The politically charged rock band Rage Against the Machine had the bulletin board service on its official Web site yanked Friday after fans made inflammatory postings--including one reportedly threatening President Bush--in response to this week's terrorist attacks.
Infopop, a Seattle-based Internet company, cut off its hosting service to the band's message board after being contacted by the Secret Service, according to the company's president, Michael Moore. He said agents inquired about one posting that has "something in the order of 'kill Bush' in it."
Moore added that the Secret Service scrutiny was prompted by a report filed by an alarmed user of the message board. A call to the Secret Service did not yield confirmation of its reported involvement.
Rage Against the Machine's music has long reflected the band members' strong political views, which veer toward socialism and rail against capitalistic excesses, U.S. foreign policies and the military-industrial complex. The band's Web site (http://www.ratm.com) has far more text devoted to politics than music, and its bulletin board has sought to rally fans to action. The band's guitarist, Tom Morello, said Friday that despite any excessive postings by fans, the message board "always [has] spirited and very intelligent debate about a wide variety of topics." The band's Web site, meanwhile, remained online and contained an essay by Morello expressing condolences to the victims' families and friends.
Morello, a Harvard graduate who once worked for the late California Democratic Sen. Alan Cranston, said while the loss of the bulletin board was not due to a government order, it may suggest the chilling of personal freedoms in the months to come. "The first of many civil liberties to go by the wayside," he said. "But we'll get it back up."