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Trade Body Chief Deplores Fake WTO Web Sites

Added: (Wed Nov 24 1999)

Pressbox (Press Release) - World Trade Organization Director-General Mike Moore on Tuesday accused opponents of the body who have set up fake WTO Web sites of deliberately misleading people seeking information on its activities.

Dozens of such Web sites on the Internet have been created in the run-up to the WTO's Ministerial Conference in Seattle from November 30 to December 3 during which thousands of protesters are planning to demonstrate.

The sites lead surfers to others where the WTO is denounced as an
instrument of imperialism'' or
a tool of capitalist oppression'' in a campaign some trade envoys have likened to disinformation efforts by the KGB, the old Soviet intelligence service.

Moore, a former New Zealand prime minister, said the Web sites, many of which are anonymous, copied design features and logos from the WTO's official pages on the Internet.

"This causes confusion among visitors looking for genuine information from the WTO, disrupting a much-needed dialogue," he said in a statement.

"The WTO and its members uphold the right of others to criticize and comment on WTO affairs, including the right to protest publicly," said Moore, who has sought to discuss issues frequently with the organization's critics.

"Confusing the public is another matter. Contrary to critics' allegations, the WTO is highly transparent," he declared.

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