INDYMEDIA: REPRESSION

Indymedia to U.S., U.K., Swiss and Italian Authorities: "Hands Off Our Websites"

 
Evidence is beginning to mount that the authorities of at least four countries (Switzerland, Italy, U.K. and U.S.A.) are involved in last week's seizure of two of Indymedia's servers that brought down more than 20 of the Indymedia network's web sites and several internet radio streams. Indymedia has yet to receive any official statement or information about what the order entailed or why it was issued.

An FBI spokesperson, Joe Parris, confirmed to Agence France-Presse that the FBI issued a subpoena to the provider who hosted the Indymedia servers in the U.K., but that it was "on behalf of a third country." (1) Daniel Zapelli, senior federal prosecutor for Geneva (Switzerland), confirmed that he has opened a criminal investigation into Indymedia coverage of the 2003 G8 Summit in Evian. (2) Zapelli will provide details of that investigation at a press conference on Tuesday.

Federal prosecutor of Bologna (Italy) Marina Plazzi stated that she is investigating Italy Indymedia because it may "support terrorism." (3) Plazzi says she will provide more information on Thursday, October 14th.

Meanwhile international journalist associations have come forward in support of Indymedia. "We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specialising in independent journalism," said Aidan White IFJ General Secretary. (4)

Indymedia is consulting with the Electronic Frontier Foundation on how to retrieve its servers and prevent further government attacks on free speech. "EFF is deeply concerned about the grave implications of this seizure for free speech and privacy, and we are exploring all avenues to hold the government accountable for this improper and unconstitutional silencing of independent media.," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. (5)

As of Monday, October 11, five of the downed websites have been restored, including Brasil, Euskal Herria, Poland, UK and Nice. Indymedia volunteers are working around the clock to restore the remaining sites, however at least four of them - Uruguay, Italy, Western Massachusetts and Nantes - have suffered data loss as a result of the governments' action.

"This FBI operation gives us even more reason to continue with what we have been doing for several years," says an activist from Italy Indymedia.

"Uruguay has a long history of media repression. We don't have the money to pay for web hosting, and so we rely on the solidarity of other countries. Actions like the seizure of the servers make the whole world insecure for free media," says Libertinus, an Indymedia volunteer from Uruguay, one of many Indymedia web sites that was caught in the FBI actions as a bystander. "Uruguay's national elections will take place on October 31st. It's a bad time for this to happen."

Notes to the editor

For more information, visit www.indymedia.org/en/static/fbi, email press(a)indymedia.org , Tommaso at +39-3383903806, Hep Sano at +1-415-867-9472 (San Francisco), or David Meieran at +1-412-996-4986 (Pittsburgh).

(1) On October 7, 2004, Rackspace, a web hosting provider based in San Antonio (USA), turned over two servers at its London officer after it was issued a court order under the Mutual Legal Assistence Treaty. Rackspace officials claim that the order prevents them from divulging the reasons for the seizure and to whom the servers were actually given. They stated, "Rackspace is acting as a good corporate citizen and is cooperating with international law enforcement authorities." See more details on www.indymedia.org/fbi and on the press releases from 8 and 9 October:  http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/111999.shtml and  http://www.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/112047.shtml

(2) For more examples see:  http://www.indymedia.org/en/static/fbi.shtml

(3) AFP report:  http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1509&ncid=738&e=6&u=/afp/20041008/tc_afp/us_internet_justice

(4) International Federation of Jounalists:  http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=2734&Language=EN

(5) Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):  http://eff.org/

add a comment on this article

My support for you people!

Alex 11.Oct.2004 21:13

Once again the government strikes, once again the victim is an honest association trying to improve the world. It's incredible that people still keep on making apologies for this system. It's incredible that people still think this world is gonna sort out itself.

Solidarity,
Alex

Perspective

@ 12.Oct.2004 00:31

Let's compare the FBI's handling of this with a similar case in which "national security" is the purported issue. Specifically the jailing of NY Times reporter Judith Miller. What if the FBI had seized the NY Times web servers in the course of its investigation? Such a move would be denounced as an outrage! Yet the NY Times, which is bending over to protect Miller (who uncritically passed on bogus intelligence from the Bush administration as "news"), doesn't even have the courage to report on this story which is now several days old.

How might such an investigation be handled if the NY Times news servers were to be investigated? A simple subpoena demanding copies of the NY Times' web servers would be sufficient to conduct such an investigation, and not a heavy-handed approach resulting in indeterminate censorship of unrelated news stories. The seizure of the entire server, and the violation of the speech and press rights of people in over a dozen countries, is a completely unacceptable attack on the media from a shady international police state, enacted under dubious legal treaties, has so far provided no legal recourse for Indymedia.

A suggestion for Indymedia while pursuing legal action to recover their stolen news servers. When writing to Rackspace, the FBI, member of UK Parliament, and the Swiss and Italian authorities who requested this seizure--end all correspondence and complaints with the following legal warning (which should be included in any legal claim):

"Damages for all items continue to accrue."

Italian Neo Fascists Behind Seizure of Indymedia Servers?

Damiano Valgolio (repost) 12.Oct.2004 01:12

This is an article from german leftist newspaper "Junge Welt" ("Young World"), published Oct 11th, 2004
written by Damiano Valgolio, Rome (Italy).

The Censorers Trace leads to Rome and Zurich

Cutoff of Indymedia: FBI agent speaks of "legal aid". Investigations against the internet portal running in Switzerland and Italy. Neo fascists said to be the driving force.

Three days after central servers of international news portal indymedia have been seized, the background remains obscure. It seems, however, that criminal proceedings against media activists in Italy and Switzerland are the cause for the cloak-and-dagger operation. Past thursday night, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had ordered confiscation of host systems of internet provider Rackspace in San Antonio, Texas (USA) and London (UK). Along these, dozens of national Indymedia pages were connected. Since then the leftist online media is severely handicapped across about 20 countries world-wide. In many countries, amongst which are Italy and Great Britain, Indymedia has completely vanished from the internet.

Last weekend, the FBI has again announced that the seizure was not done on their own initiative but carried out within the scope of a "legal aid" for foreign authorities. "The request came from Switzerland and Italy", senior FBI offical Joe Parris stated towards french news agency AFP.

Meanwhile, Switzerland is maintaining a low profile. Daniel Zapelli, senior federal prosecutor of the Genf canton, only confirmed that ascertainments against Indymedia. It is intended to criminalize the coverage in connection with the protests against the G8 meeting in Evian in summer of 2003.

Back then, images of two plainclothes policemen who were involved in a media center escalade had been published on the swiss spin-off of the leftist internet platform. Of both executives, who were said to have organized riots as agent provocateurs in the city center of Geneve, names and addresses were published, too. Marc Olderlin, the attorney of the two swiss members of the secret police, acknowledged contacts between swiss federal authorities and the FBI, reports italian newspaper "Il Manifesto". "But, as far as I know, there has not been a request for detention of the Indymedia servers", the lawyer says.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutor of Bologna (IT) Marina Plazzi stated that she is investigating against Indymedia because of a possible "support of terrorism". Apparently this is about supposedly positive contributions after an impact on italian soldiers in iraqi city of Nassirija past november. "We asked the FBI for help along the italian department of justice", federal prosecutor Plazzi states. The italian minister of justice, Roberto Castelli, so far refused to speak out on the proceeding of the FBI.

Clearly less reticiant are the parlamentarian representatives of the italian government parties. On sunday, Mario Landolfi, spokesman of post fascist "Aleanza Nazionale" (AN), announced the seizure of the computers served "the enforcement of the law". Already in november, 17 AN delegates including the granddaugther of Benito Mussolini had demanded the close-down of Indymedia in a consolidated statement. Back then, Paolo Valentino, state secretary in the department of justice and also a member of AN, had announced a possible cooperation with the USA.

In contrary, severe criticism on the repression against the leftist internet portal rooted from the italian opposition. Left wing party member and assitant chairman of the commission of justice of the italian parliament Paolo Cento spoke of a "bad , authoritarian incident" and demanded an immediate comment of the government. Meanwhile, communist E.U. (European Union) delegate Marco Rizzo announced he will add the incident to the EU parliament agenda.

Portugal - Indymedia back on!

RJA 12.Oct.2004 01:37

portugal.indymedia.org
portugal.indymedia.org

Portugal - Indymedia has came back 1 or 2 days ago. Still trying to correct all of the links, but the site is fully functional. Thought I should warn you guys.

Cheers,

RJA, PT-Indy Volunteer.

add to previous comment

RJA 12.Oct.2004 01:51

Should add, that it's the work of ALL the volunteers, and specially our "tecnician" ;). (just read my post and it seemed as if I did the thing... ugh. Must get some sleep :P)

On the Italian angle

fulanix 12.Oct.2004 12:46

There's more here in Spanish / Más aquí en español:  http://canarias.indymedia.org/newswire/display/8530/index.php

Google translation:

- The subject of the Swiss photos now seems less important. The general prosecutor of the corner of Geneva, Daniel Zapelli has confirmed who has opened to diligences... but the lawyer of the photographed people, Marc Oelderlin, has said that they have not asked for the kidnapping of any servant (on the other hand logical - they only looked for the definitive suppression of photos and certain supposed text). Sight ej. newswire of indybay  http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/10/1698775.php

Recent Italian tracks that seem enough firm has been leading to us for another type of land. A land much more politician, a subject of freedom of expression.

Here we have a political party of extreme right, a part of the coalition in the present Italian government, Alleanza Nacionale (AN), (the party of Fini and the Mussolini) that takes to long time protesting the suppression of indymedia Italy by the publication of commentaries in relation to the presence and the behavior of Italian troops in Iraq (and especificamente in Nasiriya in November of the last year) that described like as ' support to terroristas'.

These sources assure us that the general prosecutor of Bologna that takes the case denounced by AN in last November, Marine Plazzi, "requested attendance to the FBI by means of the Italian ministry of justice." Ref  http://italy.indymedia.org/news/2004/10/660960.php

Such request will be had, then, materialized in the order MLAT to which Rackspace talks about when it felt forced to yield both servants of London (it does not even know if to agents of the FBI or British, although the Scotland Yard says not to know to anything -  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1324244,00.html). An order MLAT is a new fast route of judicial cooperation (that some consider ' extrajudicial enough ') between the U.S.A. and certain signatory countries of the corresponding treaty in matería of investigations related to the international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering. Resemblances you order must happen through the ministries designated in each country, but until the Italian minister of justice Robeto Castelli has not wanted now to make declarations (either the holder of the Dept. of Justice of the U.S.A., John Ashcroft, nor the one of the Home British Office, David Blunkett).

Up to here, it is possible to be understood that there is past, although without agreeing. Political-judicial an Italian denunciation invoking the magical word "terrorism" gives rise to the kidnapping judicial of the servant of indymedia Italy. One assumes that the judicial process in Bologna will be opened, and that will be justice. But above we must try to understand how it was possible that, with such order MLAT soliciing determined data of indymedia Italy, they have been able to take the servants (the software and the data bases) of a twenty of indymedias more, including one of mismisimas the U.S.A. (Western Massachusetts), and of other projects completely other people's to indymedia, harming of very serious form his fundamental rights.

It can have been a simple error (and no longer they know that to do). The activist of indymedia Seattle that received a visitación of agents of the FBI in relation to the Swiss case says that they seemed nor knowledge that was a URL (it will be possible).

Or he can that some ambitious control in the political part of route MLAT, in Rome or London or Washington, saw an opportunity to press to all the global network of indymedia and pressed. An effect blow, a warning, we go.

A decision very little justifiable that has dot to finish in the courts and the American light of the publicity. Surely that committed an error.

A trickle of new information

@ 13.Oct.2004 01:12

See "Information highway Robbery" from the Tuesday, Oct. 12 blog:
 http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/bushbeat/

On a more positive note, Reporters Without Borders has issued a letter of support for Indymedia:
 http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=11579

This article (in Italian) names Enrico Di Nicola as the prosecutor of Bologna, Italy behind the server seizure:
 http://www.mytech.it/mytech/news/articolo?ix=A006012004695

Seems the Italian neo-facists couldn't take the criticism of their occupation troops, following a massacre of civilians in Iraq. It seems criticism of an illegal occupation constitutes, ahem, "terrorism."

A very poor translation of the Italian article can be generated from the URL above here:
 http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

Boycott Rackspace

anonymous 14.Oct.2004 18:05



www.BoycottRackspace.com