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Friday, July 15, 2005


Internet service provider, Comcast Corporation has been automatically deleting email sent to Comcast customers with the text "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the email.

"about two hours after

the bombings [in London],

my email started disappearing."

The BRAD BLOG has learned that cable company and Internet service provider, Comcast Corporation has been automatically deleting email sent to Comcast customers with the text "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the email.

AfterDowningStreet.org ("ADS") is the citizen's coalition advocacy group organized to raise awareness of the leaked British memos and minutes referred to as the "Downing Street Documents". Those documents, first reported by Michael Smith of the Sunday Times suggest that the Bush Administration had determined to topple Saddam Hussein by military means and planned to "fix" the facts and intelligence around the policy" at least eight months prior to receiving authorization of the U.S. Congress to wage war in Iraq. At the same time, George W. Bush and administration officials were routinely telling both Congress and the American people that no tactical decisions had yet been made regarding regime change in Iraq.

(DISCLOSURE: The BRAD BLOG and an advocacy group co-founded by us, VelvetRevolution.us are members of the ADS coalition.)

The discovery that email was being secretly filtered was made after an investigation conducted by ADS co-founder, David Swanson who reported that many coalition members did not seem to be receiving email alerts and others messages being sent by the group.

"Over the past week we have been having problems reaching our members," Swanson said. "Yesterday we had a conference call scheduled that we'd announced by email and two thirds of the people didn't even know about it."

Eventually Swanson was able to determine that it was only those members of the group who receive email via the cable monolith's Comcast.net domain who were not receiving such notices.

According to a study released in January of this year by TNS Telecoms, Comcast Corporation is the nation's largest single provider of both Cable/Satellite and Internet related services in the country.

The BRAD BLOG has been able to independently confirm that email sent to two different Comcast customers with the text "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the mail, is not currently reaching those customers as expected. Though messages with only "afterdowningstreet.org" are, in fact, able to get through to those same customers without a problem.

In a statement released by People-Link.org, the Internet host for the AfterDowningStreet.org domain, the directors of the "progressive" firm charge that the filtering is politically motivated and both they and Swanson have requested people contact Comcast to complain. (Contact information at the bottom of this article.)...

While it is not uncommon for Internet Service Providers, or ISP's, to filter out messages sent to their users by domains which are known to send large amounts of unrequested junkmail, or "spam", Comcast acknowledged to Swanson that AfterDowningStreet.org was not on their list of domains alleged to have sent such email.

Swanson spoke with two different employees in the Comcast Email Abuse department, both of whom acknowleged to him that "www.afterdowningstreet.org" seems to have ended up in the Comcast email filter. He was able to receive no explanation from Comcast as to why or how that could have occurred.

When The BRAD BLOG attempted to get a statement on the matter from the Comcast Abuse Department Manager, Jim Janco, -- whom Swanson had previously dealt with in the matter -- we were told that "company policy" dictated he "can't engage with the press in any manner," but that he would ask the Comcast PR Department to get back to us.

We received a call shortly afterwards from Jeanne Russo, corporate spokesperson from the Comcast Online Division, who told us she was not aware of the problem, but would get back to us after she was able to look into it. That was several hours ago. As of this time, we have not yet heard back from her.

In a series of emails, however, shared with The BRAD BLOG between Swanson and another employee from the Comcast Abuse Department, the employee confirms the existence of the problem.

Swanson had sent emails to two different email addresses of the employee, one of which was a comcast.net address, the other at a different service provider. Until Swanson removed the "www.afterdowningstreet.org" from the body of the mail he was sending as a test to the employee, his email was not received by the Comcast employee at their Comcast.net address. The test email messages were received without a problem at the two Comcast customers alternate non-Comcast addresses.

Swanson had previously used "www.afterdowningstreet.org" as part of his automatic email signature.

Another ADS coalition member, Tim Carpenter, explained how the problem began and that he was personally unable to receive any information on the problem from Comcast.

"I called Comcast and they never confirmed for me that there was a problem with my email," Carpenter told us, "but starting Thursday, "about two hours after

the bombings [in London],

my email started disappearing.

It became clearer and clearer as the week when on that something was going on."

continues....See Brad at www.bradblog.com



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