With quotes of the best parts.
Before I get to the email, and further details of our phone call, let me take a couple of paragraphs to review the history, and to collect the relevant links together in case readers want context.
My last communication with John had been five weeks earlier in emails in which, as my readers may recall, he asked me to take down the n-category cafe archive, because if I'm going to stick someone's neck out it should be mine, and not his.
My readers and I discussed what's the right thing to do. The possibility of taking it down, having wikileaks host it, and linking to it, was suggested by a reader. Wikileaks didn't answer my one inquiry about doing that, and I didn't persue it. Another reader strongly felt the material should stay here on El Naschie Watch. I didn't reach a firm conclusion about what to do, but I really, really didn't want to pull the material.
That's the backstory. Now on to the recent communications.
On May 14 he emailed to ask again, saying
...taking material I have written and putting me in legal jeopardy by publicizing it is not fair, especially since I have requested you to take it down.
I wrote back, asking doubtfully whether he would be satisfied with my rehosting the material on, say, Wikileaks, and linking to it.
No, he would not. He was becoming miffed at this point, because he responded, in part,
I DON'T WANT TO HAVE THIS MATERIAL PUBLICLY AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.
(His allcaps.) I had some small hope we could come to an agreement that would satisfy both him and me when he wrote
I will make it publicly available again if and when I feel I'm not under threat of a lawsuit.
After all, if he would put the stuff back up, I'd be perfectly happy to take it down from this blog.
But he went on to say
I am appalled that you put them up there in the first place, and more appalled that you ignored my requests to take them down. If you are refusing to do, at least have the courage to say you're refusing.
I then called him on the phone. I said It's a shame we're in conflict on this when we agree on El Naschie. He assented, but was clearly annoyed and wasn't going to be placated in that manner. Also I opined that El Naschie's lawyers could hardly sue him for material that's no longer on his blog and over which he had no control. I said that everyone knows the usual sequence of events when legal bullies see something they don't like on the Internet is that their lawyers tell you to take it down, and if you do that's the end of the story. He had already done so. Hence no need to fear El Naschie's lawyers.
He wanted to know whether I was "refusing" to take the stuff down.
Let me try again, I thought. I reminded him that in his email he had said he would re-host the stuff at n-category cafe when and if it seemed safe to do so. So, I asked, what would have to happen for him to feel safe in doing that? Perhaps I could help in some way to effect what was necessary.
He went ballistic. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, but not much of one; his voice was trembling with rage. That was no business of mine. Only he had the right to decide when and whether it was safe.
The last sentence of the conversation was mine: "Well then of course I'm refusing to take the material down."
He then hung up on me.
I did my quick post on the call practically the moment I hung up. Between that post and this one, the substance of my communications with John are pretty well covered.
محمد النشائي All El Naschie All The Time محمد النشائي