Censorship by the military?
This email, said to originate from Michael Yon was in my email inbox. Another blogger also received a similar email and reprinted it, so I take that as confirmation that I am not being hoaxed. Therefore I am reprinting the letter for discussion without endorsing any view on it. The text is below. I have omitted the name of the officer that Michael Yon specifically names until such time as the veracity of this email is confirmed. His website does not repeat the accusation made in the email. However the general issues that the email raises can be printed without danger. But I emphasize that I have not fully confirmed the provenance of the email. The emphasis is mine.
Sept 27, 2006
Pajamas Media recently reported that there are only 9 embedded reporters in Iraq. Many are blaming this on the media, and while I can never be called an apologist for mainstream media, I can say with certainty that the United States military is censoring.
It remains unclear if this is a general policy, though there are recent inquiries to the office of the Secretary of Defense. I await response. Or, perhaps, the censorship is merely the policy of LTC ***** who is responsible for operations involving embeds. **** is said to be the most quoted man in Iraq . I've learned to trust nothing he says. I do know for a fact that **** has been untruthful with the media. If **** calls me on this, I'll take the time to prove it.
While sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers and friends, fight and die in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military apparently is preventing journalists from telling the story. They attempt to deflect accusations of censorship by allowing in just enough reporters to appear transparent.
I'll post updates on the website as the situation unfolds.
Meanwhile, we have several new dispatches on the site from Walt Gaya who traveled to Iraq. Gaya earned two Purple Hearts last year, but LTC **** denied his request for an embed despite having direct invitations from the 4th Infantry Division and from Brigadier General Dana Pittard. Walt Gaya entered Iraq without US forces.
My final dispatch from Afghanistan, The Perfect Evil was originally published on National Review Online, picked up by CBS and the Council for Foreign Relations. Part One of the three-part series is posted on the site, with extensive supporting material. At this critical time in Afghanistan it’s important to keep this mission on the front page because the window for change is closing fast.
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The scope of Michael Yon's accusation of censorship (if it indeed originates from him as I cannot find confirmation on his website) is unclear The issue being whether this is narrowly directed against a particular officer of whether it is blanket indictment of widespread policy. The key paragraph is:
It remains unclear if this is a general policy, though there are recent inquiries to the office of the Secretary of Defense.
So the accusation is specific to one officer and there is a challenge to prove it is not policy. If a policy of censorship and disinformation is being practiced it can only result in political and military catastrophes and there is no need to explain why. No enterprise can succeed in delusion or blindness. So the text is out there in the spirit of the email. Is it or is it not true. Many readers at Belmont have their own private sources of information. If the picture being allowed out of Iraq is fundamentally distorted we should collectively know.