Osoyoos Times
Wednesday, January 21, 1997
vol 52, no 3, page 1

Oliver seeks apology to 'Hate Capital' remark

Residents of Oliver were angered last week after an international human rights organization termed the community "the hate capital of Canada".

And the individual singled out by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre as the provider of internet services of 22 white supremacy and hate sites questions the credibility of Sol Littman, the Wiesenthal Centre's Canadian representative.

Last week in Vancouver, Littman urged the provincial government to use anti-hate laws to stop certain kinds of messages on the Internet. In drawing attention to the request, he said Oliver was the hate capital of Canada since it was home to an Internet provider that provides access to a number of organizations dealing with white supremacy and other subjects.

That prompted Oliver Mayor Linda Larsen to demand an apology from Littman.

Bernard Klatt, owner of Fairview Technology Centre, says he does not evaluate or control web site content uploaded by his clients.

He also attacked Littman for maligning the residents of Oliver.

"What evidence does he offer of any involvement by the Town of Oliver with the web site he complains of?" he asked in a letter to the media. "I support and applaud Oliver Mayor Linda Larsen's demand for Mr. Littman to issue a public apology for his prevarications and slander against my home town of Oliver."

Klatt said he was not aware of any attempts by Littman to contact him regarding concerns about web site content posted by Fairview's clients.

"Has Mr. Littman made any attempt at all to contact the authors of the content he complains of?"

Klatt countered Littman's allegations that a comic-book-style website depicting Jews as rats was stored on an FTCnet web server. He said the cartoon file in question did not reside on an FTCnet web server, but was merely a reference to a file on a remote web server, virgil.net, with a New York City address.

"The virgil.net web site appears to be no longer operating, but the file is still available from other web sites (none of which are FTCnet servers)", Klatt says in a press release.

"Contrary to Littman's assertions, there is no indication or evidence that the `Rats' cartoon file was at any time ever hosted on this FTCnet client's web page."

Klatt says he cannot afford the time and effort that would be required to scrutinize every piece of information his customers put on the Internet, nor does he think his customers would tolerate such an intrusive policy.

He says if anyone is held responsible for inappropriate content, it should be the individual who creates the information and puts it online.

"Individual accountability can be the only reasonable policy", he said in a letter to the B.C. Attorney-General.

Eighteen months ago Klatt offered to review, under the guidance of the Attorney-General's staff, any web pages they wished to bring to his attention.

Copyright © 1998 by The Osoyoos Times. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.