Not having heard much about Jeremy Hammond up to that point, I delved into the case. I learned about the elite hacktivist groups that Hammond had been involved with and his association with Sabu, a hacker-turned-FBI-informant. I learned more about Stratfor and their spying activities on members of Occupy Wall Street; about the conflict of interest for Judge Preska, whose husband was apparently a victim of the Stratfor hacks. I learned more about the FBI's involvement, seeing very clearly that Stratfor intel was somehow a strategic acquisition for the FBI (the bureau was monitoring the hack and has undoubtedly made use of the information that came out of it) and that Hammond's case was a textbook example of entrapment, wherein Hammond is paying the penalty for doing the FBI's dirty work.
Bust most of all, I was moved by the words of Hammond himself, which he delivered during his prepared sentencing statement, published that day on SparrowMedia.com.
Though of course it's very important to draw attention to this case, which got precious little coverage in the media, I most wish to highlight excerpts of Hammond's moving statement, below:
Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.
The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life. I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.
I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.
I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.
I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks... It was an exciting time – the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.
Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.
As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.
The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.
I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us... STAY STRONG AND KEEP STRUGGLING!