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[P]
"Cyber Sit-ins" = DoS Attacks?

By gyrfalcon in News
Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:48:32 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

It seems the World Bank is sick of protests and riots and decided to cancel the annual development conference in Barcelona. Instead they will be holding the conference online.  Greenpeace claims they have more than 100,000 supporters prepared to use their computers as a "protest weapons".  I'll refrain from comment other than to say having large organizations rather than individuals inciting DoS type attacks is disturbing.


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o World Bank
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"Cyber Sit-ins" = DoS Attacks? | 87 comments (76 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Well (3.54 / 22) (#1)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:17:26 PM EST

I sincerely hope they're correct, and I hope they do this. Then, I hope everyone involved is put in prison for conspiracy and the other appropriate charges and we can quit fucking hearing from them. They're barely one step up the ladder from the Earth Liberation Front people who go around blowing things up to "save the earth.," and if they want to sink to that level, they should be treated as what they will be - terrorists.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

I thought a DoS attack is when... (3.87 / 8) (#13)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:37:03 PM EST

...one dude programs one or more computers to send many requests as rapidly as the machine can send them. Then the dude leaves and goes to the beach or the mall. Well, no, he goes to the fridge for more cheetos.

But anyway, if one person sends one request to a site, that is basically legitimate. If a 100,000 Greenpeace members each send one request each all at once, that is equivalent to the slashdot effect, which I don't see as illegitimate.

The Guardian article seems to suggest that "skilled individuals" will DoS the site on their own. That should get them busted. But if they take the smarter route and organize thousands of (presumably unskilled) individuals to just point their browsers at the site, I'd call it an effective protest. The message carries some weight because it represents many people willing to spend their time and effort to be heard. So is it true that Greenpeace is actually conspiring to carry out zombie DoS attacks? The MLP doesn't link to any Greenpeace sources, only this Guardian article that says things like:

"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.
No name, no web site, nothing. Need to do some digging to accuse Greenpeace of conspiracy if you have no link between the DoS attacks and their offical statements. They also mention the Friends of the Earth campaign agianst the White House, but that used 100,000 individuals, not zombies.

This guilt by rumor and innuendo seems to happen a lot with groups like Greenpeace or PETA, along with the Branch Davidians or various militias in the US. It seems if they are marginal enough, you don't need much evidence to accuse them of conspiracy in print.

It is feasable to estimate whether or not the majority of requests are coming from zombies or real people, is it not? That would at least establish if a real DoS attack was committed. To prove conspiracy in the absence of public statements from the organization, you'd have to use a mole I guess...

Everyone wants to be a poet, even the coroner
scribbling in his note pad at the crime scene
a drowned man is judged only by his piers.
--Po
[ Parent ]

What is DoS? (3.40 / 5) (#14)
by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:58:43 PM EST

"But anyway, if one person sends one request to a site, that is basically legitimate. If a 100,000 Greenpeace members each send one request each all at once, that is equivalent to the slashdot effect, which I don't see as illegitimate"

From CERT:

A "denial-of-service" attack is characterized by an explicit attempt by attackers to prevent legitimate users of a service from using that service.

Examples include a) attempts to "flood" a network, thereby preventing legitimate network traffic b) attempts to disrupt connections between two machines, thereby preventing access to a service c) attempts to prevent a particular individual from accessing a service d) attempts to disrupt service to a specific system or person


Are greenpeace users legitimate users of worldbanks services? And unlike the "slashdot effect" I am lead to believe greenpeace users would be actively flooding servers with requests.



[ Parent ]
I disagree with CERT. (4.33 / 6) (#19)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:08:13 PM EST

I assert that an orchestrated slashdot effect is the natural 'net extension of demonstrators gathering in the streets. I don't think it is valid to use automated methods like zombies, but if each person is willing to spend their time at their computer generating normal hits, it should not be illegal. I think recieving input from the public is absolutely a legitimate function of the World Bank. The World Bank ought to be accountable to the public, and ought to be willing to hear the voice of 100,000 Greenpeace members. That the World Bank doesn't want to hear from them because they disagree does not make their statement illegitimate.

Any luck finding an official statement from Greenpeace on this?

Everyone wants to be a poet, even the coroner
scribbling in his note pad at the crime scene
a drowned man is judged only by his piers.
--Po
[ Parent ]

huh? (3.80 / 5) (#22)
by douper on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:11:01 PM EST

Well, no, he goes to the fridge for more cheetos.
Who keeps cheetos in the fridge?

[ Parent ]
Excellent point. (2.50 / 2) (#30)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 05:19:31 PM EST

I stand corrected.

Everyone wants to be a poet, even the coroner
scribbling in his note pad at the crime scene
a drowned man is judged only by his piers.
--Po
[ Parent ]

huh. (3.00 / 6) (#33)
by Ludwig on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:20:36 PM EST

He didn't say they were in the fridge. Maybe they're on top of it. Which actually is where I keep my chips.

[ Parent ]
Two things (3.40 / 5) (#23)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:20:04 PM EST

If all they're going to do is request web pages using ordinary browsers, then I seriously doubt they matter; I imagine governments can afford to build and use systems capable of handling a lot more traffic than that, and furthermore, shutting down the web server or denying public access to it for a period of time is no great technological feat, and would solve the problem.

On the other hand, if they actually intend, through their hundred thousand people, to shut the service down or render it unusable rather than to use it, that's illegal. It doesn't matter how you did it - what matters is intent. Greenpeace came right out with their intent, so they can hardly deny it at this point. (And frankly, whether you agree or not is mostly irrelevant; in most every nation Greenpeace is likely to have any significant support from, deliberately preventing legitimate access to legitimately provided services, on a network or in a mall or on a street or whatever, is illegal. Organizing people for that purpose is also illegal, and typically carries fairly stiff sentences. This is not a matter of opinion.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Ok, um... (4.50 / 4) (#31)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 05:38:04 PM EST

I don't know if they are correct, but the articles linked to say that in fact Friends of the Earth did succeed in blocking the White House web site several times, so it is entirely possible for ordinary users to do even with a well-funded site like whitehouse.gov. Slashdot causes it all the time. They could shut down the server, but isn't that just waving a white flag? I imagine the protestors would rightly chalk it up as a victory.

And how come, if this story is true, Friends of the Earth isn't being prosecuted for this, when it is known that the did orchestrate these "attacks" on the White House?

Very little of this story makes sense to me. You say that Greenpeace came out and said rendering the site unusable was their intent. Got a link? I coulnd't find any press released or web posts from them on this. All I saw was a copy of an email chain letter that Greenpeace has apparntly not claimed any responsibility for. So where are you getting your information?

Let's say they do get some evidence of a conspiracy. Should the punishment be more or less than protestors typically get for physically blocking a building with their bodies? Usually that ends up being a slap on the wrist. Is there any reason to treat it as a more serious matter because it is a "cybercrime?"

Everyone wants to be a poet, even the coroner
scribbling in his note pad at the crime scene
a drowned man is judged only by his piers.
--Po
[ Parent ]

Hmm (3.25 / 4) (#35)
by trhurler on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:35:39 PM EST

Notice that I didn't say they'd actually prosecute as appropriate; they rarely do in cases that are "protests," because if they did, people would just protest more. Hell, everyone is up in arms because Al Sharpton has to spend 90 days behind bars for his role in the Vieques protests, despite the fact that had the feds nailed him with all the available charges for what he actually did, he'd probably spend more like five years in prison. (That whole "trespassing on federal property in a restricted area" thing is a bitch, not to mention charges of conspiracy to commit, reckless endangerment, and so on.) It isn't like the guy gives a rat's ass about Vieques, either - he's a professional protester. It's what he does. That's why the protesters are pissed - the feds nailed one of their ringers - one of the guys who actually gets them media exposure, since nobody really gives a rat's ass about 100 people from some island somewhere.

All that said, they could and they should and that was all I really had to say on the point:) (As for what Greenpeace said, if you threaten to have 100,000 people "protest" using their web browsers, you cannot reasonably use a defense in court that claims that you didn't intend to impede the service. They may not have said specifically "we want to impede the service," but if I said I had 100,000 people who were going to stage a sit-in in your outdoor amphitheater, and they did so, would you then think I didn't mean to deprive you of the use of that facility? Probably not, since you aren't flamingly stupid.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Almost everyone contratdicts themselves on this. (4.80 / 5) (#37)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 10:19:59 PM EST

If you ask a conservative Roman Catholic if this kind of civil disobedience is acceptable, they will naturally say no. Then ask them about Jesuits blocking the gates of the School of the Americas, or anyone blocking the door of an abortion clinic, and they will say, "Well, that's different." Liberals will want to have the pro-life protestors arrested but would let off those disrupting the WTO meeting or blocking a logging road. A libertarian might be all for law and order, but then make a special exception if it is someone disobeying what they percieve as an excessive tax, or overly restrictive intellectual property law. There might be a few people who actually have a consistent position on this, either permitting all such actions or forbidding all of them, but they are pretty rare.

So prosecutors typically enforce the law, yet enforce it gingerly, trying to maintain some order and giving protestors a small punishment, but not enough to provoke outrage among their sympathizers. A conservative might try demanding that Al Sharpton go to prison for years, but liberals will simply reply, "Fine. Then let's throw the book at Operation Rescue as well. No? I didn't think so."

I think this is an acceptably democratic state of affairs: the contradictory attitude of prosecutors is a reflection of the public contradicting itself. But right now, with some people unsure of how to apply conventional principles to new technology, we are at risk of upsetting this happy contradiction by labeling what should be just another kind of civil disobedience as "Cyber Terrorism" or a "DoS Attack." Technically correct, but that image provokes too harsh a response.

Now, if you want to support law and order all the way, fine, but I suspect you'd have a hard time doing it. That would have you prosecuting Luke Skywalker as a terrorist bomber for blowing up the Death Star. Which would have given the movie a funnier ending, come to think of it...

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

A few problems. (2.50 / 4) (#46)
by dice on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 04:45:22 AM EST

One, your right to protest ends at my property line.

Two, your constitutional right to protest ends at anyone's property line.

Three, your right to protest protected by the constitution ends when you do things like actually block traffic.


[ Parent ]
Examples? (4.66 / 3) (#47)
by elenchos on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:57:36 PM EST

Maybe you can give me some examples. Look at all of the various protests or acts of civil disobedience, or outright rebellion, from the American Revolution to the present. Or pick any period you wish. Which of those actions would have violated the principle you propose? Which would have been allowed? It seems to me that the Revolutions would have been somewhat impractical to pull off if they had sworn to never cross a property line, and Ghandi and MLK would have gotten hardly anything done if they had refrained from ever blocking traffic.

So, why not eliminate all of these events from history, and then describe to me how the world would look today if your (dare I say it?) propetarian principles were followed.

Property rights matter, but many, many things matter far more.

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Vieques (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 10:26:47 PM EST

[On Vieques:] nobody really gives a rat's ass about 100 people from some island somewhere.

Last I heard, the population of Vieques was around 10,000. And Puerto Ricans in general, from what I saw from a vacation visit to the island in early '00, are *very* *pissed* about Vieques: that's some 6-7 million people, according to the last US Census.

Given that the Vieques protesters have organized at least one protest march which some estimates place around 100,000 people (the lower estimates are around 80,000), your portrait, which qualifies them as marginal, is far off the mark. Hell, while the anti-corporate-trade movement is bigger, I don't think they've had a single protest that big.

--em
[ Parent ]

Ah, (3.00 / 1) (#64)
by trhurler on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 10:59:42 AM EST

You're missing my point. That 100,000 man protest - guess what? Almost nobody even knows about it. Instead, they know about the 100 people arrested on the bombing range itself or near it, including our good buddy Sharpton - and they know for only two reasons. One, "being on the range is dangerous," and two, because of famous protest ringers like Sharpton.

I personally think the Navy should stop bombing there, but I also think the people who think they can reasonably just stop today without taking a bit of time to find an alternative are foolish. Bush's plan on this seems quite reasonable, although I would have added a stipulation that if a suitable facility is found and made ready sooner, then the bombing at Vieques will stop sooner. However, my point was mainly that an effective protest in the US(which is NOT the same as a large one,) is not a grass roots thing; it is organized and led by people like Sharpton who often care more about their own notoriety and the books they can sell and so on than they do anything else.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Wouldn't that (3.27 / 11) (#2)
by KoanMastah on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:19:02 PM EST

just add up to vandalism? Since when is it ok to violate someone else's rights when you protest something? Last I recall, (in USia at least) your right to protest does not include the real world equivalent of flooding a conference room with 6 million gallons of hot root beer.


---
And if you quote the jargon file at me I'll come right through this monitor upside your head.

USia? (4.33 / 9) (#6)
by jayfoo2 on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:53:25 PM EST

<rant>

Ok I don't like the term USian, first of all people should be able to self identify (we call ourselves Americans btw). Second of all how about the United States of Mexico?

Now I'm really going to object to USia. Just call it the goddam United States of America which is plenty specific.

Now if you have some statement to make about what you think of the U.S.A. please feel free to make it, but if you're just showing how 'leet you are by jumping on the bandwagon and typing things like Micro$oft please spare us.

</rant>

[ Parent ]
USia != M$ (2.80 / 5) (#11)
by Electric Angst on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:30:55 PM EST

USia is a quick-to-type, relativly easy to pronounce, more accurate term than "American". It aids convenience, seems to fit in well with the abbreviated nature of "internet english", and it only pisses off real whiners who have nothing better to bring to the conversation. It's damn near perfect. (As opposed to "Micro$oft", which is less convenient, and was basically a joke that got old back in 1992.)
--
"Honey, we're all in drag. Most people just don't know it." -Rupaul
[ Parent ]
USia more accurate than USA? (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by Alarmist on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:20:27 PM EST

How, pray, does this work?

USA: United States of America.

USia: United States of...what? The string "ia" does not occur in "America" or in "States". How is that supposed to be more accurate, except to pretentious people who are out to bash the US?


[ Parent ]

-ia (2.00 / 1) (#34)
by J'raxis on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 06:33:36 PM EST

-Ia is simply a common suffix for (usually single-word) country names in English. Take a look at how many countries end in -ia. I think this goes back to Latin where nearly all the countries' names ended in -ia.

It's the same concept as appending -ese to words to denote a pseudo-language: "Legalese."

-- The Iraxian Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

USia (3.60 / 5) (#18)
by theboz on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:07:01 PM EST

USia is a quick-to-type, relativly dumb sounding to pronounce, more inaccurate term than "American". It aids laziness, seems to fit in well with the abbreviated nature of "hax0r sp33k", and it is only used by pretentious people who have nothing better to bring to the conversation. It's the stupidest damn thing. (Just like "Micro$oft", which is pissy, and was basically a joke that got old back in 1992.)

Anyways, it's just a term used by self-righteous smug jackasses that think their shit doesn't stink and that they are better than the "unwashed masses" of the world. It's the pseudo-intellectual assholes that think that the United States of America is the only country that are called the United States (and ignore your example of Mexico) who are just as ignorant of the world as anyone else. You would think that those in the U.S.A. that use this term would just leave the country and stop crying about the oppression of the two continents because one country calls itself America.

By the way, the soccer team of Mexico City refers to themselves as America. What are these losers going to do? Say that they should start calling themselves Mexsians?

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Eh, no. (2.16 / 6) (#36)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 09:58:47 PM EST

It's the pseudo-intellectual assholes that think that the United States of America is the only country that are called the United States (and ignore your example of Mexico) who are just as ignorant of the world as anyone else.

You know, it's not the fault of us "pseudo-intellectual assholes" that the USian founding parents named the country in such a broken manner, and that their heirs haven't had the common sense to change the country's name.

How many nations are named after a continent, after all?

  1. Australia
  2. USia
And Australia does occupy *the whole* of the Australian continent, something which USia is not even close to.

(Runner-up for geographically stupid country name: "South Africa", which, ok, is *in* south Africa, but whether it occupies all of south Africa is undefined, since "south Africa" does not have a definite extension... OTOH, don't feel too bad, in sheer arrogance, the name "United States of America" loses to "Canada", which was originally the name for what nowadays is the province of Quebec. The Anglo-"Canadians" stole the name, to add insult upon the injury of taking over the original "Canada" and oppressing the french colonists for hundreds of years.)

So you can call us "assholes" as much as you like, but as long as you don't rename your country to something sensible, you're just making fools of yourselves.

--em
[ Parent ]

It's not named after the continent (5.00 / 2) (#42)
by physicsgod on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:21:52 AM EST

The full name is United States of America. They're states (50 of 'em), they're united, and they're in america. It's a perfectly logical name, and since the US is the only country (that I could find) on either continent to contain the word "America" I don't see why that abbreviation isn't appropriate. Not to mention the US was the first independent country on either continent.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
riddle me this tho (none / 0) (#63)
by jayfoo2 on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 09:38:18 AM EST

ok ok ok, I understand why you use the term USian to describe someone from the United States of America. fine go with your bad self.

I just want someone to explain 'USia' to me. Since you're big into linguistics lets attack the problem from that angle.

A USian would (as far as I can figure out) be someone from somewhere called the US. Ok, I follow that.

But where is USia? If you're talking about where a USian is from, wouldn't you just use US?

Are Canadian's from Canadia?



[ Parent ]
re USia (1.00 / 1) (#62)
by Rande on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 05:51:57 AM EST

And that rant is one particular reason that many of us will call you 'a merkin'.

You people are so selfcentric that you call your country 'US' (and everyone else 'THEM').

People use pet names and derogatory names. Can you believe that some people in this world _don't_ believe that your United States of America is the most wonderful thing ever to have existed?
No? That's why you're a merkin.
Please get it through your head that some people _don't_ respect your country and really don't much care what they as a whole think.

Get used to it.



[ Parent ]

vandalism (2.40 / 5) (#16)
by Delirium on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:05:19 PM EST

Well, since these groups have shown no aversion to vandalism in the real world (take a look at the events in Seattle and Göthenberg), I don't think it's particularly surprising that they'd be willing to do the same online.

[ Parent ]
Just out of curiosity... (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by Eric Henry on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 11:46:57 PM EST

... what do you see as the difference between this and a more traditional sit-in? Or do you think of sit-ins as vandalism as well?

Eric Henry

ps. "These groups" did nothing in either Seattle or Gothenburg aside from hold banners and whine.

[ Parent ]

protests (2.66 / 3) (#44)
by Delirium on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:29:51 AM EST

...what do you see as the difference between this and a more traditional sit-in? Or do you think of sit-ins as vandalism as well?

The major one I see is that a traditional sit-in involves non-anonymous protestors who very clearly take responsibility for their actions. With this "cyber sit-in," on the other hand, the majority of the users will remain effectively anonymous, and it's not unlikely that at least some will actually take active steps to remain anonymous (spoofing, using hacked servers to stage DoS attacks from, etc.). Of course how big the difference is depends largely on what actually goes on; is it really a bunch of users loading the website, or is it just a handful of malicious attackers running denial of service scripts? The former would be more analogous to the sit-in, while the latter would be more analogous to a single person (or small group of people) barricading themselves inside a building they've taken over.

ps. "These groups" did nothing in either Seattle or Gothenburg aside from hold banners and whine.

It depends what groups you're talking about I suppose. If you mean Greenpeace, then no, they did not themselves participate in the vandalism and violence. Groups such as the AFA did though.

[ Parent ]

That kind of disobedience has been OK since... (5.00 / 5) (#40)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 11:17:52 PM EST

...about the Book of Exodus. Further examples of scoffing at authority are found in the prophets, and of course in the life of that wonderful guy with a billion dickhead follwers, Jesus Christ. Socrates gives us the example of disobeying authority that is not legitimate (The Thirty Tyrants) but obeying legitmiate authority (The Laws of Athens). St. Augustine and numerous Christian martyrs (who are so nice they often get counted twice) give us more precedent.

About the time of the Enlightenment, Jesuits in China were translating the Classics and sending them back to the west, where people like Thomas Jefferson probably used them to mitigate the idea of the divine right of kings. The Mandate of Heaven, saying roughly that a king stops being a real king as soon as he ceases to obey higher law (Natural Law, the Will of Heaven, whatever), is an idea that seems to be present in the Declaration of Independence.

And in any case, if you think the USA has a legitimate right to exist, than you must accept the Revolutionary's belief that you may, under the worst circumstances, throw off an unjust authority and disobey an unjust law.

Then of couse we have the Thoreau, the Underground Railroad, Ghandi and Martin Luther King. We have the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials in which we prosecuted Germans for failing to disobey the apparently legitimate German government.

So there is justification for civil disobedience, in the process of which, someone's rights will probably get violated. Which doesn't mean that you should be free to break any law you want to. It means there are no easy answers.

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

And here I was thinking... (2.66 / 3) (#43)
by physicsgod on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:25:05 AM EST

That Civil Disobedience was, you know, CIVIL. You can (and should!) break unjust laws, but you don't get to trammel my rights to do it. In fact, if you have to trample my rights that's a pretty good indication that the law in question is just.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Examples? (5.00 / 2) (#45)
by elenchos on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 01:49:38 AM EST

Can you give me any examples of what you consider to be acceptable civil disobedience that didn't trample anyone's rights? Who paid for all that tea they dumped in Boston harbor? Do you think the lunch counter owners in Montgomery, Alabama appreciated having their business disrupted? Was apartheid in the US south just becase overturing it required trampling on the rights of some people? I suspect if you had been there at the time you would have been one of those pleading to "take things slow" and "not shake things up too much. Equality will come, just give it a little more time..." Right.

Why not consider all the social change that has taken place as a result of all of these actions, from the American Revolution to the present, and you describe to me how the world would look if we eliminated all the protests and that infringed on the rights of someone.

You may wish it were always civil, but wishing doesn't make it so.

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Just some examples... (3.00 / 4) (#48)
by physicsgod on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 02:04:11 PM EST

Boycott of the bus system, the march to Burmingham(?), MLK's speech at the Lincoln Memorial, just off the top of my head. BTW sitting at a lunch counter that's open to the public is quite a bit different than smashing the windows on a business that is closed.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Excellent parallel. (5.00 / 3) (#49)
by elenchos on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 02:23:35 PM EST

Just sitting at a lunch counter shouldn't be a problem for the owner, right? How could they complain? That is what the lunch counter is there for right? But then, just pointing you web browser at the World Bank's site shouldn't be a problem either. That is what the site is there for, right?

But it is about intent, and the effect, isn't it? When you organized many thousands of people to go to a web site, that becomes a disruption, and the intent is obvious. The same is true of violating segregation laws. Downtown business owners complained bitterly that all the commotion was driving away their regular customers. The effect was a violation of their rights.

What about all the traffic blocked by marches and speeches, as dice complained about? Don't the people who want to use public roadways have any rights? How can these protestors justify inconveniencing them?

I don't think that the world now would look very much different from the world 200 years ago if your principle of "civility" were adhered to. The problem is that you are making it too simple. Sometimes we have to make choices that lead us to violate one principle in order to adhere to a more important principle.

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Intent is important. (none / 0) (#55)
by physicsgod on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 05:59:10 PM EST

As far as I know the people at the lunch counter were interested in being served, if a waitress had gone up and taken their order there wouldn't have been anything to protest so they would have left. Likewise there's nothing wrong with pointing your browser at the WTO website, as long as you're interested in the information they have their, but if your intent is to block anybody interested in the site from accessing it (especially since I doubt the meeting is going to be held on the same system) I have a serious problem with it (and so does the law). The difference between marches and chaining yourself across the road is also intent; a march is to raise awareness and get attention, chaining yourself and friends across the street is also trying to gain attention, but by keeping others from using the road.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
3 things. (none / 0) (#58)
by elenchos on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 10:44:20 PM EST

1. The lunch counter did not want to serve them. The business owners wanted the status quo to remain, and they did not want activists sitting there at the counter causing a disruption when the activists knew full well that they would not get served. Their intent was not to get something to eat. It was to force a confrontation on the issue of segregation. The protest forced the business to take sides in a civil rights dispute, when all the business wanted was to quietly make a profit. Had they served the protestors, the disruption would have been just as intense, since white supporters of segregation would have not been pleased. No matter what the lunch counter did, they would have lost customers, and money.

2. The World Bank does not want to discuss anything with Greenpeace, or any other popular group. The World Bank wants to continue quietly serving the interests of wealthy individuals, government bureaucrats, and multinational corporations. Any polite request for dialogue from grassroots organizations has been ignored, leaving no alternative but to rudely demand attention, even if it means upsetting the status quo. The World Bank does not want to take sides in a dispute about the undemocratic nature of international finance, imperialist manipulation of poor countries by rich countries' institutions like the World Bank, and the habit of our elected leaders of dodging responsiblity for how these policies are made and implemented. The cases are identical: the intent is to cause a disruption that cannot be ignored for the purpose of bringing about change. There are civil (as in polite) ways of bringing about change, but as you may have noticed, the guy who got the most votes is not the one sitting in the White House. Like the disenfranchised African Americans of the 1950's, those cut off from the levers of power in today's world are using whatever other means they can find. This should not surprise anyone.

3. As streetlawyer mentioned, the World Bank is not at all the same thing as the WTO. The two entities simply have many of the same friends and same enemies.

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

assertion isn't an argument. (none / 0) (#59)
by physicsgod on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 01:17:05 AM EST

You can claim all you want that the lunch counter just wanted to make money and they would have lost money if they had served the protesters and that the world bank isn't interested in talking with any of the protesters. The fact remains there is a huge difference between sitting at a counter for service (even if its service you KNOW is not going to come) and blocking acesses to a public device (be it a web page or street). And to compare the civil rights activists of the '50s and '60s to these snot-nosed middle-class psuedoangst-ridden white college students who want to piss somebody off is, in my mind, offensive.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Just reviewing history, not arguing. (none / 0) (#60)
by elenchos on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 02:17:48 AM EST

Go read up on the civil rights movement if you think I'm making this up.

How is "just sitting at a lunch counter" any different than "just browsing a web site?" Both actions block the service, don't they? If enough "customers" sit at the lunch counter, it can be said to have been effectively DoSed, no? And actually, they didn't need so many activists as to fill up all the seats. The mere fact that they were black was enough to drive out the regular paying customers and replace them with gawkers, reporters and troublemakers.

Whereas you think that having thousands of people browse the World Bank site is some big crime because it blocks access to their site? You are defending the World Bank's rights? What rights, excatly? And how are those rights so different than the rights of the business owners in the segregated South?

There is no difference in the method. The difference is in the target and in the activists. I don't know how you actually feel about the World Bank; I suspect you aren't completely certain as to what the World Bank is, or what it does. But you have this strong opinion about these theoretical activists (remember that Greenpeace is in fact doing no such thing). They are "snot-nosed middle-class psuedoangst-ridden white college students who want to piss somebody off." Um, you think that the activists of the '50s and '60s were not middle class? You think they were not college students? Have you even read up on the period? You surely must have heard somewhere that conservatives at the time said exactly the same things about them that you say about our hypothetical protestors: snot-nosed, just want to cause trouble, working out their own personal problems in public. You recall that they were consistently accused of being "outside agitators," Northerners who invaded the South just to rile everybody up. Typical reaction, and you display the same ignorance when you stereotype today's activists. Do you have any knowledge of these people you are putting down, or is that just how you imagine they might be if you ever chanced to meet one?

And yes, the stakes are just as high. The kind of austerity measures that are forced on poor countries by the IMF and World Bank are not just about some academic dispute. They are killing people and ruining millions of lives, all in pusuit of the overriding goal of making sure that investors from wealthy nations collect on their loans and investments. And not doing the environment any good at all in the process. They are going in and pretending to be helping poor countries when in fact they are merely setting them up for yet more colonial exploitation.

But I agree that whatever is "in your mind" is indeed offensive. What is in there is ignorance.

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Oh, for the love of Pete... (none / 0) (#67)
by physicsgod on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 09:09:54 PM EST

Read what I've said. I have no problem with thousands, even millions, of people browsing somebody's website. What I have a problem with is people using DoS tatics to shut down a site they don't like.

And why shouldn't the world bank insist on some guarantees of getting its money back? It's a BANK, it's right there in the name. We already pump billions of dollars into the Third World (or whatever PC moniker they prefer this week) without worrying about if it's going to get paid back, if they want more money let them worry about paying it back.

Now, why don't you compare this picture to this picture and tell me that there isn't a difference between the demographics of the two groups. Bear in mind that the second picture is a group protesting for latin america and southeast asia.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
So are you, like, a fashion cop? (none / 0) (#68)
by elenchos on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 10:03:06 PM EST

I admit I'm pretty fond of the Blues Brothers look myself, but beyond that I'm not able to make value judgements about large groups of people based on their looks. Perhaps you could go into more detail for me. What is it in the picture that is suposed to make me re-evaluate my ideas about opponents of undemocratic globalization? Is it in the hair and makeup? Color scheme? Accesorization? What? What is it in the picture that justifies belittling and trivializing their actions?

Now as far as organizing a deliberate slashdot effect as a protest, I'm pleased to read that you in fact agree with my argument that it is a valid and justifiable tool of protest. While CERT may define such tactics as a DoS attack, you an I know that it is fair play because it does not use zombies or other automated "hacks," but merely large numbers of commited people. You say it is acceptable because it is merely browsing a web site, while I say it is acceptable even if, as CERT would have it, it is a DoS attack. For the record I'll mention once again that Greenpeace has not advocated nor attempted these tactics either, although they probably should. Instead they have opted for far tamer kinds of "hacktivism" that neither you nor CERT could possibly object to.

The reason that the World Bank should lay off the imperialst strong-arm tactics, and should completely reformulate their prescription to cure poverty is that one, it is undemocratic, and two, it doesn't work, and three, it causes more harm than good to the environment and the people it supposedly exists to help. And incidentally, four, the instability caused by one, two and three tend to lead the US into avoidable wars and regional policing. They are not just any old bank. They are supposed to exist to fill a need that ordinary commercial banks couldn't, and to help people rather than merely profit off them. But the World Bank is not doing that; instead they make some people in rich countries richer and screw everyone else.

Operating behind closed doors without accountability to an electorate is at the heart of the problem. Like the other institutions of globalization, they are used by elected officials as a way of doing the dirty work of the corporations without taking the blame. The politicians first sign away our nation's soveriegn powers to extra-national bureaucracies, and then throw up their hands when the people complain about what those bureaucrats do, as if the bureacracy were autonomous. The bureaucrats in turn aver that they are not the government, and that they have no reason to listen to grassroots protest. It is a game of misdirection, and groups like Greenpeace are among the first to catch on to what's going on.

And the best argument to say they are wrong is an ad homenim attack on their clothes and hair? That's it?

The back of Baudelaire's head
appears on every other thirteen dollar bill.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Ay Carumba. (none / 0) (#69)
by physicsgod on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:06:27 AM EST

The justification is that the first group CARED about their appearance and the image they presented to the rest of the world (oh, and incidentally they were mostly members of the group that was being protested for) while the second apparantly didn't care about how they looked, which makes me wonder why they were doing what they were doing, it sure wasn't to get positive attention.

Now, why to you think deliberatly /.ing a website would do anything? Do you honestly think there are that many people really interested in www.worldbank.org? Or maybe you're hoping the planners of this meeting would be dumb enough to run it through the same server as the webpage?

Finally if the worldbank was so bad why the hell would countries borrow from them? Are all the poor countries in the world masochistic? And you're complaing about undemocratic? It's a finacial enterprise of course it's supposed to be undemocratic. They tried democracy in money over in asia, you might have heard of that experiment, they're busy spreading radioactive waste and crime rings across the world now.

The best argument against these morons is logic. For whatever reason people in developing countries want what we have: cars, coffee shops, and cell phones. But in order to get factories, espresso machines and cell towers you need money. And if you also want to protect the enviroment and workers you're going to need a LOT of money, more than a nation can self-generate. There are only 2 places I know of to get that kind of money, developed nations and multinational corporations. So if you've got such a problem with multinats, quit bitching about worldbank and telling people they need to live in abject poverty and start bitching about the undemocratic governments that take the money and give it to their friends.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
All over the map here... (none / 0) (#74)
by elenchos on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 05:32:40 PM EST

It is like trying to chase a flock little birds as they scatter in every dirction at once. I'm only going to try for a few of them.

I don't believe that this stuff about appearance matters. Reasonable people pay no attention to such trivia. Unreasonable reactionaries may claim that they would be more willing to listen to demonstrators in suits with neat haircuts, but when black activists wearing suits and neat haircuts approached those very reactionaries they were first ignored, then condemned, then attacked with firehoses and police dogs. The suits made no difference, and it was the intervention of reasonable people that made change happen.

And so it is today. Those who obsess with how demonstrators dress are not listening any way, and have no intention of accepting any kind of factual argument or democratic pressure. The deomonstrations you see today are appeals to reasonable people to take action to reign in the reactionaries. It is a waste of time to to reason with someone who thinks on such a primitive level that he thinks that people dressed strangely must be wrong.

After that, you change the subject to a tactical discussion. How best to get Greenpeace's message out? Maybe Greenpeace agrees that slashdotting a website is an ineffective use of resources and that is why they use other methods. I merely began by asserting that it should be a valid option, and that the acts of civil disobedience that have changed the world have almost always been bad news for someone. The prerequsite for civil disobedience is that polite and established methods have failed and more exteme tactics are called for. As to what "they" are hoping for, again, "they" are not DoSing anyone, nor slashdotting anyone. You may look at Greenpeace's site yourself if you want to know what they are doing and what they hope to accomplish by it.

Now your last question is really what all this anti-globalization protest is all about. "These countries" don't want to borrow from the World Bank by its terms. They don't want the IMF's sadistic austerity measures implemented. They are not clamoring for lattes and cell phones. If globalization were implemented with any respect for what the people want, we wouln't have nations thrown into massive debt, while the corrupt leaders who did business with the World Bank flee the country with their ill-gottne profits. The World Bank is telling populations who were never given a choice that they have to pay back money borrowed in their name by irresponsible, unelected strongmen and warlords.

On the other end, the people of the West are not demanding that we carry out these policies in poor countries. The wishes of the people in the West are being ignored as corporations decide that it would be to their benefit to try to make developing nations into good markets for their cell phones and assorted other crap. And if they can't do that (and they generally can't), they'll settle for exploiting them for as much cheap labor and material as they can before the country collapses.

Now as far as your criticism of democracy, I don't feel like bothering with it. I see some non-sequiters about crime rings and democracy in Asia, and the odd idea that the financial dealings of the World Bank are supposed to be undemocratic. You do realize we are not discussing a private company, right? If you can sort all that out and present some coherent argument for the bureaucratic autonomy of the IMF and World Bank, fine, I'll at least read it. But in the mean time, I'm going to go on believing that the institutions that my government creates and supports should be accountable to the electorate, not run by some exclusive clique of technocrats and plutocrats.

The back of Baudelaire's head
appears on every other thirteen dollar bill.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Well.. (none / 0) (#78)
by physicsgod on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 02:10:04 AM EST

I'm glad we're narrowing the number of topics under discussion.

First off appearance does matter, not because it reflects on thier message, but it reflects on how they want their message percieved. I don't care about what they're saying because they don't look like people who care about what they're saying (on the rare occasion something actually gets said at a rally).

It really seems to me that you have a bigger problem with the despots of the world than with its banks, maybe a policy of not lending money to a country run by a undemocratic leader would help, but if you want to do good now start heading to these countries and protest their evil leadership.

As for democracy, it's all well and good in politics for keeping entrenched power systems from forming, but in the Real World (TM) it's not such a good thing. Pi (the ratio of curcumfrence of a circle to its diameter, in case you want to redefine pi) will never equal 3 regardless of how many people you get to vote for it. I wouldn't fly in an airplane designed by popular vote, and I wouldn't put my money in a bank run by popular vote. Not only that but a US citizen has as much say in their representation to the worldbank as they do in the Federal Reserve, and they haven't been doing terribly the past 70+ years.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
By the same token, (none / 0) (#79)
by elenchos on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 02:51:40 AM EST

it is somewhat soilopsistic for a technocrat to express surprise that the majority of people are unhappy with having the world run by a narrowly focused elite.

But it would have some redeeming value if it at least worked. Your example of the Federal Reserve is classic. They do not have 70+ years of success. They have an 8 year economic boom that they want to take credit for but can't even explain, and 70+ years of the economy doing what it wants for reasons these experts can't agree about for five minutes. And now that boom is over and again they don't know why. They will continue to twiddle their numbers and in the end it is still voodoo.

And you think that the IMF/World Bank has had anything like the same "success?" Look around. A few poor countries have done well: Singapore, Korea. The rest have not. Yet they still claim they have the prescription for helping poor countries? Evidence? All that massive infrastructue in India and Brazil and Africa hasn't done anything but saddle poor people with an absurd debt load, and the Bank makes them a pariah in international finance if they don't adopt their austerity measures. No matter how many people die of preventable diseases, or go without a rudimentary education, those debt payments must come first. Uganda spends a dollar a year per person on education and nine on debt payments, and the World Bank calls them a "model." As long as that debt is paid, nothing else matters.

This is a fantasy-world economic model they are using, and I seriously have to ask you what your basis is for comparing their policies to a naturally occuring fact like the value of pi. Two posts up this thread you weren't even aware that the World Bank was a United Nations project, not a privately-owned for-profit financial enterprise, but now you think you know enough about them to tell me that they are the experts and we should all trust them. Is it because you like how they dress? And what is your basis for insinuating that I am redefining anything?

The ironic part is that while you may not think these poorly-dressed ragamuffins know anything, the World Bank and IMF actually take them far more seriously. In the last ten years their policies have slowly begun to recognize that what these dope-smoking wackos have been saying is actually true. And while you close your eyes and pretend that people in tie-dyes can't change the world, the World Bank has begun to get input from grassroots organizations, and has finally recognized that development must include human rights and democracy, in addition to capital investment. The movement to re-direct globalization is working, and what we need is more of the same.

And you need to answer my questions and justify your ad homenim attacks.

The back of Baudelaire's head
appears on every other thirteen dollar bill.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Technocrat? (none / 0) (#81)
by physicsgod on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 01:25:15 AM EST

Not really, I just believe in the right tool for the right job. Democracy works pretty well for a government, but it makes a lousy basis for economic policy. Why? Because everyone would just vote for whatever policy did them the most good (just look at US Sen. Byrd and West Virginia, he keeps getting elected even though he's probably done the nation as a whole the most harm than anyone there).

As for the Fed, this is what they say on their 1MB PDF file:
* Conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the money and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices
* Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
* Maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
* Providing certain financial services to the U.S. government, to the public, to financial institutions, and to foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system.

To me they seem to be doing a pretty good job, especially when they've got good leadership and politicians don't fuck thing up.

The reason I mentioned Pi is I was trying to point out that no matter how many people vote against them some things, like human greed, aren't going to change. Assuming democracy is a panacea is not only stupid, it's dangerous.

You're right, I wasn't aware that the Bank had any relationship with the UN, but they're not a UN project. They're "...an independent specialized agency of the UN-as well as a member and observer in many UN bodies." I don't know much about how the UN is run (All I know is that logic plays a VERY small role) but it doesn't make much sense for a UN project to be a member in a UN body. I NEVER thought that the Bank was run for profit, and as for thinking they're experts...THEY ARE! At least as much as anyone on the planet is.

About you last paragraph, why would you think the Bank changing its policies has anything to do with the protests? Maybe we need to talk to the representatives to the bank and see what's up. I sincerely doubt that any of these people would change thier poilicies becuase somebody smashed some windows. More likely the protestors happened to be partially right (it happens to the best of us, and considering the number of different groups protesting hardly surprising) and the reps were talked into it by the quiet, logical voices.

If you would repeat your questions (I really don't feel like going through this rather long thread to find the ones I missed) I'll be happy to answer them. And I don't need to justify my ad hominems, there's far too much information for me to assimilate all at once, so I need to filter it. One of the ways I do that is by source, if you're dressed like a ruffian I'm not going to listen to you, if you're dressed nicely and/or have "alphabet soup" behind you're name I'll listen to you, at least until I can determine if there's any valid content to your message.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
You found two of them almost. (none / 0) (#82)
by elenchos on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 02:31:46 AM EST

You do apparently believe the World Bank because of their suits. The other question is, what evidence (besides the suits) do you have that their policies work? Their goal is to help poor countries, to "develop" them. For forty years they attempted to do this, and the result has been people around the globe with enormous debts that the Bank says cannot be forgiven, plus maybe three countries that actually improved. And the Bank can't really take credit for those.

I realize that experts are supposed to know what they are doing. The question is, do they? You believe that they actually do. If you are right, the evidence should be easy to see. So? Tell me what is so great about the World Bank's policies. Look at their track record and explain to me how that is supposed to convince me that I should trust them.

Without any kind of facts, I don't really trust the way you form opinions. You look at a person who traveled hundreds of miles to stand face to face with armored, baton-wielding cops in order to help people who they have no direct incentive to even think about, and you conclude that they "don't care" because they look scruffy, by your standards. I suspect your basis for liking the World Bank is equally spurious.

When the after-effects of the last three years of protest have been movement in the direction that the protestors want, it seems reasonable for the activists to be encouraged, and so they are. They have every reason to continue their same tactics in the hope of getting more of the same positive results. What reason do they have to listen to someone like you who dismisses them because you find them unattractive to look at? Any?

So, to repeat, what makes you have such faith in the World Bank? What have they actually done to make you think they know what they are doing?

Homeless people stand in line for Pablo Neruda.
In hospitals they feed cancer patients Carolyn Forche.
In churches there are giant wooden replic
[ Parent ]

Reasons. (none / 0) (#83)
by physicsgod on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 06:21:23 PM EST

I LISTEN to the bankers because of thier suits, if what they say doesn't make sense to me I'll either call them on it or ignore them. As for trusting the world bank knows what it's doing, if anyone does it's them. I can't see any reason why these people would work for the bank unless they were interested in helping the poor countries. The real problem is that we don't know much about applied economics, it's not really an experimental science (especially since by definition you can't isolate variables). The fact remains, you need capital to develop your economy, and if you want to preserve the enviroment and your worker's rights you're going to need even more capital. I can only see two places to get the money, governments and corporations. I'd rather see rich countries make loans (the only way that much money is going to get out) than see poor countries compete for corporate "sponsorship" with things like lax enviromental laws, few workers rights, tax breaks, etc. That's why I don't believe the protesters, they either ignore this fact or they want the poor countried to remain undeveloped for thier own satisfaction. I don't see people protesting for third-world citizens, I see people protesting to assuage thier conscience. They're not going to get points for hanging out with vandals and hooligans (which is why the police were in riot gear). The protesters shouldn't listen to me, they should talk to someone in the bank about why they canged policies. For all I know they did it because of the protests, but I find that doubtful, but again I don't KNOW.

Why do I have faith in the world bank? Because they're there, they're getting money to the poor countries in the only guaranteed way to do it. If they were just interested in making money they'd be working for Merril Lynch, Wells Fargo, or Harvard.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Pure speculation. (none / 0) (#84)
by elenchos on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 07:13:43 PM EST

Show me the facts that support this.

Perhaps you should consider the alternative in your syllogism: "As for trusting the world bank knows what it's doing, if anyone does it's them." Maybe no one does know what to do. If it is all just guesswork and voodoo, why not at least give people the satisfaction of choosing their own destiny, instead of handing the power over to these geniuses you say have all this talent that they could be using in private industry. They probably tell themselves that too.

Evidence? How come you aren't telling me about all the successful projects the IMF/World Bank has carried out? By your reasoning, there ought to be some. So? Come on.

Homeless people stand in line for Pablo Neruda.
In hospitals they feed cancer patients Carolyn Forche.
In churches there are giant wooden replic
[ Parent ]

Let's try it this way... (none / 0) (#85)
by physicsgod on Fri Jun 29, 2001 at 12:21:54 AM EST

I'm willing to trust the world bank for two reasons. 1) They're not mandatory, so if they really were fucking these countries over why would they keep coming back? You'd figure somebody in a government would make a phone call to their counterparts saying "Don't deal with the World Bank, they'll wreck your economy." 2) They don't know what to do, nobody does (remeber economics isn't a science). The only thing they have going for them is they know what NOT to do, which is much better than having ill-informed, stupid, and/or greedy people making decisions that benefit them in the short-term, if at all.

As for evidence, I don't feel like researcing any. The farthest I got was a chart on the World Bank site showing the GNI per capita going up over the last 5 years.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
You don't know what is going on. (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 29, 2001 at 01:14:33 AM EST

If the World Bank had no teeth this would be a vastly different situation. But they have the power to decide if a nation becomes an economic pariah. Their decisions have worldwide repercussions and no small country can just not do business with them. They are not just another bank on the streetcorner.

I think it is amusing that you have taken a firm stand on your opinions with a dozen or more posts first, and then, after deciding what you think and going on record with it, you go look for a few facts to back up your opinions. Isn't that backwards? I guess that's best you can expect from a guy who believes people in suits must be right because of the suits. Do telelmarketers take advantage of you a lot?

Homeless people stand in line for Pablo Neruda.
In hospitals they feed cancer patients Carolyn Forche.
In churches there are giant wooden replic
[ Parent ]

NAZI! (none / 0) (#87)
by physicsgod on Fri Jun 29, 2001 at 03:14:29 AM EST

And I invoke Godwin's Law to end this discussion, which has mutated from a definition of civil disobedience to the socioeconomic influences of a multinational finacial institution, something I have niether the time, talent, nor inclination to persue. Of course your apparant lack of reading comprehension didn't help matters any. If I were at all interested in continuing this I would ask you for citations confirming the Bank's power to make a country an economic pariah, but I'm not. Good day to you.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
oh really? (none / 0) (#61)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 04:27:46 AM EST

And to compare the civil rights activists of the '50s and '60s to these snot-nosed middle-class psuedoangst-ridden white college students who want to piss somebody off is, in my mind, offensive.

What was it you said about "assertion not being argument"? And while I'm sure the world cares a great deal what you personally find offensive, a number of the civil rights activists of the 50s and 60s are still around, and have made numerous statements in support of the global anticapitalist movement.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Really? (none / 0) (#70)
by physicsgod on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:47:04 PM EST

I haven't heard any, but I'm sure they exist. They're probably the activists who members of the communit party or an enviromental group, as well as part of the civil rights movement. Just because they were right then doesn't mean they're right now.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
some explanations please. (1.00 / 1) (#56)
by physicsgod on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 06:01:56 PM EST

Would Nyarlathotep or Refrag care to explain to me why the above comment was worth a 1 or 2? The whole point of the ratings system is feedback and if you have a valid complaint I'm willing to listen, so have the courage of your convictions boys.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
nonsense (3.90 / 11) (#3)
by streetlawyer on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:39:57 PM EST

the only possibile rationale for regarding the incitement of lots of hits on a website as equivalent to a DoS attack is that it might potentially have the effect of landing Rob Malda in jail, which would be amusing. Otherwise, fuck 'em. It would be perfectly possible for the World Bank to have an intelligent discussion with Greenpeace and to address their points (many of which are very salient; the World Bank has a lot of problems, its addiction to Big Dam Projects being the first that comes to mind). If they don't want to take part in a genuine public debate, then they lose their right to whine about "freedom of speech". Freedom of speech (for an organisation that attempts to rule us) is freedom to have a discussion. It's not freedom to broadcast.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
Discussion... (4.50 / 2) (#10)
by Electric Angst on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 01:25:56 PM EST

If I'm not mistaken, the WTO did offer some organizations that were protesting them in Seattle a seat at the conference. Greenpeace, being a rather significant NGO, could probably secure themselves a spot at this one if they really tried. Unfortunantly, it seems that an Us vs. Them mentality has corrupted both sides of the issue...


--
"Honey, we're all in drag. Most people just don't know it." -Rupaul
[ Parent ]
what do you mean? (none / 0) (#50)
by streetlawyer on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 04:40:03 PM EST

The WTO and World Bank are completely different organisations!

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Why is Greenpeace against the worldbank (3.00 / 4) (#4)
by weirdling on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 12:40:45 PM EST

Maybe I missed something, but isn't Greenpeace an environmental group?

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
'cause (3.66 / 3) (#32)
by elenchos on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 05:44:08 PM EST

There's a connection between what happens to the environment and what business and industry do. Strange, but true!

Car jackers pause in mid-heist...to consider the moon.
Hallmark is burned to a crisp.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

But the world bank has no control (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by weirdling on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 03:01:37 PM EST

Business get money from concerns that may or may not get money from the world bank. The world bank has essentially no control, either regulatory or direct, over any of those businesses...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Let's try it this way... (1.00 / 1) (#66)
by elenchos on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 06:43:27 PM EST

...you've heard of Big Dam Projects? Or more generally, Big* Projects? That's our friends at the World Bank, hard at work. Environmental damage? Mmmm, yes, just a little. It is kind of hard not to damage the environment when you aren't thinking about the environment at all. And then there is the policy that says it is a Good Thing to take indigenous people making a subsistnece living and re-directiong them with various incentives (incentives like "Papa Doc Said Do It!") to go to work producing cash crops for sale in the West to pay for the loans that the World Bank provided. This leads to unsustainable kinds of agriculture, like burning down all the rain forests to raise beef to sell overseas. There are a hundred ways of going down this road. Supposedly this shift to westernized industialized capitalism will put people into a cash economoy where they can buy wonderful things like Western medicine. Except that they can't afford it, and usually end up poorer than ever.

More generally, you can't really separate labor, civil rights and environmental issues, primarily because the same people who place profit ahead of people and their rights also place profit ahead of the environment, and tend to harm both with equal recklessness.

The back of Baudelaire's head
appears on every other thirteen dollar bill.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Factual inaccuracies (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:52:07 PM EST

For starters, rain forests were being burned due to unsustainable farming practices the indigenous were using to feed themselves long before the World Bank had anything to do with it.
As to dams, you've stumbled on the environmentalist dichotomy: energy that these people need to pull themselves out of the unsustainable lifestyle they currently are in can be produced through burning wood, coal, or oil, or can be produced through hydro-electric power, with the added benefit that water resevoirs will allow more efficient farming, not to mention provide fish to augment the local diet. However, such a policy is also not acceptable to environmentalists, as it damages local ecology, effecting a no-solution, the which environmentalists use to further blame the World Bank.
I personally don't care what these indigenous do with their time and in their countries, but to state that something must be done and then block every possible recourse is really not horribly productive and certainly not helpful. Either we let them continue with their unsustainable farming practices in which their population increases exponentially at the same time as they turn some of the most remarkable forests into deserts, or we force them with economic pressure and aid in infrastructure to move to a more sustainable farming method based on modern agriculture and energy usage, which environmentalists are also against. I just wish they'd pick which one they prefer and stick with it, or, more interestingly, provide an alternative that is workable on the scale that third world countries need.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
How about... (3.50 / 2) (#73)
by elenchos on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:50:31 PM EST

...letting them decide for themselves what they want in their countries? Rather than using institiutions like the IMF, World Bank and US military aid to prop up whatever local potentate will help profiteers who are not there to make anyone else's life better.

And how about putting these institiutions under open and democratic control in the rich countries that created them? As it is, the World Bank acts in my name, but is not accountable to me. It takes action in poor countries, but doesn't care what the population of those countries wants.

If we at least had that state of affairs, it would be relavent to begin discussing technical solutions to specific problems. Your generalizations, a one-size-fits-all solution, are exactly the kind of mistakes the World Bank makes, and it is exactly the kind of thing that could be better avoided if the locals were given a real say. When you wish "they" would pick one or the other, I think you are referring to the dichotomy between what the oligarchs want and what the people want.

The oligarchs have private banks where they may conduct their business as they wish. But if it is an institiution created by my government, like the World Bank, I want it to serve the many, not the few.

The back of Baudelaire's head
appears on every other thirteen dollar bill.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Ah, now we agree (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 05:52:02 PM EST

The World Bank shouldn't be an instrument of global change, the locals should be able to do exactly what they wish, and, by and large, institutions such as the UN and World Bank should be more democratically controlled. On that we agree.
The 'they' I was referring to are the environmentalists, not the people. Not everyone is an environmentalist, and, as a matter of fact, in the US, at least, Greenpeace doesn't even come close to the view of the majority, and it certainly doesn't do so in France, to name two countries I know of. These aren't pragmatic environmentalists but obstructionist environmentalists who insist that both the problem and all known solutions are bad, so governmental entities are essentially screwed, because doing nothing is bad and doing anything is bad, as well. I'm pretty certain that once apprised of the facts, your average person would be able to make a rational decision between the various options, but Greenpeace, et. al., insist that none of the available options are allowable.
However, World Bank is an extension of the social democrat global politic right now, which is something I'm firmly against, being a Libertarian, and therefore quite isolationist.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
I'd need to see a quote. (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by elenchos on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:39:35 PM EST

Groups like Greenpeace get accused of all kinds of wacky things all the time, mainly because they are steretyped together with a whole range of fringe grougs from the ALF to PETA to the CPUSA. This entire K5 article exists because of some false story about Greenpeace organizing a DoS attack, based on the flimsy evidence of an email chain letter and an off-the-record quote from some mysterious "hacker." Someone claiming to be that person has posted a denial here as well. But Greenpeace does have a handy web site that lays out exactly what they really stand for and what they are really doing.

So if you want to charge "environmentalists" in general with having some contradictory or unreasonable beliefs, it is too vauge to mean anything to me. Show me a quote from Greenpeace's own site that shows me what exactly you are objecting to, and what it is that you find so obstructionist and unpragmatic.

As far as their popularity, again, I would ask to see specific positions that Greenpeace has taken and evidence showing that an insignificant part of the population supports it. That they don't have large numbers of active members is mainly a reflection of the public's natural dislike for patchouli. But I think most Americans do care about the environment and do support most of the same basic ideas that Greenpeace supports. Most Americans would even describe themselves as being "environmentalists," though their definition of the word might not be totally clear, and they might not be fully aware of what needs to be done to protect their environment.

What is a person who is not an environmentalist? Someone who does not think that his surroundings, that which supports his life, should be taken care of? That seems sort of self-destructive. I can see debating what is, versus what is not, destructive to the environment, but to say that you are not opposed to destroying it seems suicidal, or at least drastically short-sighted.

The back of Baudelaire's head
appears on every other thirteen dollar bill.
--Poetry Nation, Jeffrey McDaniel
[ Parent ]

Well put (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:02:50 PM EST

I, myself, am an environmentalist, of sorts, although the old term was 'conservationist'. I firmly believe in conserving forest land and keeping species alive as much as possible, but I do believe in science and reason. I guess the question becomes one of environmentalist wackos hijacking normal ordinary environmentalism, which is simply wise, and blowing it out or proportion.
What has Greenpeace done? They protested French use of nuclear power, for one, for which the French allegedly sunk their ship (I believe they did, anyway). Nuclear power is one of those compromises that is steadfastly ignored: if more nuclear power were used, less polluting coal plants would be used. Anyway, France is a democracy and their energy policy is heavily nuclear, so at least there, Greenpeace is at odds with a community's wishes.
Essentially, a pragmatic approach would be to make it a question of conserving as much as possible, but most environmentalist groups do not do so, choosing to fight for total environmental protection, which even nature does not do. Fires and natural disasters have resulted in far more extinctions than has man, including an entire class of animals, the dinosaurs. It is wise to keep the environment clean and protect natural areas, but to put that in the face of human existence belies that it was done for humans. So, environmentalism in the form of protesting dams constitutes damage to human life as much as tacit acceptance of deforrestation, and I have heard of plenty environmentalists who have taken such positions. Whether Greenpeace has or not I don't know.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
what good will this do? (3.00 / 4) (#17)
by rebelcool on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 02:05:33 PM EST

Heh, do they really think the conference would be held with publicly available servers for DoSing?

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Disagree with your title. (2.33 / 3) (#25)
by argent on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 03:23:41 PM EST

A sit in would be more classified as an act of passive demonstration / resistance.
I would classify a DOS or mail bomb as more of a demonstration with hostile intent, if not a full blown attack.

argent

This "sit in" doesn't appear to be passi (2.50 / 2) (#26)
by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 04:47:33 PM EST

"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"

I would be very interested in hearing the full capabilities of this "Cyber-protester" tool.



[ Parent ]
Funny thought.... (2.00 / 1) (#29)
by argent on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 04:56:28 PM EST

I wonder if this cyber protester tool is smart tag related????
cd /pub more Beer
[ Parent ]
I think you misunderstood. (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by ti dave on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 04:53:03 PM EST

Read this againi, and see if you agree with what I'm about to explain.

"Cyber-protest is a well-developed tool of protest groups who use computers to exchange information, organise demonstrations and bombard political leaders with demands."

and you responded with;

"I would be very interested in hearing the full capabilities of this "Cyber-protester" tool."

Sounds to me like they are referring to "Cyber-protest" in the sense of the *concept* of a tool;
ex. Writing and Speaking are tools of Human Communication.

Not as a specific, discrete named item; ex. Echelon, Carnivore or AIM.

Cheers,

ti dave


"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
"Cyber-Protest" (3.00 / 2) (#52)
by gyrfalcon on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 09:18:14 AM EST

What you said makes perfect sense. The way it is worded threw me off a bit.

I would have to disagree with it being "well-developed" as the artical states. What I am trying to figure out is where do these online protests go from being protests to something more akin to "riots" or "sabotage"?

Will greenpeace or other groups distribute programs similar to seti/distributed.net to DoS attack "protest" groups they oppose?

[ Parent ]
Interesting Point... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by ti dave on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 04:25:42 PM EST

"where do these online protests go from being protests to something more akin to 'riots' or 'sabotage'?"

I would use the meat space analogy here.
Think about this. Say you were protesting in a group, against Nuclear Proliferation or Lack of funding for AIDS.

Your group lays down in the street, blocking traffic. "The Man" would arrest you all, under the pretense that your group is jeopardizing Public Safety, by blocking access by emergency vehicles. There is some measure of truth to that, but...

In reality, you'd be arrested for tweaking "The Man" and his policies, but the system is set up to manipulate the non-caring majority to support the motives of the political system.

For me, the line in Electronic Protest and Resistance, should be drawn where it legitimately threatens Public Safety.

The caveat here?

If you were electronically protesting a Hospital, or an Airport, or the FAA, I wouldn't agree with harming a critical network component, but if these agencies host publically accessible sites on the same machines that keep life support running, or keep airplanes from dropping out of the sky, then they're morons.

As far as hampering a private corporation, screw 'em, dealing with a pissed-off public should be counted as part of the cost of doing business.


BTW, I've noticed that this comment is longer than everything in the submissions queue this weekend.

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Ever been to a sit-in? (4.00 / 3) (#54)
by QuantumG on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 05:29:47 PM EST

A "real world" sit-in is a DOS attack. That's the point.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Some of the early sit-ins... (2.00 / 1) (#72)
by magney on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:43:40 PM EST

As I remember from my history classes, some of the sit-ins during the early days of the civil rights movement involved black people sitting at whites-only soda counters and otherwise doing things that would've been perfectly legal if it were whites doing them. Not exactly the same thing as a DoS attack.

Of course, that's not the only form of sit-in.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Greenpeace and cyberactivism (4.75 / 8) (#57)
by kjardine on Sun Jun 24, 2001 at 06:11:04 PM EST

I'm the Greenpeace staff person who did the interview with the Guardian reporter. We do indeed have about 100 thousand cyberactivists around the world. About a fifth of them hang out at the Greenpeace cyberactivist community (http://act.greenpeace.org) a Squishdot/Zope based site that is still in beta right now, but is nevertheless growing at the rate of almost a thousand new members a week.

The Guardian article is rather absurd. The reporter did not even mention the World Bank when he interviewed me. Greenpeace cyberactivists write letters to politicians and corporate decision makers, report environmental violations to Greenpeace staff, volunteer to help translate documents, send e-cards to friends about environmental issues, and so on. We've already had a number of victories, including convincing Coke to phaseout powerful greenhouse gas refrigerants, and more recently, convincing a Japanese mayor to hold a referendum on a proposed plutonium facility (the plutonium project was rejected).

The examples I cited must have been too tame for the reporter. He asked about hacker activism, sometimes called hactivism. I mentioned the cyber-sit-in concept but said that Greenpeace didn't use it and that I didn't know anyone else who did.

The resulting article was edited to look like there was an organized cyber-campaign against the World Bank meeting in question. Just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read!

At any rate, please drop by the Greenpeace cyberactivist community and tell us what you think!



The difference between "Attack" and &quo (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by bediger on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 12:40:20 PM EST

All this does is point out how loose the definition of "DoS Attack" is. If the World Bank got 100,000 web hits, that would be great. If they get 100,000 emails of protest, suddenly we view the World Bank as a victim of a mail bomb type DoS attack.

Why do we accept the purveyor's desired use of something (music, CueCat, etc) as the only moral thing to do with it, and any undesired use of something (Napster, hacked CueCat) as a kind of horrible ethical defect?

More to the point, why do we let Public Relations organizations define our morality and the semantics of our language for us?


-- I am Spartacus.
"Cyber Sit-ins" = DoS Attacks? | 87 comments (76 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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