Kathryn Cramer
Halliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications

A week after a scandal broke involving photos of American troops torturing Iraqi prisoners, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root is pulling the plug on private electronic communications with the folks back home, apparently at the request of the Department of Defense.

via Jim

Oh right! If it weren't for that pesky Internet...

I haven't seen this in mainstream media so I may be jumping the gun. Anyone who finds any other information about this, please let me know so I can update.

12 Comments

Hello Joi,
Halliburton has the contract to supply Internet in Iraq. They could choke off access to the Internet if they wanted to. There is no expectation of privacy with the Internet in a legal sense and no right to service. There is nothing to stop them from stopping Internet or screening emails.
JBOC

Well, Rumsfeld has made more than a couple of comments about the information age and digital cameras being the big problem. Guess if there were no pics, there'd be no problem. Oh well, Rummy!

"We're functioning in a -- with peacetime restraints, with legal requirements in a war-time situation, in the information age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8575-2004May7_4.html

Running around? They seemed pretty busy with what they were doing to me.

Indepundit, formerly Lt. Smash, says his pals in Iraq deny this. He gives some background on the rumor here: http://www.lt-smash.us/archives/002870.html#002870

Even if that hasn't happened yet, we all know it's just a matter of time. Doing something like this right now would be incredibly stupid - not that incredible stupidity is beyond the US administration (beware, understatement) but self-preservation should have kicked in for Rumsfeld by now, delaying such a step say, a month or two.

I'm getting feedback about a written "terms and conditions" statement that must be signed before deployed troops can use Internet connections in the field. Abuse the T&C document and you violate a written order.

This is not that unusual even in the normal corporate world, is it? We were marketing a web-based financial reference service to brokerages in Japan, and ran into a very frustrating wall: the staff don't have internet access in general. After fuming over "those Luddites" for a while, it gradually dawned on me that it made a certain amount of sense. Leaving aside the time-wasting potential of the net for the moment, these guys were concerned about insider trading and leaks of information and the like. I think there's a good market in Japan for email scanning software and the like.

Responding to Bert - the argument that not giving internet access to staff protects the company from insider trading is spurious to say the least. Phone calls and face-to-face conversations (at lunch, or after work) are easy enough ways to do insider trading and leak information.

As for the censorship - in warfare situations (acknowledging that that does seem to be the reality in Iraq right now), there is a long-established tradition of censorship. Until recently that was always (ostensibly, anyway) for the purposes of maintaining secrecy for security purposes. (I imagine that is most of what covers the terms & conditions that troops sign.)

It's new to see that communications from Iraq might be censored to help win the hearts-and-minds war back_in_the_USA.

Joi,
I did not realize that the site that you linked to and got the story from is by my younger brother. If Jim says so it must be true :-)

It does seem a bit weird that we were sent to liberate them, but then we imprisoned them, and then we absused them, and then we restricted the freedom of others to speak out about it.

It does seem a bit strange that our mission there (reason #3, correct?) was to liberate the Iraqis from oppression, so we freed them from their "oppression," then we put many of them back in prison, where we oppressed them, and then now seek to restrict the freedom of others to release evidence of the oppression.

Hi Joi

This link from the Sydney Morning Herald be of interest:
Blogjam8 compiled by the multitalented filmmaking guru, David Tiley... observes that the war in Iraq is leaking like the proverbial sieve, and digital communications has created a whole new nightmare for the spindoctors...the US Department of Defence has ordered private supplier http://joi.ito.com/archives/2004/05/10/halliburton_pulling_the_plug_on_gi_communications.html#comments "> Kellogg, Brown, & Root to cut the email service to ordinary soldiers...

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/05/13/1084289787012.html

We were not there to liberate Iraq. Rather to protect the oil and gain a huge strategically advantage in the region. Now Iran is surrounded by the Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

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