Jeremy Hammond, the AntiSec anarchist activist and hacker who liberated the Global Intelligence Files ie about 5 million private emails, passwords, and more, from private intelligence contractor Stratfor and handed them over to WikiLeaks via a series of cloak and dagger moves, turns thirty years old today. He will be spending his birthday in Manchester Correctional Institution in Manchester, Kentucky; he will be spending the next several birthdays there, thanks to a deal whereby he pled guilty to violating one count of the CFAA, the statute whose draconian implications drove Aaron Swartz to suicide.
Hammond’s residence at the prison, and indeed the entire case, rested on the cooperation of FBI informant Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka Sabu, de facto leader of LulzSec and its successor AntiSec, both breakaway hacktivist crews with Anonymous roots. AntiSec specialized in attacks against both the governmental and private surveillance and information security industry, ie spies, spooks, and surveillance for rent.
One of AntiSec’s most prominent actions was “Fuck FBI Fridays,” in which they would publicly take down FBI websites or release data embarrassing to the FBI: email addresses, passwords, internal memos. Little did the hacktivists know at the time that their attacks were facilitated by the FBI themselves through the turncoat Monsegur, in order to catch them in the commission of a crime. According to Hammond’s testimony, Monsegur also ordered the crew to attack various foreign governments; the hackers did not know Monsegur himself was merely following orders from the FBI, contrary to his image as a Bad Boy Revolutionary.
Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor) was their biggest prize; although it survives, the hack made them an international laughing stock and had immediate, and long-lived financial consequences for the corporation. According to Hammond’s court testimony Monsegur directed Hammond to hack into their systems and scoop up 5 million documents detailing the extent of non-governmental corporate surveillance of the American public, each document seemingly more sinister and embarrassing than the next, which were then passed on to WikiLeaks. Once WikiLeaks had all the documents secure, it signalled Hammond and his AntiSec cohorts by tweeting the mysterious “Rats for Donavan.”
Having faced 40-100 years in prison, in front of a judge whose husband was one of the victims of the hack for which he was being tried, Hammond pled to one count of violating the infamously nebulous CFAA and became, to the government, Prisoner 18729-424, and, to Anonymous, “The Other Bradley Manning.”
And that brings us more or less up to date. It’s a date Anonymous would not let pass unmarked but, since prison rules forbid cakes with files inside, the hacktivist collective instead marked Hammond’s birthday by launching two different projects: Postcards for Hammond and an unnamed children’s book project.
Yes, I said a children’s book. From Anonymous.
Postcards for Hammond is a little easier to explain; a sub-project of the ongoing Mail to the Jail initiative, it simply encouraged supporters to mail Hammond postcards for his birthday, to show he had not been forgotten. [Journalistic confession of non-objectivity: I purchased three postcards to send, which I promptly lost on the way home. Sorry, Jeremy. I suck]
While Sabu is showing his gargantuan ass at Vice parties with Dan Stuckey and now on CBS news, let us not forget the man doing 10 years in prison. Jeremy Hammond never hacked for his own personal gain but rather, for the better of all people. Sabu is a snitch lowlife. The real hero sits in jail. This, as stated many times, is a prime example of what kudos you get when you snitch and cooperate with the feds and the harsh punishment you suffer when you choose to stand by what you believe in.
On this day, I ask you all to grab a postcard and mass mail the prison with messages of support to Jeremy Hammond. We will not be deterred by the actions of irresponsible fame whoring journalists and we will stand strong in our beliefs that Jeremy Hammond does not belong in prison. Jeremy has been made aware of the Sabu situation and I can’t imagine how that makes him feel so let’s show Jeremy how it makes us feel and #FreeHammond and no one #FuckSabu.
Jeremy will be celebrating his birthday in prison. I would like to keep this postcard event going right on through January 8 and show our friend that we do not forget. Waste no time please and do all that you can to remember your friend and mine from now right on through his birthday. Love to all.
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 4000
MANCHESTER, KY 40962
But…tell us how you really feel!
This Facebook comment is representative of the general feeling towards former brother-in-arms Sabu/Monsegur:
sabu *spits*, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame because when they replace you with tomorrows dog wearing a funny hat or next weeks panda at the zoo having babies you’ll have plenty of time to think about where all the attention went and why but spoiler allert here it is; you’re a gimmick, a patsy, a figurehead (and an attention whore, but this is about what you are to the media) put otherwise you are Ace of Bass and Jeremy is Pink Floyd, a hand full of people will briefly listen to your shit then discard and move on while Jeremy’s spot atop the hall of fame has already been secured and he will be remembered for who he really is and what he really did long after they forget about who you are pretending to be.
Some supporters gathered outside Stratfor’s corporate offices for a Hammond Birthday Party, to remind the company of the most embarrassingly public opsec fail in corporate infosec history.
Hammond’s mother Rose Collins is headed to Kentucky
to hand-deliver the postcards they’ve been sent[not allowed; she’ll see Jeremy at the prison and get the final count from him] , and will report back with a final count after the weekend.
The Parade with the Drums is a privately published (but ISBN’d) children’s book for ages 6-12, featuring words by “H.S. Breachwall” and illustrations by “Wenzel.” The publisher is listed as “Anonymous Publications, a division of Anonymous, the decentralized global hacking organization.”
AnonLit, putative head of Anonymous Publications, contacted the Free Hammond organizers with an idea: instead of giving Hammond presents which he may or may not be allowed to receive, he would instead donate 30 copies of the book, one for each year Hammond has been alive, to be donated to 30 children around the world.
As Crabtree explained the unusual initiative to me via Facebook PM (yes, Anons communicate via Fedbook sometimes).
The 30 books represented on book for each year Jeremy has been alive. Initially they were sent to Jeremy’s mom and brother Jason, Jeremy’s friends, Jerry Boyle, an attorney and dear friend to Jeremy and Jeremy’s trial attorneys. But soon we thought that perhaps we could get these books into libraries. And we started reaching out to people who in fact got permission to get the books into libraries all over the world including Austria, Spain, Norway, and the Netherlands. The books are also heading to libraries throughout Chicago and many states in the U.S..
[People can request any book via ISBN at their local library, although since this one is privately printed it’s easier to just donate rather than wait for the library to figure out how to contact a faceless hacker collective about getting a shipment]
It’s not for sale at this time, but they are hoping with enough attention people may take an interest and then they may consider selling them.
The uptake and enthusiasm were such that AnonLit donated another 28 books, making 58 in total.
Our plan is that folks can take a pic with or without faces covered and we are going to take the pics and turn it into a collage poster and send to Jeremy.
The book is such an inspiration, I think I’ve read it a dozen times myself.
Crabtree has a final thought on the implications of the book donation project.
It’s completely amazing. While everyone is fighting and raging. We’re sending amazing children’s books all over the world. The collective never ceases to amaze me. We can do such amazing things when we all work together.
Featured Photo of Hammond and US Flag via Anonymous Video. Others via FreeAnons, Free Jeremy Hammond, and via private correspondence.