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AOL Censors All Emails Mentioning

Special Note: Without giving any exlanation, the AOL block on emails which included the name of our website was lifted on April 10th. Thank you very much to the many supporters who called and emailed AOL and their political and media representatives. You have made a difference. We leave the message below for those who want to know all that happened. Together, we are making a big difference in the world!

Dear friends,

AOL is now engaging in censorship by blocking all emails from non-AOL users which include the term "" To verify this, simply send an email to any friend who uses AOL for their email service and type anywhere in the message. The email will bounce back to you. Strangely, this only applies to non-AOL users. If AOL subscribers send emails with "" included, they go through. As a result of this, all of the almost 300 subscribers to our email list who use can no longer receive our information-packed newsletters.

As you know, specializes in providing reliable, verifiable information on major cover-ups of which few are aware. The website calls on all of us to join together in exposing corruption so that we might strengthen democracy and build a better world together. Apparently, someone at AOL does not like this. After checking with a number of our AOL subscribers, we have determined that the blocking went into effect shortly after we sent an email to our over 3,000 subscribers on March 24th revealing a major banking cover-up.

What gives AOL the right to block all emails sent by the general public which mention a particular website, as they did with I am convinced that blocking all emails which mention a designated website is not only unethical, it is illegal. AOL claims there were complaints of spam. Websites don't send out spam. Spam is generated through email. AOL certainly would be within its rights legally and ethically to block all email addresses from a website known to be generating spam, but only the emails. This has nothing to do with spam. I suspect the spam claim is being used as an excuse to disguise censorship.

What's more, AOL doesn't even attempt to contact the website being blocked to give an opportunity for the suspected website to explain what is happening. It is even more egregious when -- as in the case of -- the website and associated emails lists have never engaged in practices which would be considered spamming. Our email lists use a double opt-in subscription process, and we include information on how to unsubscribe from our lists at both the top and bottom of every email sent. This is above and beyond what is required to avoid being labeled as spam.

AOL's practice of blocking any mention of websites in emails sent by the general public is clearly censorship. It is not only unethical, but I believe it could be shown to be illegal, as it prohibits the free flow of information in a democratic society. This could easily be proven to be an infringement on the free speech rights of the public guaranteed under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On what legal grounds did AOL have the right to block all emails from anyone in the public mentioning our website,

Many of us suspect that this is one of those shady areas through which certain individuals and groups with ulterior motives are able to exert censorship under the guise of stopping spam. We all know that there are many people and groups at all levels of industry and government who place their own interests above the interests of the public. Some of these could easily leverage their influence to cause public services like AOL to accuse someone they want to target of being a spammer, and with this excuse block any mention of their website in emails sent by the public.

In fact, accusations of spam should be dealt with by blocking the spam emails and not blocking any mention of the website. This clearly amounts to deceptive use (blocking websites) of a legitimate function (blocking spam) and thus blocks free speech.

I invite you to join in a mass email campaign informing people of this infringement on our rights. Encourage all AOL users to switch to other email and Internet service providers. Please forward this message widely, though remember that because of the use of the term, it will not reach any AOL subscribers. To get a message about this censorship to your friends who use AOL, copy and paste the information at The message at this link carefully avoids triggering the censor at AOL. To read our email email exchanges with AOL about what is going on, click here.

You can also help spread the word by contacting your political and media representatives. For the best way to reach them and make an impact, click here. Together, we can put a stop to this censorship of vital information. Thanks for caring and for making a difference in our world. I have no doubt that by working together, we can and will build a brighter future for all of us.

With very best wishes,
Fred Burks for PEERS and
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton

Final Note:
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