Ahimsa server seizure: Documents unsealed

On 1 August, 9 months after Indymedia's Ahimsa server was seized by the FBI in October 2004, a US court unsealed documents about it, including the subponea.
All material is available at the EFF website.

A more details and analysis will follow shortly...

[ Ahimsa Seizure | EFF | The Register ]

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a quick reading of the italian request

anonymous 03.Aug.2005 07:45

If I'm reading the italian request correctly (which, given the terrible resolution of the PDF is dubious), their justice department was wanting the logs from the indymedia server to find out who posted to indymedia a document taking responsibility for, apparently, the "two bombs" described in the following article:

According to the article noone was injured, nor killed. According to the PDF, I -think- it says two trash cans burned to the ground -- the article above mentions a later bomb as well, the italian request seems to only be about the trash-can-bombs. Regardless, someone did plant bombs in an attempt on Romano Prodi's life, however unsuccessfully, and someone (maybe or maybe not) the same person(s) later took credit for the act ... but the documents circulating are all different, with/without extra sections attached, and it's hard for the italian police to hunt down who originally posted the claim of responsibility. (Which is only the beginning of hunting down the actual culprits, mind you. People often seem to take responsibility for acts they did not commit, just for the fame. But hey, maybe this time it's a good lead. They won't know until it's fully checked out.)

According to the other documents, it looks like they just wanted the logs pertaining to particular post(s), but were handed the servers instead -- and it'd be nice to know why, precisely. But hey -- the documents are there to look at. Don't trust me.

Resi pubblici nuovi documenti sul "sequestro" degli hard disk di Indymedia

Andrea Giudiceandrea 03.Aug.2005 09:17

Resi pubblici nuovi documenti sul "sequestro" degli hard disk di Indymedia
by Andrea Giudiceandrea Tuesday, Aug. 02, 2005 at 11:52 PM
L'Electronic Frontier Foundation ottiene nuovi documenti sul "sequestro" degli hard disk e dei server di Indymedia avvenuto il 7 ottobre 2004.

EFF release concerning these servers

seattlest 03.Aug.2005 15:56

Secret Documents About Indymedia Server Disappearance

Government Order Demanded Only Logs; Web Host Rackspace
Handed Over Server

San Antonio, TX - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
last week won a motion allowing it to access sealed court
documents about the mysterious disappearance of two web
servers used to host news websites for Indymedia, a global
collective of Independent Media Centers (IMCs) and
thousands of journalists. After six months of secret
litigation, EFF obtained a copy of the federal court order
that resulted in the October 2004 handover of copies of
Indymedia servers to the government by Indymedia's web
host. That handover resulted in the silencing of more than
20 news websites and radio feeds for nearly a week.

However, the unsealed documents reveal that the government
never officially demanded the computer servers -- the
subpoena to Rackspace only requested server log files. This
contradicts previous statements by the web host that it
took the servers offline because the government had
demanded the hardware. The documents also contradict
Rackspace's claim that it had been ordered by the court not
to discuss publicly the government's demand. It cannot be
determined from the unsealed documents whether or not the
government informally pressured Rackspace to turn over the
servers. By giving the government more data than it
requested, the company not only violated the privacy of
Indymedia journalists whose information was housed on the
servers, but also undermined the free flow of information
by taking Indymedia's websites offline. Moreover, the logs
that the government requested didn't exist, so Rackspace
should never have given the government anything at all.

"When Rackspace received a government demand to examine
logs that didn't exist, it had a responsibility to the
customer and to the principles of freedom of the press to
fight the order and resolve this without taking more than
20 news sites off the Internet," said Kurt Opsahl, EFF
staff attorney.

"Rackspace may claim to provide its customers with
'fanatical support,' but in this case it looks like it was
more interested in serving the government," added Kevin
Bankston, EFF attorney and Equal Justice Works/Bruce J.
Ennis Fellow. "Despite these new revelations, a key
question remains: Did government agents intentionally
mislead the web host into thinking it had to hand over
complete copies of the Indymedia servers?"

The court order served on San Antonio-based Rackspace
Managed Hosting was issued based on a treaty request from
the Italian government as part of an ongoing criminal
investigation in that country.

EFF was assisted in this case by James A. Hemphill and W.
Reid Whittliff with Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody in
Austin, Texas.


Order unsealing

More unsealed

For this release:

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to
websites in the world at


Joker 05.Aug.2005 19:39

Unless you can see the part of the subpoena that they won't let you see, it is best to assume that you have been given no information at all.

From Secret Documents About Indymedia Server Disappearance Unsealed []: "It cannot be determined from the unsealed documents whether or not the government informally pressured Rackspace to turn over the servers."

Certainly it seems that is what happened, that there was illegal activity on the part of the government. Otherwise you have to believe something like this:

U.S. government (Calmly): We just need some log files from you.

Rackspace: Oh wow!!! We will damage our reputation by giving you far more than you asked!!! Our customer's trust means nothing to us!

It is a better guess that someone at Rackspace was very, very scared because of being intimidated.