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Indymedia in Trouble

The FBI have seized Indymedia servers in the UK. 

Today, October 8, 2004, Indymedia has learned that the request to seize Indymedia servers hosted by a US company in the UK originated from government agencies in Italy and Switzerland. More than 20 Indymedia sites, several internet radio streams and other projects were hosted on the servers. They were taken offline on October 7th after an order was issued to Rackspace, Inc., one of Indymedia’s web hosting providers.

 

The reasons for the court order or who actually holds the servers now are still unknown to Indymedia.

 

According to Italian news agency reports and an Agence France-Presse (AFP) interview with FBI spokesman Joe Parris, the FBI acted on Italian and Swiss requests. “It is not an FBI operation,” Parris told AFP. “Through a legal assistance treaty, the subpoena was on behalf of a third country.” (1)

 

Earlier today Rackspace published a statement that they turned over the servers in response to an order under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). The MLAT establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations regarding international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering. The court prohibits Rackspace from commenting further on this matter. (2)

 

An Indymedia system administrator stated: “We do not know if Rackspace is under a gag order, or what legal restrictions were imposed requiring them to act this way, or whether their legal department had enough time to study the request.”

 

Aidan White, the General Secretary for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had this to say. “We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specialising in independent journalism. The way this has been done smacks more of intimidation of legitimate journalistic inquiry than crime-busting.” (3)

 

Indymedia condemns the fact that even 24 hours after two entire servers were taken down, Indymedia is still not getting any information of the reasons for the order.

 

By taking down 2 servers more than 20 Indymedia sites were affected in different countries globally as well as several unrelated projects. Indymedia considers this extremely invasive operation a a serious threat to the Freedom of Speech worldwide.

 

Indymedia insists that the servers are returned because each day they are inoperable and Indymedia’s irreplaceable data is unaccessible means greater material damages to the Indymedia operation worldwide.

While Indymedia started as a collective of independent media organizations and journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protests in Seattle, it quickly degenerated into a collective of terror-appeasing, anti-Israel/US groups and individuals. This is big news. I wonder if, like the ISM, they are suspected of being involved with terrorists.

 

Update: This report from The Age may shed more light:

Last month the US Federal Communications Commission shut down community radio stations around the US. Two weeks ago the FBI asked Indymedia to remove a post on the Nantes IMC that had a photo of some undercover Swiss police and IMC volunteers in Seattle were visited by the FBI on the same issue.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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