Pentagon Buying Up All Copies Of A Book It's Not Happy About

from the like-that-will-work dept

jake andrews points us to the news that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is quite upset with a new book about the war in Afghanistan by an army reservist. Even though the Army approved the book, the DIA says that it did not approve the book and that it has too much confidential information. In order to deal with that, the Pentagon has apparently agreed to buy up the 10,000 copies already printed in order to destroy them. A new version of the book, without the DIA-upsetting material will be printed later. Of course, this attempt at information destruction doesn't really seem to be working. The author has already talked about lots of stuff in the book, and review copies of the original book had already been sent to many press outlets. In other words, it's unlikely that this effort at suppression will work very well... It's tough to kill off information that's already out there.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    ofb2632 (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:14pm

    Buying up the books

    I'd keep printing them until the Pentagon stops buying them!! That is a great way to make money

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    I wonder what happens when the info shows up on wikipedia.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Jim, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Printing heck.
    This is a CLEAR case for digital distribution if I've ever seen one.

    1. Set up a digital sales and distribution system
    2. Let the pentagon try to buy up every digital copy.
    3. Profit!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Danny, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    I'm with Jim

    Let's see them buy every digital copy to keep people from seeing it. No if there was a digital copy they would just send the usual nasty gran with a C&D order backed by a lawsuit threat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Re: I'm with Jim

    I had a nasty gran--thankfully I do not have one any longer.

    ; P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Howard Yermish, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Amplify to Fund Printing

    Time to mash these two together. Let anyone buy a digital version for $1 or give away for free if willing to host the PDF on a website which would include a link to the $1 donation. Then use the money for the next run of printing. And so on, and so on...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    The pentagon should also burn those books

    <sarcasm>
    The most intelligent people in history have burned books, and found that doing so is the most effective possible way of stopping the spread of undesirable ideas and information that we need to be protected from.

    The pentagon's tragedy strategy of buying up the books is also infinitely scalable. They can buy books faster and in greater quantity than the publishers can produce and sell them.

    If an unknown obscure preacher can gain national attention by threatening to burn the quoran, and can imagine that he has negotiating power and can even get whole buildings moved, then surely the pentagon should follow the same successful strategy.

    Even if the pentagon doesn't burn them, then whatever other means of destruction they use will be equally effective at stopping the spread of these ideas and information. If that doesn't work they can also announce that they will hold their breath until this information stops spreading.
    </sarcasm>

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Sounds interesting. Where can I get a copy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Cohen (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    I am an author of computer graphics books.

    If the Pentagon will tell me what it was they didn't like in the reservist's book, I can put it into my book too.

    And then they can buy up all the copies.

    10,000 copies will be about $20,000 in royalties.

    Of course if the reservist has PDF copies of his book floating around, the Pentagon will never get back all the copies of the book.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Kevin (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Sounds like a fine use of all that money we keep either printing or borrowing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    TDR, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    So when is the Pentagon going to start goose-stepping? Talk about forgetting history...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    James (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    "You Can't stop the signal", Mal.

    or

    "Information want's to be free".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

    there is more to the story

    Queue the TAM comments...

    According to the article in the NYT:
    "The disputed material includes the names of American intelligence officers who served with Colonel Shaffer and his accounts of clandestine operations, including N.S.A. eavesdropping operations, according to two people briefed on the Pentagon’s objections."

    Sounds like the author has been working with the gov to make sure the book is approved. The book contains people's names and that seems to be the major issue. So they are working a second version without the names. So the gov wants to buy up the books in an attempt to protect its people. Big deal. Their plan may not work but this does not seem like some kind of conspiracy or some way to stifle the author's speech.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    [sarcasm]Good to see the tax payers money being so wisely used[/sarcasm]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    TDR, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 3:38pm

    Re: there is more to the story

    You're assuming, of course, that the NYT is being truthful there. No guarantee of that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 3:58pm

    The truth is out there

    Here's a thought. Someone will eventually compare the original edition with the new edition and will be able to tell EAXCTLY which information the DIA was trying to supress...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    drew, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Buying up the books

    That's great, except that I object to spending my tax dollars in that manner.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 4:25pm

    @1 and @2

    hey why stop there guys why not get a copy and start printing up copies galore
    GO GO GO
    tell them your going to die and leave a copy to all the known relatives and there relatives and so on that you have back to anti diluvian times MUHAHA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Martin LaBelle (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 4:51pm

    Burn it all

    You know it is pretty poor taste to go on a book burning spree. Especially in the wake of the 'international burn a Qur'an Day'. Ah... it would be funny if it only it were not real life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Buying up the books

    You won’t be able to tell your tax dollars were spent on this, because it’ll be included as a “black budget” item.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    Re: The truth is out there

    That will naturally lead to the question why? and upon asking that question people will start inferring the answers and digging into the questions more to try and figure out what the true answers are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Martin LaBelle (profile), Sep 13th, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Censorship Capitalist style

    After a few hours of though, and a glass of wine. I've decided that is actually quite funny. I guess the military could have tried to "suppress it in the name of security". I actually prefer them simply buying the Author off. I wonder what could have been so bad. As a Soldier, I often wonder why things are kept secret... is it because they're dangerous or because they're embarrassing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Faceless Minion, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:00am

    Re: Censorship Capitalist style

    I have to admit, it's certainly a nicer approach then lots of the heavy handed garbage that is prevalent in shutting people up. Perhaps this is embarrassing enough that buying the author off is preferable, here? Perhaps they hope that when he's sitting pretty on cash he won't make as much of a fuss.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Stephen Paulger, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 2:21am

    A keen journalist who has a press copy of the original will surely now get hold of the DIA's preferred version and look for the differences.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Pax Vobiscum, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Buy (and/or burn) the books...

    Various three-letter agencies have been been doing things like this for decades (and we call ourselves a democracy). Still, kind of tame as compared to out and out murder - contrary to the early school years assertions that the Ends do not justify the Means. As a (recent) former VP said, "We do it because we can."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Misleading Story / Subject

    This isn't really anything major, other than the DIA is doing the right thing. Basically, the book has the real names of some people that could be put in danger if it was general knowledge (expect the original to be WikiLeaked...).

    They screwed up when consulting on the book originally and didn't get the names altered or redacted and it's already been printed up. Instead of leaving the publisher in the cold, they're going to buy all the first runs.

    Basically they've taken ownership for a mistake and the book is still being released, just without the names of the people that could supposedly/possibly be put in danger.

    Nothing to see here, move along...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:58pm

    Its amazing how those who are supposed to be fighting for free speech are getting their free speech abridged by the very government they're fighting for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    demandsocial, Sep 15th, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    your own groupon clone has never been easier. http://www.demandsocial.com provides the best groupon clone with the most comprehensive group buying features.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Martin LaBelle (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Censorship Capitalist style

    At least it's capitalist censorship.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This