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I have been following with interest the blog of Ben, an Australian army officer who is blogging from Iraq. Sadly, in the past 24 hours, his entire blog was deleted.
Letter to Ben
Conscious of the threat from cyber-squatters, I beat them to it. I immediately re-registered his URL and posted this letter to Ben…
I was disappointed to see your blog had been deleted. (I’m guessing it was probably not done voluntarily. Still, the need for military security is understandable and I’m sure everyone involved had Australia’s best interests at heart.)
But on a practical note, it’s unwise to completely delete a Blogger blog. There are baddies constantly trawling Blogger looking for relinquished accounts. When they find one, they will immediately re-register it. They will then redirect all incoming links to their porn/fraud sites.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve taken the precaution of re-registering the site myself to prevent this. Contact me, and I’ll gladly hand it back to you (after confirming ID, of course.)
Next time you are near Brisbane, say G’day. I’d be proud to buy you a beer.
Keep up the good work.
Cheers — Mike
Why did this happen?
I suspect there was some fall-out from inappropriate videos on another (no longer serving) military member’s blog. They may have been harmless enough on their own but the fact that they have been mentioned at the Kovco inquiry has made milblogs a politically sensitive issue.
Australia has lost a lot here.
It’s sad to see the demise of Ben’s blog. There were no culturally-insensitive images or comments. Quite the reverse; Ben’s posts were intelligent and insightful. They gave a real feel for what life is like on the ground in Iraq today. I myself was in Jordan at this time last year and I can vouch for Ben’s description of the heat haze and the grit in your teeth.
He also conveyed the excitement of putting all that training into practice. As another commenter put it…
The blog was an excellent advert for the ADF.
I have also quickly recovered as much material from Google’s cached pages relating to Ben’s Blog as I could. I’d love to republish this but I don’t want a visit from ASIO straight away.
I’m waiting to hear from Ben.
Update - 22 Sep 06
It appears the Australian Army’s PR unit have yet to formulate a policy on milblogs.
Comments are open on Ben’s mothballed blog. Please leave any suggestions on what should be allowed (or disallowed) on blogs by serving members or how they should be registered/approved or whatever. (As well as messages of support for Ben!)
I note that several of the commenters on Ben’s original Iraqi Letters blog were young men of pre-military age. To these young men, Ben’s blog was inspirational and a concrete example of the living Anzac spirit.
C’mon Australia, we cannot let Ben’s blog die.