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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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  • 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 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.
  • 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 ??

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:12AM (#46438979) Journal

    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 Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:17AM (#46438991) Homepage Journal

    "files this Motion to Dismiss Count One and
    Counts Three through Twelve in the original Indictment and in the Superseding Indictment
    in the above entitled and numbered cause."

    It seems to me that some douchebag(s) decided that free speech should be punished based on bullshit reasons. They just made up bullshit reasons to have him imprisoned, and kept incommunicado. A year and a half on, "Your honor, we want to just dismiss all these charges. They are totally bogus, and we'll never be able to prove any of them."

    Yes, this IS very much about the government saying "you are busted for speaking".

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:18AM (#46438993) Journal

    ... 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by gIobaljustin ( 3526197 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:21AM (#46439185) Homepage

    Gag orders are pretty common.

    I like how you say this as if how common something is makes a difference to whether or not someone's rights are being violated.

  • 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.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @10:33AM (#46439515) Journal

    What exactly are those?

    First amendment: freedom of speech.
    Fifth Amendment: deprivation of liberty without due process
    Sixth Amendment: speedy and public trial by jury
    Eighth Amendment: excessive bail imposed

    Sure, the government violates these rights often. Doesn't mean they aren't violations.

    If Nixon could have put Woodward and Bernstein in prison, incommunicado, for the rest of his term, he'd never have been impeached.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @10:41AM (#46439567) Homepage Journal

    There is something more, that is pretty obvious though.

    When an attorney thinks he has something, he goes into a feeding frenzy, making up charges, and piling them on ad infinitum. The theory seems to be, threaten a man with ten thousand years of prison and two executions, and he will confess to jaywalking and accept a mere one hundred years in prison to get out from under all the rest.

    "We're from the government, and we're here to help."

  • France has examining judges, Canada and the U.S. have special prosecutors, in part to ensure that political pressure can't shut down a prosecution. Examining judges are mostly automatic of serious crimes, but special prosecutors are rare and unusual, and appointing one often take considerable political power.

    Solved problem in jusrisprudence, just not our jurisprudence!

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama