http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/174092.html By Brian McWilliams, Newsbytes 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. According to Austin, all of the site's files, which were dedicated to "the anti-corporate globalization movement," were lost as a result of the raid. The site had received approximately 700 unique visitors each day, he said. "I think they are a bunch of cheap shots, surrounding and raiding my house with machine guns, shot guns, bullet-proof vests. They had more artillery than they use with wanted gang felons or raids on drug operations," said Austin. Matthew McLaughlin, a representative of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, confirmed that agents who conducted the search were heavily armed. "This is Los Angeles after all. We always go in to protect ourselves. We don't go in with sling shots," said McLaughlin. A message at the Raisethefist.com site today described the raid and said the incident was proof that "anyone actively disagreeing with policies of the U.S is now automatically rendered a 'terrorist' in the eyes of national security." Following the Sept.11 attacks on America, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which expand the ability of law enforcement to hunt for terrorists. "People can rant and rave on the Internet all they want, but when they cross the line the line of calling people to action to violently overthrow the constitution of the United States, they have a problem," said McLaughlin. According to the FBI, Austin allegedly defaced at least five commercial Web sites since 1999 using the nickname "Ucaun." On three of the sites, Austin left behind a hacking program named troop.cgi that was designed to attempt to log in to a computer operated by the U.S. Army, the FBI affidavit stated. In the interview, Austin acknowledged that he vandalized the Web sites and that he knew it was illegal to do so. But he defended the act by saying it was necessary to get his message out. Copies of several of the defaced pages are accessible using the cache stored by the Google search engine. The defacements contain white and red text on a black background, with the title "Hacked by the UCA - Underground Confidential Association" and a verbose screed about overthrowing the government and building a "New World Order." According to the FBI, Austin operated Raisethefist.com as well as a site for his fledgling Web development business, 2CP.com, from computers in his home connected to a DSL line. Copies of the site's pages cached by Google include instructions on how to make explosives from pipes, fertilizer, and match heads. In the interview, Austin said he did not write the bomb instructions but instead copied the pages from another site. Another page, entitled "Hacking," notes that the Department of Defense and other government agencies are dependent upon information technology and are therefore vulnerable to computer attacks. "But how many of us are really willing to engage in such an intense form of warfare through bauds and wires? Who's got the balls? Who's willing to sacrifice everything?" said the page. The domain registration record for Raisethefist.com lists Austin as the administrative, technical, and billing contact for the site. Austin said he "made up" the name listed as the site's registrant, Joseph Parker, "for security reasons" and noted that he has received threats because of the site's anti-government message. According to Austin, he has been targeted by the government simply because he advocates social justice. "If I go to jail, then I will go to jail not based on my actions, but based on what I think," he said. Raise The Fist is at http://www.raisethefist.com - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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