[iwar] news

From: Fred Cohen (fc@all.net)
Date: 2001-06-21 07:16:33

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Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 07:16:33 -0700 (PDT)
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Cyber war declared on World Bank

Special report: globalisation

John Vidal and Charlotte Denny

Wednesday June 20, 2001

Protesters threatened last night to use "cyber sit-ins" to derail a
high-profile development conference organised by the World Bank, after
the Washington-based body announced it would hold the conference online
to avoid demonstrations. 

The bank is the latest casualty of the increasingly violent climate
surrounding international summits since protesters disrupted global
trade talks in Seattle at the end of 1999.  It decided to hold its
annual conference on development economics on the internet after
thousands of protesters threatened to descend next week on Barcelona,
the original venue. 

But the emerging anti-globalisation protest movement warned that a
virtual conference was just a vulnerable as a live gathering. 

"One skilled IT protester could easily crash the whole event.  It may be
seen as a challenge to scupper the conference", said one
protester/hacker who specialises in IT protests. 

Cyber-protest is a well-developed tool of protest groups who use
computers to exchange information, organise demonstrations and bombard
political leaders with demands.  Greenpeace has more than 100,000
supporters prepared to use their computers as a protest weapon and
claims numerous successes persuading corporations to change policies
after subjecting them to a barrage of email. 

"If the bank wants contributions to this conference from around the
world then they could regret this," said Roger Higman of Friends of the
Earth.  Earlier this year the pressure group brought down the White
House website several times with more than 100,000 people protesting
against President Bush's stance on climate change. 

The bank admitted that the internet conference could also be besieged by
groups opposed to its economic prescriptions for third world economies. 
The sessions will be interactive, allowing participants to email
questions to the speakers, but also providing an opportunity for
protesters to attack. 

"We've taken reasonable precautions but if there is a major effort to
close us down, I can't promise that the computers will hold up," said a
bank spokesman. 

If the protesters succeed in disrupting the conference, "that will
reflect badly on them and their attitude towards free speech and freedom
of discussion," he added.  The topic of the conference is Globalisation,
Poverty and Wealth. 

Globalise Resistance, a socialist group which intends to take thousands
of people to Genoa for next month's G8 meeting, said: "We can still
party in Barcelona and have more fun than if we were in front of
computer screens.  They can run, but they cannot hide."

The bank's annual meeting in Prague last September was surrounded by
thousands of protesters who battled with the police. 

Explaining the decision to abandon the Barcelona event, a World Bank
spokeswoman, Caroline Anstey, said: "A conference on poverty reduction
should take place in a peaceful atmosphere free from heckling, violence
and intimidation."

Source: The Guardian (UK)



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