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Jeremy Hammond: Reflections from the SHU, Part 2

This is part two of a two-part series from Jeremy Hammond, detailing his experience while housed in the segregated housing unit, or SHU, from August to September of 2016. Read part 1.


Back in the box again. Anyone doing time is going to end up in solitary confinement at some point; no self-respecting convict is obeying each and every petty rule, and I’ve been averaging at least a month or so each year since I’ve been down.

While it’s not surprising I found myself in SHU again, this time I had no idea what I supposedly did: no charge or explanation, no one says anything to me for a week. I’m back there pacing the tiny-ass cell thinking maybe this is about reporting on the various lockdowns and water issues, or encouraging mayhem at the DNC and RNC, or writing public statements against the proposed federal prison in nearby Letcher County, KY, or the FOIA requests, or maybe a few other things in the works I’m not sure whether they are aware of or not. None of this is really against the rules, but you never know if they’re going to hit you anyway. Either way it brings me pleasure to know I’ve caused them some headaches and annoyances over the years.

Eventually the bigwigs do their weekly clown parade and I find out I was locked up because I was “encouraging rebellion and criminal activities on the Internet” – i.e. the same thing I’ve been doing since I arrived at FCI Manchester two and a half years ago. But this time I crossed the line, they say, by inciting violence against police officers. I’m told I’m being transferred, and on three separate occasions I’m being told I’m going to a communications management unit (CMU) – a controversial control unit built during the Bush administration with heavy restrictions on communications primarily reserved for supposed “terrorists.”

Later I find out it was specifically over this tweet: “Cops getting away with murder for so long it’s about time someone started popping off on them pigs. It’s tit for tat, baby. Support the Dallas Shooter!”

Inflammatory, sure, and in retrospect I don’t want anyone to think I’m encouraging people to shoot at random cops, But I also didn’t say anything that’s not being said in every prison and in every neighborhood that experiences police violence on an everyday basis. This came in the immediate aftermath of the murders in St. Paul and in Baton Rouge, after the acquittal of the cops in Freddie Gray’s death: it just keeps happening over and over again. Imprisoned, we’ve watched all of this from afar, unable to attend the rallies and join the widespread public outrage against these killer cops who just keep getting away with it over and over again.

Groups like the Fraternal Order of Police and various police chief associations knew they had another mess on their hands and launched a coordinated PR campaign to turn the story away from all the people being murdered by cops and focus on some supposed Dallas shooter conspiracy to attack law enforcement. They condemned the shooter as a terrorist and a racist, saying he was visiting “hate” websites and tried connecting the attack to Black Lives Matter despite the fact BLM is overwhelmingly nonviolent. For days all you’d see on the news was “American heroes under attack” with various police representatives justifying increased militarization at rallies while somehow also claiming that “police protect the protesters,” a ridiculous assertion considering how they regularly beat up and mass arrest us.

You’d get the impression there was universal denunciations of the attack, but when they showed his picture with his fist in the air, most everyone here in prison was like “Hell yeah!” and “It’s about time!” – supportive sentiments contrasting so heavily from the seemingly universal condemnations from the TV networks and the pacifist reformists. I put the tweet out because the perspective of prisoners who have also experienced police brutality, whose voices are otherwise silenced and dismissed from the debate, must be heard.

Understandably, the BOP was pissed about it: after all, the flag at FCI Manchester was at half mast for a week, just as it was when Nancy Reagan died. But some friends also raised similar concerns whether I was wise to be so explicit and brazen, whether I really believe indiscriminate violence against police is the best strategy. What I said was really not all that different from what I’ve been putting out since before I was locked up. For example, the Anonymous “Chinga La Migra” hack of Arizona police included an ASCII graphic of an AK-47 with the words, “Yes we’re aware that putting the pigs on blast puts risks their safety, those poor defenseless police officers who lock people up for decades, who get away with brutality and torture, who discriminate against people of color, who make and break their own laws as they see fit. We are making sure they experience just a taste of the same kind of violence and terror they dish out on an every day basis.” Another comrade in Texas brought up a point: since they very well could have been at that protest, would it have changed my attitude if they were also hit? The shooter was specifically targeting cops, but two protesters were also hit.

To be clear, I don’t think we should be going around killing cops, and it is extremely reckless to shoot off guns at protests. With any tactic, you absolutely have to eliminate any possibility of inadvertently injuring innocent bystanders: consider that for all the actions of the ELF and the Weather Underground, they never killed anybody. When I did the “Shooting Sheriffs Saturday” hack of 70+ police departments, I redacted the personal information of people in jail, while posting the names, addresses, and email contents for thousands of police officers.

The state of free speech in imprisoned America and the growing rift between police and the people was swirling through my mind as I sat in the SHU. This is the third time I’ve been here at Manchester SHU, four if you want to count the two day “mistake” they made a month earlier. For all the talk of prison reform, there have been no observable changes in the cruel and unusual conditions that is everyday life in the Special Housing Unit. Manchester’s SHU is more restrictive than national BOP policy: no newspapers, books, magazines or photographs allowed from the mail. No coffee. Two junk fiction books off this janky-ass cart they pass around once a week. Only five hours of fresh air a week in the dog cages, if they don’t take it for frivolous reasons like our shirts not being tucked in or our bed not being made. Catch a shot while you’re back there, even for something as petty as saving bread or a packet of ketchup from one of the meals to eat during those late night hungry moments, they’ll come and take your blanket, put you in paper suits, and give you cold meals for five days.

The isolation and drudgery can’t be understated: even strong minds, no matter what, you’re going end up a little bugged out and have to find creative ways of passing time. I folded some origami dodecahedrons, played the movie “The Matrix” in my head with Neo being played by Will Smith as it was originally intended, and mastered the technique of peeling paint off the walls by simply staring at it long enough with enough concentration. But the stretches of boredom are sometimes punctuated with brief intense moments, like when my comrade two doors down was hit with the extraction squad. Refusing to cuff up to be put into the paper suits for refusing a cellie, a goon squad decked out in riot gear busted down the cell, roughed him up a bit while shouting “stop resisting,” cut off his orange rags, and forced him into the paper suits. It was horrific, but cell extractions like this are pretty common and supposedly backed by policy.

After a month of being told that I was going to be transferred, all of a sudden I’m kicked out the SHU and back on the compound. I’m given a write-up which reads like a federal indictment: “Hammond has the ability to influence the decisions and actions of others in public. Therefore, by directing his outside contact to post messages advocating violence towards a particular group of people, Hammond has effectively endangered the public, specifically police officers.” But it’s only a 397 series write-up for “phone abuse,” a low-severity shot you generally don’t even go to the box for (though they did take my phone privileges for two months).

I was given a stern warning by the prison’s intelligence officers who made it clear I got off light and that they are watching my every move and communication. I asserted my right to speak freely about politics, prison conditions or whatever I feel like, which they even acknowledged was allowed, but that I “can’t incite or advocate violence in any way.” Furthermore, “we know about the strike,” referring to the September 9th nationwide prisoner work strike on the anniversary of the Attica rebellion. “Hmm?” I mused. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.” Though there are a thousand complaints about our conditions, and that they’re working at UNICOR military sweatshops for nickels an hour, the climate here and at most medium-security prisons is pretty chill and it doesn’t look like people here are trying to buck. In any case, I don’t want to go to a CMU or spend months in the SHU awaiting transfer: they’ve won this round, I’m going to chill out, happy just to be drinking coffee, getting some sun, and reading good books.

Catching up on world events from the giant stack of newspapers and magazines they’ve held since I’ve been gone, it looks like the situation has been getting worse and worse. Another police murder of a black youth in Milwaukee while Donald Trump encouraged law enforcement to use increased militaristic tactics, specifically mentioning my hometown of Chicago where the cops have been basically waging a war on the people. Despite the “blue code of silence” cover-ups, the Homan Square black site, the failures of the Independence Police Review Authority, the police propaganda machine is pushing “Blue Lives Matter” laws to create a new class of hate crimes, something which I probably could have been prosecuted under simply for what I’ve spoken about in the past. The word is out, they’re monitoring everything, so watch what you say, even what you think, especially if you’re in prison. But in the back of the minds of all those who have experienced police oppression, the question remains: what is it going to take to put an end to this police state once and for all?

Jeremy Hammond: Reflections from the SHU, Part 1

This is part one of a two-part series from Jeremy Hammond, detailing his experience while housed in the segregated housing unit, or SHU, from July to September of 2015. Read part 2.


“When are you going to start doing your time right?” one of the prison administrators tell me on their weekly rounds of the Special Housing Unit. I’m back in SHU again, this time for making hooch. I explain one or two disciplinary shots a year is really what you should expect out of a medium-security prisoner. Seems like all of my comrades behind bars are in solitary these days. I’m not complaining though: refusing to be a model inmate, I’ve been in and out nearly a dozen times since I been locked up, and the time is easier to “digest” if you know it’s because of something you actually did unlike some fabricated charge or “investigation.” I’ll be in and out in a month – or so I thought.

You can’t get straight sugar or yeast in prison, and there aren’t many hiding spots that aren’t regularly searched by the police: nevertheless, nothing could ever stop determined convicts from making prison wine. With a partner, I was microwaving the cream from generic Oreos to separate the grease from the sugar and mixing it with spoiled tomato paste stolen from the kitchen, stashed in a vent at my job in vocational training. Two weeks later, and this shit is like gasoline! I had just finished drinking a glass, brushed my teeth, and was feeling pretty good until they call me to the Lieutenant’s office for a breathalyzer test. What the fuck? Then I see them hauling out our stash: only me and dude knew the vent where our next batch was put up so I already knew what time it was. I find out later the full story when I’m in the SHU: he was trashed, talking shit to somebody in the chow hall and ended up getting slapped and humiliated, and when his homeboys tell him he’s got to step up and handle that, he “checks in” – he turns himself in to the cops and tells on everybody for wine, shanks, tobacco, even people who were stealing onions out of the kitchen. He was going home in a few months and didn’t want to lose his good time, so now there’s ten people back here in SHU cursing his name on the range. Unfortunately this sort of thing happens all the time in the feds.

A week later I see the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO): there’s really no defense for failing a breathalyzer so he finds me guilty and gives me 30 days Disciplinary Segregation (DS), 6 months loss of commissary, and 41 days loss of good time “mandatory pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act,” that tough-on-prisoner law passed in the Bill Clinton years. It’s the standard sentence landed down for a 100-series shot: drinking is in the same “greatest severity” class with rioting, stabbing, and taking hostages. I think it’s a bit harsh for wine – an extra month and some changed added to my sentence – but I knew this could happen before I started making it, and I’m not being singled out or anything, so I resign myself to kick back for a month in the box and I’ll be back on the compound soon enough.

I’ve been at a few different SHUs at different spots. Stuck for a week in MCC NYC during Hurricane Sandy when the lights and plumbing weren’t working. Spent a few days in SHU holdover at FCI Petersburg where they have triple-stacked bunks so cramped you can’t even sit up straight. The SHU at FCI Manchester has not changed much since I was back here last year. The only good thing I’ll say about this one is that they have a shower in each cell: hard to mess up a faucet and drain, though some cells flood and there’s standing dirty water everywhere. It’s downhill from there, though. Sticky plastic mattresses not washed between uses. The standard two-piece steel sink/toilet has broken buttons in every cell, so we affix torn up strips from their sheets to the insides to be able to drink or flush. Bunks so old, bent up, and warped they creak and clang every time you move around. Bright lights that stay on 18 hours a day reflect our orange clothes, rubber shoes and blanket no doubt further destabilizing our psyche. There’s a thin vertical window strip giving you a great view of a brick wall, but fortunately you’ve got enough gang graffiti, calendars, and “so-and-so’s a rat” scrawled on the walls to keep you entertained.

By international standards on the minimum conditions for prisoners held in SHU, we’re supposed to get a few hours of sunlight and fresh air per week, but the cops are constantly trying to find arbitrary reasons to take that away. At the crack of dawn they quietly sneak up to your cell window to see if you’re ready for rec. You have to be already up on your feet by the door all dressed up, shirt tucked in, your bed made, your room looking spotless. So much as a book on the table or your towel drying on the side of the bunk, and they’ll tell you, “Try again tomorrow,” even though BOP policy states they are not supposed to take away rec as a form of punishment. If you pass, your reward is an hour in the “dog run,” a cage twice the size of your cell where the concrete ground is covered in bird shit.

Theoretically, we are allowed access to the “law library” where they cuff you up and lead you to a cage smaller than your cell with a computer that has access to court rulings and case law. But it takes more than a month after you put in your written request, and by then you’ll have already seen the DHO thereby preventing you from adequately preparing any meaningful defense. I put in multiple requests and only got to use it once my entire SHU visit.

Every week they roll around a raggedy-ass book cart and we can pick out two books to exchange. The selection is the same set of junk fiction from the time I was here last year: Tom Clancy, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell – all BS “political spy thrillers” and murder mysteries portrayed from a law-and-order perspective of a cop protagonist. I read a book a day so after I devour mine and my bunky’s, it’s looking pretty rough. Fortunately plenty of comrades on the street were mailing me various anarchist zines, news articles, and internet printouts to keep me aware of events in the free world. But any incoming books, magazines and newspapers that come in through the mail go straight to property storage. They even take any incoming pictures you receive. I already had a hundred books in storage, but they aren’t trying to put them on the cart. FCI Manchester Institutional Supplement on the SHU and personal property is far more restrictive than the national BOP policy, and the problem is compounded by this lazy and malicious SHU property officer who happens to be the same guy who caught me trying to smuggle a bag of coffee in the SHU a year ago.

Everybody fiending for coffee, we are constantly trying to smuggle in that Keefe yellow bag well known to prisoners across the country. When available, I was able to sample some of that forbidden black gold by fishing from other cells down the range by means of a long string cut from sheets and piece of soap. The BOP national menu does guarantee coffee on Saturday and Sunday mornings, so when they feel particularly ambitious, we do get four tiny packets a week altogether amounting to about half a spoon. It’s the leftover cheap stuff not fit for sale on the streets because it is too old and has hardened into a taffy-like wafer that tastes like ashes. Nevertheless, every weekend I’m at rec swapping mailing stamps with others who don’t drink coffee. The sink water isn’t hot enough to dissolve it so you have to build a fire by means of a battery and a tiny strip of aluminum from the coffee wrappers, warming water in those little milk cartons suspended over the fire with more sheet strings. In general population, I was mixing Keefe instant coffee, Kool-Aid, and Coca-Cola to make a coffee energy drink commonly known as a Foxy, Bombay, or La Bomba. The SHU one is the same minus the soda and using these generic “clear punch” Kool-Aids that have solidified like the coffee. Highlight of the week!

Of course, if they catch you making a fire, fishing down the range, saving an apple or a breakfast cake to eat later at night, or just rub one of the COs the wrong way, they got something special for you in this SHU. National policy allows them to deny you your mattress except during eight hours at night, but here at Manchester, they take all your clothes and give you these thin paper suits normally used for prisoners in transit. They even take your blanket and sheets and give you what is essentially a large paper towel.

Thirty days and a few different cellies later, my time is up and I’m stoked! I’m drinking the last of my coffees and making a to-do list when an officer walks up and slips a paper in the door and walks away. “Administrative Detention Order: Hammond is terminating confinement in Disciplinary Segregation and has been ordered into Administrative Detention by the Warden’s Designee Pending SIS Investigation” it reads. What the fuck?! I’m kicking the door, screaming curses at the police down the range, running back and forth in the cell. Later my counselor walks by and gives me more bad news: another visitor application rejected for “security reasons.” (I find out much later that twice my grandparents tried visiting me while I was in SHU and were denied visitation, and I only recently came off two-year visiting restrictions.) “What the fuck am I still doing in SHU?” I demand to know. “SIS investigation” is all I hear for weeks. One of the administrators tell me, “There are things you’ve been doing that we know about, that you don’t know that we know, but we know.” …Huh? It’s true I’m generally up to something, so without knowing what they’ve got, I can’t do anything until they show their hand. I was supposed to get out in time to do the Running Down the Walls 5K run, but that’s not happening, so instead I just ran in place for an hour.

Eventually a SIS guy walks around and nonchalantly tells me, “Someone mailed you some drugs in the mail. You’ll be back here for a while and then probably transferred.” He said it was greeting cards soaked in liquid K2, all the rage in prison these days because it is odorless and easily concealed. I’m relieved because even if it really happened, I obviously had absolutely nothing to do with it and I’ll be cleared. On one hand, I’m not trying to leave because I have unfinished business on the compound: half-finished tattoo work, books on loan everywhere, etc. But I’ve pissed off most of the staff here and I’m sure they’re just trying to make me somebody else’s problem. I’m tired of the land of Mitch McConnell and Kim Davis – get me out of Kentucky already!

The time drags by with no answers and now I’m stressing. I’ve finished my sentence for the wine and am now on “administrative detention” status, supposedly “non-punitive” because they allow you your radio and two personal books (which the property officer is refusing me). While “under investigation,” you aren’t charged with any crime, but they can hold you for 90 days then apply for another 90 days on top of that. If they end up giving you a shot, the time you spent waiting for the DHO doesn’t even count towards your DS sentence. After the DS time, you’re sent back to AD awaiting designation and the next transfer bus. All in all, it’ll be months. There are still people in SHU for a big fight back in May that shut everything down. Four months later, the weight pile was reopened, but some of these people haven’t even been charged yet. I’m really supposed to sit back here “for a while” and then be sent somewhere else? If transferred I can’t bring all my books with me, not even the ones people mailed me since I’ve been back here. I’m telling them, “You have to donate them to the book cart,” and some of the administrators seem understanding and promise to do something about it, but more weeks pass by and I still haven’t received a shot and it starts to sink in how badly I’m being screwed. I start the administrative grievance process and submit a few BP-8s and BP-9s, but I already know that endless gerbil wheel goes nowhere.

The time for talk is over: I’m ready to go to war. These showers and toilets will flood the entire range very easily like we were doing in NYC, but later on the way back from rec, I discover this SHU has drains on the floor preventing that possibility. You could always cover the door window with paper to disrupt their count, hold the food tray slot hostage, and refuse to cuff up. I start saving milk cartons in the morning so they start spoiling. Position it under the door and wait for one of the bigwigs to walk by and you can stomp on it to splatter nasty milk all over their fancy dress shoes. Fill up toothpaste tubes with piss, and it works the same way. Damaging the sprinklers will trigger a deafening alarm and spray black oil everywhere. And starting a fire is always an option. Almost everything burns. Any one of these will result in the goon squad forcibly extracting me with shields, Tasers, etc. and is definitely result in more write-ups and injury, but fuck it, I’m already feeling like I have nothing to lose. If I’m going to be in SHU, it may as well be about something, and if they’re going to transfer me, I’m going give them something to remember me by.

It’s burger-and-fries Wednesday. Everybody normally looks forward to it, but when they roll the cart around, I reflexively tell them to get that stinking-ass tray out my cell. Hunger strike, ya bastards! I rile up the rest of the range, getting everybody to kick on the doors and start chanting “Fuck the police!” They immediately shake me down, take everything, and put me in a cell by myself. It’s not long before the bigwigs show up trying to calm me down. They reassure me that they’re not messing with me, that they’re waiting on the drug test results from the lab, and that I will have a chance to mail my books home. They give me what I‘m entitled to in AD, my radio and two books out of my property. I pick Beyond Walls and Cages, and ¡Presente! in English and Spanish so at least I have something to study besides militaristic junk fiction. It was worth it just to show them I’m not going down without a fight, but I realize that the time was starting to warp into a sense of hopelessness and desperation. It’s a constant struggle to maintain discipline and sanity, to be able to pick your battles. I got nothing else coming, and no matter what I do I’m still going to be stuck back here until they transfer me.

More time passes, and then suddenly I’m being kicked out back to general population. Turns out whatever they received in the mail wasn’t drugs after all, and was most likely just perfume on a greeting card. No shot, no transfer, no nothing. Just an extra month for free. They bring me to the front of the SHU with my duffle bags of property and I dress out of the orange jumpsuits into the standard BOP khakis. Much of my stuff is damaged or missing, which is the norm, but I’m more concerned about my books, dozens of which I haven’t even seen yet because they were sent while I was in SHU. Weeks later I’m still fighting to get them pack from the confiscation room or at least be able to donate them to the library. [Note: Almost a year later, Jeremy still has not received all the books that were confiscated from him during this stint in the SHU.]

As I’m leaving the SHU, the property officer tries me one last time and makes me take off my shoes right on the walk just for the orange socks I was wearing, but the joke’s on him. I had already managed to throw a bag of Keefe coffee from my property to the SHU orderly to share with the other comrades still left behind. The door opens and I’m nearly blinded by the sun. Just like that, the journey is over. Even though I spent nearly the entire summer in the SHU, lost twenty pounds, and now have to breathalyze three times a day, I’m feeling free at last, happy to get some fresh air and sunlight.

While I was in SHU, the Director of the BOP Charles E. Samuels was blatantly lying in front of Congress, a federal offense in and of itself. “We do not practice solitary confinement…We do not, under any circumstances, nor have we ever, had the practice of putting an individual in a cell alone.” Besides the graveyard-like control unit ADX Florence, there are plenty of everyday situations where you’d end up in a cell by yourself: the dry cell (for those suspected of smuggling contraband), the drunk tank (if you fail a breathalyzer), hunger strikers, protective custody cases, or just lazy SHU cell placement. Open the book on any SHU in the BOP and you’ll find people in single cells. The dude across the hall from my cell in “max custody” all by himself was doing a 24-month DS sentence for assaulting the guards in another prison. Every day, he played solitaire and paced the cell endlessly.

The BOP tries to whitewash SHU by calling it “administrative detention,” or “disciplinary segregation,” among other things. Indeed, the word “solitary” does not appear anywhere in the entire BOP program statements. No matter how they rebrand it, it’s still a torturous disregard for human rights that has attracted the UN’s attention. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez says, “Segregation, isolation, separation, cellular, lockdown, supermax, the hole, Secure Housing Unit…whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as punishment.” It’s true that in general they try to give you a cellmate, and many people prefer single cell placement for short-term SHU bids because it gets cramped and crowded in that tiny cell and you want to be able to stretch out comfortably. But after a month or so, even with a strong spirit you start losing your mind and you crave meaningful social interactions not possible in a box the size of your bathroom, with or without a cellmate. Hundreds of thousands have experienced solitary confinement. Anyone doing more than a few years is inevitably going to end up in seg at some point during their bid. Prison administrators and correctional officer unions defend this practice claiming that it deters people from breaking prison rules, but all it does is make you bitter, erratic, psychologically damaged and more willing to lash out – especially if you’re doing time for some petty rule infraction or fabricated “investigation.”

The cops especially love to harass political prisoners and other “troublemakers” who submit grievances, file lawsuits, interact with the media, or communicate about prison conditions with the outside world such as Barrett Brown or Chelsea Manning. Their weapons include solitary confinement, supermax, communication management units, denying visits, and monitoring and censoring your mail, but that’s only what is sanctioned by policy. The police violence of pepper spray and batons that you see at protests is an everyday occurrence in prison where the guards got each others’ backs and there is no accountability. Remember in the 1970s, prison guards repeatedly tried to arm racist white prisoners with shanks instructing them to kill George Jackson. His comrade, Hugo “Yogi” Pinell, who himself spent decades in solitary confinement and had participated in the recent hunger strikes in California to end this practice, was murdered under mysterious circumstances just a week after finally being released to general population.

With Black Lives Matter and widespread public opposition to mass incarceration, finally there is attention on solitary confinement, police brutality, capital punishment, three strikes laws, mandatory minimum sentences and other aspects of the police state. Public outrage has forced Obama and other politicians to make token reforms, but they would never willingly give up these profitable tools of social control without a fight. We cannot sell out our desire for a world without prisons and police by settling for their promise of a more benevolent human warehousing industry, as if there could ever be such a thing. We must continue to build pressure on their pipeline till it bursts. The extra harsh treatment and counter-intelligence operations ordinarily reserved for the rebels, such as SWAT teams created to fight the LA Panthers, will be used against the general population if we do not challenge it with fierce opposition. Behind enemy lines, our strategy is to unite various factions against our common enemy and successfully engage in system-wide hunger strikes, work refusals and sabotage. Coupled with militant street demonstrations and targeted direct action campaigns against prison officials, we can make this industry so toxic and unmanageable so that no one would ever want to have anything to do with it and it is swept into the dustbin of history.

Till we are all free, JEREMY (A)

Reject #OpIsis and the Co-Opting of Anonymous

In this new writing, Jeremy shares his views on Anonymous, #OpISIS, and the recent wave of anti-immigrant sentiment that has been sweeping the nation.


The attacks in France were a terrible but unfortunately predictable response by desperate people who, after a decade of war and occupation, want the west to taste what we have been regularly dishing out. But we cannot allow them to be used to justify more war.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the Western governments are provoking Islamophobic hatred in order to escalate military operations in the Middle East and push police state powers. It’s a familiar script, and from prison, I’ve been following these developments, disturbed about the attacks on immigrant and Muslim communities and the resurgence of the fascist right.

I remember in the wake of 9/11, the waves of blind patriotism and xenophobia that the war-mongering politicians used to push police-state laws, mass surveillance, and rampant militarization. It was never about fighting terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, but about US empire: control over land, oil, and drug production, like all wars. Hundreds of thousands of innocents were murdered by the US military over the longest war in our history while we escalated drone warfare elsewhere in Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, creating the conditions which gave rise to ISIS in the first place.

That same post-9/11 hysteria is back and all the war-mongers are again frothing at the mouth with hate for immigrants and refugees, pushing for national Muslim registration databases, and for regime change in Syria.

But I never thought Anonymous would join in on their frenzied call for war. Apparently, GhostSec and others purportedly associated with Anonymous have been DDoSing forums, taking down Twitter accounts, and reporting IP addresses to law enforcement in collaboration with shady military contractors like Kronos Advisory. The naïve fools behind the operation are being manipulated by intelligence agents taking advantage of the emotional reaction to the Paris attacks to harness our skills to fight their hypocritical “war on terrorism.”

As someone who hacked with Anonymous and marched against the war in Iraq, I completely oppose #OpISIS and any attempts to co-opt our movement into supporting the government’s militaristic agenda. Escalated US military involvement is certainly going to result in more civilian deaths, as it already has. All deaths of innocent civilians are a tragedy, and we cannot value one life over another. (And you are still more likely to be shot down by police than in a terrorist attack.)

The same intelligence industry that runs their own NSA hacker operations against ISIS uses the same counter-terrorism justification to spy on everyday civilians with no regards for rights to privacy, encryption, or anonymity. They have always targeted Anonymous and other dissident groups as terrorists, and when they aren’t trying to discredit or imprison us, they are attempting to co-opt us – sometimes openly by attending conference like DEFCON, seducing us with promises of money or calls for patriotic duty, other times covertly lurking around IRC channels attempting to steer us unwittingly into supporting their agenda. Remember, Sabu asked me to hack government websites of Syria and Turkey, among others, which I did, unaware he was an FBI informant. They didn’t want to talk about it at my sentencing hearing, but they did condemn my attacks against police and military contractors at length. The agents out there encouraging you to “hack the terrorists” will have no problem turning around and locking you up for years if you are not useful to their agenda.

We won’t let Anonymous be unwittingly used to further the military industrial complex’s imperialistic operations around the world. We don’t work for the government – we are against all governments. We are on the side of the oppressed, not the oppressors. We support the victims of war, not the war-makers. If you want to report membership lists and IP addresses of suspected terrorists, go join the CIA or hang out with wannabes like Stratfor or the th3j35t3r. Call it state-sponsored hacking, patriotic hacktivism, whatever – just don’t you dare call yourselves Anonymous.

I urge my comrades still out there in the trenches, sitting on some hot 0day, ready to loot databases and trash systems. If you want to stop war and terrorism, target who Martin Luther King Jr. called the “largest purveyor of violence in the word today” – the US government. So Anonymous, get to it – drone manufacturers, white hat infosec contractors, CIA directors, Donald Trump, and your local police department – they all have blood on their hands, they are all fair game.

Suits, Spooks, and Sabu

On June 20, 2015, a tech conference aptly entitled “Suits and Spooks” had infamous federal informant and notoriously mediocre hacker Hector “Sabu” Monsegur speak about “the rise and fall of Anonymous,” an organization Sabu has done his best to distance himself from, while still duping those gullible enough to pony up the cash into paying him to prattle on endlessly about.

Needless to say, this did not sit well with not only Jeremy, but anyone with a conscience. After a public campaign was launched against Suits and Spooks, its founder, Jeffrey Carr, offered space to “an Anonymous leader” who wanted to talk about “running ops.” Two Twitter users, VizFoSho and Flanvel, took him up on his offer. They did this with both the knowledge of us at FreeJeremy.Net, and with the intention of not only exposing Hector Monsegur for the fraud he is, but to also bring a little lulz into a wholly intolerable situation.

In the interest of full transparancy, we are releasing the slides they used in their talk, along with a statement from Jeremy. While everyone may not agree with everything they say on their slides, they make some valid points that we feel should be taken into consideration to anyone operating under the banner of Anonymous, especially when it comes to those who would use Anonymous for personal gain.

Enjoy!


Statement from Jeremy Hammond

The latest twist of the knife – Sabu returns to the internet in full PR spin mode to try to clear his name. He’s done his time – one year probation – and now he’s back with a vengeance, running his mouth on twitter, writing lame movie reviews for Daily Dot, and speaking at conferences; will he be able to re-establish credibility in the community?

Remember how he snitched out all his comrades to the FBI? Apparently it was all just Fox News propaganda: maybe these steel bars and razor wire fences that imprison me are also illusions of my mind. But this shit is real like a bad taste you just can’t spit out: I’m not even halfway through my federal prison bid while Sabu is chilling in hot tubs and getting paid speaking gigs. There’s no way the FBI could have caught me if it weren’t for Sabu’s cooperation because I didn’t make the same type of amateur mistakes he made: he hacked PBS from his home IP address, didn’t delete log files, was busted, and immediately began working with the FBI to identify all of his hacker friends so that he could receive a 5K1 reduced sentence. His cooperation was so extraordinary that he received a hug from the federal prosecutor and a personal thanks from Judge Preska, the same judge who gave me the maximum ten year prison sentence.

You’d think this disgraced fool would have kept his head down and disappeared in shame, or at least show some kind of remorse for the lives he’s damaged. Not Sabu, ever the pompous megalomaniac. He’s on Twitter, issuing various denials and rationalizations for his actions, encouraging people to write folks behind bars, even contacting my support team attempting to donate money to my commissary account because “he knows how hard it is”.

He’s also taking bold new steps and speaking at the upcoming Spooks and Suits NYC conference. Until now, he’s laid low and hasn’t made any planned public appearances: now, for $300, you can hang out with Sabu and other government agent types like the CIA, NSA, NYPD, etc. Some big names in national security, so he probably feels safe amongst his fellow feds and whitehat sellouts to discuss computer crime fighting strategies. But despite all their credentials and clearances, the mightiest of US corporations and bureaucracies keep getting hacked over and over again (and it always brings me great joy hearing about it). They know that they need, as Jeffrey Carr described, a “bad actor willing to share first hand info”, and Sabu was more than willing to open his big mouth once again. If they’re looking for technique, they are sure to be disappointed: he’s just a pompous liar and fraud with no skill and a Death Before Dishonor tattoo. Got no clue, got no soul: guess he really fits in with the rest of the conference organizers. Remember, even with his extensive cooperation with the FBI and having trusted access to our internal channels, they were still unable to prevent attack after attack.

Though he had already been dropped from speaking at the RSA conference, and Spooks and Suits had to relocate due to the planned protests, Sabu is still probably intending on speaking at other events such as DEFCON and Hackers On Planet Earth(HOPE). He once said to me, “I’ll be damned if I’m ever compared to that faggot Adrian Lamo”. Lamo, the former hacker who snitched out Chelsea Manning (currently doing a 35 year bid for the WikiLeaks revelations), spoke at HOPE rationalizing his actions by the need for “national security”. Brandon Darby, who entrapped several activists to prison during the 2008 RNC, underwent a militant-lefty to right-wing-extremist switch, now speaking proudly about his decision to cooperate. Sabu, now calling himself an “ex black hat”, who really has never been about any cause but himself, is similarly furthering the false standard that it is OK for a hacker to bend to law enforcement and the US cyber-imperialist agenda.

Some say since this megalomaniac craves attention we should just ignore him, and for the most part this is the probably best course of action. But it’s not that easy to forgive or forget when you’re still doing the time. When he is given a platform to spread lies and defend his cooperation while the folks he sent to prison cannot attend conferences or communicate without being monitored and censored, he must be exposed challenged and confronted. We cannot allow future conferences to think it is safe to invite Sabu to speak, nor can we allow future hackers who may be busted to think they could pull a Sabu, snitch out their friends, and expect no repercussions. Reject the Sabu NSA white hat ideology!


Slides

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Jeremy Hammond’s statement on the plea and sentencing of his brother, Jason Hammond

On January 22, 2015, Jason Hammond, Jeremy Hammond’s twin brother, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after accepting a non-cooperating guilty plea for his role in a militant direct action directed at white supremacists in the suburb of Tinley Park.

We at the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee completely and unequivocally support Jason Hammond and all who choose to participate in militant direct action for a free an equal society.


I am heart-broken that my twin brother Jason Hammond will have to do years in prison for his participation in the 2012 attack on a white supremacist gathering in Tinley Park.

I love my brother. Anyone who has ever met him knows he is the most charming, caring and passionate guy around. You would often catch him at street protests playing the trombone in the marching band, cooking food for the homeless, or teaching guitar to children.

For some, it may come as a shock to think he could have been involved in an armed attack against neo-nazis. But it’s a troubled world we live in – sometimes you pick up the trombone and picket sign, other times you gotta pick up the baseball bat and Molotov cocktail.

The prosecutors, police, and mayor of Tinley Park were so vindictive and eager to defend the nazis that despite already having sentenced the Tinley Park 5 to prison, they arrested my brother for the same action a year later. Setting a no-10% bail higher than Trayvon Martin’s murderer George Zimmerman, they would not settle for anything less than years imprisonment.

At the same time, prosecutors intentionally threw the case during grand jury proceedings against the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner – police literally getting away with murder, again and again.

These are not isolated tragedies but more evidence of the inherently corrupt and racist nature of the prison industrial complex. The connections are obvious, from the police who armed the Klan for the Greensboro massacre, to the “New Jim Crow” of mandatory minimums, crack/cocaine sentencing disparities, and felony second-class citizen status. This system has no future for people of color and the impoverished: it’s a lifetime of starvation-wage servitude, imprisonment, or death.

The protests “must be peaceful” says Obama and other so-called “community leader” sellouts and establishment apologists. It’s a sick irony to hear the “hope and change” president call for non-violence while he escalates U.S. imperialist wars in the middle east and refuses to prosecute CIA torturers and Bush Administration officials who signed off on it. His phony promises to “end racial profiling” and “demilitarize the police” should be rejected as attempts to channel our anger into predictable, controllable, and ultimately ineffective reforms, when what we need is abolition and revolution.

The system’s got to go, and we have to be prepared to use any and all tactics to overthrow it. Burning, looting, flipping over cop cars. hacking websites, and beating up nazis.

I fully support my brother and those who engage in militant direct action to build a more free and equal society. I urge everybody to check out my brother’s statement explaining his motivations for participating in the Tinley Park action. Like Jason says, “these tactics could also apply to different avenues of struggle, directed towards exploitative bosses, racist cops, gentrifying landlords, sexist institutions, and fascist politicians”.

Even though I am saddened it has resulted in his imprisonment, I am proud that he was willing to fight for his beliefs. We went to school together, played in bands together, protested together, and now both of us are incarcerated. We may be in different prisons, facing different charges, but we will always be together in the spirit of defiance.

FREE JASON HAMMOND!

Jason and Jeremuy Hammond

There’s Nothing Wrong With a Little Get-Back: Jeremy’s Stay In SHU

Jeremy was recently placed in the Segregated Housing Unit (SHU), known as solitary confinement, for two weeks. This is the situation that led up to that stay in SHU, in Jeremy’s own words. There was originally a miscommunication about the situation due to how the information got to us, so this should clear up any confusion.

There is never justification for solitary confinement, and we categorically condemn its use. As many experts have observed, this treatment is psychological torture, used to try to break detainees’ spirits. We are pleased to report that Jeremy has not been broken but instead remains as strong, defiant, and inspiring as ever.

And always remember, there’s nothing wrong with a little get-back. 🙂


The most obvious form of prison exploitation in the federal system is UNICOR: Federal Prison Industries, more commonly known as the military sweatshop in nearly every institution. It’s a quasi-public corporation that produces everything from armor plating and camouflage uniforms to office supplies. Because they are not bound by pesky things like minimum wage laws, they are frequently criticized for cutting prices and outbidding other free-world competitors for government contracts. The UNICOR here at FCI Manchester employs hundreds of prisoners sewing all-purpose combat uniforms used in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. UNICOR is the highest-paying job on the compound, taking home $50-$200 a month.

In addition, because the BOP does not want to pay for additional officers, prisoners maintain nearly every aspect of the institution ourselves: cooking, food, washing dishes, cutting grass, mopping floors, fixing plumbing and electricity, and so forth. This means that , fortunately, there are other jobs available if you do not want to participate in the imperialist genocidal “war on terrorism.”

In addition to garnishing our wages to pay for court fines and restitution, “maintenance” pay is $5.25 a month, barely enough for soap and deodorant. Any additional money we earn through our “jobs” is given right back to them at the company store where you can purchase Ramen noodles and terrible instant coffee at 30% markup from street prices. What kind of life is this where we are forced to choose between hygiene or a 15-minute phone call?

It’s bad enough they rob us of years of our lives behind razor-wire fences, they then make us work in their facilities for pennies an hour to maintain our own imprisonment. Because of this, stealing from government becomes part of everyday prison life. There is solidarity among convicts; stealing from one another is frowned upon and can get you stabbed up, but stealing from the government is business as usual. We’re just trying to get back some get-back.

There is a thriving black market: food out of the kitchen, new clothes out of the laundry, office supplies right off the officers’ desks. Everybody has a hustle – smuggling tobacco and drugs, cooking wine, cleaning cells, selling phone calls, gambling, making custom birthday cards, etc. Necessity is the mother of innovation.

For the most part, the cops look the other way, either for laziness or sympathy. A CO [corrections officer] who goes out of their way to enforce each and every rule is universally despised by prisoners and staff alike. Balance and respect keeps tensions from resulting in fewer incidents and lockdowns.

I’ve been working in laundry services since I arrived at FCI Manchester nearly a year ago. It is an easy, sought-after job washing and folding clothes, adding prisoner ID tags to khaki uniforms, and some sewing here and there. Most of the time we sit around doing our own laundry, reading, and getting into lengthy political debates.

And stealing all the new clothes we could ever want.

Shirts sell for $1. Socks or boxers, two for $1. New institution boots, $5. For me, it’s not about the money, but making clothes available to those who need it. The prison only issues sets of clothes once a year, not nearly enough, especially if you have a particularly dirty work assignment.

For me and the other workers, all was going pretty well in laundry land except for one problem: the boss. Nobody likes the boss in prison, the streets, or anywhere, really, but this guy is the epitome of the right-wing redneck prison guard. We’d be kicking it, talking world news, the prison system, the new Nicki Minaj video, when he would jump in to share his racist rantings. Some classics include his justification for the murder of Michael Brown (“I’d blow his noodle off myself!”) or his views on young immigrants (“Shoot ’em in the back of the head!”). I guess it is not out of the ordinary in the hills of Kentucky, the land of the Ku Klux Klan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Every time the boss regurgitated some GOP-manufactured controversy like Benghazi, Obamacare, or the IRS, I’d shoot him down and make him look like a fool in front of everybody.

It was all a laughing matter until he became angry and bitter and started taking it out on us. For a while, we couldn’t wash our own clothes, until I went over his head to clarify policy. Then, he started marking my paychecks with the worst possible job performance ratings to dock my pay and set me up to be fired. “Unable to learn the skills required”? “Requires constant supervision”? I fold sheets all day! “He’s gunning for you,” everyone told me.

Enter the coffee machine.

For six months, every “town hall meeting” where we are given orders without hearing any input of our own, I had been half-jokingly complaining for a coffee machine. The commissary sells Keefe Corporation instant coffee (“that Barbara Bush”), but it’s nothing like percolated street coffee. Other jobs on the compound have coffee machines, and the head supervisor already approved it, but the boss was just not going for it.

One day, the dumpster gods smiled on us and the trash cans outside the laundry birthed an officer’s coffee machine. It was broken, but fixable. A few uncrossed wires later and it was working! Certified Hater #1 walks in and smashes it back in the trash, proclaiming, “Mark my words – you will never have a coffee machine!” At this point, the debates are over, replaced with shared fantasies of strangling.

It wasn’t just the other prisoners, other CO’s can’t stand the guy either, and out of spite, one of them brings us a brand new coffee machine. Boss is fuming mad.  Victory never tasted so sweet!

I don’t know why he chose to shake me down that same day. Maybe someone whispered something in his ear, or he was retaliating for the coffee machine, or it was just bad timing. He searches my bag and finds a whole bunch of new clothes. He’s caught people stealing before. Sometimes he lets it slide, or he asks them to quit and find another job to avoid a write-up. Boss tells me, “I’m just going to take the bag and that’s that.” I don’t believe it for a second. It’s all over. He got exactly what he was looking for.

Sure enough, by the time I head back to the unit and pack up my property, they’re calling for me. The package of Barbara Bush concealed in my boxers is discovered during the strip search entrance to the Special Housing Unit.

The BOP claims it does not practice “solitary confinement.” It’s called “Administrative Segregation,” “Disciplinary Segregation,” “SMU,” “CMU,” etc. We call it “the hole,” “el hueco,” “the box,” “the bucket.” It’s a tiny cell the size of your bathroom you share with a cell mate and don’t ever leave except for an hour a day for recreation in the “dog run” (a slightly longer caged area). You get a blanket, socks, boxers, shirt, orange jumpsuit, a bar of soap, and three meals a day. You get mail, but here, incoming books, magazines, and newspapers are considered a “fire hazard” and put in your property until release. A raggedy book cart wheels around to give you one book a week. I read a racist Tom Clancy novel, “Without Remorse.” The “hero” is a CIA agent who, when he is not murdering Vietnamese “savages,” is a serial killer vigilante who murders dozens of “degenerate scum” drug dealers. Clearly, solitary takes a strong mind to endure. No wonder every published study on solitary confinement reports negative psychological damage.

But we have no choice. Anybody doing any kind of time is inevitably going to spend some time in solitary. I’m only a few years in and I’ve been in the SHU some eight times for nearly everything they got: weed, tattoos, arguing with an officer, refusing to stand count. May as well add “226: Stealing government property” to the list.

For some reason, SHU time is easier to digest if it’s for something you know you could get locked up for and you chose to do anyway, instead of some bogus, made-up write-up (like the time I was locked up in NYC during Hurricane Sandy). So these few weeks are no big deal to me. I’m chilling, waiting to see the DHO [Discipline Hearing Officer] to get my sentence, meanwhile doing hundreds of push-ups to stay warm and active and rapping with my cellie who was locked up for hip-tossing a CO. Turns out I could have punched the boss in the face and gotten the same severity 200-series shot. Good to know. [The Bureau of Prisons places different infractions into different offense “levels.” In this case, possession of stolen government property is on the same “level” as it would punching his boss in the face, and he would receive the same punishment. You can read more about what the BOP calls their “inmate discipline system” here.]

Is it really possession of stolen property if the bag of clothes hasn’t left the laundry yet? The Disciplinary Hearing Officer thought so and convicted me via video chat despite the other errors on the shot. (The boss misspelled “socks.”) But it could have been worse. He did not put me on any additional phone, commissary, or visit restrictions. Instead, he took 27 good-time days. That’s an extra month I’ll have to stay in prison. They only award you 47 days off per year for “good behavior,” and with all the other shots I caught, I’ve already lost nearly everything. I’m still paying off the two years worth of visiting restrictions for testing positive for weed in NYC. It’s alright though. I’m back on the compound, raking leaves and mowing grass for $5.25 per month.

There was nothing extraordinary about this incident, just an amusing story of getting caught stealing. This particular shot was not in retaliation for the administrative grievances I’ve filed against the mail room, which is an ongoing situation in and of itself. Just as often as they get you for something you may have actually done, they are twice as quick to put fabricated or trumped-up charges on you. As I am writing this article, they gave me a 296 shot. As crazy as it sounds, I was written up for “Circumventing Mail Monitoring Procedures” for allegedly emailing my letter of support  of Barrett Brown to my friend with directions to forward it to his defense team. This bogus write-up probably is some sort of retaliation meant to put me on communication restriction to prevent me from posting angry, bitter rants online.

Regardless, I will continue refusing to be a “model inmate.” I am not in prison for following the rules, and I will never have any respect for their petty policies or their boot-boy enforcers.

Stay Strong, Stay Defiant, Stay Dangerous!

In Support of #PayPal14 Fundraising Drive

When the banks, credit card corporations and PayPal imposed a financial blockade on WikiLeaks, Anonymous fought back with the largest coordinated electronic civil disobedience sit-in in history, inspiring others to take up the banner of hacktivism.

Outgunned and humiliated on the internet, PayPal went to their allies in law enforcement who arrested over a dozen suspected Anonymous members now known as the PayPal 14. Despite never having “exceeded authorized access,” the PayPal 14 were charged under the draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for what would typically result in misdemeanor trespassing or a disorderly conduct charge for the real world protest equivalent.

In addition to the second-class citizen status of a felony conviction, PayPal demanded an artificially inflated amount owed to them in restitution, totaling approximately $80,000. To complete the dog-and-pony show, should the fourteen meet the terms of their plea agreement, the felony will transfer to a misdemeanor on their record, while still showing, for statistical purposes, a CFAA felony win for the FBI. It is an unjust public shaming ritual that has adversely affected the lives of these 14 brave individuals. The PayPal 14 alone should not have to pay a multi-billion dollar corporation for an action in which tens of thousands of us participated in, which caused no actual loss or damage.

It is unfortunate (but not surprising) that wealthy social engineers such as Pierre Omidyar pay lip service to our cause but only after plea deals have been hammered out and outrageous restitutions imposed. This allows him to gain sympathy from the public while still advancing his own financial interests – his companies can still reap the benefit of the status quo, while crushing the free speech of ordinary working people and independent publishers.

Fortunately, the PayPal 14 are not alone. Our movement is only as strong as our ability to support those who get scapegoated. The PayPal 14 should not have to take all the weight of the restitution by themselves. It could have been any one of us, and so it is on us to help raise some funds.

Please donate to the PayPal 14 to help defray the costs of the restitution!

Visit the PayPal14 website to learn more about how you can donate to their restitution fund, and be sure to follow the #PayPal14 hashtag on Twitter for announcements and updates.

Jeremy Hammond Reacts to Hector Monsegur’s “Sentencing”: Reject the NSA White Hat Sabu Ideology

In many ways, the disgusting spectacle of Sabu’s hearing was similar to mine: we were both sentenced in the same courtroom under the same judge, the outcome already predetermined with all parties reading from well-rehearsed scripts. I was condemned to the maximum prison term for having committed “mass mayhem,” while Sabu received the most lenient of all Anonymous-related sentences for embracing “good, not evil”. Hugs and high-fives all around as Judge Preska saluted Sabu for having betrayed his comrades and his ideals, preventing hundreds of cyber attacks, and helping the FBI catch their “most wanted cybercrime target”.

The government hopes the case is closed and that the public will swallow this superficial narrative that even they probably had a hard time reciting in court with a straight face. But unanswered questions remain, and they have made every attempt to prevent the evidence from being seen by the public, because it provides yet another confirmation that the US is involved in widespread hacking and surveillance operations far greater than any of the supposed crimes they lock us up for.

Prosecutors assert that Sabu’s cooperation prevent “over 300 cyber attacks,” but not once during my involvement with Anonymous were any of my attacks stopped despite the FBI’s full knowledge. To be fair, while breaking into a few targets I noticed attempts to lock their systems down, but I had owned and backdoored each target so thoroughly that they were unable to protect themselves (demonstrating the futility of the defenses of so-called security professionals). Other targets the FBI never bothered to notify at all – they sat by and watched them being owned one after another. The US Attorney only explicitly charged me with hacking a dozen or so entities, but they were well aware according to chat logs and evidence recovered from my computer that there were hundreds more that have never been publicly named. I shed no tears for these law enforcement agencies and federally contracted corporations, but I wonder how they feel about the FBI’s inability or unwillingness to protect them.

The FBI was, however, very interested in our techniques and capabilities, particularly the Plesk 0day root vulnerability. When Sabu’s beggings for a copy of the exploit were denied, he scanned the internet and identified lists of vulnerable foreign government websites which he then asked me to hack. The government reframes this blatant espionage plot in their sentencing memorandum saying that Sabu helped protect other governments from cyber attacks. Because evidence was withheld (Sabu’s interviews and statements with the FBI) or under a protective order (chat logs), it is unknown what they ended up doing with these backdoors. What is clear is that the US cyber security agenda is less interested in preventing attacks on our own soil than they are using the skills of rogue hackers to spy on valuable intelligence targets.

By aggressively prosecuting hackers who play by their own rules, they want to deter others from taking up the cause and hope future arrests will yield more aspiring cooperators. We must continue to reject excuses and justifications that make it acceptable to sell out your friends and become a pawn of cyber-imperialism. Before getting involved in hacking and direct action, you should be aware of and fully prepared for the worst case scenario if caught. But fear not, because we have a strong movement of lawyers and supporters who will have your back if you get jammed up. Sabu avoided a prison sentence, but the consequences of his actions will haunt him for the rest of his life. Not even halfway through my time, I would still rather be where I’m at: while they can take away your freedom temporarily, your honor lasts forever.

Most importantly, the government hopes these arrests will have disrupted Anonymous and deterred others from engaging in politically-motivated hacking. But Anonymous is a decentralized, leaderless movement, and reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated. CEOs and cops are still getting dox’d, websites are still being defaced, and stolen databases are still being plastered all over the internet.

Show solidarity by retaliating and escalating! Reject the NSA White Hat Sabu Ideology!

May Day 2014 Message of Solidarity with the NATO 3

Rebel greetings on this year’s May Day international worker and immigrant rights day, commemorated around the world with street marches, strikes, and sabotage against the system that oppresses and exploits us all. After the May 1, 1886 general strike in Chicago, in which workers fighting for the eight-hour day were shot by police, eight anarchist labor organizers were arrested and sentenced to death for a retaliatory bombing none of them had committed. 128 years later and the rich ruling class still maintain their wealth and power through a monopoly of violence, exemplified by the brutal repression of Occupy Wall Street and targeted prosecutions such as the NATO 3, who recently received lengthy prison sentences for yet another fabricated “bomb” plot.

True to the Chicago Police Department’s legacy, they sought to disrupt protests in advance of the 2012 NATO conference by passing city ordinances limiting free speech, spending millions on new “less lethal” crowd control technology, and sending infiltrators to entrap unsuspecting activists resulting in the arrest of the NATO 3. They hoped to demonize them as “terrorists” based on a molotov cocktail plot cooked up by the CPD itself, charges so trumped up and ridiculous even the feds wouldn’t pick it up. At trial, the jury did not go for the “terrorism” charges – a victory in itself against the post-9/11 hysteria – but they were sentenced to several years in prison anyway for possession of incendiary devices and mob action.

In sentencing the three, Judge Thaddeus Wilson lectured, “As a society, in the face of threats, we don’t wait for a building or property to be damaged … peaceful protest is not synonymous with rioting,” setting yet another precedent that you can be imprisoned for even thinking about committing a crime even if you were entrapped by an undercover cop. In crafting this spectacle, the authorities wanted send a message to protesters dictating which methods of protest are “legitimate” and if you think about crossing the line you could be charged as a “terrorist.” They hoped that Occupy Wall Street, which many wanted to brand as a “non-violent movement,” would join with the police and media denouncing those arrested for unapproved forms of resistance. It was a cheap shot, and it is terrible that our friends are having to do years behind bars so that the powerful can make a political point. Fortunately, their plan failed: most everybody rallied to support those arrested, and through solid legal defense and PR, were able to convince the jury to acquit of the most serious charges and sway the public against the prosecution.

But there were also many others supposedly on our side who would not support the NATO 3, and who continue to campaign for strict adherence to “non-violence.” They seek to purge the movement of those that refuse to be controlled and corralled. I remember during the months of preparation before the NATO conference, many heated arguments of whether Occupy Chicago would co-sign the “Chicago Principles” which had already been passed by dozens of organizations. Specifically, many dogmatic pacifists opposed embracing a diversity of tactics (in which everybody could resist against NATO in any form they feel necessary without interfering with or condemning the work of others) because they were worried “violent black bloc anarchists” would ruin “their” protest, “their” city.

Since Haymarket, anarchists have always been demonized as wild-eyed, bomb-throwing crazies, propaganda perpetuated by the ruling class to turn the workers away from the idea of a self-governing society free from bosses, police, or politicians. In reality, everyday anarchists are engaged with projects like community infoshops, feeding the homeless, books to prisoners, labor organizing, and writing zines/newsletters. In arguing for the maximum sentence in my case, both the judge and prosecution dismissed any argument that I had fought for transparency, instead scolding me for wanting to “wreak havoc” and cause “mass mayhem.” But as Bakunin once said, “The passion for destruction is a creative passion.” We do need to bring down – by force if necessary – their established power structures in order to make room for an egalitarian-free society.

There have been many examples throughout history of successful militant action, from the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, the NLF victory against the US during the Vietnam War, and even the American Revolution which this supposedly free and democratic country was founded on. The Arab Spring, which many occupations tried to recreate, was not a “non-violent movement” – they held down their occupations by throwing bottles, rocks, and molotovs at the police. In Tunisia, half the police stations were looted and burned down. And most international conferences of the rich and powerful, such as the G8, NATO and the RNC/DNC are met with riots, most notably, the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle where the black bloc not only brought attention to the devastating systemic violence of the WTO, but shut it down entirely.

Those who advocate or participate in militant direct action are often snitch-jacketed as “agent provocateurs” by pacifists who sometimes go so far as to say that the government wants us to resort to violence. Such conspiracy theories are naive and dangerous: of course the ruling powers would prefer that those they screw over only voice their anger in established reformist channels such as the courts, elections and peaceful protests. They want us predictable and non-threatening to their business as usual, which is of course the greatest everyday violence of imperialism, racism, and economic inequality.

How much longer do you expect people to stay peaceful when killer cops get away with murdering unarmed citizens from Albuquerque to Fullerton to NYC, or when the US has “kill lists” of “suspected terrorists” they can execute with drone strikes anywhere in the world, murdering thousands of innocent bystanders in the process? Why are they allowed to wage war around the world and on our own streets while we are expected to obey the ineffective doctrine of non-violence?

Yes, the NATO 3 were taken advantage of by overzealous undercover police, similar to the Cleveland 4 and the majority of “terrorism” cases (see The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, by Trevor Aaronson). But I do not believe they were as naive and stoned as their lawyers (perhaps necessarily) made them out to be. It is courageous, not crazy, to risk your freedom fighting the police. We have an obligation to expose, confront, and sabotage by any means necessary the system which oppresses and exploits us all.

We cannot allow the threat of politically motivated frame-ups to deter us from taking action ourselves or exploit differences in our movements over tactical differences. The best way to show solidarity with those caught up is to escalate and retaliate: being incarcerated, it brings me great joy to hear news of riots in the streets, corporate property being destroyed or expropriated, and government websites being hacked.

Solidarity Means Attack! Fuck the civil, let’s get disobedient!

Message of Solidarity with Bhopal Survivors

Solidarity with Bhopal Survivors

Rebel greetings! I want to voice full support for the survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster in their struggle for justice against Dow, a multinational corporation that continues to do everything they can to avoid taking responsibility.

Two years ago I hacked the intelligence company Stratfor and handed over all of their private email correspondence to WikiLeaks for publishing. Amongst the revelations was proof that Dow hired Stratfor to monitor the activities of Bhopal survivor activist groups.

To add further insult to injury, Dow is now suing dozens of these activist groups for 25 million Indian rupees!

This shows how profiteering multinational corporations like Dow will abuse the courts and influence international conventions so that they can continue to attack worker conditions, fair wages and environmental regulations. The UN, of which Dow sits as a Foundation member, has turned a blind eye to this human rights disaster for 30 years.

Justice will not be found in their courts so we must bring it to them in the streets. Dow’s recent tactics of desperation shows how they are worried that these activists are succeeding in bringing attention to their crimes. We must continue to expose and confront Dow!

For more information about how you can help expose and confront Dow, visit The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, North America. For more information about how you can help the survivors of the Bhopal Disaster, please visit Bhopal Medical Appeal.

Bhopal activists and survivors stand in solidarity with Jeremy on the anniversary of the disaster. Photo courtesy of Bhopal Medical Appeal

Bhopal activists and survivors stand in solidarity with
Jeremy on the anniversary of the disaster.
Photo courtesy of Bhopal Medical Appeal