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Judge slams anti-abortion site

A federal judge orders anti-abortion activists to stop contributing to the Nuremberg Files, while the site has once again been shut down by its service provider.

A federal judge has ordered anti-abortion activists to stop contributing to the Nuremberg Files, while the site has once again been shut down by its service provider.

The Nuremberg Files lists contact information for more than 200 doctors and workers from abortion clinics around the country and calls for the "baby butchers" to be "brought to justice." Some of the names were crossed out after doctors were murdered by abortion foes.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting a group of abortion foes from distributing "wanted" posters that list abortion providers' personal information and redistributing the data on the Nuremberg Files or any similar site.

But the Nuremberg Files already may be out of business--at least in the United States. As first reported by CNET News.com yesterday, Plebeian System, an upstart Web hosting company in Cincinnati, cut off the Nuremberg Files after its T-1 provider, OneNet Communications, threatened to discontinue Plebeian's service unless it halted access to the controversial site's home: "www.christiangallery.com."

In a significant move, Jones drew a direct connection between anti-abortion speech and violent acts. He described the posters and site as a "true threat to bodily harm, assault, or kill one or more of the defendants."

He concluded: "I totally reject the defendants' attempts to justify their actions as an expression of opinion or as a legitimate and lawful exercise of free speech in order to dissuade the plaintiffs from engaging in providing abortion services."

The judge's order follows a federal jury's finding that anti-abortion activists are liable for "threatening" doctors by distributing "wanted" posters that listed abortion providers' names and were mirrored on the Net.

Ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood, the jury ordered the defendants--who were members of the American Coalition of Life Activists and Advocates for Life Ministries--to pay more than $107 million in damages to abortion clinics and doctors.

"The order from Judge Jones is a tremendous victory for the safety of abortion providers--a victory against terrorism," Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement. "We will do whatever we can to make sure this injunction is enforced. "

The defendants in the case maintain that paper "wanted" posters and Net sites such as the Nuremberg Files were created in case doctors one day can be put on trial for "crimes against humanity." They vowed to appeal the ruling.

For its part, since yesterday, the site has been down, replaced by the message: "This Web site is down due to circumstances beyond our control."

Chris Wagner, founder of Plebeian, told CNET News.com: "Our upstream provider forced us to take it down. They were getting too much heat and email. It kind of sounds like they were blackmailed into it."

OneNet provides Web services to more than 10,000 clients, including Toyota and Procter & Gamble. The company confirmed yesterday that it asked Plebeian to remove the site following complaints about the Nuremberg Files.

Rodney Sizemore, director of operations for OneNet, said that according to the firm's "acceptable use" policy, illegal or harassing material is not permitted on its network.

OneNet's public public terms of service agreement doesn't state anything about it prohibiting "threatenting" content. Still, Sizemore contends the language is part of OneNet's agreement with its T-1 clients.

Although the Nuremberg Files' creator, Neal Horsley, was not a defendant in the case, his site was highlighted as a "hit list" and prime example of anti-abortion rhetoric that allegedly incites violence against doctors and clinic workers.

Soon after the verdict, the Nuremberg Files felt the aftershocks of its new notoriety when MindSpring Enterprises, its original Web host, shut the site down.

The Portland ruling pitted privacy- and abortion-rights supporters against their own free-speech camp. And like debates over hate speech, First Amendment advocates have warned that it sets a dangerous precedent when ISPs police Net content and weed out unpopular speech by shutting sites down.

At least one free-speech watchdog, Karin Spaink, a pro-abortion writer based in Amsterdam, protested the action taken toward Nuremberg Files recently by resurrecting the site overseas.

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