Owl: Aaron Swartz — Prosecutors as Persecutors — Call to End All Donations to MIT — Burn MIT to the Ground, Metaphorically Speaking

07 Other Atrocities, 09 Justice, 11 Society, Academia, Commerce, Corruption, Crowd-Sourcing, Culture, Governance, Government, Knowledge, Law Enforcement, Media
Who?  Who?
Who? Who?

Following up on the excellent post, Mongoose: Moti Nissani on Who Killed Aaron Swartz? it is now clear MIT refuses to cut any kind of deal, and the prosecutor went nuclear on what should have been a matchbook case.  Now it emerges that the prosecutor going after Swartz went after another young man involved with computers who also died, allegedly from suicide, as supposedly did Swartz. “Prosecutor Stephen Heymann has been blamed for contributing to Swartz’s suicide. Back in 2008, young hacker Jonathan James killed himself in the midst of a federal investigation led by the same prosecutor.  James, the first juvenile put into confinement for a federal cybercrime case, was found dead two weeks after the Secret Service raided his house as part of its investigation of the TJX hacker case led by Heymann — the largest personal identity hack in history. He was thought to be “JJ,” the unindicted co-conspirator named in the criminal complaints filed with the US District Court in Massachusetts. In his suicide note, James wrote that he was killing himself in response to the federal investigation and their attempts to tie him to a crime which he did not commit.”

So one scenario is, as mentioned by Nissani, that the government directly killed – by hanging – Swartz. But in light of this newly emergent pattern, perhaps it indicates another scenario equally sinister but more simple: that Heymann mercilessly and severely harasses his victims to death by suicide. No need to send in wet boys (a DOJ slang term for on-the-payroll DOJ  killers specifically) to murder someone, just drive them insane or to self-destruction. The outcome is the same as someone putting a bullet in one’s head.  It’s about prosecuting by persecuting. A capsule definition of what comprises much of what is called the US legal system.  See this link for more:

Internet Activist’s Prosecutor Linked To Another Hacker’s Death

It seems like outrage at the official US government persecution-leading-to death of Aaron Swartz is picking up steam. Check out this excellent list of recent links from the Naked Capitalism site:

Berners-Lee Calls Prosecution of Aaron Swartz ‘Travesty’ Bloomberg. Notice how slanted the story is. Calls what he did “hacking” when was not, see here.
How the Legal System Failed Aaron Swartz—And Us
New Yorker
Center for Internet and Society
‘Aaron was killed by the government’ – Robert Swartz on his son’s death
On humanity, a big failure in Aaron Swartz case Boston Globe. Makes it clear MIT refused to cut a deal. I hope tech donors never give a dime to MIT again.

Phi Beta Iota:  We see this as multiple systemic failures coming together in a perfect storm.  MIT, supposedly the adult in the room and the place where hacking originated, took an Industrial Era position and thereby demonstrated its complete lack of ethics and its complete hypocrasy in all matters having to do with creativity in the Information Era.  The prosecutor, both ambitious and unsupervised, went several bridges too far in abusing their authority.  Others — the safety net including Reddit — failed to kick in and make clear to MIT the cost it would pay  — will now pay we hope — for hounding one of the brightest lights in cyber-nauting.  Finally, we continue to believe that Aaron Swartz was murdered by an industry-sanctioned private party and that the police have been instructed to treat the matter as a suicide, corrupt the evidence, and move on.  A civil suit against MIT and the prosecutor for the loss of Aarom Swartz’s life and gifts and future productivity, would be most righteous. 

See Also:

2013 Robert Steele: Reflections on Lincoln, Principle, Compromise, Autonomous Internet & Citizen Intelligence / Counterintelligence 2.0 with Meta-RECAP

Michel Bauwens: Aaron Swartz’s Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto

Mini-Me: Aaron Swartz, Internet Activist, “Suicided?” Joins “Suicided” Also Hung Mark Lombardi in the Cloud

Mini-Me: The Prosecution of Aaron Swartz: Sharing Knowledge Is a Greater Crime Than Bringing Down the Economy

Mongoose: Moti Nissani on Who Killed Aaron Swartz?

Rickard Falkvinge: 25,000 Sign Petition to Fire Aaron Swartz’ Prosecutor

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