Thursday, August 28, 2008

Welcome Back Harry's Place

A Sheffield academic called Jenna Delich seems to have successfully persuaded the ISP for the left wing Harry's Place blog to withdraw its service. She is apparently upset that Harry's Place posted the fact that her own website links to that of the American white supermacist, David Duke. Oops, I just did it too. Perhaps if you have a blog you might like to do the same and show this idiot of a so-called academic what free speech actually means. You see, she clearly has difficulty with it. She supports the idiotic, and racist, academic boycott of Israel.

Wouldn't you just love to be one of her students?

What is worrying here is not that she has threatened libel proceedings, it's that on the basis of a very tenuous allegation, Harry's Place's ISP has withdrawn its service without so much as a by your leave. This happened once before when the Uzbekh billionaire Usmanov did the same thing to another left of centre blogger, XXXXX. Whatever one's politics or beliefs, it's worrying that ISPs are reacting in this way. I am not sure there is anything one can do about it, but it could happen to any of us.

Harry's Place is now back online (I just checked) courtesy of a new ISP. But the fact is that it should never have had to go offline in the first place.

27 comments:

Ross said...

It really is pathetic how easily companies roll over, particularly British based ones. There isn't even any question over what Delich did, she was caught bang to rights.


Say what you like about Blogger/Google but they do have a bit more backbone over free speech issues.

Tom FD said...

Well one thing you could do to make matters simpler Iain is name the ISP in question. This sort of thing is unlikely to ever happen again if that ISP loses all its clients!

Anonymous said...

Hosting a website which is read by tens of thousands of people every day puts the author in quite a position of power, which should be exercised responsibly or at least with regard to usual social norms.

I think that posting a piece at 12.43 in the morning, in which you lambast a "so called academic", accusing her of supporting "racists" is pretty poor show.

If I saw you drunkenly shouting these kinds of rants and insults outside her house at this time I would politely ask you to refrain. Your website isn't really that different - its only a different medium - so I'll politely ask you reconsider your post too.

Daily Referendum said...

Anon @1:23AM, apart from Iain doesn't drink, words fail me.

Dave J. said...

Ross, it's because of the English common law of defamation, in which truth is an affirmative defense to libel or slander rather than falsehood being a substantive element of the tort. That has the functional effect of shifting the burden of proof in such cases to defendants, and is why the English courts are the world's forum of choice for "libel tourism."

Which gets me to thinking in broader terms here, Iain: I've wondered for years why no one has put forth any proposals to stop this. It's long since time that Parliament adopted the modern view of defamation that has gradually taken hold in the rest of the common-law world, i.e., one that recognizes free speech and due process concerns by placing the burden with the plaintiff where it belongs, the "actual malice" standard of N.Y. Times of Sullivan.

kinglear said...

Is it a surprise that our Freedom of Speech is being eroded? We have lost so much over the last 11 years, but slowly and gradually, that had it happened overnight there would have been riots in the streets.

Craven ISPs said...

British ISPs have become very craven to the authorities recently. I think it is probably because the government have told them that they have to be Big Brother on their behalf and that they are responsible for policing what their customers do on the internet, piracy etc. so they are crapping themselves in case allegations start being thrown around and take the "better safe than sorry approach" so that they are not finding themselves on the wrong end of legal action.

Paul said...

Apparently another ISP called Positive Internet actually called them up and offered to put them back online. Top guys.

Harry's Place were previously hosted by Daily.co.uk, according to the comments threat at HP.

Paul said...

And I forgot to say well done Iain for bringing this to wider attention.

Glyn H said...

As civil servants have to be impartial and serve the government of the day to their best ability presumably academics should serve their cause, the tutoring of their subject, objectively in a similar way? And therefore persuing partisan (and racist - their own pet subject - but only when perceived in others) objectives such as the Isreali academic boycott should get them fired?

Oh I forgot, New Labour politicised the civil service for its own ends - more tears before bedtime for the British state before these vile clowns are ejected!

T England said...

A link to,
American white supermacist, David Duke!
google said he's called American white supremacist, David Duke

Anyhow! Where's the link?

Exile said...

It wasn't the ISP it was the DNS which is a different thing.

The woman did not link to anything on her website as she doesn't have one. What she did was send out a link to an article which was carried on Duke's site. Not at all the same thing.

Thanks to HP and its smear machine she is now getting death threats, so she paid the buggers back in their own coin. They wanted to intimidate her into silence and she screwed them over for a day.

Ross said...

"Thanks to HP and its smear machine she is now getting death threats"

Have any of these supposed death threats been seen by anyone else? Has she gone to the police? Or are they entirely ficticious and an attempt to curry sympathy by portraying herself as a victim? I'm guessing the answers are no, no and yes.

Anonymous said...

“She is apparently upset that Harry's Place posted the fact that her own website links to that of the American white supermacist, David Duke.”

Wrong. Delich linked to a article on a UCU activist link:

“John,
In support to your link this may be a long but also an interesting reading:
http://www.davidduke.com/general/humanitarian-disaster_595.html
No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves.
Jenna
JENNA DELICH”

The article itself is not racist or anti-Semitic, thought David Duke and the author (if you look up his details) clearly are.

Delic claims not to have know this and later posted:

“I didn’t realise who David Duke was nor did I hear of him. I just looked at the article not the website where it appeared. Apologies for picking up that website as I personallly am strongly against any racists, anti-semitists and the likes of them. I just found the article quite powerful, and none are saying that Joe Quinn (the author of the article) is a racist or anti-semitist, and the article is quite interesting. So, perhaps we should focus on the article itself and not where it appeared (if we look at it in a broader sense, the website itself appeard on Google and so did the article)? Anyone can put anything on their website… Sincere apologies once again though for picking the wrong website, but it’s the article that I found interesting as it gives some amazing facts and it was not written by David Duke (who, I most certainly agree, has no place in UCU but is the author of the website and not the article).”

Harry’s Place have never mentioned her apology but in their post they state that:

“It is therefore reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis.”

“Sheffield-based academic, Jenna Delich – links to far right websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan.” [This sentence appears to infer “has links to” not “posts links to”]

And there are comments including:

“the fact that Jenna Delich is disseminating race-hate literature”

“Ms Delich is, of course, entitled to spout her extreme right reactionary filth”

“Jenna Delich is just one semi-literate anti-Semite”

These statements are defamatory and Harry’s Place would have to prove them in court to defeat a libel action. It’s worrying that ISPs/DNS cave in so easily against legal threats but blog owners need to wake up to that fact that libel laws affect them.

Mostly Ordinary said...

If I forwarded the rantings of a well known racist via. email to my colleagues I'd be unemployed.

I think the excuse 'I didn't know' is a pretty poor for a 'academic'

Windsor Tripehound said...

Anonymous @ 9:31am said

The article itself is not racist or anti-Semitic, ...

Hmmm. I must have read a different article.

GDS said...

So she's an "academic" who doesn't research her sources? Bullshit!!!

JuliaM said...

"Perhaps if you have a blog you might like to do the same and show this idiot of a so-called academic what free speech actually means. You see, she clearly has difficulty with it."

Oh, bloggers did. The way the blogosphere responded to this is the way it usually does.

Let's see how she likes her new found Googlefame now...

"Have any of these supposed death threats been seen by anyone else? Has she gone to the police? Or are they entirely ficticious and an attempt to curry sympathy by portraying herself as a victim? "

Well, if you are caught bang-to-rights and there's no question you are guilty, what else has 10 years of Labour rule taught people...?

"If I forwarded the rantings of a well known racist via. email to my colleagues I'd be unemployed.

I think the excuse 'I didn't know' is a pretty poor for a 'academic'"


Yes, well. That word 'academic'. We aren't exactly talking Oxford scholar here...

GDS said...

So she's an "academic" who doesn't research her sources? Bullshit!!!

Unsworth said...

@ Anonymous 1:23 AM

"Hosting a website which is read by tens of thousands of people every day puts the author in quite a position of power, which should be exercised responsibly or at least with regard to usual social norms."

Total and utter bollocks.

Nobody forces people to read this or any other site. Next you'll be burning books.

Anyway it's clearly way past your bed-time.

Anonymous said...

The hosting of one website doesn't bring in much revenue for a hosting company. Why should a small hosting company spend its resources dealing with potential legal threats, when the benefit of keeping the customer will most likely never recover the costs.

Most hosts are running a business not a campaign, and I'm afraid their reaction in this case was just the unfortunate commonsense solution.

Aristander of Telmissus said...

Well, Jenna Delich and Harry's Place have certainly raised their respective profiles considerably as a result of this absurd storm/teacup interface. I hadn't heard of either of them before today.

I suppose the only possible conclusion to be drawn is that they were in it together from the start, as a perverse mutual support and vilification exercise. "I'll say something nasty and wrong about you, then you do something [not very] nasty and wrong to me. Then everyone will talk about us both - and get it wrong - so by tomorrow afternoon we'll both be famous, writing books and appearing on 'Newsnight' as interwebby experts on absolutely everything."

Sounds like a marriage made in heaven.

JuliaM said...

"I suppose the only possible conclusion to be drawn is that they were in it together from the start..."

Well, I supose that's the 'only possible conclusion' for some people...

Exile said...

You carry on guessing, Ross, it is so good that you guess about things.

Aristander,

Yeah, I hadn't thought about that. Has a certain ring to it, doesn't it?

Aristander of Telmissus said...

Exile @ 12.27

Yes, I'm really getting into this conspiracy theory malarkey ;-)))

All the more so when I see that the last three letters of the word verification doo-dah are the same as those on my number-plate. [Cue spooky X-Files music ...]

Merseymike said...

I'm tempted to think that anyone who criticises Harry's Place must be doing something right. I can't recall seeing anything very much on that site that I have ever agreed with - tends to be endless, uncritical worship of Israel no matter what they get up to.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Surely you're not asking for a QUANGO to monitor ISPs? Private ownership and all that. I own the bat and ball so I can take it home.