Archive for September, 2009

G20 riots in Pittsburgh – How I organized them via Twitter

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I am absolutely tickled to learn that I was “largely responsible for organizing the riot[s]” in Pittsburgh around the G-20 summit and related protests. From Flopping Aces, crossposted from Peter Lajoie’s blog:

Another Anarchist who was largely responsible for organizing the riot from Twitter was Mike Gogulski of A self-described, “Future stateless person,” Gogulski is an unabashed anarchist who no longer lives or works in the U.S. but has vowed to overthrow the current system of society. Through Twitter on his cellphone he was able to coordinate fellow protesters’ movements by tweeting where police officers were, where they were going, and what they were planning to do. Anyone who wanted to see these tweets just had to look at a feed entitled “#resistg20.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed possible to exhibit astounding levels of cluelessness by picking up a few scattered bits of information, and then doing your own little paint-by-numbers in between.

For Peter’s benefit, I’ll point out a few things wrong with what he wrote:

Rioting policeman assaults citizen at G20 protest in Pittsburgh. Photo by Foo Conner.

Rioting policeman assaults citizen at G20 protest in Pittsburgh. Photo by Foo Conner.

  • The “riots” were almost entirely police riots. With the exception of some property damage (reported to have been largely caused by a single person), nearly all of the violence was either committed or instigated by police. No shock here. Protest is now a national security threat.
  • I don’t have a “cellphone”. We call them “mobile phones” over here in Slovakia.
  • I wasn’t a protester.
  • I don’t do vows.
  • I’m already a stateless person.
  • I don’t know anyone who was involved in the protests.
  • If I’ve ever been to Pittsburgh, it was only because the city was en route to someplace else.

What I was doing for a large number of hours was monitoring a Pittsburgh-area police/fire/EMS radio scanner linked up to an internet audio feed, and then repeating information I heard there to Twitter. For example:

  • # (scanner) “All TAC Teams: Meet @ 5th & Oakland Ave” #resistg20 #g20 6:14 AM Sep 26th
  • # Corrected: (scanner) arrest reported at Bouquet and Forbes #g20 #resistg20 6:13 AM Sep 26th
  • # (scanner) arrest reported at (uncopy) and Forbes #g20 #resistg20 6:13 AM Sep 26th
  • # (scanner) “hammer and anvil up on tennyson … clear the tower” #g20 #resistg20 6:10 AM Sep 26th
  • # (scanner) one SWAT commander called “Oscar Mike”, code for “off air, in action for a while” #g20 #resistg20 6:08 AM Sep 26th
  • # (scanner) “Waiting for booking team for 9 people now” (loc unknown) #g20 #resistg20 6:05 AM Sep 26th
  • # (scanner) “Large crowd forming at Oakland and Forbes” “Bringing LRAD down for dispersal” #g20 #resistg20 6:01 AM Sep 26th

And so on. Some of these tweets were picked up by others on the #resistg20 hashtag and who had followed me, and repeated to others, some of whom may have been subscribing to their tweets or hashtags via their mobile, er, cell phones.

Who knows what effect any of this had. Hopefully, getting information on police movements, plans and locations out via Twitter to a few folks on the scene helped some avoid getting gassed, beaten, subjected to head-splitting sonic weapons emissions and/or arrested.

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Morning Links

Monday, September 28th, 2009
  • I agree with the gist of this post by my friend Caleb Brown. That is, the to-do over Meg Whitman’s lack of a voting history is silly. That said, I hope Whitman’s political career goes nowhere. She did some fairly evil things while heading up eBay, particularly after eBay bought PayPal. Like publicly supporting the arrest and prosecution of online poker players.
  • David Plotz sings the praises of the sadly canceled NBC series Kings.
  • Austin police plan to start tracing identities of Internet commenters, arresting and/or suing them.
  • The 80s were a wonderful time, weren’t they?
  • Pretty sure this commercial was meant to to be funny. Unfortunately the premise isn’t all that absurd.
  • So why this is a “fail”?
  • Saturday Links/Open Thread

    Saturday, September 26th, 2009
  • Alex Massie on the wonderful mess that is Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The photo is perfect.
  • This is incredible. She’s portraying the German invasion of Ukraine in WWII.
  • Puppycide.
  • “Holy crap” ruling from federal judge orders Google to suspend a user account because a bank inadvertently sent its owner private customer data. Does this mean you could go to federal court to suspend the recipient accounts next time you have one of those embarrassing “reply to all” moments?
  • Some beautiful astrophotography.
  • I’ve been paged. False police report. Sad state of affairs when your initial reaction is, “Oh. Another one of those.”
  • The Stepford president.
  • Yes, the accompanying video was critical to the newspaper’s efforts to accurately report this story. Why do you ask?
  • University of Pittsburgh student: “With the police … you’re supposed to feel safe.”

    Friday, September 25th, 2009

    Seems like a couple of young ladies just woke up to their reality.

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    g-20 protest, pittsburgh, police brutality, police state

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    G20 2009: Police Attack Students at University of Pittsburgh

    Friday, September 25th, 2009

    Feeling safer yet, America?

    How’s that Obama-charged hope working out for you?

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    Morning Links

    Friday, September 25th, 2009
  • So apparently, slamming a man’s head into the pavement, breaking his teeth, is a perfectly acceptable method of arresting him for running a red light on his bicycle. Good to keep in mind.
  • Study says torture may destroy the very memories interrogators are trying to elicit.
  • Cool pictures from the Sydney dust storm.
  • DOJ official tells Congress that in 2008, of 763 “sneak and peek” warrants issued–a variety of warrant the PATRIOT Act made easier to obtain–just three were related to terrorism investigations. Sixty-five percent were related to drug investigations.
  • Lawsuit claims Boston cops beat a man for filming them with his cell phone.
  • eye of the storm 2009-09-25 02:47:18

    Friday, September 25th, 2009




    G20 : Police @ UPitt prevent K.A.O.S.

    Friday, September 25th, 2009

    From the Department of The Great Majority Of The Police, Seemingly Ever-Patient And Self-Controlled, Stood For Hours As Kids Baited And Yelled, Shoved And Provoked. A Handful Of Officers Used Well-Placed Elbows While Batons Were Raised Only In Response to the Vandalism:

    OMGWTF riots have consumed Oakland!

    Riots consume Oakland
    Staff Report
    The Pitt News
    September, 2009

    What began as a peaceful gathering of people hoping to see President Barack Obama last night became an 8-hour-long protest-turned-riot that damaged Oakland businesses and prompted police to use force.

    About 50 people gathered near the bridge to Schenley Park at 4 p.m. yesterday to see Obama’s motorcade drive to the Phipps Conservatory.

    The Obamas were hosting a working dinner in the greenhouse for the other G-20 leaders and their spouses. It was a precurser to the G-20 Summit, which officially opens tomorrow.

    The gathering was peaceful until additional protesters joined the original group at around 6 p.m. Police sent in reinforcements as the crowd grew and placed caution tape near the traffic light at the bridge to Schenley Park.

    Demonstrators ripped the tape and began leap-frogging over one another and toward the police.

    Police declared the event an “unlawful assembly” and warned protesters, in both English and Spanish, that if they didn’t leave, they could be arrested or “subject to other police action.”

    When the people didn’t move, police launched a smoke bomb into the group.

    It was the first of many times police would fire gas or smoke into the crowds, which eventually grew to include hundreds of, if not more than 1,000 people.

    The crowd simmered down for a few hours after the initial smoke bomb, at one point dancing to music provided by the Pittsburgh Hare Krishnas.

    “It’s imposible for us to be stronger than them. They’ve sticks and shields, but we’ve got voices and we can all sing and be louder than them,” said one man, who claimed to be a chaitanya, or leader, of the Hare Krishnas.

    Other groups began protesting around 10 p.m.

    People marching dressed in all black and wearing bandanas weaved their way throughout Oakland screaming, “We’re here. We’re queer. We have no fear.”

    Many other people, most of whom looked college-aged, joined the march.

    Some of the protesters used bricks to bash in windows to McDonald’s, Kinko’s, The Pitt Shop, Pamela’s and Bruegger’s among other businesses. They also lit Dumpsters on fire.

    The group eventually joined the people protesting in Schenley Plaza and around the Cathedral of Learning.

    They showed up just in time to hear the police once again declare the event an “unlawful assembly,” at 10:37 p.m. over a loud speaker system.

    Police threw more than 30 canisters of gas into the crowds, which were now dominated by mostly college-aged people. Police surrounded the Cathedral around 11:30 p.m. and eventually covered the lawn of the William Pitt Union. At one point, they marched through the Schenley Quadrangle and onto Towers patio.

    Popping sounds could be heard from the Union.

    After one round of the sounds, two people laid on the ground, one of them over the Pitt logo on Forbes Avenue.

    Officers with batons hovered over one of the people, who took several minutes to stand up.

    Police eventually handcuffed both men.

    The police had said they would use “less lethal weapons” on people who wouldn’t disperse. City police officers in Zone 4, which covers Oakland, declined to comment last night.

    One ACLU volunteer said he was disappointed in the way the police handled the protests.

    “They are just kids,” said Dave Ninehouser, an ACLU legal observer. “They need to call their parents and cry bloody murder.”

    Pittsburgh G-20: We’re here to help you!

    Thursday, September 24th, 2009

    The glorious unfurling of the American police state continues in Pittsburgh.

    Oh hai! We're here to help!

    Oh hai! We're here to help!

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    Pittsburgh G-20 new media coverage

    Thursday, September 24th, 2009

    Pittsburgh Indymedia G20 channel.

    Twitter users to follow: @g20actionalert, @resistg20. Hashtags: #resistg2o, #reportg20

    Live streaming police/fire/EMS G-20 ops radio traffic from Pittsburgh area here.

    G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh 24 September 2009

    G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh 24 September 2009

    Resistg20 organizing hub, comms hub. (Lovely, one of their Twitter accounts has been suppressed)

    Recent tweets from @resistg20:

    1. 40 cops, w/ bus, headed towards friendship park #resistg20

    2. From #Pittsburgh to #Greece, fuck the police.

    3. A comms facility was raided, but we are still fully operational please continue to submit reports #resistg20

    4. RT @heidilore: RT @resistg20 37th and butler, police deployed smoke and gas #resistg20 #g20

    5. denny and liberty has 200 protesters rallying #resistg20 #g20

    6. Standoff with pigs #resistg20

    7. 37th and butler, police deployed smoke and gas #resistg20 #g20

    8. TEAR GAS

    9. police threatening chemical dispersal at 38th and liberty #resistg20

    10. police have given a dispersal order at 36th and liberty and no can hear the order #resistg20 #g20

    11. g20pgh: police have given a dispersal order at 36th and liberty and no can hear the order

    12. march heading south on 39th #resistg20 #g20

    13. no way to get from “strip district” to downtown. use 16th st bridge #resistg20

    14. Water cannons on lm38th and liberty. Be careful #resistg20

    15. Please remember to Call in your reports to 412-567-1420 as we are having trouble receiving sms. Good luck out there! #resistg20

    16. student march has ended at arsenal park #resistg20 #g20

    17. student march is making a left onto liberty, police helicopter overhead and cops on the streets watching #resistg20 #g20

    18. student march is making a left onto liberty, police helicopter over head and cops on the streets #students and #workers SHUT THE CITY DOWN

    19. Police are staging at 21st and smallman near arsenal park #resistg20

    20. police staging at 21st and smallman near arsenal park #resistg20 #g20

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    Tags: g-20, g20, pittsburgh, protest

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