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The Courts Crime The Internet

A Dispatch From Outside the Prison Holding Barrett Brown 95

Daniel_Stuckey writes with an excerpt from his story at Motherboard: "Yesterday, I got as close as any media physically can to Barrett Brown, the American journalist that was locked up in late 2012 for pasting a hyperlink in a chatroom, which federal prosecutors alleged contained leaked credit card data from the Statfor hacks. Due to a media gag order upheld by the US District Court in the Northern District of Texas, Brown isn't allowed to make "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (included, but not limited to bloggers)," with the exception of Kevin M. Gallagher, who heads his defense fund. ... Earlier this week, US Attorney Sarah Saldaña filed a motion to dismiss 11 of Brown's charges, namely those related to the pasted hyperlink (including trafficking in stolen authentication features, aggravated identity theft, and access device fraud). The motion came as both a victory for Brown's case, and a sigh of relief to supporters who have continuously cited the absurdity of his charges related to hyperlinking."
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A Dispatch From Outside the Prison Holding Barrett Brown

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  • by mrspoonsi ( 2955715 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:53AM (#46438905)
    No trial yet, his free speech (as a journalist) removed, why? does he have the knowledge of a WMD which can wipe out man kind? no, he pasted a link to some credit card data. Good job he not share a few mp3s, it could be much worse.
    • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:08AM (#46438959) Journal

      No trial yet, his free speech (as a journalist) removed, why?

      The United States of America was the country I fled to, after I got out of China.

      In the China I escaped from, back then, people could be locked up, without trial, and the authority could use any trump up charge against them, and there is nothing the people could do, as China has no "Bill of Rights" nor a Constitution that guarantees the rights of the citizens.

      Nowadays, in China, people are still being locked up, on trumped up charges, but at the very least, the authority has to try to prove that their trump up charge is valid (but of course everybody know that they are bullshit).

      On the other hand, the very country that I fled to, the United States of America has become the United Soviet of America.

      Not only the authority can lock up anyone with any trumped up charge, without any trial, the authority can also go against the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America, as though both documents are now as worthy as a soiled toilet paper.

      What the fuck is going on, man ?

      Why are the Americans, - (and I am one of them, a naturalized American) - especially those who are born and bred, letting the nation to turn into such a horrible police state ??

      • I am very sorry to say that it appears to be because the cold war is over and that the reasons we fought the cold war were being constantly repeated to us to justify the cost - "they don't have free speech, they don't have independent legal systems, they oppress minorities". Apparently now we no longer have that enemy we are fighting for those reasons its OK to openly do all the things that we were supposedly fighting against. Its very sad.

      • Because they never had to fight for their freedom.

        Humans are kinda odd. They are quite willing to give away what they take for granted to get something they think is valuable, not considering that for the promise of the latter they could easily lose the former. For reference, see Native Americans, their land and glass marbles. Or current Americans, their freedom and security. Same raw deal.

      • by mmell ( 832646 )
        Because the guy that's locked up in this case Threatened an FBI agent and his family with harm . A CREDIBLE threat, BTW.
    • Even if his found not guilty, the state have already 'won' by making serve so long in prison.
      • ... the state have already 'won' by making serve so long in prison

        The state have "won" simply because the Americans, me included, are morons !

        It is us, the American citizens, who let the government tore up the Constitutions and we deserve any and all abuses from the government.

        We are the ones who have ruined the country.

    • by mmell ( 832646 )
      The part where he threatened an FBI agent and his family with bodily harm might have something to do with that. Wouldn't want him contacting someone and arranging a murder now, would we?

      (And, no - that's not melodramatic. Really. There are at least THREE people who are probably overjoyed that the man who is threatening their lives is being sequestered from society. That's what you get for threatening to do something heinous.)

      • Last I checked, a simple threat of violence isn't a reason enough to take away someone's liberty this long.

  • Whew (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:59AM (#46438915)

    This is why I thank the Lord that I live in the greatest country in the world and not in some craphole place like North Korea or Russia where journalists can get held in prison for years for like this. We should send in the best frikkin' army in the world and free him. That'll show those commie bastards.

    • by mmell ( 832646 )
      Yeah - 'cuz nobody should go to prison for threatening three innocent people.
  • Media gag order (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:00AM (#46438919)
    The charges are stupid, but the media gag order is downright scary. There is a good reason the 1st amendment was written and it was that control of information is the ultimate in power. It was recognized that when the government is allowed to shut you up that it is then that the worst abuses can occur.

    But this case highlights another serious problem with the US justice system and that is where, after this is dismissed, that the prosecutors will face little or no consequences for trying to enforce the will of a corporation.

    And, of course, there is even less chance that this politically well connected company or its officers will face any consequences at all.

    There needs to be some mechanism where governments that try to abusively control information results in horrific penalties to those involved such as serious jail time. Otherwise those who leak, those who film police, and those who deny inconvenient freedom of information requests will just continue to hide embarrassing information using the most abusive powers at their disposal.

    For example, I can't remember the last time someone was arrested for filming and anything bad happening to the police who then tried to destroy the footage. This should be minimally resulting in destruction of evidence charges, and often kidnapping charges for the arrest. So no laws need to be changed or anything in these cases, just a willingness to realize that the police are not perfect little roses and that we are all better off when they are head up to even higher standards of justice.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... There is a good reason the 1st amendment was written ...

      Wasn't the 1st amendment (well, the entire bill really) made obsolete after 911?

      • Oh that's simply not true. You can still have arms and there haven't been any soldiers stationed in your home, where there?

        How could you say it is obsolete! Without that document, the government could easily put soldiers in your home, do you want that? Do you? Isn't that enough to be a bit more lenient with a few of the others that don't matter so much?

        • The only reason the 3rd amendment is still in force is because Halliburton would get pissed if they lost barracks construction contracts.

    • by CODiNE ( 27417 )

      IANAL (obviously) I recall some sort of "conspiracy to deprive someone of their human rights" type law that's a pretty serious offense.

      Is it really that there's no recourse on these sort of things, or that people are afraid to use them?

      • Your recourse is to go to the bosses of the people who wronged you which will then make those bosses look bad.

        Your other option is to go to the courts (run by those same bosses) and ask that they nail their brothers in the justice system. Judges are generally reluctant to nail cops to the wall in that they feel that it discredits the entire justice system when a cop is found guilty of something (or a judge, or a prosecutor).

        So occasionally some member of the justice system does something so reprehensib
  • by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:02AM (#46438921)
    It amazes me that US prosecutors go full throttle going after people like Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz, while people like Jon Corzine (who made $1.6B of customer money disappear at MF Global) and many other fraudsters in the banking industry are left alone to continue their fraud. And no one seems to care enough to do something about it.
    • It amazes me that US prosecutors go full throttle going after people like Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz

      Do not be amazed !

      The US prosecutors have become PERSECUTORS.

      Instead of prosecute, the PERSECUTE.

      • by mmell ( 832646 )
        Another reminder - he threatened an FBI agent and his family, he demonstrated the ability to carry out his threats by showing that he knew their home address. Why should he be allowed to communicate, so that he can arrange the murder which he can no longer personally commit?

        Besides, he's not being held incommunicado. His attorney has access and if he wants to release a lawful (i.e., not threatening to harm people) statement, he can do so via his attorney. He just can't order a hit (in this case, a surpr

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:20AM (#46439179)

      Not that amazing. The US government has been sold off to the highest bidders. They just interpret the Constitution to mean what they want it to mean so it doesn't get in their way anymore. At least they're smart enough to know there are limits to what they can do without waking up the apathetic majority. As long as they don't go too far most people are content to ignore the danger of a government that has slipped it's leash.

      • Prosecuters are lawyers who've bypassed the tempting easy money that criminal defense or lawsuits provide for a shot at the really powerful jobs.

        They have convictions, a moral compass, and often political aspirations.

        A case like this is guaranteed press coverage and (hopefully) some camera time on cable news.

        There was a prosecuter in NYC who made a pretty stellar career off of high profile prosecutions.

      • Not that amazing. The US government has been sold off to the highest bidders.

        Not saying the government hasn't been bought. But by Occam's razor, a simpler explanation is that little fish like Brown and Swartz don't have the funds to mount a persistent and comprehensive legal defense. Prosecutors see them as a way to score a quick and easy victory, compared to bringing charges against Corzine and being tied up in court for a decade or more with a questionable outcome. I'd even go so far as to say there

    • Personally, I find this to be the single most infuriating aspect of the financial crisis -- in any country. Every single time I hear about public time and money being wasted on frivolous prosecutions, I am keenly reminded that these are the same police services and directors of public prosecutions who won't investigate the banks. Not who can't; who won't -- Refuse to even. it would be one this if the justice system was simply universally inept. But cases like this shows they can and do act with extreme prejudice when they have a mind to.

      It's shambolic, slipshod, corrosive to the justice system and ultimately seditious. It's the clearest indication of the justice system which has been seized by political interests, and which refuses to perform its stated function to maintain the rule of law.

      Regarding Corzine. The money did not "disappear". Corzine stole it out of customer accounts to covers his bills at JP Morgan. He knew exactly where it went; and the SEC and the Justice Department know exactly where it went but refuse to do anything about ti. They're too busy perusing basement dwelling geeks and beatniks to investigate those cases which actually rock the foundations of commerce and law. Stellar job there Mr Holder; Kudos.

    • Corzine raised a lot of money for Obama's reelection bid. This has made him immune from any real prosecution. If he were a Republican he'd be in a Supermax prison by now.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "The data dump from the HBGary hack was so vast that no one person could sort through it alone. So Brown decided to crowdsource the effort. He created a wiki page, called it ProjectPM, and invited other investigative journalists to join in" ..

    "Today, Brown is in prison and ProjectPM is under increased scrutiny by the DOJ, even as its work has ground to a halt. In March, the DOJ served the domain hosting service CloudFlare with a subpoena for all records on the ProjectPM website, and in particular asked f
    • ... this is not that different from the inquisition !!

      Instead of the "Spanish inquisition", what we have here is the American Inquisition.

      As though America never learn anything from the witch hunt episodes (including the burning of "witches" in the 1700's, and the "red scare" period in the 1950's) of the yesteryears.

  • When I first read this I thought it was about a south African dictatorship, not the land of the free.
  • Looc r Stac (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:07AM (#46439135) Journal
    There is no perfect system of government. As one Dottie bumper-sticker claims, the Constitution of the US isn't perfect, it's just a whole lot better than what we have now.

    This is absolutely some bullshit, but even the most fervent Bill of Rights activist would admit Mr Brown kind of stepped on his dick when he pasted that hyperlink.

    His charges and time served are being acknowledged as absurd by the US Attorney's office because of attention like this. The powers that be are not so powerful yet that some semi-organized public outrage does not still motivate them.

    The poor bastards in Guantanamo have been largely forgotten... oh yeah, and they have the scarlet T on them.

    • Sharing a hyperlink is no different than pointing at a bulletin board in plain view of the public. Neither the bulletin board nor the act of pointing to it should be illegal.
      • If the bulletin board were to contain say, information such as credit card numbers and matching SSNs, the ground you legally stand becomes infinitesimally less stable.

        Old B squared has made much more of a career as a bear-poker than as an actual journalist, and should've been aware giving the opposition ammunition to use against him was in poor judgement. His heroin problem was widely publicized, perhaps for the same reason, but it plausibly contributed to his decision-making process.

        He's an idealist,

  • "Yesterday, I got as close as any media physically can to Barrett Brown"


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