Posts tagged “traffic stops”

Democracy Now! interview with Elliot Madison

Democracy Now! interview with Elliot Madison, the New York City social worker who was arrested for tweeting the location of police actions during the G-20 riots in Pittsburgh last month. (28:23)

This is some must-see TV if there ever was such a thing, but don’t expect to see this interview on any of the mainstream media networks. They are (almost completely) ignoring the story [CNN (the singular hit)- Fox NewsMSNBCABC NewsCBS News]. This compares to those same news organizations cacophonous coverage of the Iranian “twitter” uprising this summer [CNNFox NewsMSNBCABC NewsCBS News]. Again I ask, if it is good enough for Iranians, why isn’t it good enough for Americans?

You can watch today’s full episode of Democracy Now!, as always, in the right sidebar. For those of you that want to see with just how much ease our government can swoop into your home, steal your possessions and detain you in your underwear, here are Mr. Madison’s motion (PDF) and his lawyer’s supporting declaration (PDF), courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; attached to the declaration are copies of the search warrant, an inventory of the seized items, and the original criminal complaint.

If you think this story doesn’t concern you, think again.

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New York man arrested for tweeting police actions at G-20

A self-described New York City anarchist has been accused of tweeting the location of police officers to protesters trying to evade them during the Group of 20 economic summit in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania State Police arrested Elliot Madison alleging he used Twitter to direct the movement of protesters and inform them about law enforcement actions at last month’s summit.Associated Press Wire Service

There is so much to say about this that there is actually little to say. Forgive my Yogi Berra-ness. I’ll just pass along the thoughts of a Huffington Post commentator:

By the way, the Iranian protesters tweeted the actions and events surrounding their stolen election, and we cheered them on. Funny how suddenly Iranians have more rights than Americans in Pittsburgh. The charges better be dropped, and an apology from the police department forthcoming. I’m not holding my breath.Huffington Post user “bugsbonzai”

Don’t forget, the Obama administration thinks so much of the power of Twitter that they actually asked them to delay maintenance to help keep the flow of information coming from inside Iran. So, I ask you, if it is good enough for Iranians, why is it not good enough for Americans?

Perhaps now would be a good time to think about joining the ACLU and the EFF if you haven’t already done so. Along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, these organizations are the last line of defense for these citizens who are out there in the world, making full use of their natural rights and running into the road blocks thrown up by our government. This brings a close to our impromptu pledge drive. Please feel free to move about the cabin.

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David Rovics: The Police Are Rioting

I don’t usually republish others writing wholecloth, but since I wasn’t in Pittsburgh for the G20, I am dependent on those who were. David Rovics is a journalist and singer/songwriter who was there and he wrote up his experience running from the cops with Cindy Sheehan, hiding out with no less than Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. I couldn’t have done better had I been there myself. Remember, be sure to check out the horrifying footage of police brutality on American streets. Now, David Rovics’ The Police Are Rioting – Reflections From Pittsburgh:

If any elements of the corporate media have been paying any attention to what’s been happening on the streets of Pittsburgh over the past few days I haven’t noticed, so I thought I’d write my own account.

There is a popular assumption asserted ad nauseum by our leaders in government, by our school text books and by our “mainstream” media that although many other countries don’t have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly – such as Iran or China – we do, and it’s what makes us so great. Anybody who has spent much time trying to exercise their First Amendment rights in the US now or at any other time since 1776 knows first-hand that the First Amendment looks good on paper but has little to do with reality.

Dissent has never really been tolerated in the USA. As we’ve seen in recent election cycles even just voting for a Democratic presidential candidate and having your vote count can be quite a challenge – as anyone who has not had their head in sand knows, Bush lost both elections and yet kept his office fraudulently twice. But for those who want to exercise their rights beyond the government-approved methods – that is, their right to vote for one of two parties, their right to bribe politicians (“lobby”) if they have enough money, or their right to write a letter to the editor in the local Murdoch-owned rag, if it hasn’t closed shop yet – the situation is far worse.

Let’s go back in history for a minute. After the victory of the colonies over Britain in the Revolutionary War, the much-heralded US Constitution included no rights for citizens other than the rights of the landed gentry to run the show. This changed as a direct result of a years-long rebellion of the citizens of western Massachusetts that came to be known as Shays’ Rebellion. Shays’ Rebellion scared the pants off the powers-that-be and they did what the powers-that-be do and have always done all over the world – passed some reforms in order to avert a situation where the rich would lose more than just western Massachusetts. They passed the Bill of Rights.

Fast forward more than a century. Ostensibly this great democracy had had the Bill of Rights enshrined in law for quite a long time now. Yet in 1914 a supporter of labor unionism could not make a soapbox speech on a sidewalk in this country without being beaten and arrested by police for the crime of disturbing the peace, blocking the sidewalk or whatever other nonsense the cops made up at the time.
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