NEW YORK – A Web site that pooh-poohs European allies who are against the potential U.S. war on Iraq shut down last week after an apparent hacking by its critics, according to the site's creator.
Francestinks.com and Germanystinks.com pages were inundated with so many e-mails that the server had to be shut down for a day, said the site's creator, who goes by the pseudonym "Yankee Doodle."
The attacks started on Friday, just hours after "Doodle" received a 5 a.m. phone call from a man who said he was calling from Germany and was going to "show you what happens when you post a nationalist site like this on the Internet," he said.
The site was hacked again on Monday. In both instances, e-mail traffic "suddenly surged to hundreds of these insult messages per hour," said Doodle. The site was taken offline by the Web host, revived and then hacked again.
While Doodle doesn't know if the caller was the perpetrator, he believes someone used an automated program to attack his site. He reported the incident to the FBI.
"Apparently (the hacker) was very sophisticated," he said. "People at the server outfit said they had never seen one that sophisticated before."
The site offers both German and French jokes, news and lists of products to boycott. It received 500,000 visitors in its first few weeks online, Doodle said. Doodle also receives between 300 to 400 e-mails -- many of them hostile -- each day.
"I have been threatened personally," he said. "And you wouldn't believe the nasty stuff I get in e-mails."
One particularly disturbing message had a picture of Uncle Sam with a gun held to his head and the caption, “Die Americans Die," Doodle said. Nazi images are also commonly included in e-mails.
But Doodle has also been pleased by the interesting and intelligent responses he's gotten from around the globe -- including France and Germany.
"Yes, you are right to say that our governments are more interested in the Arab world than in the will of their real ally, the USA," said one submission from France. "I am happy you can't see what is happening in France, because you would be appalled by what is said about the Americans."
But not everyone is so "God Bless America."
"You should be grateful to France and Germany for standing up to your madman. Bush," wrote one person who signed his message "Rex."
“I have American friends who live in Europe and they are ashamed of their shallow fellow Americans back home," wrote Rex. "Are you aware that Iraq is the cradle of civilization? Of course not, as you are busy with your Hollywood trash and junk food. Three quarters of Americans are obese. What a country full of ignorant, fat people."
Many who wrote in objected to the site's names, a charge deflected by Doodle.
"In America when you say you 'stink' it's no big deal," he noted. "It's a cultural thing that some don't get."
Björn Lührsen of Germany wasn't amused, however. "I don't stink. I take a shower every day," he wrote in.
Despite the threats and virtual attack, Doodle is pleased with the virtual soapbox he's created.
“The sites were set up as a place for Americans to get together and discuss their feelings," he said. "But we have gotten wonderful moving letters from all over the world, some saying 'We're with you,' 'We love you' … They'll make you cry."