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US Dept. of Defense bans gay/liberal news sites and blogs


teddybear

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American folks, I don't know how much you are politically active, but this in something interesting that needs to get more attention. It might help to start doing some letter writing, like to the gay/lesbian/bi members of congress and the more liberal members too, not to mention the White House. We all know that the US military is pretty much run by the right wing religious nuts, so this is not unexpected, but we shouldn't let them get bay with it. Oh, and not just gay stuff, but also liberal news sites and blogs. But, on the other hand, they don't block the right wing blogs and hate sites.

http://americablog.com/2013/01/dod-stat ... rship.html

The Pentagon has just issued an official statement, on its Facebook page, about the growing controversy over it censorship of gay blogs and other progressive political content on its computers, while not censoring certain anti-gay and Republican political content.

In addition to being incredibly tone-deaf – the Pentagon statement shows that DOD has no intention of rectifying the problem – the statement is flat-out contradicted by the facts.

First, DOD’s statement, then an in-depth walk-through of the Defense Department’s odd, contradictory, statement.

We’ve received some questions/comment recently about DOD’s web access policies, and wanted to provide this statement:

The Department of Defense does not block LGBT websites. The pages referenced in several recent articles were denied access based on web filters blocking the “Blog/Personal Pages†category, not the specific sites themselves. While individuals on a DoD system may visit portions of the main websites (i.e., www.towleroad.com, www.AMERICAblog.com), certain additional links/pages – to include personal blogs – are blocked. Personal pages and blogs are blocked in accordance with DoD policy allowing military commanders the option to restrict access to personal pages for operational security reasons.

They don’t block LGBT, but their ban page labels us “LGBTâ€

Let’s start with this claim by DOD:

The Department of Defense does not block LGBT websites.

Really, then why does the Defense Department categorize banned domestic American political content as “LGBT†on the Pentagon page that notifies the Web surfer about the ban?

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 1.39.55 PM

Why is there if it’s not a category they’re banning? And why is the Pentagon classifying content as “LGBT†at all? I don’t see the Pentagon classifying content as “Jewish†or “black†or “Latino.†So what is doing classifying Web content as “LGBTâ€? It’s creepy as hell for a government entity that claims it’s not discriminating, to then put us into a discriminatory category that others are not placed into, which is by its very nature “discriminatory.â€

They block “blogs,†but Red State blog and Breitbart blog aren’t blocked

We’re to believe, per the Pentagon, that our sites are being blocked, not because they’re “LGBT,†but because they’re “blogs.†More from the DOD statement:

While individuals on a DoD system may visit portions of the main websites (i.e., www.towleroad.com, www.AMERICAblog.com), certain additional links/pages – to include personal blogs – are blocked.

A few problems. First off, how can some portions of Towleroad and AMERICAblog be visitable, while the “personal blog†portions of those sites are not visitable by military personnel? We don’t have different parts of our site and neither does Towleroad. So what is DOD even talking about?

Second, if the Pentagon doesn’t ban LGBT content, but rather “blogs,†then why did US sailors today discover that the gay newsmagazine, the Advocate – which is not a blog – is banned on military computers found on board the ship the USS John C Stennis (CVN-74), and has been for over a year?

And for that matter, if we are to believe the Pentagon today that AMERICAblog, for example, is simply being blocked for being a blog, then why is the prominent Republican blog, Red State, not blocked on the same Air Force computers that block AMERICAblog? One is gay and progressive, the other is straight and Republican. Here’s a screen shot of Red State taken from an Air Force computer in the last day:

Breitbart blog isn’t blocked either:

HRC’s blog is blocked, but not FRC’s blog

The DOD computers also blocks the blog of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights group, but not the blog for the Family Research Council, which basically is the anti-HRC, and also an officially-designated hate group. As Josh Seefried, founder of OutServe, and co-chair of OutServe-SLDN, the lead “gays in the military†group noted today, referencing the Blue Coat Internet filter the Pentagon is using:

“The Blue Coat system should not be filtering LGBT period. Nor allowing hate sites such as FRC and NOM.â€

But alas it does permit hate sites like FRC’s. Here is FRC’s blog, accessed just moments ago:

DOD blocks personal pages, but not Ann Coulter’s personal page which is also a blog

And the Pentagon tells us that they block “personal pagesâ€:

The pages referenced in several recent articles were denied access based on web filters blocking the “Blog/Personal Pages†category, not the specific sites themselves

But somehow Ann Coulter’s personal page – which is also a blog – a two-fer in the Pentagon ban filter – slipped through unscathed:

Reading AMERICAblog would risk national security

Possibly the most incredible thing in the entire Pentagon statement is the following:

Personal pages and blogs are blocked in accordance with DoD policy allowing military commanders the option to restrict access to personal pages for operational security reasons.

Really? That’s the excuse – you banned us for national security reasons. But Red State is fine, it doesn’t jeopardize US national security.

How exactly does it compromise operational security to let US service members read AMERICAblog and Pam’s House Blend and Towleroad, but it doesn’t jeopardize operational security for them to read Red State? You can only add content to my blog by commenting. And you can comment on Red State as well. So why is the Pentagon now claiming that reading AMERICAblog and other gay blogs (and some straight ones as well, such as Daily Kos) is now a threat to national security?

Dan Savage had perhaps the most appropriate response to the Pentagon’s bizarre statement that AMERICAblog, Towleroad, Pam’s House Blend, Good as You, Bilerico, and HRC’s blog are a threat to the operational security of the US armed forces:

“Makes sense. I understand they hide the nuclear football in the *ss of a pass-around party bottom at the White Party. Wouldn’t want the ruskies to find out about the location of the party.â€

What’s really going on

I fear that what’s really going on is two things. One, yes, it’s confusing the entire network of censorship filters the Pentagon has up around the world. They don’t use a unified system, they have different censorship rules in different services and even different geographic locations in the same service, so it’s difficult for the right hand to know what the left hand is doing.

Well too bad. You’ve been informed that you’re discriminating against gay content and Democratic content and your answer was to blow us off.

Second, there’s some homophobia and anti-Democratic bias going on here. It’s the only explanation that makes sense as to why Red State isn’t banned. Why the Family Research Council’s blog is fine, but the Human Rights Campaign’s blog is a threat to national security. It’s because we’re all progressives, we’re all Democrats (at heart), and a lot of us are gay. And any time you tell the commanders that they can ban whatever they want in the name of “operational security,†the weakest among us – and in DOD circles, that’s gay and Democrats – are going to be the first to suffer.

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When my husband was enlisted, most base waiting room turned their tvs on to Fox News. At the time, it seemed weird but now I see it as obvious propaganda. Fox news is very pro-war. Combat soldiers often return again and again to combat. They leave their families for long periods and many end up divorced. Even if they don't end up divorced, the pay for what they do isn't that high. Young military families often go on WIC or food stamps. Under other circumstances, the military person couldn't be blamed for asking what the hell purpose such constant warfare and separation from their family served. Yet, I've heard Fox news hosts say that any questioning of the war equates to disrespecting the lower enlisted soldier too. That's bull but I am sure the pentagon loves the message to soldiers. "If you ask questions, you are disrespecting your country, 9-11 and the soldiers you serve with."

I think that the real reason that they don't allow LGBT sites is because those sites tend to be more liberal. The military doesn't want their soldiers asking the type of questions that might arise from being on such a site.

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The censorship panel probably doesn't have any progressive types do they lol? If they are going to block LGBT websites or progressive blogs, they better block neo con blogs. Or better yet...why are our troops, adults fighting for our rights, need to be censored? It's the least we can do for serving our country....just block the porn and legit hate sites but everything else is game.

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I guess all of the attention this has been getting has caused the DOD some grief. Here is their latest response.

http://americablog.com/2013/01/new-dod- ... blogs.html

First the statement from the Press Secretary, then a few thoughts.

First point. It’s generally a big deal when a statement is issued in the name of the Press Secretary himself. Usually agencies, or even the White House, release statements from lesser staff. When the statement comes from the Press Secretary (or even better, the Secretary himself), it means they’re taking the issue seriously. That’s one thing I’ve learned in my years in Washington. So that’s a good sign.

I do think the statement comes off a bit reticent, especially at the end, which is the part that matters. To be fair, the Pentagon needs to investigate further before they can say definitively that there’s a problem. Having said that, when HRC’s blog is banned and FRC’s blog is not, clearly there’s a problem somewhere when your policy is to ban all blogs and you’re not.

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When my husband was enlisted, most base waiting room turned their tvs on to Fox News. At the time, it seemed weird but now I see it as obvious propaganda. Fox news is very pro-war. Combat soldiers often return again and again to combat. They leave their families for long periods and many end up divorced. Even if they don't end up divorced, the pay for what they do isn't that high. Young military families often go on WIC or food stamps. Under other circumstances, the military person couldn't be blamed for asking what the hell purpose such constant warfare and separation from their family served. Yet, I've heard Fox news hosts say that any questioning of the war equates to disrespecting the lower enlisted soldier too. That's bull but I am sure the pentagon loves the message to soldiers. "If you ask questions, you are disrespecting your country, 9-11 and the soldiers you serve with."

I think that the real reason that they don't allow LGBT sites is because those sites tend to be more liberal. The military doesn't want their soldiers asking the type of questions that might arise from being on such a site.

A dear friend of mine who was a career officer in one of the medical corps would not allow the TV in his waiting room to be tuned to Faux New. He'd tune it to ESPN instead. He was rather unusual: a career officer who was progressive. He was one of the only cadets in his class at the Academy to be against the Vietnam War. He's gone now unfortunately.

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