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Verified: FBI has raided anarchist site raisethefist.com



[I'm glad to see that Brian was the first (full-time) reporter to pick up
the phone and call the FBI. I'm in Malta right now and not in a position
to do long-distance research myself. Indymedia proponents have been
telling me, correctly, in private email that they were the first site to
publish news of the raid. The problem is that anyone can post anything on
Indymedia, so an appearance on such a site by itself is not more credible
than a Usenet post or barroom gossip. Some threads are researched and
include legitimate news reporting; others are mere rants. Below "sf
imcista" tells us we can email imc-sf-editorial@indymedia.org if we want
to tell the difference, but that's not a great solution for individual
readers. --Declan]

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 00:48:44 -0500
From: Brian McWilliams <brian@pc-radio.com>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: Re: FC: Why no confirmation on raisethefist.com reported raid?

Declan,

The FBI has confirmed the raid but has not yet charged Sherman Austin, the 
18-year-old operator of Raisethefist.com.

The warrant was issued on the basis of the bomb information published at 
the site and several alleged instances of computer abuse & fraud 
(defacements) by Austin.

Story going up shortly at Newsbytes.com.

Brian

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 08:12:50 -0500
From: Brian McWilliams <brian@pc-radio.com>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: FBI Raid Silences Teen Anarchist's Site

Declan,

Here's that story.

Brian

+++

FBI Raid Silences Teen Anarchist's Site
http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/174092.html

SHERMAN OAKS, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A.,
31 Jan 2002, 12:15 AM CST
In a case that may test limits on Internet free speech in the wake of Sept. 
11, armed federal agents last week raided the home of a Los Angeles 
teenager suspected of hacking into several Web sites to post anarchist 
messages and using his own site, Raisethefist.com, to publish bomb-making 
information.

Sherman Martin Austin, 18, is believed to have violated federal computer 
fraud and abuse laws, as well as statutes prohibiting the distribution of 
bomb-making information, according to an FBI affidavit.

FBI agents conducted the raid on the afternoon of Jan. 24 at the Sherman 
Oaks residence owned by Austin's mother after receiving a federal warrant. 
The agents seized several computers and documents, according to an FBI 
spokesperson.

In an interview Wednesday, Austin told Newsbytes he was interrogated for 
more than six hours but has not yet been charged with any crimes.

[snip]

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 16:03:01 -0600
From: Jay Edwards <jayed@jayed.com>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: More raisethefist.com links

Well, slashdot has put something out at:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/01/31/1820238

That story has a link to LA Weekly at:

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/11/new-mikulan.shtml (middle of the page)

This story relies heavily on the www.newsbyte.com posting.  

Jay Edwards

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 02:34:45 
From: Bodhi Man <bodhiman@hotmail.com>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: Re: FC: Why no confirmation on raisethefist.com reported raid?

I am the person who reported the closure of the RATM.com website back in 
august to the LA times.  The raisethefist.com site provided a fan photo 
album for the RATM.com site.  RATM.com BB was closed due to secret service 
pressure on INFOPOP, the host for RATM.com in wake of the sept. 11 attacks.

I know the owner of raisethe fist.com because of my membership at ratm.com.  
His name is sherman, he goes by the name of "antigovernment" or "anti" for 
short.  He is african american and wears a black mask at all of his protests 
which included the BIODEV in San Diego couple months ago.

This is no hoax.  if he says he got raided, it is for real.  I have 
confirmation from several other activists in the los angeles area that this 
did occur.  matthew dickinson

---

Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 20:26:58 -0800
From: mark burdett <mark@linefeed.org>
To: declan@well.com
Subject: RAISETHEFIST.COM

> I hope that you're enjoying your touristy-stuff.  When I lived in
> Europe, Turkey was one of my favorite vacation spots -- different enough
> to be interesting without being so foreign as to be difficult to adjust
> to.

> I've done a few quick google searches about the supposed raid.  I found
> mentions of it on all of the indymedia (of course) sites, kuro5hin,
> mediageek and a few personal web sites.  All of these sites use the same
> two articles as their primary source.

> I checked to LA Times website and there are seven articles that mention
> "FBI" and "raid" since Januray 23, 2002.  None of these articles have
> anything to do with raisethefist.com.

> This seems to be some type of hoax. It's a wee bit hard to think that
> no reputable news agency (or even slashdot) hasn't mentioned this.

San Francisco Indymedia reporters confirmed the story with the FBI on
Friday, Jan 25.  If anyone has doubts please call the FBI and re-confirm
it.

The FBI/Anti-Terrorism Task Force did not issue a press release or hold a
press conference on the raid, therefore there has been no corporate media
coverage; i.e. the they are trying to keep it quiet.  I wonder why?

--mark B.

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 07:33:47 
From: mike sysiuk <msysiuk@hotmail.com>
To: declan@well.com, politech@politechbot.com
Subject: Why no confirmation on raisethefist.com reported raid?

FYI,

Mike

CIA Sabotage Manual:

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Opening/7482/cia1.html
http://www.smog.net/curiosities/sabotage/

Numerous links to web archives of much of Raise the Fist's content can be 
found in the articles below.

ALERT: Feds Shut Down Protest Site; Smear Campaign Underway
by Freedom Corps. Free Speech Protection Departm 3:22pm Wed Jan 30 '02 
(Modified on 4:27pm Wed Jan 30 '02)


Jan. 23, 2002 - Heavily armed federal officers raided a private home in L.A. 
and confiscated all traces of RaiseTheFist.com, an activist web site with an 
Indymedia-style format. Software, computers, web servers, backups, and other 
materials were hauled away by FBI, Secret Service, and LAPD agents. 
Corporate media remain silent on the story, in which no one was arrested and 
no charges have been filed. Links to upcoming WEF protest information and 
resources for protesters were among RaiseTheFist.com's alternative news 
coverage, lost in Bush's War on Free Speech, one week before the WEF 
protests begin.

Jan. 23, 2002 - Heavily armed federal officers raided a private home in L.A. 
and confiscated all traces of RaiseTheFist.com, an activist web site with an 
Indymedia-style format. Software, computers, web servers, backups, and other 
materials were hauled away by FBI, Secret Service, and LAPD agents. Police 
encountered no resistance during the raid on the First Amendment. Corporate 
media remain silent on the story, in which no one was arrested and no 
charges have been filed.

Early reports of the raid:
http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/01/114428.php
http://thehacktivist.com/article.php?sid=278

FBI confirms raid with SF Indymedia:
http://indybay.org/news/2002/01/114474.php

SF and LA Indymedias are following the story:
http://sf.indymedia.org/
http://la.indymedia.org/

Links to upcoming WEF protest information and resources for protesters were 
among RaiseTheFist.com's alternative news coverage, lost in Bush's War on 
Free Speech, one week before the WEF protests begin:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=site%3Araisethefist.com+WEF
Some activists foresee the feds misrepresenting the web site's content in 
the corporate media smear campaign on WEF protests.

What the FBI Doesn't Want You to See at RaiseTheFist.com:
http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/raisethefist/

Post-raid interview with RTF's 18-year-old webmaster. Web logs prior to the 
raid showed extensive government monitoring of the web site.
http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/01/114583.php
http://politechbot.com/p-03075.html

Allegations from the fed's search warrant:
http://politechbot.com/p-03066.html

Local activists in L.A. are calling for solidarity protests
http://la.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=14372

and a temporary defense fund has been set up for RaiseTheFist's defense:
http://la.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=14503

In the latest report from SF Indymedia, webmaster "Sherman" is busy trying 
to get his web site back up (see comments):
http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2002/01/114770.php

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 09:42:51 -0600
From: "Quinn, SallyAnn" <SallyAnn.Quinn@westgroup.com>
To: "'declan@well.com'" <declan@well.com>, politech@politechbot.com
Subject: RE: Why no confirmation on raisethefist.com reported raid?

This story is reported in a respected Italian daily, La Repubblica (Rome)
http://www.repubblica.it/news/ired/ultimora/rep_nazionale_175851.htm
It doesn't mention the raisethefist name, but it could be relevant.

Translation:
Federal agents <recently> conducted a raid on a group of teenage
anti-globalization hackers.
The raid was carried out on 24 January in Los Angeles but confirmation by
the FBI
was only issued today.  FBI agents entered the home of 18 year old Sherman
Martin Austin,
suspected of having posted anarchist messages and information on how to
build a bomb
on his website.  Agents confiscated his computer and several documents.
Austin may be
charged with computer fraud and dissemination of bombmaking instructions.
The teenager, who
claims to be a member of an antiglobalization group, bitterly condemned the
use of firearms
by agents.  "They surrounded my home with machine guns and shotguns while
wearing bulletproof
vests.  They had more firepower than they typically use againt street gangs
or in drug busts."
Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesman for the FBI, confirmed that the agents
participating in 
the raid were heavily armed.  "We made sure they were protected.  We don't
conduct raids
using slingshots.", said McLaughlin. <End> 

..

Sally Ann Quinn, Software Test Engineer
The West Group
150 State Street, Rochester, NY  14614
Mail Drop B8-3
(716) 231-6052
SallyAnn.Quinn@Westgroup.com

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 07:47:58 -0800
From: mark burdett <mark@linefeed.org>
To: declan@well.com
Cc: ACLUinfo@aclu-sc.org
Subject: laweekly.com report on raisethefist.com raid

The media has been nearly silent for 7 days since a prominent LA-based
activist website was shutdown by the Los Angeles Anti-Terrorism Task
Force.  On the afternoon of Jan. 24, 20 well-armed agents of the FBI,
Secret Service, and LAPD served a 25-page search warrant on the San
Fernando Valley residence of 18-year-old programmer/activist Sherman. 
By the end of the evening, federal agents had driven off with the
entire home computer network that hosted http://www.raisethefist.com/
and laanarchists.org
(http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:www.laanarchists.org/) -
including 8 computers and even the DSL modem.

Sherman, who prefers to use only his surname, 'had bomb-making
information on his website, which under the terms of the Patriot Act
is illegal,' FBI Spokesman Matthew McLaughlin told the LA Weekly,
which published a news report on Jan. 31
(http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/11/new-mikulan.shtml).  Sherman,
however, was not arrested, and is now working on restoring his
websites from an old backup while he awaits further legal developments
(http://la.indymedia.org/display.php3?article_id=14555).

The RTF raid was first reported late Jan. 24 on Indymedia, the network
of open-publishing news sites.  It was confirmed the next day by
Indymedia volunteers in San Francisco, who spoke with Cheryl Mimura
from the Los Angeles FBI Field Office.  Mimura described an ongoing
investigation into 'computer fraud and abuse' as well as 'distribution
of information related to explosives, destructive devices, and/or
weapons of mass destruction,' and confirmed that the site had been
'shutdown' -- but declined to provide Sherman's full name or any other
information, since no arrests had been made.

Over the weekend an interview with Sherman appeared on Kuro5hin
(http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/1/26/112847/742#71), in which he
denied that anything illegal was hosted on his servers, describing
himself as a victim of an FBI attempt 'to silence' his increasingly
popular, allbeit politically-'radical' websites.  Sherman's take on
the episode rings true in light of comments by FBI agents that it was
the particularly 'militant,' anarchic content he hosted that
precipitated the investigation and raid.

Within days over a dozen reports were circulating on various e-mail
lists and websites.  Mysteriously, however, no mainstream media had
picked up the story...  Was this course of events perhaps all
according to plan? Given the absence of the usual FBI press conference
or press release after a successful anti-terrorism operation, and
possible first ammendment implications of the case, it does appear
that the FBI is hoping to keep a lid on the story.

Needless to say, all manner of treasonous banter, bomb recipes, and
worse are available on newsgroup archives (such as
http://groups.google.com/), as well as current listserv and discussion
sites...  One wonders which website(s) the FBI will target next.

The Los Angeles Anti-Terrorism Task Force was christened shortly after
the events of Sep. 11 (http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/cac/pr2001/141.html),
and includes remnants of the Joint Terrorism Task Force cobbled
together to oversee security for the 1984 Olympics.  The now
nationwide Anti-Terrorism Task Forces enjoy greatly enhanced power and
prestige since the Patriot Act was signed into law on Oct. 26, 2001. 
This 'homeland security' measure not only expanded police powers of
surveillance and 'secret searches,' but also redefined a variety of
low-level computer crimes as 21st-century 'terrorism'
(http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/Terrorism_militias/20011031_eff_usa_patriot_analysis.html).

--mark Burdett
http://sf.indymedia.org/

---

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 16:03:43 -0800 (PST)
From: sf imcista <anarchocipher@yahoo.com>
To: jayed@jayed.com
Cc: declan@well.com
Subject: raisethefist.com

"It's a wee bit hard to think that no reputable news
agency (or even slashdot) hasn't mentioned this."

Think again. Indymedia broke this story first. In
addition, members of the San Francisco Indymedia
Editorial Collective researched and provided
confirmation from the Los Angeles FBI Field Office.
Apparently, this isn't "reputable" enough, so finally,
a corporate media source has picked up this story and
spoken with the FBI:
http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/174092.html

There's lots of references to Washington Post and
other corporate media symbols on there, so their
decades of branding will make you feel better about
this being a hoax. 

In the future, you can email
imc-sf-editorial@indymedia.org if you are wondering
about the authenticity of items which appear on the
site. They can tell you one way or another if it has
been researched, verified, etc. I don't believe you
did this ... you just emailed Declan, who reposted
something from indymedia.

I don't know why you are so surprised that corporate
media lets stories like these go. Indymedia is filled
with verified (and yet suppressed) incidents which do
not even make politechbot's radar.
 
---

From resist@best.com Fri Feb  1 02:00:29 2002
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 14:41:52 -0800
From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
To: DECLAN@well.com
Subject: raisethefist.com info

Declan,

You've probably done some research already, but here's some more info:

-- a WHOIS lookup provides the following for raisethefist.com
	
	Joseph Parker
	2871 King Ave.
	L.A., CA  91423

	Admin/Tech:
	Sherman Austin <uca@netzero.net>
	818-986-4498

	Server: ns1.2cp.com

Comment: Joseph Parker and the King Ave. address appear to be fake. There 
is no King Ave. in the 91423 zip code (Sherman Oaks area).

-- Google has the site cached:

<http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:1VAuHhlAQ_MC:www.raisethefist.com/index1.html+&hl=en>

	About raisethefist
<http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:M4w6eQ9It7sC:www.raisethefist.com/news.cgi%3Fartical%3Daboutus.html+&hl=en> 


	Contact raisethefist
<http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:V4Pi4VavtTQC:www.raisethefist.com/news.cgi%3Fartical%3Dcontact.html+&hl=en> 



-- examining the cache uncovers the following addresses:

	mailing addresses for raisethefist:

	Raise The Fist
	PMB 239
	3940 Laural Canyon Blvd
	Los Angeles, CA 91604

	&	

	Raise The Fist
	POB 1367
	Alamogordo, NM  88310-1367

-- and further uncovered

http://quicksitebuilder.cnet.com/punkandroll/Politics/id11.html

	to send donations to raisethefist (via credit card):

	Don White
	POB 27061
	L.A. CA  90027
	(323) 658-6846

-- Simon Jester appears to be connected to the site somehow

	<putser@yahoo.com>

--also of interest:

	--Chuck Munson <chuck@tao.ca> criticism of raisethefist:
	http://www.ainfos.ca/d/ainfos00140.html

	--raisethefist looking for photos for database of undercover cops
	http://rockymountain.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=1568&group=webcast

Whoever the guy is/was, he used the following email address:
	<revolution@raisethefist.com>





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