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Oooooooo, this could have been written a few months ago on this Forum!
And it is headlined now on MSNBC

[ Fair Use: For Educational / Research Purposes Only ]


The Fight For The Soul of the Internet

NEW YORK, Feb. 24  In the recent wave of hack attacks that brought down Yahoo, e-Bay, Amazon and other big commercial sites, we have witnessed the opening battle of the first Internet war of the new century.

Who are the perpetrators and what are their motives?

The New York Post called them e-thugs, cyber-brats and high-tech hooligans. But as this click-and-mouse game continues, its clear that mainstream media are avoiding several crucial dimensions of the new wave of wired crime and its consequences.

BY IMPLYING THAT the hack attacks are the work of mere vandals, news organizations tacitly dismiss the possibility that these actions have any intended purpose. At this point, there are so few leads about the perpetrators and their motives, what makes the media and cyber-cops so sure that the perpetrators motive was high-tech hijinks?

2600: The Hacker Quarterly Web site, an outlet respected in that community, denies that hackers are even involved. Wired.com goes further, reporting privacy advocate Jim Warrens theory that the U.S. government staged the attacks to shore up its proposals for expanding government power to monitor electronic transmissions. What better way to prove the need for massively expanded government surveillance and create a frenzy of support for it? asks Warren. Its a disturbing coincidence that immediately after the Clinton administration declares war on cyber terrorism ... suddenly we have a continuous cascade of denial-of-service attacks on the highest-of-the high on the Internet.


Paranoid? Maybe. But actions produce reactions, and in some cases they can be worse than the crime that prompted it. It is not unknown for national security bureaucracies to exaggerate or invent threats to justify the expansion of their own power. Already, companies heavily invested in e-commerce are lobbying the government to do something  anything  to ensure the security of Internet sites. That, in turn, may lead to the passage of draconian laws that could create a dangerous but well-funded bureaucracy of ever more sophisticated and aggressive computer cops.

Will the Central Intelligence Agency morph into the Computer Intelligence Agency? Dont say it cant or wont happen here. Even if government intervention to prevent cyber-crime is restrained and surveillance limited, there is still a deeper conflict underway: the growing backlash against the hyper-commercialization of cyberspace, a medium that many hoped would be qualitatively different that the old media it will ultimately displace.


As dot.coms dominate the net, dot.com thinking dominates the media coverage. One doesnt have to support sabotage of specific sites  and I do not  to recognize that the Webs potential to be a rich, non-commercial informational and educational environment is being sabotaged every day by those who only care about their spreadsheets. It is, in the words of filmmaker Warrington Hudlin, a fight between capitalism and democracy.

Thats a form of hacking, too  hacking at our freedoms.

Those who have rushed to the defense of e-commerce uber alles  as President Clinton did at his recent cyber-security summit with corporate execs often dont link the dangers posed by hacking with the growing digital divide that is fast creating two nations  one richly endowed with information and the tools to use it and the other shut out of the information revolution. Resentments are growing against a culture in which everyone wants to be a millionaire. And with the nation obsessed with dot.com values, alternative voices are increasingly harder to hear.


Whether vandals, or hactivists will ultimately be held responsible for the recent spate of attacks, a larger Net war may be on the horizon. The Guardian recently reported on a new Pentagon-commissioned study predicting more online conflict, citing a recent Rand Institute study that says the information revolution is shifting power away from nation states towards new non-governmental alliances and networks of civil organizations.

Net war refers to information-related conflict at a grand level between nation or societies, says John Arquilla, one of the Rand reports authors. It means trying to disrupt or damage what a target population knows, or thinks it knows, about itself and the world around it. A social Net war may focus on changing public or elite opinion, or both ... It may involve diplomacy, propaganda and psychological campaigns, battles for public opinion and for media access and coverage.

[ Wow! Does this sound / look / feel familiar or what ?!? ]


Arquillas theory suggests governments will be paying closer attention the activist dot.orgs of the Web  non-profit, non-governmental sites many of which are buzzing with calls for organizing against the status quo, challenging governments and corporations alike. It is well known that much of the organizing for the anti-WTO protests in Seattle was done in online chat rooms and list servs. Media activists offered their own coverage of the battle in Seattle, with sites like Indymedia.org,which brought images of police abuse to a global audience. E-mail on the net is now a megaphone for activism everywhere.


The lesson here: major media must shift from looking up at those in power to looking down at those in pain.

Many of these pro-active dot.orgs are still almost invisible on the U.S. media radar screen until something erupts, like the the WTO protests that neither the authorities planned for nor the world of TV news expected. The lesson here: major media must shift from looking up at those in power to looking down at those in pain. Increasingly voices from all over the world are getting access to the web and a new platform. They need to be listened to.

Yet there is little evidence that the dot.com world  and the fawning press that publicizes its every quarterly earnings report  care one whit about non-commercial sites or the democratic potential of the Internet.

Lets hope that all the journalists who are busy hyping the Internet gold rush in their ad-flush trade magazines will start taking a deeper look at these trends. Instead of focusing on profits and stock projections, news media should start reporting on those who use the Internet to empower individuals, expand knowledge and deepen democratic discourse.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 24, 2000


Boy we can testify to the truth in that article! We've watched it happen ...

Freedom lovers, unite! The Dollar is NOT the most important thing in life!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 24, 2000.

I look at the recent hack-attack like the striking of Pearl Harbor-- if the feds weren't doing it, share blame for idly watching the hits. How else could they give 4 day warnings to bankers? Soi why didn't they warn everyone, or --hey, try this on--prevent?the attacks? Clearly they were getting SOMETHING out of it, like they got something out of staying silent while our fathers and brothers were slain in Pearl Harbor.

-- Hokie (Hokie_@hotmail.com), February 24, 2000.

A&L--Great find. Hard to imagine a corporation allowed someone to write that and they hung it out for all to read. Fascinating.

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), February 24, 2000.

Looks like our tinfoil hats are becoming mainstream and fashionable wear ;^)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 24, 2000.

Thank you for the post A&L. Much appreciated. =)

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), February 25, 2000.

It would not be the first time the gov. staged such coup on the internet. For years it's been going on, and in the early '90's when this administration started threatening the net the Blue Ribbon Campaign formed, a grassroots campaign for freedom of speech on the internet. I urge everyone concerned above what the above article said to bookmark the Blue Ribbon site to keep informed.

What the government is doing is called Command and Control Warfare, as defined by the NSA Glossary of Terms Used in Security and Intrusion Detection

Anyone who's grown with the internet since the 1990 will tell you that the above article is not paranoia in the least bit.

-- Chris ($%#@!@pond.com), February 25, 2000.

Wow, very, very interesting. This is strange but my first thought when these "attacks" where happening was that it was all a cover for something. The very fact that the authorities kept saying "it may be very difficult to find the cyber vandals" jumped out at me. Usually, I would think that the objective of an announcement by the authorities would be to strike fear into the attackers making them worry with hopes that they'll make a mistake.

It's all fishy out there right now. Way too much power in the hands of far too few.

Nice to read you all again :-)



-- Mike Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), February 25, 2000.

Chris, it is good to hear from you on this, thank you; we know you're a "been there done that" Internet historical expert who's watched a lot ... and thanks for the Link! "Favorited" it.

Mike, yep, our minds are still blowing ... we shoulda be toughened to it by now, but it is such validation. From our first dawning shock at that "chumming" thread, and E Coli's writing, thru this whole ordeal, and all the lessons percolating thru our consciousness as a result -- and watching this exact debacle occur on a micro level with the Forum. Hhhhmmmm.

To resist such an evil force would require a group of passionate ppl with tremendous solidarity and Light and love, who were willing to energetically and peacefully overcome all obstacles while respecting one another thru differences.

Y2K gave us all a united cause of prep anticipation, surreal survival, and timely motivation. A deeper passion than saving one's own hide would be necessary to overcome the insidious nefarious plotting that is outted in the article, and has been displayed so repeated in the spam spam spam spam spam spam and flaming attacks on the Forum.

Man has not evolved to this level of unity with higher forces of good yet. Unfortunately. So the freedom of the little guy, to assemble and enjoy airing of opinions and concerns, news analysis, humor, poetry, and comradery, and debate, is threatened and overwhelmed by the TPTB with their own turf-protecting, controlling agenda.

What really stuck us was: " ... governments will be paying closer attention the activist dot.orgs of the Web  non-profit, non-governmental sites many of which are buzzing with calls for organizing against the status quo, challenging governments and corporations alike ... "

Y2K was a spontaneous gathering on many Forums 'n ListServs and grassroots neighborhood meetings, churches, civic groups, to address the potential disruption of goods and services. Obviously those currently controlling the status quo were alarmed and felt threatened and hired PR firms, psychologists, etc to quell the "uprising."

Thank God for the Doomers who instilled enough of a sense of urgency that TPTB *also* got on the ball, to protect their domain and interests, and hit the remediation / jerryrigging / stem-it-somehow circuit on the software level.

What a continuing education it's been. We're very sad to see the wild west free-for-all freedom come to an end, on the micro and macro level, because of the unleashed evil forces that the above article describes, and that were cognized and discussed heatedly and displayed evident on this Forum for many many months in 1998 and 1999 (and even more viciously in 2000).

At least we got to see the potential before the Internet was "tamed."

This world simply is not evolved enough to support freedom. Freedom takes hard work, cooperation, love, respect, working together. Disgusting that TPTB have found ways to haggle ppl asunder.

The rishis are right -- evolution is way tooooooo s-l-o-w on this planet ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 25, 2000.

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