'I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.'- Jeremy Hammond
Today, Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to ten years in prison and three years of supervised release for hacking into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor).
Stratfor emails published by WikiLeaks revealed that private security contractors with ties to the US Government were "specifically asked to connect" a campaign finance reform group that I helped found "to any Saudi or other fundamentalist Islamic movements."
The email was part of a number of submissions to the Court in the case Hedges v. Obama against indefinite detention of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA FY2012 allows for the indefinite detention without charges or trial of anyone, including American citizens, who are deemed by the US Government to be terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest permanently enjoined Section 1021(b)(2) in September 2012. We are making an application to the Supreme Court after the Second Circuit overturned Forrest's ruling.
Today, I was asked to give a statement after Hammond's sentencing hearing, which I did. I was also asked to publish it online. My statement is below.
A specter is haunting the West--
A specter of what some call dissent--
This specter of dissent is largely unarticulated in our public discourse--
Obscured, as it were-- by the bare-knuckled extremities on the left and right hands of our corporate politic--
Peaceable assemblies are called unlawful mobs;
Distributed denial-of-service sit-ins on publicly available websites are called cyber-attacks;
Disclosing documents to a journalist or publisher, which reveal government and corporate wrong-doing and criminality is called espionage and computer fraud and abuse;
Aiding in the independent dissemination of large datasets of suppressed information onto the Internet is called wanton publication and aiding the enemy;
Reporting on the U.S. global war on terror by interviewing former GTMO detainees or providing proof of secret U.S. cluster bombing in Yemen is called "substantial support for terrorism";
Making documentary films about one's confinement at GTMO after being detained for years without charges or trial is called "terrorist recidivism".
In actuality, this specter of dissent is an inevitable consequence of the system in which it haunts.
A system based on the brutal and arbitrary application of power--
When we examine this so-called dissent more closely, it is neither dissent nor is it a specter--it is the embodiment of the simplest aims of life.
It is incarnate in the acts of conscience of individuals like Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond, and in the millions of people across the globe who showed up to public squares from Tahrir to Wall Street because they thought for one second that they could participate authentically in the social contract as free men and women.
These acts of so-called dissent do not spring from a marketing campaign or a brand--
They spring from a desire to influence one's own destiny-- to make genuine contributions to civilization-- to engage the intelligence and genuine good will of others--and to try to remedy the myriad ills and abuses of a corrupt and illegitimate system, which preys on the resources and spirits of people.
They are as natural to men and women as breathing--
If the simplest aims of life are dissent then breathing is dissent. Not wanting to murder is dissent. Being incapable of believing lies after you have seen the facts is dissent.
It is the system, which is the specter, because it is built for ghosts, and not for the living, and that is why it has to bury Hammond and Manning alive. It is built for the ignorant and the uninformed. It is built on lies.
Do not be ashamed because you are dissatisfied with settling for the patronage of elites--
Who claim that they are a better arbiter of the truth, than you are--
They merely control the information.
With one hand they are building media empires on the backs of independent publishers--
Independent publishers who they are strangling in their other hand with extra-legal banking blockades--
There is absolutely the possibility of a better kind of debate than privileged pundits talking about themselves amongst themselves for their own benefit.
Thanks to Hammond and Manning, we are building that press.
Do not be ashamed because you are dissatisfied with settling for a political party or a Congress that fails to deliberate causing people to deliberate in public parks.
Thanks to Manning and Hammond, we are building an assembly that can deliberate--
Finally, trust the process.I am not talking about the process that unfolded in the courtroom behind me today, but the process that is unfolding in the courtroom that we are building right here--
The sound of three foot stomps.
The verdict of the ages is in--
The free spirit of men and women will not and cannot be conquered.
When an 18th century philosophy, 19th century institutions, 20th century outlook, and 21st century problems present us with a vision that WE cannot afford to built on, bank on, or believe in.
Then the free spirit of men and women will build on, bank on, and believe in something else.
We are doing it right now.
Thanks to Hammond and Manning and the countless others before them, and countless more who most certainly will come--
Because this conflict is unavoidable--