I’d say that this story was bizarre, if we didn’t see tales like it happening again and again. Activists in NYC had their home raided by the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force on October 1, apparently because one of the residents had been sending Twitter messages during the recent G20 protests in Pittsburgh. So the FBI came to the man’s house in New York and confiscated a ton of personal possessions of the man (Elliot Madison) and his housemates. I won’t be the first to point out that when protesters in a country like Iran use Twitter to inform and organize, Americans cheer, but when you do it in the US, you get a police boot through your front door.
Much scarier, the legal proceedings are becoming increasingly secretive. The residents’ possessions were seized, but law enforcement won’t say why or what the search warrant covered. How do you defend yourself when no one tells you the charges??? Civil liberties under Obama don’t seem much better than they were under George W. Bush.
The activists (who call their home “Tortuga”) are asking for help. Not only must they pay legal fees now and for what may become an expensive, Kafka-esque legal process, they must do so after having all kinds of personal possessions (including computers and phones) taken away by the police. They’re asking for donations (go to their blog and click on the “here” link under the “Donation” heading). If you live near San Francisco, you can attend a benefit show for Tortuga House on October 23. They’re also asking folks to spread the word (let people know about their website, FriendsOfTortuga.wordpress.com.