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Common Ground Collective co-founder Scott Crow has recently come under investigation by th
Common Ground Collective co-founder Scott Crow has recently come under investigation by the FBI as well as the ATF. At around 8:00 am on Wednesday, April 5th, two FBI agents, one of whom identified himself as Evan Ray, came knocking on his door in Austin, TX, asking many questions.
Common Ground Collective co-founder Scott Crow has recently come under investigation by the FBI as well as the ATF.
At around 8:00 am on Wednesday, April 5th, two FBI agents, one of whom identified himself as Evan Ray, came knocking on his door in Austin, TX, asking many questions including whether Scott was stockpiling firearms. Robert King Wilkerson, former political prisoner, Black Panther and member of the Angola 3 (http://www.angola3.org) who is a guest at Scott’s house, answered the door and informed the two agents that Scott was out of town and refused to answer any of the agent’s questions.
Several hours later the two agents returned. This time when Wilkerson answered the door they knew who he was. The agents pulled out a binder filled with pictures of firearms and began flipping through it asking Wilkerson if he had seen any of the firearms in the picture. When Wilkerson declined to answer any questions, the agents asked to speak to others in the house, who also refused to answer the agents’ questions. “When I told them that Scott was out of town they started asking to talk to [other people in the house], even though they came looking for Scott,” Wilkerson said. “No one wanted to talk then so they left their phone number.”
While the agents questioned people in Austin, other agents from the Ft. Worth office simultaneously visited the shop where Scott had legally purchased a firearm, asking the owner Eric Robb numerous questions.
This investigation comes only a month after an FBI agent, G. Charles Rasner, at a presentation at the UT Law School, listed the Austin braches of Indymedia and Food Not Bombs as well as anarchists in general as potential terrorist threats in the Central Texas region. (http://austin.indymedia.org/feature/display/26838/index.php)
These events are also amidst a larger wave of recent ongoing government repression of various activist groups: the arrests and charges brought against environmental and animal rights activists being called the Green Scare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Scare), admissions by the NSA and Defense Department of surveillance and spying on anti-war and civil rights groups, the government campaign against Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty.
Scott has been supplied with a lawyer, Charles Roadman, by the Austin People’s Legal Collective after tentatively thinking meet with the FBI at his lawyer’s office under very strict circumstances. The FBI had on their visits to the house suggested they “would come back until they got some information” and because, according to agent Ray’s conversation with Mr. Roadman, the refusal of people at the house to talk to the FBI was considered “acting suspicious”. The FBI also stated to Mr. Roadman that this was a “routine gun check”, and that the ATF would be attending also, which is in contradiction to statements made by dealers in the firearms industry. One dealer who wished to remain anonymous stated it was “very unusual”.
Crow has decided not talk to the Feds or ATF. “I have acted within my rights as a citizen within this country and broken no laws. I feel this is unwarranted harassment by agencies on ‘fishing expeditions’ to criminalize those who work for change in this country,” Crow said. He added “I am reminded of the Zapatistas(the EZLN from the southern Mexican State of Chiapas -ed.) who say: ‘We wish not to seize power, but to exercise it.’ Let’s not forget, these agencies have a long history of these scare tactics.”
Over the years Scott has been a dedicated activist for social justice, being involved with a number of local and national groups and campaigns around issues of political prisoners, racism, prisons, and the environment. Recently he has received national attention for work he did co-founding the human rights organization Common Ground Collective in New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
The FBI’s harassment of those working for change in our world is meant to intimidate and isolate. It is important that we step up and stand in solidarity with our friends and comrades when the state singles them out for harassment. It is also important that we remain uncooperative with all law enforcement