This was posted By John Simkin on the Spartacus, education forum site. It was posted on this thread which was started by a former editor of wikipedia.
http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index ... entry85580
Daniel, you might be interested in this story. A couple of days ago I had an email from a Wikipedia administrator.
Spartacus is about to be deemed an “unreliable” source of information for use in Wikipedia. It has been accused of “left wing” bias and being “propagandistic.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... d_decision
Those who want it banned are ready to strip any reference to Spartacus. There doesn’t appear to be a reasoned decision for this except that it carries sources of information that some of the administrators don’t like regarding the Kennedy assassination.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia: ... view.3F.22
I have now discovered that the Wikipedia administrator who sent me the warning email is a trial attorney in Honolulu and for the last 35 years has engaged in trial work in commercial fraud, racketeering, and civil conspiracy both in Honolulu and in California where he is also licensed. As a result of his support for me he is almost certain to lose his post as a Wikipedia administrator.
I then posted this on the Wikipedia page discussing Spartacus:
Statement from John Simkin
I am the author of the Spartacus Educational website. It was started in September 1997. The main objective was to provide a free encyclopaedia. I believe this was a similar intention behind the creation of Wikipedia. Like Wikipedia, Spartacus has resisted all attempts to become a “subscription only” service. I was attracted to the idea of creating a website because I saw the possibility of breaking the stranglehold of the rich and powerful over the communications system. It was hoped that when Jimmy Wales started Wikipedia in 2001, he shared this vision. In an interview he gave to Slashdot he said "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." (2004-07-28) However, it seems that Wikipedia is now being used to support the “official interpretation” of the past as reflected in the mainstream media.
At the time I created the Spartacus Educational website, I was a history teacher (11-18 year olds) in England. I was also a prolific writer of history books for students. As I still held the copyright for my books, I decided to put them on the web free of charge. Students, from all over the world, were therefore being provided with free teaching materials. This is especially useful for students in the Third World who do not have the money to purchase textbooks or to those who study in countries where the authorities use the political system to control the information they receive. On average, we get 6 million page impressions a month. A survey carried out by the Fischer Family Trust showed that the Spartacus Educational website was used by more history students in the UK than any other website, including that of the BBC. As you can see, I am a very dangerous person.
According to this page “three of the arbitrators deem Spartacus as "unreliable" and dedicated to a "propagandistic point of view." It goes on to say: “The complaining editors want defending editor RPJ banned from Wikipedia for, among other things, citing Spartacus.”
It seems strange that the arbitrators want to “ban” someone for citing a source of information because it apparently puts forward a “"propagandistic point of view". In fact, if these arbitrators spent just a short period of time on my website they would soon discover that one of my main themes is to expose propaganda from wherever it comes. See for example, my section on the communist government in the Soviet Union:
I especially recommend those pages on Socialist Realism, NKVD Secret Police, Soviet Writers' Union and banned writers such as Yevgeni Zamyatin, Isaac Babel, Boris Pilnyak, Nickolai Tikhonov, Mikhail Slonimski, Vsevolod Ivanov, Victor Serge, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sergei Yesenin, Konstantin Fedin, Victor Shklovsky, Mikhail Zoshchenko and Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The arbitrators seem more interested in my pages on American history. After looking at my pages on “Barry Goldwater, Harry Truman, and a few other historical figures” it is concluded that I “have, what an American might believe, is a foreign viewpoint of modern American history which might seem stark, candid, and non-deferential”. I have to confess that I am indeed “candid and non-deferential”. However, that is not only true of my pages on American historical figures. I take the same approach with historical figures from all countries, not just those from the United States.
The debate about me being a reliable source is apparently based on my pages on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. That I am guilty of putting forward a "propagandistic point of view." This seems to completely misunderstand the contents of my encyclopaedia. The website was created to support the teaching of history in the UK. One of the aspects of the history curriculum in the UK is to teach “interpretations”. That is to say, we teach our students that people interpret the past in different ways. There are several factors involved in this process - this includes the political beliefs of the person creating the “interpretation”. Nationalistic factors are also important, hence the reasons why arbitrators at Wikipedia based in the United States have taken offence at my “candid and non-deferential” interpretations of American political figures.
Educators in the UK have tried to deal with this problem by rejecting the idea that it is possible to create a “standardized, neutral, objective” interpretation of the past of the type favoured by the Soviet Union under Stalin and Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. Instead, history teachers in the UK attempt to arm its students with the skills needed to deal with issues like subjectivity and propaganda. Therefore, when we teach any historical subjects, we expose our students to different interpretations of the past. We also provide them with the sources of evidence that these historians use to support their interpretation of the past. This is true whether you are studying Barry Goldwater, Harry Truman, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin or the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This is reflected by my encyclopaedia. Therefore on most pages you will get examples of different interpretations of that subject. It seems that the Wikipedia arbitrators, who dislike my website, have concentrated on those interpretations they disagree with.
I suspect that attempts to get my links banned from Wikipedia has very little to do with my page on Lee Harvey Oswald. It has more to do with my pages on people like George H. W. Bush, Luis Posada Carriles, Orlando Bosch, Robert Gates, that have links to my site from Wikipedia. This is a debate about people who are still alive. It is a debate about the present and not the past. When Wikipedia arbitrators talk about the need to produce “neutral and objective” entries, they are really concerned about the provision of a standardized view of the past. They are the modern Stalins and Hitlers who believe that the state should determine the way we see the world. Before I edited it, the Wikipedia entry for the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird described it as an “urban myth”. In fact, the CIA is still attempting to control the world’s mass media and that includes the internet. It is only to be expected that today’s struggle over how we interpret the past and the present is taking place at Wikipedia.
I am very interested to know something about the people who accuse me of producing propaganda. We always teach our history students that it is important to explore the background of the people creating these “interpretations”. That is why, in my encyclopedia I provide a link to a page on the person who has created the material. I also provide a link to my own biography:
Maybe my accusers at Wikipedia should provide also provide biographies that provides us some information about their experience of studying or teaching history.
I expect that this entry will soon be deleted so I have also posted it on the International Education Forum. Maybe the Wikipedia arbitrators would like to join the forum so they can post a defence of their views.
http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index ... topic=8861
It was of course deleted straight away.