Narco News to Banamex Web
"Please DON'T Censor
Our Adversary's Web Site"
Jared Stauffer, CEO, Brinkster.com
Internet Service Provider for Banamex/Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer
& Feld, LLP
217 First St
Jersey City, NJ 07302
January 13, 2001
Please DON'T censor our adversary's web site
This communiqué is posted online at http://www.narconews.com/drugwarontrial4.html
As part of an effort of censorship and
harassment by the banker Roberto Hernández Ramírez,
his bank, Banamex, and the lawyer-lobbyist firm that he hired
to sue and harass online and newspaper journalists, you have
been contracted by Banamex and/or Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer
& Feld to publish a web site at this address:
(NOTE: THIS WEB ADDRESS,
HOURS AFTER WE SENT THIS LETTER, WAS TAKEN DOWN. SEEK ALTERNATE
ROUTES TO THE INFORMATION: http://www.narconews.com/narcolawsuit.html )
The web site, on your server, contains
"Banco Nacional de
Mexico, S.A. ('Banamex') has filed suit against 1) Mario Renato
Mendendez Rodriguez, 2) Al Giordano and 3) The Narco News Bulletin.
That case is currently pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York. Banamex has set
up this web page as a means to deliver important documents relating
to the the lawsuit to the defendants in the case. Clicking on
the links below will display the documents and permit the user
to save them, if desired."
I am writing to kindly ask that you NOT
censor this web site that has been placed by our litigious adversaries.
At Narco News, we believe that sunlight
is the best disinfectant.
Since April 18, 2000, we have published
hundreds of news stories that reveal the facts about the present-day
atrocity that is the US-imposed War on Drugs in Latin America.
These journalistic reports can be found at http://www.narconews.com
The web site that you have been contracted
to provide includes the text of a lawsuit filed against Mexican
and US journalists.
They are suing us because we reported
the facts and told the truth about government-protected drug
trafficking throughout América, including some stories
about those in government and media who protected that activity
on the coastal Caribbean properties of Mr. Hernández,
owner of Banamex.
Today, we have placed a link from our
web site to the site on your server so that all our readers across
the world may read the false and unsubstantiated charges filed
against us by Banamex through its lawyer-lobbyist firm Akin Gump.
The lawsuit speaks for itself. One need
only read its hostile tone and its lack of facts to back its
most serious allegations to see, clearly, that they have no real
case. This lawsuit is a classic SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuit
Against Public Participation), and its perpetrators are already
beginning to feel the consequences of their own censorious and
immoral actions against us.
The lawsuit makes some allegations that
would be actionable as libel if the Plaintiffs or their lawyers
stated them anywhere outside of the protected realm of a court
proceeding (thus, they have not repeated these knowingly false
and malicious allegations in their statements to the press).
But we believe, as First Amendment advocates before us have said,
that THE ONLY SOLUTION TO HARMFUL SPEECH IS MORE SPEECH.
Your new clients do not share our commitment
to free speech. Here is a case in point that, as an Internet
Service Provider, ought to concern you deeply:
Last month, Mr. Tom McLish of Akin Gump
sent a threatening letter to our Internet Service Provider, Voxel.net
in Troy, New York, seeking to intimidate them into censoring
our web publication. The good people at www.voxel.net
, instead of running scared and taking our site down, told the
Metroland newspaper of Albany that Narco News is providing "a
public service," and that Voxel.net will not censor us.
You may read that report at:
You may also read a Village Voice story
that reports on Akin Gump's harassment activities against online
freedom of speech at:
And you may read a free speech scholar's
analysis of our case at:
We don't seek to win our battle for free
speech through censorship. To the contrary, we write today to
ask you NOT to censor the Banamex-Akin Gump web site - even if
and when they ask you to take it down.
All the documents on that web site are
public documents, property of the US courts, and thus, the American
people. There is no copyright upon them. They are now part of
the public record. Having filed them in a court of law, Banamex
and Akin Gump have lost all claim of ownership on those words
(indeed, the most truthful words in that complaint were taken
from Narco News, and we thank them for providing more readers
for the facts and truth we publish, and for making these texts
available at yet another Internet site).
Thus, if Akin Gump or Banamex comes to
you - now that we have, once again, turned their bitter litigious
lemons into the sweet and refreshing lemonade of Free Expression
- and if they ask you to take the site down, we call upon you
to maintain the site as a historical archive of how huge companies
in the private sector try to use their money and power to censor
the Internet, the Press and Freedom of Expression.
Finally, we hope that your wealthy clients
paid you in advance for the web site, and that perhaps you can
find a worthy free speech organization like the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, the American
Civil Liberties Union, or another charity of your choice,
to support with the funds of those who, in bad faith and hostility
to freedom, seek to censor the Internet.
Thank you, Jared, for your time and consideration.
We wish you continued success.
For an Internet that stays proud and free,
From somewhere in a country called América,
May We Serve You
Another Lemonade, Attorneys?