El Gobierno alemán cierra Indymedia

Lunes 28 de agosto de 2017
popularidad : 1%

El gobierno alemán ha cerrado el sitio alemán de Indymedia, la plataforma más usada en el idioma alemán para organizar y discutir políticas radicales de cambio social. Además han llevado a cabo allanamientos en Friburgo (en alemán, Freiburg im Breisgau, una de las ciudades más al sur del país) para confiscar computadoras y hostigar a quienes acusan de sostener el sitio web, justificándolo absurdamente en que los supuestos administradores constituyen una organización ilegal que busca destruir la Constitución alemana. Esto representa una escalada masiva en la represión estatal contra lo que las autoridades llaman “extremismo de izquierda”, sugiriendo de forma nada ingenua una equivalencia entre quienes buscan construir comunidades más allá del alcance de la violencia estatal y Neo Nazis organizando ataques y asesinatos como los ocurridos hace pocos días en Charlottesville, Estados Unidos.

Indymedia se fundó en Alemania como de.indymedia.org; una segunda versión apareció en 2008 con el nombre de linksunten.indymedia.org. Este último se fundó para focalizarse en políticas y movimientos de cambio social en el sur germano. Pero pronto se convirtió en el sitio web más usado por la militancia de habla alemana. A medida que el sitio de Indymedia Alemania original se fue volviendo técnicamente anticuado y saturado de trolls, más y más personas se volcaron a linksunten.indymedia.org. En 2013, de.indymedia.org casi cierra debido a que no había suficientes activistas involucrados.

En los últimos años, más atención se ha acumulado alrededor de linksunten, que ofrece un espacio para que las personas publiquen de forma anónima. Por ejemplo, en 2011, un comunicado apareció en la plataforma reclamando responsabilidad por sabotajes motivados políticamente en el subterráneo de Berlín. El sitio también fue usado para divulgar información sobre fascistas y Neo Nazis. En 2016, un artículo en linksunten presentó la información completa de cada participante en la convención del partido nacionalista de ultraderecha Alternativa para Alemania (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD), un total de 3000 nombres. Esto atrajo mayores hostilidades de parte de los impulsores derechistas de la represión estatal.

Antes del encuentro del G20 del 2017 que tomó lugar en Hamburgo, la prensa hegemónica ya se encontraba señalando a Indymedia Linksunten, declarándolo el espacio para la coordinación de la militancia para las protestas contra el G20. El partido AfD inició una campaña contra el sitio web, impulsando expedientes sobre Indymedia en el Parlamento federal y tratando de forzar a los gobiernos locales a bloquear la plataforma junto a otras expresiones y organizaciones de izquierda y anarquistas.

Todo esto llevó a la situación actual, en la cual el Ministro de Interior Thomas de Maizière prohibió el sitio hoy, 25 de agosto, inmediatamente antes de las elecciones. El Estado allanó tres locales, incluyendo un centro cultural y social en Friburgo, convirtiendo la entera ciudad en un estado policial durante este día. Supuestamente, en los allanamientos se encontraron algunas hondas y palos, los que ahora son usados como justificaciones adicionales para su propaganda sobre “terrorismo”.

De hecho, Thomas de Maizière lleva adelante la agenda de la extrema derecha fascista alemana, así como los objetivos represivos de la AfD.

Por supuesto, aquellos que mantienen el sitio web no han escrito ellos mismos nada que pudiera ofrecer argumentos legales para este ataque. Incluso las plataformas mediáticas corporativas ofrecen espacios a la gente para que pueda expresarse de forma anónima. Por ejemplo, cuando integrantes del Departamento de Estado ofrecen información a la prensa bajo condición de reserva de fuente. La excusa que usa el Estado para justificar este ataque es declarar que aquellos que mantienen linksunten componen una organización oficial cuyo objetivo es destruir la Constitución alemana. Este es un truco legal. Si tiene éxito, se podría usar con facilidad contra otros portales, revistas y otros proyectos similares, de forma tal que cualquiera que divulgue ideas y literatura radicales y que documente a los movimientos sociales y al activismo se convertirá en blanco de este tipo de represión y violencia estatal. Este es el mensaje que quieren enviar, para intimidar a la entera población a que acepte sumisamente que el actual orden político en Alemania persistirá hasta el fin de los tiempos.

Esta maniobra grosera muestra cuán asustadas están las autoridades ante el hecho de que las ideas radicales de cambio social se estén difundiendo y contagiando luego de las exitosas manifestaciones contra la cumbre del G20 en julio. Thomas de Maizière dejó muy en claro en su conferencia de prensa que este asalto a Indymedia es una forma de vengarse por la vergüenza que el Estado pasó durante la cumbre. También muestra cuán deshonesta es la retórica gubernamental y derechista sobre la libertad de expresión. De hecho, estos hipócritas sólo usan ese discurso para posicionarse a sí mismos en un lugar en el que puedan suprimir la expresión ajena. La solución contra el fascismo no es darle más poder al Estado para que controle los discursos, sino el movilizar a la población en general contra los fascistas y contra la infraestructura gubernamental que la extrema derecha intenta tomar.

En Alemania y en todo el mundo, necesitamos teorías y prácticas radicales, transformadoras; necesitamos espacios donde las personas se puedan comunicar de forma anónima, para que no sean intimidados por las amenazas gemelas de la represión estatal y la violencia fascista. Para entender las luchas y los movimientos sociales, así nuestra comprensión de la historia no se pierda en un torrente efímero, necesitamos bases de datos que preserven las acciones y los comunicados. Como un autor planteó una vez, la lucha de la humanidad contra el poder autoritario es la lucha de la memoria contra el olvido. Para pelear contra esta agresión, es más importante que nunca divulgar materiales e ideas revolucionarias por todas partes, e inventar nuevas alternativas para comunicarnos con otras personas y con el pueblo en general en tiempos de control y censura estatal cada vez más intensas. Mientras más tomemos un rol personal en esta tarea, cada uno de nosotros, más descentralizadas y resistentes serán nuestras redes.

Si vienen por nosotros esta noche, podés estar seguro que van a venir por vos en la mañana.

El ataque contra Indymedia es parte de una ofensiva mucho mayor contra las organizaciones radicales. En Hamburgo, más de 30 personas están encarceladas desde el G20 en julio. Entrá acá para apoyarlas. En cuanto a Indymedia, pronto habrá sitios web para brindar apoyo también. Los publicaremos tan pronto como aparezcan.

Ver en línea en Indymedia Argentina.


German Government Shuts Down Indymedia

The German government has shut down the German Indymedia site, the most widely used German-language platform for radical politics and organizing. They have also conducted raids in Freiburg to seize computers and harass those they accuse of maintaining the site, absurdly justifying this on the grounds that the alleged administrators constitute an illegal organization for the sake of destroying the German Constitution. This represents a massive escalation in state repression against what the authorities call “left-wing extremism,” disingenuously suggesting an equivalence between those who seek to build communities beyond the reach of state violence and Neo-Nazis organizing to carry out attacks and murders like the ones in Charlottesville last week.

Indymedia was founded in Germany in 2001 as de.indymedia.org; a second version appeared in 2008 as linksunten.indymedia.org. The latter was founded to focus on radical politics in southern Germany, but it soon became the most widely used webpage for German-speaking activists. As the original German Indymedia page became technically outdated and swamped by trolling, more and more people switched to linksunten.indymedia.org. In 2013, de.indymedia.org was almost shut down because there weren’t enough people involved.

In the last couple of years, more and more attention has accumulated around linksunten, which offers a space for people to post anonymously. For example, in 2011, a communiqué appeared on the platform claiming responsibility for politically motivated sabotage on the subway infrastructure in Berlin. The site was also used to release information about fascists and Neo-Nazis. In 2016, an article on linksunten presented the complete data of every participant at the convention of the far-right nationalist party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD), a total of 3000 names. This further attracted hostile attention from far-right advocates of state repression.

Before the 2017 G20 summit took place in Hamburg, the corporate media was already focusing on linksunten, declaring it to be the coordination page of militant anti-G20 protestors. The AfD started a campaign against the platform, pushing inquiries about Indymedia in Federal parliament and trying to force local governments to ban the platform and other forms of radical infrastructure.

All this built up to the current situation in which the Minister of Internal Affairs Thomas de Maizière banned the site on August 25, immediately before the election. The state raided three places, including a social center, in Freiburg, making the whole city into a police state for this day. During the raids, they allegedly found some slingshots and sticks, which they are now using as further justification for their propaganda about terrorism.

In fact, Thomas de Maizière is carrying out the agenda of the German far right and fascists, as well as the repressive goals of AfD.

Of course, those who maintain the website have not themselves written anything that could offer legal grounds for this attack. Even corporate media platforms offer space for people to speak anonymously—for example, when members of the State Department speak to the press on the condition of anonymity. The excuse that the state is using to justify this attack is to declare that those who maintain linksunten comprise an official organization aimed at destroying the German Constitution. This is a legal trick. If it succeeds, it could easily be used against other platforms, magazines, and projects, so that everyone spreading radical literature and ideas and documenting activism and social movements will become targets for this kind of repression and state violence. That is the message they want to send, in order to bully the entire population into accepting that the current political order in Germany will persist until the end of time.

This heavy-handed approach shows how afraid the authorities are that radical ideas are spreading and becoming contagious following the successful demonstrations against the G20 summit in July. Thomas de Maizière made it clear enough in his press conference that this assault on Indymedia is a form of revenge for the embarrassment the state suffered during the summit. This also shows how dishonest far-right and statist rhetoric is about free speech—in fact, these hypocrites only use that discourse to position themselves to suppress others’ speech. The solution to fascist organizing is not to empower the state to control speech, but to mobilize the general population both against fascists and against the state infrastructure that the far right intends to take over.

In Germany and all around the world, we need radical theory and practice; we need spaces where people can communicate anonymously, so as not to be intimidated by the twin threats of state repression and grassroots fascist violence. In order to understand social movements and struggles, so our sense of history is not swept away in a torrent of ephemera, we need databases that preserve accounts and communiqués. As an author once put it, the struggle of humanity against authoritarian power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. To fight back against this authoritarian crackdown, it is now more important than ever to spread revolutionary material and ideas everywhere and to brainstorm alternative ways to communicate with each other and the general public in times of intensifying state censorship and control. The more that each of us takes on a personal role in this task, the more decentralized and resilient our networks will be.

If they come for us tonight, you can be sure they will come for you in the morning.

The attack on Indymedia is part of a much larger offensive against radical infrastructures. In Hamburg, over 30 people have been in prison since the G20 in July—go here to support them. As for Indymedia, there will soon be support pages for it as well. We will post them here when they appear.


Linksunten Indymedia Declares “We Will Be Back Soon”

On August 25, the German government raided and shut down Linksunten Indymedia, an integral part of the global Independent Media Center network, and the most widely used German-language platform for radical politics and organizing. In Freiburg, riot police seized computers and harassed those they accuse of maintaining the site, justifying their actions on the grounds that the alleged administrators constitute an illegal organization intent on destroying the German Constitution. This represents a massive escalation in state repression against what the authorities call “left-wing extremism,” disingenuously suggesting an equivalence between those who seek to build communities beyond the reach of state violence and Neo-Nazis organizing to carry out attacks and murders.

In the last couple of years, more and more attention has accumulated around Linksunten Indymedia, which offers a space for people to post anonymously. Before the 2017 G20 summit took place in Hamburg, the corporate media was already focusing on the site, declaring it to be the coordination page of militant anti-G20 protestors. The far-right nationalist party Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD) started a campaign against the platform, pushing inquiries about Indymedia in Federal parliament and trying to force local governments to ban the platform and other forms of radical infrastructure.

The heavy-handed approach of shutting down the website and raiding alleged administrators shows how afraid the authorities are that radical ideas are spreading and becoming contagious following the successful demonstrations against the G20 summit in July. German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière made it clear enough in his press conference that the assault on Indymedia is a form of revenge for the embarrassment the state suffered during the summit. It also shows how dishonest far-right and statist rhetoric is about free speech — in fact, these hypocrites only use that discourse to position themselves to suppress others’ speech.

In response, Linksunten Indymedia released a statement the next day on their banned website declaring, “We will be back soon.” It shows that the media activists still have control over their website, and could be the beginning of a huge Streisand effect. Solidarity demonstrations are taking place across Germany.

(Note: Since Linksunten Indymedia is now banned by the German government, you may want to use Tor or a VPN connection before you visit the website: linksunten.indymedia.org)


Solidarity with Indymedia Linksunten

We condemn in the strongest possible way this attack against free speech and exhibition of wanton authoritarianism expressed by the shutting down of Indymedia Linksunten.
On behalf of the Cyprus Indymedia Collective:

We condemn in the strongest possible way this attack against free speech and exhibition of wanton authoritarianism expressed by the shutting down of Indymedia Linksunten.

We also call on all IndyMedia members, friends and allies to denounce this unacceptable attempt by illegitimate authorities to silence the radical opposition to the current system of political economy.

We agree with Left party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke who declared the ban as an "illegitimate act of censorship, and a willful cut in the freedom of speech and press freedom."

We stand with Indymedia Linksunten in this struggle. In unity there is strength!

Cyprus IndyMedia Collective
 
More information:

Germany
Interior Ministry shuts down, raids left-wing German Indymedia site
Germany has banned and raided an independent news website popular with left-wing readers. Officials found linksunten.indymedia.org’s "intent and activity contrary to criminal law."
http://www.dw.com/en/interior-ministry-shuts-down-raids-left-wing-german-indymedia-site/a-40232965


Interior Ministry shuts down, raids left-wing German Indymedia site

[ "Schanzenviertel" covered in debris. This part of town was the scene of escalating violence. That did not come as a surprise: The quarter is traditionally the hub of Hamburg’s leftist activists. It has been subject to gentrification, turning into a "hip" place to live and magnet for tourists. ]

Germany has banned and raided an independent news website popular with left-wing readers. Officials found linksunten.indymedia.org’s "intent and activity contrary to criminal law."

Germany’s Interior Ministry on Friday banned and ordered raids on a portal popular with leftist readers and activists. Possibly the last posts from linksunten.indymedia.org - commemorations of a 1992 far-right mob attack on apartments where foreigners lived in Rostock-Lichtenberg and reports of racist graffiti on a memorial to a young woman killed by neo-Nazis in the United States - went live the previous night.

The site was closed for "sowing hate against different opinions and representatives of the country," saidInterior Minister Thomas de Maizière, adding that the operation of the site was now "a criminal offence."

He said authorities were treating linksunten.indymedia.org as an "association" rather than a news outlet, which would help officials get around constitutional protections on freedom of expression. De Maizière said at least two people constituted an association - the site has up to seven administrators - and the ban would not affect the international award-winning Indymedia network.

"We are currently searching multiple facilities," said Baden-Württemberg state Interior Minister Thomas Strobl, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, which is also de Maizière’s party. Though the authorities planned to confiscate computers and other goods, arrests were not in the immediate offing, he said. Knives and clubs were apparently found at some of the properties.

The ban comes seven weeks after demonstrations around the G20 meeting in Hamburg, during which TV viewers were treated to images of what appeared to be pitched battles between police and protesters. Though fact-checks and follow-up reports debunked much of the more sensational coverage, and only one person has been charged with anything so far, Germany’s main political parties promised a crackdown on dangerous dissenters.

Social media frenzy

News of the ban triggered a heated debate on social media. While conservative political parties welcomed the ban, Alice Weidel, candidate for the nationalist right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, suggested on Twitter it had been motivated by the upcoming German election.

"Indymedia ban [is] indeed a result of the 2017 election campaign, but [is] a correct and long-overdue decision," Weidel’s tweet said, plus the party’s election slogan "trau dich Deutschland," which loosely translates as a call to Germans to "have courage."

Other Twitter users pointed out that the site was often used as a source by domestic intelligence agencies to track left-wing extremism - a point also made by the association of German criminal police officers (BDK), whose Hamburg chief Jan Reinecke said the platform "had even been important for police tactics, as a way to observe the leftist scene, their plans and claims of responsibility. That will be lacking for police officers in future."

Reinecke told the Hamburger Abendblatt that "determined action against left-wing extremists" was important, but that the Interior Ministry’s measure was "more election campaign symbolism than a meaningful action against leftist radicals."

A club or a media organization?

Halina Wawzyniak, digital rights spokeswoman for the socialist Left party, questioned how the Interior Ministry could define linksunten as a "club."

Justifying the ban, de Maizière said that the measures were a "consistent" action against "left-wing extremist hate speech," before adding, "The call for violence against police officers and their description as ’pigs’ and ’murderers’ is supposed to legitimize violence against policemen. It is the expression of an attitude that tramples on human dignity."

But Left party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke countered that while she condemns "any sort of call to violence," her party still sees the ban as an "illegitimate act of censorship, and a willful cut in the freedom of speech and press freedom."

"I find a lot of the things on this page very stupid - I can’t condone a lot of it," she added. "If you have articles that are anti-capitalist, but otherwise are not prosecutable - our constitution allows you to be anti-capitalist. So the question is - who does it affect tomorrow, people who support anti-capitalist politics?"

She also pointed out that the ban, which is still likely to face a legal test, comes under the law banning associations was particularly problematic, since it means that anyone who works on the site or engages in it faces prosecution - not just people who post prosecutable content. "It’s certainly a media organization," she said.

Linksunten was a subdomain of the global network of activists and journalists Indymedia, founded in 1999, which has won digital media awards in Germany including the 2002 "poldi" for politics and education. In the latest article on the German Indymedia site, the ban was condemned as a "serious attack on the left-wing movement and press freedom."

In its article on Friday’s ban, the independent media organization Netzpolitik - which focusses on internet freedom - described Linksunten as one of Germany’s first citizen journalism sites, where users could post accounts of demos and protests that countered the narratives presented in the "mainstream media." Linksunten was also used as a platform to track far-right extremism in Germany - it was recently used to publish leaked WhatsApp messages exchanged by AfD members.

What is Linksunten.indymedia.org?

Linksunten.indymedia.org served as a free-form forum for anti-capitalists, anti-fascists, squatters, proponents of open borders and other malcontents. "Every day, thousands of leftists visit the website to inform themselves of all aspects of antagonistic trends," says the administrators’ description.

Activists found a clearinghouse of sit-ins and other occupations, direct actions that sometimes led to property vandalism, and opportunities for confrontation with far-right factions such as neo-Nazis, the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

"For years, it has offered a forum for extensive obtrusive reports about far-left agitation and crimes," Germany’s domestic intelligence reported.

The site’s anonymous nature allowed users to post without, they thought, repercussions and led to inflammatory entries. "You should hunt Nazis, you should box Nazis," a user wrote. "And the pigs, too." The anonymous threat to police - called "bulls" in Germany - led officials to determine that the site had become a "lawless realm," and, for now at least, the authorities have ended it.



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