"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Still a Few Thugs In the System 

As a close observer of Seattle's WTO "riots" (the only people I saw "rioting" were a couple dozen punks in black pajamas and a couple thousand cops in blue body armor), I came to appreciate the Independent Media Center as one place I could look for trustworthy news. They unerringly skipped the hype and published the truth, and that made the Powers That Be very cranky, indeed.

Apparently, it still does. Here's some breaking news from truthout:
The FBI has issued an order to hosting provider Rackspace in the US, ordering it to turn over two of the servers hosting the Independent Media Centre's websites in the UK, a statement from the group says.

Rackspace has offices in the US and the UK. Independent Media Center, which is better known as Indymedia, was set up in 1999 to provide grassroots coverage of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) protests in Seattle.

Rackspace complied with the FBI order, without first notifying Indymedia, and turned over Indymedia's server in the UK. This affects over 20 Indymedia sites worldwide, the group said.

Indymedia said it did not know why the order had been issued as it was issued to Rackspace. Rackspace told some of the group's volunteers "they cannot provide Indymedia with any information regarding the order." ISPs have received gag orders in similar situations which prevent them from updating the parties involved on what is happening.

The article notes that this isn't the first time the Feds have targeted Indymedia:
In August the US Secret Service used a subpoena in an attempt to disrupt the New York city Independent Media Center before the Republican National Convention by trying to get IP logs from an ISP in the US and the Netherlands.

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.

Consistent with the FBI's apparent belief that their jurisdiction extends worldwide, the impact of the seizure here affects Indymedia's consumers around the globe - including places where independent news is scarce as hens' teeth, and may in fact have life or death consequences. According to the Independent Media Center website:
The list of affected local media collectives includes Amazonia, 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.

Oh, I get it - obviously, the FBI cannot allow the good citizens of France and western Massachusetts to read the truth. Now it all makes sense.




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