Update 1/29/13: Govt overprosecution and the tragic treatment of today’s young freedom-of-information activists

Chase Madar at The Nation has written a heartfelt article about the harm that aggressive government prosecutions is doing to young idealists’ lives.  

Twenty-six year-old Internet prodigy and freedom of information activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide on January 11, following news that he was facing thirteen felony charges and a potential thirty-five years in prison, along with fines up to $1 million.  He was arrested for downloading millions of academic articles from JSTOR at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology and then making these publicly-funded articles public, in violation of JSTOR’s terms of use.  Chase Madar compared Aaron Swartz’s vindictive political prosecution to that faced by Jeremy Hammond, as well as Bradley Manning.  Madar writes:

Too often the cause of open information is dismissed as a geek fetish, a tedious hobby for the IT crowd. This is a grave error, as the high barriers around information are literally killing us. Larry Korb, former assistant secretary of defense, has told me he doesn’t think the Iraq War—endpoint of a debate starved of meaningful information, which has slaughtered hundreds of thousands—would have happened had unredacted intelligence reports been made more public…

The notion that information should be easy to come by was not cooked up at the annual DefCon hacker conference. It was James Madison who wrote, “Popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.” In the year 2013, such an Enlightenment cliché should not be sounding radical. (It is only since the summer of 2011 that Washington finished declassifying material from the Madison administration—a lag measured in centuries.)

The December, 2012 speaking event with Bradley Manning attorney David Coombs is now available in an edited 13-minute format on youtube.  Watch the impassioned statements by Mr. Coombs as well as Center for Constitutional Rights’s attorney Michael Ratner as they share an insiders’ perspective of Bradley’s courtroom and explain the importance of supporting him at this point in history.

 

Make a statement by joining our photo petition at iam.bradleymanning.org!

Make a statement by joining our photo petition at iam.bradleymanning.org!

We have some upcoming events we hope you’ll take note of:

This Thursday, January 31st Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, blogger Kevin Gozstola, and Bradley Manning Support Network activist Emma Cape will be speaking in Berkeley, CA.   The event will begin at 7:30 at the First Congressional Church of Berkeley.  Read more and RSVP on facebook.

On February 23, supporters around the world will organize events in protest of Bradley’s 1000th day in prison.  Read more here.

June 1st has been declared the International Day of Action in protest of Bradley’s court martial, which will begin June 3rd.

We hope you’ll consider signing up on our main page to stay updated on all important campaign news!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Update 1/29/13: Govt overprosecution and the tragic treatment of today’s young freedom-of-information activists

  1. I know this may sound odd but if Brad is sentenced to prison and has not been released by 2016 elections i plan to do a Presidential Pardon if i win the election. I pray that he will be freed before then but if not This is my Goal to do in 2016.

    Thank you.

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