Douglas Lucas, a writer at WhoWhatWhy.org, discusses “hacktivist” journalist Barrett Brown’s sentencing hearing, that could get him 8 1/2 years in prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act among other questionable charges.
SH: Hey Douglas how are you doing?
DL: Hey I’m fine. The Government has claimed – I mean prosecutor Heath has claimed quote ‘The Government did not prosecute Mr Brown for political purposes’, the judge has stated quote, ‘What took place is not going to chill any first amendment expression by any journalist’ and this is all absolutely fucking insane. I don’t even know where to begin with this shit
SH: Whoa careful with those … if you can
DL: The obscenities?
SH: Go ahead though
DL: Okay. The prosecution is convinced and has stated that Brown has been trafficking in stolen data. Heath actually said, the prosecution actually said quote, ‘You can traffic in things that have been public or available to other people’, whereas the defense has argued quote, ‘ You cannot traffic something that is in the public domain’, he didn’t traffic in any credit card information, he posted a link and so what is going on here is that the government doesn’t like people linking to information that they do not want people to know.
Brown told me he did not know what was in the file that the link led to, and sure, you know, credit card data is problematic, you know, you don’t want that widespread and everything but this is really about control over the internet and it’s ability to further our knowledge – to link us to all sorts of information.
There was a question in the court about what, the defense attorneys twist (unclear) what’s going to happen when a reporter wants to link to thousands of pages of documents – does he have to know every single word that is in there and he’s liable for them all?
And I think the government would really love that to be the outcome because you know Wikileaks and everything – mass sets of cables – the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and everything else. The authorities want to shut that down lest they be faced with a populist – or people not falling their propaganda any further, and becoming disenchanted with the idea of simply voting for these guys is going to bring at least a little mercy to the domination – instead of begging them to be nicer – it’s wrong.
SH: In your tweet here Douglas you say that it appears that he will be hit with the full 8.5 years
DL: Yeah it looks like it
SH: That is just because of the judge’s attitude while the prosecutor talked
DL: Yeah, yeah, yeah
SH: Do you have any thing to say about the judge’s body language while Barrett was reading his allocution there?
DL: He, I wouldn’t go as far as glaring but he looked at Barrett intently like more than concentration, it was just sort of like ‘what is this guy saying?’ and I think that the judge did say stuff about how the picture the defense is trying to paint of Project PM and journalists as being – Project PM being journalistic- the judge claimed that Brown was much more involved in trafficking stolen goods etcetera than the defense wants him to believe. So the judge is not happy with the defense or Browns take on the explanation of this matter in his allocution
SH: Oh man
DL: Regardless whatever his facial expressions were, whether they were poker or what
SH: That’s the best answer, well the worst one, but more substantive one
DL: We’re going back in really soon
SH: I understand you got to go. Thanks very much for your time Douglas,I appreciate it
DL: You’re welcome, any time