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More on Milosevic censored websites -- with credit, this time

[Xeni last month sent me Silicon Alley Reporter's story breaking this 
story, and I never sent it out. My apologies. I hope this will set the 
record straight. --Declan]


From: "Xeni Jardin" <xeni.jardin@siliconalleyreporter.com>
To: <cicero@cluebot.com>, "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>
Subject: re: FC: Milosevic censored opposition websites
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000 08:07:53 -0700

Hi, folks,

Just wanted to point out that we broke this story nearly a month
earlier (copy of the first exclusive we sent you then is
attached)... In fact, we broke a series of related Net/.yu TLD news
items during the crisis, all between 27th Sep and 6 October, weeks
in advance of the heise.de story -- which appears to have cribbed a
number of the details we broke without sourcing us.




-----Original Message-----
From: Xeni Jardin [mailto:xeni@siliconalleyreporter.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 27, 2000 2:41 PM
To: Declan McCullagh
Subject: fyi from Silicon Alley Daily: Belgrade: Koštunica’s Party
Claims Milosevic Government Hacked Web + E-mail service

Belgrade: Koštunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia Claims Milosevic
Government Hacked its Websites, Blocked and Intercepted E-mail
Service of Democratic Party and Other Opposition Groups

September 27, 2000
by Xeni Jardin

EXCLUSIVE. As crowds of approximately 250,000 opponents of Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic gather tonight in downtown Belgrade to
demand that the President concede defeat to apparent election winner
Vojislav Koštunica, representatives of Koštunica's Democratic Party
of Serbia informed the Silicon Alley Daily in an exclusive interview
that websites and e-mail service for the Democratic Party of Serbia
and the Democratic Opposition Coalition of Serbia were temporarily
"hijacked" and redirected by technicians acting on behalf of the
Milosevic government. The "Web takeover" reportedly began on
election night, Sept. 24, and lasted more than 18 hours through the
following day--a critical period during which the democratic
opposition had planned to announce election results online and via
e-mail to supporters.
Sources from Belgrade further informed the Daily today that other
popular opposition websites in the region such as www.freeserbia.org
and www.izbori2000.net (Serbian for "elections2000"), were similarly
blocked and redirected by agents acting on behalf of the Milosevic
"We believe Milosevic knows that 80 percent of [the] people in
Yugoslavia are against him," said Ivan Nesic, communications
representative for Koštunica's Democratic Party. "He's probably
trying to make our communication even harder because in these
moments, communication is one of the keys in winning this battle.
"[The Web] server where we host ds.org.yu is in America, so blocking
sites that are not in Yugoslavia is very hard," Nesic continued.
"They changed name server caches at the state-run ISP 'PTT YU,' and
from within the academic network, which is also under government
Milosevic's Socialist Party did not respond to requests for comment.

"They actually wanted to prevent people in Yugoslavia from learning
the real results of the election."
---Ivan Nesic, communications representative for Koštunica’s
Democratic Party

Serbian Democratic Party representatives say they are preparing for
anticipated further online attacks by posting their domain's numeric
IP address on the opening page of each site, thereby providing
visitors with a way to authenticate each site's status and content.
When asked whether similar incidents had occurred prior to the
election period, Nesic said that while previous interference with
e-mail service had taken place, "This time, they actually wanted to
prevent people in Yugoslavia from learning the real results of the
"Like all media in Serbia, the Internet is under pressure by
[Milosevic's] Socialist party," Nesic stated, "We assume that our
government organized people to deliberately jam our [online]
presentation, and we now know they are using the academic network as
a shield and as their Internet headquarters."
Nesic explained that the Yugoslavian academic Internet system is one
of the most accessible sources of Internet communication for
citizens of this region.
Speaking to the Daily from New York, RadioB92 co-founder and
Belgrade native Drazen Pantic, a co-director of New York's Location1
gallery and recipient of the 1999 Electronic Frontier Foundation
Pioneer Award, said he believes similar occurrences are likely to
continue throughout the next few days as the crisis surrounding the
Yugoslav elections continues. "It is ... obvious that the Milosevic
regime is taking the Internet very seriously as a propaganda tool
and more importantly, as a source for gathering information about
opposition groups," he said.
Radiob92 is a Belgrade-based independent news organization and
pan-media broadcaster. The venture, founded in 1989, is widely
considered to be Yugoslavia's leading source for independent news.
According to Pantic, the official administrator of the .yu top level
domain for Yugoslavia is the University Information Center, headed
by Bane Ivkovica, minister of science and technology for the
Milosevic government.
Pantic said, "[Ivkovica] apparently ordered his technicians to
compromise the records of freeserbia.org and izbori2000.net,
redirect the corresponding web pages to other [unrelated web sites],
[and] redirect the e-mail traffic of freeserbia.org and
izbori2000.net to an unidentified route. As a result, the live
broadcast from the streets of Belgrade on www.freeserbia.org and
www.izbori2000.net became unavailable. ... Sources from Belgrade
claimed that [the hijacked sites displayed] pornographic images,
flames against opposition leaders, and pictures of empty
streets--their 'proof' that the reports about thousands of
anti-Milosevic protesters on the streets were false."
A statement issued by FreeSerbia explains that the organization's
technical staff contacted the .yu domain administrators to demand an
explanation. "Asked whether there was any legal basis for this
action, Nenad Krajinovic, an administrator of the org.yu Internet
domain, said they had been ordered to do so by the Serbian Ministry
for Science and Technology and that Vlada Teodosic, Dean of Belgrade
University Electrical Engineering Faculty which managed the
administration of the org.yu Internet domain, passed on the
ministry's order."
In an interview today from Belgrade, RadioB92 co-founder Gordan
Paunovic told the Daily, "Very little independent media remains in
the country ... so, for days [during the period surrounding the
elections], freeb92.net [Radiob92's website] had approximately
100,000 unique visitors daily, with more than 3 million requests
from our webserver per day ... pretty strong hits considering that
there are only around 250,000 [Internet] connections in Yugoslavia."
Paunovic further reported that this week RadioB92 and its partner,
TV ANEM, successfully completed a precedent-setting combined
Internet, terrestrial and satellite broadcast of election news from
"We used a 2 Mbps leased line, going to a dedicated Real Video
server in Belgrade, to our broadcasting studio in Bosnia," he
explained. The video stream was then broadcast to satellite and
terrestrial TV recipients throughout the Balkan region, thereby
becoming accessible to nearly all of the region's TV-vieweing
population. A direct, non-Internet satellite or terrestrial
television broadcast would have required a license from the Federal
Ministry of telecommunications, said Paunovic--and approval of this
independent broadcast by the Milosevic-controlled ministry would hav
e been highly unlikely.
"Here in Belgrade," Paunovic observed, "we had to get the best from
the Net."

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