September 17, 2012. Dallas. For the second time this year, Anonymous activist Barrett Brown had his home raided by FBI agents. On Wednesday night while participating in an online group video conference with his girlfriend by his side, federal agents broke down Brown’s door and arrested him. Interestingly, Barrett’s laptop camera and mic caught the raid as it unfolded, broadcasting live into cyberspace. Watch it here.
A screen shot of the video chat room seconds before Barrett Brown's residence was raided. Brown's feed is on the far left.
Two minutes into the live, online, group chat, Barrett Brown’s voice went silent and his connection suddenly broadcast screaming voices that by their profanity and terrorizing nature could only be government agents. Seconds later, Brown could be heard yelling in the background as well, as he assumedly was being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed.
It was at that moment that his girlfriend slammed their laptop shut, believing that federal agents were using his built-in camera and microphone to watch him and gather whatever additional evidence they could while agents carried out the raid on his home. Fortunately for curious readers and viewers, the laptop’s camera went off, but the microphone kept recording the audio of Barrett Brown’s arrest.
According to a report by Wired.com, Dallas County officials confirmed Brown’s arrest. But officials conceded that Mr. Brown was no longer in their local County jail. Instead, FBI agents had removed him from the Sheriff’s facility and transferred him to an unknown and undisclosed location.
Other chat participants react
Wired.com talked to Barrett Brown’s attorney in California who, when asked about the live audio recording of the raid said, “They probably would have preferred to raid him when he was not online,” and he noted that the audio from the raid was, “certainly less than flattering when they’re marching through these doors dropping F-bombs…I imagine they would not want to have that captured if they could help it.”
The chat participants seconds before the raid included four individuals, each occupying their own square window within the computer screen. They included one young man wearing headphones, one young lady with distracting cleavage, another young man – face covered by the standard-issue ‘Anonymous’ mask, and Barrett Brown.
In an extremely eerie coincidence, just as chat participants were realizing something was going on inside Brown’s residence, a new participant appeared in the chat room. His appearance shows just how serious these cyber rebels and the federal agents chasing them are.
With a white towel or bandanna wrapped around the bottom of his face, covering all but his eyes and the top of his head, the new chat room participant is the first to notice that Barrett Brown’s square just went black. Unlike a severed connection that disappears completely, Brown’s window stayed visible to the room, where the audio continued to broadcast the sounds of the raid.
With booming shouts and cursing from federal agents, including multiple uses of the ‘F-word’, Barrett Brown could be heard crying out in pain, “Oooooowwww, oooooowww!”
That’s when the masked new participant announced, “Whoa! Is Barrett getting f*cking raided by the FBI? Holy sh*t!”
Barrett Brown – doing underground things above-ground
According to the account by Wired.com, the FBI raid was most likely the result of an online campaign by Barrett Brown against one specific FBI agent. The self-described public spokesman for Anonymous, Brown went so far as to release a video titled, ‘Why I’m Going to Destroy FBI Agent Robert Smith Part Three: Revenge of the Lithe’.
Brown may have gone too far when he repeatedly warned that the Zetas drug cartel from Mexico had his name on a hit list. He fears the federal government is working in partnership with the Zetas and it was only a matter of time before they murdered him.
“Any armed official of the US government, particularly the FBI, will be regarded as potential Zeta assassin squads,” Wired.com quotes Barrett Brown’s video, “As FBI knows…they know that I’m armed and I come from a military family and I was taught to shoot by a Vietnam veteran…and I will shoot all of them and kill them if they come and do anything…I have reason to fear for my life.”
Fortunately for all involved, either Brown didn’t intend to, or he didn’t have time to, make good on his promise. Sensing his own impending doom at the hands of federal agents, Barrett ends his video saying, “Frankly, it was pretty obvious I was going to be dead before I was forty or so. So I wouldn’t mind going out with two FBI sidearms like a f*cking Egyptian Pharaoh. Adios.”
Speaking to his client’s possible defense, Brown’s attorney Jay Leiderman said, “It’s hard to understand the context. But this is speech. So, ordinarily we go to a First Amendment defense. But obviously there are lines that can be crossed where you can lose your First Amendment protection.”
FBI raid of Barrett Brown's residence caught live on video/audio chat. Video courtesy of Wired.com.
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