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    NEWSLETTERS

    As Middle East regimes try to stifle dissent by censoring the Internet, the U.S. faces an uncomfortable reality: American companies provide much of the technology used to block websites.

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that several high tech companies are providing the tools needed for foreign governments to monitor its citizens Internet usage or in some cases, shut down the web entirely.

    Santa Clara-based McAfee, for example, is said to have empowered the governments in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia with content-filtering software.

    The paper also claims that Sunnyvale-based Blue Coat Systems Inc. has provided some of those same governments with hardware that runs in conjunction with the McAfeee software and allows those countries to block websites all together.

    The Wall Street Journal basis its claims on "interviews with people working at or with ISPs in the region."