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