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Andy Walker

Forum downtime

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Apologies to all members for the recent significant downtime. It has become apparent that around 6 August we were subject to a denial of service attack most likely orchestrated by a nasty extreme right wing weblog we have had problems with before. I will not give further publicity to these foul people by naming them. Suffice to say they are allergic to free speech and feel challenged by intelligent debate.

This situation was made more difficult by the fact that it occurred, probably with some inside information and therefore planning, during my 3 weeks holiday abroad. I have therefore found it almost impossible to respond to the attack as it was happening and will be making the forum live only for short periods until I return home and can get to the bottom of the problem. I have also suspended new registrations. Normal forum services will only be restored once I am confident that we are in a position to proceed securely.

The attack has cause significant damage to the forum and has had financial implications. Once the source has been established with some degree of security I will be considering legal action.

Thank you to those members and supporters (the overwhelming majority) who have expressed support to John and myself during this difficult time. The one forum member who seems to think the attack was justified should perhaps spend some time reflecting on his priorities :angry:

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Congratulation on the resurrection of the forum and welcome back! :up

How disappointing that some people are so small minded as to want to stop other people having free and open discussion. Not only that, but to employ such bullying tactics anonymously is beyond the comprehension of thinking people! For intelligent people these individuals should consider that they have actually sunk to a level that is lower than those who display the most mindless, loutish and destructive behaviour in civilised society.

:angry:

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Yes, me too. I really missed all of you the last few weeks. Looking forward to getting back into debating mode!! Thanks for getting yopurself back on line.

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Members might be interested in the group that brought our website down. The group is organized by two brothers, Charles Johnson (Los Angeles) and Michael Johnson (San Francisco). The group are strong supporters of Israel, George Bush and Tony Blair (they carry an advert for him on their website). They are especially hostile to anyone who says anything in support of Arabs, Muslims, John Kerry or Michael Moore.

They run a weblog that reports on people saying things that they disagree with. These people are described as "moonbats". They use a code word next to the item that obviously instructs members on what action they should take. This included a campaign against one poor librarian who made the mistake of praising the work of Michael Moore. If it is a forum like ours they join and then post comments claiming that the original poster is anti-Semitic, a fascist or a leftist. If the original poster provides logical answers to their comments, they then attempt to bring the forum down.

They do this by using software called FloodNet. This is how one news organization says it works:

“An individual hacker has to target a specific Web site using the Defend tool. Once it is set up and hitting the Web site, it constantly refreshes the page every 2.5 seconds. The only way it can do damage is if thousands of hackers target the same Web site. If requests to the Web page from the attackers come fast enough, the target computer will freeze up.

The Defend tool is different from the Tribe Flood Network, which is more powerful and harder to detect than this version because an attacker secretly embeds software into hundreds of computers, Venzke said. Then, at a selected time, a command is issued that prompts the infected computers to swamp a target Web site or server with messages in a so-called denial-of-service attack. The program does not damage the "infected" computers or the target, but the sudden flood of messages typically knocks out the target system.”

This approach also uses up bandwidth. In a short period they can use up all our bandwidth and the site goes down. This is what they did to us a couple of weeks ago. They seem to object to postings some of us made on John Kerry, Michael Moore and Tony Blair. They especially disliked a posting I made about the funding of Tony Blair:

It was recently revealed (Robin Ramsay’s The Rise of New Labour) that when Blair became a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party in 1994, Gideon Meir, a senior official at the Israeli Embassy in London, introduced him to Michael Levy (an extremely wealthy Jewish businessmen). Levy agreed to help Blair to become leader of the party. Levy, with the help of four other Jewish businessmen (Sir Emmanuel Kaye, Sir Trevor Chinn, Maurice Hatter, and David Goldman) provided Blair with £7m. This paid for his campaign plus the running of his private office. This money allowed Blair to become independent of Labour Party funding. Could it be this money, rather than the charm of George Bush, that persuaded Blair to give his support to the American (Israeli) policy in the Middle East.

Andy and myself are currently trying to improve the security of the website. This will involve spending a great deal of money. However, it will be worthwhile if this is the only way we can guarantee free speech.

We will also need to change the rules about membership. This will mean that some members will have to re-register. In future members will not automatically be allowed to join the forum. They will have to apply for membership and this will only be granted after certain information is provided.

Please feel free to express your opinions on the forum. It is vitally important that you do not allow these people to win. After all, as someone once said, the main threat to freedom of speech is self-censorship.

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Members might be interested in the group that brought our website down. The group is organized by two brothers, Charles Johnson (Los Angeles) and Michael Johnson (San Francisco). The group are strong supporters of Israel, George Bush and Tony Blair (they carry an advert for him on their website). They are especially hostile to anyone who says anything in support of Arabs, Muslims, John Kerry or Michael Moore.

Actually, I'm a fairly strong supporter of Israel and a much more lukewarm supporter of Blair. On the other hand, I'm also a fairly strong supporter of Michael Moore and a much more lukewarm supporter of John Kerry...

The difference is that I wouldn't try to attack, silence, ridicule, shout down, ban, etc anyone who had a different opinion from my own. I'd even go so far as to defend the right of nasty people like the BNP to put forward their views, despicable though these may be.

I've enjoyed reading the posts on the forum. I've found them both informative and, in general, interesting. Keep up the good work...

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Actually, I'm a fairly strong supporter of Israel and a much more lukewarm supporter of Blair. On the other hand, I'm also a fairly strong supporter of Michael Moore and a much more lukewarm supporter of John Kerry...

The difference is that I wouldn't try to attack, silence, ridicule, shout down, ban, etc anyone who had a different opinion from my own. I'd even go so far as to defend the right of nasty people like the BNP to put forward their views, despicable though these may be.

I've enjoyed reading the posts on the forum. I've found them both informative and, in general, interesting. Keep up the good work...

Thanks for your support Mike.

This forum encourages posts from all over the political spectrum. You are a very welcome and valued contributer to this forum.

Rather naively I had hoped that those that have attacked us might have engaged in meaningful civilised debate and was slow to see what they were up to. The nasty weblog they inhabit is inherently racist, unmoderated and foul beyond measure.

Like you I have a very strong commitment to free speech within the law.

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