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Police dirty tactics and indymedias dirty laundry

watching in horror | 23.01.2011 19:00 | Analysis | Indymedia | Other Press

The shit hit the fan when Schnews published it's story on how a shadowy police unit has spent years planting false stories and sowing discontent among activist groups using the comments sections of campaign blogs and IMC UK. It instantly became impossible for indymedia admins to continue to claim that they did not have any access to IP logs on the IMC UK site. Airing indymedias dirty laundry could not have come at a worse time with all the distrust generated by the recent outing of a number of deep infiltration undercover cops within activist circles.

To make matters worse the shit storm is helping to entrench existing ill-feeling and mistrust between indymedia collectives around the country and the sysadmin who run the MIR site that provides the centralised hosting for many of the regions. Reading through the public mailing lists of the IMC UK admins it is clear that there has been a stalemate on this and other issues for some time.

According to posts on the Sheffield and Birmingham MIR subsites, the indymedia network will split (or 'fork' as they prefer to refer to it), with the old guard continuing with the MIR site but no longer allowed to refer to it as IMC UK. Meanwhile a new site will be launched to aggregates content from all the IMC regions and a number of other alt media sites. This will satisfy the demands for visibility from non MIR indymedia sites in the UK and finally implement an agreement apparently made at network level four years ago. However it seems that the agreement is that the new site will not carry the indymedia name which maybe a good thing with the feelings of betrayal that name now represents.

But is it accurate to attach feelings of betrayal only to those who administer the MIR site? It is clear that admins have been hiding their use of IP logging tools since MIR was introduced in 2003. Many of the people now running the independent regional sites will have been IMC UK admins before their collectives grew frustrated and ditched MIR in favor of autonomy with their own websites. They must all have known and engaged in a conspiracy of silence to hid the truth from their users.

How can any of them be trusted now? That's the fundamental issue here, the massive betrayal of trust and abuse of power used to hide this information all this time. The use and presence of these anti-abuse features within the content management system is no big deal, all publishing sites need something like this in order to protect the site from spam and other abuse. If they'd been honest and not repeatedly issued misleading statements about there being no IP logs then all would have been fine.

There have been proposals to publish as a IMC UK feature the article now posted on the Birmingham site but the proposal is being blocked by IMC London who are insisting that the article must clarify that the IP logging referred to is not a feature of the London site or any of the sites which operate independently of the centralised MIR hosting. Some of the MIR admins seemed unhappy with MIR taking one for the team so would not accept Londons amendments. As a result, Birmingham IMC has grown impatient with waiting for consensus and published the article unamended.

With silence from IMC UK, users have tried to post on the issue, including posting the Schnews article itself. Their attempts have been frustrated as admins instantly hide their posts. The continued censorships has the admins fighting it out on their lists, agonizing over continuing the pretense or officially coming clean.

The question for us is what do we do about it? There is little point of trying to discuss it on the indymedia site as history shows that murmurings of discontent are hidden as being in breech of publishing guidelines. Instead we must raise this at the next meetings of our various groups, regardless of how irrelevant it might seem to our current campaigns or priorities. Indymedia has been the trusted 'voice' of all of us for a long time but we have to reassess our assumptions and reliance in the light of the news that those who run the site have been lying to us.

watching in horror


Background info

23.01.2011 21:07

UK Indymedia to Fork on 1st May 2011
Sheffield IMC | 14-12-2010 13:23

Advocating Domestic Extremism - Cops on Indymedia - An Exposé
Birmingham IMC | 22.01.2011 16:02

Gateway 303: Police Disinformation on UK Indymedia
Sheffield Indymedia | 22-01-2011 22:35



Display the following 80 comments

  1. IMC UK network to split? — the end
  2. IP logging on other indymedia sites — Sam
  3. The Schnews article on IP addresses — Danny
  4. no ip logging taking place — the moderator
  5. Diiferences between site admins and sysadmins — @Danny
  6. You gotta love the left... — Monty P
  7. Continued lies from IMC UK moderators — stop lying!
  8. "Sure, the log is not always on" — no lies
  9. Is that an official admission ? — waiting
  10. Weasle words — no change
  11. I agree with Danny and the moderator... — Fabbri
  12. I thought everyone knew Indymedia could block by IP address? — anon
  13. Sublimely ridiculous accidental suicide — Danny
  14. Conspiracy of silence — indymedia can't be trusted
  15. transparent and accountable? — no lies
  16. Girls/Guys.... — Facepalm!
  17. Devils in the detail — Sam
  18. Devils in the detail — Sam
  19. Conspiracy of silence - Bullshit — Danny
  20. A summary for those not paying attention — Fisher
  21. I agree with Danny — Outrageous
  22. I agree with Danny, misleading users is outrageous — pissed off user
  23. This is exactly what we were trying to avoid — IMCista
  24. I'm not sure I agree with Danny, the way you put it — Danny
  25. interesting, this post misspells "its", just like many of the cop posts do — anon
  26. not gonna try and defend it - it's shit — IMCer
  27. another troll comment about "rouge" [sic] admins? — anon
  28. What would you have done? — another admin
  29. Demands — Insider
  30. the point is — anon
  31. Confused — outsider
  32. consensus was used to shut people up — in51der
  33. Another personal view — Inside2
  34. re: Confused — anon
  35. "I am not clued up on tech issues" — Danny
  36. Denial, decite and betrayal — google is your friend
  37. Get real Danny — lucy
  38. logging and honesty — Keith
  39. what are you on? — Danny
  40. What a lot of disinfomation — 35 Percy Street
  41. this week's new NETCU training course....tor — Fabbri
  42. perspective — heath bunting
  43. Filters filter - they do not log — ip geek
  44. All power corrupts — Ordinary IM user
  45. @ip geek: in order to filter, you need to know what to filter on — anon
  46. The Indymedia 'Fork' — reader
  47. @35 percy st — correct@
  48. @reader — IMCer
  49. Ta @correct that's useful information ;-) — 35 Percy Street
  50. @IMCer and Fabbri - back to IM Scotland — Danny
  51. thanks for the helpful bug report Danny... — Fabbri
  52. Gateway 303 article still being hidden by imc mods — FTP
  53. Bug report my arse — Danny
  54. Disgusting — no more indymedia
  55. @FTP — suicidal backfire
  56. Piglet to Hamlet — Danny
  57. Re: Disgusting — Insider
  58. Back to basics — Danny
  59. Overly optimistic — deja vu
  60. An appeal to indymedia UK — step up
  61. Indymedia doesn't need added security - it needs authentication — anon
  62. Followed the link and found this hidden comment — wow
  63. Disinfo Disinfo — Class War
  64. @deja vu - this is funny — Sam
  65. @sam — Danny
  66. Re: Followed the link and found this hidden comment — wow — googler
  67. lost and bemused — Keith
  68. Questions for Keith — Not Keith
  69. Like the Stasi — Grumbleweed
  70. @Danny: use of PGP with Indymedia — anon
  71. Grumbleweed — tumbleweed
  72. example of using PGP signing — anon
  73. tumbleweed — Dan
  74. So so bored with reading posts from Danny — yawn
  75. @yawn — coraline
  76. @anon - PGP — Danny
  77. cop or bored Job Centre clerk — Keith
  78. PGP digital signature — Keith
  79. re: PGP digital signature — anon
  80. pgp communication — pgpgpgp