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Soldier Web Blogs

Billo_Really

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U.S. military 'shuts down' soldiers' blogs
Troops are detailing their experiences in online journals,
but military says some are revealing too much

BY JOSEPH MALLIA STAFF WRITER January 2, 2006

Letters home filled with tales of death and danger, bravery and boredom are a wartime certainty.

And now, as hundreds of soldiers overseas have started keeping Internet journals about the heat, the homesickness, the bloodshed, word speeds from the battlefront faster than ever.

More and more, though, U.S. military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan are clamping down on these military Web logs, known as milblogs.


http://www.newsday.com/news/local/l...0,959146,print.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines
Are these a conduit to the truth or a comprimise in our National Security? Are they freedom of speech or an aid to insurgents and terrorists? Is shutting them down good or bad?
 

robin

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Soldiers are inevitably going to inavertantly or otherwise, convey information of use to the enemy with these bloggs. Let them read GY's sermons instead LOL
 

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Billo_Really said:
Are these a conduit to the truth or a comprimise in our National Security? Are they freedom of speech or an aid to insurgents and terrorists? Is shutting them down good or bad?
I think for a lot of people that writing about their experiences helps them deal with the stressful experiences more effectively. I can understand the Government not wanting them to dilvulge details that could threaten operations but I assume the soldiers already know not to do this. There has been an unprecedented effort imo to censor this war from the American people and I assume this is part of that censorship.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by scottyz:
I think for a lot of people that writing about their experiences helps them deal with the stressful experiences more effectively. I can understand the Government not wanting them to dilvulge details that could threaten operations but I assume the soldiers already know not to do this. There has been an unprecedented effort imo to censor this war from the American people and I assume this is part of that censorship.
I would tend to agree.
 

Lefty

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scottyz said:
I think for a lot of people that writing about their experiences helps them deal with the stressful experiences more effectively. I can understand the Government not wanting them to dilvulge details that could threaten operations but I assume the soldiers already know not to do this. There has been an unprecedented effort imo to censor this war from the American people and I assume this is part of that censorship.
I too would tend to agree. I guess soliders writing about their thoughts and feelings is unacceptable in the name of national security.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by Lefty:
I too would tend to agree. I guess soliders writing about their thoughts and feelings is unacceptable in the name of national security.
I just wonder how they determine the line of demarcation. Why is it all the flag-waving ra-ra-USA sites are the ones that remain? We have to have discoarse on both sides of the fence in order to properly act as a republic.
 

oldreliable67

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I just wonder how they determine the line of demarcation
Basically, its a question of maintaining operational security, or opsec in DoD speak. Anything that even hints of a location, the results of an operation past or certainly planned operations, numbers of people, capabilities, armaments, etc, etc. Anything that would give the enemy any info about your location, disposition, intentions, capabilities or morale.

You may or may not remember when Geraldo Rivera had his creds lifted and was summarily booted out of a 101st base camp and out of Iraq during the initial push to Baghdad for drawing, on live TV, a map in the sand and showing troop locations relative to Iraqi troop locations? That kind of thing is a definite no-no!

After a suitable period of chastisement, retraining and mea culpas, he was let back in, but not into the 101st AO.
 

Kelzie

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oldreliable67 said:
Basically, its a question of maintaining operational security, or opsec in DoD speak. Anything that even hints of a location, the results of an operation past or certainly planned operations, numbers of people, capabilities, armaments, etc, etc. Anything that would give the enemy any info about your location, disposition, intentions, capabilities or morale.

You may or may not remember when Geraldo Rivera had his creds lifted and was summarily booted out of a 101st base camp and out of Iraq during the initial push to Baghdad for drawing, on live TV, a map in the sand and showing troop locations relative to Iraqi troop locations? That kind of thing is a definite no-no!

After a suitable period of chastisement, retraining and mea culpas, he was let back in, but not into the 101st AO.
And so what if these blogs don't threaten opsec? Should they be allowed? I think everyone here can agree that any blog that threatens the security of our troops is not okay, but (without reading them anyway) it doesn't sound like these blogs did.
 

Billo_Really

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This is just another way the present administration is trying to censor speech in order to hide illegal acts.
 

oldreliable67

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Billo_Really said:
This is just another way the present administration is trying to censor speech in order to hide illegal acts.
Oh, baloney! Total BS. Thats just your Bush-hating obscuring your considerable common sense.

kelzie said:
And so what if these blogs don't threaten opsec? Should they be allowed? I think everyone here can agree that any blog that threatens the security of our troops is not okay, but (without reading them anyway) it doesn't sound like these blogs did.
It is, in the same manner that required mail censors in WWII, a matter of controlling the risk of compromise of opsec. On the surface, one would like to say that soldier's blogs are absolutely fine and great, offering an additional way for our military folks to communicate with the rest of the world.

But unfortunately, the military doesn't live in an ideal world, especially those in combat zones. One would like to think that active duty military in a combat zone would be cognizant enough of opsec to be scrupulously correct when blogging, but how can you be sure?

I've read a lot of the blogs and have often come away wondering about opsec. Many of them have mentioned unit designations, locations, and described operations (thereby giving away procedures), all of which is valuable info to an enemy. Even though the intent was benign (even the descriptions of how a unit rebuilt a school offered insights on convoy and personnel procedures et al).

I would like very much to say that soldier's blogs from a combat zone are harmless and should be welcomed, but we have to recognize the risk of inadvertent opsec risk. I just don't know how it can be safely done. I very much wish it could.
 

shuamort

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I'm curious as to where to draw the line on these sorts of things. Blogs that can be read by anyone? Emails, phone calls, and letters that would express the same things could also be intercepted by an enemy as well.

I'd like to put faith in the soldiers' ability not to divulge classified details but at the same time, one accident could do a lot of damage.

I can see both sides of the coin on this one. The need for a soldier to express their thoughts and share them. And the need to make sure that a soldier doesn't reveal details that they shouldn't.

Lynndie England's pictures might be a prime example of a soldier crossing a line that has ill effects on a mission. Once those came out, they damaged the US.

The difference is, the large majority of our troops know better than to give details out. The problem is, it only takes one that could ruin a mission. It's a tough row to hoe.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally Posted by oldreliable67
Oh, baloney! Total BS. Thats just your Bush-hating obscuring your considerable common sense.
This isn't Bush-hate. This is Republicans suck-hate.
 

oldreliable67

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The Mudville Gazette carries several soldier blogs. Here is one soldier's final entry:

" Going off the air

In hopes of helping out my good friend OPSEC, Operational security.

I've been thinking about this for a while and have decided to take the plunge. So I will still be out there, but I won't be posting anymore. I have met a lot of good blog brothers and sisters out there so stay hearty and blog worthy. I've got other things to do and can't worry about giving too much of what we do away to the enemy through OSINT-- Open Source Intelligence. That's what this is. I haven't given anything away nor have I been told to do this. I just feel that it's time.

Much thanks to Kat, Ala, AF Sis, AB, Frosty and all the rest out there. I will still be floating around.

ATW

Airborne

posted by redleg @ 12/16/2005 09:50:00 AM
"

Here is one grunt who voluntarily gave up his blog in the interest of security.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally Posted by oldreliable67
Here is one grunt who voluntarily gave up his blog in the interest of security.
Well, I don't know about you, but I don't feel any safer.
 

oldreliable67

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Billo_Really said:
Well, I don't know about you, but I don't feel any safer.
You aren't the recipient of this grunt's concession. His buddies in uniform are.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally Posted by oldreliable67:
You aren't the recipient of this grunt's concession. His buddies in uniform are.
Excuse me! If it is a matter on National Security, then I am a recipient.
 

oldreliable67

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Billo_Really said:
Excuse me! If it is a matter on National Security, then I am a recipient.
I promise you, that soldier doesn't even know your name! But if he saw some of your posts here on DP, he would probably be giving up all kinds of opsec stuff just to get to you!

But seriously, in a combat zone, a soldier's allegiance first and foremost is to those around him. They keep him alive, he keeps them alive. Thats the only way they can continue the mission and expect to execute it successfully.
 

Billo_Really

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Originally Posted by oldreliable67:
I promise you, that soldier doesn't even know your name! But if he saw some of your posts here on DP, he would probably be giving up all kinds of opsec stuff just to get to you!

But seriously, in a combat zone, a soldier's allegiance first and foremost is to those around him. They keep him alive, he keeps them alive. Thats the only way they can continue the mission and expect to execute it successfully.
I would tend to agree.
 
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