June 3, 2013. Manhattan. Jeremy Hammond, aka the Electronic Robin Hood, pled guilty in federal court last week to hacking the state-sponsored cyber terror group Stratfor and releasing millions of pages of documents to WikiLeaks. Pleading guilty should ensure Hammond serves no more than ten years in prison. But just as with all the other aspects of this unprecedented case, watch for the government to impose crippling computer restrictions on the world’s most famous and revered hacker.
Jeremy Hammond agreed to a plea agreement last week. He could serve as much as 10 years in federal prison for the cyber attack on Stratfor. Image courtesy of TIME.
According to reports, Jeremy Hammond was given a few options for his criminal defense. He could either fight as many as a dozen counts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and face a half century in jail, or he could plead guilty to the cyber attack on the cyber mercenary corporation Stratfor and face a maximum of a decade behind bars. In a federal courtroom in Manhattan last week, Hammond chose the latter.
One chapter ends
Anyone who’s researched Jeremy Hammond’s 28 years of life can attest to his colorful, energetic career as a political activist. It also suggests that the world hasn’t seen the last of the Electronic Robin Hood. The expected ten year sentence and $2.5 million fine is literally seven-times harsher than his co-conspirators received in UK courts for the same crime. But that only illustrates just how damaged and exposed the US federal government was when Hammond revealed for the world exactly what governments and corporations across the globe have been up to lately.
If his life were a book, which it most definitely will be some day, readers would be somewhere between chapter 5 and chapter 6 of the 25-chapter book of Jeremy Hammond’s life. That is, if the feds and corporate mercenaries he exposed don’t assassinate him first. Rather than republish the entire journey in this article, read the Whiteout Press report, ‘Anonymous Leaders are Kids facing Life in Prison’ for a more detailed account of Hammond’s past exploits.
The current criminal trial against Hammond centers on one specific attack however – the theft of data from a little-known federal contractor named Stratfor. Made up of experienced cyber terrorists and former CIA agents, the company enjoys a cozy and extremely profitable relationship as thee public-private go-to mercenary force for cyber espionage, digital spying, and even computer and internet attacks.
What did Hammond expose?
Just as with fellow whistle-blowers Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, we ask the question – is exposing treason in government an act of treason in itself? It shouldn’t be. But as those three criminal cases demonstrate, the answer is unfortunately yes. You the reader can judge for yourself. Below are just some of the revelations discovered in the millions of pages of Stratfor emails released by Jeremy Hammond into the public domain (From Rolling Stone, TruthDig.com and Whiteout Press):
Last week, Jeremy Hammond pled guilty to the charge of attacking Stratfor, releasing their corporate documents, stealing thousands of credit card numbers and conspiring to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in anonymous donations to charities and social justice organizations using Stratfor employee accounts. In exchange for that plea, authorities promised to give the hacktivist immunity from a host of other cyber attacks Hammond allegedly carried out.
One of the unusual aspects of this trial is that to gain immunity from federal criminal prosecution for the additional acts, Jeremy Hammond was forced to officially admit to his role in the illegal hacking campaigns. Court watchers are undecided as to whether he may still be open to civil prosecution, or even criminal prosecution on the state level.
Among the other cyber attacks Hammond has taken responsibility for as part of his plea deal are (from Rolling Stone):
Another one of the unusual circumstances involving the Jeremy Hammond criminal trial is the case’s federal judge Loretta Preska. Dozens, if not hundreds, of impartial legal groups demanded that judge Preska recuse herself from the trial due to her personal involvement in the case. It was revealed prior to the start of the trial that judge Preska’s husband was a client of Stratfor and one of the many alleged victims of Hammond’s accused crimes. Even with that documented personal connection, Preska refused to excuse herself from the case. Hammond’s supporters fear the judge will give him the maximum sentence allowed in retribution even though his co-conspirators received sentences averaging only 2 years in the UK.
Jeremy Hammond’s sentencing is scheduled for September 6, 2013. His supporters are circulating online petitions asking for a sentence of ‘time served’ rather than the full ten years in prison. For more information, visit FreeJeremy.net.
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