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Navy admits WND blockade

The U.S. Navy has confirmed officials made a deliberate decision to block WorldNetDaily’s news from computers on Navy and Marine bases nationwide, but in a prepared statement said it had nothing to do with the “content” or “views” of the Web’s leading independent news site.

The military investigation was launched a week ago after WND requested an explanation of the blocking, and the announcement came from the base at Quantico, Va., where the Navy Marine Corps Intranet is managed.

Flying F/A-18C Hornets above USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean March 1, 2007, Capt. Craig Williams, foreground, and Capt. Richard Butler look up for a photo during their airborne change of command ceremony. Navy officials admit they are intentionally blocking all access to WND.com

From there, Capt. Teresa Ovalle was asked if there had been a decision to block the site. “Yes,” she said, even though she didn’t have access to those who made the decision, or a time frame for when that happened. And she said it was an issue of security on the WND server.

“WND is hosted by one of the largest and most secure server farms in America – the Planet in Dallas. If the Navy is suggesting there is something wrong with our hosting facility, then it should be able to show the public that all websites using that facility are being treated the same. I don’t think the Navy is prepared to do that,” said Joseph Farah, founder, editor and CEO of WND.

“While I was optimistic we would be able to resolve this censorship by the Navy amicably and quickly, it appears that is not the case,” Farah said. “It appears we will be forced to litigate this blatant First Amendment violation and seek compensatory damages from the taxpayers of the United States. That is very sad indeed. But WND has proved its willingness to fight for freedom of speech in the past and we will uphold that tradition in the future no matter what the cost. I now urge every concerned American to protest this unprecedented and unwarranted muzzling of WND by the Department of Defense and the government of the United States.”

WND readers have told the news site that the blocking problem might date back as long as four years.

“When I reported for duty … in Oct. 2003, I was not able to access WND’s site,” one reader wrote, saying he’d even asked about the problem but “never received a satisfactory answer.” His name was withheld by WND because of his positions on at least two ships and one other base.

Numerous readers had contacted WND reporting the problem was obvious 18 months ago.

“The first time I was unable to access WND from NMCI was about 18 months ago,” wrote one man, who wasn’t identified by WND because of his position. “I was attempting to access using www.WorldNetDaily.com and was denied access. I then tried www.WND.com and was able to use that URL for about four months until it, too, was banned.

“When the WND.com URL was banned, I had good reason to believe that the WorldNetDaily.com had not been banned by accident. There was/is a deliberate attempt to ban WorldNetDaily,” he wrote. “As would be expected, I was a little upset.”

However, he wrote that as a contractor he was unable to do anything about it. “I … hope you are able to clear up this mess,” he said.

A contractor that runs much of the Internet service functions for the U.S. Marine Corp and the U.S. Navy earlier said it was a Navy computer blocking access to WorldNetDaily.

Barbara Mendoza of EDS marketing strategy and communications told WND her company runs the NMCI, servicing bases in those two military branches across the nation. But after checking, she reported her system was not responsible for the trouble that has prompted a flood of military service member contacts with WND about why they are not able to access the site.

“The WND website is not blocked on the NMCI enterprise ISA policy nor by the NMCI DNS black hole,” she said. “It appears the website is blocked by the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC) government website,” she said.

Ovalle said that would align with the information she was given about the Navy’s decision to block WND. And she said the Navy officers who actually run the Web access procedures blamed it on security issues.

“WND.com, its content, policies, views or any other aspect of [the] site has nothing to do with this decision [to block this website],” the officers said in a prepared statement. “WND unfortunately is hosted by a service provider that does not police its customers who elect to send unauthorized network traffic to Government and Military networks.”

Ovalle said the Navy would recommend “that the WND.com site maintainers transition to a secure hosting facility that monitors network activity to and from its customers so that malicious activity from selected customers does not affect legitimate sites/customers.”

She declined to describe “malicious activity” or specify what traffic raised any concerns, but said “that’s the reasons it’s blocking – the host provider isn’t secure enough.”

Sailors use their free time to check e-mail in the library aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Feb. 24, 2007. Navy officials admit they are intentionally blocking all access to WND.com

Mendoza said she uncovered the problem in the Navy computer by reviewing a series of Web addresses that were marked for blocking, and that series encompassed the numerical Web address assigned to WND.

Personnel in the Navy and Marines have been contacting WND over recent weeks and months as their attempts to read the latest U.S. and world news, as well as columnists such as Ann Coulter,
Joseph Farah,
Chuck Norris, Pat Boone, and Judge Roy Moore, were refused.

WND’s own server statistics show the news site has a huge following among members of the military. Statistics gathered over just a few days show that from computers with an address ending in
“.mil,” indicating a military source, there have been readers coming through almost 1,000 Internet service providers.

The majority are from “army.mil” and “af.mil” sources, with a few from “pentagon.mil” and “centcom.mil.”

Ironically, for the past 10 years WorldNetDaily has been immensely popular among U.S. military personnel, with countless service people both stateside and abroad emailing WND insider news tips, concerns and notes of appreciation. Indeed, from recent stories like the dismissal of Navy Chaplain James Klingenschmitt for unauthorized praying all the way back to one of the defining issues of the 2000 presidential election – the suppression of the military vote and the subsequent court-ordered recount of Florida’s military votes – WND has taken the lead on stories important to the U.S. military.

WND, a fiercely independent news site, was launched 10 years ago by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, and for more than 100 weeks in a row was listed as the No. 1 most popular website in the world by Global 100.

Just within the last few weeks, Internet audience ratings service comScore Media Metrix said WND’s traffic growth was No. 1 among all political news sources and No. 2 among all sites related to politics in any way.

WND’s traffic increased 54 percent in January, according to the report, which said WND attracted more visitors in the month than the websites of any of the presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

WND has also been consistently ranked by several major Internet ratings agencies as the “stickiest” news site on the Internet – meaning readers average more time on it than any other.

By WND’s own traffic counts, the site attracts about 6 million “unique visitors” (meaning different people) every month. It attracts between 50 million and 60 million pageviews per month.

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