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[casi] article: Al-Jazeera hacker pleads guilty

Al-Jazeera hacker pleads guilty

An American web designer is to formally plead guilty to hacking the Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera's 
website during the Iraq war.
John William Racine II, 24, on Thursday admitted diverting al-Jazeera's traffic and e-mails to a 
site called Let Freedom Ring, featuring pro-US messages, prosecutors said.

The attack is said to have been motivated by al-Jazeera's decision to show pictures of dead and 
captured American soldiers during the war.

Both al-Jazeera's Arabic and English-language sites were hacked into or shut down frequently during 
the war.

Launched: 1996
Audience: 35 million
Motto: "Opinion... and the other opinion"
Based in Qatar and funded by the Emir of Qatar

Mr Racine, who contacted the authorities in March, has agreed to plead guilty to two charges of 
wire fraud and unlawful interception of an electronic communication when he appears in court in Los 
Angeles on Monday.

He is expected to be sentenced to three years' probation, 1,000 hours of community service and a 
fine of $1,500.

Al-Jazeera's technology manager welcomed the charges, but said the hacking of the site was a costly 
operation that could not have involved just one person.

"It is not difficult for one person to have the brain to do this, but the financial capabilities 
needed for the hacking are hard to find with one person," Salah Siddiki told the Associated Press.

The US has criticised al-Jazeera over its coverage of the war in Iraq and for airing statements 
from Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

The independent Qatar-based station has also angered Arab leaders for speaking out against them and 
their policies, but remains popular with Arab audiences.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/06/13 13:15:10 GMT


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