CAFE CONDEMNS CENSORSHIP OF TORONTO WEBMASTER MARC LEMIRE
Freedom-Site Webmaster, Marc Lemire In a statement released today, Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression condemned an April 20 decision by Toronto Internet Service Provider (ISP) Interlog to rip up Marc Lemire’s contract and unceeremoniously deny him e-mail service, while still holding on to several month’s prepaid fees.
“This is part of an all-out war against political dissent in this country,” says Fromm. “The ISP is apparently blaming unnamed corporate ‘Big Boys’ who leaned on him. We’d like to know who they are so that freedom loving Canadians can consider boycotting these corporate bullyboys.”
“This is yet a further example of dictatorial special interest groups attempting to harass those they disagree with and to gag the rising voices of disssent across Canada.” “The New Inquisitors will not prevail,” adds Fromm, 1995 winner of the George Orwell Free Speech Award. The following is the text of a May 6, 1998 letter sent by Fromm to Interlog President Lorien Gabel. Also attached are explanatory statements and correspondence from Mr. Lemire further explaining the situation.
May 6, 1998 Dear Mr. Gabel: It was disappointing to learn from a recent press release that Interlog has joined the sorry band of censorship wannabees in Canada. Ny cancelling Mr. Marc Lemire’s account, apparently under pressure from others, you have made Canada just a little less safe for the open and free exchange of ideas. When that day comes that the censors — ever greedy for further power — come to your door to take away your liberties, you may well find no one there to support you. You can’t be a little bit pregnant.
Similarly, you can’t be a little bit free. You you be so kind as to advise who the corporations/individuals were who approached you to pull the plug on Mr. Lemire. Their actions may well have been in breach of the Criminal Code. I read with outrage and amazement the article in the CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS (April 30, 1998)that Mr. Lemire’s account is being cancelled because he “..promote[s] genocide or incites hatred against any identifiable group.” That is an assertion of an offence under the Criminal Code — Sections 318 and 319 to be precise. Did you make that assertion? If so, you’ve libelled Mr. Lemire.
He has never been charged or convicted of these offences. You can no more accuse him of promoting genocide and hatred than someone can accuse you of being a forger or possesser of kiddie porn, if you’ve never been charged or so convicted. If you did make those statements, you owe Mr. Lemire an immediate apology. If you did not, you should so inform the CANADIAN JEWISH NEWS and demand a correction. This is a story we’ll continue to cover and monitor.
Sincerely yours, http://www.freedomsite.org/pathway_censorship.html When Mr. Lemire signed on his account at Interlog, he specifically asked if Interlog censors its customers and received a resounding “NO”. The termination notice came from Interlog’s Vice President, Lorien Gabel, and reads:
- “Dear Sir/Madam: Please be advised that pursuant to Interlog’s Terms and Conditions (http://www.interlog.com/terms.html) Section 2(g) and 5 (a) your account, email@example.com, will be terminated effective Wednesday May 20, 1998. Regards, Lorien Gabel”
In subsequent messages, Lorien Gabel claims that, “… this is a pure business decision. Certain of our large corporate customers have been targeted by certain groups and we can not afford to lose the business.” When asked directly who these “certain groups” were that are targeting Interlog clients, Mr. Gabel said, “I do not wish to disclose that information.” Just to add a slice of hypocrisy, Mr. Gabel goes on in a further E-Mail to say: ” I support freedom of speech and specifically as those issues relate to the Internet (in that ISP’s should not be censors etc.)” “ISP’s should not be censors” but he terminates Mr. Lemire’s account because some mysterious “groups” complain?
What kind of freedom does Mr. Gabel really support? The freedom dished out to the Chinese in Red China? Or how about the wonderful machine gun freedom bestowed on Palestinians in Israel? Also note that neither Mr. Gabel, nor any Interlog staff had bothered to ask Mr. Lemire’s opinion on the situation before this “business decision” was made, nor was the decision told to Mr. Lemire until after he pre-paid his account for SEVEN months in advance. On April 16, 1998 Mr. Lemire went to Interlog and pre-paid his account, and on April 20, 1998 Mr.
Gabel wrote to Mr. Lemire telling him his account would be terminated. Strange co-incidence? 4 days after pre-paying his account they shut it down? And to this day, Mr. Lemire has NOT received the money he pre-paid back? Will he? Time will tell! To top things off, the following piece appeared in the April 30, 1998 Canadian Jewish News
- “… In another development, Interlog, a Toronto-based ISP, last week announced it will terminate the account of Marc Lemire, an employee of Holocaust-Denier Ernst Zundel, on May 20. In closing Lemire’s account, Interlog cited one of its terms and conditions that prohibits, among other things, using Interlog’s service for communicating material ‘which advocates or promotes genocide or incites hatred against any identifiable group'”
Interlog is clearly implying that I have committed illegal acts. Here is the letter I sent in response to this libelous remark.
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Canadian Association for Free Expression believes free speech and discussion are essential to any functioning democracy. Freedom of speech and freedom to express one’s beliefs are essential to human dignity. The Association, through publishing, lectures, conferences and lobbying tries to protect these basic human rights and to promote to the maximum the Charter guaranteed rights of freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.