The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Carnegie Mellon in Middle
of InterNet Flap

Pittsburg Tribune-Review
February 2, 1996

© Pittsburg Tribune-Review
By Lillie Wilson

Two former students of Carnegie Mellon and Stanford universities have throse those schools into the center of a national storm over pro-Nazi literature on the Internet.

The former students posted the entire book-length tract of Holocaust revisionist Ernst Zundel on World Wide Web sites of their schools' computer networks, in an attempt to protest Germany's ban on a California Web server that originally carried the so-called Zundelfile.

"He's a liar," 25-year old Stanford alumnus said of Zundel, the German-born Canadian now considered the most prolific exponent of the theory the Holocaust never happened. "The things he publishes are clearly untrue, and he knows it."

But Graves, who now runs Stanford's SUNet computer network, and Declan McCullagh, a former CMU student body president and self-described cyberspace activist, wanted to show the futility of censorship in the current global village of telecommunications.

So they posted the 1.3 megabyte Zundelfile last Monday and crowed that Germany's state-owned Deutshe Telekom would now have to block out whole university networks to keep Zundel's banned materials from its subscribers.

By Thursday, they had made their point.

At least six other Web sites, most of them networks of major universities, were offering Zundel "mirrors" copied from Stanford's or CMU's files.

The Simon Weisenthal Center, the world's leading anti-Nazi organization, was fuming however -- faxing indignant messages to the presidents of CMU, Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Pennsylvania.

And Ernst Zundel was exulting.

"I'm delighted to hear that at least 10 or 11 [sic -- "sic" was in original article, not my addition] universities have posted (my material)," the 56-year-old Zundel said in a telephone interview from his home in Toronto. "The people who have tried to censor us are just getting their comeuppance. There's a German side to the whole story of World World II, and the so-called-Holocaust story, which hasn't been told.

Univeristies, which customarily grant computer accounts to any students requesting them and may let those students retain accounts after they leave, usually cannot control what their users post or download.

Scrambling to distance itself from the Zundelfile flap last evening, CMU issued a statement emphasizing McCullagh was no longer enrolled. "The information he has posted using his account is his and his alone," university spokesperon Don Hale said. McCullagh's account on the Andrew network would "be discontinued in due course" as are those of other departed students, Hale said.

Mark Weitzman, the director of the Wiesenthal Center's Task Force Against Hate, said he had heard nothing by late yesterday afternoon from CMU President Robert Mehrabian, whom he had urged by fax Wednesday "to address this issue as quickly as possible."

McCullagh, who insisted he "detested" Zundel's views, said yesterday any move to get rid of the postings would be wrong.

"The best way to respond to lies and deception is by rebuttal and refutation, and this is true also for cyberspace," McCullagh, 24, said.

Linda Hurwitz, director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, criticized the postings, saying while she didn't approve of censorship in general, some lies were so harmful that they were tantamount to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

Weitzman, who acknowledged the protest as an end-run around German law -- which prohibits written denials of the Holocaust -- said he considered the protesters "really naive historically."

"These are kids who see a new invention (the Internet) and have ideas of how it's going to change the world and create a Garden of Eden," Weitzman said. "The reality is there are thorns on this rose bush, and Zundel is one of those thorns."

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