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Old 10-11-2009, 06:25 PM
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Default Use Twitter to Direct Iranian Protests and You're a Hero, but...

...use it to direct protests against the G20 in Pittsburgh and you're a criminal.

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State police have accused two anarchists from New York of using cell phones and the Internet messaging service Twitter to direct the movements of protesters during the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh.

Police arrested Elliot M. Madison, 41, and Michael Wallschlaeger, 46, both of Jackson Heights, N.Y., after they found them Sept. 24 in a Kennedy Township hotel room full of computers, police scanners and Pittsburgh-area maps, according to a state police criminal complaint.

FBI agents spent 16 hours Friday raiding the home of Madison and his wife, Elena, according to a federal court motion filed in Brooklyn, N.Y., by Madison's attorney Martin R. Stolar seeking the return of Madison's possessions that were seized in the raid.

Stolar did not return a message seeking comment Saturday. No one answered the phone at a number listed for Madison.

Wallschlaeger and Madison wore headphones and microphones as they sat in front of computers they used to send Twitter messages to protesters in Pittsburgh to help them move about the city "and to inform the protesters and groups of the movements and actions of law enforcement," the state police complaint states.

State police in Findlay obtained a warrant to search the second-floor room at the Carefree Inn on Kisow Drive based on a tip they received about criminal activity related to the G-20 protests.

Police arrested 190 protesters of an estimated 5,000 people who participated in marches and demonstrations in Oakland, Lawrenceville, the Strip District and Downtown during the summit Sept. 24 and 25.

Madison and Wallschlaeger face charges in Allegheny County of hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possessing instruments of crime.

A manager at the Carefree Inn said he was not permitted to discuss the matter.

Madison posted $30,000 straight bail and was released Sept. 25. Wallschlaeger posted $5,000 and was released the same day, court records show. Both face preliminary hearings Oct. 13.

Among the items seized by the FBI were: computers; cell phones; MP3 players; anarchist literature and books, including some authored by Madison; business records connected to Wallschlaeger's radio talk show "This Week in Radical History"; and pictures of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx.

Records show they seized 11 gas masks, five pairs of goggles, a slingshot, four arm pads, eight face masks and a collection of test tubes, droppers, mortar and pestle and beakers.

Stolar said the FBI violated the terms of its search warrant and Madison's First Amendment rights by taking "a number of documents and other properties having nothing to do with the government's investigation."
The solution to that is just to get horribly over-broad search warrants, like they did in the Sherman Austin case. That gives the government the Fahrenheit 451-esque ability to confiscate enormous amounts of books while keeping it all above board and legal.

I'm still rocked on my heels by the hypocrisy of it all. This past summer the U.S. was cheerleading the Iranian Protests, hailing the use of Twitter and other social networking sites to organize and direct the events, and criticizing the Iranian government for using tear gas, pepper spray, clubbing protesters, etc. Now the U.S. police state is using tear gas, pepper spray, clubbing protesters, etc. and the response meted out to those who used Twitter to keep the protesters informed is to arrest them and charge them with multiple felonies.

Well done! Just what the world needs is another blatantly political prosecution.
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2009, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Use Twitter to Direct Iranian Protests and You're a Hero, but...

I like that the police were upset that the people twatting were telling people where disperse orders had been issued so that people would disperse from those areas or not enter those areas. Because then they would be able to avoid arrest, which makes it sound like dispersal wasn't really what the police wanted. That and the suggestion that public police movements are not allowed to be disseminated- sure, if you're prisoners in a big-ass prison.
Amy Goodman wrote an oped on these arrests as well.

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While alerting people to public information may not seem to be an arrestable offense, be forewarned: Many people have been arrested for the same "crime" -- in Iran, that is.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Use Twitter to Direct Iranian Protests and You're a Hero, but...

There has also been coverage of it on BoingBoing, but I'm not even going to link to it because they refer to Madison as Professor Calamity, describing him as "one of the founders of modern steampunk thought." And that's inside of quotation marks because it's verbatim.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Use Twitter to Direct Iranian Protests and You're a Hero, but...

Is he part of the Guild of Calamitous Intent on Venture Bros.? Also the worst gypsy curse I ever heard was, "May you be described as one of the founders of modern steampunk thought."
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Use Twitter to Direct Iranian Protests and You're a Hero, but...

...3,500 days
The ACLU brings attention to Attorney General William Barr's "states secrets privilege" end-run claim to avoid revealing government spying on Twitter users, that Twitter has been fighting to get released since early in Obama's second term.

Quote:
For the past five years, Twitter has been trying to make public a transparency report with detailed statistics about how often the U.S. government seeks to spy on Twitter’s users. At nearly every turn, the government has been putting up roadblocks to prevent that report from seeing the light of day.

In 2014, when Twitter first sent its draft report to the government for review, the company was told it couldn’t publish the report because it contained information the government deemed classified. Then, when Twitter took the government to court to challenge its censorship as a violation of the company’s First Amendment rights, the government moved to squash the lawsuit. In a secret declaration filed under seal with the court, the government purported to explain to the judge the harms that would result if Twitter published its transparency report. Twitter’s lawyers, notably, weren’t allowed to see the declaration at the time.

Fortunately, the judge was unpersuaded by whatever was in that secret document, and rejected the government’s attempts to dismiss the case, Twitter, Inc. v. Barr.

But that hasn’t stopped the government.

Now, Attorney General Barr is invoking the “state secrets privilege” in an effort to keep Twitter’s lawyers from seeing the secret declaration and to shut down the lawsuit altogether.
If/ when this report ever sees the light of day, expect the following propaganda:
It is always because they just wanted to make us safe.
By even revealing that the government spies on Twitter users, you just helped the terrorists, and the blood of patriots and innocent civilians is on your hands, you terrorist-lover.
The government is definitely NOT fighting to keep this report secret because it would be embarrassing to learn how much the government spies on Twitter. Nope.
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