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Thread: Sherman Austin

  1. #1
    Mr. Blunt's Avatar n00b
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    SHERMAN AUSTIN SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN FEDERAL PRISON

    Sherman Austin, webmaster of RaisetheFist.com, was sentenced today, August 4, 2003, to one year in federal prison, with three years of probation. Judge Wilson shocked the courtroom when he went against the recommendation of not only the prosecution, but the FBI and the Justice Department, who had asked that Austin be sentenced to 4 months in prison, and 4 months in a half-way house, with 3 years of probation.

    Austin's probation stipulates, among other things, that (1) he cannot possess or access a computer of any kind without prior approval of his probation officer, (2) if his probation officer gives permission, the equipment is subject to monitoring and is subject to search and seizure at any time, without notice, (3) he cannot alter any of the software or hardware on any computer he uses, (4) he must surrender his phone, DSL, electric, and satellite bills, (5) he cannot associate with any person or group that seeks to change the government in any way (be that environmental, social justice, political, economic, etc.), and (6) he must pay over $2,000 in fines and restitution. Austin must surrender himself to the Federal Bureau of Prisons by September 3, 2003.

    To contact sherman, email keepfistraised@yahoo.com

    FROM SHERMAN AUSTIN:

    On Jan 24, 2002 , my home was surrounded and raided by approximately 25 heavily armed FBI and Secret Service agents in one of the governments first attempts to exercise the new US Patriot Act. I was interrogated for several hours while they ransacked my room and they seized a network of computers which I used to run my web site raisethefist.com. They also seized protest signs, and political literature. Their excuse was a protest guide (which I didn't author) that was posted to my site which a small portion contained information on explosives. The FBI had been monitoring the site long before this was ever posted, and long before Sept 11. The "explosives information" on my site (again which I didn't author) doesn't compare to what you an find on any other web sites such as howthingswork.com, Loompanics.com, Bombshock.com, Totse.com, Amazon.com, or the many neo nazi web sites which cover everything from assassinations, explosives, fraud and firearms. It's obvious a web surfer interested in making a bomb or taking part in other extra-illegal activities would not have to rely on Raisethefist.com. So how could the "bomb making information" on raisethefist.com be a concern to authorities? It wasn't a concern, it was simply used an excuse to exercise the new Patriot Act and take down the site. And that's what they did when federal agents spent 5-6 hours interrogating me while they disassembled each computer one by one , mirrored each hard drive, then loaded everything into a big white truck. During this whole process I was told I wasn't going to be arrested, and that I could even leave if I wanted to. Once the agents finished packing everything up, Special Agent John I. Pi, who was conducting the investigation and raid said that I had crossed a line, and as long as I got back on the other side of that line I'd be okay.

    A week later despite what happened I still continued with my plans to attend the demonstration against the World Economic Forum in NY. As I was waiting for the march to begin, a swarm of NYPD officers rushed straight at me and scooped up about 26 people, one of which was me. We sat on a bus for 7 hours before being taken to Brooklyn Navy Yard Jail. I was there for about 30 hours before I was taken out of my cell and put into a backroom in handcuffs and interrogated once again by the FBI and Secret Service for several hours. They asked me questions such as if I was a terrorist or involved in any terrorist organizations. During the interrogation I noticed more and more agents walking through the room. I was told I wouldn't leave custody unless they searched my car. I said I had nothing to hide and simply wanted to go home. Stressed and aggravated, I signed over my keys. A few minutes later I was driven to the court and released. As I was waiting for someone to pick me up, about 5 FBI agents entered the court and said I was arrested for "distribution of information related to explosives over the internet". One of the agents grabbed my neck and told me to shut the fuck up while I tried to tell one of the legal observers I was being arrested. I was hurried out of the court house into a black SUV where I was driven to a federal building. I was then taken to lower Manhattan MCC maximum security 24 hour lockdown federal jail facility. At my bail hearing the FBI called me a "man on a mission" and said I drove 3,000 miles to carry out my alleged "plot". The judge said I was a "threat to the community" and denied me bail, and I was to be extradited back to California to face my charges. After 11 days I was shackled and taken to an airforce base where federal inmates are boarded onto planes surrounded by guards with M16's and shot guns, like prisoners of war, and flown to a federal jail "hub" in Oklahoma. Once I got there, I learned the next day that the prosecutors decided not to file an indictment. I was released after spending 13 days in custody. When I got back to Los Angeles I put raisethefist.com back up almost immediately. I continued my political organizing within the community, as well as my work with Raise the Fist which developed into a Direct Action Network with chapters setup around the world. 6 months later prosecutors contacted my lawyer and said they found nothing to prosecute me for on my computers, but didn't want to "let me off the hook". They offered me a pre-indictment binding plea agreement which was initially 1 month in jail, and 5 months in a "community corrections facility". I rejected the plea at first, wanting to go to trial until we discovered the case was eligible for a terrorism enhancement, which could have added 20 years to my sentence.

    I therefore decided to enter a plea. I played months of legal limbo until I finally expected to get sentenced to 4 months in jail and 4 months in a community corrections facility based on the final pre-sentencing report written by the USPO. The judge rejected the 4 months saying what kind of an example would it set for "future revolutionaries" wanting to act in the same manner. He stated he wanted to give me at least 8-10 months but first wanted the opinion of the Justice Department and the Director of the FBI in Washington, DC (Robert Muller). My sentencing was rescheduled several times until August 4th. I was convicted for felony; distribution of information related to explosives with intent, and sentenced to 1 year in federal prison with 3 years supervised release.

    Distribution of information related to explosives is not illegal.. What's illegal is the INTENT part. They have to prove you have intent to use the information to cause further crime of violence .. and how do they prove intent? I think Bush made it clear when he said "you're either with me or against me".

    Remember, fascism and a police state doesn't come all at once, it comes piece by piece. How far will we allow it go until we are all locked up in concentration camps.

    If we don't take matters into our own hands and do something about this now, then we are already prisoners of war.

    Raisethefist.com is not shutting down, and the RTF Direct Action Network will continue to grow and remain active. A 1 year sentence is not the end of this. It's just the begining.



    NEW from the Indymedia newswire: Sherman DID NOT author the Reclaim Guide.

    Listen to the KillRadio.Org Interview with Sherman from August 6, 2003.
    Listen to two Radio4All interviews with Sherman Austin, 7/10/03 and 8/8/03.

    See Photos: Portraits of a Gentle Fighter.
    See Cartoon: Railroaded.

    Read about Sherman's case: In his own words.
    From the Indymedia newswire: Lady Liberty Shot in the Foot...Again.
    From the Indymedia newswire: A Message About Sherman.
    Press Release From: Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Press Release From: Online Policy Group.

    Background Information: What the FBI Doesn't Want You to See at RaisetheFist.com.
    Background Information: Cryptome.org.

    EMERGENCY BENEFIT TO HELP SHERMAN

    --------------------

    It's sad that it has to be this way. There's a big difference between an opposition and a terrorist. In my opinion, although any terrorist act should be punished, the 9-11 attack is used to justify more (governmental) actions than neccesary or even logical. How I feel towards the actions Bush is currently undertaking: it looks just too much as if he's going for global domination, one after the other country must obey his every wish without room for negotiation (as a result of 9-11) My biggest concern is for those people, who live in those countries, those who have to pay the real price. And then, I hardly see any American intervention in Africa where half of the continent country suffers from rebellions and other kinds of war. But then again, they don't have any interesting natural resources do they?

    Putting Sherman in jail is not going to stop anyone from posting bomb infomation, because one can purchase plenty of practical information at Amazon.com, such as Home Workshop Explosives, or the Improvised Munitions Black Book.
    And one can't forget William Powell's 30+ year old Anarchist Cookbook; be sure to read the this Salon article and the author's own comments posted on the Amazon page.

    For weapons of mass destruction (chemical and biological), Amazon offers Silent Death, Second Edition, the reference supposedly used by the Aum cult.

    Public libraries are also much better sources of explosives information than the pathetic Reclaim Guide.

    Even CNN is happy to share a pipe bomb recipe with curious readers, apparently without legal repercussions. But this does not mean that the statute mentioned above has no use. It can be used to pile additional charges on someone whom the government wants to prosecute for other reasons. Whether that is a legitimate purpose for a statute is, I think, worthy of public debate.

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Arm's Avatar Poster
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    Well my dad did say Nazis will take over America before the socialists do. Land of the free my ass!

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    The original post is quite long, and seemingly comprehensive; a sure indication some important relevancies were omitted.

    I await more information that I don't have to chase down on my own.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
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    Since when does the Defence have to dig up the Prosecuters evidence?

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
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    I'm finding it difficult to see the point of this.

    The chap pled guilty to an offence and has been sentenced for it.

    Is that it, or am I missing something important here.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
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    Someone posted something on his Message Board.....not him.

    The content that was posted was minor, and worse is much widely available (hell..I have the Anarchists Cookbook)

    He was only prosecuted because of who he is.....ie Politics.


    You really must keep up JPaul....

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
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    But he pled guilty to the offence, which means he is guilty.

    He was then sentenced, within the limits for the offence.

    So what's the problem.

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    FuNkY CaPrIcOrN's Avatar Poster
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    Originally posted by JPaul@14 August 2003 - 15:13
    But he pled guilty to the offence, which means he is guilty.

    He was then sentenced, within the limits for the offence.

    So what's the problem.
    I have to agree.....do the time.Publish a Book and sell the rights to a TV Movie when released.....make Millions and live good for the rest of your life.


    God Bless America.....I love this Country!!!

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
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    Originally posted by JPaul@14 August 2003 - 20:13
    But he pled guilty to the offence, which means he is guilty.

    He was then sentenced, within the limits for the offence.

    So what's the problem.
    That would be the case here...

    However over there they have this thing called "Plea Bargaining"....if you plead guilty to something else (even if innocent) you dont get charged with a greater offence.

    In this case they were threatening to charge him with something that would put him away for 20 years because someone else posted something on his board.

    The plea bargain he agreed to would have put him in jail for a month (already served) and probation for a few months (unsupervised).....so he agreed and pleaded Guilty (despite not having done anything).

    The judge decided that he didnt like the terms of the Plea Bargain and wanted to make an example of the new laws....hence disregarded the agreement and Jailed him, followed by draconian Parole rules.


    He is in effect, a political prisoner in the "Land of the Free".


    And theis is civil not military.

    An It Harm None, Do What You Will

  10. The Drawing Room   -   #10
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    I am mulling a proposal to change the name of this section again.......
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

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