“We are such stuff… As dreams are made on”

I wrote a letter to DreamHost the other day.

They opened it; read it; and concluded I was a sucker.

Here it is:

Dear DreamHost,

You provide hosting facilities for redwatch.info

Over a week ago, on May 16, in Poland, a young Polish anti-fascist was attacked, pepper-sprayed and knifed by two neo-Nazis. Prior to this vicious and cowardly attack, the young man in question was profiled on the site: a site which is dedicated to publishing the names, descriptions, photographs, addresses (both home and work) and any other details that may be discovered by fascists and neo-Nazis in Europe regarding those who do not wish to see Poland, or Europe, revert to fascism.

I politely request that you explain why you choose to support the publication and dissemination of such information, information which, when acted upon by its target audience, has almost resulted in one man’s death.

I received the following in reply:

DreamHost strongly believes in the [F]irst [A]mendment of the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees its citizens freedom of speech and freedom of the press, among other things (both of which can apply to websites). We made a business decision long ago to value freedom of speech above any potential offense someone might take over the content of a site hosted by us.

Thanks,
Sam

I imagine that this is a form letter: one sent to anyone who might complain in a fashion similar to myself. Fairly certain that I would be wasting my time, I decided to reply in any case.

Here it is:

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your reply. I suspect that nothing I write will make the slightest difference to you or to DreamHost. Nevertheless…

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So reads the First Amendment of the US Constitution. As would seem obvious, this places (theoretical) restrictions on the ability of the US Congress to pass certain kinds of laws, viz:

those which would have the effect of elevating any particular religion to the status of a ‘state’ religion (aka the doctrine of the separation of Church & State) or, alternatively, the prohibition of any particular religion or religious practice (leaving aside the tricky question of what constitutes a ‘religion’ and what practices may be legitimately ascribed to it; a question for which there is a long history of jurisprudence);

those which would have the effect of abridging/restricting (literal, spoken) freedom of speech, or of the press (publishing — obviously, including the Internet);

etc..

DreamHost’s “belief” or otherwise in this Amendment is irrelevant. It exists, as do the mechanisms for its legal enforcement (the US State). In other words, I do not dispute DreamHost’s legal entitlement to receive money in exchange for the provision of services, up to and including such services as webhosting for redwatch.info.

DreamHost is therefore — theoretically, at least, under the provisions of the First Amendment, and irrespective of each and every other US law — at liberty to allow for the publication of — literally — any form of any speech of any kind.

For example:

‘Sam X is a DreamHost employee. S/he lives at [this address], works at [this address], looks like [this], drives a car with [this registration], [etc., etc., etc.,]. S/he is a filthy dirty [gay / lesbian / leftist / Jew et. al.] who must be killed, and the following describes the best method for doing so without getting caught [blah blah blah]. We at [such-and-such an organisation] urge you to distribute this information as widely as possible, and wish to thank our webhost [Nightmare Inc.?] for their business sense in allowing us to do so’.

Obviously, this is a nightmare scenario. But, crucially, one that is legal. (Again, under the provisions of the First Amendment, and irrespective of each and every other US law.)

One question that might be posed at this point is: would Sam X be potentially ‘offended’ by this? Or would Sam X — depending on the nature, accuracy and origin of such information — have legitimate grounds for concern over their safety?

What if Sam X was not in fact the first employee of DreamHost to be targeted in this fashion? Further, what if, in the past, other employees of DreamHost had been similarly targeted, and perhaps even murdered (possibly by having a knife driven into their back) by someone acting, consciously and deliberately, on the basis of this information?

In such circumstances, would the webhost in question have any ethical obligation to ensure the removal of such content from their site?

I think so.

I also think that such a scenario is roughly analogous to the one which prompted me to write DreamHost, requesting the company’s considered response.

Which prompts [my] second question: would a morally justifiable response on the part of the webhost in question be: we “believe” this activity to be legal, and in any case, we are paid an extremely minimal sum of money to provide such a service?

I don’t think so.

Do you?

Finally, inre to ‘freedom of speech’: the First Amendment makes legally possible various forms of speech; crucially, however, it does not mandate them. In other words, DreamHost is under no legal obligation to provide neo-Nazis with a means with which to allow adherents to their ideology to hunt down and kill their opposition. This is, in fact, a choice.

Sincerely,

Andy.

PS. If I am completely wasting my time in engaging in any further correspondence, please feel free to let me know.

Some discussion — and a much more elaborate justification of DreamHost’s decision to contribute to the circulation of information regarding the identity of antifa, as well as numerous other (principally legal) ancillary issues — is available for perusal on the DreamHost Forum.

See also : Polish Jewish students threatened; Justice minister warned about danger posed by threats on neo-fascist site; Preparations under way for World Cup hooligans; Russia: racism on the rise. And don’t forget Shakey!

Oh, and I just got this reply from Sam / DreamHost:

We thank you for your opinions, however they are not doing anything illegal. It is not illegal to post personal information on the internet. Implying isn’t illegal and neither is posting personal information. We thank you for your concern regarding this matter. However, we are not taking the site down.

Thanks,
Sam

But somehow or other, I don’t believe that this is the end of the matter.

What do you think?

:: Above : The results of another business decision made long ago… ::

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anti-fascism, Media. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “We are such stuff… As dreams are made on”

  1. Stench of Rotting Lotch Oi Polloi Crotch says:

    Having earlier quoted the so called government’s information on mental health/illness whilst promoting anarchy may go some way towards undermining even your most valid claims, unless there is something about [email protected] we don’t know.

    However, all political ideologies can be viewed as delusion so both FDB and those who would curb your nutzi slagging are correct which may have protracted your debate.

  2. aketus says:

    I wrote to DreamHost too. Awaiting a reply.

    ‘Hello,

    This email is a concerned enquiry into your current hosting of the site Redwatch (http://redwatch.info).

    As you may be aware, and as this link at Indymedia (http://www.indymedia.org/en/2006/05/839847.shtml) reports, information was recently made available on the fascist site Redwatch which may have led to the hunting down and attempted murder of an antifascist named Maciek in Poland.

    Fascism is a real and dangerous ideology that has claimed several lives over the last year. Many fascist sites are growing in number similar to your Redwatch.

    For the sake of saving human lives, we antifascists feel that you as the hosting provider of Redwatch, which blatantly intimidates and threatens people promoting equality and human rights, might not wish to be viewed as those providing the resources for fascists like Redwatch to divulge information threatening the lives of other human beings.

    We understand you have your customer’s rights in interest as well, such as the Freedom of Speech act in the U.S.A. Our question is, when does Freedom of Speech become the freedom to provide information that can potentially result in the death of another human being?

    It is commendable to support the Freedom of Speech of a person: we would think, as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that this right is to be overruled by a life and death situation. Freedom of Speech is worthless when it is used with the intent to kill.

    As a professional company, we would assume your business exists not only in the interests of Freedom of Speech, but with the interest of every human being in the world who has the right to live. Or is Dreamhost an organisation that feels the right to provide nazis with the freedom of speech, in result implying the lack of freedom of a Polish man to live?

    With best regards,

    aketus
    Australia’

  3. weez says:

    The simplest answer to DreamHost is that “hate speech is never free speech.”

    The Bill of Rights is not merely an enunciation of rights, but also of responsibilities. Exercise of rights guaranteed under the US Constitution is by no means absolute. No one in the USA has the right to deprive others of their rights through one’s exercise of free speech, particularly not the rights to life and liberty. Is it necessary to mention the caveat about false warnings of fire in a crowded theatre?

    Moreover, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights pertain to limiting powers of the Government. No part of the US Constitution requires privately operated publishers, be they newspapers, websites or broadcasters, to relay everything submitted to them by the public. There would be no such thing as editors if such a requirement existed.

    DreamHost apparently doesn’t realise that they can be held civilly liable for publication of materials which deprive others of their rights. See USC TITLE 42, CHAPTER 21, SUBCHAPTER I, § 1983.

  4. [G]o for it Andrew Moran aka ‘@ndy’!

    Keep attacking everyone and anyone for upholding free speech mate! You are a legend.

    See you at Barricade Bookshop!

  5. aketus says:

    See us at Barricade?

    Benny boy, I thought we had finally got it into your head that we’re on the other side of the country. You post from the Perth Library a lot: borrow a map.

  6. @ndy says:

    Dear Ben,

    You really are a glutton for punishment aren’t you, you neo-Nazi, war widows’ retirement village vandal you! Are thirteen entries on yr stoopidities *really* not enough? Do you *really* crave my attention that much? It appears so…

    I can only add that you have a VERY peculiar way of distancing yrself from neo-Nazi bullshit: and defending the existence of redwatch on DreamHost is only *one* of them. I suspect that the *reason* for this is because you really are, *at heart*, a cowardly neo-Nazi, bullshit artist… and that ‘Leftywatch’ really *is* the Australian equivalent of redwatch.

    (Btw, given recent events, that’s NOT a piece of good news — for you anyway.)

    Pull yr head in.

    Boofhead.

  7. weez says:

    Ben, “hate speech is never free speech” applies to small-time nazi twats like you, too.

    One might think just being you would be hard enough without you taking kitten-swipes at FDB. Somehow, I don’t think this is the way toward redemption. It’d be smarter for you to be vewwy vewwy qwiet.

    Do inmates get internet access? Probably not. What will you do with all your newfound spare time?

  8. @ndy says:

    Stench… writes:

    “Having earlier quoted the so called government’s information on mental health/illness whilst promoting anarchy may go some way towards undermining even your most valid claims, unless there is something about [email protected] we don’t know.”

    So called government? Or so called information?

    Bracksy is indeed an undercover agent, as are all politicians. Their constant lying is intended to infuriate the masses to the point where they revolt. Unfortunately, evidence so far to hand suggests that familiarity breeds contempt, not rebellion.

    “However, all political ideologies can be viewed as delusion so both FDB and those who would curb your nutzi slagging are correct which may have protracted your debate.”

    This I don’t understand…

  9. oof oof say the dogs of Yepun says:

    -all political ideologies can be viewed as delusion
    -protracted your debate

    in some ways all communication including this chummy forum,
    could be summarised as barking into the void of oblivion. The net is an inner void no less expansive. Seal the gaps in your windows by terminating the dreamhosts yet space is endless and meaning impossible

  10. @ndy says:

    so meaning is delusory?

    what does that mean?

    is The Void Of Oblivion DreamHost’s parent company?

    “Fascism is not to be debated. It is to be smashed.”

    — Durruti : Towards an Anarchist Ontology

  11. HUBiB says:

    “Fascism is not to be debated. It is to be smashed.”

    Not the way you carry on. But do carry on and I will generate a larger audience so that there are many witnesses in case it gets nastier.
    The indonesians rioted a few decades ago and killed many chinese and burnt their businesses in Java, J van T is probably still at these events. Why don’t you go the whole hog and sic leutch onto them with a one [way] ticket to Yogyakarta, a shovel and a hydro set up.
    Is Eric Campbell of the new guard related to the Campbell you refer to [on?] this website?

  12. @ndy says:

    Jack van Tongeren is indeed also known as ‘Java Jack’; however, given the fact that he’s a neo-Nazi, I suspect that he’d cheerfully welcome the complete destruction of both China and Indonesia… a possibility he may well continue to phantasise over as he sits in jail for the next however-many years.

    Eric Campbell is not, as far as I’m aware, related to either Colin Campbell (WCOTR, Adelaide) or Peter Campbell (WPCA, Sydney).

    In other news:

    Eric Dudley Butler — the silly fella who established the ‘Australian League of Rights’ after the demise of the New Guard — has recently (9/6/06) joined Eric Campbell in Hell;

    the Right Reverend Colin Campbell (3rd) got raided by police in late March / early April — as far as I’m aware, however, no charges have been laid;

    Peter Campbell now chooses to write using the pseudonym ‘Victor Whitelaw’ (hurr hurr). He’s a cheeky fella too: constantly invoking the virtues of Godzone while remaining a Pom. (A whinging Pom, natch.)

    For more on Dudley Do-Right, see:

    http://www.aijac.org.au/review/1997/226/tzad226.html
    http://www.jcu.edu.au/aff/history/articles/greason.htm

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  14. me2findout says:

    Pussies. Quit crying about having your shit posted. Communists and other left wing scum have been doing this do to the right wing for ages… how’s your medicine taste?

    Fuck off Commie scum.

  15. Pingback: Redwatch Poland… Goes To Jail | slackbastard

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