Yahoo, Verizon: Our Spy Capabilities Would ‘Shock’, ‘Confuse’ Consumers
Want to know how much phone companies and internet service providers charge to funnel your private communications or records to U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies?
That’s the question muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed a few months ago. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that, among other things, they would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.
Yahoo writes in its 12-page objection letter (.pdf), that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it “to ’shame’ Yahoo! and other companies — and to ’shock’ their customers.”
“Therefore, release of Yahoo!’s information is reasonably likely to lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security, which is a competitive disadvantage for technology companies,” the company writes.
Verizon took a different stance. It objected to the release (.pdf) of its Law Enforcement Legal Compliance Guide because it might “confuse” customers and lead them to think that records and surveillance capabilities available only to law enforcement would be available to them as well — resulting in a flood of customer calls to the company asking for trap and trace orders.
“Customers may see a listing of records, information or assistance that is available only to law enforcement,” Verizon writes in its letter, “but call in to Verizon and seek those same services. Such calls would stretch limited resources, especially those that are reserved only for law enforcement emergencies.”
Other customers, upon seeing the types of surveillance law enforcement can do, might “become unnecessarily afraid that their lines have been tapped or call Verizon to ask if their lines are tapped (a question we cannot answer).”
Verizon does disclose a little tidbit in its letter, saying that the company receives “tens of thousands” of requests annually for customer records and information from law enforcement agencies.
Soghoian filed his records request to discover how much law enforcement agencies — and thus U.S. taxpayers — are paying for spy documents and surveillance services with the aim of trying to deduce from this how often such requests are being made. Soghoian explained his theory on his blog, Slight Paranoia:
In the summer of 2009, I decided to try and follow the money trail in order to determine how often Internet firms were disclosing their customers’ private information to the government. I theorized that if I could obtain the price lists of each ISP, detailing the price for each kind of service, and invoices paid by the various parts of the Federal government, then I might be able to reverse engineer some approximate statistics. In order to obtain these documents, I filed Freedom of Information Act requests with every part of the Department of Justice that I could think of.
The first DoJ agency to respond to his request was the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), which indicated that it had price lists available for Cox Communications, Comcast, Yahoo and Verizon. But because the companies voluntarily provided the price lists to the government, the FOIA allows the companies an opportunity to object to the disclosure of their data under various exemptions. Comcast and Cox were fine with the disclosure, Soghoian reported.
He found that Cox Communications charges $2,500 to fulfill a pen register/trap-and-trace order for 60 days, and $2,000 for each additional 60-day-interval. It charges $3,500 for the first 30 days of a wiretap, and $2,500 for each additional 30 days. Thirty days worth of a customer’s call detail records costs $40.
Comcast’s pricing list, which was already leaked to the internet in 2007, indicated that it charges at least $1,000 for the first month of a wiretap, and $750 per month thereafter.
But Verizon and Yahoo took offense at the request.
Yahoo objected on grounds that its pricing constituted “confidential commercial information” and cited Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act and the Trade Secrets Act.
Exemption 4 of the FOIA refers to the disclosure of commercial or financial information that could result in a competitive disadvantage to the company if it were publicly disclosed. The company claims its pricing is derived from labor rates for employees and overhead and, therefore, disclosing the information would provide clues to its operating costs — regardless of whether these same clues are already available in public records, such as those the company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also claims that since Soghoian is trying to determine the actual amounts the Marshals Service paid Yahoo for responding to requests, the price lists are irrelevant, since “there are no standard prices for these transactions.”
But equally important to Yahoo’s objections was the potential for “criticism” and ridicule. Yahoo quoted Soghoian on his blog writing that his aim was to “use this blog to shame the corporations that continue to do harm to user online privacy.”
Yahoo also objected to the disclosure of its letter objecting to the disclosure of pricing information saying that “release of this letter would likely cause substantial competitive harm” to the company. The company added, in a veiled threat, that if the Marshals Service were to show anyone its letter objecting to the disclosure of pricing information, it could “impair the government’s ability to obtain information necessary for making appropriate decisions with regard to future FOIA requests.”
If anyone out there has a copy of Verizon or Yahoo’s law enforcement pricing list and wants to share it, feel free to use our anonymous tip address.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
By Willam Fisher, IPS News. Posted November 24, 2009.
Three contentious provisions are scheduled to expire next month; opponents of these sections have been pushing to roll them back. But Obama seems ready to renew them.
NEW YORK, 23 Nov (IPS) - With the health care debate preoccupying the mainstream media, it has gone virtually unreported that the Barack Obama administration is quietly supporting renewal of provisions of the George W. Bush-era USA Patriot Act that civil libertarians say infringe on basic freedoms.
And it is reportedly doing so over the objections of some prominent Democrats.
When a panicky Congress passed the act 45 days after the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, three contentious parts of the law were scheduled to expire at the end of next month, and opponents of these sections have been pushing Congress to substitute new provisions with substantially strengthened civil liberties protections.
But with the apparent approval of the Obama White House and a number of Republicans -- and over the objections of liberal Senate Democrats including Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Dick Durbin of Illinois -- the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to extend the three provisions with only minor changes.
Those provisions would leave unaltered the power of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to seize records and to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail in the course of counterterrorism investigations.
The parts of the act due to expire on Dec. 31 deal with:
National Security Letters (NSLs)
The FBI uses NSLs to compel Internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to turn over sensitive information about their customers and patrons. Using this data, the government can compile vast dossiers about innocent people.
The 'Material Support' Statute
This provision criminalizes providing "material support" to terrorists, defined as providing any tangible or intangible good, service or advice to a terrorist or designated group. As amended by the Patriot Act and other laws since Sep. 11, this section criminalizes a wide array of activities, regardless of whether they actually or intentionally further terrorist goals or organizations.
FISA Amendments Act of 2008
This past summer, Congress passed a law that permits the government to conduct warrantless and suspicion-less dragnet collection of U.S. residents' international telephone calls and e-mails.
Asked by IPS why committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and other Democrats chose to make only minor changes, Chip Pitts, president of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, referred to "the secret and hypocritical lobbying by the Obama administration against reforms -- while publicly stating receptiveness to them." White House pressure, he speculated, "was undoubtedly a huge if lamentable factor".
He added that some committee members were cautious because of the recent arrests of Najibullah Zazi and others.
Zazi , a citizen of Afghanistan and a legal U.S. resident, was arrested in September as part of a group accused of planning to carry out acts of terrorism against the U.S. Zazi is said by the FBI to have attended courses and received instruction on weapons and explosives at an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.
Leahy acknowledged that, in light of these incidents, "This is no time to weaken or undermine the tools that law enforcement relies on to protect America."
Pitts told IPS, "Short-term and political considerations driven by dramatic events once again dramatically affected the need for a more sensible long-term, reasoned, rule-of-law approach."
"In the eight years since passage of the original Patriot Act, it's become clear that the escalating political competition to appear tough on terror -- and avoid being accused of being "soft on terror" -- brings perceived electoral benefits with few costs, with vital but fragile civil liberties being easily sacrificed," he added.
In contrast to the Senate, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee approved a version of the legislation containing several significant reforms. In a 16-10 party-line vote, the committee's version curbs some of the government's controversial surveillance powers.
The Patriot Act, passed by a landslide after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies additional powers to thwart terrorist activities, was reauthorized in 2005.
The legislation has been criticized by many from across the ideological spectrum as a threat to civil liberties, privacy and democratic traditions. Sections of the original act have been ruled unconstitutional, with certain provisions violating protected rights.
Judiciary Chair John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, said the goal of the new legislation was to "craft a law that preserves both our national security and our national values".
The proposed new legislation would permit the so-called "lone wolf" provision to sunset. This authority removed the requirement that an individual needed to be an agent of a foreign power to be placed under surveillance by intelligence officials and permitted surveillance of individuals with a much lower evidentiary threshold than allowed under criminal surveillance procedures.
It was intended to allow the surveillance of individuals believed to be doing the bidding of foreign governments or terrorist organizations, even when the evidence of that connection was lacking.
The Justice Department maintains that the "lone wolf" authority is necessary, even though there is no evidence that it has been used. Its opponents believe that existing authorities are sufficient to achieve the goals of the lone wolf provision while more effectively protecting the rights of innocent citizens.
The proposed new House legislation would also restrict the use of national security letters. According to a Congressional Research Service report, "National security letters (NSL) are roughly comparable to administrative subpoenas. Intelligence agencies issue them for intelligence gathering purposes to telephone companies, Internet service providers, consumer credit reporting agencies, banks, and other financial institutions, directing the recipients to turn over certain customer records and similar information."
Under current law, intelligence agencies have few restrictions on the use of NSLs, and in numerous cases, have abused the authority. An FBI inspector general report in 2007 "found that the FBI used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies". The reform provisions seek to create greater judicial scrutiny of NSL use.
The bill approved in the Senate contains much more modest reforms. It would retain the lone wolf provision, and is, in general, much more in line with the wishes of the administration. Should both bills pass and go into conference to be reconciled, it is unclear which approach would prevail.
House and Senate versions still need to be voted on by each body separately and then reconciled into a single bill to send to the president for signature.
Pitts told IPS, "President Obama's flip-flop on Patriot Act issues does as much damage as did his flip-flop on the FISA Amendments Act and telecom immunity last year. But it's imperative that we fight, while we still can, to comprehensively reinsert requirements for fact-based, individualized suspicion, checks and balances, and meaningful judicial review prior to government intrusions."
In a report on the Patriot Act, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, "More than seven years after its implementation there is little evidence that the Patriot Act has been effective in making America more secure from terrorists. However, there are many unfortunate examples that the government abused these authorities in ways that both violate the rights of innocent people and squander precious security resources."
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See more stories tagged with: patriot act, fbi, barack obama, surveillance, fisa, russ feingold, telecoms, dick durbin, national security letters, warrantless wiretappinh
William Fisher has managed economic development programs in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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Sunday, November 08, 2009
North & South:
Prussia to TriesteAmber Pathhttp://continuingcounterreformation.blogspot.com/2008/11/wlodimir-vladimir-ledochowski-cover-up.htmlfrom Avles Beluskes Exposed:
About TriesteFrom Adriatische Gegenreformation Krieg HeuteBecause "....The Counter Reformation of the Vatican's Jesuit Order did not end back in the 1600s" (Douglas Willinger)
Friday, November 6, 2009Posted by avles at 4:43 AM
We are all living in 'freedom'. So you can put which comment you want under the YouTube videos about the expulsion/emigration of the Italians from East Adriatic coasts, and of course under a YouTube video about the Fascist Irredentist persecutions against the Slovenians: “assassin Slav!”, “Fascist pig!”, and others attributes, even more offensive, are the most frequent comments you encounter there.
You can reach the level of the incitement of mass homicide when, for example, I read a comment inviting “to tie a barbed wire around the necks of the partisans in order to throw them into the holes”.
So YouTube is the reign of the Freedom. In appearance. You can put which comment you want, offending with the worst threatening words whoever you want, but….. don’t dare to name the Vatican and the Jesuits order as the true masterminds of the 1914 – 1945 Eurasian massacres!"........The Counter Reformation war of Jesuit order and Vatican punished the Slovenians as Protestant born nation and erased the Italians from the coast as being liberal Catholics hence 'heretics and to have an alibi for future wars:
What do you think about that my above comment? Offensive? Is it an inconceivable threat? When many of the same priests of Rome and liberal ('heretic') Roman Catholics secretly agreed with my statements, and were punished for this when discovered?
So don’t try to put such a “very dangerous, threatening, offensive” comment under videos as the ones treating the past tragedies. It will be never published, never sent, never posted. You must spare your tongue only to lick the asses of the Vatican and of the Jesuits order…. Ops! Pardon! Did I offend someone?
Here the videos. The first video is a conference of professor Pirjevec about his book. The title of the book is the same of that famous short movie, "Triest is ours!". Professor Pirjevec explains that "Triest is also ours!", as being also the Slovenians native of this area, they naturally feel a patriotic sentiment for the city strictly linked with their land, and are expressing it in their maternal language. So not a slogan of war. But a true war is raging on and is the one of the Cyberwar to Persecute the Freedom of Speech. In fact, after two comments the Romish axle cutted the wire to communicate with the page, and as you can see, since three days there it appears nothing:(www.vest.si) "Trst je naš!"
These ones are other videos, about the anti-fascist struggle of the Slovenian people and about the expulsions of the Italians. As you can see the username “avlesbeluskes” doesn’t appear, disappeared in the dark virtual holes/Foibe of the Cyber Counter Reformation persecution:Istria Fiume e Dalmazia ESODO ISTRIANO
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxV9TkXYc1gIstria e Dalmazia=Italia!
Trst je Naš
(As I have no time, no resources, no money, no support at disposition, it is clear that what I wrote is affected by many errors and uncorrectness. I am not a prostitute lay journalist of this dirty Vatican 'tollerant' regime called 'democracy'. I have not the 51% of the Bank of America supporting my writings. I don't control the Casinò of Ostenda and neither Citroen and Peugeot as the General Superior did at least in 1958. So corrections and additions could appear in the future)
Friday, October 23, 2009
Perhaps in an effort to rehabilitate the United States’ image in the Muslim world, the Obama administration has joined a U.N. effort to restrict religious speech. This country should never sacrifice freedom of expression on the altar of religion.
By Jonathan Turley
Around the world, free speech is being sacrificed on the altar of religion. Whether defined as hate speech, discrimination or simple blasphemy, governments are declaring unlimited free speech as the enemy of freedom of religion. This growing movement has reached the
United Nations, where religiously conservative countries received a boost in their campaign to pass an international blasphemy law. It came from the most unlikely of places: the United States.
While attracting surprisingly little attention, the Obama administration supported the effort of largely Muslim nations in the U.N. Human Rights Council to recognize exceptions to free speech for any "negative racial and religious stereotyping." The exception was made as part of a resolution supporting free speech that passed this month, but it is the exception, not the rule that worries civil libertarians. Though the resolution was passed unanimously, European and developing countries made it clear that they remain at odds on the issue of protecting religions from criticism. It is viewed as a transparent bid to appeal to the "Muslim street" and our Arab allies, with the administration seeking greater coexistence through the curtailment of objectionable speech. Though it has no direct enforcement (and is weaker than earlier versions), it is still viewed as a victory for those who sought to juxtapose and balance the rights of speech and religion.
A 'misused' freedom?
In the resolution, the administration aligned itself with Egypt, which has long been criticized for prosecuting artists, activists and journalists for insulting Islam. For example, Egypt recently banned a journal that published respected poet Helmi Salem merely because one of his poems compared God to a villager who feeds ducks and milks cows. The Egyptian ambassador to the U.N., Hisham Badr, wasted no time in heralding the new consensus with the U.S. that "freedom of expression
has been sometimes misused" and showing that the "true nature of this right" must yield government limitations.
His U.S. counterpart, Douglas Griffiths, heralded "this joint project with Egypt" and supported the resolution to achieve "tolerance and the dignity of all human beings." While not expressly endorsing blasphemy prosecutions, the administration departed from other Western allies in supporting efforts to balance free speech against the protecting of religious groups.
Thinly disguised blasphemy laws are often defended as necessary to protect the ideals of tolerance and pluralism. They ignore the fact that the laws achieve tolerance through the ultimate act of intolerance: criminalizing the ability of some individuals to denounce sacred or sensitive values. We do not need free speech to protect popular thoughts or popular people. It is designed to protect those who challenge the majority and its institutions. Criticism of religion is the very measure of the guarantee of free speech — the literal sacred institution of society.
Blasphemy prosecutions in the West appear to have increased after the riots by Muslims following the publication of cartoons disrespecting prophet Mohammed in Denmark in 2005. Rioters killed Christians, burned churches and called for the execution of the cartoonists. While Western countries publicly defended free speech, some quietly moved to deter those who'd cause further controversies through unpopular speech.
In Britain, it is a crime to "abuse" or "threaten" a religion under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. A 15-year-old boy was charged last year for holding up a sign outside a
Scientologybuilding declaring, "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult. "In France, famed actress Brigitte Bardotwas convicted for saying in 2006 that Muslims were ruining France in a letter to then-Interior Minister (and now President) Nicolas Sarkozy. This year, Ireland joined this self-destructive trend with a blasphemy law that calls for the prosecution of anyone who writes or utters views deemed "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage." 'Blasphemy' incidents
Consider just a few such Western "blasphemy" cases in the past two years:
• In Holland, Dutch prosecutors arrested cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot for insulting Christians and Muslims with cartoons, including one that caricatured a Christian fundamentalist and a Muslim fundamentalist as zombies who want to marry and attend gay rallies.
• In Canada, the Alberta human rights commission punished the Rev. Stephen Boission and the Concerned Christian Coalition for anti-gay speech, not only awarding damages but also censuring future speech that the commission deems inappropriate.
• In Italy, comedian Sabina Guzzanti was put under criminal investigation for joking at a rally that "in 20 years, the pope will be where he ought to be — in hell, tormented by great big poofter (gay) devils, and very active ones."
• In London, an aide to British Foreign Secretary David Milibandwas arrested for "inciting religious hatred" at his gym by shouting obscenities about Jews while watching news reports of Israel's bombardment of Gaza.Also, Dutch politician Geert Wilderswas barred from entering Britain as a "threat to public policy, public security or public health" because he made a movie describing the Quran as a "fascist" book and Islam as a violent religion.
• In Poland, Catholic magazine Gosc Niedzielny was fined $11,000 for inciting "contempt, hostility and malice"by comparing the abortion of a woman to the medical experiments at Auschwitz.
The "blasphemy" cases include the prosecution of writers for calling Mohammed a "pedophile" because of his marriage to 6-year-old
Aisha(which was consummated when she was 9). A far-right legislator in Austria, a publisher in India and a city councilman in Finlandhave been prosecuted for repeating this view of the historical record.
In the flipside of the cartoon controversy, Dutch prosecutors this year have brought charges against the Arab European League for a cartoon questioning the
Holocaust. What's next?
Private companies and institutions are following suit in what could be seen as responding to the Egyptian-U.S. call for greater "responsibility" in controlling speech. For example, in an act of unprecedented cowardice and self-censorship, Yale University Press published The Cartoons That Shook the World, a book by Jytte Klausen on the original Mohammed cartoons. Yale, however, (over Klausen's objections) cut the actual pictures of the cartoons. It was akin to publishing a book on the Sistine Chapel while barring any images of the paintings.
The public and private curtailment on religious criticism threatens religious and secular speakers alike. However, the fear is that, when speech becomes sacrilegious, only the religious will have true free speech. It is a danger that has become all the more real after the decision of the Obama administration to join in the effort to craft a new faith-based speech standard. It is now up to Congress and the public to be heard before the world leaves free speech with little more than a hope and a prayer.
Jonathan Turleyis the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington Universityand a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.
(Illustration by Alejandro Gonzalez, USA TODAY.)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
It's the same with the censorship of the information about Ledochowski's Kulturkampf Revenge when posted to Vertriebenen boards...From Avles:
1914 - 1945 Second Thirty Years War of the Jesuits in Eurasia:MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!
1) Jews: totally extirpated/exterminated from Eurasia
2) Protestant Prussia, the most powerful Protestant anti-Vatican country: annihilated
3) Orthodox Christians: tens of millions from Balkans to Russia were slaughtered
4) 'Heretic' Roman Catholics of Germany, no more loyal to their pope and his Catholic butler Hitler : identified to be then exterminated with the "Mit Brennender Sorge" Jesuit campaignTHESE ARE THE FACTS - THE REST IS ONLY (VATICAN) CRAP
For telling such a truths, not only Douglas' Willinger blogs (and the works of Barry Chamish) are under the fire of the Romanist cyberspace censorship, also the works on the web of Thomas Richards are under the target of the Jesuit-Masonic Cyber-Inquisition
From the last message of the SpirituallySmart blog of Thomas Richards where he enlists all the censorship to which his work online has been submitted:
Watch the video of Thomas Richards related to the truth of the Vatican as creator of Nazism-----------------------------------
Friday, August 28, 2009SpirituallySmart has been censored very often. I am only going to detail a few of the major internet corperations that are doing this to me.
But this isn't about ME. It's about the message of truth. the most important aspect to secular and religious events. the Vatican and her many daughters!
Infowars.com (Alex Jones and all his affiliates and blogs, forums ect that are associated with him and Loose Change.)
Click the thumbnails to view full size
This is my Nazi - Vatican Video that I did. This screenshot is a picture someone took in Germany.
Here you can see that youtube deleted a documentary on the holocaust. Being that it was uploaded to my channel it was more important because it was IN CONTEXT with TRUTH! I want to ad that this video DID NOT violate youtube's terms of service.
I've been hosting my photos on photobucket since I first started building my web site. Suddenly they are deleting my pictures. Deleting even the banner to my Nazi Vatican Web Page
This was the picture they deleted:
Here you can see they deleted a whole section of my pictures. All of them were photos of high up members of the Vatican posing with high up members of Nazi-Germany
Wikipedia has often censored me. The "administrators" there are agents for the Vatican. I have often caught wikipedia admins gatekeeping articles disallowing good evidence proving a point or weakiening an opposing point.
In the near future I will try to provide links to the actual wikipedia edits. On the Jim Jones, Ante' Pavilec and Alberto Rivera wiki pages (these are only the ones I knew about). These links to my web site were deleted and they were not put on the wiki pages myself. I did try to restore them when they were deleted but I did not originally put them in there.
I have received many letters from truthseekers telling me that when they mention me in any forum associated with Alex jones that all their posts are quickly deleted. Youtube deleted my video, "Alex Jones CIA Agent of project mockingbird through Alternative Media."
It is also the same way with any mention of the Jesuits or Knights of Malta in any of these forums.
In the future I will provide screenshots of these emails from truthseekers testifying of censorship of truth through Alex Jones. Obviously it will take some time to go through my emails and find them.Posted by Thomas at 11:33 AM-------------------------------------------------
(As I have no time, no resources, no money, no support at disposition, it is clear that what I wrote is affected by many errors and uncorrectness. I am not a prostitute lay journalist of this dirty Vatican 'tollerant' regime called 'democracy'. I have not the 51% of the Bank of America supporting my writings. I don't control the Casinò of Ostenda and neither Citroen and Peugeot as the General Superior did at least in 1958. So corrections and additions could appear in the future)Posted by avles at 5:29 AM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
AT&T IS CENSORING ME
by Barry Chamish
AT&T is blocking my articles to you. Since May, two of my five articles were blocked then sent by someone else, or by gmail or via the netvision internet site. In gmail's case, I can only send 100 a day, in netvision's case, the articles are sent as spam. Here is a recent letter I sent to AT&T describing what I go through to get you the news:
Saturday, Aug. 8. I finish an article. I send it to my first group of readers. My out box says it is sent.
Group two. Blocked by AT&T for abuse, though group one had fewer than 100 names. I unplug the modem and send to group two, fewer than 100 names.
Group three is blocked by AT&T for abuse.
The process continues 13 times.
There are some 120 addresses which are wrong and are always returned to me.
NONE are returned, meaning NO messages were sent.
So I send a message to myself. It does not arrive. So I cellphone a reader. She did not receive my article.
Finally, I sent AT&T's CEO this letter:
TO BE SENT ON AUG.12/09 VIA CERTIFIED LETTER WITH RETURN RECEIPT
Mr. Randall Stephenson
I am a 3 year client of AT&T and a journalist with a reading list of over 3,000. Since May, my e-mail service has been surveilled and blocked for abuse on innumerable occasions. Two days ago, I called in an expert to trace the blockages. I have his reports. AT&T have blocked my reports for "content abuse." Only one address has been targeted, my third party server; netvision.net.il. All e-mails sent via netvision's internet site, bellsouth, or gmail go through uninterrupted.
When I signed my contract with AT&T, I did NOT agree to be censored. Your company is in violation of our contract. I have retained an attorney who will ask a federal court to stop the blockages based on two arguments:
1. There is no reason for the surveillance. I do not send pornography, slander or treasonous material. If I did, then report me to the police. He will seek compensation for the deleterious affects you have caused my career and my health.
2. Your actions oppose the guarantees of freedom of expression promised in the Bill Of Rights. He will argue constitutionally against AT&T.
IF this goes to court, all technical documents proving the blockages will be made available to you.
But billing harassment is an issue you can check. In the last two months, AT&T have sent me bills of $302. and $478, for an $81/mo. phone and internet service. Fortunately, your sales dept. has been working honestly to sort this issue.
I ask that the blockages stop immediately, and request an answer within two weeks.
Best, Barry Chamish
In response, a rep from AT&T phoned to assure me her company's Postmaster verifies that my account is "whitelisted," meaning the company blacklists other accounts. What AT&T actually does is monitor my account and block all letters from me to netvision that it doesn't like. They do not tell me when the mail is blocked. The mail disappears into thin air.
I traveled to my local post office to ask the branch manager a few questions, like can you stop a letter from being sent. She is adamant. Blocking mail is a federal offense, a felony. She considers e-mail to be no different. If AT&T is blocking correspondence, they are committing the same felony. My appeals on radio interviews for the testimony of fellow blockees has led to other AT&T customers who have the same experience as I. Most mail is allowed through, but political references ignite the key words to block their letters.
The attorney I work with sent me this summation of the situation at AT&T:
AT&T Censorship controversy
In August 2007, the band Pearl Jam performed in Chicago at Lollapalooza which was being web-broadcast by AT&T. The band, while playing the song "Daughter", started playing a version of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" but with altered lyrics critical of president George Bush. These lyrics included "George Bush, leave this world alone!" and, "George Bush, find yourself another home!". Listeners to AT&T's web broadcast heard only the first line because the rest was censored although, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said that the silencing was "a mistake."
In September 2007, AT&T changed their legal policy to state that "AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice for conduct that AT&T believes"..."(c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." By October 10, 2007 AT&T had altered the terms and conditions for its Internet service to explicitly support freedom of expression by its subscribers, after an outcry claiming the company had given itself the right to censor its subscribers' transmissions.
Section 5.1 of AT&T's new terms of service now reads "AT&T respects freedom of expression and believes it is a foundation of our free society to express differing points of view. AT&T will not terminate, disconnect or suspend service because of the views you or we express on public policy matters, political issues or political campaigns."[dubious – discuss]
On July 26, 2009 AT&T temporarily blocking access to certain sections of the image board 4chan, specifically /b/ and /r9k/. However, by the morning of Monday, July 27, the block had been lifted and access to the affected boards was restored. AT&T's official reason for the block was that a distributed denial of service attack had originated from the img.4chan.org server, and access was blocked to stop the attack. Major news outlets have reported that the issue may be related to DDoSing of 4chan and IP spoofing of 4chan and that the suspicions of 4chan users fell on the owner of Anontalk.com for doing this. Alm has been reported in the past to have DDoSed 4chan.
Further information: NSA call database, Mark Klein, NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, Hepting v. AT&T
In 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation lodged a class action lawsuit, Hepting v. AT&T, which alleged that AT&T had allowed agents of the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor phone and Internet communications of AT&T customers without warrants. If true, this would violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. AT&T has yet to confirm or deny that monitoring by the NSA is occurring. In April 2006, a retired former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, lodged anaffidavit supporting this allegation. The Department of Justice has stated they will intervene in this lawsuit by means of State Secrets Privilege.
In May 2006, USA Today reported that all international and domestic calling records had been handed over to the National Security Agency by AT&T, Verizon, SBC, and BellSouth for the purpose of creating a massive calling database. The portions of the new AT&T that had been part of SBC Communications before November 18, 2005 were not mentioned.
On August 22, 2007, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell confirmed that AT&T was one of the telecommunications companies that assisted with the government's warrantless wire-tapping program on calls between foreign and domestic sources.
On November 8, 2007, Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician, told Keith Olbermann of MSNBC that all Internet traffic passing over AT&T lines was copied into a locked room at the company's San Francisco office — to which only employees with National Security Agency clearance had access.
Intellectual property filtering
In January 2008, the company reported plans to begin filtering all Internet traffic which passes through its network for intellectual propertyviolations.
Commentators in the media have speculated that if this plan is implemented, it would lead to a mass exodus of subscribers leaving AT&T, although this is misleading as internet traffic may go through the company's network anyway. Internet freedom proponents used these developments as justification for government-mandated network neutrality.
I will not name the articles that have been blocked for fear that this message will get the same treatment. But after weeks of arguing with AT&T that I WAS being blocked, after weeks of them telling me that netvision was to blame, though the blockage notice was theirs and I send successfully at netvision's internet site, I invited my webmaster to my home to get the evidence. He used some fancy techniques including photographing AT&T's "blockage for abuse" notice, and proved beyond doubt that I was being monitored and censored by AT&T and only AT&T.
Last night, I sent my special newslist an article about the nation's president. It was again blocked and once again sent successfully by gmail. And again, I saved the letters attesting to the fact that the AT&T letter never arrived. This morning AT&T called wanting their bill paid. I delayed them. If I pay the bill, I'm a happy client. I am not. If I switch servers, it's because they made me. I won't go down without a fight. But I need your help.
If you care about your guarantees of freedom of expression, write AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson and express yourself: firstname.lastname@example.org or call his representative Irena at 404 986 8605. WE MUST DEMAND THE TRUTH FROM THEM, and end their policy of selective censorship.
I assume I will lose my service this week. If you need me, call 904 315 8079.
I am offering a nearly free book about the Croatian Holocaust with my DVDs, which I won't name because it might cause this letter to be blocked. Here is a recent comment from a reader:
From Croatia: The story of WWII in Yugoslavia is extremely complicated and violent since
part of the Croats supported the Ustasha and part the Partisans. The Serbs
had an occupation government but also several Tchetniks groups which as
war went on became undistinguishable from the fascists.
After the war the Ustasha left Croatia and did not disappear from history
like the nazi. They are presented in the book as waiting for "the day".
As it happens, this day did occur, it is the collapse of Yugoslavia
in the 90s and the creation in Croatia of the HDZ which is still the
leading party and has its origin in the communist party and the Ustasha
coming back to Croatia. How this was done remain a mystery but the
consequence are very visible today in Croatia, where I live. Unfortunately,
Avro Manhattan left us in 1990 so we won't know what he would have to say
The book was just horrific! I knew such things had happened, but the photos were just so shocking.
The book was worse than the Texas chain saw massacre. The dvd’s were excellent and surely show the designs of the papacy have not changed from the dark ages but just have been hidden from view.
I am almost done with the book. It is a very important work and should be required reading in America..
I have shared your DVDs with others.
Write me at email@example.com if I'm cut off by AT&T, otherwise at firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
Join my inexpensive special news group and get cut off by AT&T twice as much.
Get my latest book The conPROMISED LAND by typing in my name at www.lulu.com
Sunday, July 26, 2009
At this moment, this phenomenon of the blogroll not showing my latest post at my blog Continuing Counter Reformation, AFAICT, is not occurring with my subsequent post "Wlodimir Ledochowski - WW 1 - 2 Culpability Is Being Exposed!"
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Why the last message of Douglas Willinger in his Continuing Counter Reformation blog, posted on Friday, 17 July, has not yet been putted in the blog's list of my blogs - "the Vatican crusade in the Balkans" and "Avles Beluskes Exposed"?
Why his message, I posted too in my blogs, is not yet on the Continuing Counter Reformation blogs' list?
The original darkened message of Douglas Willinger (till today the 26th July not yet appeared on my blogs' list):
However, immediately prior to this latest Continuing Counter Reformation post, the blogroll indicated that my most recent post there was "Obama - Columbia University Zbigniew Brzezinski: Romish-Masonic Tools for Papal War Against Russia?", just as indicated by Avles.
As of 3:24 AM Eastern US Time, the blogroll at ABE is not showing this article at Free Speech Beneath US Homeland Security.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Sam Smith - As Congress moves closer to expanding hate crime legislation, we find liberals leading an attack on the free speech provisions of the Constitution. Simply put, there can be no constitutional bar to hate - only to criminal offenses that stem from it. And you can not constitutionally increase the penalty for a crime simply because of someone's ideological or religious motivations, because that effectively criminalizes thought. It is the crime alone that must be judged.
Not only are the proposed new provisions unconstitutional, they are pointless. No one has showed how a hate crime might be prevented because of added punishment; that just isn't the way that criminally inclined haters operate.
Further, the liberals lined up behind this pointless and unconstitutional law include a large number who have been inactive as the government increasingly invades the privacy and freedoms of its citizens. Issues like the drug war, illegal wiretapping, and urban apartheid-style neighborhood blockades don't attract much attention. There is to be sure, a hardy band of progressives - led by groups like the ACLU, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and anti-drug war groups - who are still on the case, but many liberals seem almost bored by these matters.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Comics artist Mark Sable detained for Unthinkable
By Ian Randal Strock
Boom! Studios sends word that comics writer Mark Sable was detained by TSA security guards at Los Angeles International Airport this past weekend because he was carrying a script for a new issue of his comic miniseries Unthinkable. Sable was detained while traveling to New York for a debut party at Jim Hanley's Universe today.
The comic series follows members of a government think tank that was tasked with coming up with 9/11-type 'unthinkable' terrorist scenarios that now are coming true. (See this article for more on the series.)
Sable wrote of his experiences: 'Flying from Los Angeles to New York for a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe Wednesday (May 13th), I was flagged at the gate for 'extra screening'. I was subjected to not one, but two invasive searches of my person and belongings. TSA agents then 'discovered' the script for Unthinkable #3. They sat and read the script while I stood there, without any personal items, identification or ticket, which had all been confiscated.'
'The minute I saw the faces of the agents, I knew I was in trouble. The first page of the Unthinkable script mentioned 9/11, terror plots, and the fact that the (fictional) world had become a police state. The TSA agents then proceeded to interrogate me, having a hard time understanding that a comic book could be about anything other than superheroes, let alone that anyone actually wrote scripts for comics.'
'I cooperated politely and tried to explain to them the irony of the situation. While Unthinkable blurs the line between fiction and reality, the story is based on a real-life government think tank where a writer was tasked to design worst-case terror scenarios. The fictional story of Unthinkable unfolds when the writer's scenarios come true, and he becomes a suspect in the terrorist attacks.'
'In the end, I feel my privacy is a small price to pay for educating the government about the medium.'
Friday, May 29, 2009
From The New York Times
Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Wars in Cyberspace
David E. Sanger and Thom Shanker
published May 28, 2009
The military command would complement a civilian effort to be announced by President Obama on Friday that would overhaul the way the United States safeguards its computer networks.
Mr. Obama, officials said, will announce the creation of a White House office — reporting to both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council — that will coordinate a multibillion-dollar effort to restrict access to government computers and protect systems that run the stock exchanges, clear global banking transactions and manage the air traffic control system.
White House officials say Mr. Obama has not yet been formally presented with the Pentagon plan. They said he would not discuss it Friday when he announced the creation of a White House office responsible for coordinating private-sector and government defenses against the thousands of cyberattacks mounted against the United States — largely by hackers but sometimes by foreign governments — every day.
But he is expected to sign a classified order in coming weeks that will create the military cybercommand, officials said. It is a recognition that the United States already has a growing number of computer weapons in its arsenal and must prepare strategies for their use — as a deterrent or alongside conventional weapons — in a wide variety of possible future conflicts.
The White House office will be run by a “cyberczar,” but because the position will not have direct access to the president, some experts said it was not high-level enough to end a series of bureaucratic wars that have broken out as billions of dollars have suddenly been allocated to protect against the computer threats.
The main dispute has been over whether the Pentagon or the National Security Agency should take the lead in preparing for and fighting cyberbattles. Under one proposal still being debated, parts of the N.S.A. would be integrated into the military command so they could operate jointly.
Officials said that in addition to the unclassified strategy paper to be released by Mr. Obama on Friday, a classified set of presidential directives is expected to lay out the military’s new responsibilities and how it coordinates its mission with that of the N.S.A., where most of the expertise on digital warfare resides today.
The decision to create a cybercommand is a major step beyond the actions taken by the Bush administration, which authorized several computer-based attacks but never resolved the question of how the government would prepare for a new era of warfare fought over digital networks.
It is still unclear whether the military’s new command or the N.S.A. — or both — will actually conduct this new kind of offensive cyberoperations.
The White House has never said whether Mr. Obama embraces the idea that the United States should use cyberweapons, and the public announcement on Friday is expected to focus solely on defensive steps and the government’s acknowledgment that it needs to be better organized to face the threat from foes attacking military, government and commercial online systems.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has pushed for the Pentagon to become better organized to address the security threat.
Initially at least, the new command would focus on organizing the various components and capabilities now scattered across the four armed services.
Officials declined to describe potential offensive operations, but said they now viewed cyberspace as comparable to more traditional battlefields.
“We are not comfortable discussing the question of offensive cyberoperations, but we consider cyberspace a war-fighting domain,“ said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. “We need to be able to operate within that domain just like on any battlefield, which includes protecting our freedom of movement and preserving our capability to perform in that environment.”
Although Pentagon civilian officials and military officers said the new command was expected to initially be a subordinate headquarters under the military’s Strategic Command, which controls nuclear operations as well as cyberdefenses, it could eventually become an independent command.
“No decision has been made,” said Lt. Col. Eric Butterbaugh, a Pentagon spokesman. “Just as the White House has completed its 60-day review of cyberspace policy, likewise, we are looking at how the department can best organize itself to fill our role in implementing the administration’s cyberpolicy.”
The creation of the cyberczar’s office inside the White House appears to be part of a significant expansion of the role of the national security apparatus there. A separate group overseeing domestic security, created by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks, now resides within the National Security Council. A senior White House official responsible for countering the proliferation of nuclear and unconventional weapons has been given broader authority. Now, cybersecurity will also rank as one of the key threats that Mr. Obama is seeking to coordinate from the White House.
The strategy review Mr. Obama will discuss on Friday was completed weeks ago, but delayed because of continuing arguments over the authority of the White House office, and the budgets for the entire effort.
It was kept separate from the military debate over whether the Pentagon or the N.S.A. is best equipped to engage in offensive operations. Part of that debate hinges on the question of how much control should be given to American spy agencies, since they are prohibited from acting on American soil.
“It’s the domestic spying problem writ large,” one senior intelligence official said recently. “These attacks start in other countries, but they know no borders. So how do you fight them if you can’t act both inside and outside the United States?”
John Markoff contributed reporting from San Francisco.