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A Dispatch From Outside the Prison Holding Barrett Brown

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the are-they-feeding-you-well? dept.

The Courts 95

Daniel_Stuckey writes with an excerpt from his story at Motherboard: "Yesterday, I got as close as any media physically can to Barrett Brown, the American journalist that was locked up in late 2012 for pasting a hyperlink in a chatroom, which federal prosecutors alleged contained leaked credit card data from the Statfor hacks. Due to a media gag order upheld by the US District Court in the Northern District of Texas, Brown isn't allowed to make "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (included, but not limited to bloggers)," with the exception of Kevin M. Gallagher, who heads his defense fund. ... Earlier this week, US Attorney Sarah Saldaña filed a motion to dismiss 11 of Brown's charges, namely those related to the pasted hyperlink (including trafficking in stolen authentication features, aggravated identity theft, and access device fraud). The motion came as both a victory for Brown's case, and a sigh of relief to supporters who have continuously cited the absurdity of his charges related to hyperlinking."

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A year and a half locked up (5, Interesting)

mrspoonsi (2955715) | about 6 months ago | (#46438905)

No trial yet, his free speech (as a journalist) removed, why? does he have the knowledge of a WMD which can wipe out man kind? no, he pasted a link to some credit card data. Good job he not share a few mp3s, it could be much worse.

Re:A year and a half locked up (-1, Troll)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46438937)

Free speech doesn't make you immune to consequences of that speech, as a journalist or other. People are imprisons for things like saying they are going to kill the president, inciting a riot seems to be a good one, of course there is slander and libel, disclosing national security information or classified information like the names of CIA agents, and you can be imprisoned for participating in a crime whether your speaking about it or whatever.

This isn't about the government saying you are busted for speaking, it is the government saying you have intimate knowledge of the crime, you are involved somehow. If that is the case, free speech isn't an issue here other then the intent of the judge to not pollute any potential juries by a gag order. That is something that has long been held are valid whether the prisoner is a journalist or not.

Re:A year and a half locked up (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 6 months ago | (#46438991)

"files this Motion to Dismiss Count One and
Counts Three through Twelve in the original Indictment and in the Superseding Indictment
in the above entitled and numbered cause."

It seems to me that some douchebag(s) decided that free speech should be punished based on bullshit reasons. They just made up bullshit reasons to have him imprisoned, and kept incommunicado. A year and a half on, "Your honor, we want to just dismiss all these charges. They are totally bogus, and we'll never be able to prove any of them."

Yes, this IS very much about the government saying "you are busted for speaking".

Re:A year and a half locked up (5, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439173)

No, he is still being held for access device fraud (possessing stolen credit card info) and making threats to an FBI agent and his family. He is also on some obstruction charges connected to his hiding two laptops from a search.

The pasting of links and all are just in the middle of this making you think something that isn't really the case.

Re:A year and a half locked up (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 6 months ago | (#46439567)

There is something more, that is pretty obvious though.

When an attorney thinks he has something, he goes into a feeding frenzy, making up charges, and piling them on ad infinitum. The theory seems to be, threaten a man with ten thousand years of prison and two executions, and he will confess to jaywalking and accept a mere one hundred years in prison to get out from under all the rest.

"We're from the government, and we're here to help."

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439879)

Oh I know what you are saying about the frenzy.. that's likely why 13 counts were dropped- nothing but fodder to scare him and when it looked like it wasn't working, they decided not to bother.

I was watching the state supreme court on the Ohio channel the other day and saw a case in which one of the supreme court justices asked a prosecutor if the gun spec for a crime was mandatory or something the prosecutor can pile on for leverage in negotiating a plea agreement. To think that a supreme court justice advocating piling charges on someone to force them to plea guilty to something less instead of pursuing or ensuring justice.

Thats a load (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46441633)

Yes and the FBI has always performed numerous illegal tactics, false testimony, false statements, in order to make sure bullshit cases that have really no evidence to the offending charges, can go to trial or entrap someone to make a plea deal.

"making threats to an FBI agent and his family." what could have said did he actually threaten to kill him and his family? Or did he threaten to write up a story on him and his family to drag him thru the mud? SO its okay for the feds to do it, but not okay for someone to fight fire with fire?

He is a journalist, and was suppose to have protections, hiding the laptops protects any information either about people involved, or incriminating evidence that he knows will be used against him. Freedom of Press allows that. [it used to anyway]

Whether you like the guy or not, it is these types of cases that have allowed the government to take away more and more freedoms from not only the press [the mainstream press peddle government BS anyway and really are worthless] but from the people.

Re:Thats a load (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#46493419)

Yes and the FBI has always performed numerous illegal tactics, false testimony, false statements, in order to make sure bullshit cases that have really no evidence to the offending charges, can go to trial or entrap someone to make a plea deal.

So what was done here beside piling charges on and then removing them once they were challenged?

"making threats to an FBI agent and his family." what could have said did he actually threaten to kill him and his family? Or did he threaten to write up a story on him and his family to drag him thru the mud? SO its okay for the feds to do it, but not okay for someone to fight fire with fire?

It is illegal any time you threaten or retaliate unlawfully on any public employee or elected official over something they did in the course of their employment. If he just did it, it wouldn't be illegal but when he threatens because of performing a responsibility of the job, it became illegal. That's the law as it is written. It can be challenged in court but as of now, your elected representatives intended to have it law and a duly elected president signed it into law so it is the law that has to be followed until it is repealed or overturned.

He is a journalist, and was suppose to have protections, hiding the laptops protects any information either about people involved, or incriminating evidence that he knows will be used against him. Freedom of Press allows that. [it used to anyway]

I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way. I'm prejudging my interpretations on actually real world examples and not theory spouted as a defense or ideal.

Whether you like the guy or not, it is these types of cases that have allowed the government to take away more and more freedoms from not only the press [the mainstream press peddle government BS anyway and really are worthless] but from the people.

The only way these kind of cases can allow the government to take more and more freedoms away from the people is for it to either not come to conclusion or to have the hyperbole associated with it overwhelm the facts making it more then what it is. In the later scenario, everything will be considered fine up until the exaggerations happen which doesn't seem to have happened in this case.

Anyways, if it is as you say, then either the government can already do as it pleases or the courts will stop them and the only way for that to happen is for the courts to stop them or allow it to happen. Courts are not supposed to be subject to public opinion, only juries.

Re:A year and a half locked up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439019)

You have the correct handle, idiot.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439081)

This is the government completely ignoring this man's constitutional protections as stated in the Bill of Rights. He has been convicted of no crime.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439139)

What exactly are those?

I mean which ones exactly. Denying someone bail is pretty common. Gag orders are pretty common. So what exactly is being violated here?

Re:A year and a half locked up (5, Insightful)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 6 months ago | (#46439185)

Gag orders are pretty common.

I like how you say this as if how common something is makes a difference to whether or not someone's rights are being violated.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439301)

It's common because the courts have upheld the practice.

United States v. McVeigh
Jones v. Clinton

Those are two cases a gag order was used in whole or part and stood up to challenges on their constitutionality. I'm sure there are more should anyone bother looking.

The way you want it to be isn't always the way it is. It's like the second amendment, shall not be infringed seems to mean unless some contrived situation exists like living in a democrat controlled state.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 6 months ago | (#46439447)

It's common because the courts have upheld the practice.

Given power, people will abuse it. This isn't surprising.

The way you want it to be isn't always the way it is.

I never said otherwise. The problem I have is when people state things in such a way that it suggests that courts' interpretations of the law/constitution are always right and no one can object. Maybe that's not what you meant, but the sentence I quoted (and the one after it) seemed to suggest that.

It's like the second amendment, shall not be infringed seems to mean unless some contrived situation exists like living in a democrat controlled state.

Yes. Or how certain weapons are banned.

Re:A year and a half locked up (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46439515)

What exactly are those?

First amendment: freedom of speech.
Fifth Amendment: deprivation of liberty without due process
Sixth Amendment: speedy and public trial by jury
Eighth Amendment: excessive bail imposed

Sure, the government violates these rights often. Doesn't mean they aren't violations.

If Nixon could have put Woodward and Bernstein in prison, incommunicado, for the rest of his term, he'd never have been impeached.

Re:A year and a half locked up (-1, Troll)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439927)

Sigh.. Nixon was never impeached. You seem to have the rest of your post wrong so I'm not surprised you got that wrong too.

I don't see a first amendment issue anywhere. Possibly the gag order but those have long been held as constitutional. Speech is not without consequences. It appears he is getting due process. You may not like the due process he is getting, but you cannot say it doesn't exist. He also waived his right to a speedy trial and nothing has been shown to indicate it isn't a public trial. The trial hasn't commenced yet so we have yet to see on that. An no, there is no excessive bail imposed, his bail was refused because he posed a risk to the community and as a flight from justice. I guess threatening an FBI agent and his children along with hiding evidence from police doing a search say something in the eyes of the court.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

twocows (1216842) | about 6 months ago | (#46444427)

The trial hasn't commenced yet

I think that was exactly the problem he was referring to.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46471375)

It can't be a problem since the delay in the trial wasat the request of the defendant.

Why is such an incorrect post "insightful" (2)

HBI (604924) | about 6 months ago | (#46440325)

First Amendment rights don't extend to threats and trafficking stolen financial instruments
Fifth Amendment rights are clearly satisfied; the motion practice described above indicates he was charged and habeas corpus is not an issue.
Sixth Amendment rights are muddied by the aforementioned motion practice - I am positive that if he had wanted a trial by now, he'd have one. I think the point is that he'd get convicted of something, hence the delay.
Eighth Amendment - someone with a bunch of stolen credit cards available has resources, so evaluating 'excessive bail' ...please.

Woodward and Bernstein weren't instrumental to the Watergate case, they were simply public relations arms. The case was proceeding without them, and would have ended up in pretty much the same place if they'd been run over by a bus. Despite the mythology, the principals would have found some other reporter to feed data to. The independent prosecutor was the key to the case beyond February 1973, initially Cox and later Jaworski. It is important to remember that initially, the press reports of Watergate were not considered a large issue by the White House. The potential testimony of the burglars themselves was the primary issue initially, hence the hush money delivered until after the 1972 election.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

paiute (550198) | about 6 months ago | (#46439723)

So what exactly is being violated here?

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial...."

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439939)

He surrendered that right himself. Or his lawyer did for him when they asked for the first extension.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46441621)

What did they do, threaten to charge his mother with more crimes if he demanded his right to a speedy trial?

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46441765)

You surrender or waive your right to a speedy trial any time you ask for a postponement of one of the procedures associated with it or sign a waiver of said right because you need the time for whatever reason. It is always the defendant that surrenders that right and it is never taken.

In July or August of 2013, Brown filed a motion for continuation due to being overwhelmed by discovery and an inability to prepare for his September 2013 trial day. He asked to postpone until Feb. 2014. The government's response to that motion actually argues against it because of his speedy trial rights in which the judge ultimately agreed was waived with the granting of the continuance.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

sjames (1099) | about 6 months ago | (#46447799)

So the prosecution routinely overwhelms the defense with procedural crap to make sure it HAS to request an extension. That is, it constructively denies the right to a speedy trial.

Re:A year and a half locked up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46468815)

The defense can ignore all that and simply final a request for a speedy trial dismissal.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 6 months ago | (#46442873)

So is prison rape. Does that make it okay too?

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 5 months ago | (#46493345)

Is there any law or process to make prison rape legal?

I mean seriously, that is what we are talking about here, legal due process. Are you saying he was prison raped or something?

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 5 months ago | (#46520863)

Obviously you can't make A->B comparisons.

You said something was pretty common. So did I. You infered that made it not a violation of someone's rights, as though commonality were the issue.

If being common wasn't your point, you shouldn't have said "is pretty common" and used an actual defense of the situation instead.

Do the people he threatened with murder have right (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441153)

Do the people he threatened with murder have rights?

Re:A year and a half locked up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439087)

Free speech doesn't make you immune to consequences of that speech

Then China has just as much free speech as the US. The entire point is that government thugs aren't able to punish you for your speech.

Unless you meant people's actions in response to your speech, but in that case, people are responsible for their own actions. Punishing you for other people's actions because you said something is unjust and anti-free speech. You can pretend it isn't about the speech, but that doesn't even make sense.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439203)

Then China has just as much free speech as the US. The entire point is that government thugs aren't able to punish you for your speech.

You never heard the cliche about yelling fire in a crowded theater? You never knew people could be arrested, charged and convicted simply for threatening the president or most politicians with bodily harm or death?

Unless you meant people's actions in response to your speech, but in that case, people are responsible for their own actions. Punishing you for other people's actions because you said something is unjust and anti-free speech. You can pretend it isn't about the speech, but that doesn't even make sense.

No, I mean your own actions. And this isn't about speech although part of it was slightly connected to it. The guy was arrested for possessing stolen information (access device fraud concerning stolen credit card information) and hid two laptops (obstruction of justice charges) he knew the cops were looking for. Then before he was arrested, he threatened an FBI agent and the agents kids. That is when he was arrested and held without bail.

Re:A year and a half locked up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439471)

You never heard the cliche about yelling fire in a crowded theater?

I did. I believe that is also a violation of the first amendment, but I am aware that courts 'interpret' (not sure modifying it is the same as interpreting it) the constitution differently.

You never knew people could be arrested, charged and convicted simply for threatening the president or most politicians with bodily harm or death?

Again, I'm aware. Even in constitutional republics like ours, the government is still able to ignore the constitution. Not sure how you could set up a better system to stop this nonsense from happening, but the point stands.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46439145)

How could anything he says possibly impede prosecution, incite others to repeat his crime or aid others in either committing it or cover their tracks? That would be pretty much the ONLY good reasons I could possibly see for a gag order.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439239)

The reasons judges give out gag orders is because information swarms taint juries. They become prejudiced before they can be selected for the jury unless you want a bunch of imbeciles on the jury who don't use computers and wouldn't know a hyperlink from hypertension or even who the current president or vice president is. That could screw the defense or prosecution up pretty badly.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46439283)

The moment they get someone who CAN actually tell a hyperlink from hypertension in the jury the prosecution is screwed. Why do you think reporting about it could possibly change that?

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46439305)

I'm not the one you need to ask why to. It's the judge who came up with the rationale. It's sort of like making available is the same as distribution even though no distribution has been shown to of taken place.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46439569)

Even if he had been distributing, why the gag? There is simply no good reason for the gag order.

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 6 months ago | (#46441281)

Yes, yes it does. Free speech means you cannot be subject to force or coercion for what you merely say.

Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than USSR (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 6 months ago | (#46438959)

No trial yet, his free speech (as a journalist) removed, why?

The United States of America was the country I fled to, after I got out of China.

In the China I escaped from, back then, people could be locked up, without trial, and the authority could use any trump up charge against them, and there is nothing the people could do, as China has no "Bill of Rights" nor a Constitution that guarantees the rights of the citizens.

Nowadays, in China, people are still being locked up, on trumped up charges, but at the very least, the authority has to try to prove that their trump up charge is valid (but of course everybody know that they are bullshit).

On the other hand, the very country that I fled to, the United States of America has become the United Soviet of America.

Not only the authority can lock up anyone with any trumped up charge, without any trial, the authority can also go against the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America, as though both documents are now as worthy as a soiled toilet paper.

What the fuck is going on, man ?

Why are the Americans, - (and I am one of them, a naturalized American) - especially those who are born and bred, letting the nation to turn into such a horrible police state ??

Re:Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than U (2)

coastwalker (307620) | about 6 months ago | (#46439063)

I am very sorry to say that it appears to be because the cold war is over and that the reasons we fought the cold war were being constantly repeated to us to justify the cost - "they don't have free speech, they don't have independent legal systems, they oppress minorities". Apparently now we no longer have that enemy we are fighting for those reasons its OK to openly do all the things that we were supposedly fighting against. Its very sad.

Re:Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439127)

"they don't have free speech, they don't have independent legal systems, they oppress minorities"

If I remember correctly, "They're just jealous of our freedoms" and "They oppress the Kurdish population" were used during the invasion of Iraq.

Re:Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than U (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 6 months ago | (#46440381)

And Afganistan, when 'they hate our freedoms' was commonly cited as a reason the Taliban were so hostile towards the US.

It's not an entirely inaccurate claim, but still a great oversimplification.

Re:Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than U (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439091)

Its simple, money and power.

You voted for it, well kinda. Its very easy to influence people, especially smart people. The Average american isn't stupid but are relatively smart but have been conditioned to react in predictable ways to certain triggers.

Its very easy to do its called Classical Conditioning but modified to use only images and phrases the best part is once its installed its self perpetuating, the media reinforce it without realizing, because it sells. The premise is simple, apply a emotional response to words or images by repetition and then link the response to another word or image.

Simple Example (it is not just limited to words, images & ideals can all be trained into people) ; I show you a picture of a can of tuna and say Cow, repeated enough times you automatically link the picture of the can of tuna to the word cow, over time I will no longer need to show you the picture of the can of tuna you will think of it unconsciously every time someone says the word cow.

Using this technique, you can pretty much unconsciously control a large group of people, get them to vote how you want them to vote or buy your junk.

For the police state, its because of the power, Imagine you get to say what happens... Imagine if you could make that noisy next door neighbour just go away... just use your magic word, terrorist.

Imagine you could have that 100 bedroom house you always wanted, the new car a boat or 10, private tutors for your family.. Magic, I can protect you from the terrorists

You have been conditioned to react way out of proportion to a simple word, their doesn't even need to be any proof you have been trained to think everytime someone says the word terrorist, DANGER they are coming to take whats mine, must protect. and this has been done on a massive scale it is by far the greatest feat of social engineering ever.

Re:Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than U (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46439157)

Because they never had to fight for their freedom.

Humans are kinda odd. They are quite willing to give away what they take for granted to get something they think is valuable, not considering that for the promise of the latter they could easily lose the former. For reference, see Native Americans, their land and glass marbles. Or current Americans, their freedom and security. Same raw deal.

Re:Why ? Because USA has become more Soviet than U (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441175)

Because the guy that's locked up in this case Threatened an FBI agent and his family with harm . A CREDIBLE threat, BTW.

Rothschilds, Rockerfellers, Miliatary Industrailis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46441483)

and the fed

There I said it. These people along with the warbugs and other banking families want a 90% population reduction so they can be the kings of the earth

this illusions of the united states and freedom was lost somewhere in the mid 18th century during Andrew Jackson when the bankers took the last parts of their pie (extended foreign banking stuff until 1913 when they owned us for good)

Re:A year and a half locked up (2)

mrspoonsi (2955715) | about 6 months ago | (#46438981)

Even if his found not guilty, the state have already 'won' by making serve so long in prison.

The state have "won" because (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 6 months ago | (#46438993)

... the state have already 'won' by making serve so long in prison

The state have "won" simply because the Americans, me included, are morons !

It is us, the American citizens, who let the government tore up the Constitutions and we deserve any and all abuses from the government.

We are the ones who have ruined the country.

Re:The state have "won" because (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46440307)

You never ruined it in some ways, it was always ruined in so far as it is considered ok to keep someone innocent in prison for years without even an attempt to make good for it afterwards. It means there is little incentive to release people.
Not that there is any country going all the way trying to really make people whole, but many make at least some effort.

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441147)

The part where he threatened an FBI agent and his family with bodily harm might have something to do with that. Wouldn't want him contacting someone and arranging a murder now, would we?

(And, no - that's not melodramatic. Really. There are at least THREE people who are probably overjoyed that the man who is threatening their lives is being sequestered from society. That's what you get for threatening to do something heinous.)

Re:A year and a half locked up (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 6 months ago | (#46442879)

Last I checked, a simple threat of violence isn't a reason enough to take away someone's liberty this long.

Re:A year and a half locked up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443135)

You buy your whitewash in 50 gallon drums if you think the extent of Barrett Brown's 'bad behavior' was posting a link to some credit card data. And as far as his 'free speech' being removed.. I can only guess Vanity Fair publishing articles he's been writing in prison doesn't count?

Lets call a spade a spade - Barrett Brown made so many bad decisions to get where he is right now. Deciding to be the mouthpiece of Anonymous, aiding people who could actually hack by promoting their deeds, passing on stratfor dox without even understanding the ramification of his actions and without concern for any of the people who's info he published.. Throw in herion addiction and threating the life of an FBI agent.. Yeah. He's a real model citizen and he needs our help.

That sad little Hunter S. Thompson knock-off gives real journalists a bad name.

Whew (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46438915)

This is why I thank the Lord that I live in the greatest country in the world and not in some craphole place like North Korea or Russia where journalists can get held in prison for years for like this. We should send in the best frikkin' army in the world and free him. That'll show those commie bastards.

Re:Whew (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441189)

Yeah - 'cuz nobody should go to prison for threatening three innocent people.

Re:Whew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46441641)

It's true because an anonymous FBI agent says it is! It's not like they've been lying about everything else!

Re:Whew (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441763)

Yeah - anonymous to you and me, not to Brown.

But hey - give me your address. I have a Charter Arms revolver I'd like to show you.

Re:Whew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46443185)

Sure bra. I'll greet what's left of you at the door with my saiga 12 and some 00 buck.

Media gag order (5, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 6 months ago | (#46438919)

The charges are stupid, but the media gag order is downright scary. There is a good reason the 1st amendment was written and it was that control of information is the ultimate in power. It was recognized that when the government is allowed to shut you up that it is then that the worst abuses can occur.

But this case highlights another serious problem with the US justice system and that is where, after this is dismissed, that the prosecutors will face little or no consequences for trying to enforce the will of a corporation.

And, of course, there is even less chance that this politically well connected company or its officers will face any consequences at all.

There needs to be some mechanism where governments that try to abusively control information results in horrific penalties to those involved such as serious jail time. Otherwise those who leak, those who film police, and those who deny inconvenient freedom of information requests will just continue to hide embarrassing information using the most abusive powers at their disposal.

For example, I can't remember the last time someone was arrested for filming and anything bad happening to the police who then tried to destroy the footage. This should be minimally resulting in destruction of evidence charges, and often kidnapping charges for the arrest. So no laws need to be changed or anything in these cases, just a willingness to realize that the police are not perfect little roses and that we are all better off when they are head up to even higher standards of justice.

Re:Media gag order (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46438951)

... There is a good reason the 1st amendment was written ...

Wasn't the 1st amendment (well, the entire bill really) made obsolete after 911?

Re:Media gag order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46438973)

Obvious troll requires rigorous handling of baseball bats, negreanu style, Baseball bat to the groin [youtube.com]

Re:Media gag order (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46439163)

Oh that's simply not true. You can still have arms and there haven't been any soldiers stationed in your home, where there?

How could you say it is obsolete! Without that document, the government could easily put soldiers in your home, do you want that? Do you? Isn't that enough to be a bit more lenient with a few of the others that don't matter so much?

Re:Media gag order (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 6 months ago | (#46446519)

The only reason the 3rd amendment is still in force is because Halliburton would get pissed if they lost barracks construction contracts.

Re:Media gag order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46441867)

A United States government that ignores its Constitution, the founding document which grants it sovereignty, is nothing more than a rogue government.

Re:Media gag order (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 6 months ago | (#46439253)

IANAL (obviously) I recall some sort of "conspiracy to deprive someone of their human rights" type law that's a pretty serious offense.

Is it really that there's no recourse on these sort of things, or that people are afraid to use them?

Re:Media gag order (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 6 months ago | (#46442215)

Your recourse is to go to the bosses of the people who wronged you which will then make those bosses look bad.

Your other option is to go to the courts (run by those same bosses) and ask that they nail their brothers in the justice system. Judges are generally reluctant to nail cops to the wall in that they feel that it discredits the entire justice system when a cop is found guilty of something (or a judge, or a prosecutor).

So occasionally some member of the justice system does something so reprehensible and is caught so red-handed that they are forced to act; less out of a desire for justice but more to make this bozo stop being an embarrassment.

The key problem is that the entire justice system is designed to be adversarial; the result is a built in "us-against-them" mentality. So if you bring the lawyer equivalent of Mike Tyson you can literally get away with murder. But for the average Joe you are the 98lb weakling being thrown into a cage full of wolves.

So we can rail against these clearly unjust situations and try to figure out what could be done differently but the reality is that an overhaul of the basic premises of how the justice system works is in order.

My theory is twofold. One is that there needs to be a drastic reduction of the entire set of rules that allow people to be put in cages. This should be restricted mostly to people who physically harm people or their property. No more jailings for parking tickets, feeding birds (happened this week), or posting links. The next is that the whole idea of court appointed lawyers is a joke. If the court wants to spend $10,000 prosecuting you then they should have to fund an equal defense fund. Also the consiquenses for violating someone's civil rights should be horrific. Instant firing of basically every official involved. The arresting policemen, their boss, the jailers, any prosecutors involved, and certainly any judges who enabled the situation. But the most important part is that if anyone maliciously causes someone to be wrongfully convicted then they should instantly receive a sentence equal to the sentence given to the wrongfully convicted.

You might think this is a bit extreme but if you look at the sentence of the judge who was sending the kids to jail for cash kickbacks that is an excellent example of a good start. The prosecutors and police involved should be sitting next to him as they knew that something was seriously wrong but it made their jobs easier to just go along with it.

Plus if the penalties were serious then there would be no more "thin blue line" if a cop stepped out of line the other cops would basically throw him out on his ear and disavow him in 1 second.

Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminals (5, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 6 months ago | (#46438921)

It amazes me that US prosecutors go full throttle going after people like Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz, while people like Jon Corzine (who made $1.6B of customer money disappear at MF Global) and many other fraudsters in the banking industry are left alone to continue their fraud. And no one seems to care enough to do something about it.

The "prosecutors" have become "PERSECUTORS" (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 6 months ago | (#46438979)

It amazes me that US prosecutors go full throttle going after people like Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz

Do not be amazed !

The US prosecutors have become PERSECUTORS.

Instead of prosecute, the PERSECUTE.

Re:The "prosecutors" have become "PERSECUTORS" (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441221)

Another reminder - he threatened an FBI agent and his family, he demonstrated the ability to carry out his threats by showing that he knew their home address. Why should he be allowed to communicate, so that he can arrange the murder which he can no longer personally commit?

Besides, he's not being held incommunicado. His attorney has access and if he wants to release a lawful (i.e., not threatening to harm people) statement, he can do so via his attorney. He just can't order a hit (in this case, a surprisingly real concern).

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#46439179)

Not that amazing. The US government has been sold off to the highest bidders. They just interpret the Constitution to mean what they want it to mean so it doesn't get in their way anymore. At least they're smart enough to know there are limits to what they can do without waking up the apathetic majority. As long as they don't go too far most people are content to ignore the danger of a government that has slipped it's leash.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46439403)

Prosecuters are lawyers who've bypassed the tempting easy money that criminal defense or lawsuits provide for a shot at the really powerful jobs.

They have convictions, a moral compass, and often political aspirations.

A case like this is guaranteed press coverage and (hopefully) some camera time on cable news.

There was a prosecuter in NYC who made a pretty stellar career off of high profile prosecutions.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46441873)

Prosecuters are lawyers who ... have ... a moral compass,

LOL, good one! I havent laughed that hard in a while!

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 6 months ago | (#46440687)

Not that amazing. The US government has been sold off to the highest bidders.

Not saying the government hasn't been bought. But by Occam's razor, a simpler explanation is that little fish like Brown and Swartz don't have the funds to mount a persistent and comprehensive legal defense. Prosecutors see them as a way to score a quick and easy victory, compared to bringing charges against Corzine and being tied up in court for a decade or more with a questionable outcome. I'd even go so far as to say there are probably lots of Browns and Swartzes you've never heard about who are in prison. Their case didn't generate enough publicity for organizations like the EFF to catch wind and offer legal counsel.

In other words, the problem is that the legal system is too expensive. The same thing likely would have happened even if the government wasn't/isn't bought.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 months ago | (#46439231)

Personally, I find this to be the single most infuriating aspect of the financial crisis -- in any country. Every single time I hear about public time and money being wasted on frivolous prosecutions, I am keenly reminded that these are the same police services and directors of public prosecutions who won't investigate the banks. Not who can't; who won't -- Refuse to even. it would be one this if the justice system was simply universally inept. But cases like this shows they can and do act with extreme prejudice when they have a mind to.

It's shambolic, slipshod, corrosive to the justice system and ultimately seditious. It's the clearest indication of the justice system which has been seized by political interests, and which refuses to perform its stated function to maintain the rule of law.

P.S.
Regarding Corzine. The money did not "disappear". Corzine stole it out of customer accounts to covers his bills at JP Morgan. He knew exactly where it went; and the SEC and the Justice Department know exactly where it went but refuse to do anything about ti. They're too busy perusing basement dwelling geeks and beatniks to investigate those cases which actually rock the foundations of commerce and law. Stellar job there Mr Holder; Kudos.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46439617)

I am keenly reminded that these are the same police services and directors of public prosecutions who won't investigate the banks. Not who can't; who won't

No, they really can't. If they did, they would find themselves jobless rapidly.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (3, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 6 months ago | (#46439857)

France has examining judges, Canada and the U.S. have special prosecutors, in part to ensure that political pressure can't shut down a prosecution. Examining judges are mostly automatic of serious crimes, but special prosecutors are rare and unusual, and appointing one often take considerable political power.

Solved problem in jusrisprudence, just not our jurisprudence!

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 6 months ago | (#46439833)

And Jon Corzine lied to congress, and there's event proof of it. But he seems to be immune from jail.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46440073)

Didn't they pull that old sneaky stunt where he "wasn't officially sworn in" before testifying, and therefore it's not perjury? They always seem to "forget" to swear people in when that person is politically well connected and they want the case swept under the rug.

The corruption is becoming more and more blatant.

Re:Prosecutors too busy to catch the real criminal (1)

pete6677 (681676) | about 6 months ago | (#46441871)

Corzine raised a lot of money for Obama's reelection bid. This has made him immune from any real prosecution. If he were a Republican he'd be in a Supermax prison by now.

The Strange Case of Barrett Brown .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46438963)

"The data dump from the HBGary hack was so vast that no one person could sort through it alone. So Brown decided to crowdsource the effort. He created a wiki page, called it ProjectPM, and invited other investigative journalists to join in" ..

"Today, Brown is in prison and ProjectPM is under increased scrutiny by the DOJ, even as its work has ground to a halt. In March, the DOJ served the domain hosting service CloudFlare with a subpoena for all records on the ProjectPM website, and in particular asked for the IP addresses of everyone who had accessed and contributed to ProjectPM, describing it as a “forum” through which Brown and others would “engage in, encourage, or facilitate the commission of criminal conduct online.” The message was clear: Anyone else who looks into this matter does so at their grave peril." thenation.com [thenation.com]

In other words ... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 6 months ago | (#46438987)

... this is not that different from the inquisition !!

Instead of the "Spanish inquisition", what we have here is the American Inquisition.

As though America never learn anything from the witch hunt episodes (including the burning of "witches" in the 1700's, and the "red scare" period in the 1950's) of the yesteryears.

I am the law. (1)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 6 months ago | (#46438969)

I'm with God. I write laws. You enforce laws. God says, "folded despite displace tutors calmed taking weighty compassionate enlargedst variation sufficeth beauties hinder qualities estimate devoured enemies burden spot supercelestial Syrian commiserating hearing asks distinguish dishonour kind Since pauses loathsome Turn wit leaven eloquent exposed front att vision apparent phrases loquacity fruits transitory thickeneth plenteousness gallantry utmost dully whitherward resistance zealously "

South African Dictatorshiop (1)

zaax (637433) | about 6 months ago | (#46438975)

When I first read this I thought it was about a south African dictatorship, not the land of the free.

Land of the free, home of the brave ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 6 months ago | (#46439001)

Don't you make me puke !

America is no longer the Land of the Free.

America has become the Land of the Eunuch.

Looc r Stac (3, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46439135)

There is no perfect system of government. As one Dottie bumper-sticker claims, the Constitution of the US isn't perfect, it's just a whole lot better than what we have now.

This is absolutely some bullshit, but even the most fervent Bill of Rights activist would admit Mr Brown kind of stepped on his dick when he pasted that hyperlink.

His charges and time served are being acknowledged as absurd by the US Attorney's office because of attention like this. The powers that be are not so powerful yet that some semi-organized public outrage does not still motivate them.

The poor bastards in Guantanamo have been largely forgotten... oh yeah, and they have the scarlet T on them.

Hyperlink is not Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439363)

"This is absolutely some bullshit, but even the most fervent Bill of Rights activist would admit Mr Brown kind of stepped on his dick when he pasted that hyperlink."

Why is sharing a URL a criminal act? In many of the articles written on my blog there are hyperlinks. I am not responsible for the content at the other end of the hyperlink which may change between the time I "approve" the hyperlink and some time in the future when the original content creator modifies said content to something other than the version I read. If I post a hyperlink to the misdeeds of the Government and the Government sends its prosecutors after me, is that fair and legal? No.

Re:Looc r Stac (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 6 months ago | (#46439459)

Sharing a hyperlink is no different than pointing at a bulletin board in plain view of the public. Neither the bulletin board nor the act of pointing to it should be illegal.

Re:Looc r Stac (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 6 months ago | (#46439579)

If the bulletin board were to contain say, information such as credit card numbers and matching SSNs, the ground you legally stand becomes infinitesimally less stable.

Old B squared has made much more of a career as a bear-poker than as an actual journalist, and should've been aware giving the opposition ammunition to use against him was in poor judgement. His heroin problem was widely publicized, perhaps for the same reason, but it plausibly contributed to his decision-making process.

He's an idealist, and like many who've become heroes in the fight for personal freedoms, he is not without his flaws... but my hat is off to him.

Breaking stories on the NSA Files since June .. (0)

DTentilhao (3484023) | about 6 months ago | (#46439189)

"Leaks from Edward Snowden earlier this year have lead to hundreds of stories by the Guardian and other news outlets that examine the tension between personal privacy and national security. Our reporting has sparked a global debate about the full extent of the NSA's actions to collect personal data. Our latest story, published Monday, is about MARINA, an NSA application that stores the metadata of millions of web users for up to a year. Read through the full NSA Files archive here." ref [reddit.com]

Barret Brown was called a journalist! Ha! ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439197)

The next thing you know, Slashdot will start calling bank robbers "independent banking security researchers".

Re:Barret Brown was called a journalist! Ha! ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439409)

If you help someone robbing a bank you have committed conspiracy. But if you help someone stealing private data you're a journalist.

Re: Barret Brown was called a journalist! Ha! ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439523)

A better analogy would be linking to an article on how exactly the bank was robbed.

Re: Barret Brown was called a journalist! Ha! ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46439613)

No, a better analogy would be driving the getaway car. When did driving a car become a crime?

Re: Barret Brown was called a journalist! Ha! ha! (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46441223)

No - more like holding a gun on a security guard while the other guys rob the bank.

Gross (1)

binarybum (468664) | about 6 months ago | (#46440121)

"Yesterday, I got as close as any media physically can to Barrett Brown"

Gross.

gag order phrasing is propaganda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46442951)

people really should read the so-called gag order in full, he's not prohibited from speaking to the media, he's prohibited from trying to taint the jury pool by continually spreading misinformation about the case to any media outlet that will listen-- he is specifically allowed to speak to any media outlet providing he stays to statements of fact, and not typical barrett bs.

Typical BB BS is more or less this summary, where its being pushed that his rights are being infringed and he's prevented from speaking to the media, id est "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (included, but not limited to bloggers)," which is totally and entirely false. He's only prevent from spewing half-truths to the media, but if he wanted to say, contact the NYTs and tell them his next court date and what phase of the trial he is in, or other _statements of fact_, then that is totally permissible.

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