Sherman Austin, a 20 year-old, black, Southern
California anarchist, was the webmaster of the site
www.raisethefist.com. He is the first person to be
charged under 18 U.S.C. 842(p), a 1997
"anti-terrorism" law authored by California Senator
Dianne Feinstein. What was Austin’s crime? He had
had offered free hosting and a link on his website to
a site called The Reclaim Guide, offering general
security culture information along with a small
portion dealing with explosives, authored by a young
white person from a wealthy, conservative family.
This information is publicly available, and Austin
merely linked to it, yet he is being jailed for it.
On August 4, Sherman Austin was sentened to one year
in federal prison and three years probation. His
probation includes the following terms: Austin cannot
possess or access a computer of any kind without prior
approval of his probation officer; if he gets that
approval, the equipment is subject to monitoring and
to search and seizure at any time, without notice; he
must surrender his phone, DSL, electric, and satellite
bills to his probation officer; and he cannot
associate with any person or group--environmental,
social justice, political, or economic--that seeks to
change the government in any way.
Although Austin initially planned to fight the charge
and go to trial, he accepted a plea bargain after
being threatened with serving up to 20 years in jail.
Despite both the FBI and the Justice Department
agreeing on a sentence of four months in jail and four
months in community confinement, the judge increased
the sentence to set an example for future
For more information about Sherman Austin, please see: