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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/z/zundel.ernst/press/canadian-press.0296


[Typos ours. knm]


                     Title: Censoring Internet can't stop Zundel
                     BY: Chris Cobb [Southam Newspapers, Ottawa]
           In: The Calgary Herald [Op-ed Page],  Tuesday, Feb. 6, 1996
         The Calgary Herald e-mail address:
         letters@theherald.southam.ca

Anti-censorship activists are rebelling against a German government
decision to block Internet access  to the writings of Toronto-based
neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel. And Zundel, a bystander in the dispute, is
emerging the winner.

At least 10 activists at prestigious U.S. universities have created
so-called mirror sites, which means that Zundel's own website has
multiplied and the German ban on his Holocaust denial diatribes
severely weakened, if not rendered ineffective.

The German government launched its offensive against German Internet
providers last week in the hope of stopping neo-Nazi propaganda
reaching the country's Internet users. German authorities have
threatened to prosecute two American companies--Compuserve and America
Online--and a German  company called T-Online which has one million
users.  Compuserve has 220,000 users in Germany and America Online
40,000.

T-Online has blocked Zundel's material, which he sends from a web site
in Santa Cruz, Calif. The two American companies say they will
co-operate but haven't yet cut Zundel off.  Under  German law,
Holocaust denial and distribution of Nazi material is a crime.

This is the second major attempt by German authorities to block
material on the Internet. Around Christmas, Compuserve was ordered to
block dozens of pornographic sites from entering the country. The
company complied.

The Zundel mirror sites have been created mainly through computer
systems at prominent American universities, including Stanford in
California, Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh and the University of Texas.

David Jones, president of the free speech advocacy group Electronic
Frontier Canada (EFC), says anti-censorship activists copying the
Zundelsite don't support Zundel's views: "They are opposed to the
German government imposing its will on the rest of the world.  What's
ironic is that this latest attempt at censorship has resulted in the
information being copied to new locations in cyberspace and becoming
more accessible. It's transforming Zundel from a nobody to a somebody.
The net effect of this is the opposite of what the Germans wanted."

An Internet site originally developed as a joke by two Toronto men is
also proving to be a way around censorship. The "Canadianizer" site
has the capacity to fetch copies of other web sites from anywhere in
the world. It then automatically inserts Canadianisms such as "eh" at
the end of sentences and displays the site as if it orginated in
Canada.

In the current German case, it means that an Internet user anywhere in
Germany could contact the Toronto site and instruct it to fetch
Zundel's material. It would then be displayed to the German user with
the minor inconvenience of some "hoserisms."

People who receive their Internet service from a commercial provider
can be blocked from seeing whatever the provider chooses to ban, but
experts say total censorship of the Internet is impossible. The latest
act of defiance by free speech activists seems to prove the point.

Zundel is watching the situation carefully and basking in the glare of
international publicity. His profile in Germany, lower than in Canada,
is on the rise.

"Notoriety does have its advantages," he said Friday. "But I realize
that these people, like me, are fighting for a principle. Many of
them, I know, wouldn't touch me with a 10-foot pole."


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