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Indymedia Server Raided by FBI 1150

Posted by samzenpus
from the need-to-know-basis dept.
jaromil writes "Today at about 18:00 CET FBI raided the indymedia servers hosted by Rackspace both in US and England. At present, the italian indymedia and numerous other local IMC websites are obscured, while the reasons why the hard drives were taken are still unknown."
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Indymedia Server Raided by FBI

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:46PM (#10464474)
    The NYC Indymedia site [indymedia.org] is still up and has coverage of their own downtime. [indymedia.org]

    Nobody's exactly sure why or how the FBI got warrants to take Indymedia's HDs, but their speculation tends to center around the fact that the Feds were spooked by the fact that Indymedia was able to publish RNC delegate names. This unfortuantely means political motivations are going to be questioned no matter what reasoning is brought forward.

    Not much we can do at this hour but hold our breath and wait for more info to be released.
    • by mfh (56) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:48PM (#10464498) Journal
      ... Nobody's exactly sure why or how the FBI got warrants to take Indymedia's HDs, but their speculation tends to center around the fact that the Feds were spooked by the fact that Indymedia was able to publish RNC delegate names.

      Yeah that freedom of speech thing is a real pain, isn't it?
      • by caseydk (203763) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:51PM (#10464520) Homepage Journal

        They also published the personal information of the delegates which included home addresses, phone numbers, and places of work.

        There were also numerous hacks around that time (protestwarrior for one) in which personal information was posted on Indymedia sites.

        When anti-abortion groups post this information on doctors who perform abortions, it is considered a threat. Why is this any different?
        • by Anonymous Coward
          It's different because no one's threatening to kill RNC delegate, you partisan asshole.

          Sheesh. Get a clue, or buy one.
        • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:59PM (#10464608)
          They also published the personal information of the delegates which included home addresses, phone numbers, and places of work.

          ...which was already publicly released elsewhere. If you are going to take down the caches of "private" information that was previously published for all to see, then there are a lot of Google cache servers that the FBI needs to seize.
          • This will surely get me modded down....but....I have been doing a informal count of posts that are pro or against Bush. So far I am showing about six to one, against Bush versus pro-Bush. I don't know if that means the Slashdot crowd is overwhelmingly democrat and/or liberal, or, the pro-Bush side is unusually quiet?
            • by elgaard (81259) <elgaardNO@SPAMagol.dk> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:16PM (#10464771) Homepage
              One explanation is that not everyone here live in the US. Outside the US Bush is not popular, left or right.
              • by sg_oneill (159032) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:56PM (#10465211)
                And then some....

                In australia, a typically pro-us country, my grandfather told me that he cant remember a less liked us president. Nixon was kinda up there tho.

                Not to put too fine a point on it. George bush is ONLY loved by about half the us population and almost none of the worlds population.

                But you get that when your foreign policy is "Fuck the earth".

            • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:38PM (#10465023) Homepage Journal
              The facts are clearly biased against Bush.
        • by eliza_effect (715148) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:03PM (#10464653)
          Because when anti-abortion groups post that information, the implication is that it is to be used for less-than-legal activities (including murder). Posting the address and phone number of someone, without advocating harm to them isn't a problem in most cases (because if it were, the companies who mantain your local Phone Book would be in some serious trouble).
          • by tazan (652775) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:09PM (#10465349)
            Did you read the web page? It starts out with this quote "The earth is not dying, it is being killed. And those that are killing it have names and addresses." One of the goals is "Supply anti-RNC groups with data on the delegates to use in whatever way they see fit." And ends with "Shut down the RNC!" Shutting down a parties convention is not voter intimidation? And since when is someone's email address and hotel they are staying in public information? If this is all public information why did they have to break into a server to get it?
        • You are confused (Score:5, Informative)

          by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:06PM (#10464680) Homepage
          That was a civil case where the anti-abortion group had a site had the doctor's pictures in targets and when each doctor was killed, they crossed off the dead doctor. This was a civil suit holding them responsible for the results of their speech which encouraged the murders of the doctors. This is different from just posting the information on the delgates -- without targets, without orders to kill, etc.
        • by Temsi (452609) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:21PM (#10464832) Journal
          When anti-abortion groups post this information on doctors who perform abortions, it is considered a threat. Why is this any different?
          Hmmm... I'm gonna go out on a limb here.
          Perhaps it has something to do with the reasoning behind the publication, and the history of those who publish this information.

          Let's look at the history first.

          Liberal activists are not exactly known for being the militant types (just ask any Republican), and are more often than not pigeonholed as hippies, peaceniks, treehuggers and even cowards by the more militant right wing.

          Anti-abortion groups on the other hand have a long history of stalking the doctors who perform abortions, which very often leads to physical violence. Many abortion doctors have been murdered for doing their jobs. I don't think a delegate has ever been given so much as a black eye.

          Next, let's consider what the reasoning is for the publication in each instance?

          When an anti-abortion group publishes the names and addresses of private citizens (doctors), they usually follow it up with "make sure they get the message" or "do what you have to to help save another fetus".
          For the most radical of those groups, that can be a very dangerous proposition.

          When activists publish the names of delegates which are pledged to their opponent, who are constitutionally not supposed to be secret anyway, they're doing so in order to make sure their supporters use letters and phonecalls to put pressure on them to do what the activists consider to be the right thing, whatever it is.

          Now, if you keep these two things in mind:
          1) the identities of delegates are not secrets and in an open government that information must remain in the public domain.
          2) the intent of the activists is not violence, but peaceful communication.

          Compare that with:
          1) the identities of doctors are private, although they can be found if you take the time to look for them.
          2) the intent of the activists is not peaceful communication, but prevention at all costs.

          With those things in mind, I see plenty of reasons as to why publishing the names of delegates should NOT be considered a threat of any kind. In fact, I believe it is protected by the first amendment.

          • by fbg111 (529550) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:51PM (#10465712)
            Liberal activists are not exactly known for being the militant types (just ask any Republican)

            Except for when they shoot up Republican campaign offices [usatoday.com] and burn swastikas in Republicans' yards [channel3000.com]...
      • > > ... Nobody's exactly sure why or how the FBI got warrants to take Indymedia's HDs, but their speculation tends to center around the fact that the Feds were spooked by the fact that Indymedia was able to publish RNC delegate names.
        >
        >Yeah that freedom of speech thing is a real pain, isn't it?

        Yeah, that privacy thing is a real pain, isn't it?

        Supposing for a moment that the speculation is correct: If they were publishing DNC delegate names, or bank/credit card customer names, or even the

    • by actiondan (445169) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:53PM (#10464548)

      obody's exactly sure why or how the FBI got warrants to take Indymedia's HDs, but their speculation tends to center around the fact that the Feds were spooked by the fact that Indymedia was able to publish RNC delegate names.


      Another theory is around some pictures of undercover Swiss police (photographing protesters) that were posted on an IMC site (IMC Nantes) - Indymedia got a request to remove 'identifying information' from the site (apparently the FBI got involved 'as a courtesy' to the Swiss authorities). Since there were no identifying details, Indymedia didn't do anything in response.

      It would seem strange for an American agency to get a warrant to seize information relating to Swiss undefcover police from a French website, but it's the most solid theory I've heard so far.
      • by White Roses (211207) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:08PM (#10464704)
        If I understand this correctly, this sort of says to me that if it's me in public, I don't have a right not to be photographed (i.e. traffic cameras, security cameras), but if it's the police, they do? If that's not a step on the way to a police state, I don't know what is . . .

        How do we know it was the police anyway, if they were supposedly undercover? If they were, and someone photographed them, the undercover police shouldn't have had identifying marks. If they're that easily identifable, they're not really undercover, are they? And if they aren't identifiable, then the Swiss themselves gave away the whole shebang by raising a stink about it, no? If the police wanted to remain anonymous, maybe they should have taken the pictures from a long way away with a telephoto lens the size of Hubble, or from behind a one-way mirror in a van or something.

        Sorry, this just all seems really messed up to me in general.

        • by susano_otter (123650) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:20PM (#10464819) Homepage
          I think the way it works is, the police go to a judge. They show the judge documentation of the undercover mission, including various kinds of proof that the images do in fact show undercover policemen at work. The judge reviews the evidence presented, and approves or denies the warrant according to his own judgement.

          The theory being that undercover police work is necessary for a secure society, and that it can't be done if the information about undercover missions is available to the public. Therefore, a sensible citizenry will devise some system by which a trustworthy, individual is appointed to a position of responsibility, where he reviews such warrant requests in private, and makes a judgement on behalf of his fellow citizens, without opening the information to disastrous public review.

          Note that judges have been doing this sort of thing for hundreds of years, quite often in countries that have made little or no significant progress towards fascism in that time. So there's probably not much causality between closed deliberations of government and fascism.
    • by theLOUDroom (556455) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:38PM (#10465020)
      This is the type of thing that makes me really embarassed to be an American.

      These people should have been shown a warrant and that warrant should be public.

      We should know the EXACT reason those hard disks were taken for NOW. This type of crap really, really disturbs me.

      What's left to prevent fishing expeditions against people the gov't doesn't like?
      They show up search the place, find something illegal, and make up the warrant afterwards?


      This is lunacy. The executive branch has been breaking constitutional law left and right and no one is on trial.
  • Hmph...well- (Score:5, Informative)

    by thewldisntenuff (778302) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:46PM (#10464479) Homepage
    Suspicious indeed....Possibly linked to RNC delegate identification? See this link from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04264/382137.stm [post-gazette.com]

    This in from Argentina Indymedia, which has a different view -

    FBI took the hard drives of IMC servers in the UK
    por Mat ((!)) Thursday October 07, 2004 at 06:10 PM
    -
    The US authorities issued a subpoena to Rackspace's office in the US ordering them to physically remove Indymedia hardware located in London. Rackspace is one of Indymedia's web hosting providers with offices in the US and London. Rackspace complied and turned over Indymedia's hard drives/servers in the UK. This affects some 20+ Indymedia sites worldwide.

    Since the subpoena was issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia, the reasons for this action are still unknown to Indymedia.

    At the same time a second server was taken down at Rackspace which provided streaming radio to several radio stations, BLAG (linux distro), and a handful of miscellanous things.

    The last few months have seen numerous attacks on independent media by the US Federal Government. In August the Secret Service used a subpoena in an attempt to disrupt the NYC IMC before the RNC by trying to get IP logs from an ISP in the US and the Netherlands, last month the FCC shut down comunity radio stations around the US, and now the FBI is shutting down IMCs around the world.

    The list of affected local media collectives includes Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille (all France), Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, part of the Germany site, UK Radio, and the global Indymedia Radio site.

    Micah Anderson of the global imc-tech collective said, "We suspect it has to do with an FBI request that we take down a post on the Nantes IMC that had a photo of some undercover Swiss police. They claimed there was threats and personal information, but there was nothing of the sort. The undercover police that were photographed on the page were photographing protesters. Rackspace is a US company, but have colocation in the UK where these servers are (err, were) located. So this is about Swiss police, on a French site, on a server in England, taken away by American federal police."

    However, according to information from IMC Nantes the pictures in question were already removed a week ago.
    Link to Argentina Indymedia
    http://argentina.indymedia.org/news/2004/10/227693 .php [indymedia.org]

    and one more to NYC Indymedia, which is still up

    http://nyc.indymedia.org/ [indymedia.org]
  • by NatureBoy (1794) * on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:47PM (#10464485) Homepage
    I guess that's what Rackspace means by Fanatical Support(TM) [rackspace.com]
  • Raided? (Score:5, Funny)

    by bdesham (533897) <bdesham@MONETgmail.com minus painter> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:48PM (#10464493) Journal
    ...but I thought the servers were RAIDed already?
  • by zygut (165472) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:52PM (#10464540)
    Press Release

    7 October 2004

    FBI Seizes IMC Servers in the UK

    US authorities issued a federal order to Rackspace's office in the US ordering them to provide Indymedia's hardware located in London to the requesting agency. Rackspace is one of Indymedia's web hosting providers with offices in the US and London. Rackspace complied, without first notifying Indymedia, and turned over Indymedia's server in the UK. This affects some 20+ Indymedia sites worldwide.

    Since the subpoena was issued to Rackspace and not to Indymedia, the reasons for this action are still unknown to Indymedia. Talking to Indymedia volunteers, Rackspace stated that "they cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order." ISPs have received gag orders in similar situations which prevent them from updating the concerns parits on what is happening.

    It is unclear to Indymedia how and why a server that is outside the US jurisdiction can be seized by US authorities.

    At the same time a second server was taken down at Rackspace which provided streaming radio to several radio stations, BLAG (linux distro), and a handful of miscellanous things.

    The last few months have seen numerous attacks on independent media by the US Federal Government. In August the Secret Service used a subpoena in an attempt to disrupt the NYC IMC before the RNC by trying to get IP logs from an ISP in the US and the Netherlands. Last month the FCC shut down community radio stations around the US. Two weeks ago the FBI requested that Indymedia takes down 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. On the other hand, Indymedia and other independent media organisations have been successful with their victories (thanks to the EFF), for example against Diebold and the Patroit Act. Today however, the US authorities shut down IMCs around the world.

    The list of affected local media collectives includes Ambazonia, Uruguay, Andorra, Poland, Western Massachusetts, Nice, Nantes, Lilles, Marseille (all France), Euskal Herria (Basque Country), Liege, East and West Vlaanderen, Antwerpen (all Belgium), Belgrade, Portugal, Prague, Galiza, Italy, Brazil, UK, part of the Germany site, and the global Indymedia Radio site.
  • About time! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:55PM (#10464557)
    Those sites were run by anti-american leftist liberals. The FBI needs to crack down on ANY and ALL leftist web sites that spread pro-terrorist, anti-american messages all over. We need more action, not more talk. Go FBI!
    • Re:About time! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Huge Pi Removal (188591) * <oliver+slashdot@watershed.co.uk> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:01PM (#10465268) Homepage
      There comes a time when +5, Funny isn't good enough any more. We need +5 shit, this is actually happening.
  • by Osrin (599427) * on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:55PM (#10464559) Homepage
    ... just needed hard drives, Government budgets are tight.

    Not everything is a conspiracy.
  • Gag? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by More Trouble (211162) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:56PM (#10464570)
    "(14:20) Rackspace has issued a "no comment" response concerning the FBI's actions."


    Given that Rackspace seemed reasonably communicative about the Swiss Secret Service issue, I wonder if the "no comment" implies some invocation of the Patriot Act [aclu.org].

    :w

  • due process? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by to_kallon (778547) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:57PM (#10464577)
    Rackspace was given no time to defend against the order before it was acted upon and turned over the hard drives from the nyc imc server [indymedia.org]
    now i'm no legal expert, but i was under the distinct impression that, with a few exceptions like threatening the president, you were innocent until proven guilty and had the right to defend yourself. have i missed something?
    also by law aren't federal agents, any agents for that matter, required to show the warrant? so *some*body must know what's going on, right?

    • Re:due process? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by actiondan (445169) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:04PM (#10464670)

      now i'm no legal expert, but i was under the distinct impression that, with a few exceptions like threatening the president, you were innocent until proven guilty and had the right to defend yourself. have i missed something?


      Yes, you have missed something - the national security laws passed in the last few years.

    • Re:due process? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pclminion (145572) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:26PM (#10464877)
      Well...

      Rackspace was given no time to defend against the order

      How do you "defend" against something like that? You can't dispute a warrant/search order. When the cops show up with paper in hand, you don't get to say "Hey, wait a sec, let's talk this over." They have the warrant. Period.

      you were innocent until proven guilty and had the right to defend yourself. have i missed something?

      Just because they were searched doesn't mean they've been assumed guilty. (Guilty of what, I have no idea...) That won't be known until the evidence is assessed. And the evidence can't be assessed unless the government has access to it. That's sort of the point of a search order.

      Unfortunately, as things currently are, the government can confiscate property under certain laws with no obligation to return it or provide compensation. Drug property forfeitures work the same way -- if you're suspected of transporting cocaine on your yacht, for example, you forfeit the yacht, even if it later turns out you were innocent of everything.

      If I were Indymedia, I wouldn't count on ever seeing those hard drives, ever again.

      It's the definition of "due process" which has been changing in recent years. The constitution says that we can't be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process, but that isn't clearly defined. And I definitely don't like the direction that definition is evolving toward...

  • more info (Score:4, Informative)

    by Erno_Rubaiyat (585746) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:57PM (#10464579)
    http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2004/10/1703846.php [indymedia.org]

    has more information, they suspect it is related to the posting of pictures of undercover police officers. Oddly enough the officers were photographing protesters.

  • by hidden (135234) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:57PM (#10464584)
    I realise that if it just happened there may not be a huge amount of information available yet, but surely you could link to something a little better than well...nothing.

    And I have to question what little info you have given... after all, I'm pretty sure the FBI (an AMERICAN organization) can't directly raid a rackspace location in ENGLAND... don't they have to arrange with their friends in the relevant British agencies to do something like that?
  • what about diebold? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jaromil (104349) <jaromil@dyne. o r g> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @05:59PM (#10464597) Homepage Journal
    My supposition is the following:

    Diebold threatened the italian indymedia website, along with other
    IMC hosted there, one year ago, for hosting documents discussing
    the numerous scandals about their voting system.

    This case was taken up by the EFF and they WON in court.

    Now, just before the elections in USA, Diebold is coming back
    under cover to strike back.
    Of course they will never declare Diebold is behind all this.
    Then who would be next, slashdot? just search "Diebold" in the archives if you
    don't remember well wassup...

    of course, just my 2 cents
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:00PM (#10464609) Homepage
    This event will legitimize IndyMedia in a way that none of their reporting ever has.
  • by Cryofan (194126) <cryofan@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:00PM (#10464611) Homepage Journal
    Umm....can someone please remind me how this is the greatest and most free country in the world?
    (No fair modding me down based on your warped "political" leanings...).

    • by Aexia (517457) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:19PM (#10465417)
      than by removing the very reason they hate us!

      It's a brilliant move on President Bush's part and I for one support him 100%!
  • by Dr.Knackerator (755466) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:00PM (#10464615) Journal
    i mean if they published names is that really wrong? its a public event, its on telly so by default you could be recognised in the audience, by going you agree your privacy is compromised in some way, your details will probably go onto some list of people to call back.

    if you stood outside the entrance, took photos of the people going in and published them, would that be the same thing? if its a public place whats the problem?

    has there been intimidation? or is this just fear because its the republicans in power?

    there are plenty if privacy concerns just by being a voter, your details are available to be seen locally (speaking as a UK citizen myself). and if you don't tick the right box then hell its available to anybody who wants it, anywhere, possibly for cross referencing with the phone book so burglars can find your phone number if if looks like you are out. well having a pretty rare name and being involved in something where a lot of people know i've got a load of expensive gear - i don't register to vote. I know people who have been repeatedly hit and vanloads of equipment nicked.

    as another point, really is there any need to go? its on the telly. like all political conferances its just preaching to the converted and you are just there to applaud on cue to make the pictures look good.
  • by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:03PM (#10464654) Homepage
    Hmm... the archive.org page [archive.org] only goes to January of 2004.
    Better than nothing, though.
  • No jurisdiction (Score:4, Informative)

    by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:06PM (#10464687)
    "The US authorities issued a subpoena to Rackspace's office in the US ordering them to physically remove Indymedia hardware located in London"

    They wouldn't be obliged to take down the server in a foreign country. Believe it or not, UK soil is subject to UK law, not American law.
  • some background (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GirTheRobot (689378) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:12PM (#10464736)
    Earlier last month, the Secret Service requested visitor logs from Indymedia to determine who posted personal info about GOP delegates. It looks like Big Brother really wanted that info.

    See link [wired.com] for more info.
  • by Zed2K (313037) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:14PM (#10464757)
    Once hardware is seized like this, it and everything on it will never be returned. Whether you are guilty or not.
  • by Audacious (611811) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:23PM (#10464852) Homepage
    I think that says it pretty well. :-/
  • by jrumney (197329) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @06:45PM (#10465103) Homepage
    This should serve as a warning to all people and companies outside the US. If you do business with US companies, you will be held to US laws, without the protection of the US consitution, since that only applies to Americans on American soil.

    The sooner OPEC switches to the Euro and isolation of the US world bully begins, the better IMHO.

  • subversion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by electricdream (413007) <altjeringa@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:06PM (#10465313) Homepage
    Whether this is in regards to Swiss Undercover Agent, or the Posting of RNC delegates information you may rest absolutely assured that had any of the Big 5 derivatives ( you know viacom, time-warner, murdoch , disney and that german company ) done the same thing their assets would have been seized as well.

    One only has to look at the sesuire of CNN's equipement after Robert Novack revealed that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent to conclude that indymedia is being treated equally.

    Oh hold on... that never happend! Oh well So much for Freedom of Press!

    That any media organization whatever would have it's harddrives, presses, or any other method of publication seized without explaination or public discourse is an afront to a free society and should be seen as a crime against the people.

    Bush 1895!
  • by Fiery (21015) * <rsoderberg@gmail.com> on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:45PM (#10465655) Homepage
    Check out the Infoshop [infoshop.org] story (found via Google News). Turns out Rackspace has indeed been instructed not to comment on this.
  • Independant Media? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stu72 (96650) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @07:49PM (#10465693)
    Why is it that a site so proudly "independant" is so rigidly uniform in it's content?

    If the National Post (rigidly right wing Canadian paper) will publish Linda McQuaig and others, why aren't there any divergent viewpoints on Indymedia?
    • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @08:31PM (#10465996)
      If the National Post (rigidly right wing Canadian paper) will publish Linda McQuaig and others, why aren't there any divergent viewpoints on Indymedia?

      Apples and oranges.

      Indymedia definitely has an agenda. There is no question about this, and that agenda is to tell those stories which the National Post will never, ever touch. Linda McQuaig, as admirable as her socialist/Marxist thinking is, remains little more than a showpiece to give a lousy paper some legitimacy. (They call it, 'controversy' and they use it in a large part to sell ad spots.) Indymedia doesn't need to do this. Their primary concern is not money-making or winning false legitimacy.

      Linda McQuaig is also carried in the National Post for another reason; so that people can ask exactly the question you asked; so that they can feel as though there is a legitimate reason to scorn and ignore alternative news sources.

      But I think that this is unwise. Linda McQuaig will not, for instance, be allowed to report on the true events happening in Israel. Canwest Global, (which owns the National Post), has been caught re-wording stories about the war on Palestine so that unaware readers will want to favor the Israelis [www.cbc.ca].

      Indymedia and other alternative news sources are needed exactly because they do not fall beneath the control of such influences. Or, at least, that was true until the FBI entered the scene.


      -FL

  • by ndpatel (185409) on Thursday October 07, 2004 @08:59PM (#10466162) Homepage
    hey, i'm not going to take a side, except to say that it'd be awesome if we knew what was going on here. a prominent critic of a sitting president has been silenced, setting a bad precedent. furthermore, they did not charge the critic, but subpeona'd the ISP. that's not good.

    so, let's force the people with access to start asking questions.
    nytimes [mailto]
    newsweek [mailto]
    o'reilly [mailto]
    msnbc [mailto]


    plus you can go to various other websites and fill out their forms--CNN, for example.
    again, no sides taken, but let's try and cause a stink--this is a big deal. I'll even make it easy for you--copy'n'paste!

    The FBI has effectively shut down Indymedia.org (IMC) by issuing an order to RackSpace US to hand over server hard drives located in London. As a result, over 20 local Indymedia sites have been shut off. At this time, no one knows why the FBI wants the drives or what they are investigating. It is also unclear why Rackspace US complied with a demand for materials held by Rackspace UK. Indymedia is a vocal critic of the Bush Administration, and also of the mass media. There is some history of this administration's dislike of Indymedia: before the RNC, there was a Secret Service order to shut down nyc.indymedia.org, which was organizing protests. More information can be found at the general Indymedia site, http://www.indymedia.org.

  • by sunbird (96442) <sunbird@ri[ ]p.net ['seu' in gap]> on Friday October 08, 2004 @01:08AM (#10467286)
    I was visited by two FBI agents last Friday (10/1/04) because I am the registered agent for the Seattle Indymedia Center [indymedia.org]. The agents informed me that they were here on a "courtesy visit" on behalf of the Swiss government based on a series of photographs posted on a French indymedia site (http://nantes.indymedia.org) . The agents informed me that the post contained personally identifying information about the officers including their home address and phone number.

    I asked them what the US government's interest was in Swiss police and French websites. They informed me that no law had been violated but they were just requesting on behalf of the Swiss government that the identifying information be removed. I clarified that their concern was with the identifying information, and not with the photographs, because taking pictures of someone in a public forum is not objectionable. They agreed with me and said that their only concern was the identifying information.

    I asked them for the URL of the offending post. They did not know what a URL was. I asked them what the address was for the post-- "the address you would type into your internet browser." They looked confused, consulted their notes, and stated that they weren't sure, but they thought it was http://natz.indymedia.org (in fact, the correct address is nantes.indymedia.org). I informed them that it would be very difficult to track down the post considering that there are thousands of posts on indymedia sites everyday.

    I told them that the Seattle Indymedia Center has no authority regarding the Nantes Indymedia Center and that they should probably direct their request directly to the Nantes Indymedia Center. They left.

    I pulled up the Nantes site. On the front page of the site, at the very top, was a large logo of the FBI, and an article regarding how their ISP (Rackspace) had received a request from none other than the FBI to remove a certain post...

    Nothing happened for a few days, and then today the server is gone. This is what we know for a fact:

    • Rackspace received a subpoena requesting certain information.
    • Rackspace decided to turn over our entire server.
    • Rackspace has refused to provide a copy of the subpoena on advice of counsel (most likely because the subpoena contains a gag order)
    • When we inquired of Rackspace, this was their response: "Unfortunately, we have received a federal order to provide your hardware to the requesting agency. We are complying at this time. Our datacenter technicians are building you a new server which will be online as soon as possible. Your account manager will notify you once the new server is online and available. I apologize for abruptness of this. However, we are required to comply with all federal orders of this nature. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to make this easier on you."

    Indymedia is working on a press release on this matter and is working with EFF [eff.org] to assess its legal options.

  • god bless america (Score:5, Insightful)

    by br00tus (528477) on Friday October 08, 2004 @02:59AM (#10467697)
    When the elected Nicaraguan government did the same thing to newspapers for the same type of reasons (actually the newspapers down there were much more flagrant than Indymedia is being accused of), Reagan said Nicaragua was becoming a totalitarian regime, and the US should invade the country.

    Unlike other countries, it's very rare for Americans to come together and work in a way that might be perceived a threat to the power of the powers-that-be, specifically the idle class that lives off the profit generated by American workers. This type of repression is uncommon because American workers so rarely come together to form our own media, organize in unions and so forth. One reason is because of a sort of Catch-22 that a society of isolated, individualized people has less of a foundation to come together to do so. Another is the massive machine - the world's largest army, prison system, intelligence system, military-industrial complex, lobbying efforts, corporate media, PR industry, fundamentalist churches, corporate law firms and so forth that attacks such efforts for workers to organize together and have their own voice. Faced with attacks by such, people become like Pavlovian dogs and go to their atomized lives of individualized exploitation, and buck the system less. Nonetheless, I think American workers will continue to try to organize together, but I pray that that the US machine continues to get foreign pressure, especially from workers organizing in foreign countries.

    Indymedia is one of the few medias out there, one of almost the only medias out there that is not corporate owned and controlled, where anyone can file stories, and which is run and read by working people. Of course the corporate world and their government stooges would see that as a threat.

    The charges are of course nonsense. If Chavez in Venezuela or Castro or Cuba or some other figure did this, Bush would be decrying the totalitarianism of their government right now and the rest of the corporate TV talking heads would nod their heads. Indymedia has open publishing but when "illegal content" is posted it erases it (unless it sues not to like in the Diebold case). I think that legally the idea that there is so much potential "illegal content" out there is ridiculous to begin with, and is something to be thought about. Most of the stuff posted was already floating around the net before someone posted it on Indymedia.

    The problem I guess is Indymedia is a little too free for the corporate soft money bought stooges in Washington DC. They want Indymedia to be more self-censoring, letting any Tom Dick or John Q. Public have his unfiltered say is a little too dangerous. It's ironic that Indymedia is around the world, even in places like Palestine, Colombia and other places you'd expect these crackdowns, but it's the US security forces who are so often attacking this medium.

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