The internet as weapon: Free speech, hate speech, and the law

One of the striking features of Hoaxtead is the way the internet has been used, at first to disseminate illegal images of RD’s children, then to publish false allegations against RD and the decent families, teachers, clergy, and businesses of Hampstead.

From the very beginning, when Abe & Ella tried to create an online tsunami of support by contacting conpiritainment stars Brian Gerrish and Bill Maloney, the internet has been the tool of choice for the Hoaxtead pushers.

That’s why this story from Canada caught our eye yesterday: a man who lost custody of his son (while he was in jail for impersonating U.S. citizen) told Canada’s CBC News that he had decided to create a website to “destroy” his ex-wife.

Using an Icelandic web host (because Iceland’s free speech laws make it almost impossible for victims to have harassing websites taken down), Patrick Fox of Burnaby, B.C. created a site that depicts Desiree Capuano as a child-abusing drug addict. Ms Capuano says the site has prevented her from getting permanent employment. Mr Fox had emailed the site’s URL to all the contacts on Ms Capuano’s LinkedIn profile.

Ms Capuano states that Mr Fox told her that his ultimate goal is to cause her to commit suicide. He also told a CBC interviewer that he would have “no qualms” about killing his ex-wife if it were legal.

“[I promised] I’d devote the rest of my life to doing everything I could, legally of course, to ruin her life and destroy her”, said Fox….

He told CBC News nothing short of Capuano’s death or “when she is destitute and homeless” will prompt him to take down the site.

“Tomorrow, and next month, and next year, this website will still be here.… to make Desiree’s life a little more dreary,” reads the most recent post, four days before Fox was arrested in Washington [state].

“All of your whining and complaining, all of your talk of getting the government, the police, and the prosecutors to do something about it, has accomplished abso-f–king-lutely nothing!” he posted.

Although the RCMP investigated the couple’s email exchanges and arrested Mr Fox in July 2015 on charges of criminal harassment, the Crown did not approve the charges. Part of the reason, they stated, was that Mr Fox lives in B.C., while Ms Capuano lives in Arizona.

However, 0n 27 May Mr Fox was arrested in Washington state (south of B.C.) for illegally attempting to enter that country. Last Thursday he was turned over to Canadian authorities and charged in Canada with criminal harassment and a weapons offence. He remains in custody in Vancouver, awaiting a bail hearing.

Still, the website remains up, and Ms Capuano says she’s more afraid now than she has been at any time in her life. She holds out hope that the charges currently facing Mr Fox will force him to remove the website.

Using the internet as a weapon

While this case lacks Hoaxtead’s Conspiraloon Factor, we are reminded of the tactics of the very unlovely Charlotte Alton Ward and her de facto successor, Kristie Sue Costa, whose missions appear to be to destroy the life of RD, and defame and harass anyone who doesn’t believe in Abe & Ella’s hoax.

And then there’s Iceland.

Iceland’s free speech laws under its Modern Media Initiative make it the ideal haven for websites and blogs that offer controversial viewpoints, which might otherwise be subject to charges of hate speech. We found this out the hard way, when we had Abe & Ella’s first blog removed from the UK-based Wix.

Within weeks they’d relocated to Orange, an Icelandic host that refused to consider removing their site, on the basis that we would need a court order issued in Iceland to prove that the blog violated their terms of service.

It’s no coincidence that Mr Fox uses an Icelandic host for his hateful website. ‘Revenge porn’ sites have also taken up residence in Iceland, since victims have no chance of having the damaging material removed. The spirit of free speech, it seems can include attempting to destroy innocent people’s lives.

While we’re all for the principles of free speech, these are clearly abuses of that right. It’s said that free speech ends where hate speech begins, and it’s becoming evident that the dividing point must be delineated…and soon. Free speech vs hate speech

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “The internet as weapon: Free speech, hate speech, and the law

  1. The simultaneously most important and most trivial thing each and every one of us can do is simply not deal with platforms and places that threaten free speech and personal security by creating these ‘wild west’ situations. – And that particularly means the commercial platforms which have infantilised the internet over the past decade or so that so cynically refuse to protect individual’s rights.

    The next thing to question is why the laws that already exist are not being operated as they should. – Why do the authorities seem to be acting in a way that allows crisis to fester? Which they will, some of us believe, later ‘tackle’ by imposing draconian restrictions on our rights and freedoms.

    In fact, the common thread between both commercial organisations and government is that they won’t apply the rules as they exist. – That needs to be challenged.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To follow on from some of the discussions we had the other day: it begins to look like the reality is a strange inversion of the conspiracy theorists “false flag” operations. Not by elaborate government sponsored theatrics, but by inaction are terrible tragedies and injustices allowed to occur. By doing nothing authorities create a situation where the public begin to demand that they increase their powers when what they actually need to do is exercise them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s interesting–when I first heard about Hoaxtead, one of the people I met told me that they were certain this was an MI5 plot to show up the faults in the system, and that it would result in draconian measures which people would approve when they saw the damage the current system can do.

        I think that implies a degree of forward thinking that isn’t really backed up by the evidence so far, but I can see why people might think that way.

        I do think that as a society we will need to consider the checks and balances necessary to run the internet both with a degree of freedom from censorship, and in a way that offers some safety to people such as RD, the residents of Hampstead, or Ms Capuano. How we will manage that isn’t really clear yet, but I think it’s something we need to start thinking about, yesterday if not sooner.

        Like

        • ‘MI5’ is a term that’s become such a catch-all as to be meaningless and laughable.

          However, Dunblane is a fairly obvious example of where a wholly preventable situation was allowed by the authorities to fester to the point of tragedy then leveraged to introduce laws that curtailed people’s freedoms – rather counter-productively since we now really DO have a gun problem we didn’t have before. – that’s not an unfamiliar pattern.

          The Hampstead Hoax is a drop-in-the-ocean example of something similar at play, as was the Hollie Greig hoax. – Too often we see these ‘teflon coated’ characters from the lunatic fringe of the establishment involved in these things. Too often we see situations where there are rules and there are laws but no-one is willing or able to enforce them. That, or the authorities behaving in strange convoluted ways to help create the martyrs required by the conspiritainment circuit; Robert Green being a prime example. – Remember; no-one actually had their name cleared in court (as they should have) any more than Robert Green was put away for handing out leaflets! And the whole fiasco remains a shambles – the most expensive Breach of The Peace case in Scottish legal history!

          Eventually yes, these cases will be ’rounded up’ and cherry-picked to be used as exemplars as to why some form of highly restrictive and totalitarian restraints are put upon public rights to free expression…

          For instance – it is just over a week IIRC since I had to draw attention to the fact the Police had apparently supplied the blog with misinformation regarding the legality of photographing children in public. – Assuming the Police weren’t talking out of their arses and don’t know what they’re about, this seems to be a case of ‘repeat the lie often’! Either way they were talking bollocks – question is why?

          And the Met aren’t alone in this. Since about 2008 campaigners have had to work hard to dispel such myths as they have made their way into official perceptions, with some really nasty incidents arising. – Police Scotland supply some HIGHLY misleading information on the subject! – Misleading to the point of being intimidatory and frankly dishonest….

          Cases like Hampstead WILL I predict be used to wrongly justify eventual legislation against the casual freedoms we take for granted. – And, as I don’t think the authorities are so stupid as to not know the laws or the rules or the powers they have, I can – logically – only deduce that their agenda is to let these situations fester with ulterior motive.

          Like

  2. I hope Mr Fox enjoys celibacy. No one in their right mind would want to involve themselves with him now, given the things he has published about his ex-wife.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think his image should be spread far and wide, with warning labels attached.

      Fortunately, it seems that he has been denied bail and is being kept in custody for now, so that’s at least some small respite for his ex-wife.

      Like

  3. Isn’t it sad that the human race is so fucked up, that it will ultimately ruin what could have been freedom, and equality to express ourselves: the new land of the internet. We are a species that needs its ugly side controlled by legislation that constrains and even paralyses aspects of humanity that could have been free, turning our lives on earth from what could have been a paradise into an experience of vague angst and fear of ‘the systems that govern’ and what this then becomes, corruption. Those of us who yearn for freedom, as long as no harm is done to others, have aspects of their lives controlled and ruined by idiots that make these laws necessary. We all suffer with what remains and permeates our day to day existence. This piece needs several rewrites but I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do indeed. It seems as though as a species we’re not content until we’ve explored the furthest boundaries of our environment, often destroying what we encounter along the way.

      Like

  4. What I find shocking about Google’s attitude is that they removed a video in the UK but not globally.

    Imagine you are the person reviewing the video in question, never mind the legal side, wouldn’t your personal morals make you remove the video completely rather than just hide from the UK?

    I understand the argument morality is a personal thing, but as human beings we all share a set of morals too and I would hope that one of those shared morals is that we would all delete material showing a child describe intimate acts of a sexual nature.

    Google are a disgrace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are, yes.

      I can’t count the number of videos I’ve reported, and only a relatively small proportion of them have been blocked or removed altogether. This shouldn’t even be a question: videos featuring small children talking about the most intimate details of sexual abuse, even if they were force to do so, should not be allowed to remain online. Full stop.

      Like

Comments are closed.