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Is Italy Behind the Theft of IMC's Servers in the UK?

A translation of a French article on the shutdown and seizure of Indymedia's news servers in the UK. Follow the link to the original article in French.
FBI Requested Shutdown of Indymedia Servers

The Indymedia network, which hosts alternative media, no longer works in many countries including Italy and France. Its servers located in Great Britain were shut down by the FBI following a request from Switzerland and Italy. Indymedia Italy was closed in a few hours. Opened in June 2000, Indymedia is presented in the form of "first independent media of the masses" by hosting many alternative news and protest sites.

Apparently the protestors caught the notice of the FBI, Italy and Switzerland. On October 8, agents of the American agency visited the British and American buildings of the company which hosts the servers of Indymedia. The servers were shut down and seized. The agents of the FBI did not provide details on the raid.
The shutdown also affects 20 Indymedia sites throughout the world, including the Nantes IMC. Indymedia affirms that "the FBI ordered in Rackspace in the United States to physically shut down" one of its servers. "the order was given to Rackspace to immediately surrender the hard disks hosted in Great Britain", it adds.

The FBI's involvement has quickly erupted into a scandal. An Italian deputy, Mauro Bulgarelli, member of the Green Party, denounced "this provocation and intimidation" at a few days of the social Forum of London (October 15-17).

But the FBI would not have acted on its own. Indeed, the American agency explained a few hours later "the assignment was made in the name of third country by persons in charge for the ministry for Justice against an ISP, Rackspace, which provides server space to Indymedia".

The request came from two countries, "Italy and Switzerland", explained an FBI spokesman to the AFP, without giving more details. "The persons in charge for the ministry for Justice did nothing but fulfill the legal obligations contained in our treaty of mutual assistance", it insisted.

Indeed, we then learned that the National Alliance, the second party of the coalition of Silvio Berlusconi, had asked as of November 2003 to close Indymedia Italy, following insults with the Italian armed forces.

The Attorney General of Geneva has opened an investigation, following a complaint deposited by two police officers who had discovered the name of one of them, their addresses and their photographs on the French version of Indymedia. By seizing the servers, the FBI shut down Nantes Indymedia.

The involvement of the FBI in this business is very suspicious. Don't the Italian and French authorities have the sufficient means to sanction Indymedia if reprehensible acts are shown? All this appears to be an attempt at intimidation, according to the international Federation of the journalists (FIJ), who Satruday asked for an investigation into this operation.

Some suspect the operation was planned by the FBI. On Paris Indymedia, which is still accssible, one can read that "These last months many attacks were directed towards Indymedia by the federal government of the USA. In August, the secret service issued an injunction in order to intimidate the New York City IMC before the Republican Convention (RNC), while trying to obtain the IP logs of news contributors in the USA and the Netherlands. Last month the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) raided community radio stations throughout the USA. Two weeks ago, the FBI asked that Indymedia delete an article on IMC Nantes which contained a photograph of uncovered Swiss police officers, and one IMC Seattle volunteer was visited by the FBI investigating the same subject.

"In France, the Odebi League denounces this "brutal act of censure". It points out: "If news content posed a problem on Nantes Indymedia, the French should have the legal authority to do the same, if necessary, to quickly order the removal of these only contents." This intervention of the American authorities in Europe is extremely likely to be regarded as an affront and an insult to national sovereignty.

Olivier Chicheportiche

homepage: homepage: http://www.silicon.fr/click.asp?id=6793


More Clues Point To Italy's Role In UK IMC Shutdown 10.Oct.2004 16:39

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Article (in Italian):
 http://punto-informatico.it/p.asp?i=49959

A (poor) translation into English of the above article:
 link to 216.239.39.104


Translated Link Not Working 10.Oct.2004 16:45

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You can get a poor translation of the Italian article here:
 http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

Just plug in the URL above and be sure to select Italian->English option.


Breaking the Corporate Media Blackout (?) 10.Oct.2004 18:34

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The AP may have (finally) picked up this story. Here is a report from WOAI in San Antonio:
 link to www.woai.com

A little coverage now in USA Today:
 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-10-09-indymedia_x.htm

Here is a more recent article from AFP:
 http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,11037236%5e15306%5e%5enbv%5e,00.html

Server theft is on the radar of the WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW:
 http://thewhir.com/marketwatch/aut100804.cfm

UK Guardian Reports OnTheft of IMC Servers 10.Oct.2004 18:47

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Excerpt from UK Guardian-

Tim Gopsill of the NUJ said: "If the security services of the UK or US can just walk in and take away a server, then there is no freedom of expression."

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1324244,00.html


We need to take action on this harassment. 10.Oct.2004 19:26

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(1) We need to openly protest the FBI. Preferrably at their offices or in front of their offices. The FBI needs to be exposed as the new KGB that it is.

(2) We need to send a signal to the Italian Government that fucking with our freedom of speech will cost them. I suggest boycotts and protests against Italian interests.

Swiss Prosecutor Behind Theft of UK IMC Server Identified 10.Oct.2004 20:37

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An english translation of a Swiss news report which identifies the Swiss prosecutor who requested the seizure of Indymedia's servers. Someone should sue this free-speech-hating thug. The claim that the name and address of the police officers pictured had been posted on Nantes IMC is a flat-out lie. Anyone can check the original article in Google's cache from nantes IMC and see that no personal information was posted there: only pictures of the undercover Swiss pigs.

Translation of Swiss news report at:
 http://www.edicom.ch/news/suisse/041009160849.sa

Indymedia site closed by the FBI - investigation open in Geneva

GENEVA - the server which hosts Indymedia's local antiglobalization web sites was closed by the FBI on request of Italy and Switzerland. The Geneva prosecutor opened an investigation after the identities of police appeared on the web sites sites. "I opened an investigation but I will not say any to you more", declared prosecutor Daniel Zappelli on Saturday. Wednesday, the two Genevese police in charge of investigating the G8 riots in 2003 had their photographs posted anonymously, including the address and the name of one of them, on the French site Indymedia-Nantes. The Attorney General of Geneva did not want to confirm if the FBI had acted with its request. The American ISP which hosts several local Indymedia web sites was closed by persons in charge of the American ministry of justice at the request of Italy and of Switzerland, an FBI spokesman declared Friday. "It is not an FBI operation. The assignment was made in the name of third country (Italy and Switzerland) by persons in charge for the American ministry for justice against an ISP, Rackspace, which provides of space to Indymedia", added the spokesman. On its side, the international Federation of journalists (FIJ) required an investigation into the operation carried out against the site. It claims the seizure appears to be an attempt "at intimidation", it indicated on its Internet site. The FIJ, whose seat is in Brussels, calls for "an investigation into the police operation carried out in Great Britain in co-operation with other agencies, which involved the temporary closing of 21 of some 140 Internet sites of Indymedia in the world".

© ATS


More 10.Oct.2004 21:48

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Translation of the Spanish web page:
 link to www.europapress.es

Suiza/Italia/EEUU.- The Swiss Justice investigates the publication of personal data on Indymedia

GENEVA, 9 Oct. (EUROPE PRESS) -

The attorney general of Geneva, Daniel Zappelli, announced today to have opened a judicial investigation after two police inspectors of the Swiss city accused Nantes Indymedia of the publication of their photos and addresses and the name of one of them in the French version of the Indymedia news web site.

"I opened an investigation but I will not say anything more", declared today Zappelli. The two inspectors of Geneva formed part of the G8 cell, responsible for the investigations on the incidents occurred in Geneva during the summit of the Group of the Eight in Evián, in the franco-Swiss border, in 2003.

According to the Swiss newspaper 'The Geneva Tribune' in their Thursday edition, the police claimed anonymous threats against them constituted a breach of the law.

The French web site Indymedia-Nantes published the photos of the two inspectors in the middle of September, accompanied by calls to violence. According to 'The Geneva Tribune', the police of that city requested the FBI (American Federal Police) insist on the removal of the photos.

According to the Swiss newspaper, Indymedia-Nantes withdrew the photos and the article that accompanied them September 22, to be informed that the FBI had visited al American ISP Rackspace, used by Indymedia.

Two days later, the photos reappeared, but the faces of the inspectors had been blanked out at the request of police. Though the faces changed, the texts continued.

Friday, an FBI spokesman indicated that the operation against the network's ISP to seize the contested information was carried out by the American Department of Justice at the request of Italy and Switzerland.

The company Rackspace confirmed in a press release it was involved in an "investigation that did not originate in the U.S." "This investigation was carried out in the framework of the Mutual Judicial Aid (MLAT), by which the participating countries assist "in investigations on international terrorism, abductions and money laundering", claimed Rackspace.

In Italy, various media confirmed that access to Indymedia's news network was shut down following the raid by the FBI on its British and American ISPs.


More Support! 11.Oct.2004 01:38

I Love IMC!

Home Office in frame over FBI's London server seizures
 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/11/home_office_fbi_mlat_request/

Indymedia's Internet Servers Confiscated
 http://www.antiwar.com/ips/milan.php?articleid=3762