imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

latest news
best of news



CopWatch LA


A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network: africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Raise the Fist case far from over

by EFI Monday, Jul. 11, 2005 at 9:07 PM

Raise the Fist case far from over

Interview with Sherman Austin , founder of Raise the Fist , former webmaster of

Raise the Fist case ...
smallraid.gif, image/png, 250x139

On Aug 4, 2003 Sherman Austin was sentenced to a year in federal prison by judge Steven V. Wilson for a link he had on his web site ( to another page that contained information on explosive materials which he did not author. Austin was also sentenced to 3 years of strict probation in which he cannot have access to a computer or knowingly associate with any individuals or organizations who espouse violence for political or social change.. This of course to be determined by the government when and wherever they choose. Aside from this Austin continues to face harassment from local and federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI who for the past 11 months have denied the return of Austin's property which was seized from his home on the Jan 24 2002 raid by 25 well-armed FBI and Secret Service agents from the joint-terror task force. We speak with Austin about the latest developments in his case..

- Where does your case stand now?

Since my release we have been trying to get the computers back which were taken in the 2002 raid. Only a few months before I was released the FBI agreed to return the computers. My mom and my brother went to pick them up with the assistance of legal council. When they arrived special agent John I. Pi [head FBI agent on the case] made sure all of the hard drives were removed before giving them back. When confronted about this he said that all the data was being destroyed. We decided to hire a private lawyer to pursue this more aggressively. Since then the FBI has given us absolutely nothing but the runaround. Lies would accurate actually. When we requested that the data be returned a second time the FBI said the DA had it and was reviewing it for the possible state charges.

[6 months before Austin's release the FBI refered his case to the DA's office in downtown Los Angeles in attempt to prosecute him on a state level for the same charges they brought against him on a federal level.]

So my lawyer contacted the DA's office and they said they never received any physical data. They never have any hard drives. In fact all they had were hard copy print-outs handed to them by the FBI. So my lawyer consulted with the US Attorney, Ron Castro Silva and asked that the items be returned immediately because there was no reason for them to remain in the possession of the FBI. The FBI then grouped all of the hard drives together as "contraband" as an excuse not to return them.. of course ignoring the fact that several of the hard drives had absolutely nothing on them except music I had worked on. This nonsense with the FBI and US Attorney went back and forth, and continued to drag on. Every time we made a request they purposely waited months to respond hoping that we would forget about the hard drives seized from the raid which by the way proved that they fabricated evidence in numerous documents and lied to the court to successfully lock me up stick me with a felony conviction. We asked that the FBI make a list of which items were contraband and which were not. We waited and waited but received no response. Months later we finally heard back from the US Attorney who said SA John I. Pi hadn't been in the office recently because his father was apparently in the hospital and died. This was after 6 months of waiting. It took 6 months for them to wait for some event to come up as an excuse to buy time. My lawyer filed a complaint against John I. Pi with the head chief at the Department of Justice. They responded and said that if John Pi did not respond within 2 weeks there would be disciplinary actions. We waited almost another 2 months until the FBI finally got back and said they hadn't finished analyzing all the data and there was one last piece of data they had to analyze before submitting their analysis report. We waited.

Finally after waiting 11 months we received an analysis report which was nothing but a duplicate of the listed items seized but categorizing all the hard drives as "contraband". The date on the report read March 2005. We received it 2 months later in May. They gave us the runaround for 11 months and I doubt they did it just for kicks. They did it because they were nervous about the fact that we persisted in having the hard drives returned. So they had to buy time. If you ask me they destroyed the hard drives along time ago when John I. Pi initially said they did which was 6 months before I was even released from custody. This means they destroyed evidence prematurely. I think that's one of the main reasons they couldn't get the DA to charge me on a state level. They screwed up. If you ask me this messiness of not covering up lies to well has been consistent with John I. Pi's and the rest of the FBI's investigation. It's even in the 1500 pages of FBI discovery.. Where on one document it says that I admitted to authoring the web page with bomb making information on it known as "The Reclaim Guide" when in fact I had nothing to do with authoring, creating or implementing this site in any way. On another page in the discovery which they apparently forgot to black out it says Special Agent John I. Pi and another FBI agent paid a visit to the individual who actually did author the Reclaim Guide and all the explosives information and he even admitted to doing so. None of this was mentioned in court. None of this was mentioned to the judge. When it was mentioned to the US attorney Ron Castro Silva he said that I authored The Reclaim Guide. He lied. Where was he getting his information? Where else than from Special Agent John I. Pi. In cahoots with the head US attorney [his supervisor], the FBI, and John Ashcroft. All working together.

They didn't charge the individual who actually authored The Reclaim Guide with the explosives information on it and distributed it, as he stated, so the information could be used for an upcoming protest against the IMF. Instead they charged me with "Distribution of information related to explosives or weapons of mass destruction with the intent that it be used in a federal crime of violence". This is why they do not want to return the hard drives. It proves their guilt, it proves their cover-up, it proves their fabrication, it proves the injustice. At this point I'm trying to have a motion filed before the court for the return of the hard drives but I don't know what likely-hood of that will be since my legal funds have been pretty much depleted.

- Have the stipulations of your probation or the nature of your felony conviction caused any problems since your release?

Well yes that really goes for any convicted felon getting out of prison and entering back into society. Especially if you're young and black or any person of color in america you've already got it hard as it is. You think it's hard enough trying to make ends meat in this world just wait until they slap you with that felony. They lock you up for a while and throw you back out to society with little or no foundation. What are you gunna do? Why do you think so many people go right back to hustling or whatever got them in locked up in the first place. I went through 5 jobs in 2 months. I was literally hired and fired once in the same day because of my felony. Before this case I worked as a free-lance web developer and I had been doing that since I was 14. That was the only job I had to support myself. That was taken away as part of stipulations of my probation. Why? I wasn't convicted for any kind of hacking, I didn't damage anything. It's because they're so afraid of having me near a computer because they saw what happened when I used one. They saw what happened with Raise the Fist and perhaps that did do some damage. People's voices were heard. It became a matter of national security. The computer restrictions had less to do with actually using a computer and more to do with making sure I remained silent. This was a political matter. It's always a political matter, that's how the injustice system works. 75% of the prison population is black, they lock you up and strip you from society, they set you in traps fit for poverty to keep you in the never-ending system of incarceration. People are railroaded by this system every day. I've seen kids railroaded into 14 years because they don't have enough money for a private attorney. I think this case is a reflection of the problems we all face.

- Have you faced any harassment from law enforcement because of your case since you've been out?

The typical harassment from law enforcement and the FBI continues. Not long ago I tried to speak at a college about my case at a peaceful Food Not Bombs benefit event and the FBI made some phone calls. Before I got there the campus police asked the organizers where I was on the freeway, how far away I was, and who I was coming with. They beefed up security at the school and had several squad cars one of which was unmarked circling the premises the entire night. Just recently I was detained for "terrorist ties" in Burbank after some cop pulled me over because he thought I had drugs on me. He learned I was on probation for distribution of information related to explosives or weapons of mass destruction after he ran my name on the computer which showed him "terrorist ties". Two more units showed up before he searched my pockets and wallet as well as my car asking if I had any explosives on me.

- Are there any plans for an appeal in court? Do you think the anti-war movement is playing a significant role in stopping situations like yours from happening in the future?

Once you sign a plea you cannot appeal it. I was threatened with 20 years in prison under an additional terrorist enhancement if I didn't take a plea, and I didn't have the financial resources to acquire the appropriate legal council for trial. I was railroaded. I could challenge the constitutionality of the law since nobody else has been convicted under the same statue. It's clearly a violation of the first amendment. I think regardless of any appeal in court there will still be political repression, they'll keep locking people up on trumped up charges, prisons will continue to overflow, our communities will continue to be occupied by police forces, U.S imperialism will still exist. The only true appeal to injustice is revolution. We have to respond in the means that are required to address. I think the anti-war movement would be more successful in acquiring this notion. For instance the workers movement in Argentina says 'resist, occupy, produce , stop asking and start taking.' That's exactly what we have to do right here at home.

For more information on Sherman Austin's case visit

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 53 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Just a note Hex Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2005 at 4:37 AM
Other Data johnk Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2005 at 5:07 PM
Hard disk drives Fredric L. Rice Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2005 at 1:38 PM
Ho Hum fresca Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2005 at 1:59 PM
Missy Chop Chop Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2005 at 2:45 PM
once they got their paws on it Hex Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2005 at 10:26 PM
Los Angeles Government, Destroy It or Move, Support Revolutionaries Kurt Brown, SainTramBone Thursday, Jul. 14, 2005 at 6:17 AM
"a nuclear device go off in at least 18 cities" ?!? Fresca's Genitals Thursday, Jul. 14, 2005 at 6:27 AM
18 Cities eh? D Lucks Saturday, Sep. 24, 2005 at 6:53 PM
Sending Love From The Underground (E)ric! Sunday, Oct. 02, 2005 at 7:39 AM
Viva La Revolucion Skecth Poems Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006 at 4:22 AM
What?!? fresca Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006 at 6:04 PM
what? what? Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2006 at 4:14 PM
Yeah, but why him... --- Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2006 at 9:10 PM
X-evolution Ben borges Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 at 9:33 AM
Ms. Wilson Thursday, Mar. 02, 2006 at 9:09 AM
Nonya Nonya Sunday, Jul. 08, 2007 at 6:41 PM
Ron Paul? flacotheone Monday, Jul. 16, 2007 at 4:12 PM
1234 1234 Tuesday, Jul. 17, 2007 at 10:56 AM
ghd black mk4 moon01 Monday, Jan. 04, 2010 at 10:39 PM
ghd black mk4 moon01 Monday, Jan. 04, 2010 at 10:39 PM
MiuMiu Handbags on sale moon01 Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2010 at 12:00 AM
ugg bailey button moon01 Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2010 at 12:04 AM
ugg bailey button moon01 Tuesday, Jan. 05, 2010 at 12:05 AM

Freenet/Sone comments box:

This is a comment system called babcom, which is a decentralized, anonymous, encrypted, troll-resistant, comment system that runs atop Freenet. These comments are not stored on this IMC server - they exist in the Freenet cloud, and you must be running Freenet and Sone to see the comments. Install Freenet and try it out.

Use Node:

⚙ Babcom is trying to load the comments ⚙

This textbox will disappear when the comments have been loaded.

If the box below shows an error-page, you need to install Freenet with the Sone-Plugin or set the node-path to your freenet node and click the Reload Comments button (or return).

If you see something like Invalid key: There is no @ in that URI! (Sone/search.html), you need to setup Sone and the Web of Trust

If you had Javascript enabled, you would see comments for this page instead of the Sone page of the sites author.

Note: To make a comment which isn’t a reply visible to others here, include the red link below somewhere in the comment text.

Add this link to the comment:

Local News

Statement on Repression of Anarchist and Socialist Activity in Long Beach, CA J14 8:52AM

A Unique Theatrical Double Feature: “Dutchman” And “Train To Zakopane” At Edgemar Center J09 11:27AM

Occupy the Rose Parade: People’s Parade Follows Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade J03 12:51AM

Demo Against Repression Outside Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles D26 4:37PM

The Electrical Divide: car charger deserts D23 12:37PM

ADI awards Congressman Jim Moran the 2014 Animal Champion Award for his dedication to end D19 12:07PM

#BlackLivesMatter Massive Lawyer Die-In at Los Angeles Courthouse D16 10:11PM

Liberal Majority Passes Sheriff's Civilian Review Board D09 8:40PM

KPFK in fund drive, yet again , but in deeperin trouble D09 12:01PM

INDY lost lots of concerned poster D09 11:27AM


FREE Silver Lake Consensus, Collaboration & Conflict Resolution Workshop w/STARHAWK D02 8:06AM

Protesting Hewlett-Packard on Black Friday N30 10:48PM

Wayne Pharr, Elder Freeman, Passed On in 2014 N30 2:33AM

Some LA Ferguson Protest Links N27 12:35AM

Protests at fig and Washington N24 11:09PM

LA Protests Grand Jury Decision N24 9:40PM

Chris Dixon on Indymedia On Air N24 6:49PM




Winter 2014 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! N20 11:12PM

#UCLADivest N19 1:46AM

Ferguson verdict Monday? N16 1:42PM


Veterans Against Foreclosures Marches in San Fernando Veterans Day Parade N11 2:46PM

Disappeared Documentary in L.A N11 2:23PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Russia Counters US Big Lies with Hard Truths J27 3:02AM

Palimpseste sisyphéen J26 11:08PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen J26 11:05PM

Putin's Message to Washington on Ukraine J26 9:59AM

Rebirth of the One-Thousandth Society J26 4:30AM

Greek Election: Mixed Messages, Hold the Cheers J26 3:57AM

Some Of Those Touted As 2016 Presidential Candidates J25 1:00PM

America's War on Everything It Claims to Stand For J25 11:53AM

Marupol Shelling: Kiev's Latest False Flag? J25 4:19AM

Lunatics Run the Washington Asylum J24 10:57AM

Tao Te Ching J24 9:39AM

The Correlation Of Sexual Function To Diet J24 8:03AM

Pentagon Directing Kiev's War on Donbas? J24 4:09AM

Paraphysique de l'autorité J24 1:15AM

Do Not Submit! Republish the Mohammed Cartoons Everywhere. Here’s How. J23 10:25PM

Simon Says J23 11:40AM

Expect Dirty Business as Usual Following Saudi King's Death J23 11:09AM

Blood Sport Of Football Correlated To War, Domestic Violence, Player Deaths, Paralysis J23 8:15AM

NATO Commander Lies Claiming Possible Russian Invasion of Ukraine J23 3:55AM

Councilman calls out jewish Voice for Peace for blind naked anti-Semitism J22 9:27PM

The Shortwave Report 01/23/15 Listen Globally! J22 4:47PM

VIDEO: Opportunity Village Eugene, 5 min J22 4:32PM

Kiev State-Sponsored Murder in Donetsk J22 11:29AM

Proposed Congressional Legislative Sanctions on Iran J22 8:36AM

Baseless Accusations of Russian Troops in Ukraine J22 3:50AM

Hydroponie et tribologie J22 2:47AM

Russia Responds to Obama's Bombastic State of the Union Address J21 11:12AM

Israeli State Terror the Root Cause of Palestinian Blowback J21 8:55AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy