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The World Trade Organization

On November 20, 1999, ten days before the WTO's Seattle Ministerial, WTO/GATT published Gatt.org, a website questioning the value of untrammeled free trade and financial globalization. (The Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was the predecessor to the World Trade Organization, and many internet users seeking the WTO stumble upon Gatt.org instead.)

On November 23, 1999, the WTO issued a press release condemning Gatt.org. The day after the November 30 Seattle meeting and protests, WTO/GATT responded with its own press release, which obtained a fair amount of press. (Strangely and ludicrously, more space on the WTO website was devoted to Gatt.org than to the physical protests themselves, or to the protesters' concerns. Fortunately, the mainstream press did not follow suit.)

On October 30, 2001, ten days before its next two-year Ministerial, the WTO saw fit to again call attention to Gatt.org, by posting the following notice on its front page:

Warning: Fake WTO website — www.gatt.org — deceitful and a nuisance to serious users  > More

The WTO's new notice and press release, coupled with a press release from the group that maintains the Gatt.org site, resulted in considerable new press and so much web traffic that some surmised the WTO's publicity had really been a form of cyber-terrorism against Gatt.org's server.

See also this release about some other "copycat sites."
A letter from Verio
La Organizaciˇn Mundial del Comercio En Espa˝ol
L'Organisation Mondiale du Commerce En franšais
Gatt.org press release
Gatt.org press

Last updated:
10 February 2001
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