Authorities Force 73,000 Blogs Offline?

from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept

TorrentFreak is reporting that a company, Blogetery, that hosted about 73,000 blogs, has been shut down by US authorities. Details are, admittedly, sketchy at this point, but the entire site has been taken down, and the company's ISP claims that they had to terminate the account immediately due to the "request of law enforcement officials, due to material hosted on the server." The ISP also claimed:
"this was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm. This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server."
That seems odd. If there was problematic content from some users, why not just take down that content or suspend those users. Taking down all 73,000 blogs seems... excessive. TorrentFreak speculates that this may be a part of the recent Homeland Security efforts to shut down file sharing site, and points to some evidence that there were at least a few Blogetery blogs that shared copyrighted works. However, no one's talking, and the ISP seems spooked, saying that it's "serious":
"Simply put: We cannot give him his data nor can we provide any other details. By stating this, most would recognize that something serious is afoot."
I'm still wondering what could be so serious that the specific problems couldn't be pinpointed? Taking down 73,000 blogs with no notice seems like overkill, no matter what the actual issue turns out to be.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    have you considered something like a site being used for clandestine communication between terrorists, as an example? public face to trigger attacks? you never know.

    rather than speculate, why not wait for the full answer?

    as always, using torrentfreak as a source means the story will both be weak and anti-government at every turn.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:22am

      Re:

      Or clandestine communication between people that believe in free speech. Got to stomp that out in the interest of Fatherland, eh, Homeland Security.

       

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        anymouse (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:37am

        Re: Re: Best Bumper sticker

        Picture of an Indian with a full ceremonial head-dress, next to the caption:
        HOMELAND SECURITY
        Fighting Terrorism since 1492

        ....

         

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      Keven Sutton, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:22am

      Re:

      The question is not what was offending, but how they took it down. 73,000 blogs are unlikely to all be "used for clandestine communication between terrorists". Even if several were, why not just revoke those blogs, or monitor the presence of the admin for the blogs?

      If it was something getting onto the server and unknown to the owners of the server hosting offensive material, then you still have back-ups you can roll to. It would have to be in every file for this to be justified, including all of the back-ups.

      thus the questions are being asked. Yes, places like torrent freak are going to say that the government was wrong in taking down every site hosted, and considering the alternatives i tend to agree. I'm surprised that you don't.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      No one said it isn't anti terrorist but until the U.S. tells everyone why this is being done there is nothing wrong with speculating. but the chances of it being anti terrorist are about the same as the chances that ACTA has anything to do with national security. The U.S. claimed it did and it turned out not to. The U.S. are liars, I see no reason to believe that there is a legitimate reason for this. If my govt wants my trust they must earn it, I will not merely assume they are trustworthy. I have very good reason to mistrust them and I don't really have any good reason to trust them. There is nothing wrong with speculating some possibilities in the meantime until we get some answers.


      Also, you probably didn't click the link and read any of it, so your comments are out of context as usual.

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:29am

      Re:

      "have you considered something like a site being used for clandestine communication between terrorists, as an example? public face to trigger attacks? you never know."

      All 73k blogs were being used by terrorists? And their action was to take them down?

      Dear lord, I hope you're wrong, otherwise we must have the most inept people working at the CIA/FBI/NSA/ONI/Etc. If even a majority of those blogs were being used by international terrorists trying to launch sophisticated and coordinated attacks on Americans (and if they are, what in the hell are they waiting for? It's been nearly 10 years since a successful credible attack and something like 3-4 credible non-amatuerish attacks have been supposedly attempted and failed during that time), you USE those sites to gain intel on the enemy, not shut them down.

      No, this action smacks of the government not really caring about pursuing most of the people involved in the websites, just shutting them down. And that isn't what you do to terrorists, it's what you do to dissidents....

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:39am

        Re: Re:

        and somehow I doubt taking down the blogs is going to do anything to stop terrorists. It's might either be?

        Piracy

        Another leak

        Child pornography

        If it's the first two, it'll never work.

        However, people need to think hard about how they leak data. First it should get distributed snailnet/sneakernet to a bunch of very trutworthy friends via DVD or something. Make sure the leak has no single point of failure.

         

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:49am

        Re: Re:

        I'll reply to you since your the one most likely to get what I'm gonna say.

        There is no way in hell that "terrorism" was the cause of this. They nuked the website. For them to decide that the final solution was the only solution, it must have been ground shattering. For the hosting site to say they took down the entire site and you can't have any of your data or backups, HLS must have walked into that office with a car battery and jumper cables. This is bigger then some terrorist site.

        Someone must have leaked info about the Stargate program... oops.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Someone must have leaked info about the Stargate program... oops."

          What's that? Wait...let me guess...it's a plan to torture Islamic terrorists by making them watch horrible, horrible SyFy television shows?

           

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            Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Only if they're forced to watch SGU or the last season of SG1. I like Ben Browder, but I don't like the writers.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The stargate program, Dark Helmet should know everything about that already, right? Helmet, did you have anything to do with this? Are you not telling us something.

            (Techdirt receives a knock on its door)

             

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          critical thinker, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 8:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          so exactly where do you think these 73K blogs are? On a server that has mass access. to prevent the deletion of data, they just disconnected the whole shebang, and are sifting through it as we speak, hence the 'discontinuation of service'

           

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      PaulT (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      "as always, using torrentfreak as a source means the story will both be weak and anti-government at every turn."

      Whereas, as always, your comment seems to be 100% pro-government, pro-corporate and pro-everything that intelligent people should be wary of.

      There are very few reasons why an entire site containing over 73,000 examples of free, unfettered speech should be taken offline. Until the full reasons are disclosed, and unless those reasons are one of the very, very few that fit this category then it's right to be critical of these action. Until these reasons are disclosed, we have to speculate, as indeed you are also doing.

      ...and no, the boogeyman of "terrorism" is not a good reason to kill free speech.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:06am

      Re:

      "have you considered something like a site being used for clandestine communication between terrorists,"

      What terrorists are going to use some public discussion blog for their communications. Are you serious?

       

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      Michael Lockyear (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      I very much doubt that you are going to get the full answer from Homeland Security. And even if they did give an answer, would anyone actually believe it?

       

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      jjmsan (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      Just out of curiousity is there a blog or news source you go to for your information? One that you actually agree with most of the time?

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      Actually, the story seems like a pretty straight up piece of reporting to me.

      If, however unlikely your paranoia is about terrorists, it was that why announce it in such a ham fisted, incompetent way?

      More likely it was about file sharing though there seems to be little reason, on the surface for that.

      Guess we're stuck with hamfisted and incompetent something a TAM would admire and love.

       

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      Richard (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:20pm

      Re:

      ave you considered something like a site being used for clandestine communication

      A website being used for clandestine communication? Have you gone completely stark staring bonkers?

      It would be more clandestine for the terrorists to stand in Central Park and talk to each other using loudhailers!

       

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      Fritz Katz, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 5:21am

      Burstnet and terror sites.

      have you considered something like a site being used for clandestine communication between terrorists...

      Actually, burstnet was (and maybe still is) KEEPING TERROR SITES ONLINE since at least 1998. Google: "burstnet islamic jihad". Even after the 2001 WTC attacks, they kept the terror sites online. Hamas, Hezbullah, al-Qaeda, the taliban, even Bin Laden had a website! Burstnet did admit that the Govt. was "forcing" them to host the sites. (Who was paying for the bandwidth?)

      People just assumed it was for "Intelligence", But the only other possibility is that that there might be some people in our Govt. that wanted a crisis?

      Whatever, isn't strange that BurstNet took out 73,000 blogs, yet keeps Islamic terror sites up?

       

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      gutenburg, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 11:44am

      Re:

      Regarding the following from the first comment "have you considered something like a site being used for clandestine communication between terrorists, as an example? public face to trigger attacks? you never know."

      Any public site could could be used for clandestine communication between terrorists like facebook or twitter. Why doesn't the government shut them totally down too.

       

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    Mike C. (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Ghostbusters reference...

    If indeed this is part of the recent Homeland Security/ICE effort and they keep taking down innocent sites when they attempt to eliminate file sharing, I could eventually see someone making a comment like this:

    Joe Biden... your party lost every election in massive landslides because you pissed off MILLIONS of registerd voters.

     

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    Fake TAM, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    This is just exceptional action by the govt. Nothing major.

     

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      senshikaze (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      i had to do a double take reading this. it was so life like!

       

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      Thos Weatherby, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

      Re: No big deal?

      Any time the government shuts down any site, it's a huge deal. What about the freedom of speech. Today TorrentFreak, tomorrow Media Matters or Glen Beck. This is how Stalin, Mao and Hitler started. Close down a radio station or newspaper that doesn't agree with who is in the White House. Think of YOUR freedoms, not the anarchy or government. So please don't say, "Nothing major". It is major.

       

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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:22am

    The March to Implement 1984 Continues

    We continue down the path of implementing Orwell's world of 1984.

     

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:26am

      Re: The March to Implement 1984 Continues

      Exactly what I was thinking. Shennanigans like this actually feel like live action 1984 going on. No more speculation or "could lead to". It now feels like it is starting.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:32am

        Re: Re: The March to Implement 1984 Continues

        "It now feels like it is starting."

        I'd sing the "I told you so" song, but it's hard to carry a tune and shit your pants in fear at the same time....

         

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          Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re: The March to Implement 1984 Continues

          DH: While I modded you funny for that, I am not one of the ones you really need to say 'I told you so' to. I have known it was coming with the way things are going.
          I have tried writing my representatives with drawn out logical arguments with links to supporting reports but most of the time I feel they never listen.
          I try to do my part, but I feel I have run out of options. Instead I just try to educate those who I see more than once. It seems that everybody in my generation agrees with me already, just with much fewer details as to why. Well, I guess I know a couple who don't agree, but they are aspiring musicians who state that their whole goal is to just work for about 10 years of their life, have some hits, and then live on residuals. Basically, they come across as lazy bastards. This is in contracts to a couple other aspiring artists I know who intend to (or are in one case) using social media to their advantage and trying to become more known.

           

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    Terrorrist, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 6:57am

    My evil plan.

    Oh God! Terrorists where using photos with embedded plans for simultaneous attacks on U.S. soil and they soiled themselves!

     

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    Terrorrist, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    My evil plan.

    As they couldn't find which photos were being used with steganography, they took everything down because they knew and imminent attack was going to take place and terrorists where using the photos they just didn't know which ones.

    It got to be something really serious, because they didn't take flickr down after the alleged Russian spies where caught or they lost it and are just abusing the system to go after pirates now LoL

     

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    NAMELESS ONE, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:07am

    time to move all hosting out of the usa

    risks are too great, legal or otherwise they have gone mental and need to lose money over it more

     

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    Bradley Stewart, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    The Department Oh Homeland Security

    was and is one of the dumbest ideas that our Government has ever come up with. Sure I understand that all of the agency's involved in this new massive department were siloed. So what. Just have them meet more often with each other. Separately generally they all did a pretty good job. So what did we do? We combined them all and keep putting someone at the top of the new agency who knows nothing about any of the agency's involved in this new agency.How did this idiocy happen? Our gutless elected politicians voted for it. Why did they vote for it? They would afraid of being accused of not being patriots what ever that means.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganography

    See the cat terrorist threat there is priceless.

     

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    Coyote, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Malware or worse?

    Two possibilities:

    One, the server was compromised and every blog on it was spreading some sort of new malware.

    Two, the site was full of something really illegal like CP, and rather than try and suspend every blog containing it, the ISP took the server offline because it will have to be forensically imaged.

    Keep in mind the shutdown was "at the request of law enforcement". No mention of a warrant. Cops didn't march in there and confiscate the server. They told the hosting provider there was a problem, and the provider decided to pull the plug.

     

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      me, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:48pm

      Re: Malware or worse?

      dumb question perhaps...i'm not tech-y. what is the likelihood of those of us who had a normal, legal blog, getting it back?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:27am

    “Land of the Free and home of the Brave”

    LMAO

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:28am

    @24 WRONG

    they are after as the article said a very small number that prolly hosted there forums for a tracker at that place ( stupid) and while no files prolly where there according to DEPARTMENT a stupid it facilitates it so in order to get all of them lets just get everyone

    feels kinda like the G20 rallys where innocent reporters and people were rounded up on mass in canada.
    IDea is to hell with true justice if we go arrest everyone we can be sure we got them all.

    THE ENDS JUSTIFIED THE MEANS in there ideals.
    YUP another fascist move....

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:44am

      Re: @24 WRONG

      Kill them all and let God sort it out! And, if the big guy gives you any trouble then kill him too!

       

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    P3T3R5ON (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Jurisdiction anybody?

    Since when did DHS have the rights to enforce copyright?
    Homeland Security is protecting us from EXTERNAL threats, the FBI takes care of INTERNAL threats... and copyright is not a threat so why are they even involved?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:11am

      Re: Jurisdiction anybody?

      You just don't get it, do you? An EXTERNAL threat is anyone or anything that isn't part of the plutocracy.

       

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      nasch (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Jurisdiction anybody?

      Since when did DHS have the rights to enforce copyright?

      I think it's a recent thing, like this year. But a couple minutes of searching didn't turn anything up. Anybody have any information on this?

       

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    Dr. L M Foong, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Such a move by the authority may send a strong signal to those involved to be more prudent with the way they run their bussiness ( hosting ). Unfortunately, the affected party involved thousands of bloggers who has no intention to violate any regulations

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    If you'll excuse me...

    ...I've got a couple thousand LiveJournal accounts to create.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    hmmm ...

    This actually fits very nicely with the line from the white house about ACTA being a national security issue.

     

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    Gwiz, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:14am

    To me it dosen't make any sense at all.

    I highly doubt they were taken down due to terrorist activity - if that was the case it seems to me that they would leave them up so they have a source of information to actually catch the terrorists.

    If they were taken down due to copyright infringement then that is plan wrong - copyright infringement is a CIVIL offense in the US - not a CRIMINAL one and law enforcement shouldn't be involved AT ALL.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:22am

    Here we have a reference to an article announcing that the DHS approached a company about a matter that even the company appears to acknowledge is a matter that is highly unusual. Beyond this, and the fact that a third party company had its blogs shut down, nothing else has been disclosed.

    Yet, the absence of any facts elaborating on the matter seems to have had no effect on most of the comments here. It seems to me that conspriracy theories, and not a for more facts, are ruling the day. Would it not make more sense to wait for more information to be provided before engaging in rants that do not have any basis in view of the paucity of facts known at this time?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

      Re:

      Here we have a reference to an article announcing that the DHS approached a company about a matter that even the company appears to acknowledge is a matter that is highly unusual. Beyond this, and the fact that a third party company had its blogs shut down, nothing else has been disclosed.

      Can you come up with a single credible reason that would require taking down all 73,000 blogs?

      I might there could be one. I just can't think of one.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:47pm

      Re:

      Hint: No facts will ever be released if no one pressures the ones hiding the facts to release them.

      Hint: There is no reason to take down 73,000 blogs unless all 73,000 were doing something illegal/dangerous/etc. Since it is massively unlikely that they all were, the specific reason is rather irrelevant to the stupidity of the action.

      Hint: I mentioned the word specific, so I imagine you are now crying in a corner, since you have never been specific in your life.

       

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    wallow-T, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Hard to imagine that a massive free press/prior restraint issue isn't going to grow out of this. Imagine if the Feds seized blogspot.com. Yes, a lot of link-swapping happens at blogspot, but it is also the political nervous system of the country, with a massive number of partisan blogs hosted there.

     

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    JP, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    "Would it not make more sense to wait for more information to be provided before engaging in rants that do not have any basis in view of the paucity of facts known at this time?"

    ...And when the government does somethng that looks very much like it goes beyond the bounds of what is necessary, possibly stomping on civil liberties... how long should we sit back and wait for someone to come assuage our feelings of distrust of their actions or intentions?

    one hour, one day, one week, one month?

    What if the explaination never comes?

    The longer we sit silent, the less chance that we will get a real explaination. The longer we sit silent, the more chance that it will happen again.

     

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    cc (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Those 73,000 blogs reported are all the blogs hosted by Wordpress!!

    Yes, Blogetery is Wordpress's ISP and it appears some genius decided it was a good idea to take all of Wordpress offline.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      yet all of wordpress is still online. this is just a wordpress 'premium' site, whatever that means. 73,000 blogs on a single server, now that would be, umm, powerful.

       

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    NullOp, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Hmmm

    Very interesting report. Looks like Homeland Security might get some paper from some lawyers about the First Amendment. If you think we live in a free state, think again.

     

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    wallow-T, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:15am

    The statement in comment 43: "Blogetery is WordPress' ISP" appears to be seriously in error.

    My best guess, from looking at the Google Cache, is that Blogetery was one of those efforts to help users create a bunch of mediocre-content blogs and then cash in by delivering ads to readers who arrive via Google searches. In terms of value to society, this isn't exactly the New York Times, but it's completely lawful business activity, and if the owner complies with DMCA takedown notices, he's supposed to be completely Safe-Harborized from copyright infringement claims.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Overkill?

    Taking down 73,000 blogs with no notice seems like overkill, no matter what the actual issue turns out to be.

    Huh? What are you talking about? Nothing is "overkill" when it comes to copyright issues!

     

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      gutenburg, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 11:48am

      Re: Overkill?

      The most of the blogs were by many different people who were not doing anything illegal. Their free speech is being infringed upon.

       

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    Rupert, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Lies!

    Lies! All lies!

     

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    dmeans (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    Probably not related to content

    This would happen if there were a systemic issue with the server(s) in question. It's unlikely that we'll know why this happened, at least in the short term; and possibly ever.

     

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    Matt P (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    So has the US gotten rid of that "land of the free" tagline yet?

    It doesn't seem to fit with their stormtrooper-friendly image.

     

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    RobShaver (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:48pm

    Some info and some thoughts

    Here's a thread that was started by the "owner" of Blogetery and talks about what's happened so far.

    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=964013

    The managed server provider was BurstNet.com. They don't say much but suggest that you can read-between-the-lines in this statement,

    "We notified him when we terminated it, and we refunded him his money to his account, becasue he has other servers with us. If he wants the refund to his card, we can easily do that. However, it should be the least of his concern.

    Simply put: We cannot give him his data nor can we provide any other details. By stating this, most would recognize that something serious is afoot.

    As far as his request to speak with the law enforcement officials, he sent it last night at 7PM, after Customer service was closed. We are looking into his request with the necessary persons.

    This is the last post we will make on this subject."

    The thread is closed now.

    My guess is that law enforcement seized the server or servers involved which contained all of the hosted blogs because they believed someone was using them for an illegal purpose. I don't think the officers cared or even knew how many blogs were hosted on it/them.

    One or more of the blogs may have had kitty-porn or maybe hackers were using the server to infect/control people's computers who came to any/all of the blogs. If you hacked into a server with 73,000 WordPress blogs, a lot of hidden mischief could be conducted. Think how many people visit these blogs every day.

    Just a thought.

    Peace,

    Rob:-]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

    National Security

    There were supposedly a number of blogs that server that were considered anti-ACTA and even had leaked copies of it. The administration and Homeland Security consider ACTA to be a national security concern.

     

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    Hey Big Brother!, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 9:08pm

    It is beginnning...

    Well...is anyone surprised?

    Buy a supply of the 3G's...and an HF tranceiver.

     

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    WilliamK (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 11:24pm

    What do you expect?

    Whatever does one expect to achieve by providing a free service that can be used to abuse the privileges of others?

    Provide a paid service and you will have much less rubbish posted thus contributing to a "greener" internet... less web pollution.

    One possible reason for someone to provide a free service is so that the owner/s can abuse it and every one else while using a different identity.

    Hmmm... perhaps some take down notices should be delivered to the other blog sites? I for one am very tired of having to click out of invitations to "like/add/recommend yet another useless/twit/face/**** service whose ultimate goal is the propagation of web pollution?"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:32am

      Re: What do you expect?

      Whatever does one expect to achieve by providing a free service that can be used to abuse the privileges of others?

      You mean like the free comment section here on Techdirt? Yeah, I suppose Mike should expect for his servers to seized anytime now. TAM is probably working on it as we speak.

       

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      nasch (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 9:11am

      Re: What do you expect?

      Provide a paid service and you will have much less rubbish posted thus contributing to a "greener" internet... less web pollution.

      Oh, the irony.

       

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    identicon
    ZZMike, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:48am

    ISP shutdown

    That story dovetails quite nicely with this one:
    President's Emergency control over the internet

    A proposed Senate Bill (S.773) would allow "the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat."

    Like "shut 'er down!".

     

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    opinionator, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 1:27am

    Not just Blogetery - IPBFREE - Connecticut Four

    IPBfree just shut down all their forums under the same "gag order" circumstances. I have also been thinking "Homeland Security", but I've been unable to post my comment anywhere - perhaps because I used some forbidden word when discussing it. I will attempt to post my comment here. I really hope someone researching the subject will see it.

    Here is what I've been attempting to post in regard to IPBfree:

    Some people have pointed out that the government has been on the move against DMCA offenders, and Blogetery also seemed to be under some gag order when they were shut down: http://torrentfreak.com/u-s-authorities-shut-down-wordpress-host-with-73000-blogs-100716/

    I'm still skeptical that DMCA problems would cause such abrupt, drastic action - which could lead to loss and damages claims from those who weren't involved in any misdeeds. It seems more likely that the servers must have been involved in some sort of criminal activity that had to be caught by surprise and stopped on the spot - like pornography, massive spamming, virus distribution, gambling, or snuff films. In the US, though, there is one particular category of criminal activity that is likely to draw swift action and utter disregard for anyone's property or civil rights: terrorism.

    By chance, I was reading today about the Connecticut Four. A couple of years ago the FBI sent letters to libraries, demanding patron records without any sort of court order. While libraries have been a bastion of defending privacy and free speech in the US, the Connecticut Four were the first to fight back: http://www.aclu.org/national-security/librarians-speak-out-first-time-after-being-gagged-patriot-act

    The salient issue is that the librarians were gagged during the entire case. This meant they could not bring up what the FBI was doing or offer an opinion while the US Congress was discussing renewal of the Patriot Act. The FBI told Congress no such letters were being set, and the Patriot Act was renewed.

    Librarians were the first to recognize that this was the slippery slope to dismantling some of the most important civil rights in the US. I'm wondering whether these sudden server shutdowns are an extension of this...some hint of terrorism permitting the utter disregard of anyone else's civil rights. Even if the forums were "free" and only existed at the discretion of ipbfree, there was certainly no expectation of the forums suddenly vanishing. It seems to me there are abundant legal arguments about implied contracts, creative work product, and free speech that would come to bear...unless the US government had a catch-all rights-abrogation pretext like terrorism.

    On the bright side, perhaps by hitting so many people's creative endeavors and writings at once, people will finally realize that the destruction of civil rights inherent in the Patriot Act and other recent legislation affects *all of us*. People need to start fighting back before every last shred of our rights is taken away.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:35am

      Re: Not just Blogetery - IPBFREE - Connecticut Four

      It seems more likely that the servers must have been involved in some sort of criminal activity that had to be caught by surprise and stopped on the spot - like pornography, massive spamming, virus distribution, gambling, or snuff films. In the US, though, there is one particular category of criminal activity that is likely to draw swift action and utter disregard for anyone's property or civil rights: terrorism.

      You forgot the one thing that's even worse than any of that or anything else: copyright infringement.

       

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      nasch (profile), Jul 17th, 2010 @ 9:10am

      Re: Not just Blogetery - IPBFREE - Connecticut Four

      Librarians were the first to recognize that this was the slippery slope to dismantling some of the most important civil rights in the US.

      Good post, but I think you understated this. I think that IS dismantling important civil rights. We're not just on the way, it's already happened and is happening.

       

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    identicon
    tron, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 6:55am

    >"We continue down the path of implementing Orwell's world of 1984."

    So where are my free drugs and orgies?

     

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    JayEmersonUSPP, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Beginning of the end....

    IRC: irc.name141.com

    Channel: #uspirateparty

    Seems like we got a choice. Put up with these exemplary actions by the government or form a resistance.

    If you'd rather die on your feet than live on your knees feel free to join us. We've been planning for these days for a few years now. Can of soup anyone?

     

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    binthere222, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 12:24pm

    What Wordpress Shyutdown Actually Means

    HELLOOOOO! WAKE UP!!

    A police officer coming to your front door and asking you to shut down your business, or surrender you home, or surrender a loved one for that matter, does not mean that you must do that. You must only comply when presented with a court order and after you have had your day in court.

    When a police authority CAN do this and force you to comply without due process, it is a sign that you are living in a police state.

    This jack boot shut down of Wordpress by the obama administration is therefore a sign that we are crossing the line into a hard police state way of doing business.

    Please think about this everyone and understand what it means. This is not law enforcement, it is hitler's europe coming to pass in America.

     

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    Opinionator, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    Patriot Act

    binthere222 - check out the link to the Connecticut Four I posted above. The FBI security letters require no Court Order. That's why the Librarians attempted to stand up to them.

    Unfortunately because they were gagged during the whole process, they couldn't argue against the Patriot Act's renewal. Thus, the FBI can still "shut down" just about anything without a court order and without further explanation.

    Yes, it's astounding the US let that happen. Thank goodness for the library case, because otherwise these server cases would be assumed to be some trivial DMCA matter and no one would even stop to consider whether this is a symptom of a larger destruction of human rights. In these cases the work and property of many, many innocent bystanders was destroyed. Surely this will bring the issue to public notice at last.

    I'm disappointed that the main stream media hasn't even noticed yet. Tens of thousands of people have been affected.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

      Re: Patriot Act

      I'm disappointed that the main stream media hasn't even noticed yet.

      I think the term is "willful blindness".

       

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    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jul 17th, 2010 @ 6:45pm

    To Clarify

    There are some points of confusion which seem to be arising.

    Wordpress is both a kind of blogging software and a blog hosting company. The Wordpress software is open-source, and anyone can download it, install it on their own machine, and use it. Blogsites hosted on the Wordpress hosting system have names like "something,wordpress,com." There are something like ten million blogs hosted on the Wordpress company's servers. The Wordpress company is not involved in this business, nor are the "dot,wordpress,com" blogsites.

    Blogetry, the company which has had its server seized, is a separate company which merely uses the Wordpress software. It uses Wordpress software with its own domain names, eg. "something,blogetry,com," and has a mere 73,000 blogs.
    Apparently, those are all on one machine, which probably means that pages take forever to load. Well, you get what you pay for. Impounding the machine would have involved taking down those all blogs, because they were all presumably on the same hard disk. You know, say each blog averages a megabyte, ergo the total is only seventy gigs. I gather the proprietor of Blogetry doesn't do offsite backup or anything like that.

    The proprietor of Blogetry apparently got his domain name back fast enough, and was able to transfer it to some other machine and/or hosting company, and put up an emergency page. In short, no one called up Network Solutions and ordered them to freeze the "blogetry,com" domain name. Also, he apparently has other servers at the same hosting company, and those were left undisturbed. If the man was seriously suspected of anything, the authorities would have closed down the lot. The best evidence is that he is simply an amateur webhosting operator who extended a welcome to all the people the Wordpress company had chucked out, or otherwise antagonized. Apparently, this business involves an account named "ace3," which was booted from "wordpress.com," and promptly turned up at "blogetry,com," accounting for something like twenty-five percent of its traffic, mostly involving Rapidshare links. (ref. post 20 in the torrent-freak thread cited above).

    There is a certain type of proprietor of a fleabag hotel who gets in trouble with the police because he can't or won't chase away the druggies, and the pimps, and the whores, and they all move in, so that the place becomes a de-facto drug emporium and brothel.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 8:15am

      Re: To Clarify

      The proprietor of Blogetry apparently got his domain name back fast enough,

      Got it back? Was it ever taken?

      In short, no one called up Network Solutions and ordered them to freeze the "blogetry,com" domain name.

      And no one has been saying so, either.

      If the man was seriously suspected of anything, the authorities would have closed down the lot.

      Which raises the question then of why would they seize a whole server instead of simply going to him about any offending account.

      The best evidence is that he is simply an amateur webhosting operator who extended a welcome to all the people the Wordpress company had chucked out, or otherwise antagonized.

      This "evidence" is? And is it a crime now to compete against Wordpress?

      There is a certain type of proprietor of a fleabag hotel who gets in trouble with the police because he can't or won't chase away the druggies, and the pimps, and the whores, and they all move in, so that the place becomes a de-facto drug emporium and brothel.

      He claims to have responded to take-down notices within 24 hours. That isn't exactly "can't or won't" respond. And, by the way, I've seen prostitutes in the cocktail bars of some of the finest hotels (even Tiger Woods found some there). Yet, the police don't just swoop in and arrest all the innocent guests staying there.

       

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    identicon
    Joe Johnson, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:13am

    Safe Harbor only counts for people with money and lawyers like Google. For everyone else it's invalid.

     

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    identicon
    akazikian, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    consider this:

     

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    identicon
    akazikian, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    consider this:

    If in fact a blog was being used for serious criminal activity AND taking down the blog would notify the criminals involved and cause them to disperse/destroy data etc. THEN it perhaps makes sense to take down the whole shebang in one blow and leave the criminals with no escape route (admittedly at the cost of free speech of individuals on the other blogs). Think SWAT teams making a raid w/ no prior warning so evidence is preserved and suspects don't flee.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:49am

      Re: consider this:

      If in fact a blog was being used for serious criminal activity AND taking down the blog would notify the criminals involved and cause them to disperse/destroy data etc. THEN it perhaps makes sense to take down the whole shebang in one blow and leave the criminals with no escape route (admittedly at the cost of free speech of individuals on the other blogs).

      That doesn't make any sense. How would taking the whole server down avoid tipping them off? It wouldn't. In fact, it would seem that to avoid tipping them off it would be much better to work with the server owner on the quiet and avoid the appearance of anything unusual going on.

      However, if the intention is to intimidate (terrorize) a whole bunch of people, then taking the whole server down makes sense.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 10:41am

      Re: consider this:

      THEN it perhaps makes sense to take down the whole shebang in one blow and leave the criminals with no escape route

      Talk about small-time crooks, they must have been really small to fit inside a typical server. I can just envision a bunch of Barney Fifes surrounding the confiscated server box, guns trained on it, shouting "All right, come on out now! We have you surrounded! There is no escape route!".

      Seriously, if you want to be an apologist, you need to do better than that.

       

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    identicon
    opinionator, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 9:50am

    where are the investigative reporters?

    I just read another Blogetery article that fails to mention the similar/simultaneous IPBFree shutdown. The numbers affected are even greater in the IPBFree case: not only tens of thousands of forum owners - but perhaps hundreds of thousands of forum-users.

    I also continue to see the assumption to see the assumption that the DMCA was involved, even though the operators are under gag order. At one point DMCA was explicitly denied by the official sources in the IPBFree case. Everyone just seems to be picking up on memes.

    Where is the investigative reporter determined to find out what really happened and explain the civil rights implications?

    It's bad enough the news is often fake - paid for by corporate interests or distorted to fit some imagined audience. Now the news can't be bothered with actual news that affects hundreds of thousands of people? Perhaps most of the victims (denizens of the forums) are considered too young to matter.

     

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    identicon
    AC, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    What happens when . . . .

    What happens when the government redefines 'helping terrorists' as doing anything the government doesn't like, and redefines 'terrorist' as anyone doing (or saying) anything the government doesn't like? It isn't like this crap hasn't happened many times before - in other places - I guess it's just our turn to become a repressive police state.

    I'm just waiting for prosecutions of people for being 'potential terrorists.' Probably, it won't be a long wait.

    Anonymity is NOT overrated. Protect yourselves - things are only going to get worse.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    CP

    There's an article over on http://wwwery.com/3366-why-did-web-host-shut-down-all-73000-blogs-at-once.html basically accusing them of hosting kiddy porn.

     

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    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Tactics.

    Okay, Kids, Tactics. You realize that most people in government don't work over the weekend. They work a forty hour week. If your blog is one of those affected, or a blog you go to, you check first thing Monday morning, tomorrow morning, to see that it is still down, so you don't wind up looking like a damm fool. If it's still down, you call your congresscritter, and you tell the staffer on the phone that your blog was taken down, and the hosting company says it was on the orders of a government agency, and they won't say what government agency. That's all you say about the takedown, you don't talk about Joe Biden, or about Adolph Hitler, or about any of that stuff you don't have direct knowledge of. You don't know what the Blogetry man may have been into, any more than you know what money your banker may have embezzled. You don't know from nothing, in fact.

    Keep to what you do know about. You talk about what your blog is about and why it is important; you tell them all about your blog, over and over again, as long as they will listen; and you keep coming back to the subject of your blog, and how much trouble it has been to you that it has been shut down.

    Rosa Parks didn't start talking politics-- she talked about how much her feet hurt, and how much she wanted to sit down, and no one ever thought to ask whether she had been to Highlander Folk School, the CIO's training academy for labor organizers. The teachers at HFS had probably made her read Karl Marx, but she didn't talk Karl Marx-- she talked about her feet.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 3:44pm

      Re: Tactics.

      Okay, Kids, Tactics. You realize that most people in government don't work over the weekend. They work a forty hour week. If your blog is one of those affected, or a blog you go to, you check first thing Monday morning, tomorrow morning, to see that it is still down, so you don't wind up looking like a damm fool.

      Um, this happened on Friday, 9 July. That's over a week ago. Not "the weekend". What were you saying about "looking like a damm fool"?

      If it's still down, you call your congresscritter, and you tell the staffer on the phone that your blog was taken down, and the hosting company says it was on the orders of a government agency, and they won't say what government agency.

      Yeah, I'm sure they'll get right on that! (But only if you've been giving them lots of cash. *chuckle*)

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:50pm

    I'll give you guys a quote.

    "THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
    and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

    THEN THEY CAME for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up."

     

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    identicon
    AC, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 7:07pm

    Not 'kiddie pron' again

    Guess they never heard the story of the boy who cried wolf.

    They have zero credibility. At this point, you pretty much have to presume any 'evidence' was planted - presumably in an attempt to extort compliance and silence from their target.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    ISP Lied

    ISP lied about law enforcement ordering Blogetery shutdown.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-20010923-261.html

    Now, what about IPBFree?

     

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    identicon
    Anon Man, Jul 19th, 2010 @ 11:26am

    Chains you an believe in

    "... from hopes and change to hoax and chains." -- Alex Jones

     

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    identicon
    peet, Jul 20th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

    Testing...

    This is the FED testing how the reaction to a bigger act of censorship would be accepted by the nation. Little media coverage and jerks supporting it blindly means they probably had the reaction they hoped for.

     

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    identicon
    Ron Branson, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Censorship of the Internet

    As the founder of the nationwide organization of JAIL4Judges, which began in 1995, in an effort to bring about judicial accountability, and to twart unbridled judicial immunity by judges, I believe there is underway a forthcoming design to bring down all sites that threaten the plans of the New World Order.

    Eight months ago our website, www.jail4judges.org, was pulled from the internet, and its outreach message of judicial corruption via VictoryUSA@jail4judges.org was barred from further exposing judges.

    J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law) has frightened the entire nation's judiciary. (See www.sd-jail4judges.org for an example). Chief Justices of their respective states have spoken out in condemnation of the judicial accountability effort, including MO. C.J. Michael Wolf, CA. C.J. Ronald George, and also U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, now retired.

    If information regarding the corrupt and unaccountable judiciary can be pulled from the internet, everyone may rest assured that this will expand further. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump," is a principle that the opponent will continue to shove the knife in until it hits a bone that stops the blade. Find out just how much tyranny the people will tolerate, and you have found out just how much tyranny will be inflicted upon the People, and these will continue until they are met with either words or blows or both.

    Ron Branson
    National J.A.I.L. Commander-In-Chief
    BeholdTheMan@Live.com

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 11:53am

      Re: Censorship of the Internet

      Why did you not present any evidence for your core assertion: "Amendment E did not fail at the polls--it was never presented for a vote"? You stated this at least twice, but never followed it up. Was it removed from the ballot? How and why? Was the wording changed? From what to what? And by whom, how, and when? All I can really tell from the SD page is that your opponents used typical political tricks to defeat the measure.

      You also never mention why your web site was "pulled", or how it got back up.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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