Did Google censor Basra imagery?

My newsreader is filling up with references to this story in the UK’s Daily Telegraph:

Terrorists ‘use Google maps to hit UK troops’

By Thomas Harding in Basra

Terrorists attacking British bases in Basra are using aerial footage displayed by the Google Earth internet tool to pinpoint their attacks, say Army intelligence sources.

Documents seized during raids on the homes of insurgents last week uncovered print-outs from photographs taken from Google.

The satellite photographs show in detail the buildings inside the bases and vulnerable areas such as tented accommodation, lavatory blocks and where lightly armoured Land Rovers are parked.

Written on the back of one set of photographs taken of the Shatt al Arab Hotel, headquarters for the 1,000 men of the Staffordshire Regiment battle group, officers found the camp’s precise longitude and latitude.

I went looking for the Shatt al Arab Hotel mentioned in the article, and found it, but saw no tents or tanks. Even stranger, Google Earth Community placemarks for Basra alluding to craters and tanks instead show remarkably intact buildings and roads. I began to think that the imagery we are currently getting for Basra is older than it used to be.

This suspicion proved correct. Here’s a comparison of what the imagery of Shatt al Arab camp looked like before/after a recent imagery update:

Picture 4.jpg

Click to enlarge

Currently, images in Google Earth of Basra are from 2002, months before war. Up until a recent update, the images were likely from late 2004 and/or 2005. You can tell by engaging in a little forensic mapping, using Google Earth’s built-in “Digital Globe Coverage” layer (which provides dates for its imagery), the Google Tile Comparison tool (which shows you what previous datasets looked like) and also with a little help from Google Earth Community.

For example, here is a placemark created on January 2006 depicting a crater at the former Baath Party headquarters, . If you look now, you see no crater. If you looked in January 2006, you did see a crater:

Google Earth now:

Picture 8.jpg

Google Maps/Earth, earlier and now:

Picture 6.jpg

Click to enlarge

You can tell that the current imagery of Basra in Google Earth is from before the war by zooming out a bit and then turning on the “Digital Globe Coverage” layers. You’ll notice that the rectangular outline of the square over Northern Basra matches this image exactly, taken on November 24, 2002:

Picture 5.jpg

You can do the same for the rest of Basra.

When was the imagery taken that was visible at the time the placemark for the crater was made? By correlating the colored rectangles of the “Digital Globe Coverage” layer with the older dataset via the Google Tile comparison tool, you can see that before the update, most of Northern Basra is covered by this image, taken on September 28, 2004. Basra itself has yet another, cropped image overlaid on top of the one dated September 28, 2004 — and I am assuming that it is more recent, because that is the usual motivation for updating imagery.

All this raises a few questions:

1. Did Google replace newer imagery with older imagery at the request of the coalition forces in Basra? The article hints at it:

A Google spokesman said the information could be used for “good and bad” and was available to the public in many forms. “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.

“We have opened channels with the military in Iraq but we are not prepared to discuss what we have discussed with them. But we do listen and we are sensitive to requests.”

Still, the article says the offending printouts were found “last week”. That would imply a very recent update.

2. If the use of older imagery in the new dataset is intended to thwart insurgents from using the newer imagery in the old dataset, wouldn’t it help to stop making the old dataset available via the Google Maps API? Just because these militants are mean bastards doesn’t mean they’re stupid, nor that their geeky younger brothers are unfamiliar with Javascript.

3. If this imagery was replaced by Google at the request of the coalition forces, doesn’t this rather undermine the arguments made by Google to other governments explaining why it won’t censor imagery at their request? You know, arguments such as that the imagery is a few years old, that it requires context to be useful, that it is freely available on the web, that anyone can purchase more recent imagery on the web, and that all technology is a two-edged sword — just look at cellphone detonators for bombs, cars driven by suicide bombers, GPS devices for targeting…

Finally, some other paragraphs from the article were just begging for commentary:

The British security services are concerned that terrorists will be able to examine in detail sensitive infrastructure such as electricity stations, military basis [sic], and their own headquarters in London.

Sneaky segue, that. Should everyone be censoring bits of London too, then? I see a slippery slope ahead. And then there is this nugget:

Soldiers from the Royal Green Jackets based at the Basra Palace base said they had considered suing Google Earth if they were injured by mortar rounds that had been directed on the camp by the aerial footage.

Clearly these boys aren’t Britain’s finest legal minds. Perhaps they’d also consider suing the mortar manufacturers?

[PS. this is not the first time Google Earth has been used in asynchronous warfare — they also had a go in Yemen, as reported here in October 2006.]

[Update 2007-1-18: The story unfolds thus:

Jan 16: Fixing Basra: Turns out you can still buy the imagery online via the DigitalGlobe Online Store.

Jan 18: DigitalGlobe removes Basra imagery from online store: This confirms the image is actively being removed from public access.]

33 thoughts on “Did Google censor Basra imagery?”

  1. Nice investigative work, and you are right, it is a very slippery slope. It is also damaging to Google’s reputation.

  2. I think there is a big difference between imagery of military assets during times of peace and war. In peace times, I see no big deal. But in times of war or areas of war, there should be censorship of imagery of military assets.

    There is no slippery slope. In times of war, Govt. has every right to suspend certain “rights” other wise granted in times of peace.

    I want my side to win. If it’s necessary to censor the imagery to save lives on our side in a war zone. Then so be it.


  3. KoS, censoring Google Earth makes no sense, as the imagery belongs to DigitalGlobe, and they sell it to anyone, including Google Earth. Other, non-US vendors also have this imagery, and can also sell it to anyone they wish. Google Earth is merely the most convenient and best client of DigitalGlobe’s imagery. If the coalition in Iraq thinks that taking the imagery out of Google Earth is going to make them safe, then they are kidding themselves, and underestimating the enemy.

    Also, it is just not the case that “In times of war, Govt. has every right to suspend certain “rights” other wise granted in times of peace.” First, you have to ask, which government? Can any government make this demand of Google? Just the US government? By law US imagery providers like DigitalGlobe _do_ have to give the defence department the ability to shut off the camera over bits of the US, and they are also not allowed to sell high resolution images of Israel, but there is nothing in the law about censoring imagery of Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan…

    Basically, the genie’s out of the bottle when it comes to satellite imagery of the globe. It’s better for the military to focus on mitigation strategies.

  4. I have to agree with Stefan here, especially as the US (and therefore the UK) are always at war with someone, too many ‘rights’ are being taken away from us already, the western world is fast becoming an ‘Empire’ instead of a democracy. /end rant

  5. Don’t be ridiculous. What “right” are you being denied? The right to look at “current” satelllite images during a time of war? Who granted you that entitlement?

    The safety of our servicemen is more important than your “lost” privelege. Get a life and find something more important to gripe about.

  6. Anyone who feels oppressed by lack of freedoms in the U.S. need to step away from the computer,and get some air.I have a car,i go where ever i want buy what ever i want,i get on the internet and say whatever i want,i go to the library (checked out documentaries on Arab societies)haven’t had my door knocked on.I practice what whatever religion i want.I’m pretty freakin free,29 years

    on this earth and have never felt restricted except when reading the “free” press.

  7. Yes first of all congratulations on your research -perhaps if our own security services/military had been as methodical prior to the invasion of Iraq we would not be in this mess but hey… As someone in and from London I am concerned at the precedent which the removal of images sets and the logical extension to the argument to remove all imagery deemed ‘sensitive’- where next I wonder?? If people are engaged in conflict then they will use any means necessary to advance their cause. A smart military would recognise the threat from a potential new threat – in this case Google Earth ;-) and adapt accordingly. Surely this adaptation should not include restricting the freedoms of individuals in those nations that they represent…

  8. Censoring Google Earth would do nothing to limit the gathering of data by those wanting to do harm. They’d get the data from plenty of other sources because they are willing to go to the trouble to get it. I on the other hand, like many casual internet users don’t care enough to go tracking down the other sources. GE bundles it all up nicely and I’ll take what I am given. The only people that are denied anything by removing the data from GE are the people who don’t really have a use for it anyway. Therefore I doubt Google would bother censoring it, it wouldn’t make anyone safer and it would just slightly annoy their regular users.

    And yes CV I do have the right to view the data. Just as I have the right to wear green socks. Unless someone puts forward a good arguement to take away such a right you should let people do what they want, and in this case stopping me from getting a more recent picture of Basra has no benefit.

  9. Sefan,

    Thanks for the response. Atm, this is all the time I have to post a response. I promise to address your questions later this week.

    I understand where you are coming from. I don’t want things censor unnecessarily. I believe at times it is necessary to temporarily suspend normal activites, not permanently.

    And yes, it’s always a fine line to walk between protecting peoples “rights” vs lives(in this case).

    Also, we shouldn’t make it any easier on the enemy to strike us or cause problems. And we shouldn’t place additional concerns, problems, etc.. on our military. There job is tough enough without people on the same side making their job harder than it already is.

    Again, I”ll try and explain myself in a few more days.

    I need to retire, this work crap is for the birds. :)

    The “empire” comment made by Bull. Dude, take off those rose colored glasses. It’s not as bad as you want to think. :) And you think this is an empire. I tell ya what, listen to the words of some of the Islamic extremists. Now there are the empire wannabe builders.

    I’ll be back, it’s threat or a promise. lol


  10. “The safety of our servicemen is more important than your “lost” privelege. Get a life and find something more important to gripe about.”

    Oh, grow up. “Our” servicemen are there at the behest of American oil companies. I don’t care about the safety of mercenary oiks who take orders from the higest bidder, frankly.

    “And we shouldn’t place additional concerns, problems, etc.. on our military. ”

    The only thing I want “our” military to be concerned about is how quickly they can get home and stop running the biggest terrorist recruitment drive in history. Then we might actually be safer, although they’ve probably already damaged the nation’s interests beyond repair. Every soldier that went to Iraq betrayed this country by obeying blatantly illegal orders from a government that is happy to see military information published when it knows that it’s a pack of self-serving lies but squeals like a bunch of little kids when the truth gets out.

  11. You know what Mr. Angry. You are a big dumb ass. May be you should inform yourself a tad better, instead of spouting other peoples BS. Maybe that is too hard, thinking for yourself.

    I get sick and tried of the lie comments. You didn’t directly say Bush lied, but generally anyone you says lied in relation to Iraq is always refering to Bush.

    I want you to infrom yourself, go back to 98 and see what people were saying. If Bush lied, so did Clinton, Gore, a ton of other Democrats and Republicans. And better yet, find the document which states US policy for regime change in Iraq, which was signed in 98. PLease note, it wasn’t Bush who signed the document.

    It’s all about oil, ya right. Get your head out of the sand. No pun attended.

    The truth, nobody knows the entire truth, I don’t, you don’t, people in the media don’t, and people in govt don’t. So please don’t fool yourself into believing others who supposedly know the entire truth of the situation. Unfortunately, things aren’t black-n-white, which would be nice, makes things much easier.

    Also, your are a fool to think by pulling out will make us safer. Killing those who are saying “death to America” will make us safe. While at the same time, educate, feed, and helping the others who want to be free and live a peaceful life. Not running away and hoping all will be better.


  12. Hey KoS, no, actually Bush did lie. Do you want me to show you how? And it doesn’t matter what Clinton, Gore, or “a ton of other Democrats and Republicans” thought, as they were not the president and commander-in-chief in 2003.

    Do you sprinkle freedom dust around your bed at night to protect you from terra’?

  13. Ooo well, bvac, you can try. But you will probably not succeed. Since anyone can find supposed “evidence” to support their side of events.

    It doesn’t matter who was commander-n-chief at the time. For a period of 5-6 years and more, people were all saying the same thing about Iraq. On both sides of the isle. But for people like yourself, it was all Bushes fault, he created the lie, he manipulated the intelligence(even the intelligence gathered prior to assuming office), he’s the devil reincarnated….blah, blah.

    So what was he or anyone suppose to do? Maybe they shouldn’t have listen to the previous adminstrations words and findings about Iraq? Or even listen to the findings of other countries like Russia or France?

    So I guess according to you and others, we should still be flying over Iraq enforcing the no-fly zones. Ignore the attacks on our planes. Ignore the corruption of the oil-for-food program. Ignore Salmi Pak. Ignore this, ignore that.

    Frankly, we should have never allowed it to get to this point anyway. Then again, most of the problems we have now, we partial help create in the first place. Making mistakes in the past doesn’t excuse us from correct those mistakes. And hopefully not knownly create more trying to correct those mistakes.

    Nice try at a dig on me in the last sentence. But guess what, I call them how I see them regardless of politics or such. And I’ll admit I’m bias in favor of the US, good or bad.

    Would you rather me to sprinkle freedom dust or facist dust or communist dust or what kind of dust you want me to sprinkle? I really prefer freedom dust over the others. Then again, I could accomplish alot of good having dicator dust to sprinkle around. :)


  14. One more thing.

    When I meant “supposed evidence”. It never fails, I hear one thing in the media or from others. When in reality it’s something else.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read an article or listen to someones cite this or that. When I review the citation, usually it’s not what they said it was.

    Or better yet, you want a real lie(I think). A lie, which is intentional, not unintentionally. I’ve bet y’all have heard that there wasn’t a plan before going into Iraq. Read Bob Woodwards book “State of War”, not a righty person. In the book it contradicts the claim of no planning. Granted, maybe Woodward isn’t being truthful himself.

    Again, nobody knows the entire truth. We all are basing our opinions on half-truths, whether they are pro or con.

    Regardless, I’m going to support the US good(correct) or bad(incorrect). It doesn’t mean blind support, if something is bad(incorrect), I’m going work to correct it.


    *sprinkles freedom dust all around*


  15. “You didn’t directly say Bush lied, but generally anyone you says lied in relation to Iraq is always refering to Bush.”

    Bush was and is certainly a liar but the lies were designed and built by Rumsfeld, Chaney, and Wolfowitz. Rice has also played along, since it suits her pro-oil agenda too (funny how the big cheerleader for democracy has only ever been voted into one post: director of Chevron oil, nominated by her co-director Dick “Dick” Chaney).

    American foreign policy has been about almost nothing but oil for 60 years.

    When Kermit Rosevelt organised the overthrown of Iran’s democratic government by Nazi sympathiser Fazlollah Zahedi in order to replace Mohammed Mossadegh with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (the infamous Shah of Iran), it was because Mossadegh wanted Iran’s oil to be owned by Iran instead of Britain. This led to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

    When America organised the murder of Iraq’s leader and his replacement by the CIA’s chosen frontman, Saddam Hussain, it was because the latter said that he would fight the now relgiously-controlled Iran and secure its oil reserves (9% of the world’s total) for export to the West instead of China. In the ensuing Iran-Iraq war the CIA supplied Saddam with chemical weapons and chemical weapon experts to help them use them on any and all enemies of Iraq’s government. The Kurds were victims of this as well as the Iranian soldiers and villagers the US wanted the weapons used on. Donald Rumsfeld met personally with Saddam to help organise bank loans to Iraq to pay for these and bio-weapons. His receipts are in the public record of the Senate Banking committee. Again, hundreds of thousands of deaths were caused, millions when you include Saddam’s murders, the bulk of which happened while the CIA were operating within Iraq to support him. Indeed, the CIA were feeding Saddam lists of people that he might want to kill because they opposed his brutal regime. In the vast majority of cases, he did so.

    When Saddam stopped taking orders from Washington and became a problem he was isolated. But allowed to sell oil. Many blind eyes were turned in the West to the abuse of the oil-for-food programme. Because the west needs oil.

    When Saddam suggested that all oil trading be in Euros he became (thus endangering America’s credit rating) the first member of the “Axis of Evil” (when North Korea agreed, they became member #2). When it became clear that China would break sanctions and trade oil with Iraq, he had to be taken out.

    Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld in ’99 said that Iraq HAD to be invaded and the reason they gave – quite shamelessly and publicly – was to secure its oil for America and prevent China from outbidding the US if and when oil supplies started to fall behind demand.

    When the WTO was attacked Bush’s team worked hard to paint the actions of one of Saddam’s worst enemies as somehow being planned or supported by him.

    They lied their guts out.


    In order to go to war to get the oil that Wolfowitz had said was vital to America’s dominance over China.

    The resulting invasion of Iraq caused probably around 100000 deaths including more Americans than were killed on the 11th of September 2001, an event which had nothing whatsoever to do with Iraq.

    The invading armies had no plan for how to rebuild the country or even feed its people, yet the oil fields had been divided up between various oil companies in exact detail. Because the oil was what mattered. Iraq and the Iraqis were no more important than when G Bush snr decided not to support their uprising when he was president, leading to the slaughter of many of Saddam’s bravest opponents.

    Last week, the national oil companies of Iraq signed (effectively at gunpoint) contracts guaranteeing that they would send 70% of their oil to the west – for market value – in preference to China. Forever.

    Israel is supported because it destabalises the area and makes it easier to control Saudi Arabia on whom America depends for a large chunk of its oil.

    Dictators like Mugabwe are ignored because they have no oil. The Sudan rumbles on with no sign of a regime change because it has no oil. Iran is daily attacked in the press by Bush cabinet members because it is a threat to the oil flow in the ME. Pakistanis launched 200 direct attacks on American troops in Iraq last year with barely a whisper of complaint in comparison. Because the Pakistani military dictator (with proven nuclear weapons of mass destruction) supports America and, most importantly, has no oil.

    American bases in Afghanistan were placed not to protect the citizens and help them rebuild a country raped by the Taliban, but to cover the route of the proposed trans-Afghan pipeline

    If you do not understand the importance to America of secure energy supplies then you do not understand anything about American foreign policy across every administration and both main parties.

    This all is why America and its ally Britain wants to control what you see on the Web. The truth is their enemy. Not because it might lead to the deaths of some cannon fodder no one in power gives a damn about really. But because, if the principal of resisting censorship ever gets a real foothold on something as big as the Web, then they will be in real trouble the next time they come to tell their big lies. The next time a few hundred thousand people are going to die to support a handful of oil executives’ pension funds.

    That’s why Google should have told them where to go. It’s their dirty war and they can pay for the consequences, just as the individual soldiers should know that they have to pay the price for blindly obeying immoral and illegal orders based on dossiers of total fabrications dictated to intelligence staff by the Prime Minister’s public relations chief.

    You don’t want to get killed in Iraq? Fine; suits me. Don’t go.

  16. Great response Mr. Angry. Let me research some of what you have said. But I’ll respond to other parts.

    So was Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait part of the neocon conspiracy? Get him to sign a cease-fire which they knew he would break. Then use the broken cease-fire as one of their “covers” to go to war?

    Get Saddam to shoot at our planes which were enforcing the no-fly zone. They have another “cover” story to go to war?

    They helped him set-up Salmi Pak to train terrorist. Give Saddam funds to pay suicide bombers families to supposedly make up for their lose. Housed and protected a couple of well known terrorists, like Abu Nidal. They have another “cover” story to go to war?

    They helped set-up and train Iraqis to use meat grinders to kill people. Taught Saddam’s sons the finer things in life in Iraq, like raping women or killing anyone they so desired. They have another “cover” story to go to war?

    They helped Saddam set-up labs to test and develop chemical and biological agents. Assisted them to find ways to dispense agents through perfume bottles or household chemical bottles. They have another “cover” story to go to war?

    They set-up two meetings, which we are aware of, of Iraqi agent(s) meeting with planners of 9-11. Or had set-up contacts between Iraqi agents and Al-Qaeda agents. O, wait, that never happened. Iraqi would never have anything to do with those type of people. The first bomber of the WTC had an Iraqi passport, purposely planted. They have another “cover” story to go to war?

    Mess with the records of the inspections of banned items in Iraq. Where, x items known to have minus y items accounted for or destroyed equals z items left over. To, x items known to have minus y items accounted for or destroyed equals zero items left over. No WMDs here, all gone.

    Didn’t supply enough translators to review all the documents we have capture or saved from destruction. Now, hardly any documents get translated so the we don’t know a thing.

    Get all the intelligence so messed up, that for years people(repub and demos and France and Russia and UK and etc..) were saying Iraq is a problem. Then only later the intelligence says Iraq wasn’t or isn’t a problem anymore. Heck mess with all the intelligence and news stories so we don’t know our heads from our tails. A great way to muddy the waters. Worked with others in the know around the world. Very sneaky.

    At least we forget, the neocons helped plan the attack and destruction of WTC. Then they would have another “cover” story to go to war. And better yet, they helped stir up the hornets nest of anger in order to get the approval of the American people to go to war. But a war just for oil.

    I probably can find other neocon conspiracies. Boy those neocons sure have been busy for a long time. Pretty amazing they developed a wide-ranging and deep plan, just to go to war over oil or whatever their evil desires take them.

    See I can play along.

    I don’t think I ever said or believe oil wasn’t part of the mix. I don’t believe it was “all about” oil. I’m not that dumb to not realize oil is the engine of the worlds economy. Too bad we haven’t done more to change that equation. Oil was one of very many reasons for going into Iraq. None of the reasons carried more weight than any other, at least to me. Also, I didn’t think the pipe line in Afghanistan was going to be built.

    As for lying, is the weatherperson you watch each night lying to you about the weather for the next day or week?

    I would agree Bush lied, he recently lied about Iraq not haven’t WMDs. That time there was intent to deceive. It still hasn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt Bush lied us into this war, at least not yet. I give him the benefit of a doubt. For now.

    See, I agreed, Bushey lied. I’m a resonable person when it all comes to this.

    The other places you mentioned, like Sudan, Pakistan and others, it is a shame we don’t act accordly there. Just as we would else where. That was the bad I mentioned earlier about American. Usually it seems, if security isn’t part of the equation, then we don’t act.

    You forgot about one country attacking us in Iraq, Iran. Those f*&%ing IEDs. Also, did you know, at one time alot of the cars used in bombing attacks against the troops in Iraq. Were cars stolen from the US. Maybe we should go after organized crime too.

    Finally for tonight. Going into the military, people know they could be killed. Comes with the job. Each loss of a service person isn’t to be taken lightly, but reality is reality. I wish nobody had to die serving their country. Unfortunately I’m not a god.

    It doesn’t really matter if more or less troops died compared to those people on 9-11. Guess what, there have been less troops killed overseas in the same amount of time, than the number of people killed….by what…pick one. Illegal aliens, drunk drivers, random shootings, stupid mistakes, etc…

    I would go to Iraq or any other place as needed. But the military didn’t take me way back when. I tried to get in back in 87. Wanted to spend a career of it, at least as long as I lived. But my eye sight and other physical aliments kept me out. If I hadn’t developed other aliments since then, I would try to get in even today.


  17. While I’m thinking of it and head the train off at the pass. Lets just agree to disagree with the side-subject. I’ve already wasted enough of mine and y’alls time. lol


  18. we need an official comment from google.

    the obvious answer to all this is, of course, for the brits to get out of Iraq – the place they illegally invaded.

  19. “You forgot about one country attacking us in Iraq, Iran. Those f*&%ing IEDs.”

    Yes, well if you had dropped nerve gas and West Nile virus on me, I’d attack you any time I got the chance as well, and you would deserve everything you got. Not taking revenge for that would seem to be extraordinarily unusual behaviour. Or do you think the US would have forgiven and forgotten being gassed?

    Anyway. Truth serves no master; censorship is the tool of dictatorship. That’s all there is to it. The Iraqis on the ground have many more up-to-date methods of getting the data they need (binoculars, compass, and a pocket calculator). This has just been a test run to see how easy it was to get Google to pull something. The answer is: very.

  20. Update : Google Maps imagery reverted to old one (the same as in GE)…

    My feelings are mixted… On one hand a tool as GE can be used for terrorist purposes but on the other hand this info is available in many other places and in higher resolution and newer imagery…

    Terrorists have money… If they don’t use GE they use other means.

    GE is not that old and terrorists planned attacks long before GE (or even Keyhole) exists…

    So IMHO it’s a false problem…

  21. Cheers for putting the image on your site. It’s nice to know that when i’m getting 107mm rockets fired at me your helping them target me.

    you wanker

  22. Im surprised at the level of sophistication of this discussion. Its rare in online forums.

    I just want to comment that we dont need to look at the most current imagery of Iraq battlescenes. Our desire to see craters and destruction isnt in any way important. If the sacrifice of this morally insignificant privilage saves one life then it should be sacrificed. If it means that a terrorists spontaneous plan of action based on conditions on the ground is hindered because he doesnt have the time to purchase or download the maps he needs from Digital Globe or if taking the time ruins in any way his window of opportunity then it is more than worth it: it is a privilage we must sacrifice. Just a reminder, the slippery slope argument is a logical fallicy, it might be a reasonable worry, but we must pick our battles. When the government starts taking away rights or privilages that are morally significant then lets get upset and take the appropriate actions through the avenues for change which are available, but for now, lets give them this. I dont need to see craters and destruction bad enough to rationalize the possible harm it may cause our servicemen.

  23. Hey, people, why do you need talking about “terrorists”? It’s 2007, seriously. Time to get past the “terrorist” lingo. Iraqis fighting Americans & British in Iraq are not terrorists any more than the Poles were when they fought the Nazis in Warsaw in ’44 uprising. If your country is invaded, you fight back, any means necessary. Gandhi is an exception, but there’s not many in history. I’m an American. I supported this war. I was wrong. 100%. If we must pick our battles, We need to pick this one. Aerial maps hidden from view? Or replaced? Didn’t we invade Iraq because of a few inaccurate aerial maps and a plagerized British intelligence report? And now you’re saying we shouldn’t pick a battle over the ability to fact-check aerial maps? No thanks. (Another thing, “our servicemen” are not mine. You do not represent me. You are paid. You are mercenaries. If you don’t want kill / be killed don’t f***ing join. You’re not defending me from anything. If this was the 70s and there was a draft, you’d be serving your country. Right now you’re serving yourself – warzone bonus, anyone? – and the Republican party.)

  24. In answer to sam’s comment.

    yes i am serving myself…and more importantly my family. but i would like to know how many times you’ve been to iraq, as you seem to know so much about whats happening out there….(i’m beeing sarcastic).

    for the slow/stupid out there the people fighting us and the yanks are not iraqi but from neighbouring arab nations, who are using iraq for various puposes. so forget the noble freedom fighter image you have got in your heads.

    and as you also used the whole nazi germany thing. you forget that it was saddam who ethnicly cleansed entire villages.

    you all need to stop crying about not beeing able to look at sensitive pictures, and get lives outside the internet. try to remember that this involves real peoples lives, and unlike in your cyber world we dont get to respawn we we get fragged.

  25. Kos,

    “Govt. has every right to suspend certain “rights” other wise granted in times of peace.”

    I don’t mean to be too much of a flag waver but my rights are not “granted” to me by the government. The government is “granted” permission to exist by the people.

    I believe that was established at the outset by the Declaration of Independence.

    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

  26. Minta,

    I agree with you. I was trying to be generic when I posted that. Each country is different. Had the UK on my brain.

    Frankly, in away, we have granted the US govt. too much power to take “rights” away. We vote or don’t vote the govt we get or want. Sadly, it leans too much to the don’t vote.

    I do understand the need for a referee, so to speak. The referee has to enforce the rules, the rules created by the people through their representatives or themselves.

    For example, during time of a crisis. I would understand the need to be off the streets at a certain time. Even though other times, I would have the “right” to be running around.

    Like Franklin said(paraphrase): here’s your republic, now keep it.

    And we haven’t kept it.

    At least we live in a country where two things truely can control your life: yourself and govt. For now, it may be just govt, given the track we have been heading down.


  27. It was obviously felt by somebody that the highly sensitive issue of freedom of information in a democratic society was worth prodding in order to protect our countrymen. You have rubbished that decision by publishing this imagery after its removal, with no obvious benefit to yourself. I think that you sir are a complete arse and imagine the knock on your door will be coming shortly.

  28. google listens to power only,china,saudi etc.

    i see no reason to protect the interests of any military side,they are responsible for every war in history,they should get no support from anyone,they should be suppressed,opposed as immoral murderers.

    before you say it- the only reason we need an army for defence purposes is because other forces are being supported by their people.

    how many animals fight their own species to the death?,not to many….

    …pretty smart of them id say.

  29. “Cheers for putting the image on your site. It’s nice to know that when i’m getting 107mm rockets fired at me your helping them target me.

    you wanker”

    no offense intended, but you did sign up to get rockets fired at you, and this image is freely available on the web. Me, I’m a coward, and I don’t believe in fighting for a cause I don’t believe in, so I didn’t sign up for the clusterf*ck.

    anyhow, the answer is simple; move your tent.

  30. You know, all of you hand-wringers are free to start your own Google Earth variants in your own very free countries.

    Have at it.

    Show us all how to do it properly.

    Thank you.

    I’m sure I shall expire before anyone here acts upon my suggestion.

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