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Indymedia press releases



Quotes and Statements

The statements listed here have been put together in a roundup.

Indymedia

  • "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." press release

  • "The equipment that we use to help people 'be their own media' has been spirited away to some sort of Guantanamo Bay for "terrorist" computer hard drives." yossarian, imc uk 11 Oct

  • "The FBI has stolen an irreplaceable piece of our collective history." yossarian, imc uk 11 Oct

  • "IMC-UK was back online within four hours of the seizure, with virtually no loss of content. Others were not so fortunate. IMC-Uruguay has lost everything since last April; others are still assessing damage but most of the 20-odd sites affected have major damage. Thousands of articles have been pulled from the sunlit internet into the dark prison of the U.S. government's "undernet." Perhaps the FBI will use the stolen equipment to set up an Undermedia network for use by the detainees in Guantanamo, Belmarsh Prison, Abu Ghraib?" yossarian, imc uk 11 Oct

  • "Everyone has been rallying and quickly making more mirrors of sites. We have renewed efforts to get better code which allows for faster & wider site replication. It has pulled everyone together to work for more robust and decentralized servers." jebba, indymedia tech, on imc-press, 11 Oct

  • "Support from IMCistas and the 'net in general has been amazing. Last Thursday, I woke up, got on irc, jumped into #ahimsa and learned the news. Indy journos, lawyers, & geeks have been working 24/7 ever since. Even the trolls on slashdot can't back the governments on this. jebba, indymedia tech, on imc-press, 11 Oct

  • The general 'net attitude is either"Indymedia rocks, this sucks" or "First they came for Indymedia..." jebba, indymedia tech, on imc-press, 11 Oct

  • So this is about Swiss police, on a French site, on a server in England, taken away by American federal police... micah, indymedia volunteer, irc, 7 Oct

  • Rackspace took down the server and handed it over to the Empire before opening a trouble ticket. I say the Empire because we don’t really know who ordered it. jebba, indymedia tech, on jeblog, 7 Oct

(H)activist Collectives

ASCII Collective ( Free public Internet Space, Amsterdam)

The ascii collective was evicted from their squat on 12 Oct. Theiy state:

  • "Raise consciousness! This small eviction reflects a larger wave of repression operated by western NATO regimes, the recent FBI raid on Indymedia online servers is a serious signal of the current crackdown on freedom of speech. As of today there are no clear legal motivations for this action of censorship affecting more than 20 different countries." (Ascii Press Release, 12 Oct)

Civil Liberty Organisations

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

  • The EFF is representing indymedia volunteers regarding the seizur of Ahimsa. On Oct 12, EFF "contacted the FBI to demand Indymedia's illegally seized servers be returned and is preparing for legal action in the event that negotiations with the FBI fail. EFF is also calling on Rackspace to challenge the government's illegal seizure."

  • 12 Oct: "If Rackspace stands behind its claim of providing 'Fanatical Support' to its customers, it will go to bat for Indymedia--one of its biggest customers--and demand that the FBI return the seized Internet servers (...) Rackspace should also fight for its own rights and challenge the gag order preventing it from sharing its side of the story." (Kurt Opsahl, EFF staff attorney) EFF 12 Oct

  • 8 Oct: "This seizure has grave implications for free speech and privacy. The Constitution does not permit the government unilaterally to cut off the speech of an independent media outlet, especially without providing a reason or even allowing Indymedia the information necessary to contest the seizure." (Kurt Opsahl, EFF Staff Attorney) EFF 8 Oct

Statewatch

  • Statewatch, 11 Oct: "Was the seizure of Indymedia's servers in London unlawful or did the UK government collude?" - "A trail that started in Switzerland and Italy has now ended fairly and squarely in the lap of the UK Home Secretary to justify." (Tony Bunyan, Statewatch editor) statewatch article

Project Censored

  • Project Censored, 11 Oct: "This is an indication of the successfulness of the Indymedia network. Freedom of information is a radical idea when applied in a fair manner. Radical ideas will always be suppressed by the transnational corporate elites when ever possible. We must act on our rights to freedom of information to keep it safe, and when repressed find new channels and means to succeed." (Peter Phillips, Director) [Indybay]

Association for Progressive Communications

  • Association for Progressive Communications, 12 Oct: "We are disturbed by the apparently arbitrary and extreme measures taken to silence an independent internet-based source of information,” said Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s Executive Director. “This is a violation of freedom of expression across international frontiers." [APC article]

Journalist Associations

International Press Institute (IPI)

  • "IPI is deeply worried that the seizure of the web servers in the United Kingdom sets an unwelcome precedent for distinguishing between traditional news media and Internet news sites. It is highly unlikely that the authorities would have acted in such a heavy-handed way if the media in question were a Western newspaper or broadcaster. Moreover, the fact that the authorities' actions are shrouded in mystery leaves Indymedia in the Kafkaesque position of not knowing the identity of its accusers or the nature of their claim." --David Dadge, Editor, International Press Institute

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

  • "The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, today called for an investigation into the action by police in Britain in co-operation with other agencies that led to the temporary closure of 21 of the more than 140 Indymedia web sites worldwide." 8 October. full text

  • "We have witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation against a network specialising in independent journalism," said Aidan White IFJ General Secretary. The way this has been done smacks more of intimidation of legitimate journalistic inquiry than crime-busting." 8 October. full text

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

  • "AMARC is deeply concerned by reports about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seizure of Indymedia servers in the United Kingdom." (8 October 2004) full text at ifex

Dutch Federation of Journalists

Protest against closing down newssites:
  • "The IFJ and other organisations of journalists have protested against the FBI order, on request of Italy and Switserland, to close about 20 websites from the alternative newsnet Indymedia in the UK. The BBC reports that last month the FBI asked Indymedia to remove an article about a Swiss undercover police operation. The Italian request might be inspired by a criticising article on Indymedia Italy with with the far-right party Alianza Nationale seemed to have a problem. The Flemish MEP Bart Staes (Groen!) will bring the seisure to the attention of the European Parliament. The Dutch press hardly reacts to this "scandalous infraction of the right to free speech".

Reporters Without Borders

Home Secretary David Blunkett challenged over Indymedia website closures full text 12 October 2004

  • "Reporters Without Borders has condemned the seizure of UK-based webservers, used by some 20 Indymedia websites and has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett, copied to his US, Italian and Swiss counterparts, seeking an explanation for the confiscations"

  • "Ed Gibson, legal officer at the US Embassy in London, strongly denied to Reporters Without Borders on 8 October tbat the US federal police had played any part. However, according to a statement by an FBI spokesman to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the bureau did order the seizure of the servers but "on behalf of another country". Swiss and Italian authorities were apparently behind the decision, even though they had made no official statement on the subject." (12 October 2004)

Belgian Journalist Association (Algemene Vereniging van Beroepsjournalisten in Belgi\xEB, AVBB)

The following statement was mailed to Indymedia Oost-Vlaanderen on 12 October 2004. English translation:

"The De VVJ/AVBB is upset about over the censorship in the form of taking down an Internetserver connected to Indymedia.
Without making a definite statement about the eventual responsabilities, the Flemisch Journalistenbond pleads for a maximum of freedom for informationspreading on the Net.
The VVJ/AVBB joins the urgent demand of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to get complete clarity of this deplorable incident."

National Union of Journalists (UK)

Protest at Indymedia seizure full text 13 October 2004

"Jeremy Dear met Indymedia organisers on October 12 and joined them in condemning the raid. He said: "To take away a server is like taking away a broadcaster's transmitter. It is simply incredible that American security agents can just walk into a London office and remove equipment." (Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary)

"In this nightmare world they can apparently close the operation down without any reason being given, without any chance to question or protest."

"Jeremy Dear said: "This is a direct question of media freedom. Whatever the regulations say – and we're not even allowed to know what they are – it can never be right for any publication to be shut down without due process."

A Professor of Media Studies

  • "The seizure of the servers is an unacceptable and unprecedented attack on press freedom, free speech and privacy and on the communications rights of all of us around the world. For, in this time of war, Indymedia has been one of the most important sources for news and analysis about how grassroots communities are organizing for peace and social justice. Shutting down information from twenty sites in Latin America, Europe and the United States is like cutting out our eyes and ears, muting our capacity to learn from one another and to build an international movement for social change." --Dorothy Kidd, Associate Professor, Dept. of Media Studies, University of San Francisco

FBI spoeksperson in AFP article

  • "It is not an FBI operation," FBI spokesman Joe Parris told AFP. "Through a legal assistance treaty, the subpoena was on behalf of a third country." full text

UK IT lawyer

  • Dai Davis, an IT lawyer at London law firm Nabarro Nathanson, said Rackspace's statement fails to clarify the legal basis of the raid. "If it was a RIPA warrant, Rackspace can't refer to it. Most RIPA warrants can be issued by the Home Secretary," he said. "The FBI has no jurisdiction in the UK and would need to act in concert with UK authorities, such as the security services or police," he added. full Register article


-- IonNec - 10 Nov 2004 added roundup-article -- 12 Oct 2004 guidoke,put link and quote from RSF, add translation of text of Belgium journalistorganisation (met dank aan Zapata) -- LiBBy - 12 Oct 2004 added statement by dutch federation of journalists; added quote from ascii press release concerning their evicition -- IonNec - 12 Oct 2004 added project censored, jebba and yossarian quotes. -- ClarA - 11 Oct 2004
Topic revision: r19 - 10 Nov 2004, IonNec
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