The Pentagon of the United States has bought and trashed all the 9,500 copies of the book on secret military operations in Afghanistan. It has become the first case when any ministry or department was so anxious to destroy the entire edition of the book. This seems archaic, to say the least, in our informational epoch.
The memoirs, entitled Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan and the Path to Victory, were written by a former military intelligence agent, retired Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer. The book was expected to be released on September 24th, before the Pentagon ordered to destroy all the copies. Anthony Shaffer himself does not think his memoirs disclose any dangerous information, unlike the U.S. military. A Pentagon spokesperson said they could harm national security, after over 200 fragments containing secret information were found in the book, including the description of secret operations, activities of the CIA and the National Security Agency.
Numerous words and whole paragraphs have been sponged out from the original text throughout the book’s 299 pages, substantially reducing its size and making it senseless to print the rest. Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer said that “buying 10,000 books to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous”. It is clear that the original story has already leaked into the web, Director General of the Effective Policy Foundation Kirill Tanayev said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
“Indeed, it is next to impossible to limit the spread of information throughout the Internet, which is true not only for the United States, but also for Russia, Europe and Asia. In compliance with the widely accepted practice, any country, Russia among them, may curb this spread only amid a counter-terrorist operation or ongoing terrorist attacks. In most cases, the military decide what information can be disclosed, which may produce lawlessness.”
The American military pledged to pay Antony Shaffer for his work, after people refused to buy the incomplete book. Meanwhile, one of the salesmen at the eBay auction says he is ready to sell the unedited book for $2,000. The number of similar proposals is very likely to increase in the nearest future.
The scandal around Shaffer’s book burst out following the monumental leak of classified Afghan war documents, released by WikiLeaks in July. The Pentagon urged the return of all documents and the destruction of their copies, but the website’s owners not only refused to do this, but are said to be preparing a series of new exposures. Once the information spreads throughout the web, it becomes indestructible, and the countdown has therefore begun for the appearance of the book’s copies.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Open thread for night owls: Pentagon censors (dailykos.com)
- In Censored Book’s Reprint, Pentagon Redacts Some Not-So-Secret Secrets (nytimes.com)
- Pentagon “redacts” a book by using taxpayer money to buy all the copies (edition.cnn.com)
- Pentagon destroys thousands of copies of Army officer’s memoir (cnn.com)
- You: Military Seeks to Buy 10,000 Copies of Book of Secrets (nytimes.com)
- NSA/Pentagon Want to Suppress Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer’s Book “Operation Dark Heart” (disquietreservations.blogspot.com)
- Pentagon Paid $47,000 to Destroy Sept. 11 Memoir (foxnews.com)
- Pentagon tries to buy entire print run of US spy expose Operation Dark Heart (guardian.co.uk)
- David Isenberg: Spies and Contractors (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pentagon Destroys Copies of Controversial Memoir Written by Army Officer (foxnews.com)