Antiwar web site shut down

While the major US media outlets have readily complied with Pentagon requests not to show footage and pictures of captured or dead American soldiers, one US-based web site has been shut down by its Internet provider, VortechHosting.com, for showing the images.

YellowTimes.org, a six-month-old antiwar and media criticism site, first reported that it was temporarily shut down Sunday night for publishing “inappropriate graphic material.” After removing pictures of civilian Iraqi deaths and injuries, along with photos of the American POWs, the site was allowed to re-appear.

However, the site has since been closed down again, together with its email facilities. In a message to the site’s publisher Erich Marquardt, Vortech Hosting referred directly to the Pentagon-requested policy adopted by the major networks:

“As ‘NO’ TV station in the US is allowing any dead US solders or POWs to be displayed ... we will not either. We understand free press and all, but we don’t want someone’s family member to see them on some site. It is disrespectful, tacky & disgusting. No mother, brother, sister, wife or child should see their loved one plastered all over the net wounded or dead.”

Marquardt told the WSWS he did not believe that Vortech, a private company operating from Orlando, Florida, had acted under direct official pressure, because he had no evidence to suggest that was the case. Nevertheless, the site’s closure is a blatant violation of the constitutional right of free speech and a direct product of the government’s campaign of censorship.

VortechHosting is the second provider company to shut down YellowTimes. In February, another company claimed that the site was using too many of its resources, after the site published an article by Imad Khadduri, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist.

Khadduri, who was instrumental in Iraq’s nuclear weapons program in the 1980s and early 1990s, charged that allegations by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and others concerning the competence and progress of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program were baseless and untrue.