The Witch Hunt

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This page started as a copy of this one, it was copied here as accounts on docs.indymedia.org were suspended, some page formatting still needs to be fixed.

The Indymedia Witch Hunt of ChrisC and the Mayday Collective

This page has been created to document the character assassination and witch hunt against ChrisC and the ImcMayday Collective which started in May 2011 (though perhaps the origins of it predate May 2011 and perhaps this aspect will also be documented here in time).

The witch hunt has resulted in Chris having his accounts on 4 indymedia.org servers suspended, chavez, sarai, traven and fox, however it wasn't completed, the Mayday Collective hasn't been banned from using the irc server, wiki or emails lists — bans which were proposed by several Be The Media Collectives and supported by IMC Germany and IMC Athens.

The witch hunt, appeared to end on 17th May 2011 when the IRCD working group was asked to ban Mayday Collective members from the irc.indymedia.org server — the techies refused to abuse their "tech power" in this manner, however it's still not clear if the wiki and list working groups will agree to purge and expel the 12 Mayday members that they have identified for expulsion.

The intention with this page is to document things in date order, the dates being mostly taken from the list archives and the list server isn't on BST so some things might be listed as happening on another day from a UK perspective, if anyone wants to sort out all the time zone stuff feel free — it's just a detail and not a crucial one.

May 2011

In the early hours of 1st May 2011 Be The Media activists started to shutdown the UK Indymedia site without agreement. So the ImcMayday collective migrated the site to prevent the newswire being shutdown. Be The Media responded by trying to get a global Indymedia witch hunt going to force the Mayday Collective out of the Indymedia Network.


3rd May 2011

On 3rd May Bristol Indymedia sent an email to the global imc-process list to start the witch hunt, it contained a proposal to, in effect ban all members of the ImcMayday Collective from the IRC server, this wiki server and the list server:


the hijacking of indymedia UK

...

Bristol Indymedia asks that the global Indymedia community request that control of the domain indymedia.org.uk be handed over to the Global IMC DNS working group as a neutral party not involved in the current conflict forthwith.

Following this unprecedented and unfortunate action we also propose that all members of the Mayday group have their admin privileges, membership of key lists such as tech-lists, listwork, control of documents servers, indymedia server root accounts and the like be revoked pending resolution of the situation.

4th May 2011

On 4th May 2011 IMC Germany sent a email to the imc-process list, which contained:

we support point 1 of IMC Bristol's recent proposal[1]: "that control of the domain indymedia.org.uk be handed over to the Global IMC DNS working group as a neutral party not involved in the current conflict forthwith".

We furthermore suggest a deadline for this to happen: Saturday, 7 May 2011, 12:00 UTC, due to the massive negative impact of the current status quo on the work of imc-collectives in the UK.

With regards to point 2 of IMC Bristol's proposal [1], we understand that Mayday are working on a statement and want to encourage them to resolve the existing questions and concerns. if concerns about the way mayday and its individuals use tech-power remain, privileged access to indymedia resources as described in [1] should be revoked for those individuals pending resolution of the situation.


[1] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0503-ar.html

...

we are appalled that the mayday collective has misused tech power to continue indymedia.org.uk against a decision made by consensus, which is is clearly against indymedia principles. the problem is that the global network procedures for a new imc took much longer than expected and that this was not provided for when the decision for the fork was made. nevertheless, the mayday collective's abuse of tech power is completely unacceptable.


5th May 2011

On 5th May 2011 London Indymedia sent an email to the global imc-process list which contained, the very serious and totally unsubstantiated, accusation that Chris had been abusing his position to read private email lists. There is no evidence for this what so ever because he has not and would not do this. This accusation is pure fabricated FUD:

Request for immediate emergency action

Following the recent events that have occurred as part of the long-standing UK conflict, London Indymedia requests the global Indymedia network to take immediate action to remove all technical privileges from Chris (a.k.a. chrisc), the principal tech volunteer from the Mayday Collective, pending further investigation. This includes access to traven, chavez, sarai and list master passwords, indymedia 'cacert' certification, as well as any other privileges we may not be aware of.


...

we currently can not trust Chris. We believe he has abused his technical powers for political ends. We are concerned that he has access to 'sarai', the indymedia listserver - and that, therefore, there is potential to access private list archives of other UK collectives. We do not know what other infrastructure he has access to beyond those listed above, but believe he should not occupy any positions of trust within the Indymedia community.

It was swiftly (within the hour) followed up with an email from IMC linksunten, which contained, in essence, the same unsubstantiated FUD about Chris that was circulated by IMC London:

the hijacking of indymedia UK, PROPOSAL, DEADLINE 20.05.2011, 12am, CET


we have agreed on the following mail before we learned about the latest mail from IMC London [1].

We support the demands of IMC Bristol [2] and IMC Germany [3] to request that the control of the domain indymedia.org.uk be handed over to the global IMC DNS working group. The Mayday collective has stolen [4] the domain of the now dissolved UK Indymedia network of which Mayday was only a faction and they have expelled the rest of the network from the UK site. We are angry and think this behaviour is unacceptable.

We also support the withdrawal of all privileges concerning Indymedia infrastructure and all Indymedia resources for all members of the Mayday collective. This comprises root access and admin privileges on Indymedia servers, membership of global working groups, control of infrastructure and the like.

Regarding the question asked by listwork [5] we think the Indymedia UK mailing lists should be deactivated since the former UK network has ceased to exist.

There have been doubts [6] about the commitment of Mayday and Sheffield collectives to POU6 [7] (consensus decision making). After the recent developments these doubts have unfortunately been confirmed. Therefore we don't think those collectives should become affiliated IMCs.

We would like to point out that one member of the Mayday collective has root access to (at least) the listwork server. We don't trust this person as he has abused his powers as a tech volunteer. We think this person should lose root access for all global Indymedia servers and especially to the listwork server as we are worried that he might use the sensitive data he has access to as a weapon against other Indymedia volunteers.


Therefore, we propose:

  1. root and admin access of the listwork member in question to all global Indymedia servers are suspended immediately and all global listwork passwords are changed to prevent abuse until a decision has been taken
  2. root and admin accounts of the listwork member in question to all global Indymedia servers are deleted and the listwork member quits the listwork working group with a deadline of two weeks time

[1] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0506-5t.html

[2] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0503-ar.html


[3] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0505-ns.html

[4] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-tech/2011-May/0502-um.html

[5] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0502-v8.html

[6] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/new-imc/2011-April/0421-qh.html


[7] https://docs.indymedia.org/view/Global/PrinciplesOfUnity

Following on from the IMC London proposal, which had been copied to imc-tech, Chris had his account on chavez.indymedia.org suspended, as this email explains:

In response to this, I have *temporarily* locked chrisc's account on chavez.


I did not want to take this action. It's my opinion that Chris C has been doing very good work for the Indymedia collectives, and I do not understand or support the rift between the Mayday collective (whatever that is) and the other UK Indymedia collectives. I still hope that this is a storm in a teacup and will blow over soon.

If the Mayday collective believes it has the authority and support of a consensus decision to shut down or otherwise break the other UK collectives, then I haven't seen any evidence of it, and find it hard to believe. Lacking such evidence, I do not support any actions that may damage other UK IMC collectives, and will try to help them if I can.

I'm sorry, Chris. I hope you will not take this personally. I hope that this will be resolved quickly and we can continue to work together.

maxigas emailed imc-communication:

it's awful what is going on. as far as i understand people who have control over indymedia.org.uk are going through IMC process while they are clinging to that address unilaterally. basically, i consider this a breach of trust which disables future collaboration. therefore i support the IMC Bristol proposal and the IMC Germany statement below. i don't speak in the name of the collective since IMC Hungary is being retired now.

6th May 2011

The next day, 6th May, Alster suspended Chris' account on the list server, in response to the email from IMC London and explained his actions in this email:

I've just taken the neccessary steps for Listwork to comply with

http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/mmid/imc-process/2011-0506-5t

Chris' account is now (temporarily) disabled and the shared Mailman passwords have been changed.


I suggest that the remaining Listwork volunteers should work towards an independant (of imc-process) position on the possible future of Chris within Listwork.

On the same day gdm announced that:

the same was done for the indymedia server, traven. however, chris is one of the traven-tech list admins, i am another, and a third person listed has not been involved in imc for 3 or 4 years. hence, would it be possible to please change the list password and send it to me, as i have forgotten/mislaid the old one.

Alster did as was asked:


This has been done on the SoS ticket system, which permissions are now updated on, too (I had forgotten about this).

Also on 6th May 2011 the Mayday Collective sent an email to imc-communication, in reply to Bristol IMC's process proposal of " 3rd May 2011:

We believe that Bristol has offered an inaccurate account.

http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-communication/2011-May/0503-ft.html


Bristol states:

"A faction within UK Indymedia, Mayday, composing of individuals who are not members of any full IMC, and who currently have a new-imc application which has been blocked, have taken control of the DNS for the domain of indymedia.org.uk, pointed it to a new server and deleted the access of all non-Mayday volunteers from the system.

This includes expelling the access of volunteers from accredited imcs including Bristol, Northern England, London and Nottingham [1] along with individuals not associated with any collective and members of Oxford Imc, a group currently going through the new-imc process.[2]"

However, what the Mayday Collective have is a copy of the original site.

The original version of the site has publishing available at https://publish.archive.indymedia.org.uk/uk/servlet/OpenMir and admin access available at https://publish.archive.indymedia.org.uk/uk/servlet/Mir .


We are not aware that any access has been 'deleted' on that server either at a ssh level or a http level. As far as we understand it, that site remains fully functional with all users who had access still able to access that site albeit on a different sub-domain.

It is true that access for people who are not in the Mayday Collective has been disabled on the Mayday version of the site currently located at www.indymedia.org.uk, which it is running on totally seperate servers (a). Members of the Mayday collective do not have access to admin on the BeTheMedia site which Bristol is involved in, and neither do they seek access. It is consistent with the terms of the fork that people from each group only have access to their own group's site.

Oxford admins do now have access to the Mayday Collective's version of the site.

The members of the Mayday Collective have been members the Indymedia UK Network for years. IMC UK never went through process as it was one of the earliest projects but it has always been recognised as a full IMC.

(a) See http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-tech/2011-May/0504-85.html

7th May 2011

On 7th May 2011 Bart sent the following demand to the DNS working group and copied in imc-communication:

as the deadline for the proposal of IMC Bristol [1], IMC Germany [2] and IMC linksunten [3] to regain control over indymedia.org.uk has passed please contact the Mayday collective and demand immediate stewardship of the domain.

[1] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0503-ar.html


[2] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0505-ns.html

[3] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0506-uz.html


8th May 2011

On 8th May 2011 Northern Indymedia sent a email to imc-process, which contained the following proposals:


  • That a deadline of one week from today is made for completion of the handover of the domain indymedia.org.uk to the global DNS working group
  • That the IMC Oxford collective are informed at all stages what is happening throughout the process and given chance to participate
  • That should the deadline pass without the domain being handed over, all further access to global indymedia resources including mailing lists, irc, docs.indymedia.org and DNS is denied to the group currently holding the domain (the mayday collective) until this handover has taken place

9th May 2011

On 9th May 2011 IMC Northern sent the following email to imc-communication:

A proposal by imc bristol and imc deutschland recently passed a consensus period on the imc-process list [1]

This proposal requires the stewardship of the dns entry for indymedia.org.uk to be passed to the global dns working group by those currently holding it, the mayday collective.

A proposal by IMC Northern England has been made [2] that this should happen by 5pm GMT on Sunday 15th May 2011 and that imc oxford should be kept informed at all stages of the process.

Could the DNS working group please indicate what steps and information will be needed to make this transfer of domain stewardship happen before the deadline set out in these proposals.

[1] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0505-ns.html


[2] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0508-hq.html

11th May 2011

Txopi sent an email to imc-communication which contained:

This is my personal ultra-short lecture of the facts:


Indymedia UK has been forked. As far as i know, Bethemedia has done all you agreed in december. Mayday has tryed to "get an indymedia domain" but as he found problems, finally he stole the one he wanted from the begining. Now Mayday wants to convince the whole Indymedia network that the best decision is to don't waste the cool IndyUK URL and let Mayday use it althought its new-imc application is blocked. And that because the real Indymedia members (Bethemedia) actually are against Indymedia!

...

He has kicked out the other side by force and wants the aproval of Indymedia to continue being part of our web of trust after this kind of coup d'etat.

12th May 2011

On 12th May 2011 Athens IMC, sent an email to imc-process, which contained:

Without being interested in having a clear and detailed image of the disagreements inside the UK IMC, we are opposite and hostile against any authoritative bevahior. Such bevavior can be expressed in several ways, psychological-oral violence, racism, sexism, slander etc. Sometimes even the privileges of one person in technical fields can drive in such behaviors. Technical knowledge and rights over a technical mean, is power that can be used in a wrong way against people inside a collective. In addition, such things have are violating the Principles of Unity of Indymedia network and have no place in it.

...

Athens IMC collective has experienced similar problems and conflicts in the past so we feel the necessity to express our solidarity to the fellow activists that have been excluded from UK imc and condemn the hijacking of latter.


Consequently,

we propose that the control of the domain indymedia.org.uk be handed over to the global IMC DNS working group and the technical privilleges of members of Mayday collective on the Indymedia infrastructure are withdrawed.

we support IMC Linksunten proposals [1]. we also follow statements from IMC Bristol [2] , IMC Germany [3] and IMC London [4]

[1] https://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0506-uz.html

[2] https://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0503-ar.html

[3] https://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0505-ns.html


[4] https://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0506-5t.html

15th May 2011

On 15th May 2011 Northern Indymedia announced, in an email to imc-process, that the deadline they set in their " 8th May proposal had passed:


PROPOSAL PASSED - Deadline Sunday 15th May 5.00pm GMT - UK DNS handover

The deadline for objection to this proposal has now passed. Please could the relevant working groups enact the decision made.

Later the same day Alster replied to two emails he had hidden on the listwork list which contained personal details of activists, quoting the email's he had hidden:

On 15.05.2011 23:18 cad wrote:

it unfortunenately seems we have to bury all maday lists and blacklist all mayday members on international lists.

The problem is now to find

  1. all Lists used by the Mayday collective
  2. all Mailadresses of Mayday collective members
  3. all @indymedia.org Forwarders to those Mailadresses

I've been asked to make one of the e-mail addresses which were contained in the e-mail by cad inaccessible to the public since it revealed personal information. Since I urgently need sleep I have just completely hidden cad's e-mail and jimdog's e-mail (which was fully quoting cad's e-mail) off the Listwork archives for now.

I've copied cad's original e-mail into a Listwork ticket instead. The ticket ID is [Ticket#2011051610000011].


Here's what JimDog replied to cad's e-mail:

Since my collective made the proposal, its only fair I should assist with the workload (also as a former member of this working group).

I'll start collecting this information together tomorrow and ask the other UK imc's to contribute. It may take a few days to compile, I'll let this list know once this is done.

At 17:34 chrisc was kicked and banned from the #northern irc channel:

17:31 -!- jimdog_away is now known as jimdog
17:34 -!- mode/#northern [+b *!*chrisc@*.org.uk] by jimdog
17:34 -!- chrisc was kicked from #northern by jimdog [chrisc]

Chris was also removed from the imc-security list by persons unknown:


From: imc-security-bounces@lists.indymedia.org
Date: Sun, 15 May 2011 11:33:22 -0700
To: chrisc@indymedia.org
List-Id: IMC Security List <imc-security.lists.indymedia.org>
Subject: You have been unsubscribed from the imc-security mailing list
</imc-security.lists.indymedia.org>

With total disregard to the list policy for Unsubscription — there was no due process at all.

16th May 2011

Alster replied to the proposal from the 15th May on listwork from cad, quoting the proposal from Northern Indymedia:


I agree that based on the proposal [1] which now passed imc-process Listwork needs to take action. The relevant part of the proposal reads:

That should the deadline pass without the domain being handed over, all further access to global indymedia resources including mailing lists, irc, docs.indymedia.org and DNS is denied to the group currently holding the domain (the mayday collective) until this handover has taken place

It is my understanding that we need to determine and deactivate all mailing lists of the mayday collective, as well as all privileged accounts and access of the Mayday group and its members on all non-public Indymedia resources. I also think that Listwork needs to disable indymedia.org e-mail forwarders for individuals and groups contained in the Mayday group. Thanks to Cad for getting started with this.

However, I do not think that Listwork really needs to unsubscribe the e-mail addresses of individuals who take part in the Mayday collective off mailing lists which are public and open for subscription. This would seem a little far fetched to me, and also hard to maintain (how wold we prevent re-subscription?). I don't think this is what the proposal had in mind, nor that doing so would improve the situation by any means.

[1] http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/mmid/imc-process/2011-0508-hq

The same day gdm replied to Alster saying that he disagreed and that he thought that Mayday Collective members might be abusing their moderator roles on lists, this is another totally untrue and unsubstianiated accusation. He went on to ask that all Mayday Collective members email addresses are removed from all lists:

members of the mayday collective are not only subscribed to but also administer some of the imc-uk lists. it is not (publicly) clear but it is entirely plausible that this is having a negative impact on discussions between other collectives in the uk as emails from non-subscribed (e.g. collective) addresses are held in moderation, thus delaying discussions and inhibiting conversations.

moreover, the fact that the mayday collective is being denied access to indymedia resources, coupled with the fact that they are not affiliated to global imc (having not passed the new-imc process (yet)) means that there is no (longer any) dissent to the consensus decisions of the bradford agreement, which i interpret as meaning that the imc-uk-* lists should be archived as agreed.

i also believe that it is much easier for listworkers (i.e. with shell access) to remove accounts from the server using a command such as:


 bin/remove_members --fromall -n user at email.account

To this micah responded:

Alster's point was about removing the addresses from the subscription lists is pointless. Your point is about addresses being list admins, which is an entirely different set of things and something that Alster was acknowledging needs to be deactivated.

Jimdog then replied to micah to say that he had compiled a list of email addresses that he believed belonged to Mayday Collective members and asked that they be removed as admins from all lists:


I have added a provisional list of email addresses to the ticket in sos.indymedia.org (I still have a login from when I was a member of this WG)

I agree that it is fundamentally the list admin privileges that should be removed, then the admins of each local list can make an autonomous decision as to whether to allow postings from that user or not.

I would agree though that these addresses should be unsubscribed from all global working lists since members of this group would not be as per the are not affiliated members of the network. If a subscription request for any of these groups comes in, then they could be looked at on a case by case basis by the relevant wg's.

Chip from Sheffield Indymedia then replied to gdm:


I'll try to stick to the technical practicalities below.

On 16 May 2011 11:57, Garcon du Monde <gdm at fifthhorseman.net> wrote:

members of the mayday collective are not only subscribed to but also administer some of the imc-uk lists. it is not (publicly) clear but it is entirely plausible that this is having a negative impact on discussions between other collectives in the uk as emails from non-subscribed (e.g. collective) addresses are held in moderation, thus delaying discussions and inhibiting conversations.

I am a list co-admin for a number of IMC UK mailing lists and I personally have never seen any "emails from any non-subscribed (e.g. collective) addresses held in moderation" for any long length of time and I would set the moderation flag to "off" for any addresses such as these that I found. If there has been a problem then it is probably for a list with which I am not connected. What will, indeed, have "a negative impact on discussions between other collectives in the uk" will be the hasty shutting down of a number of viable imc-uk* mailing lists.


Will it be made clear who has been identified as a member of the so-called "Mayday collective" and what criteria have been used to identify them as such.

Is it going to be made clear what actions have been taken in this regard i.e. who has been removed from which list (and why)?

What action, if any, should list admins take to inform members of their list(s) that they are being closed. Is there a particular date and time that has been chosen to do this?

Jimdog then replied to Chip:

Will it be made clear who has been identified as a member of the so-called "Mayday collective" and what criteria have been used to identify them as such.

I compiled a quick list on the ticketing system based on people who have actively participated in decisions made and reported on the imc-mayday-collective list, or who have actively indicated that they belong to that group. There are currently 12 names on that list and it will need checking. I'm hesitant to send this to a public list without the consent of those named, can you maybe suggest an alternative?

atw emailed the Imc-communication list:

  • That should the deadline pass without the domain being handed over, all further access to global indymedia resources including mailing lists, irc, docs.indymedia.org and DNS is denied to the group currently holding the domain (the mayday collective) until this handover has taken place


I have to say this proposal seems poorly thought out and appears to have gone through with little thought or discussion.

Denying Mayday access to resources seems like it would achieve nothing except create some extra work for the Mayday group and then hinder further communication. It would also create extra work for the listwork, docs and IRC working groups.

It would do nothing to solve the current difficulties and would only deepen the current divisions.

Such a proposal is also a blatant contradiction of the Indymedia Principles of Unity which state:

2. All IMC's consider open exchange of and open access to information a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society.

AND

8. All IMC's are committed to caring for one another and our respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment.


17th May 2011

Jimdog clarified his previous email on listwork, after it had been pointed out that it didn't make sense by explaining how he would like the purge to work for the lists:

The point I was making was that since the members of this collective are being disallowed access to the resources of the network until they hand the domain back, I see no reason why they should be subscribed to the lists of the working groups that steward those resources. Also, we need to ensure that there are no lists (global and local) who's admins/moderators are part of that group as this continues control over those resources, and the affiliated imc's that make up the UK network have been sidelined on those working lists as a result.

Chip then replied to Jimdogs question, what alternative is there to compiling lists of emails addresses to purge by saying:

An alternative might be to not run around collating lists of names, I would suggest, and so avoid laying you open to accusations of a witch-hunt.

With respect, can you not foresee potential problems with this approach? Off the top of my head:

<ol type="a

  • is everybody who posts on the mayday list a member of the now-proscribed Group A?
  • is there only one judge and jury in this matter?
  • is there a right of appeal to those who might be falsely accused of domain theft?
  • what happens to legitimate members of imc-sheffield?
  • </ol>

    The problem with the disputed domain is that the Registrar is a company called Webarchitects but the Registrant is located at an address in Edinburgh [0] - and as we all know it is the Registrant who decides where to point the domain in his control/ownership. Any agreement between the Registrant and the Registrar has nothing to do with whoever is posting on imc-mayday-collective.

    If it is intention of the proposal that the IMC Northern collective made was "to try to ensure the passing of the uk domain back to the global network to allow reconciliation and progress towards a solution to be made" [1] then as to where this domain points has been arranged by perhaps only two individuals (one of whom probably doesn't post to the mayday list), there is considerable 'collateral damage' in taking sanctions against all those people who post to the mayday list (which I do not incidentally).

    [0] http://webwhois.nic.uk/cgi-bin/whois.cgi?query=indymedia.org.uk


    [1] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/listwork/2011-May/0517-qx.html

    Jimdog replied to Chip and this email included:

    The registrar is webarchitects, which as you know is the company chrisc is a part of. So in this case, we have the registrar taking the name from the registrant against the registrants wishes (there was never a request by the UK network to do so). I don't know if there's a legal precedent for this long of thing happening before without a regulated process, but if not its pretty much as close to theft as you are going to get in at least my eyes.


    ...

    The problem here is as you say, who is an active member of that collective, and are they complicit in the acquisition of the domain. We are talking about a group who have publicly taken joint responsibility for this, and have put out multiple statements to say as much, so I think it would be a difficult case to argue that they are not. As I said in my previous mail, the provisional list I put up is for others to check through so a decision can be made, but all of the names I provisionally wrote down have all actively stated that they are a member of that collective, or participated in their internal decision making process.

    Micah then replied to Jimdog:

    On Tue, 17 May 2011 17:33:35 +0100, "=?utf-8?B?dGhlaW5uZXJjaXR5aGlwcHlAcmlzZXVwLm5ldA==?=" <theinnercityhippy at riseup.net> wrote:

    The point I was making was that since the members of this collective are being disallowed access to the resources of the network until they hand the domain back, I see no reason why they should be subscribed to the lists of the working groups that steward those resources.

    There is a point actually, the point is that we are an open, transparent organization and removing them as subscribers from mailing lists doesn't do anything at all, except create more work for us. All this would do is make it so they can simply go read the list archives that are available to anyone online. Removing them would do nothing except remove them, they could then add themselves back, or they could create another address that we dont know who they are and subscribe that one. Because of all these reasons the act of removing the addresses serves only one purpose and that is to engage in a pointless symbolic act of punishment, which is trivial to circumvent.

    These people are not part of the working group, and as such do not have decision making power in the working group. They also have not been disruptive to any of the the working groups that I am a part of and until they are, I dont see a point in removing them as subscribers. Worse, I find it deeply troubling on an ethical stand point to reach into other working groups, where we have no say whatsoever, to remove people from those lists. This violates the sysadmin code of ethics.


    If these people are causing problems on a list, then the list moderator has the right to remove them if they see fit. If there is an issue with the list moderators, or moderators need help doing this, then come to us to help deal with the situation.

    Chris sent the following email to the global listwork and communication lists, the following version has had one URL corrected:


    Self Defense Is No Offence

    The UK Indymedia site, http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ is alive and well used by the UK activist community. Recently IMC UK has played a crucial role in the exposure of undercover police in the activist movement [1], it's an important part of the global Indymedia Network and there is grassroots support for the resistance to the attempts to shut it down.

    There has never been a consensus to shut down the UK Indymedia site though some UK IMC activists have wanted to do this for years [2].

    An agreement was reached in Bradford in 2010 to fork the project into two Indymedia projects (now known as Mayday and Be The Media). However when the deadline date was reached, the group who wished to continue running the UK Indymedia site hadn't passed through New IMC (which was necessary for it to continue as an Indymedia project) [3], so the deadline was blocked [4] - there was no consensus on 30th April 2011 that the fork should proceed on 1st May.

    However this block was ignored and Be The Media started to archive the IMC UK site in the early hours of 1st May 2011 and announce, "Indymedia UK Forked" [5]. It was immediately pointed out [6] that:


    The Bradford consensus decision is invalid on two counts if it was the intention, deliberate or otherwise, to expel Group A from the global network.

    <ol type="a
  • If it was always the intention of the Bradford consensus to denounce Group A and expel its members from the Indymedia network then Group A would never have agreed to this and therefore the so-called "consensus decision" is insecure, or
  • if it was never the intention to excommunicate Group A then the "consensus decision" must also now be invalidated (as moving forward will result in the proscription of Group A), and the global network needs to work quickly to establish the Mayday collective as a new IMC.
  • </ol>

    So the Mayday Collective was faced with a stark choice: either leave the UK Indymedia site to be shut down and archived and allow the open publishing newswire to be moved off an Indymedia domain name - in effect to be expelled from the global Indymedia network, or to take action to defend the site on the, basis that its closure didn't have consensus.

    The collective took the decision to keep the site running, to defend the newswire in the interests of its users and the activist community [7].

    The lack of critical response at a global level in the Indymedia network, with the exception of an email from Portland [8], has been very surprising to me and the response from the global network has been viewed by some as having taken on the character of a witch hunt [9]. The proposed sanctions clearly amount to a mass expulsions of activists and collectives in the UK [10].

    Responses from other activist groups in the UK have now started to appear - see for example the SchNEWS article [11], Sheffield IMC is holding a public discussion about the matter at the Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair in a few days time [12] and the following day the Mayday Collective is holding an open meeting to discuss the situation and what to do next [13].


    The actions that have been used as evidence that we have committed "crimes" are in fact all acts of self defence.

    We have acted in self defence against the police -- it was well known in the UK activist community for around 2 years before we added the filters for the police IP addresses, that the police were posting to activist sites, see this article from September 20, 2007:

    Please don’t post the bloggers personal details as a comment from your IP: 62.25.109.196 (gateway-303.energis.gsi.gov.uk)

    GSI being for those who don’t know “Government Secure Intranet” which allows secure and untraceable internet access via a proxy gateway (in this case 303). I suppose it could be used for members of the cabinet office to “research” pornography and such but i’m not sure…

    From Wiki:

    “Many UK government organisations use the GSi, using it to transfer files on a peer to peer basis between similarly accredited networks.

    Organisations such as GCHQ, The Cabinet Office and SOCA use the GSi for secure purposes. Certain government organisations with high value material, such as MI5 and the SIS, use other networks with enhanced security to transfer this data.”


    My guess is SOCA, as I would hope GCHQ / MI5 / SIS would be more intelligent and not try and post from “max at shac.com” email which isn’t anything to do with SHAC campaign…

    We are fully aware that the police have our full names, DNA, Fingerprints, Sexual Preferences etc documented… We have nothing to hide but everything to protect… The cops are jealous because we are allowed a viewpoint and the right to assembly and they forfeit that human right effectively rendering them… not human.

    https://arcops.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/dear-max/

    So we acted in self defence to track the posts from the UK state gateways that the police were using, for more on this matter please see these 3 emails:


    We have acted in self defence against attacks on UK Indymedia and ourselves personally by documenting these attacks, see:

    Offers for mediation over these pages has been offered and accepted by us but refused by the people in IMC Northern who have been making the unsubstantiated personal attacks against us.

    The response from The Be The Media collectives has been to demand that these two wiki pages are deleted. These wiki pages contain quotes from public emails -- I consider this demand to be the internet equilivant to Book Burning:

    Sheffield Indymedia has discussed these wiki pages on many occasions and has consensed that they should remain. One member of Sheffield Indymedia has observed:


    I think it is precisely because the wiki pages have been such a potent and effective defensive technique, and used to such devastating effect, that they themselves have become the real target.

    http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-process/2011-May/0516-mb.html

    The final act of self defence has been in regard to the defence of the attempts to shutdown the UK Indymedia site.

    It has taken time to document the attempts of Sheffield and Mayday to pass through the New IMC process and I would like to ask that people consider this documentation before they jump to conclusions about this whole matter:


    It seems that some people have done this [14] and I appreciate that this takes time and energy and that everybody has lots of better things to be doing, but what is at stake here is the expulsion of the activists running the UK Indymedia and Sheffield Indymedia sites and it's clear from the emails on listwork [15] that the implications of this haven't been properly thought through.

    For example what is to happen to the alias sheffield at indymedia.org which points to the private imc-sheffield-contact list, if you remove all the Sheffield admins from this list how can we run it -- this will force us off the global list server -- we will have been, in effect, excommunicated:

    How does that fit in with this:

    As per https://docs.indymedia.org/Sysadmin/ListWorkPolicy the act of removing / deactivating mailing lists should be backed by the members of the lists in question or by the collective this lists belong to. [16]

    There are many aspects of the proposal to ban the Mayday collective from the global Indymedia infrastructure that appear not to have been thought through (docs and irc for example), but the key question is, how can any future discussions at a UK or global level proceed if we have no means of communication?


    And how does excommunication fit with:

    2. All IMC's consider open exchange of and open access to information a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society.

    And:

    8. All IMC's are committed to caring for one another and our respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment.

    Which are in the PRINCIPLES OF UNITY, https://docs.indymedia.org/view/Global/PrinciplesOfUnity


    [1] Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators

       into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice
       movements
    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/01/472363.html

    [2] The Attempt to Shutdown UK Indymedia

       http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2011/04/478397.html
    

    [3] https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayNewImc

    [4] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-process/2011-April/0422-v2.html

       http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-process/2011-April/0421-0h.html
    http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-process/2011-April/0424-x5.html
    http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-April/0430-oq.html
    http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-April/0427-5o.html

    [5] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-process/2011-April/0430-n7.html


    [6] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-uk-process/2011-April/0430-cr.html

    [7] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-communication/2011-May/0510-rs.html

    [8] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-communication/2011-May/0505-re.html

    [9] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/new-imc/2011-May/0512-7i.html

       http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/new-imc/2011-May/0517-l5.html
       https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Witch-hunt
    

    [10] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0508-hq.html

        http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/listwork/2011-May/0516-1u.html
    

    [11] Indymedia: From the Rubble of Double Trouble

        http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news7706.php
    


    [12] http://sheffield.indymedia.org.uk/2011/04/477402.html

    [13] https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydaySheffieldMay2011

    [14] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-tech/2011-May/0516-ea.html

    [15] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/listwork/2011-May/thread.html#4574

    [16] http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/listwork/2011-May/0502-mi.html

    Micah sent a email to imc-communication regarding the imc-process decision to tell the DNS working group to take on the management of indymedia.org.uk:

    A proposal involving deadlines would be better served if it involved the working group who were the ones who were going to be beholden to the deadline, and who were going to be doing the work. 6 days is a very quick turnaround to demand of a working group that was given no advance notice nor any opportunity to respond, nor was consulted on the proposal in the first place.

    On Mon, 09 May 2011 18:53:15 +0100, "!JimDog" <jimdog at aktivix.org> wrote:

    Could the DNS working group please indicate what steps and information will be needed to make this transfer of domain stewardship happen before the deadline set out in these proposals.

    Following up on the previous response, it would have been nice to talk to the DNS working group about this idea in the first place. The history of the working group has been such that managing network-wide resources has been the extent of the group's purview, and we have considered that any non-network wide resources to not fall within those bounds. I dont remember completely, but I dont think we've ever managed another domain name than "indymedia.org". Making a proposal that changes that, means changing our processes, our infrastructure and considering our willingness to take on the additional overhead of doing more DNS changes for a different domain name.

    Figuring all that out under what appears to be an arbitrary deadline that was set without consultation of the working group involved raises a number of questions. Is this even possible? It might be good to find out before the proposal is made. Coming to a decision on a proposal that was made in this way, that requires the working group to act a certain way outlined in the proposal, by a certain deadline, is incredibly problematic.

    The domain indymedia.org.uk is registered at Nominet, by someone who holds the account information there to make changes, and presumably by someone who pays for the renewal of the domain. Presumably, that domain registration would have to be changed to someone else. The current registration for indymedia.org is done through an association in Brasil, who would have to be consulted if they were going to take on another domain name. That association has faced many legal issues as a result of being the registered owner of that domain name, and thus probably would need to consult with their lawyers about what is involved here.

    Once that has been sorted out, then the nameservers that are configured in the registration would need to be changed by the new registrant of the domain to point to our servers. The DNS working group would then need to make configuration changes to serve up that zone and alter our processes for zone updates and dns queues in the SOS system.


    24th May 2011

    Jimdog sent a email to listwork which contained:

    It has been some time now since a proposal made by the members of the imc northern England collective passed consensus on the imc-process list for access to resources to be temporarily suspended for members of the mayday collective.

    ...

    Could a member of this working group please confirm if this is the case or not, and if not then could we please be updated as to the progress made on this decision.

    28th May 2011

    Bou, from IMC London and Be The Media sent a email to imc-docs listing the punitive measures she wanted taken against the Mayday collectives' wiki pages:

    Please freeze all wikis used by Mayday. If this is not too much extra work, it would be great to include a note at the top of each page saying that this wiki has been locked due to a decision made by the global network on 15 May 2011, with a link to the email ( http://lists.indymedia.org/pipermail/imc-process/2011-May/0515-a0.html )

    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayFairyTale
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydaySheffieldMay2011
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayNewImc

    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayForkArticle
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayBristolResponse
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayUkForkStatement
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMayday
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayListPolicy
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayFeatureBeTheMedia
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayToDo
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayShutdownAttemptStatement
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayContactDetails

    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayAboutUs
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayMirSuperUser
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayGraphics
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayPrinciplesOfUnityResponse
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayMembershipCriteriaResponse
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayGlobalForkStatement
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayOrganisationalStatus
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayOutreachLeaflet
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayDiversity

    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayMissionStatement
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayEditorialGuidelines
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcMaydayFoundingStatment

    The Mayday collective has previously used the name UK collective, so the following pages also need to be frozen:

    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/UkCollectiveNewImcApplication
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcUkCollective
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/ImcUkCollective20101209
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/Meeting2010Nov20

    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/UkCollectiveMissionStatement
    https://docs.indymedia.org/Local/UkCollectiveEditorialGuidelines

    John Duda sent an email to imc-tech and resigned from his role as techie for www.indymedia.org:

    For a number of years now, I've helped maintain the global site at www.indymedia.org. The recent breakdown in the mutual good faith so necessary for collective consensus process that has recently spilled across every aspect of the global technical infrastructure has convinced me that I no longer wish to participate in maintaining that infrastructure, and so I am effective immediately withdrawing as an admin for www.indymedia.org.


    It saddens me to see the global decision-making apparatus used to exclude and sanction people whom I have worked alongside of for quite some time, and while I have learned over the years not to take sides in conflicts whose contours I can only perceive through mailing lists, I've also learned enough to see when people are out to make sure their vision wins out at all costs, no matter what others feel to be the facts of the matter or the relevant ethical stakes. I have little desire to work alongside or on behalf of such people, and consider the punitive use of global process to be a bit sickening. Since I have no way of knowing when I myself would be expelled from the network---after all, I've blocked spammers from global based on temporary harvested IP addresses---it's perhaps best that I leave first on my own terms.

    29th May 2011

    Mc Phearson sent a email to imc-docs to announce:

    We are in the process of taking the following actions with respect to docs.indymedia.org:

    1. Disabling accounts from individuals belonging to the Mayday Collective
    2. Freezing pages created by the Mayday Collective

    Additionally, individuals belonging to the Mayday collective have been unsubscribed from our private mailing list.

    Machine resigned, this was forwarded to imc-uk-tech:

    What bothers me about the current state of affairs is that only one narrative (that of bethemedia) appears to be heard and consequently only one group (Mayday) blamed. What is worse however is that that tools that Indymedia provides globally are being used by a relatively small group to enforce this narrative with little consideration by them (or Indymedia as a whole) as to whether a) this narrative is entirely accurate or fair b) this enforcement strengthens or damages Indymedia. In my opinion, both narratives should be questioned equally since there is almost never only one truth.

    With that in mind, from midnight tonight (UTC), I will no longer host DNS for indymedia.org. By the actions of the fork and the behaviour of both groups I am no longer affiliated with a local IMC and by the actions of representatives of various IMCs, at this time I can no longer support global.

    Some parting thoughts regarding the position in the UK:


    I strongly disagree with the decision by Mayday to move the IMC UK domain in a unilateral fashion.

    However:

    I'm disappointed at the use of the words "theft" and "stolen" with regards to the IMC UK domain. Not only because the domain is still in the hands of long term Indymedia activists who have paid for and administered it on behalf of IMC UK for a number of years but because it shows a naivety regarding intellectual property and the language that is used to discuss it. Whilst I don't personally believe that property is theft, theft is most definately the language of the capitalism and as such something Indymedia as a collective group often chooses to critique both generally and in the context of free software and digital rights. Since london.indymedia.org.uk (and indeed the pre-fork www.indymedia.org.uk host (now known as archive.indymedia.org.uk) itself) etc still function as before, I'm not sure how the various IMCs that are part of bethemedia are actually being deprived.

    In an open source fork, the side that chooses to leave changes their name. There are a good number of Indymedia contributors (some within Mayday and others such as myself outside) who still wish to pursue the existing concept of www.indymedia.org.uk as a UK-wide open posting newswire. Some of us have been affiliated via IMC UK for a significant period, prior even to the existence of new-imc and as such it is simply discourteous that we should have been left unaffiliated as an (un)intended side affect of the fork.

    Whilst individual activists may not have been aware of the limited monitoring of posters IPs as implemented by IMC UK it is disingenuous to suggest that it was somehow secret. Prior to the fork there were many discussions about the nature and scope of the monitoring and the transparency or otherwise of its use. Why it should be used as a stick to beat only the Mayday collective is beyond me, participation by other "affiliated" IMCs in co-maintaining the UK site prior to the fork surely makes us /all/ equally guilty.

    Irrespective of Mayday, the bethemedia aggregator still sucks if you're anywhere other than a location in which there is a strong local collective presence.


    Aspects of the fork such as the lists and the bank account shouldn't have been the afterthought they have become.

    Personally, I'm amazed that Mayday still want to be part of Indymedia but pleased that they do.


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