Patriot Act & Black Americans

written by Sherman Austin
edited, and posted by Akwala

On January 24, 2002 I was surrounded by 25 federal agents from the FBI and Secret
Service Los Angeles Joint Terror Task force while I was at home asleep taking a nap.
The agents were armed with sub-machine guns, shot guns, bullet-proof vests, a
battering ram, and a 25 page search and seizure warrant filled with as much “terror
rhetoric” as they could think of. While asleep I was unaware that agents were
already positioned around every angle of the house, including right outside my
window with loaded weapons ready for a fire fight. I was 18.

Fortunately my sister was home and woke me up to the news that “a bunch of FBI
looking people” in suites and vests were all over block and up and down the
streets. Every single one of them focused on the house. It had only been 2 years
since I started the site Raisethefist.com which was receiving thousands of hits
daily from around the world, many of those hits were also coming from the FBI, U.S
Department of Defense, NSA, Secret Service, and foreign government law agencies. I
was running the site on a computer network and a residential DSL line from my home.

The news was no surprise.

I got up. Looked at the servers hosting Raisethefist.com. They were off-line.
I approached the door where 2 special agents asked for my name, then grabbed my
shoulder and pulled me outside. Agents armed with their loaded sub-machine guns and
shot guns emerged from their hiding spots and entered the house. Just as they
walked in, “Its this way!” one of the agents said as he pointed his sub-machine gun
and led others to my room where the servers were.

The 2 special agents who greeted me at the door escorted me back inside and said
they had a search and seizure warrant because of my web site, Raisethefist.com. I
asked them how this was legal and they said it was now legal under the USA Patriot
Act.

I wasn’t being accused of authoring anything on raisethefist.com. I was being
accused of authoring a web site that was created by somebody else. A white kid. A
web site that contained a page on how to build home-made explosives. Again, a web
site I didn’t author, implement, or create in any way. The FBI insisted I did. They
asked me 7 times if I was the author of the site which contained this explosives
information. I said “NO”.

I had a link to this web site from Raisethefist.com , as I did to many other sites.
While my room was being ransacked. The “evidence” which consisted of computers,
protest signs, and political literature was loaded into boxes and placed into a big
white truck waiting outside.

The FBI tried to ask me questions about raisethefist.com. The FBI told my mother
they had been watching me for a very long time and my political haven’t changed. I
was asked if I’d like to see the president killed. I was told I had crossed over a
line and as long as I got back on the other side of that line everything would be
okay. In other words if I stayed silent and did what I was told there would be no
more trouble.

After approximately 6 hours the FBI agents left. We noticed a message on the
answering machine from a call that came in the same day but before the raid. It was
from an individual I hadn’t spoken to in 2 years. He left a message asking if I
wanted to “hang out”. A few weeks prior he sent me an email about going to an
anti-capitalist demonstration together to “smash the state”. I later learned the
FBI visited this individual, stood over his shoulder, and dictated the very words
he sent me in the email. And as for the phone call, this was also a setup. He was
an informant. The FBI forgot to black this out in the 1000+ pages of case
discovery.

But that wasn’t the only thing they forgot to black out.

The white kid who I mentioned earlier. The one who authored the site on how to
build home-made explosives. He was visited by the FBI as well. What did the agents
do? Arrest him? No. They confirmed he authored, implemented, and created the web
site on how to build Molotov cocktails, pipe bombs, and other recipes, then they
left. What happened next? The FBI fabricated statements saying I admitted to
authoring, implementing, and creating the web site on how to build explosives.

2 weeks later federal prosecutors call my public defender and say the FBI didn’t
find anything illegal on the computers they seized but didn’t want to let me off
the hook. Basically they wanted me to sign a plea admitting guilt to something I
didn’t do.This only happened after spending 2 weeks in a 24-hour lock-down maximum
security federal prison cell where I was only allowed out for legal visits, and my
closest neighbors on the cell block being those convicted for the U.S.S Cole
bombings and the bombings of the US Embassy in Kenya. I was called “terror boy”.
Then of course I was released after 2 weeks when prosecutors decided not to indict
me on anything until they had gone through all of the computers. A 6 month period
of death threats, wire taps, harassment, government threats, being followed and
surveilled by undercover agents, sheriffs and local police continued..

I still continued to organized and refused to remain silent. The feds didn’t like
that.

“18 U.S.C. 842 (p)(2)(A): distribution of information relating to explosives,
destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction with the intent that such
information be used in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.”
This was the statue written and sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein and passed
under Clinton’s 1997 anti-terror law. It was never before enforced. Not until
August 4, 2003 when I was sentenced to a year in federal prison and 3 years
“supervised release”. I was threatened with over 20 years in prison under the
terrorism enhancement. I was never indicted.

What happened to the white kid who actually wrote the explosives information and
put it on-line with the intent that it be used at an upcoming protest against the
International Monetary Fund in New York? Nothing.

The FBI walked out of the court room with smiles. My mom, family and friends were
in tears.

And of course It was only standard routine for the U.S injustice system. Another
young black male, railroaded by the system. Convicted and sentenced for a crime he
didn’t commit.

I went in when I was 20 and got released in 2004 when I was 21. I lived with my mom
for the first few months when I got out. 2 undercover agents moved into an
apartment complex directly across the street. They kept the blinds on the windows
closed 24/7. We later learned they worked at the Westwood Federal Building. That’s
the same federal building that the FBI on the case worked out of. Sometimes they
made the mistake of not taking off their security badges whenever they came and
left the apartment. It was a bad job of being undercover…

As was the entire case. A bad messy job. Fabricated evidence filled with
contradictions and obvious lies and allegations created by the feds. Yet the
obviousness of the truth wasn’t enough. The blatant fraud, a blatant setup wasn’t
enough to stop the judge from handing down a year prison sentence.

This case had nothing to do with information related to explosives being made
available to the public on the internet. If it did then I wouldn’t be on the one
writing this right now with my pencil and paper as the stipulations of my probation
state I still can’t touch a computer.

I would say to those who believe this is too far fetched to be true, just go look
at the case discovery and see for yourself. The obvious lies are supported by the
contradicting articles FBI agents forgot to black out. The truth is right there.
But recently we’ve learned that the entire case was SEALED by the feds.
Not even a lawyer can get access to the case files now.
However, a copy of the entire case discovery was obtained before this happened. And
that copy hasn’t been sealed.

http://www.raisethefist.com

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