Internet Censorship
October 5, 2005 4:02 PM   Subscribe

AOL Time Warner's Road Runner ISP has placed a nationwide blackout of all of Alex Jones' websites nationwide. If you can't read that link . . . your ISP has probably blocked it.
posted by augustweed (65 comments total)
We're all gonna end up in FEMA concentration camps!
posted by keswick at 4:09 PM on October 5, 2005

How do we know it was AOL Time Warner and not the Reptilians? Or some other conspiracy theory pulled fresh from the webmaster's anus?

The real conspiracy here is: who's tampering with that dude's Depakote?
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:10 PM on October 5, 2005

I'm not being censored!

Hey, where'd Google go?

Actually, this will be interesting to watch as its pretty much the frontline in the battle to control the dissemination of news. Especially news that some folks would rather wasn't so widely known.
posted by fenriq at 4:10 PM on October 5, 2005

Apparently I haven't been keeping up. What's their beef with him?
posted by Luciferous at 4:10 PM on October 5, 2005

Interesting. I can't read the link (and, by some cosmic coincidence, use RR for my ISP). Could someone please explain, link to a confirmation, or point me to a cache? Thanks.
posted by gleuschk at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2005

I think it was the illuminati.
posted by delmoi at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2005

(Hard to figure out, since I appear to be being censored. Hooray for Google's cache.
posted by Luciferous at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2005

This guy is a crackpot conspiracy nut, right? I see his little tv show in the documentaries section of usenet and it always looks suspect.
posted by mathowie at 4:13 PM on October 5, 2005

Luciferous: do a tracerout and tell us what it says.

Under windows, go to start | Run.. and type "cmd"
Then, in that window type "tracert"

On a mac, or other unix machine type "tracerout".
posted by delmoi at 4:14 PM on October 5, 2005

Welcome to City 17, oh, wait.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 4:14 PM on October 5, 2005

I wonder what Richard Linklater has to say about this.
posted by afroblanca at 4:15 PM on October 5, 2005

I'm having no difficulty accessing any of those servers from my Road Runner connection. Just sayin'.
posted by mmcg at 4:16 PM on October 5, 2005

I also bet that, were he here, Taco Bob Shirley would have something to say on the subject.
posted by afroblanca at 4:17 PM on October 5, 2005

Seriously, this isn't kosher; I don't care if it's not a government doing the censoring. Here's the text of the article for those of you who can't access it. (minus hyperlinks)

AOL Time-Warner Censors Alex Jones Websites
Nationwide blackout a clear attempt to shut down free speech

Prison Planet | October 5 2005

Time Warner's ISP, Road Runner, has blocked access to all of Alex Jones' flagship websites across the entire United States.

We were first alerted to this problem early this morning when several locals in Austin reported that they were unable to access, or Prison

Austin Time Warner had previously shut down access to our websites on a whim, claiming they were 'hate material' but in all cases had quickly restored them after receiving complaints.

However, this latest attack on free speech is occurring nationwide, with Time Warner subscribers from New York to California reporting that their access to the websites is being blocked.

The last attempt to shut us down came shortly after the London Bombings, which saw our traffic go through the roof after we released a plethora of articles exposing government involvement.

The consequence of this is that Prison alone on some days gets more hits than the Britney Spears website or Rush Limbaugh.

Previously we reported that UK ISPs like Tiscali were blocking their subscribers from accessing the website after the 7/7 bombings.

It is obvious that those in high places are showing their disapproval. This only vindicates all the information we have been putting out.

How can a website that merely reports and comments on mainstream media articles be described as 'hate' unless there's a different agenda afoot? How can Bill O'Reilly get on Fox News and call for assassinating Prime Ministers and Pat Robertson on the 700 Club do the same and yet we get censored for being hateful? We have never called for violence against anyone and actively encourage peaceful exchange of information.

This is part of a growing trend of authoritarian censorship of the Internet in preparation for the emergence of Internet 2, where only government approved websites will be allowed to exist and the old Internet will be shut down.

Monolithic corporations in lock-step with government are following the Chinese model, where any website mildly anti-establishment is immediately shut down and its owners arrested. The vast majority of Internet cafes in China were shut down in 2002 after the government started a fire in one Beijing cafe and then demanded all the rest be shut down for 'safety reasons'.

Under anti-terrorism laws in Italy, Internet cafe owners are forced to take photo ID's of all their customers and install key-logging and filter software which blocks any websites the government chooses.

Today's actions by Time Warner fall into the same category. The First Amendment is under siege by jack-booted totalitarians in suits that graciously lick the boots and follow the orders of the establishment lackeys.

In 2002 Dell Computers cancelled an order placed by Weigand Combat Handguns because the company name triggered a security alert. The word 'combat' was not accepted by Dell's post-9/11 security alert system. This is an example of the inane and sweeping nature of these filtrations systems and the blanket idiocy applied to these cases.

We are urging all our readers (not that you will even be able to read this if you subscribe to Time Warner!) to boycott any Time Warner/Road Runner ISP service and cancel your subscription with them. They have proven themselves time and time again to be an anti-American freedom hating tool of the establishment.

We urge you to double your efforts in spreading the truth. Copy and distribute our artcles more than ever. We are under a direct assault, the only response needs to be a massive and powerful counter-offensive. To all alternative media websites, please post this article as we are all in the same boat, we are all under enemy fire.

If Time Warner do not immediately restore subscribers' access to our websites we will initiate a wider boycott campaign. They are already receiving a deluge of complaints and according to some are now claiming that this is an 'error' that they are looking into and citing other websites that have also been affected, even though these websites are having no problems.

We will update this article as and when Time Warner restores access to Alex Jones' websites. If they fail to do so we will carry telephone numbers and e mail addresses for people to make their complaints.

posted by keswick at 4:18 PM on October 5, 2005

From the article, "claiming they were 'hate material' but in all cases had quickly restored them after receiving complaints."

So it may not be that big of a deal, as there was not much fight to keep the sites down. However, we're going to be seeing much more of this.

Now, just to be fair, are Alex Jones and his web sites any more radical or left of center than "W" and his endorsing the teaching of "Intelligent Design"? And "W" and all of his other stupid sh-t like his fake excuse for war and that there's no such thing as global warming and that scientists will lose funding if they disagree?
posted by snsranch at 4:23 PM on October 5, 2005

snsranch writes "Now, just to be fair, are Alex Jones and his web sites any more radical or left of center than 'W' and his endorsing the teaching of 'Intelligent Design'?"

Alex Jones caused an army to invade another country? Evidently there's more to the man than he lets on!
posted by clevershark at 4:25 PM on October 5, 2005

TWC, NYC, works for me.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:27 PM on October 5, 2005

Is there any 3rd-party corroboration of this?
posted by mr_roboto at 4:28 PM on October 5, 2005

C'mon, clevershark. I mean notsocleversnark.
posted by snsranch at 4:31 PM on October 5, 2005

Yawn. You know, even Witty did better than that "notsocleversnark".
posted by clevershark at 4:33 PM on October 5, 2005

On a friend's AOL, and I can get to the site.
And yeah, SNS, Prisonplanet is a little more left of center than W. I don't think that you said what you meant.
posted by klangklangston at 4:33 PM on October 5, 2005

Or it might be an issue related to this:

Basically, Level3 and Cogent are having a bit of a tiff...

This very not safe for work thread on an adult webmaster talk site has some decent explanations:
posted by mmdei at 4:48 PM on October 5, 2005

Traceroute shows that the traffic from my RR cablemodem in MN dies at verio, not roadrunner:

1 ( 1.122 ms 0.825 ms 0.713 ms
2 ( 10.154 ms 7.521 ms 8.827 ms
3 ( 10.478 ms 7.963 ms 7.941 ms
4 ( 11.258 ms 6.889 ms 11.571 ms
5 * ( 18.577 ms 18.367 ms
6 ( 23.655 ms 22.222 ms 21.774 ms
7 ( 22.477 ms 22.689 ms 22.468 ms
8 ( 23.956 ms 23.057 ms 23.632 ms
9 ( 29.109 ms 30.064 ms 29.584 ms
10 ( 30.495 ms 29.732 ms 37.279 ms
11 ( 30.065 ms 30.121 ms 30.057 ms
12 * *

** DIES **

While another host is able to get there:

10 ( 17.733 ms 18.028 ms 18.029 ms
11 ( 62.748 ms 62.626 ms 62.707 ms
12 ( 60.587 ms 60.638 ms 60.585 ms
13 ( 63.468 ms 66.980 ms 63.121 ms
14 ( 61.246 ms 61.147 ms 61.210 ms
15 ( 61.190 ms 61.192 ms 61.592 ms
16 ( 61.849 ms 61.842 ms 61.988 ms
17 ( 61.745 ms 61.819 ms 61.508 ms

So, it could just be a routing problem at verio or verio's link to cogent. I'd say its a bit quick to assume they did it on purpose... the scorched3d server registration server is down today too, but no one is claiming IT was being blocked intentionally. The internet is broken, bits go down all the time for lots of reasons... is there any evidence its intentional?
posted by rubin at 4:53 PM on October 5, 2005

A major corporation is quietly cencoring speech for some reason.

Isn't this a bad thing?

If they find out they can do so with impunity to this crackpot, won't they start doing it to less crazy but more inconvenient sites?
posted by spazzm at 4:54 PM on October 5, 2005

mmdei: i cant get to cogent's website either, so that confirms it is just a general outage.
posted by rubin at 4:54 PM on October 5, 2005

Oh, it's just a net hickup. Never mind.
posted by spazzm at 4:55 PM on October 5, 2005

Ok, skip that.

I was just thinking that prison planet is cool because it is always cool to be a skeptic. And yea, I know they go beyond being skeptical. But that is better than and more beneficial to society than Bush's giving a nod to "Evolution is a lie".

The link to augustweed's post is that the folks trying to "sensor" sites like prison planet or porn for that matter are the same folks who are riding this religious and political tide.

clevershark: Did I really say that out loud? I can't be out done by pracow!
posted by snsranch at 4:57 PM on October 5, 2005

So, it could just be a routing problem at verio or verio's link to cogent.

Yep. A traceroute to also dies at verio. Unless Roadrunner is blocking overpriced New York real estate web sites (an act of censorship I could probably get behind), it's not about the content.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:09 PM on October 5, 2005

It has nothing to do with this site. Verio and Cogent are not connecting together properly, due to a problem between Cogent and Level 3. There have been problems all day with users having varying levels of problems. See this link for Cogent's description of the problem. Seriously, this has absolutely nothing to do with censorship, and everything to do with some of the top level ISPs getting into a pissing match.
posted by unreason at 5:21 PM on October 5, 2005

"Alex Reynolds is a nut".

The source for the internet censorship story is...Alex Jones.

His websites, are filled with conspiracy theories such as:

AOL Time Warner's illuminati connection is proved by their corporate logo: "AOL's logo is a stylized eye inside a pyramid."

"Former MI5 Agent Says 9/11 An Inside Job

"The Proposed design for the new "Freedom Tower" is a giant Obelisk with a beacon of light at its peak, both ancient illuminati symbols of power over the masses." (...) The new tower will also stand 1776 ft high. 1776 marks the anniversary of not only American Independence but also the birth year of the Bavarian Illuminati."

If the whole world is turning to a police state controlled by The Illuminati, how can Alex Reynold run a quite successful business selling videos "revealing Illuminati secrets"? Btw, his webstore is hosted by Yahoo, and payment for his videos can be done by credit card. So if his conspiracy theories are correct, it would be quite easy for The Illuminati to find out who Alex Jones' supporters are, and round them up when the New World Order is introduced.
posted by iviken at 5:21 PM on October 5, 2005

My traceroute dies at verio too, and I am on Earthlink via TWC in NYC.

Incidentally, I have no idea what that means. What does that mean?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:25 PM on October 5, 2005

Rothko killed the internet?
posted by bardic at 5:31 PM on October 5, 2005

This is not a problem directed solely at this guy, that is just paranoia. Apparently two tier one ISPs are having a turf war; lots of sites are now unaccessable for people within their networks. Story developing on Slashdot
posted by Osmanthus at 5:36 PM on October 5, 2005

This article over on Slashdot explains what's going on- it has nothing to do with the content of any sites. Its a dispute between two of the companies that handle internet traffic between ISP (i.e. backbone traffic).
posted by gus at 5:37 PM on October 5, 2005

How did Alex Reynolds get involved in this??
posted by maryh at 5:46 PM on October 5, 2005

I live in Austin and get to see his show from time to time on cable access which just happens to be Time Warner Cable! He actually tapes his show in a Time Warner building. Time Warner, along with the Trilateral Commission and the Carlisle group own us all anyway.

His show does provide hours of entertainment. Sometimes he'll ask the questions that needs to be asked, but then will sometimes take the more whacko explanation. But some of the stuff he's caught on film with military checkpoints and shit are worth noticing. But it gets lost in the conspiracy.

Unless Time Warner censors his broadcast, it looks like it will be on channel 10 in Austin at 8pm tonight. Not sure if it is live or a repeat.
posted by birdherder at 5:51 PM on October 5, 2005

They got the fucking company name wrong.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:54 PM on October 5, 2005

Unreasons got it right. i work for some of the parties involved and there was a ticket opened last night about this.

So the old addage 'Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity' seems appropriate.
posted by quin at 6:03 PM on October 5, 2005

hi birdherder! I miss Austin :(

(sort of) funny story about Alex Jones...
When "The Phantom Menace" came out, I saw it opening night, first showing. In the sold out theatre, Alex Jones and his girlfriend sat right in front of me. The theatre starts playing those little commercials or whatever for the sound system. The THX commercial featured the big THX logo flying around then breaking down, and a little red cartoon robot would fly out and fix it. Anyway, as the robot flys out, Alex yells at the top of his lungs, "FIX IT YOU COMMIE!"

To whomever asked above about Jones' political leanings: He's not left-wing or right-wing. He's crazy wing. He's virulently anti-communist and pro-free markets. He constantly condemns liberal professors at UT for brainwashing people. He hated Clinton with a passion. He said LBJ assassinated Kennedy. He also hates the Bush family. Basically, anyone in government, he hates. Like birdherder said, he SOMETIMES asks important questions, but most of the time he goes off the deep end with his conspiracy theories. Now, he's not as much of a douchebag as David Icke; to the best of my knowledge, Alex Jones does NOT believe we are ruled by baby-eating, shape-changing, reptilian overlords. He just believes that a secret society of elite control everything. So, only about an 8.5 on the crazy-o-meter.
posted by papakwanz at 6:04 PM on October 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

BTW, the company name is Time Warner. The AOL prefix was dropped like a wet rag in 2003. And the photo shown in the link is at-least that old as well.
posted by Oddly at 6:05 PM on October 5, 2005

I'm finding lots of sites are down.

Anyone with connection issues can use or some other web-proxy to easily access the affected sites.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:05 PM on October 5, 2005

NO. This is NOT censorship. Censorship occurs only when the GOVERNMENT -- under threat of force -- prevents information from flowing.
posted by davidmsc at 6:16 PM on October 5, 2005

Not that it bears any on this corporate catfight, but google define disagrees with you for the most part, davidmsc.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:20 PM on October 5, 2005

So the old addage 'Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity' seems appropriate.

Actually, it's exactly backwords. This isn't (just) stupidity, it's malice.

Level 3 has terminated peering with Cogent. That's legit -- almost all the Tier 1 peers are "until we feel like it." The bastard move Level 3 has pulled is that they are also filtering out Cogent BGP announcements, which means if you're single homed on Level 3, trying to reach a site on Cogent, you lose -- according to your routers, there is no route to Cogent. Cogent customers can reach Level 3 -- Cogent isn't filtering BGP -- but the reply packets fall into the blackhole.

If either end is mutlihomed, you're okay -- you route to another network, which can see Cogent, and visa-versa. But with that filter in place, the L3 routers won't see *any* route to a Cogent network.

That's malice, pure and simple. Cogent's answer is to offer free transit for a year to L3 customers affected (in the hopes, I'm sure, of taking the entire contract.)

If I was on Level 3, I'd be ordering another line right now, and I'd be handing the contract to the lawyers to find out if I've got an SLA violation to pursue.

Obviously, the right answer is "don't be single homed" -- easy for large companies to say, but harder, the smaller you are -- and you have to be careful. Get a T-1 from a local provider, and another from Sprint, and you just might find yourself with a Sprint T-1 and a resold Sprint T-1.

For those at home, you really don't have a choice -- you may not even have two providers to choose from, and you're almost certainly not going to get the ARIN numbers and IP space to multihome properly, since that costs real money.

The difference between peering and transit. Peering is "all my traffic, at no cost." Transit is "this much traffic, at this cost." The big guys peer, and the rest of us buy transit from them.

Anyone on L3 with a transit agreement to a Cogent provider should be ok, unless L3 really did combine stupidity and malice.
posted by eriko at 6:23 PM on October 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Those of old-pharts out here (grumble wheeze wave cane) probably remember when UUNet tried to force everyone to accept full traffic from UUNet as a peer, but pay for their traffic's transit. That went over badly.

This sort of thing may be worse -- cutting a peer is one thing, blackholing your competitor breaks the fundamental agreement of the internet. If such becomes normal practice, the Internet has fundamentally changed, and it won't be an easy change to deal with.
posted by eriko at 6:25 PM on October 5, 2005

Man, I gotta remember that Alex Reynolds thing for the next time he gets batshit and starts hauling out irrelevant old posts to "prove" his arguments with Dios (or whoever the rightwing whipping boy du jour is).
posted by klangklangston at 6:38 PM on October 5, 2005

posted by Rothko at 6:40 PM on October 5, 2005

The NANOG mailing list (archives) is usually a good source for real news whenever anything big happens on the internet. Of course, a lot of it is hard to understand if you're not familiar with the systems.
posted by smackfu at 6:44 PM on October 5, 2005

Censorship occurs only when the GOVERNMENT -- under threat of force -- prevents information from flowing.

You reckon?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:01 PM on October 5, 2005

French Canadian Bean Soup *dies*

/obscure Illuminatus! reference
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:03 PM on October 5, 2005

Sorry, eriko. You are absolutely correct. My quote was in reference to the original FPP concept of a concerted effort on the part of TWC to block access to their web page. i guess it should read 'Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by a completely different kind of unrelated malice which is not directed at you specifically'.

Doesn't seem to have the same ring to it though. ;)
posted by quin at 7:04 PM on October 5, 2005

NO. This is NOT censorship. Censorship occurs only when the GOVERNMENT -- under threat of force -- prevents information from flowing.
posted by davidmsc at 6:16 PM PST on October 5 [!]

I pray that this is sarcasm.
posted by voltairemodern at 7:17 PM on October 5, 2005

eriko writes "That went over badly."

There's an understatement.

I think this kind of thing is good every once and a while, keeps people on their toes and drives home the need for cooperation. I hope L3 come to their senses soon.
posted by Mitheral at 7:33 PM on October 5, 2005

Rubin's data matchs data I have.

Packets via Time Warner Telecom (commerical provider) is peered with Cogentco directly and that works fine.

Packets via Earthlink cablemodem (rebranded Road Runner) die at

Sometimes the man *IS* out to get ya. Othertimes you are just paranoid.

Either way, the 'wrong' party got fingered...unless Road Runner is pointing the route to a known dead path.

(and so far I've not seen any NANOG data to make me think the lack of connectivity is nothing more than normal net.breakage)
posted by rough ashlar at 8:15 PM on October 5, 2005

AOL Time Warner's illuminati connection is proved by their corporate logo: "AOL's logo is a stylized eye inside a pyramid."

Hah! And all this time I thought it was a stylized O inside a stylized A. You know, AO, as in America Online...
posted by kindall at 8:16 PM on October 5, 2005

I can't get to unreason's link. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.
posted by Eideteker at 8:20 PM on October 5, 2005

Like birdherder said, he SOMETIMES asks important questions,

Prison Planet and the rest of his sites are fine for 'putting something on your radar' - but to use 'em as a primary source?

Sometimes an undelevered packet is an undelevered packet and not the start of the oppression of the masses.

Alex hasn't figured out the path out is for the oppressed to stop supporting the oppressors. Perhaps he can't sell that vision tho.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:27 PM on October 5, 2005

My first run-in with Alex Jones was at the Dobie Theatre in Austin. I was there to see (some artsy flick whose name I can't recall) and Jones was there for a documentary about Waco. Apparently, the filmmaker was supposed to be there but hadn't shown up yet. He was pacing the lobby, yelling at the manager and I was fascinated by the throbbing veins in his neck and forehead.

It's a wonder the guy's head hasn't exploded yet.
posted by shecky57 at 11:22 PM on October 5, 2005

Who would have thought a kid with such a lovely singing voice could have ended up like this ? I bet the Snowman is rolling in his grave.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:06 AM on October 6, 2005

FYI - that Snowman worked for the CIA.
posted by Blip at 4:43 AM on October 6, 2005

I was going to say something like "I see your Alex Jones and raise you Mark Koernke." But I didn't have a link right then to Koernke, so I looked for him the only way I knew how--through Patriot Radio.. How I even knew that I could find Koernke there is a long story.

Then I find that Alex Jones has a Patriot Radio show!

Oh, excuse me, there's a knock at my door. Must be the conquering squid overlords.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:31 AM on October 6, 2005

Perhaps it has been mentioned upthread, but there is a rather substantial pissing match going on in the Internets.
posted by Freen at 8:53 AM on October 6, 2005

Wait a minute. Rothko is Alex Reynolds? WTF? I wondered why everyone called him Alex.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:35 PM on October 6, 2005

Interestingly enough, I can read this from inside Time Warner Center.
posted by Vidiot at 6:28 PM on October 6, 2005

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