Penticton Herald, Feb. 10, 2000, p. A3
by Maurice Smith

Internet Hatred
Klatt's web site clean
by Penticton Herald Staff

A special prosecutor has decided there is not enough evidence to charge a former Oliver Internet service provider for allegedly spreading hate on the Internet.

Bernard Klatt, operator of the Fairview Technology Centre, had been under investigation since a complaint was launched in 1998.  The site is no longer in operation. [FTCNET.COM continues to be a operational domain, but no longer hosts customer web sites]

Myron Claridge, senior Crown counsel with the criminal justice branch hate crime unit, said there was no evidence on the site "which was of a hate propaganda nature that would allow us to charge the provider."

He said there were linkages to secondary and tertiary sites where material that could be found to be hateful material under Canadian law was found.  But "there was no way we could link it directly to his site," he said. [this appears to directly contradict what BC Tel's legal counsel claims in the report sent to him in April 1998] "We would have to prove knowledge that he had it and prove willful promoting of the material."

Klatt said he was not surprised the charges couldn't stick.  "I knew all along they had no basis in fact or in law for even consideration of any charges," he said yesterday.

He compared holding him responsible for secondary links to holding a paper maker liable for whatever is printed on paper after its purchase.

"If you are in Internet service provider, you are basically in the business of selling digital ink and digital paper," he said.

"What Myron Claridge admitted was that there were second or third level links to some content outside the country that may have been considered as hateful materials under Canadian regulations, but it was never resident on any of our systems to our knowledge, and they knew that up front."

RCMP spokesman Corporal Grant Learned said the investigation involved both the RCMP hate crimes unit and investigators within the security intelligence section in Vancouver. [Security Intelligence Section ?! .. why? Were they the only investigative group that knew how to work a web browser?]

"We consulted with the experts in the industry, both police and private, to ensure we had exhausted every possible avenue," he said of the investigation. [translation: we really worked long and hard to try to please our bosses, the CJC, Bnai Brith, SWC, et al, but we failed them.]

He said police agree with the recommendations of Crown counsel, though he added the case may not be closed. [Never forgive.. never forget..]

"As the case presently exists, even though we are not pursuing charges, that does not mean that the door is closed.  New information could surface and it is always open for more investigation." [something for the Security Intelligence Section to keep busy with?..]

Klatt blamed Sol Littman of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre for making allegations that could never be substantiated.  Littman brought national attention to the issue in 1998 when he claimed the site made the town of Oliver the "hate capital of Canada," a term he later [half-heartedly] retracted.

"I wish someone would investigate why the provincial government spent two years worth of taxpayer resources funding for various investigative and administrative agencies investigating fraudulent claims by such an individual." Klatt said.

Claridge did say investigators may have missed some of the material allegedly posted earlier on the site, which intense media attention may have caused to be removed.  "When police investigated the site, some of the material described was not there." [maybe their informant fabricated allegations? maybe the info wasn't there at all?  maybe the investigators could have asked the ISP?]

He said part of the recommendations for changes to the law the province is recommending to Ottawa would require service providers to keep logs for up to three months. [logs?.. logs of WHAT?.. logs don't prove what content was resident on a server at a particular time.  Hundreds of websites are hacked on an ongoing basis.  If places like the FBI, NSA, NSI, Whitehouse, Microsoft and NASDAQ can't control the content on their own web servers, how are ISP's log files supposed to 'prove' anything? See a partial list of hacked websites.]

Earlier FTCNET media coverage
CBC Pre-Interview
CBC Radio Interview