Ok, I'm going to break out of the radicalism you've seen from me lately to debunk something going around. There's been a lot of posting, and quite a bit of media representation, about the case of Sherman Martin Austin. It is widely reported that he was sentenced unfairly to a year in federal prison because he posted instructions on his web site for making explosive devices. He also has his computer access rights removed for 3 years while he remains on probation.
Actually, the truth is, he's a cracker. I don't mean a white guy, I mean he admitted to cracking web sites and defacing them: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.
This is from here
, which is from a very good archive on the matter maintained by a CMU Professor
. Hey, popejeremy
, I got that from IndyMedia too... guess it's good for some stuff. :)
Anyway, back to my radicalism... why is the media reporting it the way it is? Because, A) it's sensational, don't you know. It's all that funky protestor being persecuted complex combined with fear of people being able to *gasp* make bombs in this day and age of terrorism
. And B) I'll bet anything the first media to crack the story just took a press release from someone (ahem), and didn't bother to check facts. Then everyone else just trusted their story. See Negativland do a talk sometime for a wonderful example of this in action.
In other words, once again, I really detest the media in its current oh so yellow state.