That's right, a Twitter crackdown. A lawyer for Jackson Heights social worker Elliot Madison, 41, says that the feds searched his client's house for 16 hours on Thursday after Madison was arrested on September 24th at a Pittsburgh hotel room with another man. What were they up to? Sitting at laptops sending Twitter messages advising G20 demonstrators about riot police activity in the streets. And yet real Twitter threats like Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love remain at large.
Madison, a self-described anarchist, was in Pittsburgh volunteering for the Tin Can Comms Collective, a group that uses Twitter to send mass text messages during protests describing events observed on the streets or over police scanners; stuff like "SWAT teams rolling down 5th Ave." Tin Can was active during the St. Paul RNC protests, and the authorities are now on to them. Madison was charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime; he's currently out on bail.
The search warrant for Madison's home authorized agents to seize evidence that could be used to violate "federal rioting laws." As helicopters hovered overhead, the feds seized electronic equipment, newspapers, books and gas masks. Oh, and a damning picture of Vladimir Lenin. The Post also reports that they seized a pound of liquid mercury, metal triangles used to puncture tires and two boxes of ammunition. But agents left some machetes, samurai swords and daggers at the house, because they fell outside the scope of the warrant.
On Friday, Madison's lawyer argued that the search is illegal and convinced a Brooklyn federal judge to issue a temporary order of protection stopping the feds from going through the material. Madison says his arrest and the raid were intended to "stifle dissent" and tells the Times, "They arrested me for doing the same thing everybody else was doing, which was perfectly legal. It was crucial for people to have the information we were sending."