heretical.com and its discontents.
The US and the UK have incompatible perspectives concerning the ownership and distribution of web pages and comic books. The "Heretical Two" are a case in point.
A few words of caution. None of the links in this essay will cause harm to your computer. But some of these links contain content that may be illegal in your country or forbidden at your school, workplace or internet access point. Critics have said some of these links contain content that is factually in error, cruel, and inciting of hatred and violence.
Simon Sheppard is the owner of heretical.com
. Stephen Whittle has written for heretical.com
. Sheppard and Whittle are citizens of the United Kingdom, while heretical.com
is located in the United States. The content of heretical.com
is illegal in the UK (as 'rate hate') where the authors and editors reside. The same content is not illegal in the US, where the content resides. The content of heretical.com
is online right now, while the authors and editors are in prison.
is a comic book artist. Among his work is a page from Zap Comics titled Niggers Over America
. Crumb described the piece in an interview
for the New Yorker
by saying "I just had to expose all the myths people have of blacks and Jews in the rawest way possible to tilt the scale toward truth." In the UK, Sheppard and Whittle were found guilty
of race hate for publishing Niggers Over America
. In the US, Niggers Over America
in the David Zwerner Gallery (New York) as high art.
The Internet Archive
is located in San Francisco. About
: "Open and free access to literature and other writings has long been considered essential to education and to the maintenance of an open society." The US-based Internet Archive includes a comic book called Tales of the Holohoax
. Sheppard and Whittle were found guilty
of race hate for the possession of and distribution of this same comic book.
Sheppard and Whittle fled to the United States when charged and applied for political asylum. They claimed that their content was protected as free speech under the United States Constitution because heretical.com
was located in the United States. Their application was denied and they were extradited back to the United Kingdom.
Index on Censorship
describes itself as "Britain’s leading organisation promoting freedom of expression." Index on Censorship
includes information on Sheppard
. Threatened Voices
(based in the Netherlands) describes itself as "a collaborative mapping project to build a database of bloggers who have been threatened, arrested or killed for speaking out online and to draw attention to the campaigns to free them." Threatened Voices
includes information on Sheppard
. While the content of heretical.com
is protected as free speech by United States law, the main free speech advocate groups based in the United States
have not supported Sheppard and Whittle.
The Heretical Two have received some support from online authors. Some of their support comes from advocates of free speech, such as that offered by Free the Heretical Two
and The Spearhead
. Some of their support comes from advocates of holocaust revisionism, such as the support offered by Northwest Nationalists
and The International Campaign for Real History
. Some of their support might be some of each, such as the support offered by Cosmodromium
and the Hoover Hog
. A quote
from the Hog: "If you would like to know what criminal speech sounds like, Sheppard and Whittle's words still pulsate with harmful potential on the Heretical website. Perhaps you will be offended, or bemused, or provoked, or simply bored. It doesn't much matter at this point. The law has spoken. Two writers have been imprisoned for expressing thoughts and we should breathe easier. Persecution is just a noisy watchword anyway. Free speech is about Henry Miller and Lenny Bruce and Salman Rushdie and those Muhammad cartoons. It is important to understand the difference."
For the crime of for race hate, Sheppard has been sentenced to four years and ten months, Whittle to two years and four months. Sheppard's computer and printing equipment have been impounded.