Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Operation Dark Heart book bought out, censored and burnt - shades of Nazi Germany...

Seal of the United States Department of DefenseImage via Wikipedia

"Operation Dark Heart"  book bought out, censored and burnt - shades of Nazi Germany book burnings...

Operation Dark Heart joins the censorship "Hall of Futility".

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant"  -  President Obama speaking on open government.

In a novel approach to censorship, the US Department of Defense [DOD] recently bought up the entire 10,000-copy first run of Operation Dark Heart, a memoir that it doesn’t want us to read. DOD says that the book, written by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, reveals classified information about US operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan that threatens national security. This action may mark the first time in history that a government has used purchasing power to take a controversial book out of circulation.

The buyout actually works to the financial benefit of the author, who might not otherwise have sold out his first printing. The second edition—replete with blacked-out text—may also sell more briskly than otherwise expected. The tactic also has inspired a bit of humor. On a recent edition of NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” news quiz, panelists joked about similar ways to enhance sales of other books, such as: Where the Wild Things (and our Troops) Are, and Eat, Pray, Love, Reveal Nuclear Codes.

Operation Dark Heart: Censored

In a nod to more traditional book-banning tactics, DOD is reported to have destroyed the books after buying them [for a reported $47,000]. [No word, yet, as to whether they were destroyed the old-fashioned way—by burning—or whether book-broiling has morphed into a more 21st century format—shredding and recycling.]

Either way, this episode is not the first time a work of non-fiction has been outlawed or censored for national-security reasons—with or without justification. And there’s no reason to think it will be the last. Here are a few other examples:

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