January 31, 2015

Don't Quote Me on This, But...

Daily Beast "Journalist Barrett Brown looks back in anger at the government’s trumped up charges against him as he starts a 63 month prison sentence." by Barrett Brown

'I will leave it to Judge Lindsay to explain to the concerned members of the press that they are not actually concerned; based on the commentary that’s now coming out of outlets ranging from the U.S. News & World Report to The Intercept and the Columbia Journalism Review, His Honor has a big job ahead of him. Instead, I will merely point out the other major scandal inherent to this case, one which has so far gone largely unreported—that in addition to having lost the “right to link” journalists have also now lost the “right to quote.” In trying to make the case that I was a violent threat to Agent Smith, the prosecution attributed to me the following statement: “Dead men can’t leak stuff … illegally shoot the son of a bitch.” I will admit that this is clearly an outright call for murder, and thus would certainly seem to warrant an F.B.I. investigation. The problem is that it wasn’t I who uttered this, but rather Fox News commentator Bob Beckel, who said it on national television in the course of a no-doubt productive discussion about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I had merely quoted the statement on my Twitter feed—in disapproval, of course, as I happen to admire Assange, and he, himself, has put out a statement expressing astonishment that the U.S. government would attribute to me a call for his murder made by someone else on a major cable news network. Now, it would be one thing if this had simply been a misunderstanding on the part of the D.O.J., which, in all fairness, was clearly in a rush to flesh out its fabricated case against me. But when my attorneys pointed this out in a motion to dismiss the charge, the prosecutor, Candina Heath, actually stuck to her guns, arguing that, by quoting this, I had “promoted” the idea. Among many other things, this leaves open the question of why Bob Beckel has not been indicted. The answer is that, unlike me, Beckel did not spend much of 2011 investigating the full extent of the Team Themis conspiracy, in which F.B.I.-linked contracting firms prepared a covert and criminal scheme by which to launch cyber-attacks in a campaign of intimidation against activists and journalists deemed supportive of Wikileaks—a conspiracy that, as the press and even some members of Congress noted at the time that it was foiled and made public by Anonymous, had been put in motion by none other than the D.O.J. itself.

'The dozen or so Americans who still have faith in the essential decency of the D.O.J., despite the assorted scandals of the last 15 years, might find it hard to believe that the charges against me were actually prompted by my efforts to bring attention to the agency’s own wrong-doing. It’s a fine thing, then, that the late journalist Michael Hastings saw fit to publish a copy of the original search warrants in my case, which list Themis firms HBGary Federal and Endgame Systems as subjects to be searched among my files, along with echelon2.org, the website on which my colleagues and I posted our research on the matter. Stratfor, the firm I allegedly cost almost a million dollars via a single phone call, is left unmentioned.

'But what should worry Americans most is not that the various frightening aspects of this case can fill a rather wordy article. What should worry them is that this is not even that article. The great bulk of the government’s demonstrable lies, contradictions, and instances of perjury are still sealed and thus unavailable to the public. Other matters are just now coming to light, such as the revelation, two days before my sentencing, that the D.O.J. had withheld from my defense team sealed chat transcripts from the Jeremy Hammond hacking case which contradicted its key claim that I was a co-conspirator in the Stratfor hack. And there are still other aspects of all this, such as the F.B.I.’s seizure of my copy of the Declaration of Independence as evidence of my criminal activity, that I blush to even commit to print, lest I not be believed, even despite the F.B.I. itself having now confirmed it.

'Suffice to say that I shall produce a far more comprehensive account of this whole affair later this year, even if I have few illusions that it will make much difference; a state that had reason to fear the press would not have acted as openly as it has, for as long as it has, and to such ends as it has. If anyone needs me in the meantime, I’ll be in prison.'

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