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

David Meieran david at indypgh.org
Mon Oct 11 16:35:35 PDT 2004

* News from Indymedia *

October 11, 2004

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

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 has also 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, General Secretary for the  
International Federation of Journalists. (4)

Indymedia is consulting with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)  
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  

"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."

For more information, visit www.indymedia.org/en/static/fbi, email  
press at indymedia.org, or call:

Tomasso at +39 3383903806 (Italy)
Hep Sano at +1-415-867-9472 (San Francisco)
David Meieran at +1-412-996-4986 (Pittsburgh)

* Notes to the editor *

(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  

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

(3) AFP report:  

(4) International Federation of Jounalists:  

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

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