The British independent news site Indymedia – www.indymedia.org.uk – has had its servers confiscated, following a subpoena in America. Not sure quite how a US court order is enforceable in the UK. Is this a dangerous new precedent? Are we to conclude that the government thinks freedom of speech is oh so passé? Is censorship the new poncho? It’s not good news for independent thinkers.

The (US-owned) hosting company which gave up the equipment made a statement announcing that they were merely complying with “a court order pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which establishes procedures for countries to assist each other in investigations such as international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering.” Er, hang on a minute – terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering? Indymedia’s full of indignant editorials and left wing protest, but calling the US president names on a website surely doesn’t breach any international laws. Or does it? I’ve written to my MP to ask: www.faxyourmp.com

So far, Indymedia haven’t been told why the equipment was taken. Seems to be up and running again, but it strikes a chill into the heart of anyone who believes in freedom of speech and the right to political dissent. It feels more like 1930s Europe every day.