Jeremy Hammond, a former member of the hacking network Anonymous who has become a cause célèbre for hacktivists, civil libertarians and those concerned about the rights of whistleblowers, is a gifted young computer programmer who is currently spending a decade in prison. His crime? Leaking information from the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, information which revealed that Stratfor had been spying on human rights activists at the behest of corporations and the U.S. government.

In a non-cooperating plea deal, Jeremy pled guilty to one count of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Despite lodging nearly 265 letters of support calling on judge Loretta Preska to show leniency, Jeremy was sentenced to the maximum allowed under his plea agreement.

Since March of 2012, Jeremy has been cut off from his friends and family, and punished with extensive stays in solitary confinement – treatment normally reserved for the most egregious offenses. He did nothing for personal gain and everything in hopes of making the world a better place and he needs our support now more than ever. Please visit this website often to learn how you can help!

Selected Excerpts From Letters Calling for Leniency in the Sentencing of Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond’s attorneys have submitted a sentencing memorandum on his behalf asking for a sentence of time served. 265 people have written letters of support on his behalf calling for a sentence of time-served, including friends, family, journalists, academics, members of the tech community, and noted whistleblowers.  Below are quotes from a small percentage of these letters.

FEATURED LETTERS

Daniel Ellsberg
Former United States Military Analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers.

“As the first person prosecuted in the US for unauthorized disclosure, I continue to be a supporter for the need for whistle blowing to maintain a constitutional republic and avoid grave governmental abuses. My decision to go public with the Pentagon Papers was a difficult one. At my own risk, I released them, just as Jeremy Hammond has done. I believe the actions taken by Jeremy Hammond need to be viewed in a context that considers the profound consequences of private surveillance of political activists in the United States.”

Jesselyn Radack
Director, National Security & Human Rights, Government Accountability Project
Whistleblower and former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice

“[Jeremy Hammond] performed an act of civil disobedience out of a deeply held belief that the people have a right to know what the government and unregulated corporations are doing behind closed doors against them. He is a patriot who only sought to provide transparency and expose the surveillance crimes being perpetrated on the American people.”

Richard Stallman
Lead developer, GNU system, MacArthur Fellow, President, Free Software Foundation

“Jeremy Hammond is a fine example of a socially responsible hacker.”

Baher Azmy
Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights

“The CFAA [Computer Fraud and Abuse Act] was drafted in order to address and deter self-interested or malicious hacking or theft of computer services and systems, however, it has been increasingly used – and in our view, abused – by federal prosecutors in order to target socially-conscious activists who choose to leak sensitive information to media organizations in an effort to highlight corporate or government wrongdoing….There can be little doubt that Mr. Hammond acted for political purposes, not for financial gain or with venal intent. He leaked information to the media in the interest of greater transparency for the American public on the issue of unlawful surveillance by corporations. For this act of conscience, he has already endured 19 months of pre-trial detention.”

Maureen Eckert
Philosophy Professor
University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth

“Jeremy Hammond’s political activism, often called ‘hactivism,’ is a new context in which Civil Disobedience has emerged with respect to technology in the 21st century.”

Gabriella Coleman
Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy
Department of Art History & Communications Studies
McGill University

Professor Coleman’s teaching, research and writing focus on computer hacking and electronic dissent, and the Anonymous movement.

“Given what I know about Jeremy Hammond and Anonymous, there is no doubt in my mind his participation and his actions were politically principled and constitute civil disobedience….If punishments for intended acts of civil disobedience are excessive, an entire generation conditioned to engage online will be robbed of the opportunity to exercise their beliefs through direct action and civil disobedience in their chosen venue.’

Letter signed by sixteen editors and journalists representing international media outlets in fifteen countries with a combined audience of 500 million people.

Among the Signatories:

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Editor-in-Chief
Aissa Garcia, Telesur in Mexico, Director
Stania Mauizi, L’Espresso, Journalists
Jean Marc Manach, Lemonde, Journalist

“In 2011 our news outlets published articles using documents allegedly obtained by Mr. Jeremy Hammond…The information allegedly disclosed has helped to keep the public informed about serious wrongdoings of corporations and corrupt governmental officers in more than fifteen countries….These publications have led to important public interest outcomes.”

Peter Ludlow
Professor, Northwestern University

“Jeremy’s work as a hacktivist was revelatory…his exploratory hacking helped expose the scope and nature of the private intelligence industry.”

Michael Ratner
President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights

“The Stratfor documents have now given us the understanding that private intelligence companies may be a bigger problem for civil liberties than our own government…”

The Yes Men
Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonnano

We are the Yes Men, a team of filmmaker-activists who use satire to raise awareness of important social issues. The case of Mr. Jeremy Hammond is highly compelling to us because he is a man whose righteous intentions are the same as those which fuel our own efforts to improve our communities and the world. It is distressing to us that he faces such repercussions for taking actions that were only meant to bring positive change.”

PERSONAL FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES

Brad Thomson
A paralegal at a Chicago law firm, who has known Jeremy Hammond personally for a number of years

People’s Law Office
Chicago, IL

“Jeremy’s public service here in Chicago has been far-reaching. I knew him to be active with and supportive of organizations to end hunger, to end sexism and to end environmental degradation and the negative health impacts that come from it. He supported groups working for racial justice, struggling against neighborhood displacement, supportive of the rights of immigrants and building diverse communities. Instead of using his abilities for personal wealth or fame, he chose to volunteer at community computer clinics that assist young people and underprivileged individuals from the community in learning basic computer skills necessary to do their homework, write a resume or design a website.”

Michael Pitula
A GED and adult literacy instructor who interacted with Jeremy  for a number of years while working as a community organizer

“I have personally known Jeremy Hammond for about ten years through his community involvement here in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Rather than use his talents for personal wealth or fame, he would regularly conduct research, help set up websites or provide other technical assistance to non-profit organizations or community groups committed to social justice. Jeremy’s public service here in Chicago has been extensive. He has been an ally to groups working for human rights and environmental justice and build healthy and diverse communities.”

Jerome Boyle
Alvin E. Block & Associates

Met Jeremy Hammond when working as Legal Observer, National Lawyer’s Guild, Chicago and neighbor, has known him for about 8 years

“I have known Jeremy Hammond for approximately 8 years.  As someone who was present at many of the events leading to his arrest, or present at the police lock-ups afterward, or both, I can assure you that Jeremy was always driven, not by any selfish motive, but rather by an exceedingly altruistic commitment to the causes which he advocated. Jeremy lived an ascetic life, scraping by on barely enough resources to survive. Instead of looking out for himself, he saw it as his duty to look out for others, and to help others when they needed it. He could always be counted on to help a friend or neighbor in need, frequently at the cost of substantial personal sacrifice. And his self-sacrifice extended even to what is, to him, his most precious possession, i.e. his personal liberty.”

Debra Michaud
Chicago business owner, founder of the Chicago Chapter of the Rainforest Action Network

Worked very closely with Hammond on environmental issues for a couple of years.

“Jeremy’s values can probably best be understood by looking at the close-knit community he created. Jeremy’s world-view is a communal one, where people take care of and support one another. His home had an open door – if someone needed a place to stay, a warm meal, or an ear, they found a haven there. The generosity and openness of that home was palpable to any outsider who entered. Jeremy worked not to make or save money or buy possessions, not to make a name for himself or gain recognition. He comes from a place of selflessness. His deep compassion was most obvious in public events when it was always invariably Jeremy who straggled behind the crowd to help carry or push his disabled friend in a wheelchair. It was always Jeremy who made sure that no one was left behind.”

Jason Hammond
Jeremy Hammond’s brother

“His arrest has had a tragic effect on our family and the community where Jeremy lived. It’s a big emotional loss to miss  family member so much and it has also prevented a committed individual from continuing to support those in the neighborhood and the city he loves.”

“Jeremy’s actions were a continuation of his belief in the importance of open and informed discussion about political and social issues.”


To read the sentencing memorandum on behalf of Jeremy Hammond and all letters written by Jeremy supporters, please visit the Legal Documents section of this website.