Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Late last week we reported that the U.S. government had seized IndyMedia servers in London. Here's an update from Ward Harkavy's "Bush Beat" column in the Village Voice:
An international journalists group contends that the goal of the FBI-led seizure was election-related intimidation, not just the temporary disruption of the network, though several IndyMedia sites are still down. You may ask how the FBI can seize computers outside its jurisdiction. Are you saying that has stopped our government lately?
The ruckus has barely been covered in the mainstream press, but a Mathaba.net story posted this morning notes that the International Federation of Journalists has called for investigation. Here's an excerpt from the story that also includes a characterization of the amorphous IndyMedia collective:IndyMedia sites, which provide challenging and independent reporting, particularly of political and social justice issues, are open forums where any member of the public can publish their comments. The IFJ believes the seizure may be linked to a September 30 court case in San Jose, California, in which IndyMedia San Francisco and two students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania successfully opposed an application by Diebold Election Systems Inc. to remove documents claiming to reveal flaws in the design of electronic voting machines, which are due to be used widely in the forthcoming U.S. presidential election.Diebold was trying to remove from the Web the postings of e-mail archives that included internal company memos about problems with the machines. Meanwhile, IndyMedia's own machines were functioning quite nicely until the FBI and cops from several other countries stepped in. A total of 21 of IndyMedia's more than 140 sites worldwide were shut down, and some are still offline today.