Today, we learned the gravely disturbing news that the United States District Judge Sam Lindsay sentenced our dear friend Barrett Brown to federal prison for a total of 63 months. He has served 28 months thus far. He was also ordered to pay close to a million dollars in fines. The vast majority of that money would go to reimburse Strafor, a private intelligence firm hack coordinated by the FBI in order to entrap Anons, in December 2011. This penalty is imposed on Barrett despite the fact that he had nothing to do with the intrusion.
Barrett Brown was given this draconian sentence for one reason only: to intimidate others who might do what he did, which was to, relentlessly and without mercy, expose the intelligence community’s wrongdoing and hypocrisy on several fronts. Barrett is a journalist of rare courage and moxie, and though his unorthodox methods did not always win him friends, they always won results. Barrett and Project PM were able to penetrate the private intelligence industry, and expose the ugly truth and cronyism that permeates it. Though few would argue that his resistance wasn’t composed of a few missteps, nothing he did even remotely warrants a sentence of this length. Not even close. The facts of his case are well-known and we are not going to list them here . But make no mistake, Barrett’s crime is that he is a threat to the United States, and he has the intelligence to disseminate his messages, which were, especially when issued through Project PM, damning.
Barrett is so fortunate to have his support organized by Kevin Gallagher, whom we deeply admire for his steadfast efforts on Barrett’s behalf. Those who wish to support arrested Anons should study the way that Kevin was able to pull together support for Barrett. We wish all the arrested were so fortunate in this. But Barrett’s team still has a long road in front of them, and we hope that you don’t forget them in the days going forward.
Barrett was a friend to Freeanons, and we fondly remember the conversation we had with him in our IRC channel the night before his arrest. Before we even existed, Barrett was the first to organize lawyer and legal counsel for arrested Anonymous. Barrett knew better than anyone the dangers of working in IRC, and the disinformation and slander that is used to divide both hackers and activists who, then and now, remain dedicated to idealistic goals. Project PM continues to inspire us all and it is in Barrett’s honor that a team of us will, in forthcoming months, continue a project to submit FOIAs and study case files from settled and concluded cases, in order to understand how the government chose to infiltrate, surveille and disrupt Anonymous and Occupy.
Barrett shamed the government. For that, he will pay dearly. This is what we must do: Never forgive. Never forget. We wish Barrett, his family and especially his wonderful mother Karen, and his support team, our best wishes tonight. There isn’t a lot we can do to ease their burden, but we urge you to try. Please donate to them, and keep Barrett supplied with books and magazines. Keep them in your thoughts and hearts. We hope the United States does not rest easy tonight. You can imprison Barrett, but you can’t arrest us all. We’re here to finish what he started. Expect it.