Monday, October 11, 2004

What the (expletive) Is THIS About???!?

In a nutshell, the FBI has siezed hard drives related to IndyMedia from a hosting outfit located in the U.K.. That hosting outfit is forbidden from explaining why, even to the affected client:

Rackspace UK complied with a legal order and handed over hard disks without first notifying Indymedia. It's unclear if the raid was executed under extra-territorial provisions of US legislation or the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). Provisions of RIPA make it a criminal offence to discuss warrants, so Rackspace would not be able to discuss the action with its customer Indymedia, or with the media.

In other words, the FBI doesn't need to explain why it is more or less shutting down several websites and a radio streaming service connected with IndyMedia, a non-profit, open media source, and the hosting firm can't do anything about it. It gets better:

Dai Davis, an IT lawyer at London law firm Nabarro Nathanson, said Rackspace's statement fails to clarify the legal basis of the raid. "If it was a RIPA warrant, Rackspace can't refer to it. Most RIPA warrants can be issued by the Home Secretary," he said. "The FBI has no jurisdiction in the UK and would need to act in concert with UK authorities, such as the security services or police," he added.

So we don't even know how the FBI was able to carry out the seizure on foreign soil. There has been speculation that the raid may have been carried out because a French IndyMedia site reportedly posted photos of Swiss undercover agents infiltrating a protest in France. There is no way to confirm this, or whether the said photos even exist on the site, because the hosting servers in question were carted off during the raid, and the FBI isn't talking.

There are an awful lot of "whathef*ks" connected with this. IndyMedia has been saying that the FBI and FCC have been shutting down community media sources right and left recently. Of course, after my personal experiences with IndyMedia, I know that statements like that should be taken with a very large grain of salt. On the other hand, the fact that the FBI has taken such an extreme step with no explanation given (and all explanations by involved parties forcibly preempted) causes that grain of salt to shrink a bit...or something like that.

In other news, Swiss undercover agents are apparently infiltrating protests in France...and the FBI is supporting them...



Anonymous said...

Ben Franklin:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

John Lennon:

Back in the, back in the, back in the USSR!

Anonymous said...

Comparatively Precise:

National sovereignty is soooooo 20th century. I am sure that some will think this poetic justice for defenders of the UN, but it does not appear RIPA has anything to do with the UN and everything to do with the idea that anything that supports "law enforcement" must be good. Such is a ballistic modern-culture variation on the free love concept of the hippies of the 60s. Doing stupid things wearing bullets instead of beads doesn't change the word "stupid."

Somehow we will be led to believe that this is all reasonable and justified, as if some latte-drinking Jewish girl with horn-rimmed glasses and a Che Guevara t-shirt is going to strap on a suicide belt and walk into FBI HQ...but no, couched in reasonable terms hammered out by soulless think tank toadies in Orwellian sweetspeak.

If it ever happens, I certainly hope the chick is drinking fair-trade coffee...

ladybug said...

Really scary! Funny how there's not a murmer in the American Press-not anywhere! I wonder what the French are up to-what's in the news over there?
Maybe I'll surf around and report back....

Don Snabulus said...

Agency France Press article on Indymedia 

BBC article on Indymedia

ElTigris said...

Its the how to primer for the new world order... get out your jack boots and goose steps... but today its the shades and the corporate suit. Is it secret service man or a corporate executive security guard? I cant tell.