A million stories censored

Who took Indymedia down & why?

gagging cartoon
We were told the FBI had seized two computers in London that hosted 21 independent media websites from Belgrade to Venezuela - and the ESF radio station. Then everyone clammed up.

Join us to demand truth & freedom of expression!

  • FRIDAY 15 October 1.00 - 2.30pm Infowar: Media deception & disinformation vs dissent & direct democracy. Speakers from: Indymedia UK and Ireland, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, Quebec media activists. . .
  • Saturday 16 October 9.00 - 10.30 Indymedia / alt media Roundtable and Breakfast. This session will now address the seizure of the Indymedia servers in London and discuss collective strategies and practical solidarity responses. Then: 10.30 - 12.00 Community and alternative media focus.
  • Both at The Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, near Kings Cross, London WC1. Free / donations encouraged www.efcr2004.net (Now humanrights.laws.com)

On Thursday 7 October people seized two computers from the London premises of Rackspace, a Texas-based web hosting company. The computers hosted the Indymedia online radio station for ESF and a million articles on 21 Indymedia sites worldwide from Andorra to Uruguay.

So we know what happened, when and where.

Who did it? The FBI say it was "not their operation" but that it was done "on behalf of a third country". What kind of denial is that?

Why? No-one's saying. Connections to Indymedia's role in publicising serious flaws in the Diebold company's voting machines for the US election, and to some so far nameless investigations in Italy and Switzerland have been suggested.

"Someone wants to stifle these independent voices in journalism," says International Federation of Journalists General Secretary Aidan White. "We need a full investigation." "Now we are seeing just how dangerous the cybersnooping powers of government are," says the NUJ's Tim Gopsill.

Late news: on Wednesday afternoon the servers were returned. Still no idea of by whom.

Questions that must be answered

  • Did the UK Home Secretary authorise the FBI to go fishing on UK soil? The Metropolitan police and the National Crime Squad both say that they're as mystified as we are as to who did this.
  • If so, why didn't the UK government apply UK law that's supposed to cover the confidential journalistic material that was also on the servers?

Coverage of the seizure from The Register

[Site map] Last modified: 13 October 2004 - © 2004 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: editor@londonfreelance.org