Commondreams.org, By: Lauren McCauley, 05/17/2013
One month before his January 11th suicide, web pioneer and creative commons architect Aaron Swartz completed one last project—an “opensource drop box for leaked documents along the lines of WikiLeaks.” Launched Thursday, Deaddrop is the brainchild of former hacker turned Wired editor, Kevin Poulsen, who approached Swartz with the idea. Swartz built the code for the project—one last gift to journalists and whistleblowers worldwide and the open-source internet community.
“He agreed to do it,” writes Poulsen, “with the understanding that the code would be open-source—licensed to allow anyone to use it freely—when we launched the system.” As the Obama Administration continues their dogged pursuit and prosecution of press sources and whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and while the news of the Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press records continues to swirl, newsrooms are frantically reevaluating their security procedures.
For more on this story visit www.commondreams.org
from the it’s-all-about-the-public-perception dept
Some congressional staffers left the briefing with the impression that prosecutors believed they needed to convict Swartz of a felony that would put him in jail for a short sentence in order to justify bringing the charges in the first place, according to two aides with knowledge of the briefing.
The odd thing is this little tidbit comes at the very, very end of a longer article, most of which focuses on the DOJ telling Congressional staffers that part of the reason they went after Swartz with such zeal was because of his infamous Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. That might explain why they were so eager to arrest him, but it seems like the much bigger deal, considering all the concern about prosecutor discretion, that after they arrested him, they then didn’t want to look bad, which is why they continued to demand jailtime and felony convictions.
Many people have assumed all along that the Manifesto played a big role in the case — and the Manifesto has certainly been a lightening rod concerning Swartz’s activities. If you read the actual “manifesto” it’s not quite as extreme as some make it out to be — with much of it talking about taking stuff that is public domain, but still hidden behind walls, and making that available again. The controversial bit really is this paragraph, which starts out with legal activities, but gets much more ambiguous at the end:
We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.
Note that initially he’s talking about stuff that is out of copyright. When he’s talking about databases, note that he talks about buying them for the sake of putting them online, not infringing on the works. It’s just that bit about scientific journals. And, yes, if those works are covered by copyright, there’s likely infringement there, but it’s not entirely clear. Especially in an age where many professors post up free copies of their research any way, and where it looks like we’re moving to an age where more and more research is open access anyway. In that context, is what he said really so bad?
Apparently the DOJ thought it was a reason to throw the book at Swartz, even if he hadn’t actually made any such works available.
The “Manifesto,” Justice Department representatives told congressional staffers, demonstrated Swartz’s malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.
Some may agree with that, but it seems like a jump towards “thoughtcrime” since he hadn’t actually made any move towards making the JSTOR data available. It’s possible that he planned to only make the public domain works (of which there are many) available. It’s also possible he planned to leak the whole thing. But, really, you would think that there should be a bit more evidence of that before prosecutors throw the book at him.
More importantly, it suggests that Swartz was arrested and prosecuted for expressing his opinionon how to solve a particular problem. You may or may not agree with it, but I thought the US was supposed to be a place where we were free to express ideas. There’s even some famous part of our Constitution about that…
WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – USA – The family of a Reddit co-founder who committed suicide in New York weeks before he was to go on trial on charges that he stole millions of scholarly articles is blaming prosecutors for his death. Aaron Swartz killed himself in his Brooklyn apartment on Friday night, his family and authorities said.
The 26-year-old had fought to make online content free to the public and as a teenager helped create RSS, a family of web feed formats used to gather updates from blogs, news headlines, audio and video for users. In 2011, he was charged with stealing millions of scientific journals from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in an attempt to make them freely available.
He had pleaded not guilty, and his federal trial was to begin next month. If convicted, he faced decades in prison and a fortune in fines.In a statement released on Saturday, Swartz’s family in Chicago expressed not only grief over his death but also bitterness toward federal prosecutors pursuing the case in Massachusetts against him.
“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death,” they said.
US Attorney Carmen Ortiz in Boston couldn’t be reached for comment., HeHe, of-course not ! She previously has said that “stealing is stealing, “so where was the stealing then ? “ whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars,” The New York Times reported. Swartz co-founded the social news website Reddit, which was later sold to Conde Nast, as well as the political action group Demand Progress, which campaigns against internet censorship.
He also apparently struggled at times with depression, writing in a 2007 blog post: “Surely there have been times when you’ve been sad. Perhaps a loved one has abandoned you or a plan has gone horribly awry. … You feel worthless. … depressed mood is like that, only it doesn’t come for any reason and it doesn’t go for any either.”
Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, faculty director for Safra Center for Ethics where Swartz was once a fellow, wrote: “We need a better sense of justice. … The question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a ‘felon’.”
The federal government accused Swartz of using MIT’s computer network to steal nearly five million academic articles. The indictment alleged Swartz stole the documents from JSTOR, a subscription service used by MIT that offers digitised copies of articles from more than 1000 academic journals.
JSTOR didn’t press charges once it reclaimed the articles from Swartz, and some legal experts considered the case unfounded, saying MIT allows guests access to the articles and Swartz, a fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, was a guest. JSTOR announced last week it would make “more than 4.5 million articles” publicly available for free. Perhaps its time prosecute the prosecutors !
SO WHAT WAS THE CRIME COMMITTED THEN ?
by Moti Nissani (Veteran’s Today)
”How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?”—Bob Marley
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation . . . shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”—Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, 1863
On January 11, 2013, according to indoctrination organs of the criminal Syndicate calling itself the US government (a Syndicate comprised, for the most part, of big bankers, generals, spooks and, below them, their puppets in the White House and gubernatorial mansions, Congress and state legislatures, and almost the entire judiciary), Aaron Swartz, aged 26, killed himself.
Many on the internet have already traced Aaron’s tragic and untimely death directly to the Syndicate. I wish to add my voice to this growing chorus, placing this recent event in a somewhat larger context of historical scholarship.
In relating this story, the Syndicate’s propaganda organs conveniently forgot four crucial points:The Syndicate had excellent reasons to wish Aaron dead.
As in most cases of covert Syndicate assassinations (e.g., Fred Hampton, Richard Wright, Ernest Hemingway), Aaron’s death was preceded by a vicious, totally unjustified, campaign of surveillance, harassment, vilification, and intimidation. The Central Institute of Assassinations (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Intimidations (FBI) can and do kill people while making the murder look like suicide.
In America, England, and most other countries, painstaking research by people like Kevin Barett, Jim Douglass, Jim Fetzer, Jim Garrison, David Helvarg, and William F. Pepper discloses an unmistakable pattern: influential friends of the people (and hence, enemies of the Syndicate) tend to die before they reach old age, often under bizarre circumstances. This pattern has an obvious corollary: when friends of the Syndicate dies prematurely, we can reasonably assume, with a high degree of probability, that the Syndicate killed them.
Let me expound on these four points, one at a time.
1. The Syndicate had excellent reasons to kill Aaron Swartz
In an online “manifesto” dated 2008, Aaron wrote: Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.” He dedicated his life precisely to the goal of depriving the Syndicate of this power.
According to Wikipedia,
Swartz co-authored the “RSS 1.0″ specification of RSS, and built the website framework web.py and the architecture for the Open Library. Swartz also focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism.
“Swartz’s Web savvy took him from Internet entrepreneur to online activist, co-founding Demand Progress, a group that campaigns for progressive public policy — in particular fighting against Internet censorship. His crusades boosted his status as something of a folk hero.” Demand Progress had over one million members.
This figure of 1,000,000 is extremely important, for it shows, beyond all doubt, that, like John Lennon and President Kennedy, Aaron posed a real threat to the status quo. This threat is acknowledged by the Syndicate’s own indoctrination organs. For instance, National Propaganda Radio put it thus: “Swartz had an enormous following in the technology world” and was one of the “most influential figures in talking about technology’s social, cultural and political effect.” The independent Electronic Frontier Foundation concurs: Swartz “did more than almost anyone to make the internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way.” As well, Aaron spoke against US President Barack Obama’s “kill list” and cyber attacks against Iran.
Aaron was “a frequent television commentator and the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofits, the media, politics, and public opinion. From 2010-11, he researched these topics as a Fellow at the Harvard Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. He also served on the board of Change Congress, a good government nonprofit.”
RIP: Aaron Swartz “Suicide” – Activist who stopped SOPA bill. Co-founded “Demand Progress”
It seems really odd to me that a 26 year old who was a huge activist and was instrumental in stopping SOPA. Aaron Swartz co founded “Demand Progress” and Reddit and created the RSS.
He supposedly committed suicide in New York on Friday, January 11, 2013.
Click Here and see all the things they were working on. He was a major defender of truth and our freedoms.
Watch this video of a speech he made about activism and the SOPA bill. It includes how a Senator told him “The internet has to get under control… people are putting too much stuff on it, it is out of control! We have to get control of the internet and what people put on it!”
Does the guy in that video sound like someone who would commit suicide? Could he have been getting in the way too much? Working on something very big and had to be “murdicided?”
Here is a webpage he created about himself:Link:
Aaron Swartz is the founder of Demand Progress, which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA) and now has over a million members. He is also a Contributing Editor to The Baffler and on the Council of Advisors to The Rules.
He is a frequent television commentator and the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofits, the media, politics, and public opinion. From 2010-11, he researched these topics as a Fellow at the Harvard Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. He also served on the board of Change Congress, a good government nonprofit.
He has also developed the site theinfo.org. His landmark analysis of Wikipedia, Who Writes Wikipedia?, has been widely cited. Working with Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee at MIT, he helped develop and popularize standards for sharing data on the Web. He also coauthored the RSS 1.0 specification, now widely used for publishing news stories.
His piece with photographer Taryn Simon, Image Atlas (2012), is has been featured in the New Museum. In 2007, he led the development of the nonprofit Open Library, an ambitious project to collect information about every book ever published. He also cofounded the online news site Reddit, where he released as free software the web framework he developed, web.py.
Here is a wikipedia page on him.