Statement from NetAction (San Francisco, California)

Stefan Merten (merten@dfki.uni-kl.de)
Wed, 23 Jul 1997 11:44:44 +0200


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

Hi!

I'm quoting this from a post of E.W. Plawiuk, which s/he send to `-d'.

> I am forwrding IGC's complete statement about the effect of the ETA
> email bombing and how misplaced it was.

-- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< -- 8< --

Until July 18, 1997, this was the homepage of the Euskal Herria Journal, a Web site hosted by the Institute for Global Communications.

IGC was forced to suspend the site, as a result of a sustained campaign of e-mail "mailbombing", a large volume of repetitive email intended to make our computers unusable. It is only under protest that we suspend the Euskal Herria Journal site, so that we can continue to provide basic Internet services, like e-mail, for our nearly 13,000 subscribers. We call on organizations and individuals concerned about freedom of expression on the Internet to stand with us in protest of these tactics, and join the statement of support below.

The Institute for Global Communications is a 10-year old nonprofit organization that provides Web hosting, e-mail access and other Internet services primarily to activists working for peace, economic and social justice, human rights and environmental sustainability around the world.

IGC hosted a Web site for the Euskal Herria Journal, a New York-based organization supporting Basque independence in Spain and France, whose goal was to publish "information often ignored by the international media, and to build communication bridges for a better understanding of the conflict."

This month IGC has received a huge number of protest e-mail messages asking us to remove the Euskal Herria Journal site because of sections protestors say supported Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), the armed independence group that has committed widely denounced political violence in Spain. The site also contained articles on human rights, politics, language, and other Basque groups working for autonomy, as well as a collection of hyperlinks to sites with views opposing ETA.

Many, many messages to IGC were legitimate expressions of protest. We respect the people who wrote them and, as a humanitarian organization, we take their views into account.

For the last week, however, IGC's system has suffered from organized, malicious attacks designed not to communicate with us, but simply to bring our servers to a standstill. These "mailbombings", or a volume of repetitive e-mail intended to render our computers unusable, include:

[Editor's note: Recipes for mailbombing deleted - available on request]

This destructive campaign has overwhelmed our ability to keep our system running and we have made the difficult decision to suspend the Euskal Herria Journal Web site--under protest--so that we can continue to serve the many other individuals and organizations who depend on our services. While the site is suspended, we call on all those concerned that legal political speech can be forcibly censored by "mailbombing" attacks to protest the tactics used against us.

If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT

Statement from NetAction (San Francisco, California)

July 18, 1997

IGC is under attack by cyberspace vigilantes because the organization provided a forum for proponents of a controversial political viewpoint. This is precisely why free speech in cyberspace is so important. It's crucial that the Internet community demonstrate support for IGC by mirroring the site that prompted this unwarranted attack. The mailbombers need to know that vigilante censorship is just as unacceptable as government censorship.

Audrie Krause, Executive Director

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