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Web of Hate: Extremists Exploit the Internet

NCJ Number
D S Hoffman
Date Published
60 pages
This paper profiles the hate groups that are using the World Wide Web (Internet) in an effort to spread anti-Semitism and other hate messages against targeted racial and ethnic groups; some of the constitutional and technical problems posed in regulating the Internet are discussed.
The World Wide Web, a relatively new Internet technology, is attracting a rapidly growing audience. The global nature of the Internet permits the Web to reach a worldwide audience. The broad reach, low costs, and relatively easy-to-master technology have made the World Wide Web an ideal propaganda vehicle for hate and extremist groups. "Traditional" hate groups have established propaganda sites on the Web. Among these are the Ku Klux Klan; W.A.R. (Tom Metzger's anti-Semitic, racist organization); the neo-Nazi, revolutionary National Alliance; and the anti-Semitic "identity" Christian preaching of "Pastor" Pete Peters and his Scriptures for America organization. Holocaust deniers are also using the Web. The Institute for Historical Review, the center of Holocaust-denial activity in the United States, has a site that uses its associate editor Greg Raven as a proxy. Bradley Smith, who is leading the charge to get a debate about the authenticity of the Holocaust going on college campuses, and Ernst Zundel, a Canadian-German Holocaust-denying showman and admirer of Hitler, also have Web sites. The ease of access of the Web creates opportunities for young, previously unknown haters and hate groups to promote themselves and become active anti-Semitic and racist propagandists. The legal questions that involve freedom of speech and press as well as the responsibility of Internet providers for what passes through their computers are currently unresolved. All decent Americans who oppose haters and extremists must be vigilant. The Web can, and should, be monitored and messages of hate exposed and countered. 97 notes and appended examples of hate materials displayed on the Web, a review of the Internet as a hate tool, and a glossary of Web terms