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Yossarian | 11.10.2004 01:12 | FBI Server Seizure | Indymedia | Repression | Cambridge | Oxford | World

Catch-22: Indymedia internet servers in London have been disappeared into U.S. custody, but we don't know where they went or who took them, as the hosting company refuses to tell us. We can't generate any corporate media interest because there are not enough facts available to make a coherent story, but unless we can generate interest we will never be able to put enough pressure on the authorities to get any facts out of them.

One thing is very clear. 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. There are also some interesting negative facts. No one has been charged with a crime. The Home Office in the UK "can neither confirm nor deny" their involvement in the seizure of the equipment. The US embassy denied knowledge of the seizure on Friday; an exploratory phone call to the crack investigators at Scotland Yard on Saturday revealed that "you need to tell us who took the equipment before we can find them." And there is a gaping hole on the internet where about 1 million Indymedia news articles, comments, photos, audio reports, and videos used to be.

The wound is closing, but unless the equipment is returned the scar tissue will never go away. The IMCs that had more tech resources and paranoia were keeping constant backups - IMC-UK was back online within four hours of the seizure, with virtually no loss of content. Others were not so fortunate. IMC-Italy has now reappeared online after four days, and have permanently lost about two months worth of data; 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?

If you have ever read an Indymedia site, posted to the newswire, made a comment, then please consider: this incident is not an attack on Indymedia, it is an attack on you. Indymedia volunteers are few in number, and we don't produce much content compared to what is produced by the hundreds of thousands of people who have contributed to the sites over the last five years. The FBI has stolen an irreplaceable piece of our collective history. Worse, they have made a direct attack on an important component of the global movement against neoliberalism, a part that carries messages to and from the different parts of our body politic without the need for the authoritarian brain of a Central Committee to tell us how to move.

Indymedia is still assessing the damage; but in the next few days as the shock wears off, it will likely be looking for other actors in the global justice movements to do solidarity actions, sign petitions, put pressure on governments, and cause trouble on its behalf. You are invited to take part. Please check in for regular updates at a (surviving) Indymedia site near you.

Sites with major damage:

Sites that are still off the net:



Hide the following 4 comments

And yet, secretly, we all knew that something like this would happen.

11.10.2004 01:59

The content that gets posted on the indymedia sites, often pieces of news that you will never seen in the conventional, corporate media, is necessarily uncomfortable for the political, military and economical powers. Just as thousands of journalists giving voice to the powerless are themselves victims of human rights abuses, so this time has been the turn of indymedia. They can not silence the individual, thousands of volunteers who posts on the open publishing sites- we are too many. It is easier and faster to silence one of our servers, our tools.

Will this be the last one? Hopefully. But it might as well not be the last one. The message that we should be getting with this, however is that, if we are the targets of the police of the most powerful country, it means that we are doing our job properly - every time you spent your time writing that report, uploading it, administering that small part of your indymedia, IT WAS WORTH IT.

The seizure of one of our resources is only one more reason to go on with our reporting, with our work. We are winning, otherwise they would not bother fighting us.


Eric Blair was right, Tony Blair is THE Right!

11.10.2004 19:01

Of course, this was predicted all those years ago in the literary classic that is 1984.

The only thing that was wrong was the predicted year - by about 20 years!


CCTV on most high streets in most towns and cities.

A highly contrived (but carefully propagated) culture of paranoia, perpetuated by the mediums of 'News' papers and 'Tele' Vision (which should more accurately on some occasions be called MICRO vision, due to its potential for social debilitation) - be it about immigrants, terrorists, travellers or anyone else who may dare to deviate from what are contrived to be 'the norm' of mainstream culture.

Instead of religious worship, you can now enact the other life-affirming ritual of visiting your hallowed hypermart(tm), designed to also hold you in awe by the sheer scale of it. Which of course, is usually somewhere outside of the now standardised-street-furniture city centre, somewhere near a motorway/freeway/autobahn sliproad for easy access by everyone who has a car - the rest of us who don't will have to get the overpriced, privatised, irregular bus service to get there.

We also have a real life, fully televised on cable or pay-per-view satellite twenty four hours a day, seven days week spectacle of perpetual warfare in what is the (rather misleadingly named) Middle East, brought to you by its sponsors the military industrial petrochemical complex, not only for your entertainment while you eat your readymeal(tm),(available from your local Hypermart(tm), produced by factory farming methods), but, also to line their pockets and your car's petrol tank.

Never mind Human Rights, Animal Rights, The Bill of Rights or whether its right anyway, they'll just just bring all this to you because:

a) They can
b) It makes megabucks.

Meanwhile, the seas start to boil, the land fills up with junk and now we're littering space as well.

Never mind.



There is a growing number of people around the world whom are waking up from their consumerist slumber, peeling the scales from their eyes and seeing things as they TRULY are.


Indymedia represents this worldview, and it's not something that you can steal away or shut up or shut down just by grabbing a couple of computers from an office somewhere.


In fact, your days are numbered, because the Bible is wrong, it's not the meek who shall inherit the Earth, it's people who give a damn about something more than their SUVs or Playstations, who don't buy into this crap because they see how ignorant and shortsighted it is.

The American Indians were right when they said we borrow the Earth from our children.

The FBI would do well to learn this, rather than 'borrowing' other people's computers to spy on them for daring to think and talk in a manner they don't like.

They would also do well to heed the words of their own chief of staff, whom went on record earlier this summer as saying that it's NOT Terrorism that is the biggest threat to global security, but, GLOBAL WARMING AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.

The times they are-a-changing, yesirree.

With or without your help, FBI.

Oh yes, and we all know about ECHELON.

After all, you can read all about it on the open-to-everyone Internet!!

Which, funnily enough, some of your fellow U.S. government employees also helped to design all those years ago.


The Ministry of Truth


12.10.2004 08:11

The technology for distributed and syndicated news services are well-known, but Indymedia still insists that things have to be posted to their site. They are just another corporate media and an easy target for the authorities. Why are their techs building yet another bland CMS instead of harnessing RSS and friends? Then we would have a large distributed peer-to-peer news network and they could cut nodes, but they would find it much harder to do serious damage to the network.

It's time to evolve!


Cheer up

13.10.2004 23:21

Cheer up. Andorra and Oost-vlaanderen are working now.