cj#699> Hello again (:>)


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

For seven days the CPSR listserv ceased functioning, halting traffic on
cyberjournal and cyber-rights.  Still haven't heard what happened - traffic
simply started up Thursday as mysteriously as it stopped.

Since this mystery closure came at just about the same time that IGC (a
progressive-causes ISP) was being mail-bombed and forced to close down a
Basque discussion group, I had fears that something similar might have
happened to CPSR.  Seems doubtful now, but still no info.

A couple things were clarified for me: (1) cyberjournal is important to me
(measured by sense of loss when it wasn't there); (2) the net is very

Recall, a few years back, when some hacker caused general disruption to the
net - how the feds rushed in and arrested the guy?  I'm not aware of any
overt government concern re/ the IGC raid.  If the raid had been against a
corporate system (McDonalds, Coke, Chase-Manhattan, whatever), I wonder
what the response would have been.

The report below reaches an extreme conclusion: "Clearly, a covert
government operation was behind the shutdown of an Internet web site that
supported Basque
independence in Spain and France."  I don't think, from what I've seen,
that the evidence is that clear, but I don't dismiss the theory either.

Phil Agre posted the following view:
        "I also think there's a larger unwritten story -- unwritten as far
        as I know -- about a much broader range of attacks aimed at shutting
        down specific types of political speech.  Many of these attacks are
        instances of a game that I identified in TNO a while back -- posting
        large amounts of inflammatory or irrelevant material and then crying
        censorship when the moderator tries to do something about it.  The IGC
        case makes for a cleaner story because the attack is more

The net is a potential threat to the establishment media's mind-control of
the population, and I keep wondering what they're going to do about it.
The net has become too essential to everyone for the plug to just be
pulled, but in a climate of serious political activism, it would simply be
too potent, in its current form, to be tolerated.

The chronic demonization campaign (net as home of terrorists, evil hackers,
and pedophiles) continues in the background to justify in the public mind
whatever measures are eventually taken,  overt or covert.


BTW> Many thanks to Al Waley and his crew who maintain our server on a
volunteer basis, and who solved this latest problem, whatever it was.

From: •••@••.•••
To: "Workers World News Service" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: World Wide Censorship
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the August 7, 1997
issue of Workers World newspaper


Clearly, a covert government operation was behind the
shutdown of an Internet web site that supported Basque
independence in Spain and France. On July 18, the Institute
for Global Communications-Peacenet in San Francisco shut
down a World Wide Web site maintained by the Euskal Herria
Journal, a New York-based publication supporting Basque
independence. The site included sections on the ETA, a
liberation movement whose initials stand for "Basque
Homeland and Freedom" in the Basque language.

The Basques have been subjected to a dirty war of
repression and death squads for decades. On July 27, tens of
thousands of Basques demonstrated in San Sebastian, Spain,
in a popular show of support for the independence movement.

The average person using the Internet wouldn't know how to
"bombard" a web site heavily enough to cause a disruption.
Skilled computer workers have no interest in bringing down a
web site that disseminates political information. It all
points directly to secret police intervention. It also shows
how the "electronic superhighway" is not really free from
government interference and censorship.

The attacks on the Basque site were supposedly opposing
"terrorism." The attackers identified themselves as being
peace activists. But, in the July 26 Irish People newspaper,
writer Eugene McElroy wrote: "Sound familiar? To any Irish
activist, it should." Irish Republican web operations have
also been subjected to various kinds of attacks

McElroy reported: "This kind of `peace movement' calls on
everyone to `cooperate with the police' but neglects police
and army brutality. In the case of the Basques, the very
week [of the electronic sabotage of the web site] the former
Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez admitted in the New
York Times on July 17 that his government authorized secret
death squads against ETA."

What's next? Will the CIA-conjured "peace people" take
some real or imagined tragedy as an excuse to sabotage web
sites supporting Cuba? Or web sites for political prisoners
like Mumia-Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier?

Rather than buckling under, Audrie Krause, director of
NetAction in San Francisco, urged the Internet community to
"mirror" the Basque site so that it would be available not
at one place but at hundreds--too many to close down.

IGC-Peacenet should restore the Basque web site. And
there's no reason for it to have replaced the Basque site
with its own message about why the site was closed that
includes attacks on the ETA. It can offer links to alternate
Basque ETA sites, particularly mirror sites as suggested by

In addition, IGC should immediately retract the statement
that it made to the New York Times (July 28) that it was
considering permanently shutting the Basque site because it
had pro-ETA information. That's a violation of IGC's
declared independence and a capitulation to censorship.

IGC-Peacenet said that it was closing the site because the
electronic bombardment was inconveniencing its members and
slowing down their e-mail system. But surely IGC can explain
to its members the reason for the problem. Wouldn't members
of the IGC-Peacenet network--who use that system because of
its progressive resources--be willing to put up with some
inconvenience to support free speech rights?

In fact, the whole Internet community could be organized
to rally support for IGC if it took a stand. It could set an
example of how to fight repression and censorship on the
Internet and put a stop to this kind of attack.

                         - END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint
granted if source is cited. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
•••@••.•••. For subscription info send message to:
•••@••.•••. Web: http://workers.org)