Anarchist site closed down after FBI raid





CALIFORNIA — A California teen-ager accused of operating an anarchist Web site that contained bomb-making instructions was taken into federal custody in February and then abruptly released a week-and-a-half later.

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Sherman Austin, 18, was arrested for disorderly conduct at the World Economic Forum protests in New York City on Feb. 2. He was transferred into federal custody while prosecutors filed charges of publishing information online about manufacturing explosives, but those charges were dropped without explanation on Feb. 14.

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Austin is the alleged author of the politically charged Web site "Raise The Fist!" (raisethefist.com).

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The episode began on Jan. 24 when FBI agents raided the Sherman Oaks house where Austin lived with his mother, seizing several computers and documents and shutting down the Web site. The search warrant claimed Austin had defaced several private and commercial sites with anarchist messages and that interior pages on his own site had included information on how to construct molotov cocktails and other kinds of bombs.

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In a subsequent detention hearing, a government attorney also claimed FBI agents found a molotov cocktail during the raid, and that Austin's Web site had advocated putting a stop to the Salt Lake City Olympics. Austin, however, was not formally charged until he showed up in New York City two weeks after the raid.

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In an interview with Newsbytes, a Washington Post Co. news service, Austin admitted to vandalizing several Web sites with his political messages. He said he had merely copied the weapons-related information from other Web pages.

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"Raise The Fist!" is currently online again. FBI spokesman Thomas Mrozek said the office would continue to investigate the matter.


reports, Spring 2002