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Sunday, May 9, 2010

A house divided

Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal scorched the FCC's revised "net neutrality" regulations in an editorial Saturday, charging "the FCC puts another industry under political control."

The Journal avoids the content-carrier controversy and focuses on the supposed unfairness of using 1920s reasoning on today's internet. The Journal argues that the regulations will mess up the big investments going into the burgeoning internet business.

But, I'm wondering, why would a media outfit want to leave power to censor content with internet service providers, such as AT&T and Comcast?

I realize Murdoch owns Myspace. But that's not an ISP; it's really a content aggregator. Of course, maybe the Murdochians -- watching how Google's Facebook is trying to mine private data for commercial gain -- is worried about regulation that would limit content aggregators from excessive nosiness.

Or maybe the Murdoch enterprises are investing in some ISP or other.

But, the other side of the coin is that without net neutrality, the New York Post might get a scoop on another terror case, only to find that various ISP's are blocking the page at the request of federal securocrats. Really could happen!

I'll bet that certain moves against the press lately are being orchestrated by securocrats in order to show the working press who's boss.

The Pentagon decision to bar four reporters from Guantanamo proceedings makes little sense, knowing that the gag rule they violated had been breached two years ago and so was pointless from a security standpoint. That maneuver comes in the wake of the pressure on James Risen of the New York Times to cough up his source on a story about a CIA caper or face jailing.

The expulsions of Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, Michelle Shepard of the Toronto Star, Paul Koring of Canada's Globe and Mail and Steven Edwards of Canwest News Service are being protested by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which is seeking a meeting with Pentagon officials over the matter.

The reporters were ousted for naming Joshua R. Claus, a former Army interrogator, as one of the witnesses in a proceeding involving a Canadian teenager held at Gitmo as a terror suspect. Claus' identity was revealed March 14, 2008, in an Edwards story appearing in Canada's National Post.

The press organizations plan to appeal the ousters, the Reporters Committee says.

Is Israeli democracy taking a bad turn? worries Jewish Peace News.

The Shin Bet's ban on press discussion of the arrest of Arab-Israeli activist Ameer Makhoul may bode ill for Israel's future freedom, the journal says.

Richard Silverstein writes on Eurasia view that he's delighted that Israeli bloggers -- unlike other Israeli journalists -- are defying Shin Bet's prohibition.

My opinion is that we have here a parallel to federal aggression against the press in the United States. The Shin Bet securocrats, embarrassed over the Anat Kamm matter, are trying to re-establish their control-freak "prestige." They chose an Arab "subversive," someone who is unlikely to generate a wave of sympathy from ordinary Jews.

The wild market plunge that's befuddled experts was thought to be an example of deliberate manipulation, according to one writer quoted by AIM.

I should have made clear that I was only relaying one theory. I was not endorsing it.

In fact, as a mathematically oriented person, I'd point out that once the number of variables goes over perhaps five, predictability tends to go out the window. That is, the topological "catastrophes" -- tipping points of various kinds -- become impossible to estimate. Hence, high-volume machine trading may well be prone to bypassing so-called circuit-breakers.

Thailand is widening internet censorship as protests persist, the AP reports. In fact, the regime is taking no chances, even blocking "fun" stream sites like,,, AP says.

A friend tells me that his internet service provider told him it is rather common for purported spam email to be blocked from transmission with no bounce message and not merely diverted to a spam box. Neither the sender nor the receiver has any inkling of the block, he was told.

I assume he raised the matter with his provider because of problems arising from dissemination of his newsletter, which focuses on a taboo political subject.

Strange doings by strange people:

I recently borrowed a copy of the book A Farther Shore: Ireland's Long Road to Peace by Gerry Adams, head of the Sinn Fein party and longtime IRA sympathizer.

It appears that some securocrat (a term coined by Adams) has essentially trashed the book in an attempt to make Adams look illiterate. The alterations fly fast and furious, every page so far littered with things that no cultured writer or editor would have permitted.

Two examples:

Page 25. "I was shot a number of times -- it later transpired that I had been hit by five of twelve bullets fired at us -- but I was still alive.

Page 57. "Later, it transpired that a civilian had been killed by the SAS also."

Adams has written numerous books. Such usage -- whatever a dictionary might claim -- is simply not acceptable to any literate writer or editor.

But, in the event one might think that perhaps the usages were some sort of literary affectation, I attest that every page is littered with inappropriate grammatical and stylistic intrusions.

It seems evident that some force -- using a computer? -- has planted a counterfeit volume. I have been an editor, and recognize that Adams could not possibly have made these gaffes. But an ordinary library borrower might simply think that Adams is an uneducated clown from West Belfast.

On the other hand, Peggy Noonan's Wall Street Journal essay taking up the cudgels against the IRA was clean as a whistle editorially. No malicious insertions and alterations. She came across as a literate person in a publication controlled by a longterm big wheel in both the British and U.S. establishments, Rupert Murdoch.

What is going on? Whatever it is, the securocrats ensure that no response is received to inquiries.

I should point out that I've done a bit of I hope objective reporting on the IRA during the time of bloodshed. I don't live in Ulster, and my Celtic background doesn't make me an expert on that area. But, as a person, I can identify with people who feel oppressed and with those who feel endangered.

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