Radical media, politics and culture.

New York Anarchist Accused of Using Twitter to Direct G-20 Protesters

New York Anarchist Accused of Using Twitter to Direct G-20 Protesters

Elliott Madison was arrested by FBI and charged with using social networking site to help demonstrators evade Pittsburgh police

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/04/man-arrested-twitter-g20- us/print

A New York-based anarchist has been arrested by the FBI and charged with hindering prosecution after he allegedly used the social networking site Twitter to help protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh evade the police.

Elliot Madison, 41, from Queens, had his home raided and was put on $30,000 (£19,000) bail after he and Michael Wallschlaeger, 46, were tracked to the Carefree Inn motel in Pittsburgh during the summit on 24 and 25 September.

The pair were found sitting in front of a bank of laptops and emergency frequency radio scanners. They were wearing headphones and microphones and had many maps and contact numbers in the room.

Official police documents allege the two men used Twitter messages to contact protesters at the summit "and to inform the protesters and groups of the movements and actions of law enforcement".

In all, almost 200 protesters were arrested during the two-day summit, which brought world leaders to Pittsburgh to discuss the global economic meltdown and other matters of common financial interest.

About 5,000 protesters were estimated to have taken part in demonstrations in the city.

Twitter has rapidly established itself as an important tool in the armoury of protest groups and demonstrators. During the summit, the police openly monitored Twitter to listen in to the protesters' communications.

The FBI said that as well as the computers and radio scanning equipment discovered at the motel, they also confiscated from Madison's home 11 gas masks, five pairs of goggles and test tubes and beakers. They said they also took away anarchist books and pictures of Marx and Lenin.

Madison is a social worker with a Manhattan-based programme attached to a psychiatric hospital. He is said to be a member of the People's Law Collective, a voluntary group that advises protesters on legal issues arising from actions. Wallschlaeger produces a talk show on radio called This Week in Radical History.


NYC Anarchist Black Cross Statement of Solidarity

On October 1st, 2009, at 6:00 am, the Joint Terrorism Task Force kicked down the front door to an anarchist collective house in Queens, New York, affectionately known as Tortuga. This much you know. And while we of the NYC Anarchist Black Cross slept, our comrades were being subjected to the type of humiliating treatment that is typical from the state. The cops claimed to be searching for evidence related to rioting. We know better. These Federal rioting charges are not new to us, they were used to target the Chicago Seven in 1968. They beat the charges then and we’ll beat them now.

This raid was a fishing expedition intended not only to intimidate public anarchists, but also to gather information for future prosecutions. It occurred in the context of a growing repression, the likes of which anarchists have not experienced in the last decade. What does it mean? If nothing else, it means we're doing something right. Apart from that, it means we need to intensify our capacity for effective strategizing. If the state is spending untold dollars and labor hours devising ways to vanquish our networks, physical and otherwise, we must develop ways to counteract this.

Over the last decade, two of our main strategies have been organizing in our neighborhoods and organizing in the streets. It is fair to say, we've gotten better at both. Unfortunately, divergent currents of thought have led many to think that we must focus on one or the other, that the two are in some way mutually exclusive. In reality, these two are often composed of the same people. Even when they aren't, they compliment each other; stronger ties in our neighborhoods creates support in the streets.

If we look to recent history, there are movements that did not see the separation between building stronger neighborhoods and militancy in the streets. There is plenty to learn from these movements, especially from those most affected by and entangled in the state's repression. As an organization that supports political prisoners and prisoners of war, many coming from these very movements, we believe that their input can provide insight and inform our evolving strategies while also helping to keep them tied to the streets. With the number of political prisoners increasing -the majority of those most recently arrested are anarchists-this need to communicate with them should be evident.

We stand with the anarchists in Queens, not only out of solidarity with their ideas, but also because they are our friends and comrades. We realize that the state is attacking during a sensitive time - a time in which we are primed to put another chink in its armor while understanding we also face increased risks. We can work together and tear this motherfucker down and now is the time to focus on strategy, stay ahead of the cops, and support our friends, comrades, and allies when they most need it.

For the worlds we're building, against those that must come down, NYC Anarchist Black Cross October 13th, 2009