libertyblitzkrieg.com / By Michael Krieger / February 26, 2013
For those unfamiliar with Jeremy Hammond, he is the 28-year-old web developer accused of hacking Stratfor and subsequently leaking the information to Wikileaks. For this, he faces a 30-years-to-life sentence. Jeremy is currently being held without bail at the Manhattan Correctional Center, a federal jail in lower Manhattan in solitary confinement. Incredibly, the federal judge who is hearing his case, Lorraine Preska, has refused to step aside despite the fact that her husband was a victim in the hack Hammond is accused of. Now that’s a justice system!
Well Hammond recently penned a letter from solitary in which he discusses the rampant corruption in the criminal justice system, the very dangerous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and the tragic death and over-prosectution of Aaron Swartz. His character really comes through in the fact that he barely even discusses his own case, despite the awful situation he finds himself in. So without further ado, below is his entire letter, with my favorite passages highlighted.
February 20, 2013
Jeremy Hammond on Aaron Swartz and the Criminalization of Digital Dissent
The tragic death of internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz reveals the government’s flawed “cyber security strategy” as well as its systematic corruption involving computer crime investigations, intellectual property law, and government/corporate transparency. In a society supposedly based on principles of democracy and due process, Aaron’s efforts to liberate the internet, including free distribution of JSTOR academic essays, access to public court records on PACER, stopping the passage of SOPA/PIPA, and developing the Creative Commons, make him a hero, not a criminal. It is not the “crimes” Aaron may have committed that made him a target of federal prosecution, but his ideas – elaborated in his “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto” – that the government has found so dangerous. The United States Attorney’s aggressive prosecution, riddled with abuse and misconduct, is what led to the death of this hero. This sad and angering chapter should serve as a wake up call for all of us to acknowledge the danger inherent in our criminal justice system.
Aaron’s case is part of the recent aggressive, politically-motivated expansion of computer crime law where hackers and activists are increasingly criminalized because of alleged “cyber-terrorist” threats. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, whose office is prosecuting me and my co-defendants in the Lulzsec indictment, has used alarmist rhetoric such as the threat of an imminent “Pearl Harbor like cyber attack” to justify these prosecutions. At the same time the government routinely trains and deploys their own hackers to launch sophisticated cyber attacks against the infrastructure of foreign countries, such as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses, without public knowledge, oversight, declarations of war, or consent from international authorities. DARPA, US Cyber Command, the NSA, and numerous federally-contracted private corporations openly recruit hackers to develop defensive and offensive capabilities and build Orwellian digital surveillance networks, designed not to enhance national security but to advance U.S. imperialism. They even attend and speak at hacker conferences, such as DEFCON, offer to bribe hackerspaces for their research, and created the insulting “National Civic Hacker Day” – efforts which should be boycotted or confronted every step of the way.
Aaron is a hero because he refused to play along with the government’s agenda, instead he used his brilliance and passion to create a more transparent society. Through the free software movement, open publishing and file sharing, and development of cryptography and anonymity technology, digital activists have revealed the poverty of neo-liberalism and intellectual property. Aaron opposed reducing everything to a commodity to be bought or sold for a profit.