When Hate Went Online:

Online hyper-text linked footnotes


  1 Some of my retrospective research of the history of the political right online was to prepare for an interview appeared as by Kester, Grant, (1995), "Net Profits: Chip Berlet Tracks Computer Networks of the Religious Right," in Afterimage, Feb./March, pp. 8-10, available online at <http://www.publiceye.org/media/cbonline.html>. Some material in this article is pilfered from Berlet, Chip, (1998), "Who's Mediating the Storm? Right-wing Alternative Information Networks," in Linda Kintz and Julia Lesage, eds., Culture, Media, and the Religious Right. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

  2 Green, Alan, (1983), "A Certain Electricity in the Air," Foundation News, September/October, pp. 32-41.

  3 For more about the early history of The Well: <http://www.thewell.org/aboutwell.html>. For more on the early history of the Internet, see Levy, Steven, (1984), Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday. For a look at the libertarian roots of online systems, see: Borsook, Paulina, (2000), Cyberselfish : A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech, New York: Public Affairs.

  4 The first BBS was CBBS (Computerized BBS) created in 1978 by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess who had to solder their computer together and write their own software. Christensen wrote the Xmodem software protocol that allowed single computers to exchange files. Their history of CBBS is at Suess's website <http://www.chinet.com/html/cbbs.html>.

  5 Telephone interview with George P. Dietz, June 14, 2000.

  6 See Liberty Bell at <http://www.lbp2.com/id18.htm>, June 14, 2000.

  7 Mintz, Frank P. (1985), The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture, Westport, CT: Greenwood, pp. 172-173.

  8 For background on this period, see Corcoran, James (1995 [1990]), Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland. Revised. New York: Viking Penguin; and Aho, James A., (1990), The Politics of Righteousness: Idaho Christian Patriotism. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

  9 Sills, Peter (pseudonym), (1989), "Dark Contagion: Bigotry and Violence Online." PC Computing, December, pp. 144-149.

  10 King, Wayne. (1985), "Link by Computer Used by Rightists," New York Times, February 15; Bohy, Ric, (1985), "Hate Mail Sent Via Computer: White Supremacists are now Linked by Electronic Network," Detroit News, April 28.

  11 Miles, Robert E., "33/5." Essay was found online at <http://www.kkk.com/33-5nf.htm>, but that link is now gone. The essay can usually be found by searching.

  12 For excerpts: <http://www.publiceye.org/hate/online_85/hate_online85_TOC.htm>.

  13 Berlet, Chip, (1985), "KKK/Aryan Racist Computer Networks." Memo. Chicago: Midwest Research, January 5.

  14 King, "Link by Computer Used by Rightists."

  15 See memo at <http://www.publiceye.org/aboutpra/pe_bbshist.html>.

  16 Berlet, Chip, (1985), Privacy and the PC: Mutual Exclusive Realities? Chicago, Midwest Research [now Political Research Associates]. Online at <http://www.publiceye.org/media/privacy_online_85/privacy_online_TOC.htm>. Prepared for the 1985 national conference on Issues in Technology and Privacy -- sponsored by the Center for Information Technology and Privacy Law John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, June 21-23 1985. Conference coordinator, Professor George Trubow. A project of the National Bar Association Foundation. Funded by the Benton Foundation.

  17 Unsung heroes in the battle to protect BBS rights include attorneys Paul Bernstein and George Trubow, and Professor Jennifer K. Bankier from Dalhousie Law School in Nova Scotia, Canada, all of whom defended BBS rights at the 1985 computer privacy conference in Chicago. Bernstein stayed up all night to write an impassioned defense of BBS rights which he delivered to the conference before flying off to prepare for the funeral of his father who died the day before. Harry M. Goodman and Donna Hall, coordinators of the Legal Conference on California's Well system conducted extensive discussions and an educational campaign regarding privacy and computers.

Because of these and other efforts by many activists across the country, the ACLU soon adopted a view of BBSs that recognized their First Amendment aspects, and legislation that would have severely restricted those rights failed to gain support on Congress. Paul Bernstein's conference position paper, "Bulletin Boards and Legislation -- An Overview," was revised and reprinted in Law Mug Newsletter, v. 11, n 10, July 1985, pp. 14-17. The November 1985 issue of the newsletter also contains the testimony of Thomas S. Warrick before the Senate Committee on Juvenile Justice against the restrictive language in the Trible Bill.

  18 Berlet, Privacy and the PC. At the end of the paper there were appendices, including three messages posted by the author to various BBSs in 1985 warning about the pending legislation <http://www.publiceye.org/media/privacy_online_85/bbslaw_all.htm>.

  19 See the call at <http://www.publiceye.org/aboutpra/pe_bbshist.html>.

  20 The founding meeting attendees were Al Fenske, Aysha Mibiti, Bill Boardman, Mickey Jarvis, and Chip Berlet.

  21 View an Atari at: <http://www.publiceye.org/gallery/Amnet/Atari.jpg>.

  22 For more details about the founding of AMNET BBS, see the AMNET History Online <http://www.publiceye.org/aboutpra/pe_bbshist.html>. The first progressive BBS, NEWSBASE, was set up in 1984 by Richard Gaikowski in California; see Blitt, Connie and Dennis Bernstein, (1986), "On the Electronic Graffiti Soapbox," In These Times, July 23-August 5, p. 24.

In the late 1980's, the number of progressive BBS's had grown considerably, and discussions were held about setting up a national network of progressive, anti-racist, BBS's. Early attempts at creating a national network of progressive online systems were discussions held on The Well, and a short-lived 1985 network (Greennet) organized in part by Ben Masel of the Yippies/US Greens was hosted on the Delphi system. In January of 1985, Johan Carlisle circulated a proposal for a progressive online system to facilitate social change: "Common History Institute (CHI): A Proposal for a New Organization," 1/15/85). Early networking also took place on The Source and Genie.

In 1986 Mark Graham and Michael Shuman set up the Peacenet online system. A number of mainstream social service agencies and non-profits set up networks, and one successful 1987 venture became Handsnet <http://www.handsnet.org>. Graham campaigned among progressive BBS operators and network SYSOPs to consider the alternative of allying with Peacenet (which spawned the Institute for Global Communications or IGC network <http://www.igc.org>) instead of setting up separate BBS networks and sections on commercial systems. The PublicEye conference on Peacenet was originally set up with the assistance of Mark Graham, and evolved and grew with the continuing advice and technical support of the staff of Peacenet and the Institute for Global Communications. For several years the Public Eye online was hosted by the IGC networks, with the assistance of web programming consultant George Gundrey.

  23 View a picture of the Xerox computer at <http://www.publiceye.org/gallery/Amnet/Xerox.jpg>.

  24 AMNET quickly outgrew the Atari, and Richard Gaikowski, SYSOP of the first progressive BBS system, NEWSBASE BBS in California, offered his BBS software, a redesign of Dennis Recla's original RBBS.COM. Irv Hoff helped with BYE.COM needed to run our first CP/M machine, a Sanyo. AMNET operated on several computers over the years, including a Radio Shack Model II, and a Xerox 16/8 under the CP/M operating system. While moving physically to the Boston area, AMNET was briefly hosted in Chicago on a BBS run by Jerry Olsen. This allowed for continuous operation of AMNET BBS. After moving to Boston, the AMNET BBS was re-named The Public Eye BBS and ran on a rotating series of aging IBM compatible clones relying on a shelf of refurbished hard disk drives.

Over the years the BBS was cosponsored by Political Research Associates, the National Lawyers Guild Civil Liberties Committee, and Chicago's Bill of Rights Foundation. Cooperation and assistance also came from the Center for Democratic Renewal (CDR), and the Fund for Open Information & Accountability, Inc. (FOIA, Inc.). Additional research assistance came from Adele Oltman, and technical assistance from Bill Bowles, SYSOP of the New York Online BBS.

  25 View the portable terminal at <http://www.publiceye.org/gallery/Amnet/Terminal.jpg>.

  26 For a detailed look at early bigotry on the Internet, see Schroer, Todd J. (1997), "White Racialists, Computers, and the Internet," paper presented at American Sociological Association annual meeting, Toronto. See also, Burghart, Devin (1996), "Cyberh@te: A Reappraisal," The Dignity Report (Coalition for Human Dignity), Fall, pp. 12-16. An adaptation of this article is online at <http://www.newcomm.org/cyberhate_text.htm>; Madsen, Wayne, (1996-97), "The Battle for Cyberspace: Spooks v. Civil Liberties and Social Unrest," CovertAction Quarterly, Winter.

  27 Dobratz, Betty A. and Stephanie Shanks-Meile, (1995), "Conflict in the White Supremacist/Racialist Movement in the United States, International Journal of Group Tensions, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 57-75.

  28 In the US many skinheads are culturally identified youth rebels who are not explicitly racist, and in some cases are actively anti-racist; see Hamm, Mark S., (1994), American Skinheads: The Criminology and Control of Hate Crime, Westport, CT: Praeger.

  29 Nizkor, <http://www.nizkor.org>.

  30 Stormfront, <http://www.stormfront.org>.

  31 Newsletter from fall 1995, located and downloaded in early 1996 and posted on private e-mail list for persons studying the far right. Stormfront homepage was at the time: <http://www2.stormfront.org/watchman/watch-on.html>.

  32 On Christian Identity, see Barkun, Michael. (1994). Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. For more on militias, the hard right, and the far right, see Stern, Kenneth S., (1996), A Force Upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement and the Politics of Hate, New York: Simon & Schuster; Dobratz, Betty A. and Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile, (1997), "White Power, White Pride!" The White Separatist Movement in the United States, New York, Twayne Publishers; Ezekiel, Raphael S., (1995), The Racist Mind: Portraits of American Neo–Nazis and Klansmen, New York: Viking; Hamm, Mark S., (1997), Apocalypse in Oklahoma: Waco and Ruby Ridge Revenged, Boston: Northeastern University Press; Berlet, Chip, and Matthew N. Lyons, (2000), Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, New York: Guilford Press.

  33 According to the Coalition for Human Dignity, the phrase "fourteen words" is a coded white supremacist greeting that originated with David Lane, a member of the neonazi Order. Another coded phrase is "88," representing the eighth letter in the alphabet as in "HH" for "Heil Hitler."

  34 The conclusions are adapted from Berlet, Chip. (1998), “Who’s Mediating the Storm? Right–Wing Alternative Information Networks,” in Linda Kintz and Julia Lesage, eds., Culture, Media, and the Religious Right, (pp. 249-273), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

  35 See the Facing History and Ourselves website: <http://www.facing.org>. The curriculum and process of Facing History and Ourselves is analyzed in Fine, Melinda, (1995), Habits of Mind: Struggling Over Values in America's Classrooms, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  36 Burghart, "Cyberh@te." See also the related issue of government repression in Madsen, "The Battle for Cyberspace.

  37 For more on ethnoviolence, see Levin, Jack and Jack McDevitt, (1993), Hate Crimes: The Rising Tide of Bigotry and Bloodshed, New York: Plenum Press. See also an online version of a report by the American Sociological Association, <http://www.publiceye.org/hate/Hate99ASA_toc.htm>; and a chart with hate crime statistics, <http://www.publiceye.org/hate/Statistics.htm>.

  38 Cafe Utne: <http://cafe.utne.com/cafe>; Salon: <http://salon.com>.

 

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