Pittsburgh is Honduras

It has emerged that Pittsburgh police used an “audio cannon” dubbed the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), manufactured by the San Diego-based American Technology Corporation (ATCO), against protesters at the G-20 Summit—the first time the device has been used on civilians in the US. “Yes, we sold one LRAD unit to a government agency—I don’t know which one—which was used in Pittsburgh,” said an ATC sales representative. (Daily Finance, Sept. 25) The LRAD has also recently been used against protesters in Honduras.

See our last posts on the domestic police state and the struggle in Pittsburgh.

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  1. Anarchists busted for illegal tweeting
    From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Oct. 4:

    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.”

  2. Federal judge rules against anarchist tweeter
    Federal authorities can resume combing through the notebooks, memory cards and computers of twittering anarchist Elliott Madison, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled last week. US district court judge Dora L. Irizzary found no reason to throw out the government’s search of Madison’s seized belongings. Madison and his attorney sought to have his possessions returned unexamined, on the grounds the search violated his constitutional rights to free speech. After the raid of Madison’s home by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, his lawyer Martin Stolar won an emergency stay, prohibiting the police from looking through the evidence they’d taken. Madison is being investigated for violating a federal anti-rioting law.

    The Nov. 4 account of the ruling in Wired included the following ironic text:

    When protesters in Iran similarly used Twitter to organize anti-government rallies, the U.S. State Department hailed the micro-blogging service as a boon to democracy.

    Cute, huh?