Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Copenhagen Work Clouded by Danish Text

Image from Reuters
[Reuters Image]

They were a striking sight in the dull, early morning.

In their red hats and suits, their dark shirts and glasses they caught the mood of the moment, chanting: "We are watching you. You know what to do, pay the climate debt."

This was a reminder how many activist here blame the developed world for the climate crisis, for their carbon emissions as industrialisation built their fortunes while stealing their futures.

There had been a feeling of momentum, a sense that all 192 countries were moving in the one direction, heading for a deal.

But on Day 3, that had been replaced with an air of suspicion.

'Danish text'

The problem, the so-called "Danish text", a set of proposals drawn up by the Danish, the British and the Americans which, among others, proposed radical ideas which were instantly rejected by many of the world's poorer countries.

The basis of the document proposed that both industrialised and emerging countries cut carbon emissions to limit global warming and that the UN is sidelined in future talks about climate change.

The conference tried to get back to work, but in the small meeting halls and coffee shops that dot this huge sprawling venue, it was the topic that continued to dominate.

Near one I found Kumi Naidoo, the new charismatic head of the environmental group Greenpeace.

He told me the text showed that the rich, powerful countries were reluctant to hand over power in the negotiations.

"The Danish text is dead in the water. Now we have to go back to the hard work that's been done since the Bali summit two years ago.

"Let's not ignore what the negotiators have done but we should keep our eye on the prize which is to deliver to our children and grandchildren a fair, ambitious and binding treaty which secures their future".

Work to be done

One of the groups most at risk from the continuing rise in global temperatures is the Association of Small Island states.

A two degree Celsius rise in temperatures, the limit the world is aiming for, still means for them higher seas, a change to the way they live, a threat to life itself.

Every morning they meet to discuss their plan for the day.

Every night they gather to discuss what they've achieved, and the tactics to use the next day.

Their chairperson is the impressive Dessima Williams, Grenada's ambassador to the United Nations.

She understands why people are upset by the leaked document, but believes people should now get back to work.

In between her never ending round of meetings in Copenhagen, she told me: '"We don't see this as something which will disrupt the meeting. In fact, as far as I know, this paper was floated and withdrawn some time ago, so it hasn't disturbed us at all."

This smart and savvy diplomat has been at enough of these gatherings to know how things work.

Most of the discussions here, the most important climate talks in history, are held behind closed doors.

There's no access for the media, none for environmentalists who may have a case to present.

Somehow, in all these discussions, over the course of the next few days, various drafts will be floated.

Some will anger the rich nations, some will send the developing countries into a tirade.

But in the flurry of proposals and ideas, one will form the basis of a deal, if there is one.

The world leaders will arrive in Copenhagen next week to sign a deal which they will claim will change the world.

It appears a few attitudes may have to change first.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Beyond Copenhagen

Governments are only putting on a front to show that they are concerned about climate changes. Economic success/domination is still their priority.



Nobody should expect a planet-saving agreement from the negotiations that begin this week in Copenhagen aimed at reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases. But the talks were in real danger of blowing up not long ago. Now there is a good chance for at least an interim deal, mainly because the United States and China, the world’s two biggest emitters, have promised to reduce or slow their emissions and their two leaders have agreed to attend.

An interim deal would still leave a great deal for President Obama to do, starting with getting Congress to deliver on the promises he is taking to Copenhagen. Mr. Obama has pledged a modest cut of 17 percent over the next 10 years and more aggressive cuts in later decades. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s proposal to slow the growth in China’s emissions is considerably less ambitious because energy efficiency measures that China has already put in place should be enough to do the job.

Still, neither country has offered specific goals before. Their 11th-hour willingness to do so could be just enough to persuade the other 190 countries in Copenhagen to take the first step in what is now seen as a two-stage process. It would start with a nonbinding political agreement to reduce emissions and give aid to developing countries. This would be followed by a legal agreement next year with firm targets, enforcement mechanisms and specific dollar amounts for poorer countries.

In other words, the tough slog lies ahead. Copenhagen is all about attitudes and aspirations. Next year will be about results. And there can be no meaningful outcome without the leadership of the United States — second only to China in overall emissions and the biggest emitter by far in terms of per capita emissions.

The president’s proposed reductions are in line with a bill approved by the House last summer. A Senate committee has approved a slightly stronger measure calling for a 20 percent reduction in the next decade and an 83 percent reduction by midcentury. But its approval on the Senate floor is far from certain. Most Republicans are opposed. There are deep doubts among Democrats from Rust Belt states with energy-intensive industries. Getting to a filibuster-proof 60 votes will require every bit of Mr. Obama’s persuasive powers — and a real push by the Senate’s often-passive Democratic leaders.

The challenges on the foreign front are no less formidable. The consensus among mainstream climate scientists is that the world must cut emissions in half by midcentury. The rich countries cannot do it alone. Even if they cut their emissions by 80 percent by midcentury — a goal endorsed by the Group of 8 highly industrialized nations — the world would fall short of its target unless the developing countries pitched in.

Brazil, Indonesia and India have put offers on the table; others may come forward now that China has agreed to act. But the divide between rich and developing nations, let alone very poor countries, remains great. Further progress may depend on how much countries that have already reaped the benefits of industrialization — and contributed hugely to global warming — will be willing to ante up to help others adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. Brazil, for instance, has said it will protect its rainforests from clear-cutting and burning only if rich countries “pay the price.”

European leaders have urged the creation of a global climate assistance fund for exactly that purpose, with a minimum annual contribution from wealthy countries of $10 billion. The White House announced late last week that the United States would pay its “fair share.” That is good news. But here again the president will need Congress’s consent. He has a huge selling job ahead if he expects to seal a comprehensive deal.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Climate Change: Converge on Copenhagen!


Take action in Copenhagen: The time is now!

Tens of thousands of people are mobilizing, great actions are being planned and the logistics is being finalized, so that everybody can be accommodated. Don't miss the opportunity: come and be part of it! The good people at Climate Justice Action have come up with a plan to help keep things in order so that everyone can join in and no one gets lost.

Get involved!

* Get to Copenhagen!
Find out how to come to Copenhagen!

* Find people in your area
Have a look at the Atlas of Resistance.

* Become a volunteer!
Get a taste of why you should volunteer for us and sign yourself up.

* Let us know you are coming!
Fill in this form if you need to be accommodated by us!

* Donate
Support financially the mobilization towards COP15 by donating.

* Spread the word
CJA is active on conventional, popular commercial media like Twitter and Facebook.

* Already live in Copenhagen?
Then help us accommodate visitors by signing up as a host.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Call to Action: Climate Change at COP 15

This is a call out to action to international No Borders groups during the COP 15 in Copenhagen, starting 7 December 2009

Climate change is now the ULTIMATE Shock and Awe. It encompasses all of life now, and is the new spectacle. The climate change spectacle is the complete reconstruction and revitalization of capitalism and all of its domination, hierarchies, exploitation, racism, sexism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, commodifications, privatizations, oppressions, repressions, murders, lies, and greed.

Climate change will be used to terrorize us in every way we have been terrorized before, but encompassing all the single factors into one. In the name of security, Everything that living things depend is on its way to being commodified and privatized, to push us even further and possibly completely into pure Milton Friedman ´Chicago School´ of fundamental capitalist corporatism.

We can't not just think of this as a climate issue, it is much much more. Water, air, food, and genetic life is being privatized before our eyes. And these human rights are and will be used under the climate change banner to put up borders and go to war.

Complex surveilance systems are being put in place to keep the people from below away from its privatized riches. Indigenous, small farmers and people from below are being pushed off their lands by corporations, and massive natural disasters that are making people escape to safer regions. Also, their is the prospect of military intervention in the future to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics.

Military experts are saying that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions. Sections of the political and military establishment are planning for the consequences of climate change and are developing military strategies to deal with it.

The debate over climate change and global warming management at the UN is a struggle among the national ruling establishments for their own interests on the international diplomatic stage. While there is concern that climate change can have unforeseen political and economic consequences, these competing capitalist states have no means of seriously addressing the issue, other than making preparations for cracking down on social unrest.

So, in closing. If we don´t start attacking climate change from its roots, and seeing that the system we are in cannot and never intended to solve climate change, then we will be doomed to even more repressive and oppressive regimes, and even a rollback on the rights that were worked so hard for by our comrades in the past and it is already happening! They have divided and conquered us for a long time! But now we have a chance to come together and fight this under the same banner to stop the revitalisation of capitalism and the borders in which it creates.

See you on the barricades!

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Like Undead, G20 Controversy Keeps Coming Back For More

By: Pittsburgh Foreign Policy Examiner, Nick Lewandowski

Perhaps in honor of Halloween, the G20 controversy refuses to die.

The Post-Gazette reports that the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board has scheduled November 10th as the tentative date for its Oakland hearing on police conduct during the G-20 Summit. Last week, the Review Board held a meeting in Lawrenceville to hear a number of complaints of misguided arrests and excessive force - including one involving a woman arrested on her way to a date. While making her way past protesters the woman was ordered to disperse, but could not move fast enough because of her high heels.

The Oakland meeting will thus follow what Board Director Elizabeth Pittinger called a "well-received" meeting that "verified some things."

The Board has already received some 75 complaints, most similar to those heard in Lawrenceville.

"The problem wasn't so much on the street level, where the officers acted," Pittinger commented, "but in the higher level of the planning [...we want to look at the tactics and equipment that were deployed."

Pittinger and others are now working with the Densus Group - an international security consultancy - to develop a detailed report of security-related events during the summit. In addition, a group called What Happened at Pitt (WHAP) - made up of University of Pittsburgh students arrested during the G-20 and their supporters - has expressed interest in holding the November hearing on the university campus. WHAP primarily seeks to raise awareness of its members' legal woes and money for their respective defenses.

The Police Citizen Review Board eventually intends to publish a report that will be useful for cities all over the world hosting major international events.

Let's hope it hits print before this monstrous legal debacle shambles into the new year.

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Singapore Authorities Cast a Wary Eye on Civil Groups Ahead of APEC summit

Singapore, the scourge of human rights activists has done it again. The oppresive state hosts the coming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation which Obama is attending. Again, the authorities have taken measures to clamp down on civil groups and activists like what they did when they hosted the IMF / WB three years ago.

Even the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board is reviewing the actions of policement during the G20 meetings. It is time for the Singapore government to stop supressing our voices. Then again, perhaps human rights is mostly dead in the Asia-Pacific region.


With two weeks to go before heads of state gather for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit here, Singapore is wary about allowing the entry of well-organised civil groups and disruptive individuals bent on derailing the talks or championing their causes.

Two Falungong followers, a Malaysian and an Indonesian, were reportedly denied entry into Singapore at Changi Airport last week.

According to the Epoch Times, the sect's publication, the pair tried to enter the country separately on Oct 19 and Oct 22. The report also said the pair had previously made frequent trips to Singapore.

Falungong, a religious sect, was banned in China in 1999 after it was accused of fanning social unrest. Though it is not outlawed in Singapore, several of its followers here have been arrested for holding illegal assemblies.

When MediaCorp cited the Falungong example and asked if Singapore was keeping out individuals who might pose law-and-order problems, a spokeswoman from the APEC Singapore 2009 organising committee said all requests to enter the country would be treated fairly.

"All sovereign nations have the prerogative to decide who cross their borders. Singapore is no exception," she said. "This is especially so in the current security climate, where we have a duty to ensure the safety and security of the public."

Security analyst Dr John Harrison from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies was not surprised with the entry ban related to APEC.

"The (Singapore) Government will get a variety of information in from all sources - open and classified - from partners in the region and around the world," he said. "It will try and mitigate threats and risks as early as possible."

Apart from the task of keeping out people with backgrounds tied to terrorism, the authorities would have their eye on individuals who could use the event to carry out violent protests, Dr Harrison said.

Three years ago, when Singapore hosted the International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting, the authorities objected to 28 foreigners - all of whom had a history of taking part in violent protests or disruptive activities at previous meetings - from being allowed into the country.

Then, civil society organisations were allowed to protest in a small corner of the meeting venue at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre; large-scale protests were confined to the Indonesian island of Batam.

Observers say that unlike the IMF event to which many civil society groups were invited, APEC's broader platform is not likely to warrant the same level of involvement and, hence, numbers of activists.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Call for Action: Protest against NATO! Edinburgh, 13 November

If anyone of you are in UK or Scotland this November, drop by Edinburgh on the 13th as friends from all over the world crash NATO's party.

In November the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will meet in Edinburgh. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is an attempt at legitimising the alliance with a hint of democracy. This is a front. The NATO PA does nothing but maintain NATO's role as a global military force used by the west to dominate and control. Its influence stretches from the highlands of Scotland where nature reserves are used as playgrounds for NATO's war games, to the highlands of Afghanistan where villages live in fear of NATO attack.

The movement against NATO is growing across Europe and the world. In April thousands took to the streets of Strasbourg to protest against the NATO summit. In June Scandinavian activists disrupted a NATO training exercise in Sweden. In NATO occupied Afghanistan the Revolutionary Women Of Afghanistan have continued to speak out against NATO's collusion with patriarchal forces still ruining lives in their country.

Now the UK anti-militarist movement sets its sights on Edinburgh for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Its time for a show of strength. We need to show NATO that their militarism is neither wanted or tolerated.

This is an invite for anti-militarists everywhere. Come to Edinburgh and help us resist NATO and militarism. The NATO Welcoming Committee is calling for a mass demo on Friday the 13th of November, the first day of the Parliamentary Assembly. Details of the demo will be released closer to the time. Bring warm clothes, noise, banners and whatever else you hope to find. If you live out of town, aim to be in Edinburgh the day before. Accommodation will be available from Wednesday the 11th of November.

The NATO Welcoming Committee will provide a convergence space for activists to converge and stay in throughout the Assembly, as well as providing food, medical services in terms of street medics and a well-stocked medics space, legal support through the Scottish Activist Legal Project, trauma support and other forms of support to activists.

The NATO Welcoming Committee has signed up to the AMN’s principles.
These are:
We embrace a diversity of tactics
We will not publicly condemn other peoples actions
We have a respect for life

See you on the streets!
The NATO Welcoming Committee
natowc [at]

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tweets Criminalized in Pittsburgh G20 Crackdown

By: David Roknich

"Government authorities act like government authorities in Moldova and China and Iran, where they like it when people have access to information, be it radio stations, newspapers, free press, in other countries, but they’re uncomfortable with it in their own country. And in this case, they decided to try to criminalize it." - Elliot Madison, interviewed by DEMOCRACY NOW!

Elliot Madison was interviewed by Democracy Now! shortly after his home was broken into by FBI agents, as the results of his "Tweets" sent during the G20 protests in Pittsburgh. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has made some of his court documents available in scanned form. I expect to have the docket available as text soon. Meanwhile, here is the transcript of Elliot Madison interviewed by DEMOCRACY NOW!

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: For our first segment, we turn to a case of a New York activist who’s believed to be among the first to face criminal charges for communicating electronically with protesters about police actions. Elliot Madison was arrested last month during the G-20 protests in Pittsburgh when police raided his hotel room. Police say Madison and a co-defendant used computers and a radio scanner to track police movements and then passed on that information to protesters using cell phones and the social networking site Twitter. Madison is being charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility, and possession of instruments of crime.

Exactly one week later, Madison’s New York home was raided by FBI agents, who conducted a sixteen-hour search. The agents seized items including computers, clothing, books and the records of Madison’s clients in his job as a social worker. Madison has since won a temporary order barring agents from examining his seized property.

For more, Elliot Madison joins us here in the firehouse studio. We’re also joined by his attorney, Martin Stolar.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!


MARTIN STOLAR: Thank you, Sharif.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Elliot, let’s begin with you. Begin by describing exactly what you were doing in Pittsburgh during the G-20 and your subsequent arrest.

ELLIOT MADISON: Well, there were protests during the G-20, and a group of people came together called the Tin Can Comm—Communications—Collective. And they were putting up basically message boards. There was a message board for food. There was a message board for legal. There was a general message board. There was a message board just for announcements.

And how Twitter works is, traditionally people can text one—instead of just texting from me to you, I could text everyone that chose to follow me, OK? So, the only difference in this setup is that we allowed points to go to everybody in the group. So, if Martin wanted to text you and me, he could. If I wanted to text the two of you, I could. So it was a point of access issue. So it changed Twitter and made it more decentralized, so people could carry on a conversation knowing that people were spread out throughout the city. Sometimes it gets loud and noisy, and it was a way for people to communicate, not substantially different than the way the three of us are talking now.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And what exactly—what kind of messages were people putting out on this site?

ELLIOT MADISON: All sorts of messages. We put on the—about different trainings. There was a Know Your Rights training. We talked about the—there were messages I received about the raid on the Just Seeds food bus. There was information about where meet-ups were for different marches, like the students’ march. To be honest, I didn’t see most of the messages, because I was arrested very early on Thursday.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: That’s the first day of the G-20.

ELLIOT MADISON: The first day. So, before the first day, there weren’t many messages, because there were just a few announcements about, you know, different meetings and things like that.

And the thing to remember is this was a public site. I mean, the AP articles with the lieutenant detective of operations says he was on our LISTSERV. CNN said they were on our LISTSERV. I mean, a whole variety of journalists, New York Times journalists, joined. Anybody could join. It was a public number. We don’t know who joined. It wasn’t important. And anybody could send information to the group, and it would be sent out to everybody.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And so, you were sitting in your hotel room, and the police came in. Describe what happened.

ELLIOT MADISON: Where there was a—door was flung open. I assume they had a key.

Just to be clear, the hotel room was under our names. Our car was parked right out front. We weren’t doing anything clandestine, weren’t expecting the police to come in.

A number of agents from the state police came in and—you know, with guns drawn, and held us for about an hour in handcuffs, though we weren’t arrested at that time, and told us we were free to go. But we decided to stay and watch them and wait for the warrant. We weren’t presented a warrant right away. A warrant finally came, but it’s a sealed warrant, so we only got to see the face sheet of it. We don’t know why—we know what they were looking for, but we don’t know the—how they got the information, because it’s sealed. According to the face sheet, it’s eighteen pages long.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Martin Stolar, explain the charges. They include charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility, and possession of instruments of crime. What does that mean?

MARTIN STOLAR: Essentially, what Elliot is charged with is using the computer or the cell phone to put up an announcement that said that the police had issued an order to disperse. Having done that and having informed people that the police had issued the order, then it is claimed that that announcement hindered prosecution somehow by, I guess, having people avoid being arrested. It would seem to me that that is something that provides some benefit to the police department, in terms of saving them the expenditure of resources in processing people. But they’ve decided to criminalize that communication, or at least in their complaint that’s what they say, that the communication that said, “Hey, there’s been a dispersal order; everybody be aware of it,” somehow turns into a crime of hindering prosecution. The communication facility then, the cell phone or the computer that was used to post that message, becomes an instrument of the crime, and the use of that mass communication facility becomes, they claim under Pennsylvania law, a third crime.

This is just unbelievable. It is the thinnest, silliest case that I’ve ever seen. It tends to criminalize support services for people who are involved in lawful protest activity. And it’s just shocking that somebody could be arrested for essentially walking next to somebody and saying, “Hey, don’t go down that street, because the police have issued an order to disperse. Stay away from there.” All of a sudden, essentially, that becomes the crime that Elliot and his co-defendant are charged with.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And they may be the first to be charged criminally with sending information electronically to protesters about the police. What’s the significance of this in terms of First Amendment rights?


ELLIOT MADISON: Can I just clarify it?


ELLIOT MADISON: We’re not—we’re not the first. We’re the first in this country. During the Twitter revolution going on in Iran, in Moldova, in Guatemala, in the earlier newscast about Honduras, in all those cases, repressive governments have arrested folks for using Twitter. The only difference is, in all those cases the State Department, the US State Department, has condemned the arrest of these Twitter activists and had gone so far in the Iranian situation, the State Department, according to an article, asked Twitter to postpone its regular maintenance so as not to interfere with Iranian protesters to be able to send out their tweets. So the only difference is we’re the first arrested here. But this is a—over the past two years, repressive governments have been arresting people. The only difference is, the State Department has supported—I’m expecting the State Department will come out and support us also.

MARTIN STOLAR: Oh, you think so, do you?


MARTIN STOLAR: I mean, it is shocking. This is really the first case, and my preliminary research has found that this is the only case where people involved in protest activity have been arrested for using or for passing out information. Essentially, this country has the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects speech, and it protects protest activity. And what Elliot and his co-defendant are accused of doing tends to support speech and protest activity itself. It is speech that goes out. Putting something up on Twitter is a form of speech. And we have some serious First Amendment problems in connection with the prosecution in Pennsylvania.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And I want to say, we did contact Twitter and the FBI to invite them on the program. They both declined our request. Twitter didn’t respond. But to what extent did Twitter cooperate with the police?

MARTIN STOLAR: We don’t know.

ELLIOT MADISON: We don’t know.

MARTIN STOLAR: We don’t know. We don’t know if Twitter is cooperating with the police. We don’t know if Twitter has been asked to cooperate with the police. Twitter essentially is neutral here. The police could have logged onto Twitter and seen whatever was being posted, in the same way that individuals can log onto the police radio bands and emergency service responders, all of which is up on the internet. If Elliot is receiving from the internet notice that an order to disperse has been issued at a particular location and passes that public information on to other members of the public, that’s protected speech. It is inconceivable that that could be a crime. But that’s what he’s charged with.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: So, a week later after your arrest, the FBI raids your home in Queens. What happened?

ELLIOT MADISON: About 6:00 in the morning, the FBI, on a Thursday, broke into the door—we don’t know if there was a knock or not, because we were asleep—stormed up with guns—it was about twenty or so agents with Joint Terrorist Task Force; it was a combination of FBI and NYPD—and handcuffed me and my housemates, held us for a few hours, two or three hours, in handcuffs, wouldn’t let us talk, wouldn’t let us make phone calls, wouldn’t let us get dressed, because we were all asleep. And eventually, sometime after that point, they showed us a warrant. They wouldn’t let us read the warrant; they just showed it to us. Our hands were cuffed behind our back. And for sixteen hours, proceeded to take everything, from plush toys to kitchen magnets and lots of books.

I’m an author. I’ve written fiction. I’ve written lots of nonfiction. I’m an anarchist, so I’ve written lots of political works. So they not only grabbed all of my works, and they grabbed anything that they felt like grabbing from our pretty large library.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And they apparently took photos, as well, posters—


SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: —from the walls, one of Lenin and one of Curious George, apparently?

ELLIOT MADISON: Yes, yes, and they took Curious George stuffed animals. They took magnets from the refrigerator. They took a needlepoint of Lenin that my wife’s grandmother had made, a whole variety of bizarre things that they’ve taken. We don’t know everything they took, because the voucher we received is fairly vague. It will say something like “documents.” So, since the house was tossed, it’s hard to tell if the documents are just lost or if they’re, you know, seized at this point.


MARTIN STOLAR: Well, I mean, the search was just extensive. And the problem with the search warrant, which actually asked for evidence that indicated that potentially there were violations of federal rioting laws, this is the same law that was used to prosecute the Chicago Eight following the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1968. Well, what would be evidence of violations of federal rioting laws is open to question. Anarchist literature? Fiction writings that Elliot has written? Pictures of Lenin? It’s completely vague.

And so, they rambled around and searched and pulled things. They’re not only from Elliot and his wife Elena’s property, but also there were other residents of the house who are living there who had their private property taken and swept up in this, including computers and discs of somebody who’s making a film, computers and discs of somebody who produced a weekly radio show, a computer that actually belonged to the United States government. One of the residents of the house was a contract employee for one of the federal agencies, and that computer was also taken.

So, in response to that, we immediately went to federal court to say, “Hey, wait a minute. You can’t take all this stuff. This is all sorts of private property that has nothing to do with the violation of federal rioting laws, and we want it back.” And we got a federal judge to say, “Maybe you have a point there. FBI, don’t examine the boxes that you seized. Hold on, until I can examine this and issue a further order of the court.” And so, that’s what she did. She stopped them from going through the boxes, stopped them from going through and indexing, cataloging and analyzing what had been seized at the house. And that’s on hold, pending further briefing in court and pending further order of the court, which will happen a week from Friday.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Elliot, you spoke about how—the so-called Twitter revolution in Iran and how that was portrayed and condemned by the State Department in this country. I just want to go back to those days during the so-called green revolution in Iran and how the media in this country, the corporate media, the news networks, covered the use of Twitter in the protest. Let’s go to a clip of them.

FOX 11 ANCHOR: Iranians are turning to social media websites like Twitter and Facebook to tell their stories.




HOWARD KURTZ: Has Twitter become the CNN of the masses?

KIRAN CHETRY: Here’s what some people have been tweeting about.

SCOTT HURLEY: Just type in “#iranelection.”

The US State Department actually asked the website to put off scheduled computer maintenance.

IAN KELLY: This is about the Iranian people. This is about the—getting their voices a chance to be heard.

ISHA SESAY: More and more tweets were appearing.


KEITH OLBERMANN: A Twitter revolution.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Is this the first true internet uprising?

RACHEL MADDOW: This revolution might not be televised, but it is definitely being tweeted.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Elliot Madison, some of the coverage back in summer of the Iranian uprising following the elections. Everyone’s supporting Twitter, the State Department actually asking Twitter not to—not to do an update. And now you’re being arrested for using Twitter. We’re not seeing the same kind of coverage. Your thoughts?

ELLIOT MADISON: Yeah, I think it’s a clear case where, you know, the government authorities act like government authorities in Moldova and China and Iran, where they like it when people have access to information, be it radio stations, newspapers, free press, in other countries, but they’re uncomfortable with it in their own country. And in this case, they decided to try to criminalize it.

And I think what’s very interesting in all these stories about me is that the Tin Can Communications Collective was one Twitter feed. I have found that there were at least twenty-four Twitter feeds going on, everywhere from the police to the G-20 to Ron Paul supporters. Everybody had their own Twitter feeds going on. They decided to criminalize me, I think, because of the fact that we were in solidarity with the protesters.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Elliot Madison and Martin Stolar, I want to thank you very much for joining us. We’ll continue to follow this story.

The complete transcript above is from this morning's DEMOCRACY NOW!, redistributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License

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