Rage Against the Machine fans censored

Issue 

According to a report in the September 15 Los Angeles Times, the politically charged rock band Rage Against the Machine had the bulletin board service on its official web site closed after fans made postings — including one reportedly threatening President Bush — in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Infopop, a Seattle-based internet company, cut its hosting service to the band's message board after being contacted by the US Secret Service, according to the company's president, Michael Moore. The agents claimed one posting has "something in the order of 'kill Bush' in it".

Rage Against the Machine's music has long reflected the band members' strong political views, which veer toward socialism and rail against capitalistic excesses, US foreign policies and the military-industrial complex. The band's web site (<http://www.ratm.com>) has more text devoted to politics than to music, and its bulletin board has sought to rally fans to action.

The band's guitarist, Tom Morello, told the LA Times that the message board "always [has] spirited and very intelligent debate about a wide variety of topics". The band's main web site remained online and contained an essay by Morello expressing condolences to the victims' families and friends.

Morello said while the loss of the bulletin board was not due to a direct government order, it suggests that personal freedoms are in danger.

The RATM web site carried the following message:

"The official RATM message board has been temporarily closed. We thank Infopop for their generosity during the past year.

"Unfortunately some news agencies have reported that Infopop pulled the hosting due to 'anti-American posts', which is simply not true.

"Infopop pulled the message board due to difficulties they faced when governmental authorities contacted them regarding violent threats that appeared on the BBS.

"RATM nor Infopop would never support threats of violence, and we here at RATM.com fully understand and agree with Infopop's decision to release themselves from this huge liability of hosting the BBS.

"We are endeavouring to correct the situation and get your free exchange of information and ideas up and running as soon as possible.

"Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to all the people and their families affected by the attacks on Tuesday. The loss of innocent life is just terrible, and our thoughts go out to all of you who personally may have had friends or family killed or injured in the tragedy.

"The pain felt across the country demonstrates the lesson of [September 11's] events: that the taking of innocent life is devastating to a society and is terribly wrong.

"On [September 11], the victims were American. But the horrible scenes that we've witnessed on TV are regular occurrences in other places around the globe. And too often, violence like this has been meted out by our own country and its client states.

"We should stand together against this type of violence in all its forms, whenever it happens, whether it's done in the name of religious fanaticism, or in the name of our own domestic elite.

"Our best wishes go out to all of you. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

"Peace, Tom Morello.

"P.S. Please donate to the American Red Cross/International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent."

Reading Green Left online is free but producing it isn't

Green Left aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. We rely on regular support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get Green Left in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the paper delivered to your door.