The Independent Media Centers got started after the mainstream press gave very corporate/globalization friendly coverage of the protests around the WTO meeting in 1999 that kicked off the anti-globalization movement.
IMCs frequently provide on the spot coverage of anti-globalization events which the archive and distrbute via streaming media.
While I cannot claim direct experience with the FBI harrasment of the civil rights movement in the name of the struggle against communism, I know enough about history to be damned sensitive to the first sign I’m repeating it.
Having only the Indy Media version of events, I cannot, of course, judge for certain. But the fact that EFF and ACLU are defending them lends credibility to their claims. If their statement is true, the FBI and Secret Service are attempting to harass both the ISP (possibly with an eye to disrupting IndyMedia’s Internet access) and someone who posted public information. The list of RNC delegates is no secret.
This government has already shown an alarming tendency to use both police agencies and powers granted to fight “the War on Terror” for personal political gain. For example, who can forget how Tom DeLay used the Department of Homeland Security to round up political opponents in Texas? Or how someone in the administration used the conservative media machine to expose an active CIA agent for the purpose of punishing her husband? Is it taht unlikely that the government would start harrasing the Indy Media Centers in the same manner that they once harrassed the NAACP?
Of course, it will be interesting to see if anyone other than John Stewart covers this. But I confess I find myself doubtful that the mainstream media, which has basically dropped Iraq from news coverage in deference to this administration’s wishes to change the subject, will chose to run a story about the abuse of the Patriot Act — especially against a potential competitor.
Stay tuned . . .