Monday, August 19, 2013

Remarks Made at the Jeremy Hammond / Barrett Brown Fundraiser 19 August 2013 New York

We live in times where our liberties are ever threatened.  Where the individual is presumed to yield to the state. 

Things that should not have ever been forgotten have, until recently, seemingly been lost to history. Things that should be said and known every day as we Americans decide how we allow ourselves to be governed are no longer spoken except by an outlawed few.  Our privacy, the very gift that gives us our spirit of independence has become threatened.  But out of the shadows has emerged some hope for all of us. A legion has arrived, a legion the United States Government should have expected. Where the masses have forgotten, a new breed of patriot, the hacktivist, remembers. Words that have, over the years, lost their meaning have suddenly gained meaning anew. There is a war on information, but that is not a war that the government will win. The people will prevail. As the people must prevail. 

I want to read to you a bit:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. We know how to put a proper price upon goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. 

Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, Winter 1776.  It is as appropriate now as it was at Valley Forge.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  

Let us not forget the principles upon which this country was born. As we look to our seemingly forgotten past we must embrace the fantastic promise of the digital revolution. It is our future. 

The world is changing at a faster pace than it ever has before.  One person with the courage to come forward can change the world in ways they never could before.  But we must be mindful of the world as it is so that we can act to change it in ways that will benefit the future.   

Rock and roll

These things have become passé 

Information is the new currency 
Information is the new aphrodisiac
Information is the new high. 

He who controls the information controls your world.

And your government knows it. 

But we're starting to know it too, thanks at least in part to the groundbreaking work of Jeremy Hammond and Barrett Brown, two of the first prophets of the digital age. 

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty, said Thomas Jefferson. But our government would likely seek to classify our founding fathers as terrorists if they dared seek to turn their rhetoric to reality today. How far we have drifted from the American ideals. What dangerous times are these. 

Likewise, predictably lurking about Jeremy and Barrett are prosecutors and judges who want to turn these prophets into martyrs. Our aim is to see that they fail miserably in these endeavors. 

At issue in the cases of both Hammond and Brown is the principle that people are entitled to privacy while the state must be transparent. Syllogistically, a good result in The United States v Hammond and The United States v. Brown translates into a good result for freedom, freedom for us all. At the same time, we must also recognize that what is good for freedom is antithetical to the emerging omnipresent surveillance state. 

Jeremy is accused of hacking Strategic Forecasting Inc., commonly known as Stratfor.  Stratfor was thought of as a private CIA.  He has admitted to passing over 5 million emails to Wikileaks for publication.  He has pled guilty and faces a possible 10 years in federal prison.  Those emails gave us a glimpse of the evil and inappropriate relationship between the government and the private spy network, the so called private intelligence community.  Among the disclosures of the Stratfor emails shed light upon was something called trapwire – facial recognition software already in place in major American cities that can track you as you go about your daily routine. 

Trapwire was one of the many items that journalist Barrett Brown was investigating at the time of his arrest.  Barrett pends trial on charges that could add up to over 100 years of custody time.  Principal among the charges he faces are allegations that he shared a link to the Stratfotr hack wherein there were credit card numbers.  Assuming arguendo he did so, he shared a link to a newsworthy event.  He did something journalists do every day all day long.  But because of his investigations into these private intelligence firms, including Booz Allen Hamilton, the company in the news because they were the NSA contractor who employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Barrett was charged and stands to lose his freedom for all of his days.  He’s 32 and they could give him 100 years.  It’s obscene. 

Let me read some Jefferson once more to buttress the historic importance of these acts:

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.  I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often the tyrants will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. 

Indeed, Jefferson would be in the lockup today, perhaps sharing a cell with Jeremy or Barrett.  What dangerous times are these indeed when personal liberty is constantly under threat of incarceration. 

Jeremy and Barrett acted not for fame or for financial gain.  They didn’t think that one day we would gather together like this to support them and their actions.  They did what they did because of their unyielding principles.  Because they understood that freedom, liberty and independence come from that simple concept; privacy for the individual and transparency for the state.  Based upon that, they have acted heroically. 

They remembered the American ideals that were lost to time.  They remembered their past as they forged ahead to make a better future for us all.  These are indeed the times that try man’s souls, but if we follow the lead set by Jeremy and Barrett, I’ve no doubt that it will be the American people that have a glorious triumph over the American government and the corporatocracy’s private surveillance state. 

Donating to the causes of Jeremy Hammond and Barrett Brown is important for the foregoing reasons. We ask you to stand up for freedom, to stand against the surveillance state, to stand for the true ideals of the American experiment and help us protect and fight for these prophets of the digital age. 

Jeremy and Barrett put themselves on the line for your freedom. Please help secure theirs. We do not forgive the transgressions of the surveillance state.  We do not forget our heroes.  

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, gave me chills. if most of you were not convinced mental illness exists, you might not deserve this, but I first received electroshock to my brain 43 years ago. Recall, people like Jay and Glenn are not old enough. The US murdered 4 million Vietnamese. The "surveillance state" could not be what it is if you had not willingly permitted the state to remove people for whom no crime was ever alleged. The state doesn't even need to claim their actions are dictated by the "patient's" welfare. Our generation starts with a swastika. Since no word starts with a swastika, you have to stand up.