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I Don't Speak German


Feb 1, 2021

This week, we finally get to the conclusion of our coverage of Tom Metzger (Part 1 here), which takes us on a journey through the early history of hate online.

Content Warnings.

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Intro links:

This Podcast Has Been Declared a Riot: https://this-podcast-has-been-declared-a-riot.simplecast.com/

Even More News, "Reddit and Robinhood for Rubes." https://evenmorenews.libsyn.com/reddit-and-robinhood-for-rubes-ep-132

Computer/Hacker History:

Livescience, "History of Computers, a Brief Timeline." https://www.livescience.com/20718-computer-history.html

Hackers: History of the Computer Revolutin, by Steven Levy. https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/hackers/9781449390259/

Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier, by Bruce Sterling (full text at Project Gutenberg). http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/101

Main Podcast Links:

1985.Cyberhate PDF: simson.net/ref/leaderles/1985.CyberHate.pdf

Chip Berlet, "When Hate Went Online," adapted from a talk given in 2001, Revised 7/4/2008. https://www.researchforprogress.us/topic/when-hate-went-online/

"While investigating the assassination of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg by neonazi White supremacists, the FBI began to unravel hate group telecommunications by tapping the modem telephone line of Robert Miles.

[...]

"The three earliest race hate BBS systems were: Info. International Network, Aryan Liberty Net, and White Aryan Resistance (W.A.R.) Net.

[...]

"Next to come online (in late 1984 or early 1985) was the White Aryan Resistance BBS in Fallbrook, California, under the auspices of Tom Metzger. Metzger announced the “W.A.R. Computer Terminal” in War ‘85, the newspaper of his White Aryan Resistance (Metzger, 1985). It originally ran on a Commodore 64 with a 300 bps modem (Sills, 1989). Today, most modems run at 56,000 bps, but back then, 300 bps was cutting-edge technology. According to Metzger, “Already White Aryan comrades of the North have destroyed the free speech blackout to our Canadian comrades” (Metzger, 1985). One of the first messages sent out by Metzger was directed at “any Aryan patriot in America who so desires” to arrange for local cable access channel broadcast of Metzger’s new cable TV program “The World as We See It,” later renamed “Race and Reason.” During this same period, there were over one dozen call-in telephone hot lines with recorded messages containing racist and antisemitic material."

Overthrow, April/May 1985.

"One of our correspondents made an interesting discovery last month. She found the telephone number for one of the bulletin board systems operated by American Nazis. With this number she
was able to log on and get the information that the media has lately been all bugeyed about. Now we are prepared to talk intelligently on the matter.

[...]

"Our point here is simply this: you computer hackers and phone phreaks that are reading this have the ability to uncover and analyze circumstances in ways that most people can't. Some of you have the ability to recognize touch tones by ear. A few can tell where their calls are going by the sounds they hear. And still others are able to get into more than a few major systems and find the interesting stuff almost immediately. There is a very definite need in this world for such intelligence. Every authority figure in existence would like to get a piece of your abilities but very few are deserving of them. Besides, who really enjoys selling out?"

Dark Contagion: "Bigotry and Violence Online." PC Computing, December 1989.

(see PDF for text)

Modern day:

Willamette Week, "Kyle Brewster, Convicted in 1988 Killing of Mulugeta Seraw, Fought at Jan. 6 Pro-Trump Rally in Salem" https://www.wweek.com/news/2021/01/17/kyle-brewster-convicted-in-1988-killing-of-mulugeta-seraw-fought-at-jan-6-pro-trump-rally-in-salem/

"Kyle Brewster, 51, was one of three racist skinheads who attacked a group of Ethiopian immigrants in Southeast Portland on Nov. 13, 1988. While Brewster fought with a 28-year-old airport bus driver named Mulugeta Seraw, his fellow white supremacist Ken Mieske repeatedly swung a baseball bat into Seraw's skull. Mieske kept hitting Seraw while Brewster, then 19, kicked him with steel-toed boots.

Mieske was convicted of murder and Brewster was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in Seraw's death. Released from prison in 2002, Brewster went back behind bars in 2008 for violating his parole by associating with members of the white supremacist group Volksfront. While finishing his term, Brewster was convicted of assaulting a prison guard.

[...]

"A WW correspondent says he observed Brewster brawling with leftist counterprotesters in a melee on the Capitol lawn. Brewster was also photographed donning a respirator mask and carrying a can of hornet- and wasp-killing pesticide, which he sprayed at left-wingers during the clash.

Amid the fighting, Brewster and at least three other right-wing brawlers allegedly tackled a single counterprotester and briefly beat that person."