Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letters Desperately Needed For Jeremy Hammond's Sentencing by 10/15

The time is now to support Jeremy Hammond

"You don't have to know Jeremy to help, you just have to care" 

~ Jeremy's friend Grace said that at the #FreeHammond/#FreeBB fundraiser in NY in August.  It is doubtless true.  Jeremy Hammond is a prisoner pending sentencing for computer hacking crimes. His crimes were acts of civil disobedience, acts of protest against an encroaching surveillance state. He is part of a new breed of electronic dissident, a list populated by such pop heroes as Edward SnowdenChelsea Manning, Barrett Brown, Julian Assange and the PayPal14.   Jeremy faces a maximum of 10 years under the plea agreement he signed.  The government will want the full 10 years.  Will you please help us ask the judge for less time?  

Jeremy’s sentencing is not going to be delayed any further.  It will go forward mid-November.  Letters to the court in support of Jeremy need to be in by no later than the 15th of October so they can be submitted to the court - that means you should do it now - TODAY! This is important. If you care about Jeremy Hammond, the freedom of the internet or the encroaching surveillance state, you need to take action on this now - this is the opportunity to have your voice heard on this matter.  Any and all help that you all can give, including both passing this along and writing your own letter to the court about why they should not give Jeremy 10 years is not only appreciated, but is desperately needed.   Please spread this message around and let’s get as many letters as we can and let’s make sure they are all thoughtful and powerful.  This is important for Jeremy and important for freedom. Please speak now on this crucial issue.

Jeremy Hammond is a gifted young computer programmer facing a decade in prison. His crime? Leaking information from the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, information which revealed that Stratfor had been spying on human rights activists at the behest of corporations and the U.S. government.

In March 2012 Jeremy was arrested in his Chicago home and charged with violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the same legislation used to prosecute Aaron Swartz. This outdated law, written before the Internet was even created, gives absurdly broad powers to corporations and prosecutors to criminalize an array of online activity and pursue extreme and disproportionate sentences. By contrast, of Jeremy’s co-defendants in Ireland and in the U.K. none will spend more than 16 months in prison, and many have been released already.

Jeremy has been denied bail, cut off from his family, and held in solitary confinement– treatment normally reserved for the most egregious offenses. He did nothing for personal gain and everything in hopes of making the world a better place. He is facing a maximum sentence of ten years, but the minimum is zero. He has been jailed since March 2012 awaiting trial and now sentencing. It’s time for him to come home.

Jeremy Hammond Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Hammond
Rolling Stone Articlehttp://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-rise-and-fall-of-jeremy-hammond-enemy-of-the-state-20121207
Chicago Magazinehttp://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/July-2007/The-Hacktivist/
Huffington Post Articlehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivien-lesnik-weisman/post_4885_b_3352308.html 

Jeremy's twin brother Jason with attorneys Margaret and Sarah Kuntsler

Completed letters can be (1) faxed to 347-402-2014, (2) scanned and emailed to sarah at kunstlerlaw dot net, or (3) mailed to:

The Law Office of Susan G. Kellman
25 Eighth Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11217

Please do not send your letter directly to the Court – it will not be read.

Anonymous Letters
It is much better if letters are signed, have the appearance of coming from real people, and have return addresses. We understand if people wish to remain anonymous, and would prefer they submit letters anonymously than not at all, but the Judge will place much greater weight on the letters that include this information.

It is preferential that letters go straight to Sarah Kuntsler or to Susan Kellman's office.  For those that wish to participate but still wish to retain their privacy/anonymity: I will collect letters to go to Ms. Kellman's office.  If you want your letter printed out and do not want to send it straight to Jeremy's attorneys of record, Ms. Kellman and Sarah Kuntsler, you can send them to me and I will overnight the letters.  I must have them by early morning, PST on the 14th so I can get letters to New York by the 15th.  Whatever way they come to me I will do my best to ensure that they remain as anonymous as possible, including following whatever instructions that you give me to the best of my ability.  I will handle all letters with "attorney/client" confidence and submit only that portion of the communication that is necessary for the judge to review it. That means, for example, printing out an email as opposed to forwarding it (and its metadata), or downloading a document from jabber and printing it. More instructions for Anonymous authors can be found below.  

My contact information is:



TEL: (805) 654 0200 ext. 24
FAX: (805) 654 0280

My jabber is: jayleiderman@jabber.ccc.de


Jeremy Hammond's sentencing hearing is set for Friday, November 15 at 10am at the Federal District Court for  the Southern District of New York.  We are collecting letters of support on his behalf. Please submit your letter by October 15, 2013 so that it can be included in our submission to the Court. Please do not send your letter directly to the Court – it will not be read. Below is a suggested template for support letters.

Honorable Loretta A. Preska
Chief Judge
Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10007


GREETING: Dear Judge Preska:

BODY OF LETTER: Briefly discuss yourself – who you are, your position in work or your role in the community. If you are not personally acquainted with Jeremy, tell the Judge why you are interested in his case. State that you are aware that Jeremy has pled guilty to a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Tell the Judge why you believe he should be treated with compassion.

If you know Jeremy personally, and can offer some personal observations, you will want to mention this in your letter.  It would be helpful to include:

·         Jeremy's character, compassion, integrity, accomplishments, interests, relationships, interaction with and treatment of other people, and your personal and/or professional relationship with him. 
·         If there are specific anecdotes that will help the reader develop a better picture of Jeremy, we encourage you to share those.  It is a good idea to include a brief description of you:  your occupation, activities in which you might be involved and any other points which will establish your identity and your ability to advise the court about Jeremy.   

If you would like to address the disparate treatment of Jeremy's co-defendants, or put his case in the context of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), you may want to mention some of the following points:

·         Jeremy's co-defendants in Ireland and in the United Kingdom were given treatment that is disparate, those who are already convicted will not spend more than 16 months in prison, some have already been released
·         The disproportionate sentences associated with the CFAA, or that the protection the CFAA affords to corporations is greater than those it affords to individuals, who may be subjected to surveillance by private corporations such as Stratfor. (For more information on the CFAA, please visit the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, https://www.eff.org/issues/cfaa)

Whether you know Jeremy or not, you may want to mention that he had no financial gain from his actions, which he undertook as politically-motivated acts of civil disobedience. Do not try to argue that Jeremy is not guilty or was unfairly convicted. You are asking the Judge for leniency.

Since this is not an effort to mislead or create a false impression, you are encouraged to write an honest, straightforward word portrait of Jeremy.  Do not hesitate to write from the heart, and/or emphasize anything you feel is important.  One of the goals of your letter is to enable the reader to see Jeremy through your eyes.

It is best to write in plain, everyday, conversational language, as if you were speaking to the reader.  If possible, your letter should be typewritten, and, if appropriate, on business stationary, and addressed to me.  I will deliver it to the parties that will be reading it.

If you are anonymous and wish to remain anonymous, please give enough identifying information about you to allow the reader to understand who it is that you are, without giving too much information.  For example, if you use a Twitter handle, you may use that as your identification.  You can identify simply as a member of a particular group.  Please do not fail to write a letter because you do not to give your full name and/or other identifying information to the government.  We can work with whatever limitations there are.  

Sign the letter and include your return address if you are willing and able to do so. Completed letters can be (1) faxed to 347-402-2014, (2) scanned and emailed to sarah at kunstlerlaw dot net, or (3) mailed to: The Law Office of Susan G. Kellman; 25 Eighth Avenue; Brooklyn, New York 11217
If you have any questions, please call 718-783-8200 or email sarah at kunstlerlaw dot net. You can also contact me, my contact information is above, my email is jay@criminal-lawyer.me. Please remember that Sarah Kuntsler and Susan Kellman are Jeremy's attorneys of record. I am simply a member of his "legal team" and am not acting in an official capacity.  Ms. Kuntsler and Ms. Kellman have final authority in this case.  

Original instructions from freejeremy.net: http://freejeremy.net/giant-banner/join-us-in-asking-for-leniency-in-jeremys-sentencing/ 

Let's work together and #FreeHammond #FreeJeremy 

Thank you so much for your assistance in this very important matter.  Your letter will make your voice heard on the is matter and may very well make the difference in this sentencing hearing.  

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 has been long enough
Let's bring Jeremy home


  1. If you have thoughts about Jeremy's case or his sentencing, please share them here. It helps us all to discuss why Jeremy should not receive the 10 year maximum and why this case is important. Thank you for visiting and we all appreciate your interest in this case.

    1. Never ever sign or put your name on any of their rogue paper work under any circumstances or consent to any abuse or process they put you through.

  2. Anyone persecuted by todays "authority" deserves a second, third, even fourth independant investigation to defend or damn him/her ....I dont know much about this guy or what he has done.....but when I hear/read/see this biased presentation for him....I do suspect those of Prosecuting him, of some kind of "wrong-doing" just based on the fact that the ultimate criminals in our society today always go unpunished.........

  3. I am new to following all of this and I have done some researching on this and i don't see why he cant get the same amount as the others got. 10 years for someone who is admitting that he did the crime and also had no financial gain from it is a bit harsh. 16 months and some probation should be good. Most people in our society wouldn't do that he is setting an example as well as showing people what kind of place the internet is becoming and how many people are not safe from their own government what is so wrong with that? Our world is changing very fast and we need more people like this man here. Putting this man behind bars for ten years is going to be a waste of a man's life from what i have read he just wants the same freedoms that I, you, and your family want. I do hope that these letter do help keep us posted.

  4. I thought this kind of thing only happened in dictatorships or regimes like the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Apparently the USA is now a banana republic, spying on its own people and incapable of governing itself properly. Sad.

  5. Excerpt from letter:

    It is my firm belief, that, how we treat the weakest amongst us defines us as a nation. Unfortunately we are the Incarceration Nation, incarcerating individuals at a higher rate, than any other country in the world. If that is not enough, we treat our prisoners with unmitigated cruelty, punishing activists as if they were murderers or worse. But I believe no matter what the crime, we must treat all prisoners well in prison, and they must be afforded justice from the Bench in verdict and sentencing, justice in Prison, and Justice in the public discourse.

  6. Excerpt from letter:

    I am inviting you to pass a lenient sentence on Jeremy Hammond. I live in England, where long sentences are passed only for the most serious crimes. Instead of a death penalty we have only about 35 prisoners serving life without parole, and even that is being appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. A report about six months ago said that there were generally “Less than five prisoners in solitary confinement at any time.”

  7. Excerpt from letter:

    also consider that a disproportionate sentence for Jeremy Hammond associated with the CFAA would be rather unfair and unfounded, and that the protection the
    CFAA affords to corporations is greater than those it affords to individuals, who may be subjected to surveillance by private corporations such as Stratfor.
    This is key to understanding why all his supporters worldwide hold Jeremy Hammond
    in such high regard. His actions pulled open the curtain of deception and allowed us to see behind it. He exposed the World that has been pulled over our eyes, to blind
    us from the truth.

  8. Excerpt from letter:

    Over the past year I have been following the headlines about the different cases
    involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Jeremy Hammond's case initially
    got me interested because of all the media attention it received. I had never
    heard of Jeremy but after reading up on him and his case I realized he isn't just
    some black hat hacker. He's an idealist.
    I am writing to express my hope that you will show leniency in sentencing him. I
    am aware that he has pled guilty to a violation of the CFAA, but I truly believe
    that he was acting on his conscience in an attempt to make the world better for
    everyone. When you sentence him, please consider that what he did was a
    nonviolent act of civil disobedience and not a crime committed for financial or
    personal gain. While his honorable motives certainly don’t excuse his crime, I
    truly believe he should be released with time served.

  9. Excerpt from letter:

    I do not know Jeremy personally, but I am interested in the case as part of the Obama Adminstration's
    War on Whistleblowers, prosecuting Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeremy Hammond, Julian
    Assange, and even Government workers who blew the whistle on government waste fraud and abuse
    in the NSA, CIA, DOJ, like Thomas Drake, J Kirk Weibe, Jesselyn Raddack, Bill Binney, who went
    through the normal channels for reporting waste fraud and abuse as whistleblowers, until they were
    ignored or told not to worry about it, and then at a certain point they went to the press.

    I support Jeremy Hammond and other whistleblowers because journalism is not terrorism and is not a

  10. Excerpt from letter:

    I fully understand that Mr Hammond has been convicted. I am not going to argue that decision. I am concerned about a fair sentence compared to other crimes, and violent crimes, that receive such little consideration.

    I am writing you to request leniency for Mr Hammond, and hopefully time served. I would ask you to consider if Mr Hammond is truly a threat to our society? Is he someone that will do harm to the public in the future? Is the time he has already served not just?

    I will not try to lecture on the cases of rapists, drug dealers, violent assailants who receive less time than Mr Hammond has already served. Having many friends who are judges and lawyers, everyone understands the inequities in our system.

    I ask that you please consider time served based on the fact that no permanent injury took place to any real person. I ask that you please consider the point has been made by the government. I also ask that you resist the urge to over sentence someone that has never harmed a real person.

  11. Excerpt from letter:

    I am writing to ask of you to be lenient in your sentencing of Jeremy Hammond. Jeremy is a very principled man. Although you might not agree with his methods, his motives were always altruistic. No matter where he may go, he will do good, and work towards making the world a better place. I know that while he has been interred, he has taken every opportunity presented to be a positive influence on those around him.

  12. Excerpt from letter:

    I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister. I work full time ....

    I first became aware of this case with the death of Aaron Swartz. I became very upset by the over-reaching and aggressiveness of which the Prosecutor acted to pursue a felony conviction and legal sentence that made no sense when one took a look at the crime committed and the harm it caused. While I am aware that Jeremy has pled guilty to a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. I find it terribly unjust that this crime was not only planned in detail, but also instigated by the very agency that is supposed to be protecting against such an act, the FBI. I also find it worrisome as a human being that Jeremy's co-defendants in Ireland and in the United Kingdom were given treatment that is disparate, those who are already convicted will not spend more than 16 months in prison, and some have already been released.

    This young man has now already been detained 19 months since March of 2012, which is already longer than the entire sentence of his co-conspirators.

  13. Excerpt from letter:

    Although I have never met Jeremy, some of the closest people in my life has met him. Everything I have ever been told about him has always been positive words about his character and how he impacted their lives. To me, that is someone who is respectable member of society. He has impacted lives in ways that I can only dream of doing in my life. Everyone I know who has met Jeremy has noticed his compassion for others and has inspired them to want to do more for their community.

    Jeremy's co-defendants in Europe were given treatment that is disparate and those who are already convicted will not spend more than 16 months in prison and others have been released already. I believe that Jeremy should have a sentence which falls in-line with his co-defendants.

    Jeremy is being charged under the CFAA which is a quite outdated law, which also affords greater protection to corporations than it does for individuals who maybe subjected to private surveillance corporations such as Stratfor. Jeremy did not have any financial gain from his actions, which were solely politically-motivated acts of civil disobedience.

    Mr Hammond really is someone who greatly cares about others and the community. As I stated, he has changed many lives for the better and I really hope that you would consider granting him some leniency when sentencing him.

  14. Excerpt:

    I understand that Jeremy Hammond has pled
    guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He has violated a law, but I cannot
    consider him a dangerous "hacker". He did not target infrastructure. He never attempted to take
    down an energy provider, nuclear or weapons facility, government website, or interfere with this
    country's ability to defend and protect itself. I do not believe his crimes are severe enough to
    warrant a 10 year sentence, and would plead with you for leniency in his case.

    He revealed to all of us the extent of illegal activity performed by corporations who are paid with
    our tax dollars. Stratfor was employed by Dow Chemical to spy on people seeking redress for the
    victims of the Bhopal environmental disaster. The extent of industrial espionage, market rigging
    and cavalier covert intelligence leaks performed by Stratfor were a real wake up call for all of us -
    including our government representatives.

    Mr. Hammond believed he was releasing the information he obtained so that we would all
    become aware of this threat to those principals of decency that we citizens of the United States
    publicly avow - honesty, integrity and the rule of law. He did not hack for money, as Stratfor and
    our intelligence community vendors do. His revelations inspire truth and transparency.

    Mr. Hammond was unknowingly guided, aided and encouraged in his activism/hacktivism by
    the F.B.I. informant Hector Monsegur. F.B.I. agents proposed and facilitated the hacking of
    hundreds of targets of their choice after infiltrating the Anonymous group.

    Regardless of your opinion of Jeremy Hammond's venue choice for his activism, he clearly
    shared the same goal and motivation as the F.B.I. espouses - protection of the populace from the
    unscrupulous and hidden abuse of the public good. Please consider this when determining his
    sentence. His contemporaries in the United Kingdom and Ireland received sentences ranging
    from Probation to 30 months. Surely our justice system can be at least as caring and fair.

  15. Part 1 of 2:

    In June of 1773 Anonymously procured letters were published in the Boston Gazette.
    Their publication and the whisper campaign that preceded their publication set the
    countryside aflame. Protests were held as far away as Philadelphia and, back in England, a
    duel took place over who was responsible for the Anonymous leak. No one died in the initial
    duel so a second duel was duly scheduled. Before it could take place, Benjamin Franklin, then
    acting on behalf of Massachusetts in London, stepped forward to admit that he had sent the
    letters to Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and others in the Massachusetts legislature. Those of
    us who are heirs to the American Revolution know of these events as the Hutchinson Letters
    Affair. Thomas Hutchinson, then Governor of the British Province of Massachusetts, was one
    of the correspondents involved in penning the packet of twenty letters. I would like to
    submit to the Court that what happened in the Hutchinson Letters Affair might prove
    instructive as the Court considers the length of sentence it will level for Jeremy Hammond's
    admitted responsibility in pilfering a large number of electronic letters from Stratfor and
    passing them along to Wikileaks.

    My name is Doug Johnson Hatlem. I was born in California, studied at Liberty
    University in Virginia and Duke Divinity School in North Carolina. Most recently, I spent
    eight years as a street pastor working with people who are homeless or otherwise
    marginalized for the Mennonite Central Committee Ontario (MCCO). MCCO placed me to
    work at Sanctuary, a church, drop-in center, health clinic, and arts collective in the heart of
    downtown Toronto. Recently, I moved back to the United States as my wife has taken a job at
    a seminary in Chicago. Much more has been written about me publicly in two embarassingly
    kind articles in the Toronto Star that describe me as a “diligent and conscientious
    professional” with an “Old Testament sense of justice” that “can sometimes boil over.”
    Besides having moved to the city where Jeremy Hammond lived and worked before his
    arrest, I can identify with him and with his plight for a number of reasons. Most especially, I
    feel a deep resonance with his various passions for justice and his intolerance for corruption
    of any sort.

    Perhaps the British would have been within their then blinkered understanding of
    justice if they had put Ben Franklin away for a decade to punish him for his treachery in the
    Hutchinson Letters Affair, but our experience as Americans and, in fact, as citizens all over
    the world, would certainly be quite different if Ben had been behind bars in the years that
    followed. Mr. Franklin is said to have stood silently as he was upbraided by the Solicitor
    General as a dishonorable thief at a Privy Council meeting which, among other items,
    considered how he ought to be disciplined. Interestingly, Franklin spent no time in jail for his
    misdeeds. He was, however, relieved of his position as Postmaster General of the colonies at
    the Privy Council meeting. While silent at the hearing, Franklin initially defended his
    publication of the purloined letters precisely on the grounds that their contents intended to
    influence public policy and were therefore in the public interest.

  16. Part 2 of 2

    Jeremy Hammond has plead guilty before this Court. As I understand it, however,
    there is not a shred of a question surrounding Mr. Hammond's intentions. Mr. Hammond,
    like Franklin, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock before him, firmly believed that his
    involvement in the Stratfor eLetters Affair was undertaken in the public interest. More to the
    point, John Hancock, speaking to the conclusion of the Massachusetts legislature, specifically
    stated that the Hutchinson Letters showed that the Governor was involved with plans to
    "overthrow the Constitution of this Government, and to introduce arbitrary Power into the
    Province." Mr. Hammond acted, by all accounts, from similar concerns. Now, it may turn out
    that Mr. Hammond is wrong about what is happening behind the scenes with private military
    contractors. Just the same, it could have turned out that Hancock, Franklin, Sam Adams and
    others were wrong. Or even just unsuccessful.

    But they weren't.

    It is worth noting that Franklin never had to give up the Anonymous method or source
    by which he originally came into possession of the Hutchinson Letters. Fort Meade was then,
    indeed, no Fort at all and wouldn't become such until 1917. Likewise, the FBI, which didn't
    exist until 1908. More ironically, among the rights for which the colonies fought against the
    British were the rights to Freedom of the Press, Speedy Trial, and against Cruel and Unusual
    Punishment. The British might be said now to have a better grasp of these inalienble rights as
    Declared three years after the publication of the Hutchinson Letters and cemented thirteen
    years after that in our Bill of Rights. Jake Davis, Jeremy Hammond's Lulzsec co-conspirator in
    the UK for instance, has not only already been tried and sentenced, but has actually already
    served the entirety of his term behind bars. In the name of Franklin, Adams, and Hancock
    and even more so in the name of a rational and moral application of justice, I ask that the
    Court sentence Jeremy Hammond to the time he has to the time he has already served.

  17. I am writing this letter on behalf of Jeremy Hammond to request your leniency when determining his sentence. I have professionally invested myself in Jeremy’s work as an academic and scholar who studies the discourses that mediate between rhetoric, politics, the law, and the Internet. Jeremy’s case certainly stands out among many others for very specific reasons.

    Through my research concerning the history of the Internet, I learned that many scholars view the practices of hacking and hacktivism akin to the act of researching. Perhaps not so ironically, most acts of “hacking” began in our highly privileged academic houses such as MIT, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, and Stanford. There is a long history within academia to find new ways of obtaining information in order to create and/or evolve current modes of thought. It was when I came across media articles on Jeremy’s case that I realized he had used similar methods of research as I had been trained to do during graduate school. This realization led me to focus a large portion of my analysis of document disclosures (doxing) and hacking on Jeremy’s work.

    In one of his seminal texts, French philosopher Jacques Derrida writes about making peace with our society’s ghosts. He softly argues that

    [a lover of justice] should learn to live by learning not how to make conversation with the ghost but how to talk with him, with her, how to let them speak or how to give them back speech, even if it is in oneself, in the other, in the other oneself: they are always there, specters, even if they do not exist, even if they are no longer, even if they are not yet. They give us to rethink the “there” as soon as we open our mouths, even at a colloquium and especially when one speaks there in a foreign language: Thou are a scholar; speak to it, Horatio. (p. 221; Specters of Marx)

    Derrida desired that we really begin to listen to the voices of the silent, the unheard. Sometimes these voices are our past; sometimes these voices are alive in our present. In this case, I think Derrida helps us find a way to understand Jeremy’s actions: we might learn the meaning behind what we are saying by first listening to each other.

    The French philosopher recalls Shakespeare’s Hamlet to make his point, leaning on Horatio’s character. If you will recall, Horatio was Hamlet’s trusted friend. Omniscient even, Horatio was the only character to survive the life of the play; it was as if he had been written to see that the true story was told after everyone else could no longer speak.

  18. I have not connected Horatio and Jeremy in naïve comparison. For citizens like me, Jeremy’s research gave us the story—albeit only some of it. His work relies on nothing more than advancing our understanding of the truth, though it may sound foreign. To look again at what Derrida says, we can see that he chose his verb carefully (and I will quote it again, with emphasis this time): “They give us to rethink the “there” as soon as we open our mouths, even at a colloquium and especially when one speaks there in a foreign language.” Derrida wants to emphasize the act of giving, that which is very much unlike taking. Due to sensational headlines in the media, we have come to see the act of hacking as stealing, seizing, plundering—all terms related to the act of piracy. However, and this is with my own extensive research in the practice, hacking has mostly been an act of giving.

    Helen Nissenbaum, professor of Media, Culture, and Communication and Computer Science at NYU, once paraphrased and elaborated on Eric Raymond’s words to prove how influential hacking has been:

    The contributions that hackers have made to social welfare extend beyond free code to include access to technology and information; Raymond writes, “many of the hackers of the 1980s and early 1990s launched the Internet Service Providers selling or giving access to the masses.”

    Nissenbaum urges us to remember that it was the hackers who physically made the Internet. Without hacking, we, none of us, would have the access to the Internet and technology we have. And, without hackers, the media would not have the ability to admonish hacking and these same hackers in the news. Because of hackers, we have this networked world that we live in. Because of hackers, we are all a little closer to hearing one another.

    Again, I am writing on behalf of Jeremy; I am not writing to recall the long history and traditions within the formation of the Internet. Nevertheless, I do feel it is important and relevant to consider Jeremy’s actions in light of our contemporary culture. Surely you know that there is a longstanding tradition within American history to have the freedom to pursue knowledge. This tradition coincides with the history of the Internet, and this is the tradition that envelops academia—the tradition I spoke of when I began this letter.

    I ask that you consider the connections between what Jeremy has done in light of the history of political and academic pursuits that precede him. I ask that you consider what Derrida softly argues is at the heart of political speech: a gift. It is in my asking that I leave this letter with a hope that maybe you will listen to me, listen to all the others speaking on Jeremy’s behalf, and, most of all, listen to Jeremy himself. His words have explained his actions. In the field of rhetoric (of which you must be familiar), we call that having an honorable ethos.

    In solidarity and with hope,

  19. Honorable Loretta A. Preska
    Chief Judge
    Southern District of New York
    500 Pearl Street
    New York, NY 10007

    October 14, 2013

    Dear Judge Preska:

    My name is Elias Silva. I am a graphic designer and small business owner, a community volunteer and a former pastor. I write today to ask your leniency with Jeremy Hammond who has pled guilty before the court for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). I have never met Jeremy Hammond. I do not know Jeremy personally, but he has made a profound impact on my life for the positive. I know the media has written extensively about how bad "hackers" are. However, I do not find this to be the case with Jeremy. A committed friend and activist, Jeremy is hardly a dangerous person. I have paid close attention to this case because of the implications it has for civil rights for internet research, and technology workers.I believe that precisely because of the guilty plea, Jeremy should be treated with leniency and compassion.

    The CFAA is an outdated very broad law that puts technology workers like myself in a state of apprehension about security research, information collection and acts of conscience in the public interest. Every day, murderers, rapists and all manner of truly harmful and dangerous people commit crimes that have real impact on people's lives and bodies. These crimes are dangerous, and endanger people, but Jeremy did not attempt to cause a war, or hack the electrical grid. It seems that in the last five years, a string of high-publicity cases has made the very act of violating a terms of service agreement (that thing most of us skip over,) a federal offense punishable with the harshest schedules of sentencing.

    As a pastor, and community volunteer, I have seen how when you empower a child with technology, their face lights up, their life finds meaning, they commit themselves to studying programming, and other forms of technology. Internet technology is still an area where the law needs to catch up, and this could be a great place to create room for a discussion that reduces sentences on non-violent crimes like this and is more equitable with Europe's sentencing standards. Jeremy's co-defendants in Europe were convicted will not spend more than 16 months in prison, while Jeremy faces up to ten years for a non-violent offense. In the name of justice and an intentional push towards an international standard for computer related crimes, I would ask your clemency. I believe Jeremy should have a sentence that falls in line with those of his co-defendants.

  20. The CFAA is being used to bully individuals while providing undue amounts of protection to corporate entities. If we remember the context of this case, significant financial gain could have been made by someone in Jeremy's position, and secretly. He could have sold secrets to foreign governments, or competitors. Instead, he has pled guilty to releasing the document sand emails of violations of the bill of rights into the public domain. His actions exposed a complex network of Big Brother companies who have made it their work to continuously breach the Bill of Rights that are granted to all American citizens. This politically motivated act of free speech in the public interest deserves our public appreciation, not our disdain.

    Your honor, in all history, there have been voices that dared to stand against the establishment in the public interest. From Moses to Martin Luther King, there have been repercussions for these actions, but at other times, there have managed to be victories for the dissenters. Our very founding fathers are such dissenters. They were political policy hackers, who used their education, research, trade ships, acts of piracy, wanton destruction and political speech to secede from a monarchy they perceived as unjust. Had these men failed, they would be in a position similar to Jeremy's, instead, they released a similar document, in the public interest, which is one of the most profound statements of dissent in the history of political speech. Jeremy too, is a dissenter, but a conscientious dissenter, like Moses, Isaiah, the prophets, Robin Hood, Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks.

    I believe history will validate that this is a critical time in the history of this nation, where we play fast and furious with civil liberties but have no room to question things done in the name of national security. I believe that voices like Jeremy Hammond's are a clarion call for us to acknowledge our laws regarding the internet's intersection with civil liberties are deeply flawed. I believe that it is in the public interest to rule with leniency against Jeremy Hammond, for his sake, but also for the hallowed tradition of dissent which is so lacking in this country at this time. We may not always like our prophets or dissenters, your honor, but that does not make them wrong.

    As a first generation American, I owe my life and liberty to this country, and I feel sincerely it would be a grave violation of the America I was taught to love to sentence Jeremy Hammond harshly. Therefore, I ask your leniency.

    With all due respect,

    Elias Silva

  21. Quinn Norton's letter:


    The Value of Dissent
    An open letter asking for leniency for Jeremy Hammond

    "If Hammond’s ideas are wrong for America, let them lose in the marketplace of ideas, and not to the suppressive force of the state."

  22. Peter Ludlow's letter to Judge Preska:


  23. Statement by Chris Hedges in support of Jeremy Hammond’s call for a fair trial


    Nearly all of the government's actions and decisions, many of which violate our
    most cherished civil liberties and defy the Constitutional call for a separation of powers,
    are now effectively hidden from the public. These decisions are beyond the scrutiny of
    the press or the judiciary. At the same time, we as citizens have no privacy left. The
    government has handed to itself the capacity to carry out the warrantless wiretapping,
    monitoring and eves dropping of tens of millions of citizens. Our personal data,
    correspondent, histories, employment records, private activities, phone logs, emails
    exchanges, travel and political views are stored in perpetuity in government
    supercomputers. We are the most monitored, spied on, photographed, listened to and
    watched population in human history...

    We are not asking today for very much. We are asking for a fair hearing in a
    court of law. We are asking that Jeremy Hammond be permitted to present his case
    before a judge who does not have a personal involvement in his alleged activities, a
    personal involvement that will clearly prejudice the outcome. Hammond has enough
    stacked against him already. It at least deserves a chance at justice.

  24. Nicole Powers letter to Judge Preska:


    The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is cause for great concern within the online
    community, both because of its overbroad and vague language, and because the language
    itself predates HTML and therefore the very fabric of the World Wide Web. Furthermore,
    those found guilty under its auspices face sentences far harsher than those found guilty of
    real world crimes involving theft, physical violence, rape, and far more tangible damage
    and devastation –a disparity that seems intrinsically unfair.


    I would also urge you to consider that Jeremy’s actions with regards to Stratfor were
    instigated and encouraged by a highly skilled FBI informant, who was working under the
    direct supervision of his FBI handlers. Jeremy was acting on information supplied by this
    informant,and the files he illegally liberated as a result of it were uploaded to an FBI
    server at the behest of this same FBI informant. One therefore can’t help but wonder how
    much entrapment came into play. Indeed, it could be argued that the crimes for which
    Jeremy is already dearly paying, may never have occurred had he not crossed paths with
    the informant and been manipulated in this way.

  25. Like 1300 numbers, letter writing is also important to businesses.