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News :: International : Media
Texts on the recent repression against autonomous media projects in France
07 Nov 2017
“Our hostility is a spreading flame””

Translator’s intro:

Over the past couple of months, there have been several acts of repression aimed at autonomous media project in the territory controlled by the French state. Below are two translated texts dealing with this.
The first discusses criminal charges brought against an anarchist comrade for texts published on the long-running anarchist website cettesemaine.info. This site recently decided to stop publishing, while making clear that it is not because of the repression they face, but rather with the limits of counter-info projects and dissatisfaction with how much importance the internet is given in the anarchist space. The comrade’s trial is this Wednesday, November 8, in Paris.

The second is from Indymedia Nantes about their decision to ignore a legal demand from the French cybercrime division ordering them to remove communiques about attacks and announcing contingency plans in case their site is blocked in the coming days.

This repression follows on the German government’s recent decision to shut down Indymedia Linksunten and in a context in France where the current government has bypassed the usual democratic steps to write parts of the State of Emergency (that has been in effect for a year and a half) permanently into criminal law. Some see this as a broadening of the repressive measures developed for use against Islamist groups to include anarchists and social movements.

As an anarchist involved in counter-info projects, as an anarchist period, I feel solidarity with the comrades at Indymedia Nantes and especially with the person being dragged before a judge this week in Paris. Fuck all courts and the world that needs them. One way of showing this solidarity is to share information about the situation and to make plans for how we can continue communicating in a context of increasing repression, while never forgetting that solidarity means attack.
A Dinner and Discussion about a Trial against a Text Calling for a Dinner and Discussion

Published in various places. Translated from https://attaque.noblogs.org/post/2017/10/27/paris-31-oct-apero-discussio/

A comrade will be going to trial Wednesday, November 8th in the Paris Superior Court (TGI Paris). Let’s get together on Tuesday October 31 at 7pm at the CICP to discuss how to continue spreading words of solidarity with acts of resistance that speak to us. [1]

On May 18 2016, a police vehicle was burned in the street while it was in use, sending back against the state a bit of the violence that we all experience every day. On February 16, 2017, nine days after a comrade was arrested in Montreuil in this case, a text calling for a dinner and discussion was printed, spread around, and published on Indymedia Nantes. The text went around widely, notably on the site cettesemaine.info (published on February 17) [2]. On April 26, 2017 a comrade had their home searched and was charged with having posted the text on cettesemaine [3]. His trial will take place on Wednesday November 8 in the Paris Superior Court, at 1:30 in room 17.

Two passages in this callout, connected to an attack that cheered up many people, are concerned by the charges. They are the following sentences: “We don’t ask for justice just like we don’t speak of guilt or innocence, because we hate the justice system as much as we do the police and the order they protect. Instead, let’s spread disorder and flames everywhere these scumbags poison our lives!”; and “For the first, second, and third car burned, we all love grilled pig!”

Though the justice system chose to pursue charges under Journalistic law and against a particular internet site, it’s solidarity that is under attack. A solidarity that defends action, without political or union mediation and far from the supposed legitimacy of the media. This solidarity lets actions and ideas resonate together. This repression is a way of putting pressure much more broadly and trying to freak people out. Just like when several websites receive emails threatening to block them within 24 hours if they don’t take down the communique for the arson at the Grenoble gendarme station, which was also in solidarity with those accused for the Quai de Valmy [4].

While the justice system has condemned seven people to years of prison, solidarity continues. Let’s get together on Tuesday October 31 at the CICP to talk about how to continue spreading words in solidarity with acts of revolt that speak to us, without compromising on the need to be open about our ideas and without hiding behind the defense of freedom of speech.

Solidarity is attack!

Endnotes

1] Didn’t translate this in time for the callout for discussion to be useful..Also, the original posting got the day of the week wrong for the trial, but it was later corrected on some sites.

2] The text in question is available here: https://attaque.noblogs.org/post/2017/02/17/montreuil-apero-discussion-a/

3] After the raid of their home, a text appeared on cette-semaine in response: https://cettesemaine.info/breves/spip.php?article2279 . Here’s an excerpt:

Against state terrorism and democratic totalitarianism, it’s no longer a question of either ideas or actions in isolation. Rather, it’s how the two can once again resonate together, in a subversive thrust towards a freedom beyond measure. A freedom that requires the destruction of all obstacles that the world of domination and exploitation places in front of it. … Regardless of who did or wrote what. What we know though, is that there is no truce in the social war and that the best defense is attack.

4] The burned police car in Paris mentioned a few paragraphs up was on Quai de Valmy
“Request by the hundreds, actions by the thousands.” A new attack on Indymedia Nantes

This text was published on Indymedia Nantes on November 1: https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/39007

At the end of September, we and our friends at Grenoble Indymedia had to take down a text following a request from the OCLCTIC (the French Central Office of the Fight against Crime Involving Information or Communication Technology) [1]. Our first reaction was to tell ourselves that this was an attempt by the state to set an example that would scare counter-info sites and mean that these kinds of claims were no longer published.

As we explained in an interview with our Italian comrades from the project Autistici/ventati [2], the removal decision wasn’t easy. There were several reasons for this choice:

“First, by default, because we had trouble co-ordinating, since we weren’t all reachable within 24 hours at that time. Second, because it’s already been the case that these kinds of blockages also render all the subdomains inaccessible, no just the targetted site, meaning it could have blocked all Indymedia sites in France. Further, because we wanted to remain accessible to the largest number of people, on the non-Tor web, so that all the other content we host was still easily accessible. Finally, because we weren’t confident that there would be a movement of support sufficient to counter the threats from the police, seeing how little support there was in France when Indymedia Linksunten was censored [3].”

We were sharply criticized for this decision, and on the one hand, this is perfectly understandable. But we also feel that Indymedia Grenoble’s analysis of the situation describes our position too [4]. We are first and foremost a collective that operates by consensus and not a private blog, which makes a real difference when it comes to the speed at which we can make decision. In this situation, the small group of people available at the time had to make the choice to not risk having the site dissapear, without knowing the opinion of other members of the collective.

We also know that this was only a first battle and that this kind of situation could easily recur.

Well, it’s happened, since on October 26 we received another removal order for the communique claiming the arson of several municipal police vehicles in Clermont-Ferrand [5]. And we weren’t surprised when we received a third order in the night of October 31, this time demanding the removal of the communique claiming the arson against vehicles in the Meylan gendarme station [6]. All this at a time when, next week, a comrade will be in court over a callout posted on the site cettesemaine.info. As at each moment of repression against free media, we show our full support for this person!

It’s clear that the OCLCTIC seems to believe that from now on a simple email will make us take down any content that upsets their superiors. But if we choose to participate in an independent media project like Indymedia, it’s of course to make an open publishing platform available for all people and collectives in struggle. We are not the producers of this content. And that’s why we have decided to not take the articles down this time. It is thus possible that we will be blocked in France in the coming days… or not.

In case IMC Nantes dissapears from the web, don’t panic! Don’t call the gendarmerie, or at least do it at night, having taken the time to secure your means of communication: it seems that from here on, everything can be used to justify the State of Emergency entering into common law. But we don’t intend to serve as strawmen for their attempt.

In any case, it will still be possible to visit the site using Tor Browser. This can get around the blockages the state might impose. If you don’t use it already, install it: it’s quick and easy.

We will also be setting up new a domain name so that we stay accessible without Tor and will publish that address on the other sites in the Indymedia and Mutu networks.

Finally, Indymedia Nantes will always be available using Tor hidden service at the address http://3wirxietn4iktvf3.onion/

And of course, we are counting on all of you to make as much noise as possible about this situation to splatter flamby all over the walls [7]

Endnotes

1] The text in question was claiming an arson that substantially destroyed a police station in Grenoble. The OCLCTIC sent messages to several sites demanding that they remove the text within 24 hours. These requests were already judicial orders, meaning that the state could in theory immediately block access to the sites if the demand wasn’t met. An Indy Nantes article about this is here: https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/38602

2] This is the Italy-based collective responsible for, among other things, noblogs. The link to the interview is: https://cavallette.noblogs.org/2017/10/9214 and there is an English translation below the Italian. Here’s a short quotation from the introduction: “What the OCLCTIC actually did was a real censorship effort, that (sadly) partially succeeded. Being under pressure, the admins of the websites were forced to delete the relevant URL. But, as it often happens in such cases, the removal of online content generates a proportional counter-reaction: the event elicited an uproar and the same post was immediately reposted by many other French counter-information websites that, by doing so, magnified its backlash. Yet, there is little reason to rejoice. What happened seems to be the first step for a gradual extension of the emergency laws that, after having struck unhindered for more than two years websites associated by local authorities to radical Islamist movements, now aims at wiping out any dissenting voice.”

3] Indymedia Linksunten was the largest independent media website in Germany and was shut down by the German state on August 25, 2017. Some details here: https://www.indymedia.org/el/2017/09/988285.shtml and here: https://itsgoingdown.org/german-government-shuts-indymedia-means/

4] Indymedia Grenoble released a response on October 6th to some of the criticism they received about their decision to pull the communique. The response is here: https://grenoble.indymedia.org/2017-10-06-Indymedia-Grenoble-Un-compleme

A short quotation: We’re presently working hard to find a better way to react when faced with future threats of this kind and to lay the ground work for other media projects who might come under this kind of pressure in coming days, even those projects that have been very critical of us. It’s not a small matter and we’ll certaintly keep you posted about it in the weeks and months to come.

5] Communique is here: https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/38946

In the night of Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th [of October], we entered a parking garage near downtown Clermont-Ferrand where three municipal police vehicles were parked. We put some fire-starter on the front tires of two of the three vehicles, assuming that the flames would spread, which was proven correct, as the media describes three vehicles destroyed by the fire.

6] Communique is here: https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/38996 It’s a particularly good text, positioning the attack as also being a way to destory gender, especially for people socialized as women. An English translation is available here: https://attaque.noblogs.org/post/2017/11/03/meylan-the-desire-to-end-the/

7] Flanby/Flamby is a pudding that comes in plastic pots. Indy Nantes is referring to this cartoon https://nantes.indymedia.org/system/photo/2017/09/22/19052/flamby-effect where you try to clean up escaped pudding with the baseball bat of censorship, causing it to spread

This work is in the public domain