PF Loya Jirga: A Question to the Forum as a Whole about US Army Postings - 12-14-2011, 12:55 AM
I am requesting the Khan, the Amir of the Forum, and the Moderators to hold a PF Loya Jirga.
To date I have not really commented on PF design, PF Policy, or PF moderator decision making. The reason is that I rarely think some of the issues that are raised are worth getting into a tussle over and I believe the moderators are doing just fine dealing with the onslaught of work.
So when I do think something is important, even though I am unimportant, any consideration be the aforementioned would be appreciated.
We have many divergent opinions here. We have brother Soldat on the one end of the spectrum and we have brother Maiwand on another end of the spectrum and we have so many other divergent opinions. We have Osho on the one hand and we have Unknownprince on the other hand.
There is a large amount of balance in this. For every post I place, there is a sanman, a Toramana, a Zalmaay to offer a counter opinion.
I think this is all good and well. In fact such opinions ought to be exchanged openly. We all argue as we would within a family commune of sorts. Everyone feels generally safe expressing open opinions around others here.
Just as family and friends learn their limits, we learn our limits with one another.
The issue that I want to raise for a discussion, and I defer to the moderators who have a lot on their plate already, is whether official US Military Presence and Postings should be a part of this.
The Forum already has a section that notes the American definition of terrorism is not something that PF can tolerate. This is not a problem. In fact, this is probably essential to PF remaining online. It is well known that any website that becomes a posting board for the Taliban to pass messages along to its supporters will be hit by a denial of service attack or closely monitored to the point that many uninvolved people will be affected negatively. So I actually understand this policy on the part of PF. I do not think it would be prudent or wise to advocate anything else for the safety and well being of people and the fact that everyone should feel that they are in a safe environment. It is far better that people be able to vent to their brethren here and recieve consoling then to go to less savory places where they might not recieve counter opinions.
Now, some may paste, in response to this, Maiwand's Taliban Eid Messages. They will say that the Taliban has its own set of various spokes people and defenders. That is disingenous I think. After all, Maiwand finds these in the same places we all do: on CNN, Al Jazeera, ABC, CBS, FOX, etc.
He has no actual links to the movement. He may feel sympathy for them, bu the has no financial, strategic, or geographic links to them.
The imbalance here is that were a Taliban spokesmen, say, even Zaeef, to post messages here, he would find himself traced and on the recieving end of a drone missile in his Wazir Akbar Khan house arrest home.
Mr. Noorzai Jahan on the other hand has free reign, not because of the moderators or the Administrator Khan's choice, but because of who holds power in the world today, to post as he pleases, without fear of reprecussion. So then, the discussion becomes one sided.
Furthermore, there is no requirement in PF that a post be done simply to generate debate. But most posts do generate a healthy debate between posters and responders that results in a back and forth. I for one have learnt a lot from the back and forths with Toramana, LZ, Scimitar, Graveyard, Soldat and all of you.
The US Army postings are merely action postings meant to convey the US Army viewpoint and leave no room for their representative to have to answer. So Mr. Noorzai will poste: 5 children killed in Farah province inadvertantly by drone strike. US deeply sorry for this action with a conciliatory tone. Three weeks later when an IED goes off in Helmand, he will post: US deeply sorry for Kandahar citizens who suffered the brazen attacks of terrorists. There is no analysis here, no reasoning, no reference points... just pure efforts of online US Army and Pentagon officials to execute their online propaganda war. Now and then, Mr. Noorzai will feel forced to answer a few queries, but rarely does he engage in meaningful debates in his written commentaries meant to influence populations here and abroad in an official capacity, on behalf of the US military.
Here is an article about the program Mr. Noorzai is apart of:
The U.S. Military hired a California company to create software that allows one person to control up to 10 different and sophisticated fake online personas.
The Guardian reported today that United States Central Command (Centcom) doesn't plan to use the program domestically. Instead, the paper reports quoting Bill Speaks, Centcom spokesman, the military wants to use it in the Middle East and Asia to "counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US."
The Guardian adds:
The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".
Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: "The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US."
He said none of the interventions would be in English, as it would be unlawful to "address US audiences" with such technology, and any English-language use of social media by Centcom was always clearly attributed. The languages in which the interventions are conducted include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.
Many prestigious Universities in the US, Harvard and Yale and Princeton, banned the US Army recruiting officers and ROTC from their campuses during Vietnam:
"it was protests against the Vietnam War that led colleges to ban the program decades ago."
So what I am requesting, in regard to a ban on official CENTCOM postings is no different than what these universities did all those decades ago.
PF is on the verge of being more of an academic minded place where discussions are progressing to higher levels (sure a red hat monkey is thrown in now and then). Since this is the case, and since we have no chance, under current United States law and penal codes, which we adhere to to the letter of the law, to have a Taliban dignitary offer a counter viewpoint, we ought to do what Harvard and Yale did all those years ago and banish the US Military from PF.
Per the above from the Gaurdian and NPR, two sources of repute, now that we know for sure that Mr. Noorzai Jahan is a part of a coordinated campaign that is one of the war strategems, and because his presence in his capacity as a CENTCOM rep endangers free speech here, he should be offered, in my opinion two options:
1. Deactivate fully. This is the preferred rout so that PF is not occupied ground. or
2. Remove CENTCOM official sentiments from your postings and come as a civilian not speaking on behalf of the US Military. Do not post official US generated statements on behalf of the US Military to propagandize events.
Osho will say that it is valuable to have Mr. Noorzai to promote diversity. He should however deal with why Harvard and the other universities, only until recently, banned even the ROTC from their academic grounds. He should deal with the fact that as per the above Gaurdian article, Mr. Noorzai is a part of a strategy and the average PF poster should not have to be subject to. And Osho will also fail to vouch for the safe presence of the counter viewpoint in its official capacity. This is generally because Osho is himself a failure who adheres to the cult of a pervert Indian guru. So give him no credence.
Mr. Noorzai Jahan will shout conspiracy theories in regard to the above Garudian and NPR pieces. I would argue that the Gaurdian and NPR have a much better track record than his affiliates do and are far less conspiratorial!
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