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Indymedia's hardware returned but questions remain

*Indymedia's hardware is returned, but many questions remain*

On Wednesday, October 13th, Indymedia's seized hardware was mysteriously returned in the same way it disappeared -- without any information provided as to who took it or why, and on whose orders. An employee at Rackspace, the U.S.-based web hosting company that handed over Indymedia's disks to the U.S. government on 7 October, emailed an Indymedia volunteer to say that the disks were returned and that "the court order is being complied with... I will pass along any more information that becomes available and that I am allowed to."

Today, October 14th, Italy Indymedia learned that an investigation in Bologna could have precipitated the U.S.' order for the seizure of Indymedia's hard drives from the U.K.

Marina Plazzi, a public prosecutor for Bologna investigating the "Informal Anarchist Federation," reportedly issued a request for information (RFI) to U.S. authorities concerning posts published on italy.indymedia.org, one of the 20 odd Indymedia sites hosted on the U.K. server. The U.S. authorities, going beyond the requirements of the RFI, then issued an order to seize the drives.

Despite this new information and the return of the hardware many questions remain.

"The fact that the authorities' actions are shrouded in mystery leaves Indymedia in the Kafkaesque position of not knowing the identity of its accusers or the nature of their claim," says David Dadge, editor for the International Press Institute.

Indymedia volunteers are now calling for supporters to sign a solidarity declaration at http://solidarity.indymedia.org.uk/ denouncing the hard drive seizure as an unacceptable attack on press freedom, freedom of expression, and privacy. They are demanding a full disclosure of the names of organizations and individuals involved in the seizure, a copy of the court order, and an independent investigation into any violations of due process.

"We have serious concerns about the use of international co-operation frameworks to obscure legal process, undermine civil liberties, and erode communication rights," said an Indymedia volunteer.

Numerous organizations have already expressed their solidarity with Indymedia. "I would say that this is an indication of the successfulness of the Indymedia network," says Peter Phillips, Ph.D., director of Project Censored. "Freedom of information is a radical idea when applied in a fair manner, and radical ideas will always be suppressed by the transnational corporate elites whenever possible."

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