6 February 2002

See related:



And, US Department of Justice 1997 report, "Report on the Availability of Bombmaking Information, the Extent to Which Its Dissemination Is Controlled by Federal Law, and the Extent to Which Such Dissemination May Be Subject to Regulation Consistent with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:"


Cyberia-L is a legal list.

Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 22:55:17 -0700
From: Paul Gowder <paultopia@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: raise the fist

The FBI's raid of that guy's house was, to put it briefly, total and complete bullshit.  Yes, his website did contain information about making molotov cocktails, and a suggestion that they might be used for illegal purpose.  However, it didn't even BEGIN to reach the constitutional standard for incitement (imminent, hellooooooo), and should never have been censored.  Especially by the forcible taking down of a website, which, in my mind, is equivalent to prior restraint in that it prevents future listeners from hearing the speech.  (about as close to prior restraint as taking up published copies of a book and burning them.  Not totally prior, but pretty prior.)

(I might add that the Black Bloc is indeed a tactic, not an organization, and one based in safety from random police snatch-squads and fearmongering singling out, not in violence.  99.99 percent of the people who use that tactic are completely nonviolent, even if, on average, more militant than the rest of the movement.)

Noone has accused anyone of bombing anything in NY.

In fact, the arrests at the protests in NY were total and complete bullshit.  On Saturday, there was a permit for the major march (there were others) and there was not a single crime committed, with the possible exception of littering.  Yet the cops made some 25-40 arrests by on-the-spot counts.  On Sunday, the cops made the other couple of hundred, and all of peaceful, nonviolent protestors, almost all for nonsense crimes like blocking the sidewalks or disorderly conduct.  Or my personal favorite, the totally oxymoronic (given the First Amendment) crime of "unlawful assembly."

I know, I was there, marching with them on Saturday, and also at the spokescouncil meetings of the group on Saturday and Sunday, and also getting news from the participants on Monday's events.  ("No, Senator, I am not a communist.")

Only 1 window was allegedly broken.  (I say allegedly because there were also reports of provocateurs.)  No other serious crimes have even been alleged, except those committed by the cops.  My guess, based on the estimates of various sources, was that there were 15,000 activists in New York at the time.  Look at that ratio for a minute.  How many other groups of 15,000 people can you find who don't committ crimes?  (Ignoring such idiotic crimes as violation of NY's unconstitutional mask law [in NYS, part of the loitering statute prohibits gatherings wearing masks except in masquerades licensed by cities that have licensing for them], and blocking the sidewalk/street)

Disorderly conduct = contempt of cop, and/or dissent.

Yet what does the corporate media focus on?  Well, duh. "When investigators raided his apartment Jan 24, they said they discovered a treasure-trove of mischief-making tools.  In addition to computers, they found literature advocating revolution, gas canisters, iced-tea bottles filled with flammable material, gas masks and an anarchist flag. Austin's car contained fertilizer, cans of brake fluid and two gas canisters."

Since when are literature advocating revolution gas masks (often brought by protestors because the cops indiscriminately gas people) and anarchist flag[s] "mischief-making tools?"  Haven't those morons in the corporate press ever heard of the First Amendment?

A friend of mine (support her: http://www.thewalkfordemocracy.org) brecame an activist because she was at Seattle.  A normal citizen, she was taking her groceries home, and was gassed by random cops.  A door opened in her mind.  Gas masks, especially, are perfectly reasonable equipment at a protest.

Item "c" of the warrant is particularly scary.  Authority to search for any document about the WEF or IMF?  What the fuck?  Of course, that's not as scary as g(iii), giving the cops carte blanche to destroy encrypted information merely because it is encrypted.  (Helloooooo, first amendment?)

Items 27, 29, 38(a), 39(g)(ii), 41(h), 44(f), 45, 49(d), 50(e) and 50(f) of the affidavit are equally terrifying: now it's a crime to espouse "anti-government... messages," to attend protests in masks, and other protected political activity???  (See ESPECIALLY 41(h), 44(f), 45(e), 49(d), and 50(e) and (f), for the most obvious direct punishment by political opinion.)

In short:  His arrest was 100% political.  He's a political prisoner, of the kind Amnesty International is interested in.

RISE UP AGAINST CAPITALISM!  There.  Now you have literature advocating revolution on your computer.  Expect a visit from the FBI shortly.

Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 11:34:45 -0700
From: Bruce Hayden <bhayden@IEEE.ORG>
Subject: Re: Raise the Fist Warrant and Affidavit

Bruce Hayden wrote:

> The CMU prof points out that there are much better resources
> available for how to make bombs, etc. on the Web and from
> Amazon.com.  I was especially struck by the books published
> by "Fester".  His bomb making book was fairly well received,
> but he also has published books on making psychedelics,
> speed, and Ecstasy. All apparently considered by connoisseurs as good.

An anonymous poster pointed out to me that the U.S. govt. has published for use by the Contras to overthrow the Sandinistas a Terrorism Manual.  Among other things, that manual sets forth how to make and use a Molotov Cocktail:

Incendiary Bomb ("Molotov Cocktail")

1. Fill a narrow-necked bottle with gasoline, kerosene, or burnable diesel; better still, shredded soap or sawdust added.

2. Insert a rag in the bottle until one end touches the liquid and the other end extends no more than 20 cm from the rim of the bottle. Seal the bottle tightly with a string or tape.

3. To activate the device:

   a) Hold the bottle in one hand with your arm extended.
   b) Light the rag with your other hand.
   c) Immediately thrown the lighted bottle at your objective    with sufficient force that it breaks on impact.

It should be noted that my intent here is to discuss the Sherman Austin case and to point out the absurdity of the search warrant concerning him.  It is specifically not to entice anyone to utilize this information in, or in the furtherance of, a Federal crime of violence, nor is it intended to be used in the commission of a Federal crime of violence.



The preceding was not a legal opinion, and is not my employer's.
Original portions Copyright 2002 Bruce E. Hayden,all rights reserved
My work may be copied in whole or part, with proper attribution,
as long as the copying is not for commercial gain.


Bruce E. Hayden                      bhayden@ieee.org
Salt Lake City, Utah                 bhayden@copatlaw.com

Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 03:53:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: NYC-IMC Press Release (fwd)

Here is the press release from the NYC IMC regarding our reporters who were arrested Sunday afternoon while covering a police action.


"New York City IMC Denounces False Arrests of Indymedia Journalists"

The New York City Independent Media Center (NYC-IMC) strongly condemns the recent arrest of three Indymedia journalists who were covering WEF-related protests in the East Village and the Upper East Side. This is a direct assault on the freedom of the press.

Justin Lipson of the NYC-IMC  and Gregory Roberts of Atlanta IMC were both attacked, thrown to the ground and arrested at about 2 p.m. Sunday. Lipson was providing a live audio report from the field for NYC-IMC's global audiocast. Roberts, a freelance photographer, was taking photos of police activities. Both journalists were clearly wearing IMC press credentials. A third Indymedia reporter, Cindy _________, was arrested later in the afternoon while videographing an animal protest on the Upper East Side.

The IMC is a global grassroots network of independent media makers. It was founded in Seattle in November 1999 and currently has over 70 autonomous chapters in over 30 countries on six continents. It averages over 100,000 readers per day, a number that greatly increases during large mobilizations like the  one in New York this weekend. It has become an indispensible source of news during these events.

"Indymedia is a part of the press," Roberts said after spending more than 48 hours in jail waiting to be arraigned on charges of Obstructing Government Administration. "There might be an editorial slant to it. But, the same can be said of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or the New York Post. I don't see any reason to distinguish one from another."

34 East 29th st
New York NY
212 684 8112

From Anonymous, February 6, 2002:

This Austin case has me worried a little. If the feds are going to base some of their case against him on the presence of encrypted files then we should all be worried about our right to the private use of the internet.

We must defend the right of those with whom we disagree to speak freely. We must defend the right to communicate privately. We must defend the right to assemble. The FBI has plenty on Austin without stomping on these three rights.

I'm a guy that teaches people about encryption and hacking. I've got similar files to what the FBI found on Austin's computer on my computer right now. My students probably do too. There is no correlation between this material and criminal behaviour. Defending one's systems necessitates access to knowledge and resources.

Defacing a website and putting up a link to a page you wrote is like smashing a window with a brick wrapped up in a note. Austin has probably done both of those things, but a federal case?

The implications of a media war on crypto users bothers me; especially with an 18 year old punk for a whipping boy/martyr; we need to speak out now on this, before crypto freedom and security knowledge are presented as problems, not solutions.