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  1. #1
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    US Soldier's Access to Youtube, MySpace Blocked by Pentagon

    Military Website Ban

    WRCB TV - Channel 3 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

    The Pentagon has decided to block soldiers' access to more than a dozen popular internet sites including YouTube, MySpace and many others.

    The military says the decision is about preventing unnecessary internet traffic on its own network and preventing security breaches.

    The military insists families will still be able to keep in touch by email, but some families say that's not enough.

    Unlike letters home from wars past these social networking sites have become a lifeline between soldiers and the world they left behind.

    Jay, a soldier serving in Iraq tells NBC:

    "Here in Iraq it is used to correspond with everyone from childhood friends and college pals to my mother even. There are many I would have no link to contact or share pictures of them/myself ... without this site."

    In Iowa the family of Marine Lance Corporal Kevin Miller now feels cut off.

    "It's a fast easy way to keep him in family loop. Like being next door...wait to hear from him," says Miller's grandmother Ann Page.

    Wired Connected's Nicholas Thompson thinks the military is making the wrong call

    "I think the military is making a big mistake. What the military is doing is isolating troops from their family and friends.

    To some critics the new policy feels more like censorship, preventing soldiers from presenting graphic images of the war or seeing disturbing images that may upend morale.
    Looks like the opposite is happening:

    YouTube Wants to Meet With U.S. Military Over Web Ban

    YouTube Wants to Meet With U.S. Military Over Web Ban - Salem-News.Com

    Feedback from soldiers indicates that they are anything but happy about losing access to the sites, and the list may be longer than the government is admitting.

    (SALEM, Ore.) - It looks like at least one video service that is being banned from U.S. government computers is going to fight back. MarketWatch in San Francisco says YouTube wants to hold a meeting with the U.S. military over a Web ban that would keep soldiers from not just YouTube, but also MySpace, PhotoBucket and several others.

    An article on Salem-News.com yesterday, Op-Ed: Government Bans Soldiers From Internet Sites, that was also posted on MySpace, brought a number of interesting comments from soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    What they say is that the government has already removed access to MySpace at a number of bases. The DoD said that computers in base MWR, Morale, Wellness and Recreation rooms would not be affected by the ban, but soldiers and marines who wrote to Salem-News.com say the claim is bogus.

    One soldier that I knew in Afghanistan, John Parsons, wrote this, "We lost myspace and several sites including any IM on the MWR computers a while ago. The only access we have to these is on a network that is operated and paid for by us through a local company".

    At least that seems to be one option for the soldiers at war that the government hasn't removed yet.

    Many people also wrote to Salem-News.com, expressing support for the government banning such sites, claiming that the soldiers are spending too much time watching videos and listening to music. One person who described himself as an active duty soldier with the nickname "Blackwolf" says, "The DOD is banning the sites because there are TOO many soldiers doing this during work - I know -I'm one of them - and so are all of my buds!"

    The Defense Department says it is an issue of bandwidth and security.

    But Jack Idema, a Special Forces soldier, says it isn't even the Department of Defense that is pressing this issue; it comes from an even higher source, "All of which emanate from State Department's actual control of how this war is waged. The last thing they want is a SGT in the 82nd Airborne putting up videos of what really happened and contradicting Rene Boucher on the 6 O'Clock News. And that's just the tip of the iceberg."

    It seems the real issue may not be bandwidth and security. If it was a legitimate claim, why would that just be coming up now?

    MarketWatch reports that YOUTUBE is chafing at being one of 13 Web sites now off limits on the computer networks used by U.S. military personnel.

    A representative of YouTube, the world's most popular Internet video site, owned by Google, says they are looking forward to meeting with the Department of Defense on this issue.

    She says a "vast" majority of YouTube videos posted by soldiers or their families and friends are personal messages.

    BlackPlanet.com, a social networking site popular among African-Americans, is also being banned by the government, "but shouldn't be," according to Ben Sun, chief executive officer of Community Connect, the company operating the Internet site.

    Sun said his site does get a "significant" amount of traffic from the DOD's network of computers, but certainly not to the degree of YouTube, or the 11 other sites on the hit list.

    The majority of soldiers were not in support of the government ban, they see it as an attempt to reduce the flow of information they receive. One soldier who did not seek to be identified, says the government has even clamped down on a popular site that soldiers use to purchase equipment that helps them stay alive in the war, "you can't go onto eBay anymore at some sites across Afghanistan."

    The soldier also said, "They want you to fight a war or do a job and you have to spend your own money to buy the equipment you need from eBay of all things to ensure that the job gets done." For him, that availability has ended, and Ebay is no longer an option for this soldier at war, or many others.

    "They do not want us to have access to the media. I get better news about the region when I look up stories on yahoo or a generalized search for news on Afghanistan then being here. They treat you like a mushroom- feed you a lot of sh*t and keep you in the dark."

    Ebay? Uncle Sam might just need to offer an explanation about that one.

  2. #2
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    Damn they have email dont they?

    I remember spending months on ships with no mail from my wife at all, and no other way to contact me.

    Marvellous it was

  3. #3
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    Well this is good news. The sooner they will realize their government is not their friend, the sooner they will want to go home and lose morale on the fighting grounds.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    ^
    They aren't so concerned with that as their prime motivation is to whack a terrorist. The hunting of Man is reputed to be the best rush (for some) there is.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    The hunting of Man is reputed to be the best rush (for some) there is.
    you got that right, as it seems that the insurgents didn't loose their appetite to ambush American soldiers.

    I wouldn't be surprised though if US soldiers were mostly concerned about their Internet connection and equipment than fighting in a war they know they can't win. The cut and run crowd might be in the ranks already. It will happen. Just a question of time.
    Last edited by Butterfly; 17-05-2007 at 12:30 PM.

  6. #6
    I am in Jail
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    The hunting of Man is reputed to be the best rush (for some) there is.
    One of your hobbies, is it?

  7. #7
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    It's quite normal for an employer to prevent general internet access; it's not like they used it to find intelligence about their supposed enemy, is it?

  8. #8
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    ^ no shit. Like it or not they poor bastards are in a fuckin war.
    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly
    Well this is good news. The sooner they will realize their government is not their friend, the sooner they will want to go home and lose morale on the fighting grounds.
    Missed point. The soldiers are fighting in a war. You may find it an unjust, or just, war this not a point here. Communication with the outside world needs to be monitored AND limited. Fucking simple. These whining half-wits should be complaining about a fucking war they disagree with not the proper handling, checking and limiting of outside contact. Morons.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hootad Binky (who was quoting some other source)
    To some critics the new policy feels more like censorship
    It IS censorship, the fucking twits. Goddam me, people sure are stupid.
    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty -- T. Jefferson


  9. #9
    たのむよ。
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    Well this is good news. The sooner they will realize their government is not their friend, the sooner they will want to go home and lose morale on the fighting grounds.
    Agreed.

    A lot of stuff that the government don't want to be shown on TV can be found on YouTube.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post

    A lot of stuff that the government don't want to be shown on TV can be found on YouTube.
    and theres a whole load of wank too.

  11. #11
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    their prime motivation is to whack a terrorist
    That explains killing each other with friendlyfire then.

  12. #12
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    The hillbilly was so lucky to be in the Operation Just Because and Desert Storm.

    During the Panama thingy I did not have a camera. The reason? Before depature, the higher-ups took my camera away. I vowed never again.

    During Desert Storm, I had a battery operated camera that I had to wind after every shot. Believe me, it was tricky trading for batteries and hiding the film...

    Maybe more later...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Boon Mee
    The hunting of Man is reputed to be the best rush (for some) there is.
    you got that right, as it seems that the insurgents didn't loose their appetite to ambush American soldiers.

    I wouldn't be surprised though if US soldiers were mostly concerned about their Internet connection and equipmet than fighting in a war they know they can't win. The cut and run crowd might be in the ranks already. It will happen. Just a question of time.
    Agreed.

    I typed in "IED Iraq" and a few other variations just a few days ago into Youtube and was astonished at all the footage of American vehicles being blown up. Not exactly a morale-booster, but it can be argued soldiers indeed have a right to see that, it's their asses on the line, after all.

    For the Pentagon to suddenly reverse course after years of fighting and the soldier's getting used to posting and obtaining their own information will NOT go over well with the rank and file.
    Last edited by Hootad Binky; 18-05-2007 at 01:17 AM.

  14. #14
    Tonguin for a beer
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    They can't let the public see what really is going on there, they have authorised embedded journalists to show what they want the world to see.

    Look at what happened in Vietnam when those pesky journos had a free hand in what they filmed!

    Can't have footage of humvees getting blown up on the 6 o'clock news, people may stop supporting it and even start protesting in the streets. Musicians may start singing anti war songs to whip up the masses into a frenzy. There may be another summer of love!
    Fahn Cahn's

  15. #15
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    Why haven't there been large-scale public demonstrations against this war? Apathy?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly
    During Desert Storm, I had a battery operated camera that I had to wind after every shot. Believe me, it was tricky trading for batteries and hiding the film...
    You've gotta post some piccies.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hootad Binky View Post
    Why haven't there been large-scale public demonstrations against this war? Apathy?

    There's been a few, depending on how you define "large-scale" but most people don't join because:

    --They gotta work

    --The war hasn't directly affected their lives in any significant way (unlike Cindy Sheehan)

    --Some are still brainwashed by Fox "News" that the war is justifiable

    --Many protest at the ballot box

  18. #18
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    Why haven't there been large-scale public demonstrations against this war? Apathy?
    I would say it is because it is viewed as a horrendous fck-up rather than anything else - It's not a war as such, more a....horrendous fck-up.

  19. #19
    たのむよ。
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimboyfat View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by The Gentleman Scamp View Post

    A lot of stuff that the government don't want to be shown on TV can be found on YouTube.
    and theres a whole load of wank too.
    If you want to ying and yang everything then yes, there is - but there is stuff that can't or won't be shown on regular public TV that finds its way to the internet, that was my point.

  20. #20
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    Though the net can be a life- line and source of information to some, others are just idling their time away trolling the net at tax-payers' expense.

    The sheer stupidity and vile of some guys' comments are an embarrassment and blemish for the armed forces.

  21. #21
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    To be honest most of these sites are blocked by local proxy servers on most military installations. It maybe more difficult for some to communicate (for the bloggers mainly) but email is always available to communicate with family and friends.

    The impact of the policy change is minimal.

    If anyone is wondering how I know, I do have experience in this area, as an USAF computer guy (19 years).

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