What should the next Aaron Swartz do when the DOJ knocks?


#1

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#2

There is only one reasonable approach.

We must recognize that the DoJ is among the organizations that are our superiors and there to protect us from the existential threats that lurk around every corner of our dangerous world. Moreover, since they are such an organization, everything they do is legal. It is impossible for the government to break the law. The government is the law.

We must at all times conduct ourselves in such a way as to avoid arousing any wisp of suspicion about our behavior, lest we be prosecuted for it. Remembering that arousing false suspicion is criminal in itself. It is the moral equivalent of turning in a false fire alarm. For someone to be suspected of a crime, “falsely,” diverts the attention of our protectors from the ‘real’ criminals. The existence of the suspicion, therefore, is proof of guilt.

Opposing a prosecution, therefore, is pointless. The defendant is guilty by the mere fact of having aroused suspicion. An immediate guilty plea and work as a government informant is only fair. And it’s a wise social bargain. We would surely rather risk the life of a convicted criminal instead of the life of a detective in the investigation of the next prosecution.

In the unlikely event that an acquittal at trial results, for after all, some defense lawyers manage to sway juries with emotional arguments or pointless technicalities, that is even worse. Not only has the government been forced to divert its efforts into a fruitless investigation, prosecution, and trial, it has suffered incalculable damage in that the unsuccessful case will sway public and world opinion against it, making it less effective in the future. At the very least, the criminal who has gotten off should be required to recompense society for the costs of the prosecution that his criminal actions incurred. But there has to be some sort of further recompense for the intangible cost of his damaging the government’s reputation!

While we’re on the subject of damaging the government’s reputation, recall that any argument less authoritarian than this one cannot be allowed, less people begin to think that they can slander their leaders at every turn.

Any questions? Keep them to yourself, Citizen.


#3

Flee and say nothing. It is always a mistake to talk to the police, ever, about anything. Silence is Golden. You mother told you to never talk to strangers and there’s none stranger than government employees


#4

It’s really unconscionable what depths the feds will resort to. They think nothing of attempting to coerce the defendant by going after family and friends, no matter how great the damage to innocents. They often stoop to delaying tactics solely to drain the funds of a defendant, often successfully making further legal representation by a good attorney impossible. On top of that, most federal judges are ex-US Attorneys and their rulings on motions evidence the obvious affinity. It’s a frightening situation, made so much worse by the growing trend to criminalizing even the minor offenses. Aaron’s tale is gut-wrenching, it’s appalling, and it should be fought any way possible.


#5

Every time I read anything about Aaron, I get so upset and cry. Such a loss to humanity. I imagine him sitting on the presidents cabinet as a technology advocate. So sad.


#6

As far as the developed 1st World goes, the process of ‘getting the government you deserve’ is a boring one. It doesn’t come in the form of an spectacular uprising or a coup d’etat. There are no grand battles, no heroes who live on in folk songs of plucky resistance fighters. Its just laws. More laws, and more laws. Precedent, prosecutions, and more precedent. Cases and cases and cases, laws and more laws, all of it metastasizing into more and more pretexts that can be called upon by someone in an office somewhere to reach into your life and ruin it, because maybe he doesn’t like your politics or your ‘attitude’. Its the kind of thing we used to mock Russia about. The roles have been completely reversed.

Eventually, you arrive at a point where the ideological safeguards ‘laws’ are supposed to maintain just cease to be. We revert to being a ‘nation of men’. Petty, vein men of government, empowered by an immeasurable volume of laws that can be called upon selectively, to create the illusion of legitimacy for whatever they want to do, against whomever they want to do it, when in reality their actions are morally repugnant by any measure. Either that, or men who are wealthy enough to wield influence so the systemic processes are perverted to protect their own interests. The problem is, there is no reversing course on this. History will view the United States as the highest and most perfect iteration of a totalitarian state. The scary thing is, its a totalitarian state that will probably survive (and continue to devolve) as a totalitarian state to see its own historical judgement rendered. It just won’t care. If you’re a citizen, though, you certainly will.

I’m leaving the US later this year, for good. Yeah yeah, I know… Dont let the door hit 'ya on the way out. It was having my young daughter, looking into her newborn face and realizing that I wanted to raise her in a country that ran itself like a country rather than like a big game. I wanted her to grow up in a place where a certain sort of undesirable authoritarian imbecile was reduced to the fringes of society, slowly drinking and smoking himself to death in a pub somewhere, not employed by the state, elevated to the rank of ‘hero’ and inanely ‘thanked for his service’ as he ruined the lives of others.

I feel sorry for people who don’t enjoy the options I do. G-d bless your lives in the United States. Bon Voyage.


#7

If you’re not willing to go to jail, you may not be ready to be an activist of this type.


#8

Why not surveil the DoJ? Then you know when they’re coming and leave. Or entrap them by luring them somewhere else on purpose.


#9

Editorial: “The CFAA is still on the books, and it one of the stupidest, most grotesque statutes in the USA,”

missing “is” between it & one?


#10

The same thing happened to the TrueCrypt people. Clearly an outside influence at play.


#11

Just remember, there was nothing unusual about his prosecution, this is how the system works, how it is supposed to work, and how the people who run things want it to work.

If you are powerful enough (think David Petraeus, who conspired to steal above top secret information for financial gain but gets off with a misdemeanor), you get a different system, but for the rest of us, we are one more thing to be stepped on in their climb up the ladder.


#12

It seems unlikely to me that anybody is really more “powerful” than anybody else in any significant way - although clearly some are invested in assuming this to be the case. Having lots of friends or conning people doesn’t make anyone superhuman.


#13

You could play games with them, like the journalist Jack Anderson did with the spooks Nixon sent to him. E.g. when they watched him, he played a decoy, while his wife and children drove to their car, blocked their egress, and swarmed out with cameras and started taking pictures.

To paraphrase the “Poisoning the Press” book, “it was a game of a cat and a mouse, and the mouse was enjoying it”.

A rather drastic way could be calling a SWAT unit on them.


#14

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