By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
When Sherman answered the door, he was pulled outside by two FBI agents and shown a warrant that, he claims, was filled with inaccuracies:
”I actually went through it with them, and it had all this bogus stuff about me since I was 14, to look incriminating. There were quotes from other people and stuff about me being involved with other organizations that I‘m not.“
After Sherman’s mother came home, the feds removed the eight computers, a hub and DSL modem that he used for his Web site, along with political literature, disks and CDs.
”They came in with a bunch of equipment and downloaded all my files into it and put everything into what looked like a moving van -- imagine a big white truck with no labels.“
Sherman was not arrested and says that the task force finally decamped six hours later. A flurry of messages on the San Francisco Independent Media Center Website(http:sf.indymedia.orgnews200201114583.php) have speculated that Raisethefist‘s mistake was to recently include another site that discussed weaponry, but Sherman insists that his site’s log revealed government surveillance that had been going on for months.
”There was a lot of profiling of our site [targeted by] government computers [whose identities] weren‘t masked and a lot of activity coming from proxies. I was getting hits from government sites in the U.K., Finland, Belgium, Canada, Australia and Egypt. Then it suddenly stopped for a week and a half before the raid.“
Spokesman Matthew McLaughlin said 18 to 20 law-enforcement personnel participated in the raid, and all but three were FBI agents. Sherman, he said, ”had bomb-making information on his Website, which under the terms of the Patriot Act is illegal.“#
EVIL VS. WADE?
It’s been months since Jerry Falwell was universally booed for blaming the September 11 attacks on ”pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians,“ but two weeks ago a somewhat similar, if stealthier, accusation surfaced from an unexpected place -- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Visitors to the White House Web site (www.whitehouse.govnewsreleases20020120020118-10.html) were informed that President Bush had declared Sunday, January 20, National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The president‘s 542-word proclamation declared, ”On September 11, we saw clearly that evil exists in this world, and that it does not value life. The terrible events of that fateful day have given us, as a Nation, a greater understanding about the value and wonder of life . . . Now we are engaged in a fight against evil and tyranny to preserve and protect life.“
All very well and good, except that elsewhere in the proclamation, next to a photograph of Bush and the Web-photo link words ”Standing for the Flag,“ there appeared this comment on a Thomas Jefferson quote about government’s first priority being the protection of human life: ”President Jefferson‘s timeless principle obligates us to pursue a civil society that will democratically embrace its essential moral duties, including defending the elderly, strengthening the weak, protecting the defenseless, feeding the hungry, and caring for children -- born and unborn . . . Unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law.“
This rhetorical linkage between abortion and terrorism was perhaps one of the White House’s more subtle salutes to its anti-choice supporters, but not everyone was enthusiastic about its implications. Margie Fites Seigle, CEO of L.A.‘s California Family Health Council, summed up the reaction of abortion-rights organizations when she told the Weekly, ”Using the events of September 11 to further the political agenda of the anti-abortion movement is deplorable and should be rejected by any and all free-thinking Americans. This is an example of politics at its worst.“
By the way, if the Bush proclamation’s odd phrase about the Founding Fathers having ”pledged their own lives, fortunes and honor“ to guarantee freedom has a familiar ring, it may be because a certain Cabinet member had a hand in its writing. Looking back at John Ashcroft‘s notorious 1998 interview in the white-supremacist Southern Partisan, we find the current attorney general panicking at the thought that history books will be rewritten to show that Confederate slaveholders ”were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.“
”I want to draw your attention to the creative placement of barricades and the presence of the LAPD to heighten your theater experience. We are the safest theater in Los Angeles.“
--Tim Dang, artistic director of East West Players, addressing theater patrons, January 23