by Sascha Meinrath / NYC IMC
7th Oct 2004
(from UC-IMC / Global IMC / Wire Reports): The FBI took the hard drives of Global IMC servers in the USA and the UK. It appears that a court order was issued to Rackspace (one of Indymedia's service providers with offices in the US and in London) to physically remove the hard drives from Global Indymedia servers (backup servers are now in place). Rackspace was given no time to defend against the order before it was acted upon and turned over the hard drives, both in the US and the UK. The servers hosted numerous local IMCs and the reason for the seizure is not known.
During the Republican Convention, the ISP of the NYC IMC was informed that it was the subject of a Secret Service / FBI investigation into an article submitted to its Open Newswire identifying delegates at the RNC. While the FBI has made it clear to members of the press that the investigation is ongoing, there is not necessarily a connection between events in NYC and the FBI's seizure of the Rackspace servers.
The FBI's latest anti-free-press actions began at the beginning of October when they visited Indymedia's ISP demanding the removal of identifying information from photographs of undercover police officers that was posted on the Nantes Indymedia website. When asked what the US government was doing requesting the removal of information from a French-run website that contained information about Swiss police actions, the FBI stated that this was a "courtesy" to the Swiss government. The FBI agents stated that no laws had been broken, and no crimes had been committed. However, because no identifying information was posted on the website in question, it was unclear what actions the FBI was requesting.
The article in question is/was posted here:
On Tuesday October 5th, Indymedia received the following message from Rackspace:
"I apologize for the delay in responding. I have been trying to get a hold of the FBI agent I spoke with before, but haven't been able to at this time. As the request originated with the Swiss police, I can only speculate on what they saw or what they were concerned about. However, at this time, I have received no further communications from either the FBI or the Swiss authorities, so I feel like we can close this this issue."
Today the FBI seized Global Indymedia servers; however it is unclear if this is related to the Nantes issue or is a second FBI concern within the past week.
(14:20) Rackspace has issued a "no comment" response concerning the FBI's actions.