The Censorers Trace leads to Rome and Zurich
Cutoff of Indymedia: FBI agent speaks of "legal aid". Investigations against the internet portal running in Switzerland and Italy. Neo fascists said to be the driving force.
Three days after central servers of international news portal indymedia have been seized, the background remains obscure. It seems, however, that criminal proceedings against media activists in Italy and Switzerland are the cause for the cloak-and-dagger operation. Past thursday night, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had ordered confiscation of host systems of internet provider Rackspace in San Antonio, Texas (USA) and London (UK). Along these, dozens of national Indymedia pages were connected. Since then the leftist online media is severely handicapped across about 20 countries world-wide. In many countries, amongst which are Italy and Great Britain, Indymedia has completely vanished from the internet.
Last weekend, the FBI has again announced that the seizure was not done on their own initiative but carried out within the scope of a "legal aid" for foreign authorities. "The request came from Switzerland and Italy", senior FBI offical Joe Parris stated towards french news agency AFP.
Meanwhile, Switzerland is maintaining a low profile. Daniel Zapelli, senior federal prosecutor of the Genf canton, only confirmed that ascertainments against Indymedia. It is intended to criminalize the coverage in connection with the protests against the G8 meeting in Evian in summer of 2003.
Back then, images of two plainclothes policemen who were involved in a media center escalade had been published on the swiss spin-off of the leftist internet platform. Of both executives, who were said to have organized riots as agent provocateurs in the city center of Geneve, names and addresses were published, too. Marc Olderlin, the attorney of the two swiss members of the secret police, acknowledged contacts between swiss federal authorities and the FBI, reports italian newspaper "Il Manifesto". "But, as far as I know, there has not been a request for detention of the Indymedia servers", the lawyer says.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutor of Bologna (IT) Marina Plazzi stated that she is investigating against Indymedia because of a possible "support of terrorism". Apparently this is about supposedly positive contributions after an impact on italian soldiers in iraqi city of Nassirija past november. "We asked the FBI for help along the italian department of justice", federal prosecutor Plazzi states. The italian minister of justice, Roberto Castelli, so far refused to speak out on the proceeding of the FBI.
Clearly less reticiant are the parlamentarian representatives of the italian government parties. On sunday, Mario Landolfi, spokesman of post fascist "Aleanza Nazionale" (AN), announced the seizure of the computers served "the enforcement of the law". Already in november, 17 AN delegates including the granddaugther of Benito Mussolini had demanded the close-down of Indymedia in a consolidated statement. Back then, Paolo Valentino, state secretary in the department of justice and also a member of AN, had announced a possible cooperation with the USA.
In contrary, severe criticism on the repression against the leftist internet portal rooted from the italian opposition. Left wing party member and assitant chairman of the commission of justice of the italian parliament Paolo Cento spoke of a "bad , authoritarian incident" and demanded an immediate comment of the government. Meanwhile, communist E.U. (European Union) delegate Marco Rizzo announced he will add the incident to the EU parliament agenda.