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ANOTHER VIEW ON THE DEATH OF HELGE BOES To the editor: I have just read the article by Jenna Greene ” A Life Cut Short” in the March 10 Legal Times[Page 1]. I am appalled. Your paper has consistently published extremists, such as Stuart Taylor Jr. and the series of authors opposing firearms, such as March 3′s “Mooted & Dangerous” by Mathew S. Nosanchuk [Page 42]. However, the glorification of Helge Boes is beyond the pale. Boes and his fellow Clandestine Service Officers helped bring terrorists to America. While I was chief of the non-immigrant visa section at the CIA’s consulate at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I was repeatedly ordered by high “State Department” officials to issue visas to terrorists recruited by the Agency and its asset, Osama bin Laden. They were brought to America for training and sent on to Afghanistan to murder Russian soldiers. I do not doubt that the 15 Saudis who got visas at Jeddah and then flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were also Langley’s creatures (who didn’t share their travel plans with their masters). ( Cf.My article “The Hand That Rules the Visa Machine Rocks the World,” Covert Action Quarterly,No.71, Winter 2001, and “Policing the Borders: Old Fears, New Realities,” www.globalresearch.ca). Boes and his ilk have overthrown lawfully elected governments all around the world and plunged entire countries, such as Guatemala and Chile, into civil war and mass murder. They are currently working on a monstrous, illegal, and unconstitutional Middle East war. Yet, your paper doesn’t report any of this. Unlike the American media, the BBC, CBC, Canal Plus, and RAI have recounted the sorry actions of the spooks and their subjects in the State Department (which according to a former station chief is one-third CIA). Even Pacifica through its “Democracy Now” program described the criminal activities at Jeddah. How about some balance in reporting the real news? J. Michael Springmann Washington, D.C. A WRONG TURN ON CYBER LAWS To the editor: ” Is Litigation the Best Way to Deal With Cybersmears?” by Jonathan Bick, published in your March l0, 2003, edition ["Cyberlaw," Page 18], is remarkable for its inexplicable failure to take account of federal statutes (and legions of cases construing them) that protect providers of message boards, chat rooms, and other Internet fora from liability for the unlawful or harmful speech of others. Mr. Bick’s principal theme is that victims of “cybersmears” or other unlawful messages on the Internet should, instead of targeting their remedial efforts at the originators of those messages, communicate with — and possibly sue — the service providers (entities like AOL, Earthlink, Yahoo, and other ISPs), capitalizing on what he claims is “the provider’s responsibility and potential liability.” In fact, it is now well-settled that 47 U.S.C. �230, which was enacted seven years ago as part of the Communications Decency Act, “creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service.” Zenan v. America Online Inc.,129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997). This statute has been held time and again to immunize service providers from liability for unlawful speech in all types of online fora, including most prominently chat rooms and bulletin boards. Directly refuting Mr. Bick’s statement that “by maintaining a chat room, an ISP is considered to function as a publisher,” the key provision of Section 230 states that “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker” of third-party content. 47 U.S.C. �230(c)(l). The statute’s legislative history explicitly indicates that one of its key purposes was to overrule the very case law that Mr. Bick cites, most importantly the 1995 decision in Stratton Oakmont Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co.,and to ensure that service providers are not subject to greater liability (as Mr. Bick seems to suggest they should be) for engaging in voluntary self-regulation such as monitoring their services to screen out obscenity, racial epithets, and defamation. Mr. Bick likewise fails to mention the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was enacted in 1998 and which provides service providers with several safe harbors that enable them to avoid any possible liability for copyright infringement resulting from actions by third parties to post infringing material on their sites. (Section 230 by its terms does not create immunity with respect to claims under intellectual property laws — and the DMCA partially fills that gap with a safe-harbor regime which, among other things, generally exempts service providers from liability if they take down infringing content within a reasonable time after receipt of notice in a form provided by the statute.) While some of Mr. Bick’s various “recommendations” for trying to hold service providers responsible for the harmful postings of their users might have had some validity a decade ago, before enactment of Section 230 and the DMCA, they are of little relevance today. That quite plainly is a good thing because, as Congress recognized, holding service providers liable for the harmful speech of their many millions of users would place a crushing burden on them and discourage them from developing and offering the wonderful communications platforms and tools that are possible in the Internet age. Congress has wisely determined that liability for harmful speech should, in general, be focused on the wrongdoers who originate it, and this has proved to be very sound policy. Patrick J. Carome Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering Washington, D.C. REPARATIONS CLAIMS JUST DON’T ADD UP To the editor: The push for special entitlements and victimhood status described in ” Slave, Race Claims Start Taxing Targets” [Feb. 24, 2003, Page 16] actually exposes the various plaintiffs and their prolocutors to ridicule. The suffering occasioned by slavery was indeed horrendous. Nevertheless, in view of the generations that have passed since slavery was abolished, and considering the trillions (yes, trillions!) that have been spent by government and private industry since the 1960s in a good faith effort to recompense the victims of slavery and their descendents, one would have thought that the issue of reparations would rest in the dustbin of history where it belongs. I am also offended by the specious comparisons to the Holocaust. Yes, reparations have been paid to Holocaust survivors and their families. However, the distinctions are obvious. Billions of dollars in tangible property was wantonly stolen by the Nazis (and not only by GermanNazis) from Jewish families in the European countries that were Nazi-occupied. Millions of innocents were simply slaughtered (including infants, children, and women) without reason, mercy or serious protest from the “civilized world.” The critical distinguishing factor is, however, that Holocaust survivors and their first-generation descendents were (and remain) alive. Their property losses can easily be identified and quantified. The property taken from the victims of the Holocaust exceeds any property losses of the former slaves by a magnitude of billions. The comparison to the Holocaust is not only offensive, but itself smacks of rank race “discrimination,” or worse. The African-American community and its prolocutors would be well-advised to emphasize the positives of the present and future, rather than continually dwell on the negatives of the past. There should be some recognition of the incredible progress that African-Americans have made in the United States as a result of the civil rights revolution. Some expression of gratitude (or at least an acknowledgment) for the gigantic resources expended to remedy the sad mistakes of the past would also be appropriate. African-Americans do themselves great harm by continuingly emphasizing victimhood and by their nonstop campaign for special entitlements. African-Americans have “arrived” in America. The sooner they accept that pleasant fact, the sooner, the higher, and the faster they will rise in wealth and power. Allen G. Siegel Washington, D.C.

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