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From dmittleman@bpavms.bpa.arizona.edu Sat Jul  6 17:09:39 PDT 1996
Article: 48738 of alt.revisionism
Path: nizkor.almanac.bc.ca!news.island.net!news.bctel.net!newsfeed.internetmci.com!newsfeed.internetmci.com!uwm.edu!cs.utexas.edu!ennfs.eas.asu.edu!noao!news.Arizona.EDU!bpavms.bpa.arizona.edu!dmittleman
From: dmittleman@bpavms.bpa.arizona.edu (Danny Mittleman)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Inquiry regarding the closure of the CODOH / Brad Smith web-site
Date: 6 Jul 1996 15:34 MST
Organization: University of Arizona (BPA)
Lines: 191
Distribution: world
Message-ID: <6JUL199615344480@bpavms.bpa.arizona.edu>
NNTP-Posting-Host: bpavms.bpa.arizona.edu
News-Software: VAX/VMS VNEWS 1.50    

    [public letter to psnw emailed to admin@psnw.com,
    jamie@voyager.net, dvdthomas@aol.com and posted to
    alt.revisionism]

    Dear Sirs:   (Rick Horowitz?)

    As you may know, individuals from CODOH have been posting on the
    alt.revisionism usenet newsgroup information suggesting that psnw
    is censoring CODOH's website by shutting down access to space
    rented to Bradley Smith from CODOH.  As the regular readership of
    alt.revisionism is very interested in free speech issues,
    especially free speech issues dealing with Holocaust revisionism,
    anti-semitism, and neo-Naziism, I am writing to inquire as to
    whether CODOH's assertion that censorship tool place is correct
    and, if so, to put forward my opinion on the matter.

    First, let me present to you what David Thomas from CODOH has
    publicly posted so you know what they are saying:

From: dvdthomas@aol.com (DvdThomas)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: CODOH and Valleynet/PSNW
Date: 6 Jul 1996 16:37:58 -0400
Message-ID: <4rmir6$4ne@newsbf02.news.aol.com>

A number of interpretations are being offered regarding the summary
termination of CODOH's service by the ISP referenced in the title.  The
following is a summary of what actually has taken place.

(1)  Valleynet was purchased by a larger company some months ago.

(2)  The domain name "valleynet.com" turned out to be claimed by some
service in the eastern part of the U.S. and Valleynet's new owners decided
not to fight the challenge.

(3)  On July 1st, the URLs at valleynet became accessible either with
http://www.valleynet.com/xxx _OR_ http://www.psnw.com/xxx.  The
"valleynet" domain name is to be continued through August according to
email messages from the server.

(4)  On July 3rd, at approximately midnight, Valleynet/PSNW disconnected
CODOH's service with no notice, prior or subsequent, and no reasons given.

(5)  In the month preceding this occurrence, Bradley Smith twice purchased
additional on-line storage space from Valleynet for the CODOH site.  5
megs on the first occasion, 10 megs on the second when the 5 turned out
not to have been installed.  A standard price was given for the storage
space and accepted by Mr. Smith.  At no time did anyone indicate a problem
with the size of the site or conflict with any of the server's conditions.
 This was true as well for discussions I had with their tech support--it
seemed to them to have been an oversight, things were confused with the
changes being made.

(6)  Since termination, there has been no comment on the part of
Valleynet/PSNW beyond saying that at some point in some manner CODOH could
obtain copies of its files.

(7)  A formal request is being made of Valleynet/PSNW to extend the
courtesy (?) of allowing CODOH to purchase a one-page address pointer for
30 days in an attempt to preserve the body of users cultivated over the
past nine months.

(8)  The main contact at Valleynet/PSNW has been:  [Reply-to:
admin@psnw.com (Rick Horowitz - Division Manager)].

Any details contrary to the above are incorrect, unless the server decides
to discuss it further with others than they have chosen to do with CODOH. 
It is certainly legal for them to select whomever they wish for customers,
and CODOH offers no argument against that position.  The method of
termination was/is however, another matter.  It has been handled shabbily
to this point, to say the least.

David Thomas
_________________________________________________________


    Is Mr. Thomas's characterization of the issue correct?  Has the
    web-page been eliminated due to content of the page, or is there
    an non-content contractual matter which led to the decision to
    remove the page and account?  Or is there another story wholely
    unrelated to these issues?

    I ask these questions not as a member of CODOH or for that matter
    a supporter of CODOH (my particular position on revisionism would
    be clear to you if you read a day's worth of alt.revisionism
    posts, but my position should be immaterial to my inquiry.) but as
    a member of the internet community who is very concerned about
    free and open speech.

    I fully understand that CODOH has no First Amendment right to
    access to psnw; I fully understand that all that is legally at
    play is their contract with you and any content rules which are
    referred to in that contract.

    However, I am concerned about this from a bigger picture.  I
    believe that it is important to provide revisionists, deniers,
    anti-semites, and nazis full access to put forward their messages. 
    I believe that truth and public good are well served by doing so. 
    I believe that limitations of such speech based on content will
    lead to strenghening the positions of these groups rather than
    weakening their positions, as one might think at first.

    I want to share with you a public post written yesterday by Jamie
    McCarthy, one of the Web-masters at Nizkor.  As you may know,
    Nizkor is a leading web-site in combating Holocaust denial.  They
    take the point of view that the best place for a Nazi (or
    revisionist in this case) is out in the open where we can see what
    they are up to and counter their actions.  That if we force these
    people back into the closet, their work festers out of sight of
    those who could easily counter it.  Mr. McCarthy makes this
    argument far better than I can.  He wrote:

From: jamie@voyager.net (Jamie McCarthy)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: BRADLEY SMITH'S WEBSITE IS SHUT DOWN
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 1996 13:21:17 -0400
Message-ID: 

tm@pacificnet.net (tom moran) wrote:

>    Looks like theres going to be a celebration party at Nizkor. Lots
> of e-mail to and from the usual, telling each other what a great day
> it is.

Au contraire.  I'm composing a reply to one of DvdThomas's articles
>from  a day or two ago, but now, with the fuss that's going to result,
he has the perfect excuse to ignore what I'm going to say.  It's a
frustrating annoyance for me (just as it is for them, though not to
the same degree of course).

Plus, they get to claim martyr status, and there's no really good
counterargument to that (assuming their provider didn't have a good
reason for kicking them off).  I imagine CODOH is quite happy over
earning the right to put a big "CENSORED" banner in red letters at the
top of their home page, when their next site gets set up.  Not to
mention the nice-sounding rhetoric that Mr. Smith can put into his
newsletters for the next six to twelve months.  "Dear Friends, it was
a harrowing experience on the internet this month, when on the day of
our nation's independence, the First Amendment was stricken a cruel
blow..."

Whether they think the martyrdom is worth the extra work it'll take to
move the site, I don't know.  If I were in their position, I'd
probably be celebrating -- being censored is a red badge of courage
for revisionists.

What I do know is that it's an annoying situation for me and for
Nizkor.  From our perspective, nothing really changes.  They get
kicked off one provider, so they move the site to another and start up
again.  Big deal.  They have to do a lot of work to update their site,
we have to do a little work to update ours (mental note: edit ftp.pl
to autocorrect URLs to whatever their new site will be, and search
/web for valleynet\.com).  Life will go on pretty much as usual,
except now they'll have that big red "CENSORED" banner.

Posted;  emailed to CODOHmail@aol.com.
-- 
 Jamie McCarthy          http://www.absence.prismatix.com/jamie/
 jamie@voyager.net     Co-Webmaster of http://www.almanac.bc.ca/
 Hate mail will be posted.

    So, I am hopeful of several things.

    1. If in fact your actions were taken simply to censor a site you
    thought was not in good taste or in the interests of psnw, I urge
    you to consider Mr. McCarthy's arguments and reconsider your
    decision.  I do believe you are doing anti-naziism and
    anti-Holocaust denial harm in your actions.

    2. As this topic has become one of public discussion and debate in
    alt.revisionism, I urge psnw to put forward a public statement as
    to [a] the facts as it knows them, and [b] its position on this
    matter.  This could be done so via post, or I would be happy to
    post an e-mail reply to me that it intended for public
    consumption.

    3. I am hopeful that you will choose to respond to me.  If you
    direct me to keep a response private, I will do so.  If you allow
    me to make a response public, I will do that too.

    Thank you very much for your attention.

    Dr. Daniel Mittleman, Research Scientist
    Center for the Management of Information
    The University of Arizona
    Tucson, AZ  85721

=============================================================================
|   daniel david mittleman   -    danny@arizona.edu    -   (520) 621-2932   |
|   center for the management of information at the university of arizona   |
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