home; used as a journal to express views, concerns, and fears; and the medium exposed abuses and realities of war itself. It has been reported that the majority of the postings made by the soldiers on these milblogs have been written by those who are pro-war, not against. Only a small number of troops have milblogs opposing the war, since that view is in itself a violation.

The Pentagon is concerned that milblogs may have a negative impact on how Americans see the military and how the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are being serviced. Others in the military believe the blogs may serve as notification for insurgents to view and subsequently act on.

Copyright ©2006 Anai Rhoads Ford



Anai Rhoads is a Human Rights journalist originally from Athens, Greece. Her work has been featured on several web-based newspapers and media outlets, which include ZMagazine, InfoShop.com, and Media Monitors. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief (more...)
Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Racial and Religious Profiling Background and Statistics

Food Not Bombs Heads to Nigeria

Pediatrician's Battle The Unnecessary Evil - Vaccine Makers

Anorexia May Strike Twice

Northern Uganda Death Rate Rivals Iraq's

Massive Honey Bee Wane Threatens World Crops


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
No comments