Update to this story: "Rumsfeld, Moblogging Soldiers, Cameraphones, Dumb Media"
Edwin Yapp in "It’s not the cellphone, stupid" (The Star, Malaysia):
WHO would have believed that the tiny, ubiquitous cellular phone would become one of the greatest enemies of the mighty US Defence Department?
Well, it has.
But now it would appear that Defence is going after camera-capable cellphones as if they were public enemy No 1.
All this talk about cellphones and digital cameras and their anarchic ways just ends up being a smokescreen obscuring the real issue. If only the White House paid as much attention to getting to the root of the problem, instead of fending off the PR flak.
In any case, the cellphone is just too useful a device for Rummy and gang to control. Brig. General Mark Kimmitt, deputy coalition director of military operations in Iraq, seems to realise this.
“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” the LA Times quoted him as saying. “Soldiers have cameras in the battlefield. They have telephones in the battlefield. They have access to Internet cafés on the base.
“At a certain point you just have to trust them to do the right thing.”
Banning the phones only serves to clip away the symptoms of the problem, and does not address the root problem.
Then they should be thanking the humble little cellphone camera for playing such a pivotal role in exposing these heinous acts.
And the soldier who leaked the pictures to the press? He should be awarded the Medal of Honour.
A ban, on digital media? What kind of farce is this? We get packages from Amazon.com I own a laptop, have two digital cameras and a camcorder. I like to send pictures to my mother of how great this place is. She especially likes the mutant roaches crawling around the buildings. :PMight be good news if true. So we hope to see the old pictures from TheTiredanDirtySoldier/Yafro fighting in Iraq again. And new ones:
The point is clear, everyone is out to make Rumsfield look like a total prick, which may or not be true. It doesn't matter to me. I've been in Iraq for beyond a year. As part of the First Armored Division, I've been extended 4 possible months here, but our orders clearly state we may be here until September.
The Army will not raid my supply and steal my digital camera. And they won't be taking my pin drive either. And they can't ban us from mostly anything. And that's the saddest part. "Fixing" the chain of command will do nothing. We're human beings, we're men trained to do what most people wouldn't think of doing. Believe me, we'll find way to work around it.
There is no ban on camera phones, or digital cameras in Iraq. At least not in Baghdad anyways. Perhaps a few secretive units, such as some unspoken MP brigades have possibly been gagged. But I somehow doubt that too. I hope that somehow settles it. Do I need to send in a picture to prove it? :D
---PFC "Zaku", 47th FSB 1AD
[© Sigepdebo, same one as here. However strange, you have to know the exact [email protected] to get the image -- we do so because we discovered the image weeks ago. Sigepdebo is still listed at Yafro, but if you click thru his moblog you´ll see that it does not officially contain this image and some others anymore. BTW: this is an example of a "collaborative family" moblog from Bagdad, thx to Xeni Jardin]
Related: "More on blocked sites for .mil websurfers" (BoingBoing). In return Joi Ito has asked Zaku if he or anyone else can or cannot confirm this. So finally we might step into a real conversation -- all without the big medias.
However a strange situation: people at the front are asked from people behind the frontlines if the people at the front have access to information delivered from the media industry via internet and secondly if those people at the front could send infos in form of text or images that the media industry cannot deliver about the situation of the people at the front to the people behind the frontlines... .
[Update July 10, 2004: It turned out that finally some/most of the images presented by one or more moblogging soldier at Yafro as an image taken by himself/themselves, were probably stolen; very often from professional photojournalists. Explanation here. We tried to assign a proper copyright to all photos of doubtful origin. The image shown above MIGHT be a personal photo, however the image is of doubtful origin]
[Latest Update here, Xeni at BoingBoing, June 9: "Update: blocked sites for .mil websurfers":
Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Update: blocked sites for .mil websurfers
Joi Ito points us to an interesting comment by one of his blog's readers, in response to this BoingBoing post about rumors some websites such as The Memory Hole may be blocked for access by military personnel in Iraq.
I'm on a civilian owned internet right now. That means if I chose, I can search for pornographic material right at this moment if I felt so inclined. However on a military computer, we use internet which is connected to a military owned server, broadcasted by our own Sattelites. These frequencies get filtered based on what the military deems is right and wrong. This includes shopping, games, pornographic material, dating services, chat lines, and perhaps some Blogs.
For those who felt they weren't being blocked from ANY site, well, if all you try to go to is Yahoo.com, then come on. Try out "bigkinkygirls.com" or something on a military computer. Or access a hate or racist site. Good luck. Sometimes, due to the filters, a site containing news and information may be blocked without the intention of cencorship. Such as some adult software blocks a childs report on Mule's simply because the webpage had the word ass in it.
NIPR's "Websense" software is strict and server based. And is controlled by a higher leveled ISO. If there is any doubt to the web pages contents, contacting the help desk should help them realise the mistake, and fix the situation upon investigation. But NIPR would rather block any suspected webpage, than allow one to slip through. But in the luckier parts of Iraq, the soldier is free to walk into a KBR internet cafe without cost. And many units supply them with free internet so that we may research, email our families, or simply have a good time at one of our favorite Blogs.
PFC "Zaku", 47th FSB, 1AD Baghdad]