While reading one of their emails, I’ve discovered that Strafor Vice-President Bartholomew Mongoven has some fairly strong feelings about me. In the leaked Wikileaks emails he describes me as “nuts. Like out there.”

Furthermore, he’s concerned that I’m inciting violence when calling for an escalation and nationalization of the anti-extraction movements. (Sorry Bart, as always, I call for a non-violent confrontation of the fossil fuel industry, unlike your bosses in those industries who actually do use violence against people and the planet.)

In another communication, Mongoven calls me “Nuts? Paranoid? Dramatic after reading a blog I’d written commenting on corporate surveillance of my employer. The irony of a private security firm calling me “paranoid” while spying on me at the same time is not lost on me.
—  Rising Tide & Rainforest Action Network organizer Scott Parkin, “Reflections on the Corporate Security State”

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.Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case.

I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.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.

Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.

My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups.

I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.

While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing.

But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. 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 thought long and hard about choosing this path again. 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.

I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time – the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security.

But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.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.I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention.

Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target.

I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI.

Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.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.After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform.

Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.

These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.

The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?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.In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals.

I believe in the individual right to privacy – from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us.

I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so — honestly — could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done.

—  Jeremy Hammond, hackitivist in his statement following his conviction which his sentence is 10 years for hacking into computers of private intelligence firm, Stratfor. 
Stratfor and geopolitical instruments of our demise

From the article:

“There is no way the United States can be this incompetent. The chaos here has to be at least partly deliberate.”

So explained an Iraqi military psychiatrist as we sat in his office in Baghdad’s al-Yarmouk hospital, trying to understand how his US counterparts could commit so many basic errors in military judgment during the occupation of Iraq, the most important of which was the stationing of battle-weary troops in the heart of Fallujah (the doctor predicted that doing so would likely precipitate a massacre, which in fact had occurred shortly before we met; his American counterparts remained unconcerned, or at least unmoved, at his warnings).

The United States was spending untold billions of dollars every month to rule Iraq, and yet at most every turn it seemed that it was making the wrong decision. Many people I knew who studied the US presence or spent time working in Iraq, did feel that the US was simply “that incompetent”.

Read more:
LulzSec hacker faces 30 years to life

Jeremy Hammond is 27 years old, was denied bail, and faces 30 years to life.

That’s 30 years to life for 3 charges related to hacking a computer network.

To put that into perspective, “25 to life” is also known as an “indeterminate life sentence."  As in, ”you murdered someone, but we’re not giving you life without parole.

If you murdered someone, you can check back with the courts and maybe get your freedom in 25 years.  This guy would have to wait 30.

In reading the attached court filing, it doesn’t seem to indicated that the 30 years to life is due to the nature of the data he allegedly stole, or something that would amplify the charge. 

He’s charged with:

Charge 1 - "conspiring” to do damage to or otherwise cost the company $5,000 or more in total during a given year.

Charge 2 - damaging or otherwise costing the company $5,000 or more during the course of a year.

Charge 3 - stealing or obtaining “a thing of value” worth $1,000 or more in total during the course of a year.

And the company gets to define the value.

The topper for me, beyond how outlandishly disproportionate the potential punishment is to these crimes, is the fact that the Judge’s husband is a client of Stratfor’s and thereby, in theory, a victim.

But Mr. Hammond is being held without bail and is now on a terrorist watch list.  And she’s still trying the case.

This is fucking insane.

TrapWire is Big Brother on Steroids

The events following the release by Wikileaks of more e-mails obtained during last year’s Stratfor hack have played out like something out of an Orwell novel. TrapWire is Big Brother on steroids. By now we have all heard of Facial Recognition applications and their suspected use by Facebook. TrapWire goes a step further reportedly being able to detect patterns consistent with an attack, and “walk back the cat” or trace suspects back following an attack utilizing it’s vast network of cameras. Internal emails from Stratfor state: “TrapWire is one of the most innovative tools developed since 9-11 to help mitigate terrorist threats. From a protective intelligence perspective, TrapWire does have the ability to share information on suspicious events or suspects between cities. Operationally, the ability to identify hostile surveillance at one target set — in multiple cities — can be used to neutralize terror threats by interrupting the attack cycle. Meaning, a suspect conducting surveillance of the NYC subway can also be spotted by TrapWire conducting similar activity at the DC subway, connecting the infamous dots. An additional benefit of TrapWire is that the system can also be used to help “walk back the cat” after an attack to identify terrorist suspects and modus operandi. I can also see the tool being very effective in identifying general street crime.”

A program called “iWatch” (Steve Jobs could not be reached for comment), was also mentioned. This program “pulls community member reporting into the TrapWire search engine and compares SARs across the country…with potential matches being fedback to the local LE agency.” Fred Burton (Stratfor Vice President) went on to add “An amazing amount of good quality reporting is coming in from alert citizens (and police officers) in the DC area in particular.” This appears to allow every low-level snitch and Neighborhood Nosey Nancy to feed the system information on “suspects”.
While the true abilities of this application remain the stuff of speculation, what can be certain is these e-mails reveal the system being in place in many major cities for several years now. An e-mail from Burton suggests the London Stock Exchange, where we saw the British equivalent of OWS play out is “protected by heavy surveillance coverages (TrapWire) and predictive software”. Burton wrote of NYC in September of 2010: “This week, 500 surveillance cameras were activated on the NYC subway system to focus on pre-operational terrorist surveillance.” E-mails suggest that DC, Austin, and L.A. also have the systems in place.

Following the leak, Wikileaks was bombarded with a severe DDOS attack and as I am writting this piece the site is still unavailable. Reports came in on Wednesday that the attack on Wikileaks and it’s mirrors were “dropping upwards of 40 gigabits of traffic per second”. We have been lead to believe that this attack was facilitated by a hacker group calling themselves “AntiLeaks”. However the force of the attack suggests that whoever launched it had a massive botnet at their dissposal, and is not the work of amateurs by any means. If we simply ask ourselves “who benefits” we would come to the conclusion that those not wanting the existence of this system to become public knowledge would do so.

And from an article by David Seaman in Business Insider.

In related news, the Obama administration is fighting in federal court this week for the ability to imprison American citizens under NDAA’s indefinite detention provisions—and anyone else—without charge or trial, on suspicion alone.

So we have a widespread network of surveillance cameras across America monitoring us and reporting suspicious activity back to a centralized analysis center, mixed in with the ability to imprison people via military force on the basis of suspicious activity alone. I don’t see how that could possibly go wrong. Nope, not at all. We all know the government, and algorithmic computer programs, never make mistakes.

We will continue to follow this story closely and release information as we find it.


Those who were upset about the lengthy sentence, rest easy knowing that it will not break me: I remain defiant as ever, and encourage others to turn that anger into action. The purpose of their politically motivated prosecutions is to try to deter and silence us, so it’s on us now to up the ante: to escalate the struggle, to create anarchy.
—  Jeremy Hammond, hackitivist in the Stratfor hacking case, in a letter to his supporters. I won’t stop supporting you, JH. Support him here: