This morning in court, Jeremy Hammond entered a non-cooperating guilty plea of 10 years in federal prison in order to avoid going to trial and potentially facing the maximum of 37yrs to life. The conditions being that he would not face similar charges in other jurisdictions or be forced to cooperate with the prosecution in any manner.
The Following is a statement from Jeremy about his decision to take the plea agreement. Also a joint statement from FreeAnons and the Jeremy Hammond Support Network and a statement from Wikileaks.
“Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.
During the past 15 months I have been relatively quiet about the specifics of my case as I worked with my lawyers to review the discovery and figure out the best legal strategy. There were numerous problems with the government’s case, including the credibility of FBI informant Hector Monsegur. However, because prosecutors stacked the charges with inflated damages figures, I was looking at a sentencing guideline range of over 30 years if I lost at trial. I have wonderful lawyers and an amazing community of people on the outside who support me. None of that changes the fact that I was likely to lose at trial. But, even if I was found not guilty at trial, the government claimed that there were eight other outstanding indictments against me from jurisdictions scattered throughout the country. If I had won this trial I would likely have been shipped across the country to face new but similar charges in a different district. The process might have repeated indefinitely. Ultimately I decided that the most practical route was to accept this plea with a maximum of a ten year sentence and immunity from prosecution in every federal court.
Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.
I have already spent 15 months in prison. For several weeks of that time I have been held in solitary confinement. I have been denied visits and phone calls with my family and friends. This plea agreement spares me, my family, and my community a repeat of this grinding process.
I would like to thank all of my friends and supporters for their amazing and ongoing gestures of solidarity. Today I am glad to shoulder the responsibility for my actions and to move one step closer to daylight.
(Video of Jeremy speaking on “Electronic Civil Disobedience and the Republican National Convention” from DEFCON 12, July 30 – August 1, 2004)
The following is a joint statement from the Hammond Support Network and FreeAnons Solidarity Network:
“On March 5, 2012, our comrade was stolen from us and we are sickened and angry. We fought with Jeremy Hammond since the day of his incarceration, and as long as there is air in our lungs we will continue to fight for him. To the United States government: Do not think that this hearing marks a victory for your unjust system. Today only marks a new turn in this fight, and we do not fight for just one but for all. You will hear us wherever the threat of injustice is seen. We are your children, your mothers, your fathers, your sisters and your brothers. We stand together with all jailed and prosecuted hacktivists, activists, journalists and whistleblowers who at great personal risk speak out in the name of truth and are ensnarled in the prison for profit paradigm. We will not grow weary, and we will not be silenced. You may hold our family behind bars, but their voices will never be silenced. We will continue his work as we continue to fight for his cause.
Jeremy has been placed in solitary confinement on multiple occasions throughout his time at the MCC. He has been refused phone calls and visits from his family. He has had his commissary privileges taken away. You may think these are small penalties, but to a man who relied on simple staples such as tuna fish and Ramen noodles in order to have enough to eat, it was nothing short of abuse. Placing a prisoner in solitary confinement and refusing him even the smallest of interaction with others is criminal. But while you abuse our comrades, we will continue our efforts to remind the public that your surveillance state will be your downfall.
Jeremy Hammond is a freedom fighter for all. He is an activist, a brother, a son, and a friend to many. Those of us who know Jeremy will continue to fight for him, and we are many. We are disgusted and outraged at the treatment he has received in order to force a plea from him – a non-violent man. Your behaviors do not go unnoticed. We previously noted a conflict with Judge Loretta Preska and a motion to recuse was denied. We previously noted Jeremy’s limited access to discovery, making it impossible for him to assist in his own defense. This was ignored. We have heard Jeremy compared to an online sex offender because he uses TOR! We have heard opinions from Judge Preska about what Jeremy Hammond “could” do rather than what he has a history of actually doing. If you want to know what Jeremy has a history of doing, ask his friends in Chicago. Ask Food Not Bombs, ask those that have benefited from his kindness, ask those of us who have been lucky enough to know this very gifted individual whose only goal is to make the world a better place for all. Jeremy Hammond is not a sex offender, a murderer or a rapist. He is an activist with the goal of radical transparency, to expose a corrupt system of government and he has thus angered the very government that now holds him prisoner and labeled him a terrorist. To this we say: the anger is mutual. But we can promise you, you have done nothing to silence Jeremy, and you have done nothing to silence us. We are the Anonymous Solidarity Network, and to Jeremy Hammond and all other unjustly persecuted political prisoners, we shout Bella Ciao in solidarity. We will continue to be heard until our government recognizes that change is essential and transparency a necessity. We will never falter and we will not be broken.
A short Statement from Sue Crabtree: Jeremy, I love you. I will fight for you until I can meet you at the gates of that prison as you are returned to us and thank you for the life altering ways that I have learned from you. You remain in my heart and part of my life always. Never give up Jeremy because we will never give up on you. This fight has just taken a new course that is all. This is my promise to you.”
This morning in Lower Manhattan federal district court, political activist and alleged WikiLeaks source Jeremy Hammond accepted a non-cooperating guilty plea to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). According to prosecution documents, Mr. Hammond was entrapped by an FBI government informant, Hector Monsegur (Sabu).
Without this plea, Mr. Hammond could have been sentenced to close to 40 years in prison for political activism. With his plea Mr. Hammond still faces up to ten years in prison. His sentencing will take place on the 6th of September 2013. Mr. Hammond had been imprisoned without trial since his arrest on 5 March 2012 in Chicago.
Mr. Hammond is accused of being a source, via WikiLeaks publications on the US intelligence contractor Stratfor, for hundreds of media organisations including Rolling Stone and the McClatchy group. McClatchy is the publisher of hundreds of newspapers in the United States, including the LA Times and the Miami Herald.
WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange stated “The Obama administrations war on journalism must stop. Today the Obama administration imprisoned yet another political activist and yet another alleged journalistic source: Jeremy Hammond. The Obama administration’s treatment of Jeremy Hammond is a disgrace. Combined with similar actions against Bradley Manning, John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, James Risen, WikiLeaks, the Associated Press and FOX news the intent of the Obama admnistration to undermine basic political and journalistic freedoms is clear.”
Mr. Hammond was indicted last year by a US federal grand jury. 99.97% of people before a US federal grand jury are indicted. Of those, 99% are subsequently convicted — 97% in response to pressures to accept a plea deal. According to the constitution no-one may be indicted for a federal felony except by grand jury. Grand juries were orginally designed to keep a check on prosecutorial excess. However, due to the secrecy of the grand jury process, this system of accountability has been inverted and grand juries are now used to breach the seperation of powers, giving the executive the power to coercively force people to testify or to issue subpeonas without judicial oversight.
In the Hammond case, once again the US government has used the much criticised CFAA, an act that was much criticised in relation to the death of Aaron Swartz, who was also charged under the CFAA. This legislation was written in 1984, a year before Mr. Hammond was born, at a time when it was principally important general government computer systems that were connected to the Internet. Because the law failed to keep up with the democratisation of the Internet, now even alleged unauthorised access to every day computer systems are charged commensurate with breaches of national security. Through amendments, vagueness in wording and prosecutorial practice, in recent years the catch-all CFAA has permitted prosecutors to exploit the law by engaging in significant over-charging, inflating one distinct alleged political action into half a dozen charges and stacking up the sentencing as a result.
Hammond’s one alleged political act of obtaining Stratfor documents was spun out into five felonies, carrying a total maximum sentence of over three times that in prison. Similarly, Aaron Swartz’s one alleged political act was spun out into four, and subsequently into thirteen felony counts.
The US government is also charging another alleged WikiLeaks source, political prisoner Bradley Manning, under the CFAA. WikiLeaks grand jury documents show that Julian Assange may also be indicted for conspiring with Manning to violate the CFAA. Manning’s trial commences on 3 June 2013. 31 prosecution witnesses will give secret testimony.
A petition by Jason Hammond Jeremy’s twin brother. Please sign and share.
Considering the statements above this may not be the place for my two cents, but if you wish to know, continue on.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this today. I have just been disgusted and sick since hearing the news that this was going to happen. News like this, weather your family, friends, a casual follower of the story or you have an inside perspective on life behind bars, well, It takes a while to set in. I didn’t know Jeremy before he was arrested. I’m not a close friend or was I friends of friends. Over the months of speaking with Jeremy’s supporters and learning all I can about him, riding the emotional roller-coaster his loved ones are on with him, I have to say that this news completely floored, enraged and disappointed me in our justice system. To his supporters, my heart is with your heart.
This isn’t going to be like other articles I’ve written on Jeremy. I have no time to prepare something worthy of Jeremy or his legion of loyal support. I do have some things that I have to say.
I’m sure most readers here know about Jeremy Hammond, but for those that don’t. Jeremy is being accused of hacking into the computer systems of the private intelligence company, Strator. He was allegedly part of a group (Lulzsec) that hacked their system, obtaining 5,000,000 internal documents and then uploaded them to Wikileaks. These documents were then released as the “GI files” or the Global Intelligence Files. (more on Gi Files)
Just like so many others manipulated by the corruption of the US legal system. There was never any intention of Jeremy Hammond receiving a fair trial. Quite the opposite. In the situation like we saw with the outrageously un-just sentence held over the head of Aaron Swartz that drove him to take his own life. By charging Jeremy with the potential of 37 years to life in prison, a psychological tactic to break the spirit of the incarcerated, the court system has once again destroyed all hope for justice and set the tone for the pre-trial punishment to follow.
Outrageous sentencing is far from the only tactic employed to coerce a guilty plea before trial. From the beginning of Jeremy’s incarceration the court and justice system has undermined any ability for Jeremy and his defence to actually fight this case.
The first thing was moving him from Chicago to NYC. Transferring Jeremy from Chicago where he, his friends, family and activists networks are rooted in with the most resources of support to NYC is an obvious attempt to undermine the defence and begin pre-trial isolation and punishment. The excuse being that the hacked server of Stratfor physically exists and therefore the crime of accessing it was committed in NYC.
Jeremy was locked up for almost a year before his bail hearing. During that time every opportunity that arose to take one of his few prison privileges away was made the most of. Jeremy had his phone privileges removed, was placed in solitary confinement, denied mail correspondence, denied access to any commissary. All in an attempt to increase the isolation and desperation of Jeremy’s situation.
During the bail hearing Jeremys attorney argued that they would need to spend 8 hours a day with Jeremy and the case material from then until trial in order to properly prepare. The discovery in Jeremy’s case is 60,000 pages of chat logs, roughly equivalent to 3.5 million lines of text with a possible 45,000 participants involved. At the time of Jeremy’s last hearing after already spending an entire year in jail, a grand total of 11 hours in 1hr increments had been granted by the court for Jeremy and his defence to collaborate and prepare his defence. In a situation where Jeremy is walking from a cell to work with his lawyer’s to prepare.
When Jeremy was denied bail it was a fatal blow to Jeremy’s defence. Squashing any hope of actually preparing a proper defence. Jeremy, who has zero history of avoiding prosecution was portrayed in court in ways that made him out to be a terroristic threat to society that could not be trusted for an instant. He was un-believably portrayed with the likes of paedophiles for his use of TOR a service for on-line anonymity during his bail hearing. As a person who would hack the planet from a coffee-shop wifi with his cell phone if given the chance. Even when Jeremy was cited to be living with and supervised by his lawyer at all times. This move by the court was the writing on the wall that showed the full intention of avoiding a fair trial at all costs.
Confirmed when Judge Preska refused to step down due to a conflict of interest. It really is a no-brainer to most average citizens that their is an obvious conflict of interest when you tell them “the judges husbands email and password were revealed in the released documents.”
The injustice doesn’t stop there. I feel Jeremys legal team have also contributed to the travesty that is Jeremy’s guilty plea and 10 year sentence. Granted the cards were heavily stacked against them. But what pisses me right off is their actions of trying to distance Jeremy from Anonymous/FreeAnons and people who are truly Jeremys friends and dedicated team of supporters. Distance Jeremy from Free Anons? Jeremy helped start Free Anons! Jeremy adds in every letter he sends to his closest friends a sentiment to use the support he is given to support Free Anons and all other arrested anons.
I can vaguely understand the reasoning for this attempt to distance Jeremy from Anonymous, but it only makes any sense when you are looking for sympathy from the court in order to make the best plea deal you can.
What does this mean. It means that you didn’t see Jeremy’s defence team speaking along side and raising awareness about the in-justice of Jeremy’s case with Micheal Ratner Head of the Center for Constitutional Rights or Heidi Boghosian, the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild at any of the hearing rallys that have taken place. It means that you have never read an interview with Jeremy’s legal team because they refused to give one to anybody who was “anon tainted.”
This raises the question in my mind of how long have Jeremy’s lawyers had the mindset of seeking sympathy from the devil(Judge Preska) and what influence have they had on Jeremy and his guilty plea decision.
It all adds up to an outrage of in-justice on every level.
Jeremy: a man that has acted within his own moral conscious, that has selflessly dedicated his life to activism and helping other people has been betrayed at every turn of the way.
In my view the only people in this entire situation who have not contributed to screwing Jeremy over are the folks at Jeremy Hammond Support Network, FreeAnons and their supporters.
The support given by these folks to Jeremy is priceless. This is a dark time to spend in jail for Jeremy. Accepting his fate and sentence. I can’t stress the importance of the work that the JHSN and FreeAnons has had and will continue to have on Jeremys well being in the years to come. This is not an ending, it’s a beginning. A new phase of support is being rallied together right now.
Where there is no justice, there is Just Us. The power of a letter or funny post card of support to someone in Jeremy’s position is vital. All of us have the ability to make a huge impact by starting and maintaining a letter writing correspondence with Jeremy.~Jenny Baker
Get connected and show your support.