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Longstanding Berkeley Community Center Raided by FBI; More than a Dozen Computers Seized
by The Long Haul
Thursday Aug 28th, 2008 8:29 AM
Berkeley, CA -- At 10:30 am on Wednesday, August 27th, the UC Berkeley police, plainclothes FBI agents, and an Alameda County sheriff raided at gunpoint the Long Haul, a long-standing community library and info shop. Police spent at least an hour and a half searching the premises without allowing Long Haul members entry to their building. More than a dozen computers and other equipment were seized in the morning raid. Having made no attempt to contact Long Haul members, agents forced their way into the building by entering a neighboring non-profit office with guns drawn. Police refused to provide a search warrant until after the raid was over and property was seized.
*Media Release*
The Long Haul

*For Immediate Release:* August 28, 2008

info [at] thelonghaul.org


Longstanding Berkeley Community Center Raided by FBI
More than a dozen computers seized in questionable search

Berkeley, CA -- At 10:30 am on Wednesday, August 27th, the UC Berkeley police, plainclothes FBI agents, and an Alameda County sheriff raided at gunpoint the Long Haul, a long-standing community library and info shop. Police spent at least an hour and a half searching the premises without allowing Long Haul members entry to their building. More than a dozen computers and other equipment were seized in the morning raid. Having made no attempt to contact Long Haul members, agents forced their way into the building by entering a neighboring non-profit office with guns drawn. Police refused to provide a search warrant until after the raid was over and property was seized.

"This is an outrageous abuse of authority by the federal government," said TKTK, a member of the Long Haul. "What cause could the police have to come into a community center like the Long Haul and seize information belonging to the people of Berkeley? They must return our property immediately." The police went through every room, both public and locked - cutting or unscrewing the locks - and removed every computer from the building. Most of the computers taken were removed from an un-monitored public space where people come to use the computers just as they would at a public library. The remaining computers were taken from closed offices where they are needed for the day-to-day operation of the work done by members. Offices were rifled through, and a list of people who had borrowed books from the library was checked, as was the sales log. The warrant, which was produced after the raid, had little relevant information (claiming the officers were searching for 1 - Property or things used as a means of committing a felony; 2 - Property or things that are evidence that tends to show a felony has been committed, or tends to show that a particular person has committed a felony).

The Long Haul has been a community resource for 25 years, offering accessible space to radical groups, selling t-shirts, buttons, stickers, and the well-known slingshot organizer pocket calendar. Multiple groups have met and continue to meet there as one of the few remaining inexpensive radical venues in the increasingly gentrified bay area. The same pattern of abuse was experienced recently when the convergence space for protesters against the Democratic National Convention in Denver was raided and supplies seized. Since the Long Haul raid occurred, lawyers have been working to seek the immediate return of the seized property, though the Long Haul continues to welcome legal support. The Long Haul is also in urgent need of computers to replace what was taken, while the fight continues to get the hard drives returned.

Long Haul members have vowed to protest this latest act of political repression. Check the Long Haul website (http://www.thelonghaul.org) for more information as it becomes available.

Pictures and video of the Long Haul and of the officers involved are online at
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/08/27/18530389.php

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Mike Dettorre
Thursday Aug 28th, 2008 4:10 PM
First, The police do not notify people before a search warrant. That is because they will destroy the evidence..duh

Second, You seem to forget...a Federal and or State judge had to approve and sign that search warrant. That would seem to suggest someone a little more learned in the law than the people who are posting replies here believes it was not unconstitutional.

Third, the computers that were seized from the "public area" that anyone can use...who ever has information on those computers has no expectation of privacy regarding that information because they put it on a computer acessible by the general public.

by mers
Thursday Aug 28th, 2008 5:08 PM
but its true, those computers, while a valuable resource to the community, are not and should never be considered secure. I never worry about checking my email there, or shit my bank acct. but there are things id do somewhere else. Situations like these are a good time to think about things we often get to busy to do or think about. BACK UP YOU COMPUTERS, and keep the back ups somewhere else, encrypt your files and emails(its suprisingly easy), dont leave things in your trashcan and think that they are gone, keep money at very secure locations, etc...