Web of Hate


Balson's right of reply sent to The Courier-Mail is carried at the end of this article. The image on the right below appeared along the entire length of the right side of the article.

The "credentials" and bias of the much referred to "National vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Jeremy Jones, are exposed at this link.

Article begins:

The Courier-Mail Monday March 15th 1999 - Jane Fynes-Clinton

"The Internet my be an information boon but it also allows fanatics to spread their venomous message to a wider audience."

A twelve year old boy is glued to the screen. He ducks, weaves and wends his way through the virtual maze, completing each stage, conquering each obstacle.

But to win in this game, he is required to kill. Blacks, Jews - pick your own minority group. For victory they all must die.

This is a game available to anyone who's interested, anyone who wants a go. This "hate game" is available free. But only on the Internet.

The Internet is a communication medium which appears to have no limits. So mind-blowingly enormous, you can flush out details on a rare medical condition, play a round of bridge with someone in Iceland and see tomorrow's front page before it hits the streets - all in one phone call.

Or, if you are so inclined, you can view pornography so graphic it is not allowed on the pages of publicly available "adult" magazines. Or you can find a recipe to build a bomb. Or visit a site that promotes white supremacy or black supremacy or hatred generally.

The potential audience for the Internet's purveyors of good and ill is expanding quickly. Last year, homes with Internet access increased by a massive 49%; updated Australian Statistics Bureau (sic) figures released lst week revealed 1.3 million households had Internet access.

Dr David Marshall, of the University of Queensland's English Department, says communicating via the Internet offers its users a freedom most delight in.

"Since its inception, the Internet has been viewed in a kind of utopian way and, as such, its defenders are likely to tolerate things like racism or porn to a higher degree than they would tolerate these things in, say, magazines," Marshall says.

"The strongest sentiment on the Internet is certainly one of freedom and any move to inhibit this is fought by the 'hard-core' users. Even these moments of moral difficulty are tolerated to protect the freedom offered by the Internet."

Marshall says because of the global, boundless nature of the Net, it has always had the capacity to be used to spread messages of hatred and violence as well as disseminate positive information.

Watchdog groups in the United States claim the first (and possibly still the best-known) "hate site" was set up by a former Ku Klux Klan member in 1995. "Stormfront" is the site from which Don Black spreads his "White Pride World Wide" message. And he couldn't be happier with the coverage.

"I feel like I have accomplished more on the web than in my 25 years of activism," he says. "Whereas before, we could only reach people with pamphlets or holding rallies with no more than a few hundred people, now we can reach potentially millions.."

Black, who split with the KKK more than a decade ago but peddles his own white supremacist views , spurns the suggestion his is a "hate site".

"The label 'hate group' is a term used to stifle debate," he says.

The Australian Jewish community has a case currently before the Human Rights Commission involving a South Australian based "hate site" run by a group called the Adelaide Institute. The case's outcome should be known soon and depending on the adjudication, the Jewish community may pursue other groups responsible for similar sites.

National vice-president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Jeremy Jones, will soon deliver a paper in Toronto, Canada on the use of law to combat hate on the Internet.

Jones says most of the major racist groups in Australia have web sites and for some this is their main method of public communication. These groups include Australian National Action, Southern Cross, Hammerskins, and Al-Moharer Al-Australi.

"Almost everyday, I come across another offensive web site and a fair proportion of these are Australian," Jones says. He says of great concern are groups which are not as overt in their leanings and which try to establish links with mainstream sites to bolster their credibility.

He is concerned about a web site which gears the features of a news group and describes itself as an Internet newspaper called Australian National News of the Day. It is published by One Nation's web master, Scott Balson, and often contains overt as well as ambiguous anti-Jewish material.

"Every so often, Balson will refer readers to a specific document and some of the documents recently have included one from the World Church of the Creator which is one of the most violent white supremacist groups in the United States," Jones says. "Having a link to such a site or promoting a site is only one step away from saying these things himself."

Jones says coming across hate sites is almost unavoidable because search engines are a common method of users for researching subjects on the Internet.

"If you are wanting to find something on a Jewish religion, you are likely to come across a site which is created to promote enmity and animosity towards Jews. Often the first sites that come up are the hate sites," he says.

"The overwhelming balance is against hate sites in terms of numbers and I really believe the web is a wonderful educational tool. But if you stumble on the wrong site and if you don't know, you could have a problem."

The assistant dean of the world-renowned Simon Weisenthal Centre in Los Angeles, Abraham Cooper, says the exploding popularity of the Internet is a boon to those wanting to spread messages of hate, bigotry and violence.

The Simon Weisenthal Centre conducted a study, which will be released next month, and found 1100 problematic hate sites. Cooper says of great concern is that more and more hate sites are directly geared towards children.

Jones is also distressed by the targeting of young Net surfers. "When you look at the horrible race murder in the US (the dragging death of James Byrd Jnr for which Texan John King has been sentenced to death) you realise those people just didn't wake up one morning and decide to go out and beat someone to death," he say (sic), "They had been raised with the belief that whites are superior and blacks are inferior and you can prove yourself a man via inhumanity. Not everyone who receives propaganda is going to behave the same way but when you look at the Nazi Holocaust or the Hutus vs the Tutsis in Rwanda or at ethnic conflicts in former Yugoslavia, these all happened because there was a history of belief that a group had certain characteristics which made them automatically opposed to your interests.

"You can't, to my mind, say the words or activities, on their own are not important because it is these things that feed in the ideas."

Jones concedes the Internet's anonymity can be a blessing in that it gives users the chance to participate in open debate with little fear, but it can also be a curse.

"There is a cartoon that I like which depicts a dog typing away on his computer and he says to another dog, 'On the Internet no-one knows I am a dog'. On the Net no one knows if you are a liar and if someone stumbles on something covertly anti-Jewidh, they may not realise and take the information as fact."

Balson's right of reply:

The Courier-Mail published an edited version of this letter on Friday 19th March. Their version of my letter is reproduced below the one faxed to them. 

15th March 1999

The Editor
Courier Mail

Dear sir,

Right of reply to article: "Web of Hatred"

I refer to the article in the Courier-Mail (15/3/99) headed "Web of Hate" by Jane Fynes-Clinton alongside the image of a big burning cross coming out of a computer screen. The reporter makes reference to me by name and labels me as maintaining a web site which "often contains overt as well as ambiguous anti-Jewish material". If the unsubstantiated claims against me did not get the message through the burning cross did.

As you would be aware I am the author of the book "Murder by Media, Death of Democracy in Australia" which was released in January this year. This book clearly identifies the Courier-Mail as not always maintaining the highest journalistic standards.

The article referred to above is classic Courier-Mail with about as much credibility as the flow of bias emanating from a number of Labor party media advisers. These men and women have reported for you on political issues in the past - when Labor has been in opposition and their political jobs have been made temporarily redundant during this period.

For a start the reporter never contacted me to get any semblance of balance in her story. The sole source of her "information", Jeremy Jones, is a reporter at the Australia/Israel Review - that Jewish publication which, last year, published the names and suburbs of 2000 One Nation members and donors in a style reminiscent of that used by the Nazis in the 1930s.

For the record I am not anti-sematic.

I have never heard of the "World Church of the Creator" a group which Jones refers to as "the most violent white supremacist group in the United States". Jones is obviously far better informed about their activities than I am and I would suggest that your readers consider why - seeing that this raises an issue of race not religion.

Yours faithfully

Scott Balson

PS For your information I have registered a complaint with the Australian Press Council about this article.

The Courier-Mail letter to which my name was put:

No Knowledge of this group

The article "Web of Hatred" (Features, Mar 15) was illustrated by the image of a burning cross coming out of a computer screen. The report refers to me by name and says that I maintain a web site which "often contains overt as well as ambiguous anti-Jewish material". If the unsubstantiated claims against me did noot get through, the burning cross did.

The reporter never contacted me to get any semblance of balance in her article. The sole source of her "information", Jeremy Jones, is senior editor at the Australia/Israel Review, the Jewish publication which, last year published the names and suburbs of 2000 One Nation members and donors in a style reminiscent of that used by the Nazis in the 1930s.

For the record, I am not anti-semitic, I have never heard of the "World Church of the Creator", a group which Jones says is "the most violent white supremacist group in the United States".

Scott Balson, Karana Downs, March 15

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