Friday, October 15, 2004

Indymedia Update

In an Indymedia press release, the alternative media outlet reports that "on Wednesday, October 13th, Indymedia's seized hardware was mysteriously returned in the same way it disappeared -- without any information provided as to who took it or why, and on whose orders."

While Indymedia itself is on the political fringe, serious mainstream jornalism organizations are questioning the seizure of Indymedia's servers. The online website reports that
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is lobbying MPs to find out why the FBI ordered the UK government to confiscate web servers belonging to independent news network Indymedia. The seizure, which happened last week, brought down 21 of the group's regional sites including the UK, Brasil and Poland.
The article goes on to repeat a number of interesting allegations that Indymedia has made about why the FBI might be trying to disrupt their operations. One issue was the previously reported photos of Swiss undercover police said to be posted on one of Indymedia's web sites. Given that the FBI has confirmed that they were acting on behalf of Switzerland, this seems to be the most likely explanation. Other issues raised were more machiavellian. From the article:
The IFJ has stated that the seizure may also be related to information published by Indymedia San Francisco that claimed to reveal problems with electronic voting systems scheduled to be used in next month's Presidential election. The manufacturers, Diebold Election Systems, applied to the Californian courts to have the documents removed but Indymedia successfully opposed the application.

Indymedia's news is produced by volunteer political activists and campaigners around the world and the network's strong anti-corporate agenda has been highly critical of the invasion of Iraq.

In August 2004, IndyMedia claimed that the FBI and US Secret Service had been trying to disrupt the relationship with its hosting provider Calyx Internet Access.

The FBI had issued a subpoena for log information and contact details that would identify anyone who had posted a list of delegates attending the Republican National Convention.
Hopefully the professional journalism associations will continue to apply pressure to the UK and US governments for an explanation of how the FBI could have used the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), (an agreement that allows countries to co-ordinate investigations into international terrorism, money laundering and kidnapping) to seize this media company's publishing and distribution apparatus.

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