Can I feign some offence at being a transgender veteran, and being associated by U.S. Military personal — personnel assigned to Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, the U.S. military command that runs the Camp Delta terrorist prison in Cuba — with Fidel Castro?

Fidel CastroApparently, servicemembers at Guantanamo Bay haven’t got the word about WikiScanner as yet.

Specifically, the Associated Press, the New York Daily News, and ZDNet have stories up about the changes Gitmo servicemembers have been making to Wikipedia; comments to articles about Gitmo detainees. Some of the changes on Wikipedia, per the articles:

– “Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual” (misspelling the word transsexual)

– deleted prisoner identification numbers from three detainee profiles (example: Prisoner No. 766, Canadian-born Omar Khadr. Khadr, 21, who has been held since 2002 and accused of killing a Special Forces medic in Afghanistan)

– changed the phrase “invasion of Afghanistan” to “war in Afghanistan.”

Other online activities by Gitmo servicemembers:

Comments on news stories were posted by people using apparently fictitious names to news sites – and were prepared by the Guantanamo public affairs office, according to Wikileaks.

A comment on a Wired magazine story about a leaked Guantanamo operations manual that was recently posted on the Wikileaks website urged readers to learn about Guantanamo by going to the public affairs website, adding that the base is “a very professional place full of true American patriots.”

And of course, we’re left wondering if these are inept, official actions of the federal government, or inept unofficial actions by individual servicemembers:

Camp Delta - Guantanamo Bay CubaArmy Lt Col Ed Bush, a Guantanamo spokesman, said there is no official attempt to alter information posted elsewhere but said the military seeks to correct what it believes is incorrect or outdated information about the prison.

[Lt Col] Bush declined to answer questions about the Castro posting.

The ZDNet article also mentioned an article by the UK’s Inquirer, mentioning how an entry on the invasion of Iraq was modified by someone with a US House of Representatives IP address. D’oh!

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who led the research effort regarding web activity of servicemembers with Guantanamo email addresses, said:

“This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person.”

She said the Gitmo servicemembers’ postings amounted to propaganda and deception.

I wish I was more surprised and angered by this story than I am, but frankly…enh. This story just seems like a “business as usual” kind of under-the-Bush-Administration, government story .

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen