A reader (Strahler 70) complains that all of the German right-wing extremist blogs are "based" in the United States. It is true that many of the extremist hate blogs such as Politically Incorrect are hosted on servers in the US. The owners and operators of these blogs - often anonymous - are taking advantage of the First Amendment rights of free speech protected under the US Constitution. Hate speech, Holocaust-denial, glorification of the Third Reich, etc. are all illegal in the EU, but are allowed in the US. For anyone who wants to understand the background here I highly recommend Anthony Lewis' book Freedom for the Thought that we Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment.
Still, as much as I admire the power of the First Amendment, I am mindful of the awful abuse that takes place on the Internet. The right-wing terrorist Anders Behring-Breivik was inspired to kill 75 teenagers by many of these Web sites that are located in on servers in the US. Individuals have the right to shout that President Obama is a Muslim Communist or that Auschwitz was a hoax but businesses - in this case, the Web hosting services providers - have a moral obligation to ensure that their products are not hurting people or advocating violence. Here is where it becomes difficult: large companies such as Google and Yahoo! make an effort to delete content that glorifies Nazis, but they are global enterprises that operate in the EU countries. Most hosting companies are small businesses that have no international business, so the only concern is that they do not violate the laws of the United States. They have no problem in doing business with Web sites that seek to circumvent German or EU laws.
Case and point is the extremist Web site 'Nürnberg 2.0'. This site was established to target and intimidate writers, filmmakers, and politicians who support a liberal and multicultural society in Germany. The anonymous operators of Nürnberg 2.0 chose named the site in an effort to equate advocates of an open society with those accused of engaging in mass murder at the Nuremberg Trials. Presumably these public figures in the Federal Republic also deserve the same fate of those found guilty (a number were hanged):
Vor dem Attentat in Norwegen hätte man dieses Internet-Forum wohl kaum bemerkt. Da Breiviks Anschlag aber gerade den sogenannten "Wegbereitern einer islamischen Kolonisierung Europas" galt, beunruhigt die Webseite. Einige dieser vermeintlichen Wegbereiter meinen die -Macher bereits ausgemacht zu haben: Innenpolitiker Dieter Wiefelspütz, SPD, ist genauso am Pranger wie Außenpolitiker Ruprecht Polenz, CDU. Man findet Renate Künast von den Grünen, den Filmemacher Fatih Akin oder den Spiegel-Journalisten Erich Follath. Unter dem Stichwort 'Linksextremisten' steht auch der Name von Dirk Stegemann. Der ist Sprecher einer Berliner Bürgerinitiative, die sich 'Bündnis Rechtspopulismus stoppen' nennt.
(Nobody noticed this Internet Forum before the terrorist attacks in Norway. But since Breivik's attack was directed at the "trailblazers of an Islamic colonization of Europe" the Web site is disturbing. The operators have already identified a number of these "trailblazers": Dieter Wiefelspütz if tge SPD is targeted along with the CDU foreign policy expert Ruprecht Polenz. You can also find Renate Künast of the Green Party, the film director Fatih Akin and the Spiegel journalist Erich Follath. Under the category of "left-wing extremist" we find the name Dirk Stegemann, who is the speaker of a citizens group in Berlin: "Alliance to Stop Right-Wing Populism")
Nürnberg 2.0 is hosted in the United States by GoDaddy, the largest hosting company in the world with US$800 million in revenue. GoDaddy was acquired last summer by the Heuschrecken Leveraged Buyout group KKR for $2.25 billion. I also use GoDaddy for my business, and I wrote to Luke Hintze in GoDaddy's Public Relations department to ask why his company would do business with a hate site that targets public individuals in Germany. I received the following response:
GoDaddy.com does not allow illegal content on our customer's websites.However, as a hosting provider, it is not our place to determine if the site you have mentioned is actually engaging in illegal activities.
GoDaddy.com regularly works with courts and law enforcement from the local to the international level. If you suspect any of our customers are using their website to engage in any illegal activities, please help us by contacting your local law enforcement agency, and request them to investigate this situation.
(Luke can be reached at email@example.com. I urge people to contact him, since nothing changes a company's behavior like unwanted public exposure)
Apparently nothing can be done until the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) - the Federal Criminal Police Office - takes its job seriously and works through the German embassy in Washingto DC to exert pressure on GoDaddy and the other service providers to shut down these sites. So far, the BKA has declared that Nürnberg 2.0 is "harmless" (unbedenklich). Will it take another Breivik-style tragedy for the BKA to act?