Posted Sunday, September 26, 1999

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Orwell's Army

US Army Confirms Blocking of Websites

Cincinnati, Sept. 26 -- David Irving, Webmaster of the FPP website, states that US Army spokesmen in Europe have confirmed that they have installed blocking software on their computer networks designed to prevent officers and men from accessing Websites which are considered to be unhelpful to the military mission.

This Website revealed that it had received messages from American army officers reporting that since earlier this month they had suddenly found themselves unable to access this website and certain others, while marxist and subversive websites remained unjammed. Instead a message warned officers that the site they had tried to access had been deemed out of bounds as it was not "mission related", and that each further attempt by the officer to access the website was being "logged."

This site has been deemed non-mission related

The FPP website run by David Irving has repeated a number of articles by experts critical of the Nato involvement in the war in former Yugoslavia, and in particular highlighting the possibly criminal nature of the air strikes against the civilian infrastructure, which had led to increasing casualties among "enemy" non combatants, in an undeclared war.

An exchange of correspondence between one of this Website's angry American readers and the US army command responsible for the "Jamming" has now been made available to ACTION REPORT.

Colonel Dennis Treece, US Army, confirms that his command has installed what he calls "commercial software" on USA military computers designed to prevent access to such Websites.

Our reader wrote to the US Army: "I read recently on David Irving's website that the U. S. Army is preventing its soldiers from viewing this site on the Internet. Because a man is patriotic enough to enlist in the U. S. Army, is that reason enough to suspend his rights under the Constitution of the United States, particularly his First Amendment right to free speech? Since when can the U. S. Army set up its own standards of what its men can read or not read, in open conflict with the Constitution, which every officer swears to defend? Since when do we model our Army in accordance with the principles under which the Bolshevik revolution was carried out?

From headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, Colonel Treece responded:

Sir,--There are no freedom of speech issues involved. Soldiers are free to access whatever sites they want (unless they are illegal for some reason in the country they are viewing them - like child pornography) on their own computers on their own time.

Government computer systems are, on the other hand, not a right, but a privilege, and their use is governed by the Joint Ethics Regulation and local command policy.

Be advised, we're not making conscious decisions to block sites like the one you are referring to.

We use a commercial product to help us do these blocks since,

a. We have no additional manpower to do this and it is a large, additional task
b. There are millions of sites out there, only a few of which USAREUR needs to conduct its business

Therefore, commercial software products of this nature, designed to satisfy corporate desires to keep their employees working instead of playing on their computers, blocks lots of sites that fit in many categories, generally grouped as "entertainment" vice business related.

When people need access to a blocked site from a USAREUR computer, they should not get indignant (as if you were owed personal use of a computer by the government instead of just allowed under strictly controlled guidelines) but, rather, simply ask us to unblock the site, and tell us why.

We have a situation where roughly 50% of the warfighter's network (which is maxed out by the way) is devoted to what looks like frivolous use, not business.

We need the support of the workforce in preserving bandwidth for official use, and within reason, people can use the network for Internet access when off duty, briefly, etc.

Colonel Dennis Treece, US Army
G-2, 5th Signal Command and
Information Assurance Program Manager for USAREUR
DSN 314-380-5200 (ext 5201 for STU III)


COMMENTS the AR reader: "The real question is, if the Army hasn't designed the 'off limits' list, who has? That is far more serious a matter. What software are they using?"

"Not all like Torquemada"

The inappropriately named Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a New York based hate-organisation with an annual budget of $37 million, which operates closely with government agencies such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, has collaborated with commercial software companies to market "anti-pornography" software which in fact also secretly blocks student and other access to real history Websites including FPP and even diverts readers unknowingly to ADL-controlled and financed websites. It is believed that the US Army has been persuaded to install this software, known as SurfWatch, on its computer equipment.

When our correspondent commented to the US Army, that the blocked FPP Website was was one of those very critical of the Kosovo War, Colonel Treece wrote: "I want people to know what we're doing and why. I'm surprised anyone would think our prohibitions extend to personal computers. We have no way of seeing what goes on out there on personally owned machines and don't think it's any of our business. My job is to secure the warfighter's military network from malicious activity and to help keep it running as fast as possible. Period.

"We're not at all like Torquemada once you get to know us. :-)"

Final word from the AR Reader to Action Report: "Dear Colonel Dennis is all soft soap and a mile wide! They made Torquemada look like a kindergarten teacher the way they bombed and burned babies in Belgrade and Iraq." Of course, if Dennis is using an army computer now, he won't be able to read this.

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