Wednesday, March 30, 2005


FBI Demands Logs From Radical Website

Via Slashdot, The sysadmin for, best known for hosting and the Anarchist FAQ has responded to an FBI request for server logs. Although he cannot reveal the details of the request due to the gag order, the sysadmin has issued an informal press release discussing his reasons for turning over the information.

Comments on the Blackened site's discussion forum include:
Maybe you should let indymedia do a story on this. Then it would be hard for them to deny any involvement if they did come after you for freedom of speach.
and freedom of spelling.

In response to this,
That is what Indymedia does in Oz... for precisely these reasons. An ethical issue does not arise if there are no logs for the feds to seek access to.

regards and deepest sympathy

Ethics schmethics. It you aren't breaking the law, and don't operate in a totalitarian regime, what's the problem, really?

Incidentally, Infoshop is a member of "Lesbians Against SUVs". Just thought you should know. Infoshop also doesn't think very much of Indymedia according to a poll in which the majority of users thought Indymedia had "gone downhill". I also discovered this article which you should read in full and describes "The Sad Decline of Indymedia". It was written in 2002 and the 'decline' evidently continues...
Secondly, the inability of the IMC network to take aggresive action against racist and anti-semitic posts further damaged the Indymedia's reputation with Jewish people and people of color. We understand that some pro-Israel extremists think that any criticism of Israel is anti-semitic, but the IMC network became a hotbed of just plain anti-Jewish articles, opinions, and comments. Part of the problem within the IMC network is that most activists refused to stand up to the free speech totalitarians within the network, who argued that everything posted should stay visible to the public.
I have previously observed the same problem.
I've been a free speech advocate for many years and often considered myself to be a free speech zealot, but not even I would argue that our websites should provide any space for right wing and racist views. The racists have their websites--we don't need to use our limited resources to promote their hideous and offensive views.

The net result of this inaction is that racist and anti-semitic views became normalized on Indymedia websites. Sure, newswire moderators would remove the occasional racist rant or picture, but lots of stuff was left online. This normalization of racist content showed the racists and right wingers that they could have their way with Indymedia. It also alienated lots of potential Indymedia supporters. Why should a Jewish activist participate in an alternative media project that tolerates hate speech against that person?

I'm also convinced that the right wing posted lots of conspiracy content to ruin the repuation of Indymedia.
I'm not. One of the long standing arguments is that right-wingers deliberately post Nazi material or Jews post anti-Semitic material in order to discredit Indymedia. Why would they need to? By the author's own admission (and the most basic examination) it's pretty clear they wouldn't need to forge this material, there is enough 'genuine' anti-Semitic and lunatic material to discredit Indymedia without assistance whatsoever.

With the exception of this theory most of the article makes good sense. The facts are Indymedia has slipped, and in many ways is destroying itself (in order to save itself according to some).

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