Our Military’s Propaganda Attack on US

Via Slashdot(emphasis mine):

“Wikileaks reports that US armed forces personnel at Guantanamo have conducted propaganda attacks over the Internet. (The story has been picked up by the NYTimes, The Inquirer, the New York Daily News, and the AP.) The activities documented by Wikileaks include deleting Guantanamo detainees’ ID numbers from Wikipedia, posting of self-praising comments on news websites in response to negative articles, promoting pro-Guantanamo stories on the Internet news focus website Digg, and even altering Wikipedia’s entry on Cuban President Fidel Castro to describe him as ‘an admitted transsexual’ (misspelling the word ‘transsexual’). Guantanamo spokesman Lt. Col. Bush blasted Wikileaks for identifying one ‘mass communications officer’ by name, who has since received death threats for ‘simply doing his job — posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo.'”

I want to take a moment to condemn the death threats against this officer.  But for me the story here isn’t that officers and employees at Guantanamo have been putting their two cents worth onto the internet.  Nor is it that one of them, when exposed, received death threats.

It is that it is the admitted job of an officer to anonymously offer US propaganda to the web.

Let’s take a look at Lt. Col. Bush’s statement in more depth:

Mr. Assange’s report caught the attention of, among other news outlets, The Daily News of New York, which wrote about the situation on Thursday.
A denial followed a day later from Lt. Col. Edward Bush, a spokesman for the command’s public affairs office, The News reports today:

“There has been no attempt to alter/change any information that has been posted anywhere,” Lt. Col. Bush said in the statement e-mailed to us. “That would be unethical.”

Bush said in a subsequent phone call that there’s no way to know if any of the 3,000 uniformed military at Gitmo was responsible for the documented changes, but he promised his public affairs staff was not behind it. He also blasted Wikipedia for identifying one sailor in his office by name, who has since received death threats for simply doing his job – posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo.

At first Lt. Col. Bush states that there has been no attempt to make any changes to wikipedia.  He then asserts that, although there is no way to know if any soldiers at Gitmo were behind the changes, he knows his public affairs staff is not to blame.  Finally he notes that one such soldier in his office has the job of “posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo”.  Lt. Col. Bush contradicted himself sharply.

If it is unethical to make anonymous changes, why is it this sailor’s job to do so?  At the very least they could create a username that indicates the information is coming from a biased source (eg “us_military_editor1” or something like that).

If officers at Guantanamo were editing wikipedia with military propaganda on their own time, or at work without permission, that would be one thing.  But if it is an officer’s job to issue propaganda and deliberately hide the source, then that speaks to a very sinister part of our government.  Wikipedia is read domestically.  This represents a covert propaganda attack, by our own military and hence our government, on us.

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One Response

  1. Good observation. Very big things are wrong with our government and this is a minor example of the Governments inability to make prudent decisions with regards to the military’s actions. Because trust me there is no way this sort of thing happens without a politicians meddling.

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