Friday, April 4, 2014

Activist-Journalist, Political Prisoner Barrett Brown reaches plea deal - Stratfor still free to spy on activists for Corporate clients

From FreeBarrettBrown

From Democracy Now and Wired, Activist-Journalist and friend to the People's quest for truth, transparency and accountability, Barrett Brown has "reached a plea deal" with prosecutors - his sentencing date is to be April 29, 2013.

As reported here, previously, 12 of the original charges were dismissed, in early March this year, upon the prosecutor's .  Included in the charges dismissed were the charges relating to brown's posting of links leading to the doxed information posted by hackers involved in the hacking of Stratfor (Strategic forecasting).

According to Wired:

Prosecutors filed a motion this week in a Texas court agreeing to seal the plea agreement, which the court granted (.pdf).
Brown’s attorney, Ahmed Ghappour, won’t discuss the matter, due to a court-ordered gag, but another document filed by the government this week (.pdf) hints at the nature of the deal.
In the document, which supercedes two of Brown’s previous three indictments, the government charges Brown with two crimes: allegedly assisting the person who hacked Stratfor after the fact, and obstructing the execution of a search warrant targeting Brown.
The first charge is a new one and relates to assistance Brown allegedly gave the person who hacked Stratfor “in order to hinder and prevent [his] apprehension, trial and punishment.”
According to the government Brown worked to create confusion about the hacker’s identity “in a manner that diverted attention away from the hacker,” which included communicating with Stratfor after the hack in a way that authorities say drew attention away from the hacker. The hacker is not named, and it’s not clear if it’s convicted Stratfor intruder Jeremy Hammond, or an earlier hacker who’s known to have penetrated the company first.The two charges greatly reduce the amount of time he could face at a sentencing hearing, which previously had been estimated at more than 50 years.
The obstruction charge relates to an attempt by Brown and his mother to hide a laptop from authorities during a search of her home in March 2012. Brown’s mother was separately charged with obstruction and given six months probation.
Brown’s earlier indictments were poised to become a First Amendment test case. He was charged with 12 counts centered around a link he posted in a chat room that pointed to a file containing data stolen in 2011 from the intelligence firm Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasting. The data, stolen by Hammond, a member of the loosely affiliated Anonymous collective, included company emails as well as credit card numbers belonging to subscribers of Stratfor’s service.

Brown didn’t steal the data but simply copied a hyperlink from one public chatroom and reposted it to another.

Brown has been sitting in the Mansfield Jail, near Dallas, for 19 months since his arrest in 2012.   Alexander Zaitchick, in his article for Rolling Stone, last September, writes:

Given the serious nature of his predicament, Brown, 32, seems shockingly relaxed. "I'm not worried or panicked," he says. "It's not even clear to me that I've committed a crime." He describes his time here as a break from the drug-fueled mania of his prior life, a sort of digital and chemical fast in which he's kicked opiates and indulged his pre-cyber whims – hours spent on the role-playing game GURPS and tearing through the prison's collection of what he calls "English manor-house literature."

Brown has been called many things during his brief public career – satirist, journalist, author, Anonymous spokesman, atheist, "moral fag," "fame whore," scourge of the national surveillance state. His commitment to investigating the murky networks that make up America's post-9/11 intelligence establishment set in motion the chain of events that culminated in a guns-drawn raid of his Dallas apartment last September. "For a long time, the one thing I was happy not to see in here was a computer," says Brown. "It appears as though the Internet has gotten me into some trouble."

Before the Stratfor incident, Brown was reporting on the exposure of  HBGary Federal, Palantir and Berico, (Team Themis) and the discovery of their conspiracy to hire out their information war capabilities to corporations which hoped to strike back at perceived enemies, including US activist groups, Wikileaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald.

In an interview, September, 2011, Brown discusses corporate spying and a project to expose the role of major corporations use of social media sites for surveillance..

Barrett Brown has spent his career reporting on the nefarious activities of  secretive corporations attempting to destroy the right of the People to confront and hold accountable those corporations attempting to use companies like Stratfor, HBGary and others in order to spy on and disrupt activists, organizations and the People's voice. His fight for transparency and accountability of those who would covertly act against the interests of the People is a threat to the very people wielding power in the Halls of Congress, the Halls of Justice and even the Oval Office.

He remains a Political Prisoner martyred for the cause of the People.

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