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Barrett Brown Is Being Railroaded (Why You Should Care)

11:33 am in Uncategorized by DSWright

A screenshot of Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown faces 45 years in prison for posting a link in a chat room.

Trying to think of less sympathetic figure than Barrett Brown would be a difficult task for many Americans. He’s rude, vindictive, and seems to get a particular joy from pissing people off. He’s gone out of his way to anger groups ranging from the FBI to the Zetas, all while being the quasi-official spokesman for Anonymous – a group on the shit list of nearly every powerful person on the planet.

So surprise, Barrett Brown has been arrested. The initial arrest is pretty understandable, Brown went on a long YouTube tirade which appropriately began with “I don’t make plans.” Within the seemingly endless series of insults is a direct threat to FBI agent Robert Smith as well as a promise to meet any U.S government officials trying to arrest him with armed resistance. Bad move.

First off, law enforcement — acting under a legal warrant — has the right to arrest a citizen. In what world would that not be the case? Brown’s threat to meet that legitimate use of authority with violence is wildly out of line and indefensible. It’s also worth noting that when Brown was arrested by the Dallas Police – caught on video – he did not offer armed resistance. Whether this was due to his rant being an idle threat or him not having time to get access to a weapon is an open question.

Secondly, threatening an FBI agent and his family with any destructive act – though apparently non-violent and perhaps legal – is pretty dumb if you are trying to stop harassment. Brown claimed, which has all the probability of being true, that Agent Smith was harassing his mother. Very plausible as this is generally how the FBI conducts its affairs – terrorizing putting pressure on family members to assist them in destroying a target. And given Brown’s political associations the bare-knuckle tactics he alleges would fit well with the FBI’s history of persecuting political dissidents in America

So Brown was already on the radar for his activism, he was being harassed by the government, and cracked under the pressure by making threats that lead to an arrest. So why should YOU care?

You should care because what happened next not only affects you but will affect any user of the internet.

While in custody Barrett Brown was indicted again, this time for computer fraud and identity theft. This indictment, unlike the first, lacked all semblance of proportionality and legitimacy. Apparently Brown was not the only one to lose his senses:

Dallas writer Barrett Brown, who was involved with the “hacktivist” movement Anonymous until earlier this year, was indicted last Tuesday (Dec. 4) on 12 counts related to possession of stolen credit-card numbers.

The indictment alleges that Brown possessed at least 10 stolen credit-card numbers and card-verification values (CVVs), and also shared a link to a document that contained thousands more stolen credit-card numbers. He faces 45 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

However, the indictment does not allege that Brown himself stole the credit-card numbers or that he profited from having them. It states that merely possessing the numbers shows “intent to defraud.”

Wait, what?

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Occupy May Day Is Tomorrow

1:47 pm in Uncategorized by DSWright

[Editor's Note: Be Here or Be Square. Check out FDL's May Day 2012 coverage page.  Brian Sonenstein has more on May Day 2012 at Firedoglake.]

PhotobucketMay Day, a holiday created in part to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, Illinois, has become a global celebration in almost every country except, ironically, the United States. That Ends Tomorrow.

A General Strike has been called and not just in America but throughout the world.


Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe tomorrow calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth. In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower. “We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.

May Day is an international workers’ day celebrated in more than eighty countries to honor labor and left-wing movements. Originally organized to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre, the day has broadened to include workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and anti-war efforts. The occupy movement is calling on the ninety-nine percent to no longer stand idly by and remain complacent. May Day is an opportunity to flex our collective power to show the plutocracy that their time is over, that profits over people will no longer be the modus operandi… So will you call out of work for the sons and daughters fighting an illegitimate war, endangering themselves to enrich CEOs? Will you buy nothing in support of the ten million foreclosed homes expected in 2012? Will you march out of classes for the millions of uninsured children in this country? Will you general strike with me?


BEGINNING MAY 1, 2012 NO WORK – NO SCHOOL – NO SHOPPING – NO BANKING – NO TRADING THE PEOPLE OF THE PLANET WILL TAKE TO THE STREETS #OLA & #OLB are calling on all people of the world to start planning NOW for a Global Strike. The goal is to shut down commerce worldwide and show the 1% we will not be taken for granted, we will not be silenced, WE WILL NOT MOVE until our grievances are redressed.

Occupy Together:

May Day is an international day of celebration to honor the labor movement. This year the Occupy movement has made a call for mass action—the May First General Strike (#M1GS): a day without the 99%. Over 115 US cities have organized in solidarity with this call to action… If you are inspired by the day of action but don’t live near any organized events you can still take part. If you can’t strike, take the first step. We can work to shift the balance of power back into the hands of the people little by little in our everyday lives. Here are some examples to get you thinking: Move Your Money – Share a meal with others and and talk about subsidized agriculture and factory farming or make a meal with friends to serve to local homeless people a la Food Not Bombs – Start a Personal/Community Garden – Have a Free Store/Fair: Get together and share your unwanted items with others – Screen a Movie: Invite your friends or neighbors over to watch a documentary – Have a Skill Share: Give a free class to share your skills and knowledge. This could be as simple as giving a knitting demonstration or as complex as teaching someone a new language. We have the power in our hands to change the course of our day to day realities if we are willing to participate and reach out to our neighbors and communities. In the words of Steven Biko, ”the greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Big business should not be in control of us, we are the many and they are the few.

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