Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gitmo computers used to vandalize Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be a useful resource, but as long as wingnuts are permitted to infiltrate it, its usefulness diminishes. I've had several legitimate edits to Wikipedia entries reversed instantly by the right-wing thought police, while real vandalism is allowed to stick around for weeks. A recent example of this is when I edited the entry about a certain American statesman to remove false information that came from a discredited right-wing book. When my edits were reverted, the excuse was that because the information I deleted was in a book it must have been correct. (So if I claimed in my book that pi is 5, does that mean you can edit Wikipedia to say this is true?)

Now it's been revealed that government computers at Guantanamo Bay are being misused to vandalize Wikipedia. U.S. personnel at Gitmo used the computers that are paid for by the American taxpayers to abuse Wikipedia to defend Gitmo's practices and to call Fidel Castro a transsexual. These edits weren't made by new military recruits having fun with the computers in their spare time either. The edits were a coordinated propaganda effort promulgated by Guantanamo Bay's public affairs office.

How adult.

Last year, someone wrote in the Wikipedia article about the Cuban leader: "Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual [sic]." A website called Wikileaks found that the edits traced to Gitmo. The edits included not only those to the articles about Gitmo and Castro but also cars, football, and TV shows.

What this amounts to is a full-fledged government propaganda program to deceive - paid for with taxpayer money. Knowing this, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if the lies I've had to delete from Wikipedia were placed by the government.

Apparently, Gitmo's public affairs people have also freeped sites besides Wikipedia, such as comment sections of blogs.

Why doesn't Cuba evict the U.S. from Guantanamo Bay? I'm not saying it should be evicted because someone insulted Castro but because of what else goes on there. Even if Cuba's not a human rights giant, that doesn't justify allowing the U.S. to detain people without a trial for years under harsh conditions. As one of the articles about this story shows, there are documented cases of the U.S. holding people at Gitmo without a trial for over 5 years who were juveniles when their detention began. If they think these guys are terrorists, why won't they put them on trial to find out if they really are?

I'm sure you've heard someone say this before, but it's gone on long enough now.


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