Conspiracy theorists: Feds, web hosts conspire against us
And the Illuminati are in on it too
When Alan Watt's website Cutting Through the Matrix went offline in February, he knew it was because someone "at the top" decided he was getting too close to the truth.
Watt is one of several "esoteric researchers" (call them conspiracy theorists) who believe Big Brother is telling Yahoo!, Google, and other companies which websites get to stay up, and which come down.
"I am certain of it," said Watt, a researcher studying the role secret societies play in global events.
Yahoo!'s web hosting division, which provides services to Cutting Through, pulled the site without explanation after Watt posted an audio "blurb" about the CIA's links to drug traffickers and the 1980s crack epidemic in Los Angeles, he said.
Yahoo! lifted the suspension, again without explanation, about three days later, according to Watt.
It may not be the worst thing Big Brother has done to Watt: Paramilitary forces once plunked a phosphorous grenade down his chimney, he claims.
But there are many other Anti-Masons and 9/11 truthers claiming that sinister forces and the internet's big boys are de-indexing and suspending sites that threaten to expose the global ruling elite.
The conspiracists suspect Western intelligence and law enforcement agencies are using subtler means to curtail anti-government content, because - unlike Vietnam and China, for example - they cannot overtly censor bloggers, vloggers and podcasters.
A Prison Planet article last October reported a claim that Google, which hosts videos and blogs through its subsidiaries, is "in bed" with the CIA, and the two have "targeted websites for blackout".
The site also accused Google Video of trimming the viewership statistics for Terror Storm, a film that argues that many attacks against America are government-sponsored "false flag operations" designed to get people to relinquish their freedoms.
Of course, the site suspensions, YouTube ranking changes, and search engine de-indexings may simply be the result of technical errors, as claimed by the service providers.
"Lazy workers in an increasingly Sovietized Western economy" are surely to blame for some of these problems, says Henrik Palmgren, who runs the website Red Ice Creations.
Red Ice features podcast interviews with esoteric researchers, including Watt, and news updates from bloggers and the mainstream media.
Red Ice earlier this month was suspended by its hosting service One.com in "a knee jerk reaction" to a spam message that linked to Red Ice, but did not originate there, said Palmgren.
At least that's what the service provider told Palmgren.
Watt suspects he is the real reason for the Red Ice blackout. You see, Watt made an appearance on Red Ice Radio just days before One.com suspended Palmgren's site.
As for Cutting Through, Yahoo! spokeswoman Kristen Wareham refused to say if the company has ever pulled or edited a website under pressure from US intelligence or law enforcement agencies.
But many internet services are also US government contractors (Google provides geospatial and other search services to the government through its Enterprise division). It seems logical, therefore, to presume the companies have a motive to cooperate with any government internet data mining operations.
Prison Planet last year reported the claim that the CIA once provided seed money to a young Google. The spy agency is currently supporting dozens more startups to help it troll the internet for content that might reveal plots against America by its enemies.
"You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the government wants access to as much information as possible," said Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
Ozer was one of the few civil libertarians to question Google's recent promise to anonymise its users' identities after 18 months to two years. She asked if Google is "actually capitulating to government requests to keep more data for longer," rather than limiting access to its records, as the company's announcement implied.
Ozer fears that web hosts and search services will use their terms of service agreements as an excuse to suppress bloggers in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.
"The terms of (service) are very broad and companies are pretty free to interpret them any way they want," Ozer said. She recommends shopping for a web hosting service with a hands-off policy toward legally protected speech.
Google's Blogger makes no such promises. The service reserves the right to remove any content at blogspot.com it considers "objectionable", according to its terms of service.
Google's lawyers review all complaints about the content of Blogspot blogs, and contact bloggers whose websites they've edited or deleted, "if we have their current contact information", said Google spokeswoman Victoria Grand.
There are no spooks taking up cubby space at Google, nor is there a "red phone" that rings with calls from the government objecting to the blogs and videos on its websites, Grand said.
"We treat all complaints about content exactly the same, whether or not they come from someone in the government."
US Department of Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluskie also said he doubts DHS has ever asked a company to remove, alter, or suspend a site for its anti-government content.
But Alan Watt is taking no chances. He has been setting-up mirrors for Cutting Through the Matrix since February, in case the cyber spies decide to strike again. ®