American Censorship

Millions of men and women have answered Uncle Sam’s call because they believe in the freedoms that make our country unique — so much so that they’re willing to risk their lives to protect them. So how can anyone justify denying these men and women the very rights they are dying to preserve?

This week, the army admitted to blocking access to The Guardian‘s news site across its ranks. According to employees at the Presidio of Monterey, the army has forbidden soldiers from reading the British paper ever since Glenn Greenwald dropped Edward Snowden’s NSA bomb earlier this month. The censorship may not even end there; a spokesman for the Army’s NETCOM revealed that the military branch has been filtering ‘some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks.’

Freedom of the press is one of the most crucial tenets of free country; when you take that away, you take away the very elements of a society that make it free. In a bitterly ironic twist, the very information officials are withholding from over half a million Americans details the government’s erosion of individual rights.

Proponents of such invasive surveillance tactics as those revealed by Snowden often trot out the old adage, “You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.” The fact that the upper echelon of our government continues to shroud its security policies should alert us that we do indeed have something to fear.

Spokesman for the army played defense by claiming Cyber Command has restricted news “in order to prevent an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.” I’m no expert, but I fail to see how allowing men and women in uniform to choose what they read to inform themselves, or to simply follow a major international story, puts American secrets at risk. Reading about a whistle-blower doesn’t make you leak classified information any more than reading about a murder makes you stab your neighbor.

The only conclusion I can draw is that the powers-that-be are worried that members of the army — many of whom have access to some real juicy secrets — will be motivated by the movement building around Snowden to pull the curtain back even further. When our government takes such blatant steps to suppress the truth, we all should work that much harder to uncover it.

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