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Internet firm shuts down website showing beheading

May 14, 2004

A Malaysian-based internet company has shut down a website that posted a video of American civilian Nick Berg's beheading because it was drawing too much traffic.

A senior officer of the company, Acme Commerce Sdn Bhd, said on Thursday it was not aware of the site's content and that if it had known of the offensive material, it may have shut down the site anyway.

"We are a legitimate business, in no way related to al-Qaeda," said Alfred Lim, the firm's business manager. "We have no control over what our clients put on their websites."

The site,, was operated by a client who rented space on a Malaysian-based web server owned by Acme Commerce. Mr Lim said he was not immediately aware when the client began renting the space.

Mr Lim said Acme Commerce disabled the site on Thursday morning because it had attracted "a sudden surge of massive traffic that is taking up too much bandwidth and causing inconvenience to our other clients".

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The video, which was posted on the site on Tuesday, showed the slaying of an American captive Nick Berg, 26, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.

His body was found near a highway overpass in Baghdad on Saturday, the same day he was beheaded, a US official said.

Acme Commerce, which is based in a Kuala Lumpur suburb, has not yet investigated the site's content, but would "definitely not host this kind of website" again, Mr Lim said.

The company's policy was not to host sites that carried grisly, defamatory, obscene, gambling or potentially offensive material, he said.

He declined to identify the client who ran the website, saying the company - which claims to host 5000 sites for clients in more than 30 countries - wanted to consult its legal advisers on whether to make any further disclosures to the media.

The company had not contacted police so far about the site, and it was unclear what action Malaysian authorities might be able to take.