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Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years; His Idealism Remains at Large

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 11/19/13

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We can no longer pretend we have viable representatives or an independent judiciary. The justice system is bought and true justice that includes equal protection and prosecution under the law will never be delivered within this system. This broken system of law has been hidden from the public just as the level of collusion between private companies and government was hidden until it was brought forward by the leaked Stratfor emails.

FBI entrapment was at the heart of this case and the Stratfor hacking was a sting operation to catch hackers. In his statement, Hammond noted the FBI's deep involvement in the use of their informant, former LulzSec leader and informant "Sabu", real name "Hector Xavier Monsegur". He claimed that Sabu assisted in hacking the Stratfor website and thousands more around the world including countries such as Turkey, Brazil, and Iran.

In advance of Sabu's sentence that was scheduled to take place on August 23, 2013, Hammond wrote, "What the United States could not accomplish legally, it used Sabu, and by extension, me and my co-defendants, to accomplish illegally". The Hammond case itself revealed the government's practice of outsourcing and coercion to go above or around the law. They outsourced in the same way the NSA mass surveillance is conducted with private tech giants such as Yahoo and Google and military operations are outsourced to private mercenaries such as Xe Services (former Black Water).

In his statement, Hammond pointed out "the hypocrisy of 'law and order'" saying how "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". He asked:

"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?"

After Snowden's revelations, no one can deny that the US government is the largest and most egregious hacker organizations in the world. Reports from the NSA's secret files show how they tapped into Yahoo's and Google's cloud networks and targeted civilian infrastructure in Hong Kong and mainland networks such as universities, public officials, businesses, and students. They have also hacked Mexican and Brazilian government emails as well as countless other governments' communications for years, including the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. These revelations show the overarching power of this national security state and confirmed Hammond's claim of the US government's hypocrisy for going after so called 'hackers' like himself.

As the broken judicial system delivers further injustice, the mainstream media remains mute. Right after the hearing, Chris Hedges shouted outside the court house, "Where's the New York Times? Where are the reporters?" noting the deafening silence.

Two weeks after the court-martial proceedings of Chelsea Manning began, attorney Michael Ratner said, "To lock [her] up for even a day is to lock up the conscience of our nation". This 10-year sentence of Jeremy Hammond is also disproportionate to the crimes and is clearly politically motivated. This was another day when a young man's conscience has been incarcerated. In that verdict, what was punished was his courage and idealism. That is what has been radicalized, criminalized, and ultimately squashed by the powers that be.

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Now those who care about democratic values must ask the question; is it idealistic to want true and effective democratic processes in decisions affecting our lives? Is it idealistic to want transparency of powerful corporations and government? Is it idealistic to want to be who we are and act out of our own conscience?

What Hammond holds as ideals should not be considered as just idealism. His idealism represents our right to be who we are. It is held simply as an 'ideal' when it should be how this nation and its government work, by actually respecting basic human rights and the Constitution.

Even though this young transparency activist is locked up, his spirit and idealism will be carried on by those he has inspired and continues to inspire. Information he brought to the public continues to shed light on abuse by those in power. Right after the sentencing hearing, WikiLeaks tweeted, "Now that Jeremy Hammond has been sentenced, we will shortly release all remaining Stratfor files" and then began uploading the files on their site.

"This case is bigger than Jeremy Hammond", Bria Grace from JeremyHammond.net spoke after the sentencing. She reminded us of the real battle that we are all engaged in. It is to challenge "the larger power structures that marginalize, oppress and kill on a daily basis, the abuses of powers by government entities or corporate giants who daily spy on us, exploit our labor and our resources and our earth". Grace, a close friend of Hammond, urgently pointed to how "Jeremy's deeply held belief in the power of direct action and our people should spur us all into expanding --  our solidarity from simply freeing Jeremy to freeing them -- all". She ended her impassioned speech asking us to remember all of our struggles; our indigenous resisters from Palestine to Idle No More, our new Afrikaan, Puerto Rican, and white anti-imperialists, our grand-jury resisters like Jerry Koch and eco-prisoners for animal and earth liberation:

"We must remember our whistleblowers; Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou. Thank you for never staying silent even in the face of persecution.

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"We must remember our hacktivist brothers and sisters; Wormer, Barrett Brown, Weev, the Paypal 14, the Payback 13, and all of the unnamed Anons who fight silently for our rights from the shadows.

"And of course, we must remember Jeremy Hammond. He is the reason a flame has been lit in so many of us."  

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Nozomi Hayase is a contributing writer to Culture Unplugged. She brings out deeper dimensions of socio-cultural events at the intersection between politics and psychology to share insight on future social (more...)
 

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