The United States Marine Corps has taken a decision on Iraq. They have decided that the troops should only get healthy, wholesome and government approved information in their correspondence and that includes email, websites and blogs. Wonkette received this information:
Just to let you know, the US Marines have blocked access to “Wonkette” along with numerous other sites such as personal email (i.e. Yahoo, AT&T, Hotmail, etc), blogs that don't agree with the government point of view, personal websites, and some news organizatons. This has taken effect as of the beginning of February. I have no problem with them blocking porn sites (after all it is a government network), but cutting off access to our email and possibly-not-toeing-the-government-line websites is a bit much.
Initially all web blocking was done locally at the hub sites in Iraq. If you wanted a site “unblocked” you just had to email the local administrator with a reason (like, “I'd like to read my email, please.”), and if it wasn't porn or offensive, they'd allow it. Now, all blocking is done by desk-weenies at the USMC Network Operations Center in Quantico, VA, who really don't care if we get our email (or gossip) out here, as they get to go to happy hour after working 9 to 5 and go home to a nice clean, warm home with a real bed! (Sorry, I'm a little peeved.)
Wonkette's correspondent added the following information:
Unfortunately anonomizers don't work out here (never have). Anyway, I had a few minutes today and thought I'd look and see what else was banned on the Marine web here. I think the results speak for themselves:
Wonkette – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.wonkette.com/) is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”
Bill O’Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) – OK
Air America (www.airamericaradio.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) – OK
ABC News “The Note” – OK
Website of the Al Franken Show (www.alfrankenshow.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) – OK
Don & Mike Show (www.donandmikewebsite.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.donandmikewebsite.com/) is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies.”
From the forum at Leatherneck.com comes this:
They also block The Onion, Comedy Central, and all computer gaming sites. We were told it is done to save bandwidth and to prevent people from loafing off at work. […] I also think it might be based on what people are reading. If a site gets a lot of traffic and it's not considered necessary for Marine Corps business it gets shut down.
Of course, given the previous information it would appear that the Marine Corps is being highly selective. Apparently it's alright to "loaf off at work" if a marine is absorbing the swill produced by falafel O'Reilly or the racist garbage produced by Limbaugh.
I'd be interested to know whether Powerlineblog, Townhall, Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin and above all, Ann Coulter have been blocked from the Marine Corps' hubs in Iraq.
For what it's worth Wonkette has learned that a simple switch from MS Internet Explorer to Firefox may be a work around.
I could ask, what's the point of this? Those marines already know what they're in. If the blogs and other sites are getting it wrong then the USMC should want their people to have full access if only to be given a chance to set the record straight. I'd take the word of a USMC lance corporal with his boots on the ground over General Peter Pace any day.
Building a free and democratic Iraq. Goodnight Chesty, where ever you are. And welcome to "The Suck".