Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Steampunk may have its first political prisoner

Not in this country, but over in the States. It’s easy to say it’s got nothing to do with me, and maybe it doesn’t. Thing is, it never does until it’s too late. We all know that where the States lead, our government tries to follow and quite apart from that injustice is international. Something is happening that I believe is Wrong, so here’s my tiny fists shaking at the sky.

Here's a report from Pittsburg's local ink presses, and it makes for kind of scary reading. Lolcats have become evidence of criminal activity now? Justice... ur doin it wrong...

And, here’s a first-hand account of what happened and details of who to contact if you want to help:

On October 1st, 2009, at 6:00am, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (a
union of local police departments and the FBI), kicked out the front
door to our home—an anarchist collective house in Queens, NY,
affectionately known as Tortuga. The first crashes of the battering
ram were quickly followed by more upstairs, as the police broke in on
3 sleeping people, destroying bedroom doors that were unlocked.

Three more people, awoken by the most unpleasant means of bounding
footsteps, splintering wood, and shouting voices, waited in the
basement—their turn at drawn guns and blinding lights came quickly.

We put our hands out where they could see them. They ordered us out of
bed. They wouldn’t let us dress, but they did put a random assortment
of clothes on some people. We were handcuffed, and although the
upstairs and downstairs groups were kept separate initially, we were
soon all together, sitting in the living room, positioned like dolls
on the couches and chairs. We were in handcuffs for several hours, and
we were helpless as our little bird, a Finch we had rescued and were
rehabilitating, flew out the open door to certain death, after his
cage had been battered by the cops in their zeal to open the upstairs
bedroom doors by force. We shouted at them, but they stood there and

And they stood and watched us for hours and hours and hours. 16 hours
to be precise, 16 hours of the NYPD and FBI traipsing through our
house, confiscating our lives in a fishing expedition related to the
G20 protests of September 24th and 25th. The search warrant, when we
were finally allowed to read it, mentioned violation of federal
rioting laws and was vague enough to allow the entire house to be
searched. They kept repeating that we were not arrested, that we were
free to go. But being free meant being watched by the FBI, monitored
while using the bathroom, not allowed to make phone calls for hours or
to observe them ransacking our rooms. Being free meant they took two
of us away on bullshit summonses, and even though this was our house,
where we lived, if we left, we could not re-enter.

Three of us stayed to the bitter end. Three of us stayed to watch the
hazmat team come in to investigate a child’s chemistry set, to see
them search the garage on an additional warrant, to sign vouchers for
all the things they confiscated as “evidence”—Curious George plush
toys, artwork, correspondence with political prisoner Daniel McGowan,
birth certificates, passports, the entire video archive of a local
media collective, tax records, books, computers, storage devices, cell
phones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs, flags, banners, posters,
photographs and more than can be recounted here.

The apparent impetus for this raid came over a week ago, when two
members of our household were arrested, once again at gunpoint, in the
suburbs of Pittsburgh. They are accused of being devious masterminds,
of “directing” the rollicking G-20 protests, of using technology such
as Twitter to “hinder apprehension” of protesters. The two were held
on bail, one fetching the ridiculous amount of $30,000 cash, and
released 36 hours later after the bond was posted. As of this moment,
no additional charges have been levied against the two, nor against
any other housemates in the aftermath of the raid.

As anarchists, we are under no illusions about what the State is
capable of. We are not the first anarchists to have our house raided,
and unfortunately as long as the State remains, we will not be the
last. We are, along with other targeted individuals like David
Japenga, the outlets for the impotent rage the authorities feel when
they lose control, as they did during the G-20 in Pittsburgh. We, that
beautiful we, that include Tortuga House and all who find affinity
with us, refuse the rigid forms the authorities try and cram a world
bursting with infinite possibilities into—He is not a leader, she did
not act alone, they are not being directed. Repression is a strategy
that the state uses to put us on the defensive, to divert our energies
from being a proactive force and instead deal with the terms it has
set. We will not lie and say this has not left us reeling, but as time
and our dizziness pass, we know that friends surround us. Our resolve
is strengthened by this solidarity, and we will not be deterred by
this state aggression.

We wish to thank all of our friends and comrades who have stood by us
in these difficult few days. Our lawyer filed an injunction on the
raid the next morning (October 2nd) that was surprisingly granted- it
forbids the authorities from fishing through our belongings until we
head back to court on the 16th. In the weeks and months to come we
will do our best to share developments as they occur. If you want to
keep in touch or find out how you can help please email us at: tortugadefense@gmail.com

Saturday, 3 October 2009

A Cup of Coffee and a Quick Chat

I’m supposing that people blogging about not posting in their blogs is about as tiresome as writers writing about writing.

So, here’s a bunch of things I should have written about, crammed into one post:

I have a new car.  Her name is Ann, and she’s a silver 1.4 Renault Clio.  I had to drive two hours to Manchester to view her, because there are no used car dealers in North Wales which deal in my price range.  I picked up her for £1,100 from a father and son team who prove that stereotypes do, actually, exist in the real world.  Picture father and son used car dealers in Greater Manchester, and you’re there.  She needs a few things fixing, but nothing major.  She also has remote central locking, which is a great pleasure for me.  I still grin like a schoolboy every time I press the switch.  I grew up in the eighties, and, well, remote central locking ranks up there with the Porch 911s with the whale-tail spoilers on the back.  Soon as I’m famous, I’m going to get me one of those, too.

Because I brought a new car, it transpired that Allegra and I were locked out after a night out with friends from work.  The house keys got left in Stevie (our old car) when we left him in Manchester for the tender touch of the scrapper, so we’d been  using the spare keys for the last week or so.  I didn’t pick up the spare key before leaving the house.  Normally, we leave the back door open.  However, we’d just come back from Lincoln, and not unlocked the door yet.  We normally have a Velux window open, but having just come back from Lincoln we’d shut them all tight.  Did you know there’s only one locksmith in our area?  We do, now.     After a half-hour trying to find some to let us in at midnight, we crashed on ngaio’s floor--which was especially kind of her, considering she had her in-laws staying at the time.  The morning was spent ringing around until £65 later we went to bed at half mid-day.  We now have several spare keys, ngaio looking after one of them for us.

Allegra has arranged an amazing gig in Oxford on the 14th December, with Sunday Driver, Ghostfire and The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing all on the same bill.  Lady Spagthorpe will be giving dancing classed during the day.  As we will be too busy organising during the day to attend, we will be traveling to Lady Spagthorpe’s place in York for some private tuition. 

I have two Feathers stories in my head which need writing, Stormy Weather is where I left it last time we talked, and I still have a story in my notebook from Scotland which needs attention.  And that’s before we mention Bambi.  I’m becoming a very bad writer, and I’m feeling the shame.

I can’t tell you the reason why I’m neglecting my duties, in true Wil Wheaton style.  It’s a super-special project I’ve been working on and feeding all my time to.  I should be able to show you next week, if all goes well.