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View Diary: Aaron Swartz Was Going Home With a Slap On The Wrist. Then The Feds Got Involved (274 comments)

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  •  Forget just Governor... (39+ / 0-)

    He name needs to be made so toxic that she she's not worth the trouble to appoint to a bench somewhere.  She had passed on Governorship or Senate run before Swartz killed himself - which many folks read as that she was interested in a judgeship.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:42:08 AM PST

      •  well, maybe those posts can be filled now (4+ / 0-)

        by those who have no further ambitions - ie no one?

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:50:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama is PRO destroying whistleblowers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina

        Under the Obama administration:

        Daniel Ellsberg would be Bradley Manning

        Julian Assange would be in Guantanamo

        Aaron Swartz is dead

        ----------------------------------

        Why?

        Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

        by Einsteinia on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:47:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  i support cracking down on hackers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina

        and i support punishing people who expose information that is classified, but not as extremely as they have been punished

        as for aaron, i felt bad for him and his family and friends (and even his fans) when he killed himself.  but i was cool on blaming his choice to kill himself on the government.  it's kind of hard to swallow that when so many people who have never lived the life of privelege that aaron did go to prison and just do the time and work on appeals and on getting out on parole.  

        and i don't have a lot of patience for hackers.  i am a programmer.  hackers piss me off.  i kind of feel like they are like con artists.  and they use skills that i have to do it.  i feel like they are one of my own who have gone bad.  that makes me extra angry at them.  they should be using their gifts for creative and constructive uses not fucking around.

        having said that, if this diary is accurate, then my coolness toward blaming the government will have turned decidedly HOT.  i am PISSED just thinking about the possibility that some ladder climbing FUCK just USED aaron for her own ambition.  THEN his death will be on HER hands and everyone who knew what she was doing.

        the door of judgment for my fellow programmers swings both way.  if they fuck around, i get pissed at them.  but if someone FUCKS with them, THEN i get pissed at THEM!

        Wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?

        by AntonBursch on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:49:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the term (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina

          to cast with such broad brush strokes.  In the context you use it it sounds like you're talking about site-defacing script kiddies or people doing espionage.  Let's not forget however that what Swartz was accused of in this case was downloading scientific research.  Something that a large chunk of the scientific community thinks should be free to begin with.  He wasn't defacing websites or giving government secrets to the Chinese, he was doing something that while unarguably illegal was arguably just.  Heck, it's not even certain that he was planning to release them on P2P as was alleged.  It's quite possible that he simply wanted them downloaded to have his own personal library (I've done stuff like that before).  Given that he had full legal access to JSTOR...

      •  The downside of justice being blind? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina

        I can certainly understand

        a concerted federal effort to crack down on anything remotely related to computer hacking and whistle blowing.
        given some of the hacking into government programs. Anonymous sure put the punctuation on that when they hacked the DoJ after Swartz's death.

        Richard Clarke was really concerned about cyber security in the US around 2000. 9/11 amped it up - he left the post he was in that day about a year later to start working cyber security. The BushCo shenanigans to interfere drove him out within a year or two. The hacking problem has never been controlled, even reductions are short lived. It is world wide in government, universities, and corps.

        So here the Feds took over a case initially addressed constructively by the state, and refused to differentiate Swartz's intent from the criminals who engage in identity, credit card and privacy theft? Sure seems like gov, corps and the banksters all had a stake in coming down hard on a hacker who had successfully led the SOPA victory. As the former judge who weighed in essentially pointed out, this was overkill to be able to wreck his life. That example sure showed the criminal hackers...don't be public about your work.  Eyes just about rolling out of the sockets there. Again, Anonymous blew the value of that to smithereens.

        Heard how criminal justice programs sometimes use people convicted of crimes to teach them how they operated? Gives them the ways and means to catch other criminals. I have some doubts whether Aaron would have been willing to help out the Feds, nor should it have been part of an admission of guilt, sentence, etc. The real kicker in this case is that what he did was absurdly simple, technically. As limpidglass points out from a SOPA angle, they were going after his activism, not the puny crime.

        The feds might have gotten on top of some of the hacking issues if they had tried that. I doubt it was just a matter of not thinking of it. That goal was not as important as stopping the hacking of government computers for activist causes. Anonymous may have inspired them with the report of hacking Ohio's voting computers to thwart Rove & Co from repeating the '04 vote change. Retribution for SOPA was the other side of this coin.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:18:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  OH and Stephen Heyman is also a thug. (47+ / 0-)

      When Aaron's lawyer warned Ortiz's office that he (AS) was a suicide risk, Heyman said, "fine, we'll lock him up!".

      I have utter contempt for these folks and wish there was some legal recourse. LIke with the violinist who was bullied and killed himself. The bully was tried. This is no different worse.

      "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

      by hester on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:53:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He has other suicides notches on his belt (29+ / 0-)

        From Wiki:

        Heymann led the investigation of computer hacker Albert Gonzalez-associates Jonathan James and Stephen Watt for computer intrusion and identity theft from the TJX Companies.[4][5][6] Watt was successfully convicted.[7] James, still an alleged "unindicted co-conspirator,"[4] committed suicide[6][7] two weeks after the U.S. Secret Service raided his house.[4][6] In his suicide note, Jonathan James wrote that his suicide was in response to the investigation of a "crime he says he did not commit."[4][8] Gonzalez was never charged in the TJX case.[4]
        Someone needs to help this guy find a new career.  Flipping burgers, maybe.  With that level of enthusiasm, they should put him in charge of going after Wall Street crooks.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:13:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If "my client is a suicide risk" ... (0+ / 0-)

        ever won a defendant any latitude, it'd quickly become a threat echoed by all future defendants.  

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:58:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So you seriously think it was appropriate to say (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, joanneleon

          "well, we will just lock him up then" rather than something like "tell him to get psychiatric treatment"?  I suppose you would be perfectly fine with a 40 year prison sentence in a maximum security rape-me-in-the-ass (and I mean that part) prison as well.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:00:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  First, that quote has not been proven, (0+ / 0-)

            and it's HIGHLY unlikely anything like that was ever said.  Consider the source.

            Second, prisons are well-equipped to accommodate those who truly are suicidal.  Very few people are actually excited about having to go to jail.  Go figure.

            Third, Swartz would have served ONLY 4-6 MONTHS ... in a minimum security, posh federal prison with white collar inmates who posed no risk to his safety whatsoever.  Give me a break on the "hardship" he would have "suffered", especially given the magnitude of his crimes.  Sheesh.  If he didn't want to do the time, he shouldn't have done the crime; it's not like anyone had a gun to his head.

            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

            by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:06:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Question, do you have something against (4+ / 0-)

              Aaron Swartz? You can't control the message, it's out there.

              You are omitting important facts in your amateur prosecution of Aaron Swartz.

              1. The Feds would never drop the felony charge. He did not want to be branded a felon.

              2. The fine which you never mention was $1 million. His finances were shot from the two years of defending himself against the overzealous prosecution. He did not want to have his parents mortgage their home for his legal fees and fine.

              Stop trying to minimize his likely sentence while leaving out the FELON designation and the MONEY.

              If you had watched the memorial service and heard what his friends and loved ones had to say, you might be better informed.

              ❧To thine ownself be true

              by Agathena on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:31:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're right, the Feds would never drop ... (0+ / 0-)

                the requirement that Swartz plead guilty to something, it's a basic requirement of ALL plea bargains.  A person maintaining innocence will not be allowed to plea bargain, that's just not the way it works.  Such an admission is part of the "bargain".

                If Swartz didn't want to be branded a felon, he shouldn't have done what he did.  Yet he CLEARLY knew he was committing crimes; why else would he have attempted to hide his face from MIT's surveillance cameras, and hide his laptop in one of their computer closets?  If he believed what he was doing was all fine and dandy, he'd have done neither of those things.  The fact that he did is what prosecutors call "consciousness of guilt" and would have been explained as such to a jury, leading to his certain conviction.

                As to the fine, there wouldn't have been one but for his voluntary acts.  Even so, he chose to spend all his money on attorney's fees (first class counsel, no doubt, probably charging $1k an hour or so) trying to weasel out of the consequences.  And even then, given his past successes, he could have earned enough to pay ... probably just by selling the rights to his story.

                "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:09:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Why should we (3+ / 0-)

              "consider the source"?

              The source was Aaron's lawyer, right and a first party to the exchange.  That's a highly credible source.

              The person who is not highly credible in this discussion is you since you've been trolling the Swartz diaries for weeks now and making disparaging comments about him.  What's your problem with him or why do you feel such a strong need to defend Ortiz and Heymann?  Many, many people have condemned their behavior and over prosecution in this, including a retired judge, another very credible source.  Some former prosecutors have also spoken out against it.


              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:41:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not "defending" anyone, ... (0+ / 0-)

                including the prosecutors, who were doing what they were SWORN to do, which is to uphold the law.  But I certainly won't defend anyone who thinks they can act with impunity, especially when their "cause" is not profound.  

                If the prosecutors had held fast in refusing to plea bargain, which they have the discretion to do, and insisted on Swartz serving the maximum sentence, perhaps you'd have a case.  But the fact that they were willing to bargain a 50-YEAR sentence down to 4-6 months belies claims of their obstinacy and over-zealousness.  In fact, you will not be able to identify a single violation of ethics in this case.

                The proper counter-balance to over-zealous prosecution, where it exists, is a fair judge and an impartial jury.  Activists can also lobbying to modify laws/sentences.   Swartz knew, however, that he stood no chance at winning at trial because the evidence was complete and convincing.  The fact that he chose to avoid the relatively mild consequences he actually faced was his to make, but after already shaming his family to a considerable degree, he chose to compound THEIR consequences and force THEM to suffer even more for acts HE chose to undertake.  What a man.

                "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:26:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Bullshit. After he refused the plea deal there is (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eXtina

              no way in hell the prosecutors would accept anything less than 30 years in prison.  Remember, all they said was they weren't seeking the maximum and 30-40 years is not the maximum, is it?  Oh, and sentencing guidelines are just that and don't apply if you are an "enemy of the state" so you can bet it would have been in a maximum security prison.

              So what would your response be to a 40 year sentence in a maximum security prison had he not killed himself?  You still haven't answered the question.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:53:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your claim that he was certain to have served (0+ / 0-)

                a long sentence in a maximum security facility is comprised of two hypotheticals, not facts.  Still, trying to make sense of the implied question is problematic: How would "I" respond if HE received such a sentence and was required to serve it at such a facility?  I wouldn't, as I believe what he did was wrong.  If I thought differently, and if I thought his sentence was unjust, I'd offer to assist his defense team in case there was anything I could do that would help.  

                On another note, the implication that Swartz was being treated as "an enemy of the state" is disproved by the fact that he was not being held in jail while awaiting trial, which would certainly have occurred if what you claim were, in fact, true as perceived by the authorities.  

                "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:46:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  So do you believe a 35- 40 year jail sentence (0+ / 0-)

                  (actual not maximum) in a maximum security prison would be an unjust sentence for what he did?  Yes or no?

                  You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                  by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:06:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

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