At the beginning of the war, an anonymous Iraqi calling himself "Salam Pax" was weblogging from Baghdad. The postings stopped for several weeks, but now he is back online, with a backlog of street-level stories about the war and its aftermath. "War sucks big time," he says. "Don't let yourself ever be talked into having one waged in the name of your freedom.
"Arab-American activist Nawar Shora checked his e-mail one day and found scores of angry messages asking why he hated Americans and Jews," writes Anick Jesdanun. "The messages were responding to e-mails marked as coming from him. Only one big problem: he never sent the hate mail." Shora was the victim of a new form of harassment in which fake e-mail is sent using real addresses. "The tactic, known as e-mail spoofing, requires little technical know-how and no illegal computer break-ins.
Independent weblogs are "changing not only the way the new war will be waged, but also the way citizens can get information about the conflict," reports Dan Fost.
A new website combining community activism and investigative reporting is up and running here in PR Watch's home state of Wisconsin. FightingBob.com is named after reformer, peace campaigner and Wisconsin Senator Bob La Follette who served in the US Senate from 1906 to 1925, running for president in 1924 on the Progressive Party ticket.
Largely unnoticed by the press, "hacktivists" like Eli Pariser have used the Internet to create what George Packer calls "an instantaneous movement. ... During the past three months it has gathered the numbers that took three years to build during Vietnam. It may be the fastest-growing protest movement in American history. ...
"For years, people will be debating
what made [South Korea] go from conservative to liberal,
from gerontocracy to youth culture and from staunchly
pro-American to a deeply ambivalent ally - all seemingly
overnight. ... But for many observers, the
most important agent of change has been the Internet. ... In the last year, as the elections were
approaching, more and more people were getting their
information and political analysis from spunky news
services on the Internet instead of from the country's
The burgeoning US anti-war movement is showing a sophistication for grassroots lobbying normally only used by major corporate PR efforts. Today, for instance, hundreds of thousands of US citizens are participating in "a massive march on Washington without leaving your living room. The Virtual March on Washington is a first-of-its-kind campaign from the Win Without War coalition. Working together, we will direct a steady stream of phone calls -- about one per minute, all day -- to every Senate office in the country, while at the same time delivering a constant stream of e-mails and faxes.
The Center for Consumer Freedom, a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries, has been forced to give up the domain names of two web sites used to attack the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in what CSPI called an "Orwellian" effort to create confusion among Internet users looking for CSPI's websites.
"When Allied forces were last on their way to the Gulf in 1991, the Internet was little more than a gaggle of bearded academics swapping information on their latest computer programs," reports Owen Gibson. Today, however, the web "is opening up a world of different perspectives and viewpoints. ...
The media-savvy internet-based peace group MoveOn has rapidly built an impressive on-line membership of more than 600,000 citizens. Two weeks ago it garnered major national publicity with its "TV Daisy Advertisement" opposing a US attack on Iraq. Now MoveOn hopes to recruit many thousands of volunteers to "consider pledging a