Courage our network

Writing from Jeremy

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.


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




We will never be satisfied with whatever reforms or promises are made about the NSA surveillance and counter-intelligence programs. The spies and liars in charge are clearly not capable or interested in “reining in the NSA”: so it’s up to us to expose and dismantle it entirely. Edward Snowden should be weary of any deals or offers from US officials, especially if they involve returning documents or limiting future disclosures. Instead he should fight to remain free outside the US’s sphere of influence and up the ante by releasing unredacted NSA operation manuals and full employee and contractor names and addresses so that they could be removed from power and held accountable.


Greetings from Manchester, Kentucky!

Greetings from Manchester, Kentucky!

It has been a miserable chain of bus rides and holdovers through MDC Brooklyn, FDC Philadelphia, FCI Petersberg VA, and USP Atlanta GA, but I have finally arrived at my destination: FCI Manchester, a medium-security federal prison in Kentucky. It is good to be able to breath fresh air in the yard and get in the groove of doing this time.

Those who were upset about the lengthy sentence, rest easy knowing that it will not break me: I remain defiant as ever, and encourage others to turn that anger into action. The purpose of their politically motivated prosecutions is to try to deter and silence us, so it’s on us now to up the ante: to escalate the struggle, to create anarchy.

Thanks everybody for having my back.


Jeremy Hammond’s Sentencing Statement, 11/15/2013

Please note: We have redacted a portion [marked in red] upon the orders of Judge Preska.  While we believe the public has a right to know the redacted information therein, we refuse to publish information that could adversely affect Jeremy or his counsel.

Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case. I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.

The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life. I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.

Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.

My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.

I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups. I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.

While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.

When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing. But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.

Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.

I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.

I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks. I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time – the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.

I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security. But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.

Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.

I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.

I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.

On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.

I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target. I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.

It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI. Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.

As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.

After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform. Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.

These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXX, XXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.

The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?

The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.

In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals. I believe in the individual right to privacy – from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us. I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.

It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so — honestly — could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done.


Statement by Jeremy Hammond on Sabu’s Sentencing

I write this in advance of the sentence of Hector Monsegur, aka “Sabu” – a former Anonymous comrade turned FBI informant – scheduled to take place on August 23, 2013. It is widely known that Sabu was used to build cases against a number of hackers, including myself. What many do not know is that Sabu was also used by his handlers to facilitate the hacking of targets of the government’s choosing – including numerous websites belonging to foreign governments. What the United States could not accomplish legally, it used Sabu, and by extension, me and my co-defendants, to accomplish illegally. The questions that should be asked today go way beyond what an appropriate sentence for Sabu might be: Why was the United States using us to infiltrate the private networks of foreign governments? What are they doing with the information we stole? And will anyone in our government ever be held accountable for these crimes?