Thursday, April 07, 2005


Online Activities Lead to Offline Hostilities (vice-versa)

I have now reported a few times on the danger of online hostility and incitement spilling into real acts of violence.

And now, this from the Washington Post

At 1:27 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2002, Officer David Mobilio of the Red Bluff Police Department was working the graveyard shift when he pulled his cruiser into a gas station in his quiet little farm town. As he stood beside the car, the 31-year-old husband and father of a toddler was shot three times, twice in the back and once in the head, at very close range.

Beside Mobilio's dead body, someone left a handmade flag with a picture of a snake's head and the words "Don't Tread on Us."

A well-chosen spot for an ambush. That is what investigators later concluded, especially when they learned the suspected assailant had Army Ranger training. A lonely crossroads. Poorly lit. No station attendant on duty. No witnesses. It was a killing that might have never been solved.

That is, until a confession appeared on the Internet. Six days after the shooting, a manifesto appeared on more than a dozen Web sites operated by the left-leaning Independent Media Center.

It began: "Hello Everyone, my name's Andy. I killed a Police Officer in Red Bluff, California in a motion to bring attention to, and halt, the police-state tactics that have come to be used throughout our country. Now I'm coming forward, to explain that this killing was also an action against corporate irresponsibility."
The murder and subsequent Indymedia coverage happened in 2002 but is now relevant as the trial is due to begin shortly. There was much discussion about it on Indymedia and presumably will be more as it becomes relevant again.

As far as I can tell, this was the earliest post on San Francisco (Indybay) Indymedia. Some of the follow up comments are disturbing:
Fuck The Police
The police can harrass people, break down doors and kill people and get away with it. As far as I'm concerned they can all go to hell. I would not go out and shoot them but I will not lose any sleep when they are killed. They know the risks. I have actually heard a police officer who was very drunk in a bar say he could drive home because he has the "BRASS PASS". Then if he would have crashed and killed someone he would have gotten away with it. What happend to law inforcement being held to higher standards.
Fuck The Police
And on it goes.

I have only one question which I believe deserves an answer: Why would the alleged murderer know about, recognize and choose Indymedia? I think the above comment by another 'contributor' answers the question.

Your little site might have more credibility had you posted a retraction regarding the events in Jersey City.

You whipped up fear mongering, added to the rumor mill and hysteria based upon your own internal prejudices.

When events proved different than you had portrayed, you stuck by your initial interpretation.
I would have contacted you offline however you did not provide an email address. I presume however you are referring to this?

I do not like uninformed accusations of prejudice and yours is apparently that. I linked to ample news sources which have covered every angle of the story in detail. Personally, I moved on and stopped reporting on it. There were however questions which deserved answers and in my opinion never received them. The Coptic community would likely agree.

I also have my own theories however this is simply not the place to air them nor is there any merit expanding on the above. My site is about Indymedia.

The bulk of my argument therefore was focused on New Jersey Indymedia. No events have "proved differently" to what I suggested about that site and its handling of this issue.

I believe you owe me and this "little site" an apology.
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