Internet Censorship and the US Military
If you learned that certain blogs and websites are being censored for having political content, you’d say: “That’s no surprise. China does it all the time.” Well, it’s not just China . . . the US Military appears to be taking some lessons from the Chinese government. A few days ago, Wonkette discussed an email it purportedly received from a soldier in Iraq complaining of Interent censorship. The email stated:
Just to let you know, the US Marines have blocked access to “Wonkette” along with numerous other sites such as personal email (i.e. Yahoo, AT&T, Hotmail, etc), blogs that don’t agree with the government point of view, personal websites, and some news organizatons. This has taken effect as of the beginning of February. I have no problem with them blocking porn sites (after all it is a government network), but cutting off access to our email and possibly-not-toeing-the-government-line websites is a bit much.
Another email posted recently on Wonkette is even more troubling:
Anyway, I had a few minutes today and thought I’d look and see what else was banned on the Marine web here. I think the results speak for themselves:
* Wonkette – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.wonkette.com/) is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”
* Bill O’Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) – OK
* Air America (www.airamericaradio.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
* Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) – OK
* ABC News “The Note” – OK
* Website of the Al Franken Show (www.alfrankenshow.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
* G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) – OK
* Don & Mike Show (www.donandmikewebsite.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.donandmikewebsite.com/) is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies.”
If this email is true, I find it to be quite troubling. It is disturbing enough that the government is censoring political views from US soldiers. It is ironic that we are denying democratic discourse to our troops who are busy attempting to spread democracy in the Middle East. And it is really alarming if only certain political viewpoints are being censored while others are not. Anyway, this story just seems too outrageous to be true, and I sure hope it isn’t.