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jnordquist

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Registered: 03/14/03
Posts: 129
Location:Kenosha
KenoshaOnline.net

FROM THE RACINE WI JOURNAL-TIMES
____________________________________

Is Pentagon flooding Kenosha site with porn?
By Rachel Campbell

What started out as a simple story about a local Web site spun out into an international quest for a conspiratorially covered-up smoking gun behind Sept. 11.

Fielding calls from the Defense Department one minute and incredulous conspiracy hunters in London the next, I expected to glance up and see a "The Truth Is Out There" poster slapped defiantly above my desk. This was getting ridiculous.

Here's what happened: KenoshaOnline.net was forced to disable their anonymous posting forum last Sunday following several bombs of "comments" advertising links to Web sites featuring incest, bestiality, underage sex, and just about any other dirty and/or illegal thing you could think of.

"We suffered about 20 attacks over a two month period," said John Norquist, administrator for KenoshaOnline. "And each attack resulted in about 10 to 15 different articles ... so, you do the math, that's about three hundred attacks, total."

And, now, the punchline: according to the IP address the comments left behind, the computer generating the porn bombs is sitting in Room BF655A of the Pentagon in Washington D.C., property of the United States Department of Defense.

But before you start ripping up next year's W-2s in disgust at the use of your hard-earned tax dollars, you should probably know that the address is a familiar one to bloggers and other Webmasters and that most consider it a fake.

Not that it matters much to KenoshaOnline: traffic for the Web site has dropped significantly since its anonymous forum was disabled. "Basically our web activity has dropped down to about one-third," said Norquist, expressing concern that the dramatic downfall in traffic will affect interest from advertisers. Advertising revenue is how most Web sites providing free content, like KenoshaOnline, pay for their space, their equipment, and their staff. Without the ads, they would have to rely on paid subscriptions from their visitors or, worse yet, donations.

Norquist contacted the Department of Defense on Sunday in the hopes that they could stop the attacks ostensibly coming from their computer, but as of Wednesday, he said, "No word yet from the DOD."

The situation, though bizarre, is far from unique. This year has brought a slew of online attention from Room BF655A. The Middlewesterner (http://middlewesterner.blogspot.com), a blog maintained by accomplished writer and Wisconsinite Tom Montag, received a visit on May 18 of this year from this address. The Gospel According to Whoppo (http://the.gospel.according.to.whoppo.net), a blog from the pseudonominal Whoppo himself, caught some of the Pentagon action way back in early February. The visits, from the same computer that attacked KenoshaOnline, were fortunately halted at Whoppo's firewall and duly recorded. Spiced Sass (http://www.roadsassy.com/spicedsass), a Cincinnati-based blog of right-leaning political commentary, was also hit. Zee, the blogger herself, wrote in her July 9 blog of the event that her server blocked the repeated entry attempts by Room BF655A before it could do any damage - if that is, in fact, what it was trying to do.

And that's up for debate. While most people believe the Room BF655A address is spoofed, there are others who say that it is nothing short of naiveté to believe that Big Brother isn't watching. Simon Aronowitz, editor of the London-based political conspiracy hunting Web site ThoughtCrimeNews.com, is one. "I seriously doubt these people are spoofing government addresses," he told me. "That's asking for trouble." And besides, what about the logged visits to his and related Web sites from NASA offices and that of the President of the United States? Are they all faked? Considering reports in the media of Internet-based terrorist organizations, not to mention the incendiary material on Aronowitz and others' sites involving September 11th and the war in Iraq, it isn't very farfetched to believe that the U.S. isn't keeping an eye on them.

Such is also the case with Fathers4Justice (http://www.fathers.ca), a Canadian activist site devoted to paternal rights - and, yes, associated with the same Fathers4Justice responsible for the flour-bombing of Tony Blair earlier this year. Among the list of many other British and Canadian government offices who have visited the site, the IP address for Room BF655A is listed and denounced as an arm of "the United States and their Terrorist government agents."

Considering the Flour Bomb Incident, it isn't impossible that some Internet surveillance agent in the Pentagon has the Fathers4Justice site bookmarked on his PC. But that doesn't explain the Federal government's sudden interest in flooding KenoshaOnline with porn. The fact is, pirating compromised computers belonging to the Feds is nothing new to the spamming and anti-spamming communities; and IP spoofing software is easily available on the Web. Programs such as Blitznet are excellent for flooding Web sites with political tirades, pornographic links, advertising spam - you name it. And because programs like this are not based on a specific connection, it is fairly simple to attach any IP address one wants to the assault. All you need are the numbers.

Which are pretty easy to get if you have access to a visitors' log - if, say, you are a disgruntled political blogger or online commentator and happen to notice the Defense Department's IP address repeatedly noted on your server's record. You probably wouldn't be too happy about such visitations in this hypothetical situation. You might, in fact, if you were so inclined, decide to write a flooding program full of abusive or pornographic text and imagery, attach the government IP address to it, and send it round the globe. It would be the virtual equivalent of writing a nasty, confessional note in your worst enemy's carefully forged handwriting and passing it around the whole school.

But it's just a theory. I could be wrong.

John Nordquist,
Applications Specialist, medical Technologies
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