The United States of America -against- Jeremy Hammond
"Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government."
~ Jeremy Bentham
There are people who are born into this world, and live out their lives in an uncomplicated fashion. They accept without question what they are told to do, and are untroubled that someone or some “thing” may be nudging them along the path of universal conformity. Then there are others who are aware they are being steered away from the road less traveled, but feel powerless to challenge their predetermined fate. Those people have made pharmaceutical companies and religious institutions the behemoths that they are: a certain yin/yang relationship, one might say.
And then there are those who are born with eyes wide open. Instinctually they are onto the system from the outset, and will begin to rebel at its initial attempt to encapture them in its bony claw. They are smarter, innately, and more creative thinkers than those who seek to tame them, into which quite a lot of effort is invested. The psychological labels come fast and furiously as the diagnostic community is summoned like the cavalry. The alarm bells sound because these unique individuals are, quite simply, a danger to the status quo, and throughout the history of our civilization, preservation of the status quo by those who have established it has always been of paramount importance, no matter what the cost, to humanity and to our very souls. What is heartbreaking about this group of “misfits” is their collective loneliness and perplexity; the desire that burns within them to be understood and accepted for who they are, and the prodigious gifts they know they have to offer. That is their vulnerability, and it often manifests as a certain amount of misplaced trust and naivety -- which can and does lead to disastrous consequences.
I know these people. And I have witnessed first-hand their persecution, not for daring to be different, because their differences are not a matter of choice. Being different is their essence. What has made it particularly gut wrenching is how easily they could, and should be embraced and nurtured for the talents they have to offer. But alas it is human nature to vilify that which it does not understand.
I am not going to delve into the legal complexities of the ongoing war the United States government is waging against Jeremy Hammond, 27 years old with an IQ measured at 168. (Janet Reitman, Rolling Stone Magazine, December 7, 2012 )
March 5, 2013, marked the one-year anniversary of when he was arrested near Chicago, simultaneously with the arrest of four other young citizens of the UK, and which followed an investigation into their online activities assisted by, the government alleges, their trusted comrade who was in reality an FBI informant -- and who, it must be noted, initiated the hack of which Jeremy stands accused. Jeremy’s complaint charges him with violations of 18 United States Code Sections 1029 and 1030 -- conspiracy to commit, and overtly committing computer fraud. The government claims that around Christmas, 2011, he participated in the hack of a “private security firm” by the name of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., better known by its less imposing-sounding nomenclature, “Stratfor.” Jeremy’s complaint describes Strategic Forecasting, Inc., as follows:
So, for those who can afford a daily, private CIA-type debriefing at a price of $349.00 per year, they need not be subjected to the admitted pablum that substitutes today as “news,” spoon-fed to the rest of us by corporate-owned media. Instead, they get “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” as they say in a court of law. In today’s world, only the wealthy are permitted to be truly informed.
Strategic Forecasting, Inc., was founded by George Friedman who, according to Wikipedia, is the Hungarian-born son of Holocaust survivors. A former political science professor with an Ivy League degree from Cornell, his website describes him as a prolific best-selling author of books on warfare and intelligence. He trots the world “speaking” in Turkey, Germany, Poland, Azerbaijan, Australia, and New Zealand, and is in “high demand” for “major financial firms such as J.P. Morgan, Citibank, Ernst & Young and many Fortune 500 companies.” He has “briefed the Australian Command and Staff College, Eglin Air Force Research Laboratory, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and many other military and government organizations.”
In chat logs referenced in his complaint, even the young man the government alleges to be Jeremy was startled by the clientele who subscribed to Strategic Forecasting, Inc., including “former U.S. Government official(s): a former CIA director; and a former vice-president.”
Dr. Friedman appears certainly to be a man “in the know.” But according to the five million emails published by WikiLeaks following the Stratfor hack, he is much more than that. He is schooled, and deft at schooling others, in obtaining that privileged information he shares only with the privileged few.
Jesus Diaz, writing for Gizmodo in an article dated February 26, 2012, quoted from WikiLeaks, which distributed the emails netted in the Stratfor hack:
Dr. Friedman, the leaked emails revealed, is also a man of action who knew how to partner up with his corporate clients and make dollars -- global insider-trading style.
Neither Dr. Friedman, nor former Goldman Sachs Managing Director Morenz were charged with their “StratCap” endeavors. Included in Jeremy’s complaint, however, is the allegation that he illegally appropriated the following:
“(1) approximately 60,000 credit card numbers and associated data, including CVVs and expirations dates, belonging to Stratfor clients;
"(2) records for approximately 860,000 Stratfor clients or subscribers …”
“CW-1 (Cooperating Witness-1), at the direction of the FBI, provided to HAMMOND and his co-conspirators a computer server in New York, New York, which could be used to store data, and to which HAMMOND and his co-conspirators in fact transferred data.”
“[A]t least approximately $700,000 worth of unauthorized charges were made to credit card accounts that were among those stolen during the Stratfor Hack.” (Jeremy Hammond Complaint)
According to court dockets, “CW-1” in Jeremy’s case is Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka "@anonymousSabu," or merely “Sabu.” In the decentralized collective known as Anonymous, where there are no “leaders,” Sabu was nonetheless a rock star, fueled by his online persona -- and defined by his own rhetoric -- as a bad ass, take-no-prisoners revolutionary. He was also 28 years old and residing in the projects in the Lower East Side of New York. Court dockets indicate he was arrested on June 7, 2011; multiple cases had been filed against him -- including in the Eastern District of California; the Central District of California; the Eastern District in Virginia; the Northern District of Georgia; and the Southern District of New York. All court records had been sealed, and on August 12, 2011, all pending cases except that in the Eastern District of Virginia were transferred to the Southern District of New York; the latter case was transferred on March 6, 2012. The complaints were ordered to be unsealed on the day of Jeremy’s arrest -- March 5, 2012 -- by Judge Loretta Preska, to whom the case had been assigned on August 8, 2011. The order was entered into the court record on March 6, 2012. Sabu had been previously identified in the sealed court files as a cooperating witness almost immediately following his arrest; that was confirmed in an affirmation attached to Jeremy’s complaint provided by an FBI Special Agent. (Sabu Plea Deal) (The LulzSec Six)
Subsequent to his arrest, Jeremy was transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he has remained ever since. Represented by National Lawyers Guild Attorney Elizabeth Fink, whose own reputation as a bad ass is not confined to rhetoric, and civil rights attorney Sarah Kunstler, daughter of the late, self-described "radical lawyer" William Kunstler, Jeremy appeared before Judge Preska on May 14, 2012, and pleaded not guilty to all charges. (Courthouse News Service, May 15, 2012) While he languished -- sometimes in solitary confinement, sometimes not -- waiting for his Eighth Amendment right to a bail hearing, Sabu was scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2012 -- by Judge Loretta Preska. Instead Judge Preska, at the request of federal prosecutors, delayed that hearing for six months -- until February 22, 2013 -- by an order she signed on August 21, 2012. (Ryan Singel, Wired, August 21, 2012)
On November 12, 2012, Jeremy filed a motion for bail, that was scheduled to be heard on November 19, but was rescheduled -- with little notice to his supporters -- to November 20, 2012. (Hammond Bail Motion)
Again, it is not my purpose to delve into the legal merits of the Judge’s decision to deny bail to Jeremy. His attorneys are addressing that. But there were some fairly incredulous exchanges between Jeremy’s defense counsel and Judge Preska during the hearing that appear in its transcript and command attention: (Bail Hearing Transcript)
In challenging so-called “warrants for failure to appear” issued against Jeremy in the past that Ms. Fink was seeing referenced (not the actual warrants) for the first time at the hearing, she noted as follows:
Ms. Fink: Based on this, based on the … pretrial submission, all of this I would have to check. I would have to, for example, where it says -- none of this resulted in any sentence.
The Court: So What?
(That comment earned Judge Preska an Internet meme and a parody Twitter account, which would appear randomly and respond to tweets on a variety of subjects, serious or not, as follows: “So what?”)
The Court: Okay. Then don’t talk to me about the government being committing this crime.
Ms. Fink: I didn’t say that, Judge. I said they participated in this crime.
The Court: Okay, fine.
Ms. Fink: You know, I mean, and they’re going to admit to you that’s true, Judge.
Ms. Fink: If you look at the chat rooms and the amount of information that’s going back between these two people [Sabu and, as accused, Jeremy], one half of it is the government, and the other part of it are the other coconspirators who don’t know that they’re working with the government. What the government is doing, how Stratfor got selected, all of the stuff that got done around Stratfor ...how much is the cooperating witness and how much is Mr. Hammond.
(Why wouldn’t the FBI want to take out a privately-operated CIA, that was also collaborating with big banksters to hatch shady financial schemes? And who better to secretly use to accomplish that goal -- since Jeremy could never be persuaded to work for the FBI -- than the one person whose computer skills seem to dazzle and horrify the federal government so much that it treats him like Hannibal Lechter, yet secretly provides the person it accuses to be him with a server on which to download data mined from the Stratfor hack?)
Ms. Fink: He’s not going anywhere, Judge. We’re going to take custody of him and assure you that we will be in court ready to fight this case politically when you order. But if you keep him in jail --
The Court: I’m sorry, fight this case politically? We have trials --
Ms. Fink: I fight every case politically, Judge. I do.
The Court: That’s probably not going to help your cause by telling me that.
(Prosecuting Attorney Rosemary Nidiry): There’s also a record of drug use that appears to be fairly significant … he reported that he uses marijauna every other day ...
(Oh, the horror of it all. One has to wonder how many cocktails were indulged that night by Ms. Nidiry and Judge Preska?)
Oral arguments concluded on Page 54. Without so much as taking a breath, Judge Preska proceeded to read her pre-written opinion denying Jeremy bail:
The Court: Here the first thing to be considered is whether or not a defendant is a flight risk. Contrary to the situation in the other cases in which this defendant was accused [such as burning an Olympic flag], his maximum jail sentence here by statute is 37 and a half years plus a mandatory consecutive two-year term of imprisonment. If we went by these guidelines, of course, we would be at the very bottom at 360 months to life if the allegations in the indictment are sustained by a jury.
The Court: With respect to the argument that other individuals who engage in computer crimes are often bailed, the ability that Mr. Hammond has to hack into other computer websites and the like is not something which is common among, for example, the folks who engage in online sex crimes. It is that unique sophisticated ability that makes Mr. Hammond different from those individuals.
And there we have it. “The unique sophisticated ability” with which Jeremy Hammond was blessed at birth makes him more dangerous to the status quo than the “folks” who engage in -- is this resonating? -- online sex crimes. One would like to ask Judge Preska: What about the chiiiildren? Why is protecting pedophiles a higher priority on the judicial food chain than protecting from exposure corporate malfeasance and a privatized CIA? A disclosure the FBI sought in the first place?
They should have expected them. Anonymous did not take kindly to Judge Preska’s dismissive hand-waves and condescending demeanor -- not to mention the audacity of denying Jeremy his Eighth Amendment rights. Nine days after Jeremy was denied bail, Defense Attorney Fink received the above email from a Fox News reporter -- an email that would become “Exhibit A” in Jeremy’s Motion for Disqualification, filed on December 6, 2012, to disqualify Judge Preska from hearing Jeremy’s case due to a perception of bias. (Courthouse News Service, December 14, 2012)
The link provided in the email -- http://bit.ly/Y4XJ7f -- featured a report from Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! on the denial of bail for Jeremy by Judge Preska, and also contained the following link -- http://www.anony.ws/i/2012/11/22/Pfrp.png -- which led to a a link provided by Stratfor to its clients, and which listed the email accounts that had been seized, with the passwords omitted https://dazzlepod.com/stratfor/:
Yes, judicial hubby Thomas J. Kavaler is among the privileged class who subcribes to and receives his daily private CIA-type briefings from Strategic Forecasting, Inc., and Dr. Friedman, he of: “[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase.”
Further, the work email of Thomas J. Kavaler, a partner of the law firm Cahill, Gordon & Rendell, LLP, since 1980, was grabbed and publicized in the hack of which Jeremy stands accused. Jeremy’s recusal motion was filed December 6, 2012, after Judge Preska refused to reassign the case when Ms. Fink requested informally that she do so on November 28, 2012. The motion also revealed that Judge Preska herself “was a partner at Cahill Gordon before entering the judiciary, and Mr. Kavaler currently serves as one of only six members of the 260-attorney law firm's executive management committee. Major clients of Cahill Gordon, including Merrill Lynch and AIG, were also victims of the Stratfor hack.”
“Merrill Lynch appears to have been particularly impacted by the hack; over 800 accounts associated with Merrill Lynch email addresses were compromised,” the motion notes. “Cahill Gordon has overseen hundreds of millions of dollars in investment banking arrangements for Merrill Lynch. In 2006, Cahill Gordon acted as special counsel to Merrill Lynch, in their capacity as Administrative Agent, on an investment banking arrangement with another Stratfor client, AES Corporation, brokering a $600,000,000 credit agreement between the two companies. According to a news release dated November 27, 2012 on the Cahill Gordon website, the firm recently represented Merrill Lynch in another investment banking deal involving an offering of $350,000,000.”
Jeremy’s motion further stated that:
Would have a more “exhaustive” search revealed that Goldman Sachs -- the former managing director of which hatched with Dr. Friedman the secretive StratCap subsidiary formed to “‘utilise the intelligence’ it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund” -- was also a client of Cahill Gordon & Rendell? Or could any information related to Goldman Sachs have been deliberately omitted from the dazzlepod list?
Further, did Judge Preska and the mister receive financial compensation from the Stratfor hack? As Jeremy’s motion details:
The United States government opposed Jeremy’s motion for recusal on December 21, 2012. Although a link to that opposition is unavailable to me, Judge Preska quoted from it liberally when she issued her 20-page ruling, excluding exhibits, on February 21, 2013 (Recusal Order):
Yes, Judge Preska based her decision regarding Jeremy’s recusal motion on a determination by the very organization that orchestrated the Stratfor hack in the first place, and is now pushing to have Jeremy Hammond imprisoned for what could amount to the rest of his life because of it. But that’s not all that assisted in the formation of Judge Preska’s opinion: she also judged the truth and veracity of an affirmation submitted in support of the government’s opposition by her own husband:
As set forth in Jeremy’s motion, the legal standard by which a judge is required to disqualify herself “in any proceeding in which [her] impartiality might reasonably be questioned” is found at 28 U.S.C. § 455(a):
All of this legalese can be condensed to five words: impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Impartiality does not have to actually exist: but if it might reasonably be questioned, American confidence in its third branch of government is severely eroded. One would think that, as a patriotic citizen with an enormous responsibility to preserve the integrity of the court, Judge Preska would have acted instantly, without the necessity of a defense motion, to recuse herself and assign this case to a judge who does not have such entangling connections to it. But then one would be wrong. In denying Jeremy’s motion, Judge Preska huffed:
In other words: “So what?”
A tweet I read recently mused that: “The government has gone bat shit crazy rogue.” That singular sentence makes more sense than anything I have yet to read uttered out of the mouth of Judge Loretta Preska.
Oh, and the sentencing of Sabu that Judge Preska herself scheduled for the day after she refused to remove herself graciously from a case which she has no business judging?
As Jeremy wrote to a group of supporters: "Keep bringing the ruckus!"