Sabu Week Explained (for those of you who missed that part)
Sabu! Barrett Brown! Jeremy Hammond! Stratfor! No, it’s not a repeat from 2011: it’s a pirate protest party that took place last Thursday in Austin, Texas, in the heat and press of SXSW and on the street in front of Stratfor’s corporate Headquarters. Click the above link to get up to speed on Sabu, Hammond, Brown, Stratfor, and more.
Scroll down for details of the event, and where the two bathtubs, the journalist, and the snitch come into it…
To be clear: the party was not actually in the building. The building houses Stratfor, a private intelligence consultancy most famous for having been hacked by Jeremy Hammond and AntiSec under the guidance of Sabu, Hector Xavier Monsegur. There’s a distinct possibility that PAPS (Prison Abolition and Prisoner Support) would not have been welcome.
No, this was a raucous activist street party protest, and as such, the presence of the commemorative Barrett Brown Bathtub Selfie booth was all the more remarkable and exhibitionistic. Was it a faithful recreation of the infamous original? You be the judge.
A PAPS activist and party organizer told us they did not insist on the obligatory Venti-sized malbec or merlot. “Each individual was allowed to interpret the Barrett Brown Bathtub Selfie as they wished, whether going with the traditional red wine or other alternatives. #DoTheBB as you would like to interpret it. Radical consent!” And besides, open glasses of wine on the sidewalk would have drawn unwanted attention from uniformed officers.
She told us that the point of the protest was, “To abolish prisons, bring about transformative justice, and remember the sacrifices of Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, and all of our incarcerated comrades including Alvaro Luna Hernandez. Also, to troll Stratfor.”
Mission accomplished there, I’d think.
You can’t accuse these protesters of venal motivations. “We had flyers for donations for PayPal14 restitution and commissary accounts for individual prisoners, but we were not accepting cash or soliciting donations. We’re just here for the party, dude.”
Instead of asking for donations, they solicited letters. “We asked folks to write postcards or letters to prisoners, as well as pumping our http://www.iheartpaps.com/mail-forwarding.html service.” The service basically fronts for anyone wanting to write to a prisoner: neither that prisoner nor the prison system will ever have your return address. It can, nonetheless, forward you mail from the prisoner without revealing that information to him/her. Pretty nifty, if you’d rather avoid a visit from curious strangers in blue.
But IRL action is important to the group as well. “We like to politicize space. I miss Occupy in that regard. We desire to do outreach to people who are not already aware of these cases, not to mention the evils of the prison industrial complex and its abolitionist alternatives.” Anonymous public clowning crew Guise of Fawkes and the Yes Men were inspirations. “We wanted to take advantage of those tactics because we believe they are highly effective. As long as Jeremy & Barrett are behind bars, I intend to make Stratfor regret their cooperation with the FBI. The moment Jeremy and Barrett are free of incarceration and restitution, I will forget Stratfor exists.” Let’s take a moment to note that “cooperation with the FBI” is basically Stratfor’s business model; it’s just a question of how much of it can be counted as billable hours.
“Companies cooperating with the feds to entrap hackers need to understand Anonymous has boots on the ground,” she told us.
As to why now, specifically, well, there were quite specific reasons. “Jeremy Hammond was kidnapped by the state on 3/5/2012. [The] FBI went in with flash grenades and a full SWAT team to take out a skinny, nerdy hacker. We wanted to commemorate the three year anniversary of that tragic occurance, but also wanted to coincide with SXSW/Spring Break so we decided to push it out two weeks.” Austin is annually inundated with the technorati during South By Southwest, a combination music festival/digital showcase. Think of it as Burning Man, run by venture capitalists and Wired magazine. “Since Jeremy was kidnapped by state pirates, we thought ‘Why not dress up as pirates?'” Why not indeed?
For those who wished to attend, but had neglected to organize a pirate costume, there were Sabu costumes on hand.
Speaking of…agents of the state who are commonly referred to by other words…”Around 3am on 3/5/15, Sabu’s Daily Dot article came out.” That was when his fate was sealed: he was to be a Special Guest at this party, whether he liked it or not. The Cryptosphere contributor Douglas Lucas was also a Special Guest, albeit one who was treated a great deal better.
Sabu did get his picture taken in a hot tub. Again.
A 65 lb pig, named “Sabu” post-mortem, was eagerly welcomed by the Austin activists. Protesting is hungry work! A bed was carefully prepared for him and on it he spent several delicious hours.
Theologically inaccurate, of course, for Dante informs us that the Ninth Circle is actually quite chilly. Nonetheless, when he came out he was more popular with the activist left than he had been since the FBI came for a visit.
Well, would ya look at that. No guts.