US Attorneys Reveal Online Bullying To Explain Why People Who Helped Them Prosecute Aaron Swartz Should Remain Anonymous

from the counter-productive dept

We recently wrote about how Aaron Swartz's legal team was arguing with MIT and the DOJ about publicly releasing some of the documents in the case against him. MIT and the DOJ want to keep the names of key people at MIT and JSTOR secret, while Swartz's family says the info should be public. In response, among other things, the US Attorneys' Office has said that, since Swartz's death, they've been bullied and hacked. From the filing:
In my capacity as First Assistant United States Attorney, I have been shown various harassing and potentially threatening email messages directed at United States Attorney Ortiz and the United States Attorney’s Office following Mr. Swartz’s suicide.

Attached at Tab E are copies of the following articles:
a. Swartz case protest at Boston US Attorney’s Home, The Boston Globe, March 12, 2013; and
b. Swartz protesters go to prosecutor’s home, The Boston Globe, March 17, 2013.
In my capacity as First Assistant, I have been shown various harassing and threatening messages directed at AUSA Heymann. One such email I have seen states, among other things:
ROFLMAO just saw you were totally dox’d over the weekend by Anonymous. How does it feel to become an enemy of the state? FYI, you might want to move out of the country and change your name . . .
That same email copies personal information of AUSA Heymann, including his home address and personal telephone number, among other things. AUSA Heymann has also reported to me that his personal information (including his home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family member and friends) were posted online, and that his Facebook page was hacked.

Attached at Tab F is a redacted copy of a postcard that AUSA Heymann has informed me he received at his home.

Attached at Tab G is a copy of a postcard that Professor Philip Heymann has informed me he received.
This is the first postcard they're talking about:
The picture in the center is of Philip Heymann, father of Steven Heymann. Steve Heymann led the prosecution of Swartz. His father, Philip is a former deputy attorney general and a professor at Harvard.

Once again, as we've stated numerous times in the past, these kinds of activities, while they may feel like a way to make a statement against those who have done wrong, are incredibly counterproductive and stupid. Rather than making any sort of realistic or helpful point, they just give more ammo to the DOJ to block a full, fair and thorough exploration into what went wrong. Making them into victims is a really pointless move that helps the DOJ continue to cover up the details of what happened by giving them cover.

I recognize that there's tremendous anger towards the US Attorneys' office over this case, and much of that anger is likely justified. But channeling that anger into childish threats doesn't help anyone, least of all Swartz's memory and family. Yes, the prosecution of Swartz was unfair, and I would support a legitimate investigation into what happened and ways to keep the DOJ from such overzealous prosecution in the future (though, I agree with others that this sort of thing is endemic to the DOJ, and wasn't unique to Swartz's situation). But these actions turn the DOJ into victims and give them an excuse to hide behind. These kinds of attacks may make some kids feel better, but they don't help at all.


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  1.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Define helpful

    I agree completely with the assessment that these kinds of activities are not helpful on the surface and to the conventional way of thinking.

    I would suggest however, that taken in the context of global events and uprisings in other countries it would be wise to consider long term consequences of continuing to ignore and incite the technologically adept youth of the world.

    Governments are playing a dangerous game of trying to trivialize groups like Anonymous as being fringe groups and of no consequence while simultaneously claiming that they are dangerous criminals. Clearly both statements cannot be true.

    The smart thing would be for the DOJ to come clean on this and get it behind them, sacrifice a few employees(it isn't like they haven ever done this before) on the altar of public outrage and then quietly go back to business as usual. I suspect they will continue on the path they have chosen of claiming they did nothing wrong. That will only prolong ad exacerbate the situation.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Re: Define helpful

    I think there might be an argument to be made that by directing their anger in these ways wastes that justified anger. Sure, it might feel good to let it out. But if they couldn't let that anger out online, some would be protesting in the streets and starting revolutions, like say what happened in Tunisia and Egypt.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    The DOJ is receiving a reminder that if justice is not found in the courts it will be founds in the streets. I think we can all agree that it is better found in the courts, but that requires that the courts and the courts' officers renew their commitment to make justice their first priority. If they do that, then the other stuff will go away by itself.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Okay, so they've acknowledged in court documents that their personal details have already been leaked.
    So...what are they protesting against then?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Give the DOJ a Break

     

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    gorehound (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Re: Define helpful

    The thing is they would still do exactly the same thing if there was not one Web Post or Email or Whatever against them.
    They will still do their garbage anyways.
    Governments should realize that more and more people are hating them Big Time and more folks are learning great Computer Skills.
    I have a very strong feeling that this is the Century for another World Type revolution/Change.
    It has happened before and it will happen again............all you have to do is read History.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    On one side, yes. Harrassment is wrong and shouldn't be done.
    ...
    ...
    On the other side, boo freaking hoo. You can harass someone till they kill themselves with honest to god real threat and power to back it up but you can't take some crappy photoshops in the mail.

     

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    Rekrul, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:28am

    And what does playing by the rules get you other than a "Fuck you, that's classified information"?

     

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    Joe Mangum, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:30am

    You have to believe that the DOJ sees this as a problem to be fixed in order to think that these forms of protest are not helpful. And you have to be a goddamn moron to think the DOJ would fix this.

     

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    RalphR, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:33am

    I disagree

    >>These kinds of attacks may make some kids feel better, but they don't help at all.

    You keep talking about "chilling effect". If these people not only continue but escalate their actions will this not have a "chilling effect" on over reaching PA's and their supposedly intelligent lap dogs?
    Look at the Dotcomm situation. The local goons rolled over and let the various US three letter agencies direct them into doing illegal actions for months and months. Unfortunately, he had enough resources to not only hold the US agencies off but to actually fight back and is handing out black eyes all over the place.

    So you tell me, why are the people that did these clearly illegal acts not being prosecuted with the same vim as Schwartz and Dotcomm?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re: Define helpful

    I agree with you. Conventional means are seemingly useless nowadays. Why not use the same weapons they used against Swartz?

    It's sad we've reached such point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    There is lots of buried anger in the populace today. Most of it isn't coming out rants on the net. Yet it is there in the general populace lurking just under the surface.

    More and more are reports in the news of various militia groups forming, of hacker attacks over actions that violates or abuses the laws of the land, and even here at TechDirt of actions that edge the intent of law, if it does not outright break them.

    The arms of the government are becoming ever more restrictive in it's practices, both in the invasion of privacy as well as the attempts to cover up it's own excesses.

    I fear this will not end well if the practices continue.

     

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  13. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    of the witnesses at MIT and JSTOR whom you claim aided in the prosecution of Swartz, which prosecution you believe was unjustified? (I use the quote marks because expect no definite answer even in the unlikely event you post some text in response.)

    Cause if so, then you side with the legal team and family in directly asking for those people to be exposed, needlessly, to whatever risks. That's where the current problem starts: they seem to want to punish those mere witnesses by such exposure and thereby have them held accountable for telling facts to DOJ. That call for public exposure is actually a more pernicious chilling effect than the DOJ running wild as always does.

    My opinion is should be case closed for the witnesses; they've nothing relevant for current matters. -- And no, the public isn't entitled to every last detail especially when doesn't go to trial.

    But I'm sure you'll still try to make a martyr out of Swartz and distract from the extra-ordinary lengths he went to in "liberating" data. Just admit that he was foolish to take the actions that focused the DOJ monster's attention on him.

    On the other hand, it's interesting to see what stirs you to take an actual position here.

     

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    Zos (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Define helpful

    some of us have been there for awhile. it's nice to see the rest of you joining us. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re: I disagree

    Simple: Because they work for the Government and can clearly do no wrong...in the eye of the US Government. A setup of perverse incentives and what essentially amounts to a toxic and sociopathic culture have culminated in the erosions of both justice and accountability.

    And there will be a reckoning if this continues. We have seen this before and we will see it again. The Department of Justice has forgotten the face of its fathers and should be sent into the deserts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    how dare he free data that was free. You are right

     

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    ...., Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    blue....everything you do...is a contridiction.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    "...[W]hat went wrong."

    In truth, nothing...unless you are one who seeks to martyr Mr. Schwartz, and at the expense of those who did nothing more than do their jobs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    ...And why shouldn't he? He was cut down ruthlessly for freeing information. If you understand one thing about the United States, it should be this: its creation was down to overthrowing governmental oppression. These people should be named and shamed as traitors to the origins of the nation.

    The families, however, should be merely tarnished by the behaviours of their relative. Anything further is beyond the pale....and yet, should the United States Government continue down the path of oppressing others through economic and military might, then it will lose. And then, we may all lose.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Two points about the DOJ

    First, these are people who are supposed to be ready, willing and able to prosecute mobsters, serial killers, mass rapists, child abusers, violent drug dealers, white supremacists, psychotic and sadistic kidnappers, etc.

    And they claim that they're threatened by some juvenile scribblings? REALLY?

    They don't need protection. They need spines. Or different jobs.

    Second, how do we know that the DOJ didn't just invent these? It's been done before.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

    although i do not agree at all with the threats from the public as to what should happen to the prosecutors, this does show the depth of feeling for the way the power was abused to get a prosecution on him. it also shows the lengths that will be gone to so as not to divulge peoples names that were involved. the worrying thing as well is, no one knows whether the ones supposedly issuing the threats are real or whether they are made up people, done so specifically to try to give a reason to keep anonymity. given the way the prosecutors and others in their offices/depts have behaved, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the whole issue was another example of pure fabrication!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    "...at the expense of those who did nothing more than do their jobs."

    Ya know, the Nazis who persecuted Jews in WWII were only "doing their jobs" and "following orders" too. Should they have been given a free pass?

    Wait. Don't answer that. I can only handle so much stupidity in one day.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    Don't worry, It's all okay, NOBODY INTENDS TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE THREATS....

    It's okay, there is nothing to worry about as nobody actually intends to carry through with any of the threats...

    At worst they are going to say a few "harsh words" and waggle a few fingers indicating the "naughtiness" of the prosecutors...

    I mean it's not like waving a 30+ year sentence over someone's head, when only intending to sentence them for 6 months (as long as they admit to being a felon)....

     

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  24.  
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    DS, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    Swartz decided to kill himself. Not the DOJ.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:10pm

    [Jumping up and down on chair]

    "DOJ to block a full, fair and thorough exploration " - ARRRGHHHHH!!!!! Ah cmon Mike. You know as well as I do they were going to use any excuse to keep this secret.

    I think if these bastards fear for their lives, even just once, it will make them think twice before trying to railroad someone else this way in the future, or better yet, make them seek a new career.

    When the Justice system fails time after time after time again, and we see pedophiles, and sexual assaults get let go and sometimes perpetrators rewarded for it, then I am glad they are doing what they are doing. Scare the living shit out of them. Make them think twice before they try this kind of stuff again.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130113/23000321653/case-against-aaron-swartz-was-complete-garbage .shtml

    Actually Mike posted that JSTOR already settled with Swartz and even asked the the prosecutor drop the case.
    I seem to remember you hating liars and people who take things out of context but if you are making stuff up about Mike then you yourself are one of the people you claim to hate. Just like that quote people have been using against you out of context that you said "Hitler did a lot of good."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121012/13273420692/ftc-supposedly-getting-ready-to-go-a fter-google-antitrust-violations.shtml

     

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  27.  
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    DCX2, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    I think I understand what you're saying.

    Basically, it's worse for witnesses who participated in an overzealous DOJ prosecution to be merely named, than it is for the same DOJ to trump up charges.

    Unfortunately for your argument, I think the effect of "being thrown in prison for at least six months and being labeled a felon for the rest of your life" is a little bit worse than "having your name in the paper".

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re:

    So you are supporting that their names should be released so they can be harmlessly bullied since no physical or mental harm comes from threats.

    Good we came to a similar conclusion going down different roads.

     

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    special-interesting (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

    A Nobel cause. Aaron Swartz to me represents someone who suffered the societal noose (of weird laws) and did not survive a following witch hunt. A hero that actually stood up for what he believed in to the very end. No way could I come close to that passion and dedication.

    Its nice that his cause for intellectual research distribution is continued via the RECAP $5k grants.

    In the US justice system we have a right to face our accusers. Period. If someone goes to the justice department and makes an accusation the accused automatically know about it once the charges are filed and evidence is submitted. The accused have a right to defend themselves. The prosecution must have legitimate evidence and it must be given to the defendant to allow rebuttal.

    How the evidence was collected and its supposed relevance is of utmost importance to the court and public. For sure Aaron Swartz suffered a the classic witch hunt! This is the very reason for clear evidence submitted with know accusers in a public trial with a jury of ones peers. The JD really sounds hypocritical in this way.

    It sounds more likely that the JD never had a case to begin with and are just covering their own arses. On many levels this case smells. Who sponsored/ordered/suggested this case anyway?

    If the Justice Department (JD) has some other idea of law then its time to consider dumping the whole department and starting from scratch. The weirdness of hiding evidence (once the charges are filed) is just that bad. The order of protection seems out of place as no physical threats were made. (suggested maybe but thats just opinion being waged) Potentially threatening is not actually a threat. Seems more like damage control.

    By design (have said this before) its meant to be hard for any accuser/prosecution/plaintiff for the very reason that witch hunts are a major societal danger. (not just a fairy tail but a real bloody horror.)

    For the JD not to follow the most basic of rules that evidence is not concealed or hidden breaks the system in to the extent it likely does not exist any more. Who hired these guys anyway and with what kind of references did they have? (don't want people like that to be hired again so need to know)

    On the face of it the whole Aaron Swartz case looked corrupted from multiple problems to such an extent that even tort reform (sentencing guidelines) needs were highlighted let alone the ridiculous charges derived from the legislative miscarriage known as CFAA.

    I support a legitimate investigation because it looks like dirty work supported by nasty special interest groups. Such conservative infestations of normal government operations need liberal applications of the metaphorical bug spray. If anyone feels guilty about that then its probably a sign that they are the ones who might suffer from the truth.

    For a legitimate investigation there needs to be a donation site to fund such. Money is the only respected thing in Washington these days.

    For my part, unless MIT fesses up, I support the complete denial of research funding to them. A 100% cutoff. They can perish as an institution if they want to thats ok.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    They're whining about being harassed after harassing someone to death. Well kindly fuck you.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    All snitches need to go to court sometime....

    These people were part of a criminal prosecution. By definition, they needed to be ready willing and able to go to a public place and be seen. The idea that their identities need to be hidden now is simply contrary to the idea of transparency in a democracy.

    Aaron had a right to confront these people. Extending that to his estate should seem obvious.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    A Nobel cause. Aaron Swartz to me represents someone who suffered the societal noose (of weird laws) and did not survive a following witch hunt. A hero that actually stood up for what he believed in to the very end. No way could I come close to that passion and dedication.

    Nobel or noble cause? Not sure what you mean.

    Its nice that his cause for intellectual research distribution is continued via the RECAP $5k grants.

    It may have been nicer if they'd stepped up and put that grant money into his defense fund.

    In the US justice system we have a right to face our accusers. Period. If someone goes to the justice department and makes an accusation the accused automatically know about it once the charges are filed and evidence is submitted. The accused have a right to defend themselves. The prosecution must have legitimate evidence and it must be given to the defendant to allow rebuttal.

    We? By your writing you are almost certainly a foreigner. And fyi, there's no case. The defendant is dead and charges have been dropped.

    How the evidence was collected and its supposed relevance is of utmost importance to the court and public. For sure Aaron Swartz suffered a the classic witch hunt! This is the very reason for clear evidence submitted with know accusers in a public trial with a jury of ones peers. The JD really sounds hypocritical in this way.

    Again, there's no case. There's no basis for any disclosure.

    It sounds more likely that the JD never had a case to begin with and are just covering their own arses. On many levels this case smells. Who sponsored/ordered/suggested this case anyway?

    If they had no case, why did Swartz kill himself. It seems that he certainly believed and was advised by counsel that they did have a case. Otherwise why not at least wait until after a motion for summary judgment before doing something as rash as suicide? Or until after trial, conviction and sentencing?

    If the Justice Department (JD) has some other idea of law then its time to consider dumping the whole department and starting from scratch. The weirdness of hiding evidence (once the charges are filed) is just that bad. The order of protection seems out of place as no physical threats were made. (suggested maybe but thats just opinion being waged) Potentially threatening is not actually a threat. Seems more like damage control.

    There's no need to provide discovery where's there's no case. Which is essentially what is sought. And why subject witnesses to intimidation and threats.

    By design (have said this before) its meant to be hard for any accuser/prosecution/plaintiff for the very reason that witch hunts are a major societal danger. (not just a fairy tail but a real bloody horror.)

    Witch hunts like the ones the witnesses would endure? Those kinds of witch hunts?

    For the JD not to follow the most basic of rules that evidence is not concealed or hidden breaks the system in to the extent it likely does not exist any more. Who hired these guys anyway and with what kind of references did they have? (don't want people like that to be hired again so need to know)

    The case is over. Understand? There is no point other than to expose witnesses to abuse and threats.

    On the face of it the whole Aaron Swartz case looked corrupted from multiple problems to such an extent that even tort reform (sentencing guidelines) needs were highlighted let alone the ridiculous charges derived from the legislative miscarriage known as CFAA.

    Tort reform is different than sentencing guidelines. Do you know what the sentencing guidelines were for Swartz? Hint: months, not years. Not that it matters to you hysterical zealots.

    I support a legitimate investigation because it looks like dirty work supported by nasty special interest groups. Such conservative infestations of normal government operations need liberal applications of the metaphorical bug spray. If anyone feels guilty about that then its probably a sign that they are the ones who might suffer from the truth.

    Oh, so it's a vast conspiracy? No doubt headed by the MPAA and RIAA, right? Maybe you should contact Jason Bourne.

    For a legitimate investigation there needs to be a donation site to fund such. Money is the only respected thing in Washington these days.

    No one cared enough to do that kind of fundraising to afford him a proper defense. Why do you think this will happen?

    For my part, unless MIT fesses up, I support the complete denial of research funding to them. A 100% cutoff. They can perish as an institution if they want to thats ok.

    It's likely that what you support doesn't make a difference here or anywhere else. MIT did nothing wrong. They cooperated with a criminal investigation, they didn't direct it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    No witness harassed anyone. Presumably, they ruthfully answered questions put to them by the government. And for that they deserve to be harassed and stalked by Anonymous and others?

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re:

    yes, and so-crates decided to kill himself, not the greek assembly...

    *snicker*

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    "(I use the quote marks because expect no definite answer even in the unlikely event you post some text in response.)"

    Mike has the belief that you shouldn't argue with idiots like OooB because people can't tell who the idiot is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    "That's where the current problem starts: they seem to want to punish those mere witnesses by such exposure and thereby have them held accountable for telling facts to DOJ."

    Or telling lies, boy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    " And no, the public isn't entitled to every last detail especially when doesn't go to trial."

    Just when it causes someone's death, boy.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re:

    So you're okay with abuses of the law that the DoJ is supposed to uphold? So, when MiT and JSTOR both drop the case, the DoJ push, and push hard.

    IT's entirely plausible that a fearful person in government (who wants to hide something in those documents) decided that, instead of letting go, they'd push a person to the very brink of both unemployability and financial ruin. And that's acceptable?

    Not in a civilzed society.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re: [Jumping up and down on chair]

    completely understand and agree with your wishes in this regard, *BUT*, what will *really* happen is that merely talking about, relaying info about, or innocently asking about ANY and ALL prosecutorial actions will be made 'illegal' in some fashion or another...

    again: power NEVER devolves voluntarily...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    The point is...You can't beat a system that is rigged against you, by using that very same system. If fear and intimidation were the tactics used against Aaron, it sounds like they got a double helping in return.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    So incredibly great, bully someone into getting a confession for "crimes", then say "oh but it is the lawz, it's our jobz", then get bullied in response, run away crying "oh noez the bulliez".

    Fuck this morons.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re:

    As pointed out above, if they were ready and willing to testify in court, then they had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the matter.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What abuses? And MIT and JSTOR don't prosecute, the government does. Even at that Swartz apologized to JSTOR; paid financial compensation and returned the material he took from them. So JSTOR was made whole from the standpoint of civil law. I don't recall MIT doing anything to encourage DoJ to drop the case. On the contrary, I believe they were criticized for not doing anything.

    Unemployability and financial ruin? You've got to be kidding. Swartz was one of the top computer minds of his generation. It's absurd you'd even suggest such an outcome. In fact, such a conviction would be a badge of honor in the circles he ran.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:22pm

    Threaten them with only 10 years of bullying instead of the maximum 30, if they give up now

    YOU.MAY.NOT.HAVE.KILLED.AARON.BUT.YOU.WERE.INSTRUMENTAL.IN.HIS.DEATH

    Fuck off, with your bloody excuses, until you apoligise to the people, and aarons family, and earn forgiveness through future actions........NO, you know what, fuck you, life is not a trivial thing, you bastards.........you crossed another line

     

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  45.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re:

    If they had no case, why did Swartz kill himself.


    His suicide was unlikely to be related to whether or not he thought the case against him was legitimate (he didn't, by the way). It's more likely to be related to the fact that he was a depressive and was facing prosecution. That seems enough to push such a person over the edge. Regardless of whether you will come out of it "victorious", being subject to prosecution is a terrible, life-altering experience.

    The case is over. Understand? There is no point other than to expose witnesses to abuse and threats.


    I don't support the harassment, but this is a pretty misleading statement. The case may be over in a legal sense, but the practices of the DOJ (and the justice system in general) have been exposed through it, and they demand debate and, in my opinion, substantial reform.

    This case made more people aware of just how perverse and broken the justice system is. And that is the point.

     

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  46.  
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    madasahatter (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 4:25pm

    Re:

    Anger, frustration, and impoverishment is the historical precursor to rebellions. If the elites continue on the same path in the Western countries the situation will explode rather suddenly and I am afraid very violently. I could cite numerous rebellions and civil wars in the last 200 or so years that followed the path we are seeing unfold. What can not seen is timing, will be the immediate cause, and where it occur first.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They do once the case is dropped.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Given Swartz near miss with PACER, he knew he was once again violating the law or very close to the edge and would likely attract the attention of the government as he had before. He also was more aware of his mental illness than anyone. So he pulls this stunt anyway? WTF? He brought this on himself. This was completely foreseeable.

    The debate over DoJ conduct is perfectly appropriate. To subject witnesses to harassment, intimidation and abuse for their willingness to testify- not actual testimony is absurd. This is purely a call for vengence against people who were only doing their civic duty by testifying truthfully as to facts they were aware of. There is no reason to believe any were anti-Swartz or pro-Swartz. To subject them to vilification for their legitimate potential testimony serves no purpose except to afford zealots and thugs an outlet for their abuse and venom in a case where the charges are already dropped. Fuck that.

     

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  49.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 7:45pm

    DoJ files lawsuit for copyright and patent infringement of their method of operation.

    Film at 11.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Harvey Birdman, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    Civil Suit

    Their actions resulted in death.

    Civil Suit.

    Bankrupt them all.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nope, is public record, they should face the public now.
    They chose to prosecute, they chose to go after that person, they had choices and they made them, now is time to live with those choices and own up to the consequences bad or good.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He knew a lot of things, including that locking up free public records is wrong and so he did something about it.

    People in the government chose to go after him despite knowing full well they probably were in the wrong side, so the prosecutors brought the wrath of the public upon themselves too and they do really deserve every bitter drop of it, short of violence at this point.

    The prosecution tried to vilify Swartz like you are trying to do here, the fact is people don't believe in your BS and it is BS. Swartz killed himself do to tremendous pressure, most of us would live to fight another day he thought it was not worth it and that is fine, but he highlighted a dark side of law enforcement by doing so.

    He highlighted how inhumane the system has become, how out of touch with reality it has become, how misaligned with social norms it has become and why it is more important than ever to get ANGRY at this system so the people driving it take notice.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    See, I understand a soldier having to carry out orders he has no choice in the matter, the prosecution of Mr. Swartz was not like that at all, all the actions taken where carefully chosen, carefully studied and carried out by the people in charge, they weren't doing just their job, they actually came out to make an example of Swartz and it backfired spectacularly and now they have to live with the consequences of having chose the options they did.

    Doing your job when you have no power to make choices is different from doing a job that you chose to.

     

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  54.  
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    Jake, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Civil Suit

    A civil suit? The hell with that; someone ought to be facing charges of involuntary manslaughter.

    And personally, I'll be playing the world's smallest fucking violin if someone receives a slit throat for their role in his death, never mind some threatening emails.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The trial is public record. There will be no trial.

    Whatever the prosecutors sins were, the potential witnesses have done nothing other than their civic duties. What is the point of exposing them to abuse.... other than spiteful retribution? And how are citizens discharging their responsibilities under the law deserving of that?

     

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  56.  
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    Greg, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 9:56pm

    Not counterproductive

    I applaud whoever sent that postcard. These people will continue to thrive and carry out their corruption against the rest of us unless they're taught to fear. It's not nice, but it's how the world works. There is such a thing as necessary evil.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 10:03pm

    US Attorneys Reveal Online Bullying To Explain Why People Who Helped Them Prosecute Aaron Swartz Should Remain Anonymous

    You know Masnick, when I read garbage like this I wonder if you weren't once a copyboy for The National Enquirer.

    "People Who Helped Them Prosecute"? Seriously?

    What should a citizen do when called to testify about what they knew related to a criminal investigation? You imply that people somehow took sides in the matter. That they made some sort of value judgment and aligned themselves and slanted their testimony in favor of the prosecution. Your bias, quite frankly is sickening. You demonize people who were prepared to testify factually in a criminal trial, simply because of your belief that they somehow made a conscious decision to "help" prosecute Aaron Swartz.

    This is a new low, even by your own abysmally low standards. The fact that you claim to sometimes "practice journalism" shames the entire profession worldwide.

    Are you suggesting that in order to avoid the label of a witness who "helped to prosecute Aaron Swartz" they should lie or otherwise evade testifying to facts they have personal knowledge of? Or perhaps you have some twisted belief that these people are somehow deserving of the wrath of your sick friends and associates who will certainly hound and vilify them once their names are revealed. You've really gone over to the crazy side on this and your condemnation of the actions of the cowards who have engaged in threats and harassment thus far ring as hollow as your claims that you don't support piracy.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He knew a lot of things, including that locking up free public records is wrong and so he did something about it.

    He chose to take the actions that he took. No one forced him. People of courage and conviction own up to their acts and the consequences of those actions.

    People in the government chose to go after him despite knowing full well they probably were in the wrong side, so the prosecutors brought the wrath of the public upon themselves too and they do really deserve every bitter drop of it, short of violence at this point.

    There is nothing to indicate that they were wrong. These guys aren't idiots and no prosecutor will press a case if it's a lock he'll end up with shit on his face. If it was a lay down as you suggest, a motion to dismiss should have been all it takes. Or a jury trial.

    The prosecution tried to vilify Swartz like you are trying to do here, the fact is people don't believe in your BS and it is BS. Swartz killed himself do to tremendous pressure, most of us would live to fight another day he thought it was not worth it and that is fine, but he highlighted a dark side of law enforcement by doing so.

    The prosecutor charged Swartz like any other criminal. There's nothing special about him and no indication he was treated differently than any other similarly situated defendant.

    He highlighted how inhumane the system has become, how out of touch with reality it has become, how misaligned with social norms it has become and why it is more important than ever to get ANGRY at this system so the people driving it take notice.

    Perhaps so. But as the old saying goes; "In order to get fucked, you first have to assume the position". The prosecutions actions were as predictable as tomorrow's sunrise. If Swartz didn't anticipate what might happen... that's on him. Whether it should have been as heavy-handed is an open debate. That they threw everything but the kitchen sink was completely foreseeable.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2013 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Re: Civil Suit

    And personally, I'll be playing the world's smallest fucking violin if someone receives a slit throat for their role in his death, never mind some threatening emails.

    My, you are a sick fuck, aren't you? No matter, you'll feel right at home here on Techdirt.

     

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  60.  
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    Gerard Pierce (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:14pm

    Re: Define helpful

    Your post is more than a little optimistic. The DOJ has some half-assed idea that they are the good guys and that their immoral tactics are what good guys are allowed to do.

    Forget the coming clean part, they already plan to continue with business as usual.

    If we had a rule of law, there would be a way to hold them accountable through the courts or as a last resort, through Congressional action.

    Those responsible for the "activities" in question recognize that there is no rule of law. This is precisely why they are trying to take extra-legal action.

     

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  61.  
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    techflaws (profile), Apr 4th, 2013 @ 11:49pm

    But these actions turn the DOJ into victims and give them an excuse to hide behind

    I think that's wrong on both accounts.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes...and he would have been a convicted felon for technical charges. Thus the potential for employability is considerably reduced.

    But MIT also did nothing after the referral, either positive or negative. I'm reminded of the Churchill quote, however:

    "All it takes for evil men to win is for good men to do nothing." MIT took a good deal of flak for their inaction, why should those who decided to attempt to bludgeon Swartz with the maximum consecutive sentences in order to force a plea deal, be suddenly untouchable or unaccountable?

    Because a lack of accountability combined with a sociopathic corporate structure and a perverse incentive system caused this. But that does not excuse Ortiz or Heymann, who have now shown that they can be intimidated.

    Only the fearful have a need to inspire fear in others. And the people fear their government in the US at the moment.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not our problem. The fact that it didn't go to trial does not excuse the Government's actions. Those who were willing to testify had no reasonable expectation of privacy. So, by your logic, what Anonymous did was perfectly legal and moral.

    By your own words above.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Civil Suit

    Nah, but then, they caused the circumstances of his death - Mass. has a Depraved Heart standard of manslaughter, which applies here to those two Attorneys. They directly and knowingly contributed to his death and did nothing to stop those easily foreseeable consequences.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:48am

    Re:

    Last I checked, you infantile little shit, they weren't subpoenaed, so yes, it was a choice. But for me, I blame the prosecutors and the DoJ primarily and to about 99% of the proximal cause. The witnesses were used as pawns, but were not coerced.

     

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  66.  
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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:12am

    Re: Define helpful

    When it happens abroad it's "uprising", "freedom", "the people".

    When it happens at home it's terrorism.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:14am

    I think it's about time the family of Aaron stops trying to get their 15 mins of fame at the expense of their son.

    I think they are feeling guilty in not being supportive enough to their son, and not being able to tell he was deeply troubled, and had been for a very long time.

    Much longer than this case, or the legal action taken against him, which I DO NOT BELIEVE was the cause of his suicide, it's clear he not going to spend years in prison.

    Yet, his family appears to being on a major guilt deflection trip, trying to blame everyone and everything as a cause of their sons suicide, when it is clear they themselves have probably contributed to the death of their son than anyone else at MIT or wherever, or even the DOJ.

    But it got Masnicks attention, and it deflects attention from those who should be asked why they did not notice that their son had some major problems.. It's not like they did not already know, they did nothing, he killed himself now they want to blame everyone else but themselves....

    I suppose if it makes them feel better as can defer their responsibility and contribution to his death.

    Which by the looks of it, him family has contributed much more to his suicide that some threat of doing jail time.

    And I think their attitude with this continuation of dragging it out and trying to defer blame to innocent people is quite disgusting..

    So is masnick trying to "name and shame" people who are after all just doing what they believe to be the right thing.

    Shame on you Masnick, and greater shame on Aaron's family and girl friend. Who I believe had contributed much more to this suicide than some worker at MIT.

    Masnick is even worse because he see's this as an opportunity to make some money !!!!!

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:15am

    Re: All snitches need to go to court sometime....

    um, a) the right to confront a witness means cross-examination. a deceased's estate inherentyl cannot cross-examine someone.
    b) the right to confront a witness doesn't involve some fairly obvious death threats. (telling him he'd better change his name and flee the country?)
    c) the issue is the names being available to the wider public now, considering that they have already received threats and the case is over ( at least Swartz cannot now be prosecuted)
    d) these people have threatened the family of the witnesses. That is people who have NO involvement in the swartz case.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:15am

    Masnick "yes, this guy killed himself, now how can I turn that into cash for me?"..

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " He also was more aware of his mental illness than anyone. So he pulls this stunt anyway? WTF? He brought this on himself. This was completely foreseeable. "

    yes, suicide is quite foreseeable.. very true.. for the person committing it.

    But I am sure the attitude of his family (and "friends" like masnick) contributed more to his suicide that DOJ or MIT did.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So witness intimidation is legal? wonderful, I am sure the guy who burned his own children to death will be pleased to hear he can appeal on the basis that he was punished for a legal act ( he intimidated a witness. if the witness is allowed to be intimidated, the case would collapse)

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:59am

    Re:

    Been talking to solar panels again, darryl? Lay off the industry man chowder; even a dimwit like you should have some idea that malnutrition is bad news!

     

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  73.  
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    Reality Check (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:39am

    Re: Mike, is your "position" that we really need the names

    Because everything the gubermint does is good, holy and just... There should never be any oversight or transparency, the gubermint should be able to do what it wants, and the peasants need to shut up and show some gratitude.

    Your position is clear on this, time after time.

     

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  74.  
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    ds, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Besides illegal harassment, what good will come for doxing them?

     

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  75.  
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    ds, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's odd, I didn't realize that he was still around and died recently.

    Or are you talking about a strawman?

     

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  76.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re:

    That. I think we've gone past the turning point. Now it'll be a downward spiral till the real rebellions start and fix things back up. Seems humanity is just more of the same. Now with lasers. Ahem, gadgets.

     

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  77.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re:

    Quote; “A Nobel cause. Aaron Swartz to me represents someone who suffered the societal noose (of weird laws) and did not survive a following witch hunt. A hero that actually stood up for what he believed in to the very end. No way could I come close to that passion and dedication.

    Nobel or noble cause? Not sure what you mean.” Unquote.

    Response; Nobel cause. Pure. Without self interest. Beyond what we mortals could comprehend. Aaron Swartz touched immortality itself in the thoughts he entertained and publicly expressed with distribution of knowledge.

    Quote; “Its nice that his cause for intellectual research distribution is continued via the RECAP $5k grants.

    It may have been nicer if they'd stepped up and put that grant money into his defense fund. ” Unquote.

    Response; You are so absolutely right! Bing, bing bing, bing! (grand prize!) Please donate.

    Quote; “In the US justice system we have a right to face our accusers. Period. If someone goes to the justice department and makes an accusation the accused automatically know about it once the charges are filed and evidence is submitted. The accused have a right to defend themselves. The prosecution must have legitimate evidence and it must be given to the defendant to allow rebuttal.

    We? By your writing you are almost certainly a foreigner. And fyi, there's no case. The defendant is dead and charges have been dropped.” Unquote.

    Response; Right again! Your awesome! So what (at that level.)

    Quote; “How the evidence was collected and its supposed relevance is of utmost importance to the court and public. For sure Aaron Swartz suffered a the classic witch hunt! This is the very reason for clear evidence submitted with know accusers in a public trial with a jury of ones peers. The JD really sounds hypocritical in this way.

    Again, there's no case. There's no basis for any disclosure.” Unquote.

    Response; Once charges are filed its public record and disclosure is required regardless of death. (some may argue with me)

    Quote; “It sounds more likely that the JD never had a case to begin with and are just covering their own arses. On many levels this case smells. Who sponsored/ordered/suggested this case anyway?

    If they had no case, why did Swartz kill himself. It seems that he certainly believed and was advised by counsel that they did have a case. Otherwise why not at least wait until after a motion for summary judgment before doing something as rash as suicide? Or until after trial, conviction and sentencing?” Unquote.

    Response; It will always be unknown why death happens. Fact of life. Its always wrong. What pressures on an individual cause such a morbid choice? (suicide) Government? Society? Peer pressure? All are valid challenges to existence.

    Quote; “If the Justice Department (JD) has some other idea of law then its time to consider dumping the whole department and starting from scratch. The weirdness of hiding evidence (once the charges are filed) is just that bad. The order of protection seems out of place as no physical threats were made. (suggested maybe but thats just opinion being waged) Potentially threatening is not actually a threat. Seems more like damage control.

    There's no need to provide discovery where's there's no case. Which is essentially what is sought. And why subject witnesses to intimidation and threats. ” Unquote.

    Response; When the accused dies cases become extinct in the courts eye forever. What we are really taking about is culture. Culture survives the official ignorance of the law. How do we learn from such reality?

    Quote; “By design (have said this before) its meant to be hard for any accuser/prosecution/plaintiff for the very reason that witch hunts are a major societal danger. (not just a fairy tail but a real bloody horror.)

    Witch hunts like the ones the witnesses would endure? Those kinds of witch hunts?” Unquote.

    Response; Witnesses do suffer. It's the pain a witness undergoes to provide first person based testimony to convict someone of a crime. Be amazed at the genius of requiring such a high level of evidence. Democratic society is based on that.

    Quote; “For the JD not to follow the most basic of rules that evidence is not concealed or hidden breaks the system in to the extent it likely does not exist any more. Who hired these guys anyway and with what kind of references did they have? (don't want people like that to be hired again so need to know)

    The case is over. Understand? There is no point other than to expose witnesses to abuse and threats. ” Unquote.

    Response; Your right the case is over. However the lesson is not. Do we learn from our callousness or kill others because of our ignorance/policy?

    Quote; “On the face of it the whole Aaron Swartz case looked corrupted from multiple problems to such an extent that even tort reform (sentencing guidelines) needs were highlighted let alone the ridiculous charges derived from the legislative miscarriage known as CFAA.

    Tort reform is different than sentencing guidelines. Do you know what the sentencing guidelines were for Swartz? Hint: months, not years. Not that it matters to you hysterical zealots.” Unquote.

    Response; The sentencing guidelines were likely trashed and completely abuse in the Aaron Swartz case. Pressure is one thing and insane claims are another. And if sentencing was (morbidly) in line with written policy the we return to the concept of tort reform. (Its a common occurrence.)

    Quote; “I support a legitimate investigation because it looks like dirty work supported by nasty special interest groups. Such conservative infestations of normal government operations need liberal applications of the metaphorical bug spray. If anyone feels guilty about that then its probably a sign that they are the ones who might suffer from the truth.

    Oh, so it's a vast conspiracy? No doubt headed by the MPAA and RIAA, right? Maybe you should contact Jason Bourne.” Unquote.

    Response; Who knows. (good guesses) Politics is a wild animal/insect. (conflicting analogies.) Conspiracy is not a bad idea as commercial interests often align in ways of profit. Special interest groups excel in that way. At least its not preposterous.

    Quote “For a legitimate investigation there needs to be a donation site to fund such. Money is the only respected thing in Washington these days.

    No one cared enough to do that kind of fund-raising to afford him a proper defense. Why do you think this will happen?” Unquote.

    Response; Please donate posthumously. Aaron Swartz is a great idea/concept/light.

    Quote. “or my part, unless MIT fesses up, I support the complete denial of research funding to them. A 100% cutoff. They can perish as an institution if they want to thats ok.

    It's likely that what you support doesn't make a difference here or anywhere else. MIT did nothing wrong. They cooperated with a criminal investigation, they didn't direct it” Unquote.

    Response. How does the average citizen reward institutions that provide knowledge and destroy others that conceal knowledge in favor of profit at the expense of public funded research? -Impartiality- MIT is or is not a place where great ideas can flourish. Aaron Swartz died because of a great idea as many a great scientist did (Example; Boltzman.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Boltzmann

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact it didn't go to triall doesn't excuse the governments actions... In what? Not disclosing the identities of witnesses? If there's to be no trial what purpose does it serve? Other than setting the up for harassment?

    What Anonymous did was to commit crimes by threatening and intimidating. What crimes did the witnesses commit? Christ are you an idiot.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Civil Suit

    Bullshit. They offered to place him in protective custody. His lawyer declined.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:34am

    How to direct our anger towards the DOJ usefully

    There is one small measure I'd suggest that might reduce injustice somewhat : Do not permit federal prosecutors to become federal judges or win primaries for elected office. If you see someone seeking power, then google them, and say something.

    Any time we hear about a proposed judicial appointment or a new candidate in some race, just google them and find their past jobs. If they were a federal prosecutor, then google more to find if they ever brought charges under the CFAA, DMCA, etc. or if any drug cases stand out as unjust. If so, then make a stink online to help derail their career advancement.

    Just yell "Federal prosecutor [name] seeking [position] abused the CFAA to jail innocent people, help oppose him in Aaron Swartz memory." We'll come running to help.

    If federal prosecutors cannot so easily become federal judges or representatives then they'll lose considerable lobbying power over time.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quote; “A Nobel cause. Aaron Swartz to me represents someone who suffered the societal noose (of weird laws) and did not survive a following witch hunt. A hero that actually stood up for what he believed in to the very end. No way could I come close to that passion and dedication.

    Nobel or noble cause? Not sure what you mean.” Unquote.

    Response; Nobel cause. Pure. Without self interest. Beyond what we mortals could comprehend. Aaron Swartz touched immortality itself in the thoughts he entertained and publicly expressed with distribution of knowledge.

    Reply: Yes but unlike true ideologues like Mandela, King, Gandhi, Plowshares- he was unwilling to accept the consequences of his actions. His commitment extended only to the point where there actual personal consequences for him. Then... not so much.

    Quote; “Its nice that his cause for intellectual research distribution is continued via the RECAP $5k grants.

    It may have been nicer if they'd stepped up and put that grant money into his defense fund. ” Unquote.

    Response; You are so absolutely right! Bing, bing bing, bing! (grand prize!) Please donate.

    Reply: I don't support his cause. Why would I donate? How much did you put in? How about Masnick or other piracy apologists?

    Quote; “In the US justice system we have a right to face our accusers. Period. If someone goes to the justice department and makes an accusation the accused automatically know about it once the charges are filed and evidence is submitted. The accused have a right to defend themselves. The prosecution must have legitimate evidence and it must be given to the defendant to allow rebuttal.

    We? By your writing you are almost certainly a foreigner. And fyi, there's no case. The defendant is dead and charges have been dropped.” Unquote.

    Response; Right again! Your awesome! So what (at that level.)

    Reply: I take exception to you masquerading as a US citizen, using "we" suggesting you have a community of legal interest in this matter. Maybe you should mind your own fucking business.

    Quote; “How the evidence was collected and its supposed relevance is of utmost importance to the court and public. For sure Aaron Swartz suffered a the classic witch hunt! This is the very reason for clear evidence submitted with know accusers in a public trial with a jury of ones peers. The JD really sounds hypocritical in this way.

    Again, there's no case. There's no basis for any disclosure.” Unquote.

    Response; Once charges are filed its public record and disclosure is required regardless of death. (some may argue with me)

    Reply: Well, I'l argue with you. The case is over, charges are dropped. Why do you want to know the names of potential witnesses? You don't even know what their testimony might be. Only that they were called by the prosecution.

    Quote; “It sounds more likely that the JD never had a case to begin with and are just covering their own arses. On many levels this case smells. Who sponsored/ordered/suggested this case anyway?

    If they had no case, why did Swartz kill himself. It seems that he certainly believed and was advised by counsel that they did have a case. Otherwise why not at least wait until after a motion for summary judgment before doing something as rash as suicide? Or until after trial, conviction and sentencing?” Unquote.

    Response; It will always be unknown why death happens. Fact of life. Its always wrong. What pressures on an individual cause such a morbid choice? (suicide) Government? Society? Peer pressure? All are valid challenges to existence.

    Quote; “If the Justice Department (JD) has some other idea of law then its time to consider dumping the whole department and starting from scratch. The weirdness of hiding evidence (once the charges are filed) is just that bad. The order of protection seems out of place as no physical threats were made. (suggested maybe but thats just opinion being waged) Potentially threatening is not actually a threat. Seems more like damage control.

    Reply: Why is it you want to know the names of potential witnesses? What will you do with that information? Other persons associated with the prosecution have been threatened and harassed. Why expose others whose names simply appear on a list of potential witnesses?

    There's no need to provide discovery where's there's no case. Which is essentially what is sought. And why subject witnesses to intimidation and threats. ” Unquote.

    Response; When the accused dies cases become extinct in the courts eye forever. What we are really taking about is culture. Culture survives the official ignorance of the law. How do we learn from such reality?

    Reply: Way to move the goalpost. This is a legal matter and you go for culture? Don't worry, Masnick and others will be milking Swartz's death for "cultural" purposes for years to come. No need to subject innocent people to the rage of zealots for doing their civic duty.

    Quote; “By design (have said this before) its meant to be hard for any accuser/prosecution/plaintiff for the very reason that witch hunts are a major societal danger. (not just a fairy tail but a real bloody horror.)

    Witch hunts like the ones the witnesses would endure? Those kinds of witch hunts?” Unquote.

    Response; Witnesses do suffer. It's the pain a witness undergoes to provide first person based testimony to convict someone of a crime. Be amazed at the genius of requiring such a high level of evidence. Democratic society is based on that.

    Reply: Perhaps that applies to witnesses. But not potential witnesses who very testimony is completely unknown. Again, what pain do you think potential witnesses should suffer.

    Quote; “For the JD not to follow the most basic of rules that evidence is not concealed or hidden breaks the system in to the extent it likely does not exist any more. Who hired these guys anyway and with what kind of references did they have? (don't want people like that to be hired again so need to know)

    The case is over. Understand? There is no point other than to expose witnesses to abuse and threats. ” Unquote.

    Response; Your right the case is over. However the lesson is not. Do we learn from our callousness or kill others because of our ignorance/policy?

    Reply: Swartz's lawyer was offered protective custody for his client by the government when he told them he was possibly suicidal. What more do you want? Involuntary commitment? How would that have been received?

    Quote; “On the face of it the whole Aaron Swartz case looked corrupted from multiple problems to such an extent that even tort reform (sentencing guidelines) needs were highlighted let alone the ridiculous charges derived from the legislative miscarriage known as CFAA.

    Tort reform is different than sentencing guidelines. Do you know what the sentencing guidelines were for Swartz? Hint: months, not years. Not that it matters to you hysterical zealots.” Unquote.

    Response; The sentencing guidelines were likely trashed and completely abuse in the Aaron Swartz case. Pressure is one thing and insane claims are another. And if sentencing was (morbidly) in line with written policy the we return to the concept of tort reform. (Its a common occurrence.)

    Sentencing guidelines are very specific. They are followed by the judge. The prosecutor can only argue for the top of the range.

    Quote; “I support a legitimate investigation because it looks like dirty work supported by nasty special interest groups. Such conservative infestations of normal government operations need liberal applications of the metaphorical bug spray. If anyone feels guilty about that then its probably a sign that they are the ones who might suffer from the truth.

    Oh, so it's a vast conspiracy? No doubt headed by the MPAA and RIAA, right? Maybe you should contact Jason Bourne.” Unquote.

    Response; Who knows. (good guesses) Politics is a wild animal/insect. (conflicting analogies.) Conspiracy is not a bad idea as commercial interests often align in ways of profit. Special interest groups excel in that way. At least its not preposterous.

    Reply: It is preposterous. No responsible source has even suggested it. All the evidence points to MIT and JSTOR discovering a crime and reporting it to authorities and the authorities acting upon that information. Try to provide at least one single shred of credible evidence before you decend into hysterics.

    Quote “For a legitimate investigation there needs to be a donation site to fund such. Money is the only respected thing in Washington these days.

    No one cared enough to do that kind of fund-raising to afford him a proper defense. Why do you think this will happen?” Unquote.

    Response; Please donate posthumously. Aaron Swartz is a great idea/concept/light.

    Reply: I've already donated as much as you and everyone else on Techdirt. Zero.

    Quote. “or my part, unless MIT fesses up, I support the complete denial of research funding to them. A 100% cutoff. They can perish as an institution if they want to thats ok.

    It's likely that what you support doesn't make a difference here or anywhere else. MIT did nothing wrong. They cooperated with a criminal investigation, they didn't direct it” Unquote.

    Response. How does the average citizen reward institutions that provide knowledge and destroy others that conceal knowledge in favor of profit at the expense of public funded research? -Impartiality- MIT is or is not a place where great ideas can flourish. Aaron Swartz died because of a great idea as many a great scientist did (Example; Boltzman.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Boltzmann

    So don't participate in the MIT fundraiser this year. It's not like you have in the past.

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re:

    Last I checked, you infantile little shit, they weren't subpoenaed, so yes, it was a choice. But for me, I blame the prosecutors and the DoJ primarily and to about 99% of the proximal cause. The witnesses were used as pawns, but were not coerced.

    Are you kidding? If you saw a car speeding away from a bank, firing shots at pursuing police and were asked to repeat what you saw in court ... you'd refuse unless under subpoena? How is this different than the system administrator at MIT testifying as to what he saw? He's not taking a position, just truthfully answering questions. In this case it's not even that. It's people who agreed to truthfully answer questions but never actually did. Why do you want their names?

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Re: How to direct our anger towards the DOJ usefully

    Any time we hear about a proposed judicial appointment or a new candidate in some race, just google them and find their past jobs. If they were a federal prosecutor, then google more to find if they ever brought charges under the CFAA, DMCA, etc. or if any drug cases stand out as unjust. If so, then make a stink online to help derail their career advancement.

    You do understand that the supervising AG assigns cases, right? Prosecutors don't just pick and choose.

    Just yell "Federal prosecutor [name] seeking [position] abused the CFAA to jail innocent people, help oppose him in Aaron Swartz memory." We'll come running to help.

    Like the way you came running to fund Swartz defense when he needed it?

    If federal prosecutors cannot so easily become federal judges or representatives then they'll lose considerable lobbying power over time.

    They are specifically barred by law from lobbying already. WTF? You really have no clue as to what you're talking about do you?

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    IMHO, with the US Attorneys crying "cyber-bullying", they should count their blessings. At least people in the US are "civilized" enough to just "cyber bully" them. On other part of the world, the "people" just gather on such persons' house to burn it down, and that count as "lucky" cos at least they're not dead (house burning usually means the target somehow escaped). And where's the police in all that "riot"? Well, they have to calculate the risks to their persons, cos things like precinct chief being beaten to death by angry mob (which recently occurs) is not unheard of.

    That's what happen when the people's trust in the system and/or it's enforcement has gotten so low.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The prosecutor charged Swartz like any other criminal. There's nothing special about him and no indication he was treated differently than any other similarly situated defendant.

    I think this is the more immediate problem to address rather than bickering whether what Schwartz did is right or wrong. It is because he was prosecuted like others, business as usual. Not that I'm arguing that he should be given special treatment, cos he shouldn't have. But it is about how the business is usually run.

    Ramping up charges to "force" a defendant to plea a deal for lesser sentence shouldn't be the norm, and I'm wary if that's an exception either. That bypasses the defendant's right to defend him/her/themselves in front of a jury of peers, which I'm told is sacred to US law.

    But then again, I might be wrong, that it actually written somewhere in the law of the land that a defendant has no right whatsoever under US justice/constitution.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think I have to agree with you, there's no use, even detrimental, to expose the potential witnesses to a potential witch hunt. What should have been done is to keep the focus on JD.

    Now, having what those potential witnesses are going to say in the would be trial is very useful in assessing JD's performance in Schwartz case. However, releasing those info to the public anonymously (without revealing witnesses identity) IMHO will raise the question of validity, cos there's no way to verify it. I admit I'm in dilemma here, cos I previously agree to withheld witnesses identity. But if anyone is arguing for the release of those identities, IMHO it should be on this grounds, not for vendettas or character assassinations.

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Re: Not counterproductive

    Learning by fear is never a good thing, cos when the learner perceive the motivating fear is lessened even a little, they'll lapse into their old ways in an instant. And maintaining fear cost energy, time, and money (and cos time = money, and energy = money, then money^3; hence money is the cube-root of fear :p ).

     

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  88.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is nothing to indicate that they were wrong


    That's a matter of opinion. I think that pretty much everything indicates that they were wrong. I'm talking ethically and morally, not necessarily legally.

    The prosecutor charged Swartz like any other criminal.


    I don't think that's actually true. Almost nobody else would have even been charged by the DOJ. It would have been left to local law enforcement, not the feds. He was singled out for his political speech, not for his actions.

    But that's an aside. In the really important facet of this -- plea bargains -- he was treated in a manner much the same as anyone else facing the DOJ. Which makes it even more important. Plea bargains are abusive and a miscarriage of justice. That they're commonly used like this make the actions of the DOJ more egregious, not less.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There is nothing to indicate that they were wrong"

    That's a matter of opinion. I think that pretty much everything indicates that they were wrong. I'm talking ethically and morally, not necessarily legally.

    So are you saying that adding additional charges is a moral/ethical issue- not a legal one? Isn't this typical in the adversarial system of litigation?

    "The prosecutor charged Swartz like any other criminal."

    I don't think that's actually true. Almost nobody else would have even been charged by the DOJ. It would have been left to local law enforcement, not the feds. He was singled out for his political speech, not for his actions.

    Well, he was investigated by the FBI for his foray into liberating the PACER database. That was Federal jurisdiction. MIT and JSTOR blew the whistle. Nobody knew it was Swartz until after the Feds took jurisdiction.

    But that's an aside. In the really important facet of this -- plea bargains -- he was treated in a manner much the same as anyone else facing the DOJ. Which makes it even more important. Plea bargains are abusive and a miscarriage of justice. That they're commonly used like this make the actions of the DOJ more egregious, not less.

    No one is forced to bargain.

     

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  90.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So are you saying that adding additional charges is a moral/ethical issue- not a legal one?


    I'm saying that morals/ethics and legalities are independent of each other. The DOJ may have been acting within its legal rights, but those additional charges they laid on were a huge stretch when compared to what he actually did, and so they were immoral.

    Well, he was investigated by the FBI for his foray into liberating the PACER database.


    This isn't about PACER.

    No one is forced to bargain.


    This is so disingenuous as to border on being an untruth.

    I would say that when the DOJ is threatening you (faldely, apparently but that only makes the act even more egregiously wrong) with 30 years or more in prison unless you accept a plea bargain, you are being forced.

    There's even a legal word for that sort of thing. Extortion.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The charges are part of the calculus of the prosecution. They make the charge and have to prove them. Swartz wasn't charged with rape, burglary or jaywalking. It was all related to his computer crimes. And there were a lot of them.

    It's not hard for Swartz to predict what would happen with his JSTOR caper after PACER. He's was smart guy, how could he NOT see this coming?

    No one is forced to bargain. It is a calculated risk. And it wasn't 30 years. The prosecution said they'd seek seven at trial. The guidelines are less than a year, so how they thought they'd talk the judge up is beyond me. But 30 years is a joke and everyone seems to know that but you. Statutory liability and actual liability are two different things and if you weren't so intent on spreading FUD; you'd admit it.

     

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  92.  
    icon
    special-interesting (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks for the opinion however its important to be impartial especially on such emotional matters. Fact finding is for the calm and quiet types. This response seems kind of fluffy and is hard to comment on. It kinda appalls me that anyone would not seek truth and understanding. Where is your argument going?

    Am myself, and masquerade as no one else. What ideas you have of anyone are your own. (might even nudge you along on that too.)

    The only reason facts, like who made what accusations, are necessary is because its good to know who to vote for and not be fooled by anyone who 'masquerades' as a good conscientious citizen. This basic motivation needs facts/information if only just to figure things out for ourselves.

    Do you think its wrong to apply social pressure to get to the bottom of any situation? Someone died during a criminal investigation where official charges were levied and that does matter. Life matters. How we live and the actions of government officials are important. Someone died. Would you want to just forget that?

    Its important not to participate in a witch trial either as the prosecution or the audience as both are guilty. A complacent public enables/empowers the worst in human behavior. Without such social pressure aberrant abuses of power are quick to happen. Was this a witch hunt? That's a valid question with answers sought after.

    There just may be complications that the prosecution might have to explain under judicial review. A civil case might even be brought up against the JD itself and hopefully a few special interest groups for possibly sponsoring such also. This case does not seem like blind justice and that would not be a good recommendation for any involved. Red slips to the unemployment line might be the best solution.

    Powerful statement; “Witnesses do suffer. It's the pain a witness undergoes to provide first person based testimony to convict someone of a crime. Be amazed at the genius of requiring such a high level of evidence. Democratic society is based on that.” That sounds sooooo cool! The pain is definitely metaphorical and the pressure is only social at the present. Interesting you should point out the wording just what are you getting at? Please note that if civil claims are successfully established they all become legitimate witness again.

    Culture is a seemingly weak argument. But only seemingly for the unaware. Its a concept thats always there but forgotten by many. (most?) Its like air and water we just don't want to think at such a level but its all we have that ties us together as a whole/healthy society.

    Cultural awareness is like the measurement of a society's IQ. How we grow up as a society is based on what and how much we share facts/data/music/etc. (have written more than a few posts about it please go back and read a bit to form a better question.) Any process that slows or stops this sharing of intelligence lowers our cultural IQ. Why would anyone want that?

    About every 20-40 years or so tort reform jumps up in the voters minds is a normal readjustment. It seems congress gets mesmerized by the word 'deterrent' so easily by special interest groups and ruins the concept of only violent persons in jail (its expensive) and the rest get bitch-slapped with reasonable fines not life/family destroying (put them in the gutters which is also an economic drain) statutory fines.

    Since a lot of the above is a recap/repeat of earlier posts am getting bored. If you want more response please read up and even if you don't agree your posts may still have meaning. (and will respond)

     

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  93.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The prosecution said they'd seek seven at trial.


    The prosecution told Schwartz -- and the public -- that he was looking at a minimum of 30.

    But 30 years is a joke and everyone seems to know that but you.


    I'm not sure what you mean here. Do you mean that they never threatened that much time?

    Statutory liability and actual liability are two different things and if you weren't so intent on spreading FUD; you'd admit it.


    Oh, now, we we're having a productive discussion. No need to start insulting me.

    I know there's a difference and have no problem "admitting" it. But my point is that the difference means nothing when a fed is staring you in the face and telling you that you're facing 30 years or more in prison. That's an emotional ploy, and a very effective one. Whether or not it's actually likely to happen in court is irrelevant when you're in the hot seat.

    The prosecutors know that. That's why they do it -- to coerce guilty pleas. I suspect that you know it, too.

     

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  94.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How is Socrates a straw man?

    Do you know what straw man means?

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The prosecutors know that. That's why they do it -- to coerce guilty pleas. I suspect that you know it, too.

    His lawyers know it's bullshit. And at least one article quoted his defense attorney as saying that the prosecutors would request seven years if he went to trial. Thirty years is FUD, John. It is the statutory maximum for all crimes if Swartz was sentenced to serve sentences consecutively. Everyone knows that judges are bound by guidelines, so even seven years was a bit of a joke. I'm not suggesting any time in jail would be a picnic, but these wild claims only undermine your already weak argument.

     

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  96.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To be clear 'tort' applies to civil law and 'sentencing reform' would include criminal law especially statutory damages. In long wordy posts always trying to paraphrase and metaphoricalize to condense but sometimes miss good detail. Just thought it was an important enough detail to rectify.

     

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  97.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The "wild claims" I'm talking about aren't being made by me, they were being made by the DOJ. In any case, none of what you say here addresses my point at all, let alone demonstrates its supposed weakness. We're just going around in circles now, though.

     

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  98.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nobel or noble cause? Not sure what you mean.” Unquote.

    Response; Nobel cause. Pure. Without self interest.


    Then you mean noble, not Nobel. Nobel is the last name of the guy they named the prize after.

     

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  99.  
    identicon
    Dept of Injustice, Apr 5th, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    No penalties for abusive prosecutors :-(

     

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  100.  
    icon
    special-interesting (profile), Apr 5th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Probably want to use elements of both as each poses a higher than normal standard although differently. If forced to choose would pick Nobel for the top of the top achievements. Would be nice to see Aaron Swartz nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but thats only a prize issued to the living.

    Aaron contributed to culture. He leveled up our cultural IQ with getting some publicly funded research being recognized as a part of the public domain. (its still a battle)

     

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  101.  
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    special-interesting (profile), Apr 7th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Civil Suit

    Its kind of bothering that Protective custody has been bandied as a solution to or prevention of suicide. Protective custody is kind of a myth. Remember we are talking about possibly corrupt charges in the first place. Its almost certain that Aaron felt that way. Such is the loss when one feels that justice has lost its impartiality. For Aaron (who surely felt that to surrender to 'protective custody' would be giving up wholly to a corrupt government agency) it might have been worse to surrender in such a way.

    Lets look at the demeaning nature of such protective custody. (technically its not incarceration but thats stupid. The justice dept only has jail cells. Thats it.) You get locked up in a jail cell with every belt, shoe lace, wallet and everything else including the small sliver of dignity one was supporting their mostly lost pride with also. Many totally sane people would consider losing their freedom worth the risk to life as it's at least that important.

    Its even possible that imprisonment (silly to call it protective custody) would increase the risk of suicide to a typical American. In fact a hostile prosecution would likely use protective custody to harass and pressure an already vulnerable defendant. Considering the apparent forcefulness of the JD its almost certain to happen that way.

    Its even more possible that the prosecution would have used 'suicidal tendency' as another justification for guilt thus adding to the perceived social burden Aaron carried. Such is the cruelness that results when wild accusations are made.

    For these reasons responsible government agencies/departments/offices/personnel should not use demoralizing/bedeviling/demonizing terms such as piracy or theft when talking about copyright. Its just wrong and are doublespeak terms. (Probably being overly polite saying it as such.)

    It does not seem that the JD followed any rules at all (seems silly what they claim) with the whole thing like a derailed train wreck even before Aaron's death.

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2013 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Define helpful

    "Governments are playing a dangerous game of trying to trivialize groups like Anonymous as being fringe groups and of no consequence while simultaneously claiming that they are dangerous criminals. Clearly both statements cannot be true."

    That can easily be true, domestic terrorists or assassins are an obvious example with people like Timothy McVeigh and Lee Harvey Oswald, part of inconsequential fringe movements who manage to be incredibly dangerous. Heck WWI was started by a fringe hardcore anarchist that had no hope of success at the polls, but could manage to cause a chain of events leading to unheard of destruction, death, and chaos. In a relatively free country like America where anyone can buy a gun, this is true for almost everyone to some degree. That doesn't lend any legitimacy to a group's claims, just the ability to be destructive.

    "I would suggest however, that taken in the context of global events and uprisings in other countries it would be wise to consider long term consequences of continuing to ignore and incite the technologically adept youth of the world."
    That is completely the opposite, those were large-scale protests across society, often as in Syria's case, by repressed MAJORITY groups (ie, Sunni Muslims who make up 90% of the country against the Alawi Muslims who made up the leadership). You can not compare 10,000s of people risking their lives to march in the streets demanding a change in government to a few people sitting behind computers with the sole intent causing chaos.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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