Bad Deeds Special: The Enemies of Internet Freedom


AT&T Front Group Plans Campaign of Lies – AT&T front group Americans for Prosperity is stooping to new lows in fearmongering. It announced a $1.4 million advertising plan to try to convince Americans that the FCC is plotting to “take over the Internet.” “This is a $1.4 million campaign to tell the American people that the world is flat. Net Neutrality is the opposite of a government takeover of the Internet. But the truth is irrelevant to front groups like AFP, which think that if you lie often and loudly enough, you can brand any issue as its opposite. They are stoking fear to achieve the goals of their corporate funders, like AT&T. “Net Neutrality means that nobody – not the cable and phone companies, and not the government – can choose winners and losers on the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission is simply pursuing a path that will ensure that the free market works for the American public, something that prior FCCs failed to do.


Telecoms Plan to Use Fake ‘Citizen’s Groups’ to Kill Net Neutrality – The telcos and cable operators got a huge public subsidy when we agreed to let them use our public sewers, tunnels and streets (not to mention our houses and basements) for their wires. We give them all this for free or far below the market costs. Now they’re saying they don’t want to give us the service we want.

ThinkProgress has a leaked copy of a telcoms industry PowerPoint presentation laying out their plans to use astroturf to kill Network Neutrality. The industry is hiring the same turfers who work with the Tea Party movement to carry their message to the people.

What the telcos want to do is reduce your access to websites and services unless those services have paid a bribe for “premium carriage” to you. So Google buys its bandwidth from its ISP. You buy your bandwidth from your ISP. Then your ISP goes to Google and says, “If you want to send your bits to our customers when they ask for them, you’ll have to pay us too.” If Google doesn’t pay, the ISP slows down its bits when you ask for them.


Telecoms’ Secret Plan to Attack Net Neutrality: Target Video Gamers and Stoke Fear of Chinese Censorship – ThinkProgress has obtained a PowerPoint document which reveals how the telecom industry is orchestrating the latest campaign against Net Neutrality. Authored by representatives from the Atlas Network — a shell think tank used to coordinate corporate front group efforts worldwide — the document lays out the following strategy:

– Slides 7-8 calls for the campaign to target “libertarian minded internet users and video gamers” and “social conservative activists” with anti-government messages and a rebranding of net neutrality as “Net Brutality.”

– Slide 9 calls for a strategy of creating a Chinese blog to compare net neutrality to Chinese government censorship, outreach via social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

– Slides 10-11 detail how representatives met at Grover Norquist’s infamous “Wednesday morning meeting” to orchestrate the new campaign. Norquist is known to use his Wednesday meetings to plot strategy and conservative coalition building towards lobbying goals.

The PowerPoint was created on April 14th, shortly before the campaign website officially launched. The “Net Brutality” website relies heavily on Americans for Prosperity sources, as well as a website called — which is openly funded by the American Cable Association, At&T, Comcast, and the US Telecom Association.

During the Jack Abramoff investigation, Norquist was exposed for selling support from his front groups to corporations. In one damning e-mail, Norquist is promised $50,000 in exchange for providing his Americans for Tax Reform support to one of Abramoff’s clients. Today, Norquist was not only parroting the PowerPoint talking points at the press conference, but he also brought in other key conservative movement leaders and Republican lawmakers to the event.


Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Gives a Nice Demonstration in Corporate Censorship – One of libertarians’ real blind spots is that they seem to believe that only government is capable of taking away your freedoms and your rights. It never seems to occur to them that lots of other people are perfectly capable of taking away your freedoms. Especially the giant corporations who control our media.

Megyn Kelly gave a succinct demonstration of how this works at propaganda shops like Fox News yesterday on her America Live program. To discuss net neutrality, she brought on Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute and Josh Silver of Free Press.

Kelly proceeded to let Harper ramble uninterrupted at length, pitching the hogwash notion that “free enterprise created the Internet” (um, no it didn’t). Then, when it was Silver’s turn to talk, Kelly aggressively interrupted him, notably just as he was getting to the major point: Maintaining net neutrality is about ensuring that there will be no corporate censorship of content — in other words, about maintaining the architecture that made the Internet the free and open medium that it is.

Then, when Silver finally got a chance to raise that point again, Kelly again interrupted:

Kelly: Is that right, Jim? Because everything I’ve read about this says this is a push, the beginnings of a push by the Obama administration to control the Internet to some extent — more so than they had in the past.

Well, she’s obviously reading from diverse sources, isn’t she?

In any event, Kelly again let Harper ramble on, speculating that taxes would be imposed, blah blah blah — and cut the segment off before Silver could point out the blatant falsity of his claims.


Stand Up to the Enemies of Internet Freedom – If human rights and democracy advocates refused to compromise their principles and used the Internet to defend freedom of expression, repression would be much more difficult. In 2015, 3-1/2 billion people – half of mankind – will have access to the Internet. There has never been such a revolution in freedom of communication and freedom of expression. But how will this new medium be used? What new distortions and obstacles will the enemies of the Internet come up with?





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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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