updated 3:00 a.m. 23.Nov.98.PST
This weekend, thousands of protesters will converge on Fort Benning, Georgia, to mark the ninth anniversary of those murders. They'll demonstrate outside the School of the Americas, the US Army center where the alleged killers received military training.
Meanwhile, in cyberspace, a group called the Electronic Disturbance Theater expects thousands of Net users from around the world to join them in an "online sit-in" on the School of Americas Web site.
However, School of Americas Watch, the human-rights group organizing the march, is unimpressed.
"We believe in putting our bodies on the line, not our computers," said Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas Watch which protests the very existence of the school. "We have members serving six to 18 months in prison for their protest action."
The School of the Americas was set up to imbue Latin American officers with American values and ideals.
However, according to John Pike, a security analyst with the Federation of American Scientists, the center has been more successful at producing soldiers responsible for committing human-rights abuses.
"Often the military is the instrument of social repression in Latin America, so you're not going to get Peace Corps volunteers," said Pike.
The Electronic Disturbance Theater is a cyber-protest group that supports the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, who are currently fighting against the Mexican government. Mexico sends a number of its officers to the School of the Americas.
To draw attention to this cause, hacktivists attempt to disable certain Web sites temporarily by asking demonstrators to load a hostile Web-based program called FloodNet.
The FloodNet Web page contains a Java applet configured to request and load the target Web sites every three seconds. These automated, rapid-fire requests, known as "denial of service" attacks, are designed to overwhelm the target site.
And therein lies the problem with FloodNet, according to the School of the Americas Watch.
"I think itís a novel use of technology," said Michael Katz-Lacabe, the group's webmaster. "But the problem with it is that by denying access to the site, it is restricting the First Amendment rights of the operators."
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