Barrett Brown Re-Arrested For Giving Media Interviews Without Permission

from the hey,-wait-a-second... dept

The weird, sickening persecution of Barrett Brown continues. Whether or not you like the guy (and every time we post about him, we hear from people who provide reasons why they dislike him), the way he's been treated by our justice system is despicable. If you don't recall, Brown is an award winning journalist, who certainly went deep with Anonymous and other online groups. Eventually that resulted in him being arrested and harassed by prosecutors for sharing a link. When the infamous Stratfor hacks were released, he shared a link to the files to get people to sift through them. Because some of the files included swiped credit card numbers, he was charged with "trafficking" in stolen credit cards. Oddly, right before trial -- realizing how insane it was to charge him over this -- the feds dropped the charges around linking, but pushed forward on other charges because he hid a laptop in a cabinet and (stupidly...) got angry at the FBI when they came to investigate. The odd part is that following a plea deal, the judge sentenced him to an astounding 63 months in jail -- and cited the sharing of the link (again, those charges were dropped, but it sometimes appeared the judge didn't realize that) to explain why.

But the odder part throughout all of this was just how vindictive and petty everyone in the system were towards Brown -- and specifically towards his interactions with the press. The feds sought to stop the media from reporting on Brown's case and got a judge to block Brown or his lawyers from talking to the media. And once he was in prison, the feds cut off his email.

All this weird petty shit, just to stop him from talking to the media.

Late last year, he was released from prison (earlier than expected) and has been complying with all the terms of his release... except, apparently, officials disagreed with that... because he was conducting interview with the media, according to D Magazine, where Brown has been working since his release. The Intercept, which employed Brown as a columnist while he was in prison, has more details, claiming that his check-in officer suddenly claimed that he needed permission before he could conduct media interviews -- something he had not been told at all.

According to his mother, who spoke with Brown by phone after his arrest, Brown believes the reason for his re-arrest was a failure to obtain “permission” to give interviews to media organizations. Several weeks ago, Brown was told by his check-in officer that he needed to fill out permission forms before giving interviews.

Since his release, Brown has given numerous interviews, on camera and by phone. But according to his mother, Brown said that the Bureau of Prisons never informed him about a paperwork requirement. When he followed up with his check-in officer, he was given a different form: a liability form for media entering prisons.

Just last week, Brown was interviewed for two days by VICE, and his PBS interview was set for Friday.

Leiderman said he had not been presented with a formal justification for the arrest but was told that it had “to do with failing to abide by BOP restrictions on interviews.”

That's both astounding and frightening at the same time, and seems like a fairly blatant kick in the face to the First Amendment. There appears to be no other reason for his arrest other than his speech in the form of conducting media interviews (often critical of criminal justice system). Nothing about this makes sense, other than out of pure vindictiveness. And, of course, if the idea was to shut him up about this, it seems quite likely to backfire massively. Not only will Brown continue to be able to talk about on this, but it's drawing much more attention to the issue from many others in the press, wondering what kind of world we live in when you can be arrested for agreeing to do media interviews.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 3:27am

    We can't let him talk to the media about the criminal justice system and how we screwed him... quick lets rearrest him for more bogus made up things.
    This time it'll totally work.

    Its almost like there are no penalties for screwing citizens.

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:16am

      Re:

      There aren't, really.

      The FBI has been rebranding itself since 9/11 as a counter-terrorist agency, which leaves them little time to actually carry out their official duties as law enforcement. To the extent that one of the duties they have decided to simply pretend does not exist is the investigation and prosecution of crimes against rights.

      Anything that you can file a federal 42 USC 1983 lawsuit over and win is also a criminal act under 18 USC 241 & 242. But with the FBI so busy manufacturing their own terrorist plots, they have no time to pursue such investigations. Not that they did it much pre-9/11 either, but they at least made a token effort even at their busiest.

      Police officers have qualified immunity to civil lawsuits, judges and prosecutors have absolute immunity to civil lawsuits. None of them have that as a result of any law whatsoever, the courts simply refuse to listen to anyone trying to sue them. If you tried to pass a law granting such immunity to a group of people, it would be struck down as unconstitutional, yet the a mere doctrine that does the same thing is ignored by the courts -- despite the fact the courts supposedly cannot create new laws.

      Police, prosecutors and judges are not immune to criminal prosecution, but given the FBI has stopped pursuing rights violation cases for the last couple years, the only way to get any official justice at all is to sue them -- except you can't sue judges or prosecutors no matter how egregiously criminal their actions are.

      President John F. Kennedy once said that when peaceful revolution becomes impossible, violent revolution becomes inevitable. We're seeing that sort of process now, except instead of revolution it's justice -- and as people like the Dallas shooter are proving, when official justice becomes impossible, vigilante justice becomes inevitable.

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

      • identicon
        CCN4, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:06am

        no penalties for screwing citizens

        Well said.

        There are Rulers and the Ruled.

        The Rulers always grant themselves special exemptions from their rules imposed on everyone else. Rulers do not punish themselves.
        Power Corrupts.

        TD tirelessly documents the constant abuses and corruption in our justice system, regulatory, legislative and executive systems -- but never sees the fundamental problem with government itself.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:22am

          Re: no penalties for screwing citizens

          Maybe it sees the problem, but declines to point them out since this government seems to have a habit of punishing those who reveal the nakedness.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:47am

          Re: no penalties for screwing citizens

          We've got anarchy now: many government appointments are not yet filled so actual governance is not being carried out. Isn't that what you wanted?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 10:58am

            Re: Re: no penalties for screwing citizens

            Perhaps his goal is to show how things kept running anyway and then cut the fuck out of it all?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 1:52pm

            Re: Re: no penalties for screwing citizens

            Anarchy means no rulers or no masters so we don't actually have anarchy right now because there are definitely rulers. It comes from the Greek word anarchos meaning having no ruler.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 8:04am

          Re: no penalties for screwing citizens

          You either have a recognized government, or you have the rule of warlords. Just look at Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, where the governments do not exercise their control over all areas.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 3:52am

    I would imagine they were monitoring him with a GPS ankle braclet. One would think that if they were, someone as tech saavy as he is would have a jammer to prvent the anklet from being able to report anything back to the monitoring station.

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

  • icon
    Chronic (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 3:55am

    Oddly enough, this is the organization that can find nothing worth convicting Hilary for, despite obstruction and high treason. Funny how the powers that should not be, get overlooked, and the serfs are scrutinized to the nth degree.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      She lost, get over it.

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:23am

      Re:

      Edward Snowden and Hillary Clinton both broke the same law, with the same result (secrets in Russian hands). Snowden did it out of altruism, to expose criminal wrongdoing. Clinton did it out of selfishness and personal convenience.

      And yet Obama's administration declared that no reasonable prosecutor would charge Clinton, even though Obama was all in favor of Snowden facing an Espionage charge for the same crime.

      Ironically, Clinton herself believes that Snowden should face an Espionage charge, even though she doesn't believe she herself should face one -- even though she's guiltier than he is!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:14am

      Re:

      Oddly enough still...Comey remains exactly where he was, as does Clinton.

      So what's the excuse now?

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

    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      Yes, Trump should do something about that.

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

    • icon
      David (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 3:31pm

      Re: Chronic whining about Hilary - again.

      Well sad old Chronic is at it again. She lost, the idiot won. Suffer with the rest of us. Just use a little more silence you whiner.

      Barrett Brown is not a serf. He slipped a stiletto into their carefully painted picture of how the DOJ works. Then he has the audacity to get noticed. So rearresting him is just another day at the job as DOJ has no intention of letting bad news get out through their greasy fat fingers.

      Damn, there it goes again.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 7:05pm

      Re:

      this is the organization that can find nothing worth convicting Hilary for, despite obstruction and high treason.

      Odd. I thought there were multiple investigations into Secretary Clinton - including a congressional investigation costing upwards of fourteen million dollars. If there were anything criminal she could be prosecuted for, no one has ever returned a true bill.

      Or did you actually believe President Trump when he said "Lock her up"? Why would you believe that then, let alone now? Other then because your religion or news source or party tells you so, why do you loathe her so much? Not that I particularity like her myself, but I don't hate either DJT or HRC. I just know the difference between an self-aggrandizing idiot and a self interested politician.

      I learned that when I took the "How to tell a hawk from a handsaw" course on line. I hear their "Shit from Shineola" course is pretty good too.

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

    • identicon
      Mark Jeffery, 3 May 2017 @ 6:53am

      Re: Treason?

      Treason is defined in your constitution. How did she commit it? Obstruction? Of what? When and how?

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 4:14am

    Funny that...

    You'd almost think that they really don't want him to be able to discus the case and how he's been treated during and after it.

    Almost as though they don't think that their actions would hold up under scrutiny, and are doing everything they can to hide said actions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 4:23am

    Big different be between the two. FBI thinks Hillary had no intention of committing a crime where Brown intended to make the government look bad.

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

    • icon
      Chronic (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 4:47am

      Re:

      LOL, more like Hilary had no intention of being prosecuted.

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

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re:

        Or several 2016 Republican candidates, the last two Republican Secretaries of State, the entire last Republican White House administration, and various members of Congress.

        You know; everyone else in Washington known to be doing what you accuse Hillary of.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So, prosecute the lot of them.

          "Everybody else was breaking the law too" isn't a defence for breaking the law.

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

          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, sure. But "Cronic" and friends are only obsessed with Hillary.

            Not to mention that despite his chemically imbalanced claim of "treason" further up - or lesser crimes - he's unable to provide any evidence of it. No-one would accuse James Comey of being pro-Hillary, especially after his stunt just before the election. And yet even he patiently explained why Hillary wasn't charged, and David Petraeus was. Any such fair prosecution might put a few politicians in jail, but not necessarily Hillary.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:25am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Undercutting the fundamentals of democracy in order to shoehorn herself into office is treason in many peoples minds. The evidence is out there, you just refuse to see it.

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

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:49am

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

                Well if that's true, why is Trump not slinging her into prison like he promised? And how come a Congress owned and controlled by the GOP can't have her arrested and tried?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 7:27am

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

                "In many people's minds." That's not really a solid basis for sending something to trial. But fine I'll play. In your mind which statute did she violate and how? Show your work. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/part-I/chapter-115

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

                • icon
                  JoeCool (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 10:52am

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

                  The FBI report detailed EXACTLY what laws she broke and how. Read it. But then it goes on to state the obvious - no prosecutor will file against someone of Hilary's level of power and connections. And they're right - she's too well connected to ever stand trial for anything. Neither will any of the Republicans who did the same. And more's the pity - we'd be much better off without ALL of them. Maybe a third party candidate would stand a decent chance of winning.

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

              • icon
                Roger Strong (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 7:45am

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

                That's an even sillier claim, especially given the last election cycle.

                Yes, some Democrat officials had a preferred candidate and were biased in their dealings with that candidate. That's bad, of course, but American parties are private organizations. It's not illegal. And it's a mole hill compared to the Republican mountain.

                Consider the Republican candidates in 2000 who were given what was essentially a loyalty oath stipulating that they would support George W. Bush in the forthcoming primaries exclusively, and not McCain, and if they didn't agree, the Party would withhold its financing.

                Or Ron Paul, who in his last couple campaigns was hardly treated fairly by the party.

                Or of course there's the whole Stop Trump and Free the Delegates movements within the Republican Party in 2016, which included senior party officials.

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

                • identicon
                  OGquaker, 29 Apr 2017 @ 11:38pm

                  Re: Political Parties are private organizations??

                  HaHa, try getting a Bank to open any account; a political Party is NOT a 501xx, not a DBA, not a Corporation, not an Unincorporated Association, not a LLC, not a Partnership, not a private party.

                  Since 2011 i have to FTP AND snail mail reports down to the last in-or-out $1 to the California FPPC & the Federal FEC four to six times a year... and i missed a special report, having exceeded a threshold by $12, so now i have a PERSONAL fine of $5,300 and a few $thousand other fines against my person.

                  Just the FTP costs $1,500-2000 a year in specialized software and another $150 in USPS special mailings (one year the FEC required FedEx, Not USPS), with $20 a day in fines for each late day, if i can guess the dates and dollar thresholds for unique off-cycle reports.

                  And, if a donation (NOT tax deductible) from a single person exceeds $100 (cumulative) in any 12 month period, and i don't report that person's occupation, i must return their donation.

                  And when in our Sacramento SOS office, what did the bureaucrat yell at me (while she was jumping around behind her counter)? "Just Pay It, The Democrats DO")

                  Disclaimer;
                  Doug Barnett Green Party Of California State Treasurer

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

                • icon
                  Mark Jeffery (profile), 3 May 2017 @ 7:00am

                  Ron

                  Yes but, Ron Paul is obviously insane. That doesn't distinguish him from most of their presidential candidates, but the GOP got it right on that one.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:19am

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

                Undercutting the fundamentals of democracy in order to shoehorn himself into office is treason in many peoples minds.

                Totally agree Trump should be prosecuted!

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So, prosecute the lot of them.

            Tell the Republican controlled Congress, executive branch, and conservative-leaning judiciary.

            Sounds pretty simple, no?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re:

        So what's the hold up now?

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

  • identicon
    John, 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:05am

    hmmmmm

    A journalist being arrested for doing media interviews, that's pretty weird. Is there are a certain law that explains this situation ? I get an ironic feeling just be reading his issue.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:46am

    this begs the question, "what constitutes THE MEDIA"

    Would Barrett Brown's casual conversation with a friend or family member, who then uploaded the video recording to YouTube --with or without his permission-- also have been defined as a "media interview"?

    If not, then what if CNN had rebroadcast the YouTube video?

    In the age when most every person in the western world has all the tools needed to broadcast/publish content to the entire planet and be seen by millions, how exactly do we define what is "media"(or "press") and what is not?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:54am

      Re: this begs the question, "what constitutes THE MEDIA"

      Those seeking a distinction are those seeking a means for censorship.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 7:39am

        Re: Re: this begs the question, "what constitutes THE MEDIA"

        There will likely never be a single legal distinction. It will be defined broadly in some situations and narrowly in others, perhaps in much the same way that anti-establishment 'alternative' weeklies and newsletters have been treated for decades.

        Indeed, whoever gets to define "the media" wields tremendous power, in much the same way that the IRS gets to decide what constitutes a religion (for instance, churches that practice racial discrimination are not legally a religion, while those that practice sexual discrimination [still] are).

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:44am

      Re: this begs the question, "what constitutes THE MEDIA"

      Anything they would argue, for the sake of convenience in some other case, does not constitute media (for purpose of removing any journalistic protections): In Brown's case, it does constitute media. Also your five year old daughter, if he happened to wave at her on the street.

      This really isn't a surprise, BOP has been inconsistent, unclear, and ridiculous the entire time. Never minding he is a journalist by trade, and repeatedly questioned how he was supposed to do his job when released if he can't speak to anyone in journalism or touch a computer network.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 11:03am

        Re: Re: this begs the question, "what constitutes THE MEDIA"

        We need to redefine media rights as rights to disseminate and receive information.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 7:35am

    the way he's been treated by our legal system is despicable

    FTFY

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


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