Opened 7 years ago

Closed 7 years ago

#5583 closed Task/To do item (fixed)

fbi lowdown announcement

Reported by: Jamie McClelland Owned by: Enrique Rosas
Priority: Medium Component: Internationalization
Keywords: en-es Cc:
Sensitive: no


On Wednesday, at about noon, two agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation came to the May First/People Link offices as part of what they said was an investigation of emailed bomb threats being sent to accounts at the University of Pittsburgh.

MFPL Director Jamie McClelland met them at the door and the two agents showed Jamie copies of three such emails. It appears that the emails were being relayed from a server that May First houses. The FBI identified the IP address assigned to the server with [redacted], a progressive Internet provider [redacted]. Among its activities, [redacted] runs an anonymous email server: a server you can use to send email that isn’t logged or stored.

The agents asked Jamie questions about these emails. He couldn’t answer their questions and still can’t. We have no control over that server and no access to it and since it is an anonymous email server there is no record of who is using it. We simply cannot cooperate because we have no information to share.

But there are underlying issues here that transcend the limitations in this situation. Because even if we could cooperate, we wouldn’t.

May First considers the use of our Internet resources to make violent threats or carry on campaigns that threaten or facilitate violence to be unacceptable and unworthy of support. Not only does most of our membership oppose that type of activity but its propagation over our servers puts our organization and each of its members in severe jeopardy. This is not the purpose of the Internet.

At the same time, it’s the Internet’s purpose that drives our unwavering and consistent position on this type of investigation. The Internet was created for free and unfettered communications and any infringement on the privacy, activities or free speech of anyone is in complete contradiction to that.

We will not cooperate with any investigation into the identities, activities or perspectives of any of our members or any of the users of our systems.

At the moment, we have no reason to believe that this investigation will continue in a way that impacts MFPL members. We're sending this to you because we are committed to transparency and full communication with our members and we will continue, the best of our ability, to keep you informed as the case progresses.

We believe that the future of the world and the survival of the human race depend on the open, uninterrupted and unfettered communication among the people of the world. We will strongly resist any attempt by anyone, including governments, to mitigate that kind of communication or to use the systems of communication as an investigative or repressive tool.

Change History (11)

comment:1 Changed 7 years ago by Enrique Rosas

Resolution: fixed
Status: newfeedback

Este miércoles, al medio día, dos agentes del Buró Federal de Investigaciones, también llamado FBI, por sus siglas en inglés visitaron las oficinas de Primero de Mayo/Enlace del Pueblo (MF/PL) en Brooklyn, Nueva York, como parte de lo que llamaron una investigación relativa a amenazas de bomba enviadas a cuentas de correo de la Universidad de Pittsburgh.

Nuestro director Jamie McClelland los atendió en la puerta de entrada, los dos agentes le mostraron copia de tres correos electrónicos relativos a ese caso. De acuerdo con lo leído por Jamie esos correos fueron enviados utilizando un servidor de Primero de Mayo/Enlace del Pueblo para su transmisión. El FBI identificó la dirección de internet (IP) asignada al servidor que atiende a [redacted], un proveedor de servicios de internet de perfil progresista radicado [redacted], que tiene entre sus proyectos un servidor de correo que permite hacer envíos anónimamente, sin hacer registro de las actividades de sus usuari@s.

Los agentes preguntaron a Jamie acerca de esos correos electrónicos. Por las características de la operación del servidor que ocupa [redacted], Jamie no pudo contestar a sus preguntas, pues no tenemos control sobre ese servidor, ni tampoco acceso a él, debido a que es un servidor de correo anónimo, tampoco es posible conocer quién ha hecho uso de dicho recurso. MF/PL no puede cooperar en esta indagadoria porque no tenemos información que aportar.

Sin embargo hay cuestiones de fondo que trascienden las limitaciones que tenemos. Pues aunque pudiesemos cooperar, no lo haríamos.

Primero de Mayo considera que el uso de nuestros recursos en Internet para lanzar amenazas de acciones violentas o cobijar campañas que instigan a la violencia son en cualquier sentido inaceptables y las rechazamos. No sólo la mayoría de los miembros de nuestra asociación se oponen a ese tipo de actividades, también la propagación de esos mensajes a través de nuestros servidores pone a nuestra organización y a cada uno de nuestros miembros en serio riesgo. Eso no es lo que consideramos debe ser el propósito del Internet.

Al mismo tiempo, debemos decir que es el propósito del Internet lo que impulsa nuestra posición firme y coherente en este tipo de investigación. El internet fue creado para que la humanidad pudiese gozar de comunicaciones libres y sin restricciones y cualquier violación a la privacidad o a la libre expresión de cualquiera contraviene lo que internet en esencia es.

No cooperaremos en ninguna investigación sobre la identidad, las actividades o las perspectivas politicas o idelogicas de ningun@ de nuestr@s miembros o usuari@s de nuestros sistemas.

Hasta este momento, no tenemos razones para creer que esta investigación continuará en algún modo que afecte a nuestr@s miembr@s. Les estamos informando sobre este asunto pues nuestro compromiso es con la transparencia y la comunicación cercana con tod@s nuestr@s miembros. Continuaremos informándoles del rumbo que adquiera este caso conforme haya nueva información.

Nosotros creemos que el futuro del mundo y la sobrevivencia de la especie humana dependen de que la comunicación entre los pueblos del mundo sea abierta, ininterrumpida y sin obstáculo alguno. Resistiremos de manera determinante cualquier intento de reducir ese tipo de comunicación o de usar los sistemas de comunicación como herramienta para investigar a las personas o reprimirlas de cualquier modo, sean estos intentos de personas o gobiernos.

Last edited 7 years ago by Enrique Rosas (previous) (diff)

comment:2 Changed 7 years ago by

Resolution: fixed
Status: feedbackassigned

First and foremost, I am a member of Pittsburgh and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

This is sad, your response is ignorant. There is a separation between "Free Speech" and what is going on here that you are missing. This isn't about free speech, and the Internet wasn't set up or created with privacy in mind at all (seriously). This is about terroristic threats and your inability to cooperate to help stop them is just wrong. It's not about giving up the identity of all of your members, it's helping track down a single individual who is threatening thousands of people.

And this isn't just about inconvenience. Some of these attacks affecting terminally ill patients, as the bomb threats are being placed at buildings which house such people and specifically children:

You can continue your ignorance, but just know that this is affecting the lives of thousands in the Pittsburgh area.

comment:3 Changed 7 years ago by

I am a University of Pittsburgh student and these bomb threats have severely disrupted campus life. These threats have targeted academic buildings, residence halls (usually very late at night), the Chancellor's residence, and now other University buildings such as the University Club (which houses Family House, a program that provides temporary housing in the University Club for terminally ill UPMC patients).

I am also a strong believer in free speech on the Internet, but I feel that there are limiting factors to it. When someone's speech threatens the safety of thousands of people and pulls vital emergency resources away from the community, they have voided their right to free speech.

I am very disappointed that you have chosen to refuse to help the FBI in their investigation.

For a reference to the recent bomb threats:

For your information, a bomb threat was just received as I compose this message (6:49PM EST).

comment:4 Changed 7 years ago by

I am also a University of Pittsburgh student. Although you may not have access to the information that the FBI is looking for, I am very disappointed in your statement. I understand the rights to free speech and wanting to protect your members, however compromising the safety of thousands of students, faculty, and patients is not acceptable. These threats are not only disruptive and unnerving, they are blatant acts of terrorism. Free speech does not justify threatening an entire university and its surrounding community.

comment:5 Changed 7 years ago by

Yours is such an incredibly ignorant argument. "Growing networks to build a just world" is your motto or mission. Supporting networks that can destroy justice is your actual stance. I hope you lose your nonprofit status over this issue, and that you have to find real work elsewhere. Maybe go work at a hospice like the one evacuated due to message sent over your networks.

Today the network you support evacuated The School for Blind Children.

I know because i was dropping of my son at Pitt since he left to get one night's sleep. He returned to WORK because he has to pay for his LIVING EXPENSES so he can also pay for his student loans for the CLASSES THAT HAVE BEEN DISRUPTED. And once I said goodbye to him, I could not get to my real work at a legit nonprofit, because police cars had a roadblock so they could evacuate BLIND CHILDREN INTO THE STREETS. These are children who cannot see but who can definitely hear and think, and were very frightened due to uncooperative and arrogant people just like you who hide behind some deluded concept that they are bettering the planet via technology.

So anyone supporting you via funds donated to your useless organization (useless unless you make yourself actually useful, which is still possible in this situation) is also supporting terrorism. Which is a felony. And generally felonies and terrorism are not used to "build a just world." So please stick to your mission and cooperate with authorities. Thanks very much for having the heart and courage to change your mind.

comment:6 Changed 7 years ago by

Resolution: wontfix
Status: assignedfeedback
Last edited 7 years ago by (previous) (diff)

comment:7 Changed 7 years ago by

Resolution: wontfix
Status: feedbackassigned

I am outraged by your response citing your 'opinion' on not cooperating with the investigation. Freedom of speech is an important right that should be protected, but an individual forgoes that right when they produce "speech that incites imminent lawless action". And over 60 bomb threats can be seen as lawless actions.

I hope you never have to be woken up 3 times in a week at 4am to leave the place where you live due to threats to your safety.

comment:8 Changed 7 years ago by Daniel Kahn Gillmor

on the request of jamie mcclelland, i redacted some information above.

comment:9 Changed 7 years ago by Enrique Rosas

Hi all, I'm a MFPL member, I read your reactions and have thought a lot about your words. I wish you give me the opportunity to also reach your reflexions.

I see lots of similarities between the persons who had posted your opinions here and us the MFPL family members.

First than anything else, all of us refuse any threats of violence or dead and of course terrorism. That is one important aspect in this discussion.

We, just as you, stand for dialog and understanding. I'm sure of that, since you are taking a time to express your feelings and criticism. From a political perspective we think dialog can bring trust and collaboration between the people of the world. That is the reason why we are willing to take risks to achieve our goal of building means of communication that will transform the world in a better place, for sure you are aware of that after seeing our spokes person and director, Jamie, acting in the open, facing the fbi, talking with reporters from the Pittsburgh media and informing to all my fellow members about this issue.

You and us care for the communities where our life takes place. Actually, we honor people who has taken that commitment to the highest level. A recent example of what I'm talking about is our recognition to Stephen Nyash, our comrade from Kenia shot dead last February

I also see, all of you had considered not to sign your posts in this forum. For us anonymity is a right of any one to express criticism or act politically without the need of identifying him/her self. Let me tell you one thing, some of us MFPL members and others in the community around MFPL prefer to keep their identities protected because the policies of our governments and the groups in power in our countries represent serious threats to our lives and freedom. Keeping our identities protected means saving lifes and opportunities for continuing our struggles for justice, peace and real democracy. Anonymity in some cases reduces the risks our families could be facing. I understand and would like to share this concept of anonymity with you

The role of the tech persons that allow you to post in a kind of anonymous way -that does not allow the people who reads this know your identity-, is a similar role than the progressive provider in question has decided to play: give others the ability to send email anonymously. And the person who has threatening your community has use that commitment in a wrong way, you are right and I know we all in MFPL share that conclusion with you.

I think for this argument does not matter if the person or the group of persons who have collected email accounts to use them as recipients to deliver those bomb threats are part of your own community in Pittsburgh, perhaps they are not. That is something your authorities should investigate and you are free to collaborate or not to collaborate in those investigations if it is your right to make that decision and if you are actually able to do it.

I'm a MFPL member. My government is a high class mafia group dependent of the US imperialism. US government regularly feeds information, just as supplies training and weaponry, to maintain the oppression this group sustains against the bast majority of the people of my country. And I don't want my data in hands of a US security agency. I want my data and my peoples data protected the best of our association ability.

So, I support the decision announced to the MFPL membership, sent as an internal message on April 12th.

comment:10 Changed 7 years ago by

"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." --Benjamin Franklin

comment:11 Changed 7 years ago by Enrique Rosas

Resolution: fixed
Status: assignedclosed

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