Radio Free Brattleboro is a community-owned low-power pirate FM radio station. Federal marshalls seized RFB's equipment at 6:58 this morning, using a warrant issued in Burlington. Got an email with a quote from James Maxwell, RFB's attorney:
“This is on one level no surprise. The FCC has run out of patience with the regular court process in Brattleboro and has gone elsewhere for the relief it seeks, namely, a chance to get the U.S. Marshals into the station to grab the equipment. Radio free brattleboro has a case with substantial and legitimate legal issues pending in the federal court here in Brattleboro, and the station has also applied to the FCC for a waiver to broadcast, and it has repeatedly stated that when the newly licensed 100-watt station is up and running it would step aside.
Rfb does not operate in defiance of government but rather from the belief of its members and listeners that community radio is essential to good government and democratic process....Nevertheless, it is very much a surprise that the FCC has done an end run around the court here in Brattleboro and obtained a warrant from Burlington—even while diverting our attention by applying for summary judgment here. It has undertaken these clever maneuvers, in my opinion, not because it must shut down the station but because it can shut down the station. For there is no harm whatsoever being done by rfb, while there surely is harm being done to a civil society by the broadcast and cable and satellite conglomerates whose idea of serving the public is to process entertainment, information and advertisements for mass consumption, which is to say for no one at all. It’s a sad and disappointing day, but of course we will explore our options.”