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Is Sentencing of Anonymous Hacktivist Part of “State’s Plan to Criminalize Democratic Dissent”?

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http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/jh.jpgThe Guardian reports: “Jeremy Hammond, the Anonymous hacktivist who released millions of emails relating to the private intelligence firm Stratfor, has denounced his prosecution and lengthy prison sentence as a ‘vengeful, spiteful act’ designed to put a chill on politically-motivated hacking.

“Hammond was sentenced on Friday at federal court in Manhattan to the maximum 10 years in jail, plus three years supervised release.”

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, kevin.gosztola at firedoglake.com, @kgosztola
Gosztola was at Hammond’s sentencing today. He writes “The Dissenter” blog for Firedoglake and is co-author of the book Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Private Manning.

He said today: “The judge in Jeremy Hammond’s sentencing seemed to adopt just about all of the government’s arguments in their sentencing memo to the court. She did not find it reasonable to consider that Hammond’s acts were civil disobedience as argued by his lawyers

“It appears that what happened in this case is that the judge did not want to distinguish between good hacking and bad hacking in the same way that judges have not wanted to distinguish between good leaking and bad leaking.

“What is clear going forward is that there is no legal avenue for hacktivists to argue that what they are doing is public service and not intended to harm other people.”

Gosztola recently wrote: “Jeremy Hammond worked with Anonymous to hack into Stratfor and release information from the firm. The material was eventually published by WikiLeaks.

“While uncharged, he also admitted in a statement after he pled guilty to one count of violating the CFAA [Computer Fraud and Abuse Act], that he had hacked into other websites including ‘military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies.’ He said he did this because he believed ‘people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors.’ …

“The damage to Stratfor was insurmountable for the firm, but it should not go unmentioned that the FBI had an informant, Hector Xavier Monsegur (‘Sabu’), involved in the operation to go into Stratfor’s network and obtain files for release. FBI officials claim they did not sit idly by and let this operation unfold as Stratfor was infiltrated, but they did apparently instruct or authorize Monsegur to have all the data obtained from the hack placed on one of the FBI’s own computers. …

“Ahead of Hammond’s sentencing, Hammond’s lawyers collected 265 letters of support that call for a ‘sentence of time-served.’ They were written by friends, family, academics, journalists, individuals from the tech community and notable whistleblowers.

“Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said in a letter, ‘I believe the actions taken by Jeremy Hammond need to be viewed in a context that considers the profound consequences of private surveillance of political activists in the United States.'”

Also, see recent interview with Chris Hedges on The Real News: “Hedges: Jeremy Hammond Exposed State’s Plan to Criminalize Democratic Dissent.”