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DoJ Admits Aaron Swartz's Prosecution Was Political

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the it's-always-political dept.

Government 326

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a blog post by Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, founder of corporate watchdog SumOfUs.org and partner of the late Aaron Swartz: "The DOJ has told Congressional investigators that Aaron's prosecution was motivated by his political views on copyright. I was going to start that last paragraph with 'In a stunning turn of events,' but I realized that would be inaccurate — because it's really not that surprising. Many people speculated throughout the whole ordeal that this was a political prosecution, motivated by anything/everything from Aaron's effective campaigning against SOPA to his run-ins with the FBI over the PACER database. But Aaron actually didn't believe it was — he thought it was overreach by some local prosecutors who didn't really understand the internet and just saw him as a high-profile scalp they could claim, facilitated by a criminal justice system and computer crime laws specifically designed to give prosecutors, however incompetent or malicious, all the wrong incentives and all the power they could ever want. But this HuffPo article, and what I’m hearing from sources on the Hill, suggest that that’s not true. That Ortiz and Heymann knew exactly what they were doing: Shutting up, and hopefully locking up, an extremely effective activist whose political views, including those on copyright, threatened the Powers That Be."

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I Don't Get It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023339)

There's a stark contrast in this article between someone who is defiant and righteous and effective in his fight against THE MAN. Yet at the first sign of adversity he rolls over like a stuck pig. Two completely different pictures. If you shove someone in power, prepare to be shoved back and stand up for yourself. He really should have rode this court case out, it sounded like he had very competent lawyers who would get it busted down to only the crimes he did commit.

Re:I Don't Get It (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023365)

Rolled over at the first sign of adversity?

Are you seriously?

I don't think you have made yourself even remotely familiar with the case, whatsoever, by that statement alone.

Re:I Don't Get It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023387)

So let's hear it. What did the big evil copyright fat cats do to him before this case?

I mean, it's so incredibly confusing. This article uses words like "civil disobedience" yet when he gets his chance to challenge the very laws that he is disobeying and thinks are wrong he commits suicide before the opening statements? So confusing.

I don't think you have made yourself even remotely familiar with the case, whatsoever, by that statement alone.

Come on, man. We're all adults here. Leave your shitty rhetoric at the door and cite your sources.

Re:I Don't Get It (1, Funny)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023399)

Come on, man. We're all adults here. Leave your shitty rhetoric at the door and cite your sources.

Citation needed

Re:I Don't Get It (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023439)

Maybe he didn't commit sucide.

Re:I Don't Get It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023571)

I know, I saw Dick Cheney with blood dripping from his hands fallating Karl Rove after personally strangling this jerk.

God-damn Republicans.

Oh what? The DOJ is part of the Obama regime? Danger Will Robinson!

Bwahahahahahahahahhahhahahahhahaha.

Re:I Don't Get It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023771)

I said that on day 1

Re:I Don't Get It (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023457)

We're all adults here.

Evidently not. You are asserting that a young man's suicide was merely a political statement, and an ineffective one at that. Such a statement bears no relation to a modern understanding of depression and suicide.

Re:I Don't Get It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023483)

We're all adults here.

Evidently not. You are asserting that a young man's suicide was merely a political statement, and an ineffective one at that. Such a statement bears no relation to a modern understanding of depression and suicide.

Yeah the modern understanding is that when you fail at life, it is somehow not your fault.

Just like when you don't exercise and then you eat and eat, and you get fatter and fatter, and then you're morbidly obese, that's somehow not your fault. First you were 20lbs overweight, then 30, then 40, then 50, then hey I think I see a pattern here, hmm maybe I shoudln't keep doing the same thing or else I will keep getting the same result, hmm aw fuck it, that's crazy talk. Some space aliens force-fed you or something, I guess. Bad space aliens.

Re:I Don't Get It (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023941)

No, the modern understanding is that even when you succeed at life you can still fall into a depression. And the modern understanding is also that depression is a disorder where the brain chemistry and functions change in a measurable way. If the technology existed to easily sample brain chemistry levels, that is how depression would be diagnosed. There are studies that have found that you can diagnose and differentiate different types of depressions with fMRI, which may be the way it is diagnosed in the future. So yeah, it is real and it is not self-caused (except in the sense that depression can be 'self-caused' by abuse, sexual assault, or genetics).

Re:I Don't Get It (-1, Flamebait)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023905)

Such a statement bears no relation to a modern understanding of depression and suicide.

Sometimes, the "modern understanding" has more to do with fluffy feelgood BS than reality. No one wants to admit that little Billy, or Dad, or Aunt Thelma hated life so much they would want out of it - And no one wants to admit they care more because "how dare that asshole deprive me of his continued presence" than out of any sincere concern for why someone might have wanted out so desperately.

For some reason, we have this bizarre obsession that no one in our society has any responsibility for their actions or the general course of their life. You choose not to eat? You have a disease. You eat too much? You have a disease. You can't stand living here anymore? You have a disease. You choose to rob someone and get shot in the process? How dare that bastard not respect your traumatic childhood! You get lung cancer? Damn those tobacco companies! You can't make ends meet? Tax those 1%er bastards more! I sound like a caustic uncaring bastard for daring to post this? I must have some sort of empathy deficiency disorder.

So... You want to die? We have more than enough people on the planet, see ya. If it takes drugs to numb you into sticking around on this ball of mud, perhaps you shouldn't stick around?

Re:I Don't Get It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023993)

Have you ever experienced a diagnosed mental illness? I just want to know where your expertise on this subject comes from.

Btw, do you also go to children's cancer wards and yell at the patients about how they shouldn't stick around?

Re:I Don't Get It (1)

starworks5 (139327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023977)

If he was wanting to make a political statement, he should have just self-immolated himself on the doorsteps of capital hill, that would have really made a media circus out of it.

Re:I Don't Get It (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023555)

Well, for starters you could read the linked article. It has plenty of what you're asking for mr. AC/troll/shill.

Re:I Don't Get It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023815)

Someone downmod this fucking $hihll troll pro-copyrighter

Re:I Don't Get It (0, Offtopic)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023431)

Like many folks who are very successful at such a young age, Andrew was unprepared for the level of adversity he was faced with when he took his own life. Hats off to his idealism, but he would have been a more potent thorn in the man's side if he had spent any significant time poor and struggling.

Re:I Don't Get It (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023799)

Who's Andrew?

Re:I Don't Get It (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023461)

Yes, he is serious; he's a RIAA/DOJ/greedist schill, and a comment placed like this gets him a bonus.

Re:I Don't Get It (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023375)

The thought of years of federal "pound-me-in-the-ass" prison, combined with his recorded bouts of depression, were plenty to drive him over the edge.

Re:I Don't Get It (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023405)

This is easy for you to say when you are not in the situation. A young man who was doing it for all the right reasons, but who was naive about the justice system.

Remember he admitted it was him, he surrendered his equipment without warrants, etc.

I hope someone pays dearly for this and I hope the public gets wind of this and revolts against these people that are purchase by corporations.

Re:I Don't Get It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023441)

Remember he admitted it was him, he surrendered his equipment without warrants, etc.

Because he honestly believed he had done nothing wrong! This article uses the phrase "civil disobedience" and that means to break the laws and only the laws that you feel are unjust and wrong. In doing so you get your day in court and if they still imprison you then at least the rest of the world can see it tried in court.

Re:I Don't Get It (4, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023581)

Civil disobedience of that calibre isn't punished with 30 years of gulag. Except maybe back when Stalin was still alive. It's punished with fines in civilized world, and maybe short term prison in 3rd world.

After Stalin died, even in USSR they didn't push for those kinds of punishments for that calibre of "civil disobedience".

Worth noting that current for profit prisons are arguably worse then gulags. On one hand, you have better conditions (i.e. no risk of freezing to death during winters), on the other hand many prisoners helped each other in gulags because they were all in it together.

Re:I Don't Get It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023655)

Aaron was no innocent to this. He'd gone through very similar legal issues when he tried replicating all the PACER data previously. The chance of Swartz going to prison was effectively nil, and he knew it. What he *did* face was a felony conviction and actually having to face *federal* prosecutors who were understandably tied of his behavior.

The idea that he was this "brilliant, innocent, lost soul" is horse pucks, he was being committing criminal acts to support his political beliefs, and had been for years. What he was *also* going to lose was his job at Harvard. No nice office with high bandwidth, no pretty girls or boys wandering the common to stare at, no free attendance at Harvard or MIT lectures and staff affairs (where Harvard staff are often quite welcome), no campus ID allowing him access to what is basically most of the cool space in Cambridge, MA.

Re:I Don't Get It (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43024025)

Remember he admitted it was him, he surrendered his equipment without warrants, etc.

Everything about what was done to him was wrong, but this was seriously fucking stupid. Don't admit anything. Don't even admit you were there. Nuke everything. Better to be harassed for concealing evidence (and if there's no evidence, how can they prove you destroyed anything incriminating?) than to be raped for not even committing a crime.

Re: I Don't Get It (1)

nanospook (521118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43024047)

But. . We are the public. .

You can make it so (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43024053)

It won't change in 1 month, next year or maybe even in 5 years.

But somewhere along the line, other people'll adopt your very ideas you put out.
Living this on a daily basis now regarding organic non-toxic and vegetarian foods among dozens of other areas.
It doesn't even take that much energy. You don't have to marry your ideas, just back them up with facts.

Re:I Don't Get It (5, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023423)

Yet at the first sign of adversity he rolls over like a stuck pig.

Suicidal depression is a serious mental disease. You can't just wish it away by smiling and singing a plucky song.

People need to understand that mental diseases are actual diseases, and at least as difficult to cure as any physical disease out there.

The idea that someone suffering severe depression can simply just "stand up for themselves" in adversity is incredibly insensitive.

Re:I Don't Get It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023539)

So, always look on the bright side of death
      Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece o' shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke it's true
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Remember that the last laugh is on you

Re:I Don't Get It (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023835)

The idea that someone suffering severe depression can simply just "stand up for themselves" in adversity is incredibly insensitive.

People saying that are stupid, not insensitive. You might as well tell someone with diabetes or AIDS to just "stand up and shake it off."

Re:I Don't Get It (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023937)

You are of course correct - stupid is a much better characterization than insensitive. I was angry at the op, and so chose to tone down my original language to avoid being inflammatory :-)

Re:I Don't Get It (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023525)

Keep in mind that you're talking about a kid here, one who in the typical American fashion had been raised on idealism and "good government bullshit" (to quote Goodfellas). It's quite likely he had no idea going in just how hard the government can push back when citizens threaten corporate interests.

It's real easy to envision yourself a hero when you embark on a fight against the man. But when confronted with the very harsh reality that you are engaging in the fight largely alone and against all odds, it can be overwhelming.

Re:I Don't Get It (3)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023675)

Mental illness is very serious and sometimes people get pushed beyond their limit. I can't imagine the need for any government employee to push someone that far.

conspiracy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023373)

tell me the suicide was not part of the plan...

Re:conspiracy (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023433)

There's no concrete proof of a link, but the coincidences? They keep uncannily piling on, and as soon as we take a peek under the rug I think we'll find it all out.

It IS somewhat shocking. (5, Insightful)

apcullen (2504324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023381)

It's not at all shocking that it was politically motivated. What's shocking is that they admitted it.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023467)

Basically a big f- you to democracy or even the idea of it... I mean we know it's not democracy, but when you stop even paying lip service. That's over the line.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (5, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023519)

What would really be shocking is if anyone went to jail for this.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (3, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023819)

No, no. That's too shocking. That could never happen.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (2)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023575)

My stomach turns when I think of the lengths that people will go to in the name of justice.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (5, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023863)

In the name of "Law". Nobody (especially Lawyers) pretends it's a system of Justice.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43024065)

Justice is the judges job to ensure everything proceeds fairly. lawyers only care about winning their case.

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (4, Informative)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023667)

They didn't. They said an arguably political paper "played a role in the prosecution" . They don't consider the paper political or they don't consider it the whole motivation. It's a short paper, probably worth reading so you can make up your own mind how wrong they were.

http://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt

Re:It IS somewhat shocking. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023779)

you know what's worse than a conspiracy? a peon(prosecutor) who thinks there is a conspiracy and acting on as if there was one and as if he/she would be rewarded for being a dick in order to further that conspiracy.

an actual conspiracy has planning and bullying schwartz didn't really help the powers that be at all.. yet the prosecution thought that for some fucked up reason they should do their thing. like a soldier committing mass murder of random people of some ethnic distinction because he thinks that's the reason he was deployed.

as for the copyright lobby, it's not really a conspiracy - it's all in the open.

Naturally (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023385)

Of course they can admit it was political. There's no downside to this for them. They can't be successfully sued, and no one will ever be held personally responsible.

"Yeah, we did it for political reasons. But, we didn't use a drone. It just turned out that our unreasonable tactics were extremely effective. And the taxpayers should be happy that they didn't get the bill for a large public trial."

Re:Naturally (3, Interesting)

TrentTheThief (118302) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023709)

I know a professional who would disagree with you about personal responsibility. He has made his living for the last ~30 years providing people with a very final dose of personal responsibility. All it takes is someone willing to pay for his services.

Re:Naturally (5, Interesting)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#43024049)

I can't tell if you are talking abut a lawyer or a hitman... And is there a difference?

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43024075)

And people will vote the same people into power, over and over and over and over....

Alpha Centauri applicable. (5, Insightful)

MRe_nl (306212) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023407)

"As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master".

        Commissioner Pravin Lal, "U.N. Declaration of Rights"

Re:Alpha Centauri applicable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023485)

Obama is already your master.

Re:Alpha Centauri applicable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023545)

Beware of he who would deny you access to information,
 
Or a 3D printer.

Silver lining (1, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023425)

At least they just prosecuted him instead of launching a Hellfire missile at his house.

Re:Silver lining (2)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023517)

The result was pretty much the same, though. No?

Re:Silver lining (4, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023611)

It was far worse. Hellfires tend to be relatively quick and painless. They basically threatened him until fear and despair drove him to suicide.

I'll take hellfire over that kind of torture any day.

Re:Silver lining (4, Insightful)

cpghost (719344) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023633)

They may not have fired a Hellfile missile at his house, but the end result was just as lethal nonetheless.

Re:Silver lining (1)

geirlk (171706) | about a year and a half ago | (#43024077)

Albeit with less collateral damage.

RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023435)

I'd say rest in peace, Aaron, but he's probably rolling over in his grave right now. I hope the people responsible feel remorse but they are incapable of feeling human emotion.

Enter the tin foil hat contest (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023437)

I'm looking at the political manifesto being quoted, and the only bit of data was this quote:

> A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution, sources told The Huffington Post.

*OF COURSE IT DID*. It shows that *Swartz* was being political, and that messing with copyright apart was, *for Swartz*, a political act. That means he's going to do it again, and encourage other people to do it again, and it's a completely relevant part of criminal prosecution and sentencing. If someone doesn't believe what they did was wrong, or believe that it was a political action, it makes them more likely to do it *again*.

And make no mistake, Swartz had repeated opportunities to stop, and he was screwing with research worldwide, not just at MIT. He *deerved*( prosecution.

Yep (5, Insightful)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023561)

Just like Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., etc., etc., etc. "deserved" prosecution.

Did you ever stop to consider, even for a moment, that the reason Aaron Swartz was going to continue this pattern of behavior might just possibly be that he was right?

Re:Yep (1, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023811)

Comment of the day, right here!

Re:Enter the tin foil hat contest (1)

Marxdot (2699183) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023623)

"Political persecution is fine if it 'screws with research' (read: disrespects corporate 'intellectual property')" -- Anonymous Coward.

TFA is a ranting leftist blog post, not a story (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023453)

This would be like linking to an NRA member's blog about the gun control debate as if it were an accurate reporting on events.

Sums it up ... (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023477)

But the terrifying fact I'm trying to highlight in this particular blog post is this: According to the DOJ's testimony, if you express political views that the government doesn't like, at any point in your life, that political speech act can and will be used to justify making "an example" out of you once the government thinks it can pin you with a crime.

This is awful. The idea that copyright (and in fact ideas about copyright) should be enforced as vigorously as this is absurd.

America has started doing show trials now of people who haven't committed crimes on the basis that their ideas are radical and dangerous?

The copyright lobby has won, apparently. And doing anything contrary to their wishes will cause the government to go after you.

Welcome to the oligarchy folks, it's all down from here. I'm not sure how free of a society you can be when commercial interests lead to something like this.

Re:Sums it up ... (5, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023533)

This is awful. The idea that copyright (and in fact ideas about copyright) should be enforced as vigorously as this is absurd.

No, you're wrong. That's not what this is about.

This is about a policy in which political propaganda is held above human life, liberty, rights, the law, everything. A policy by which goals are set and the rest is just a front. This is a government that lies to the people and that works against their interests, that fights against the will of change, that uses selective force of law and mock-law to suppress ideas and ideals.

This is the same tyranny as gun control, global warming, and stem cell research: things we either can't know without major amounts of research or just can't know period, because the political views have covered up and even shaped the facts. Global warming is the biggest offender: we can cite stem cell research and see what was adult and embryonic, even though that's usually left out of casual activism (a lot of embryonic stem cell proponents point to "stem cell research" using adult stem cells); but with global warming, any research about the trends, the causes, and the impacts not following the political dogma is actively prevented as a first line of defense, and then picked apart and ridiculed by measures that would similarly debase current consensus. The same one-side slant is applied to everything, to varying degrees of effectiveness, regardless of whether the dogma is accurate with reality or completely fantastic.

This is the same with copyright. The media and the government want to provide a slanted view of copyright, to ridicule and debase research contrary to their position, to hide all research that doesn't contradict but does show the other impacts (weak copyright DOES hurt business; but it also GREATLY improves the wealth of society by slipping works into the hands of consumers after a shorter time, and by reducing punishments to not be retaliatory and destructive but rather simply just). They have set out to destroy their opponents to cover the important facts that must be brought to the public mind.

Hang them all.

Re:Sums it up ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023829)

"Global warming is the biggest offender:"

Bullshit.

Global Warming is as easy to demonstrate as putting more and more jumpers on will make you warmer and warmer.

Re:Sums it up ... (2, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023919)

Nice manifesto, but the truth is pretty simple. It's about the money. It's always about the money.

Re:Sums it up ... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023605)

That is someone's interpretation of the testimony, not the actual testimony. In fact, the "political speech" they are referring to is the 'Guerilla Open Access Manifesto' which the prosecutors were going to use as evidence of criminal intent. The manifesto itself is only a part of *how* he was being prosecuted, not *why* he was being prosecuted.

Re:Sums it up ... (1)

cpghost (719344) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023689)

America has started doing show trials now of people who haven't committed crimes on the basis that their ideas are radical and dangerous?

The concept isn't new. [youtube.com]

Re:Sums it up ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023693)

I was unaware of Aaron before his death. I did hear about SOPA and signed the petition but didn't see why these movements are so crucial.

Aaron died for a cause and in turn has inspired many people like me to fight for what is right. Each one of us has the potential to create change as Aaron did. Its upto us to realize this and make it happen.

I get more inspired by him everyday.

Re:Sums it up ... (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023933)

Welcome to the oligarchy folks, it's all down from here.

In other breaking news, the Egyptian foreign minister just announced the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

And nothing will change (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023489)

Because so what if they admitted it? Is anyone going to be held responsible or punished for it? No. At most there might be a slap on the wrist (NOT for the prosecution, but for letting it get out of hand), then it will be business as usual.

Remember, all the rules are there just for the plebs, not for the elites in the ruling class.

ironic (5, Insightful)

IT.luddite (1633703) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023491)

that the quote appearing at the bottom of the page is Mizner's:

"If you steal from one author it's plagiarism; if you steal from many it's research."

As someone mentioned, it's not shocking the prosecution was politically motivated but shocking that they admitted it. I'll add that it's also not shocking that they think they didn't do anything wrong!

It was not political. (-1, Troll)

will_die (586523) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023505)

If I speed and get a ticket I was not ticketed because of my political views about the traffic laws!
Swartz went out of his way to break the law because he did not agree with it, that he disagreed with it does not make it political. It just make him a lawbreaker who did not respect the rights of the people who created the material.
You could make the case that he was targeted because his high profile, and based on the crimes he committed that was probably the case. However to say it was all politically generated is wrong and a disservice to those who are actually arrested for political reasons.

Re:It was not political. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023617)

From what I've read he broke a TOS, not the law.

Re:It was not political. (5, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023763)

That's part of the issue. If you break the TOS, you have voided the contract granting permission to access a computer system. If you access it, you are accessing a computer system without authorisation - a criminal offence in the US under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Legally, it's really no different from cracking your way in. That's why the maximum penalty he was threatened with was so high, and why there is such an outcry: The law used was not intended to criminalise violating a website TOS, but it implicitly does just that.

Re:It was not political. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023619)

If you had to plea bargain (what would have been a fine plus points) down to only two years in prison because politically motivated prosecutors what to make a career and send a message, how would you feel then?

Re:It was not political. (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023661)

More like you speed and get a ticket for felony reckless driving.

The point isn't that he was prosecuted, it was that A) he was prosecuted beyond any reasonable interpretation of the wrongdoing B) the prosecutor drew up a huge list of charges to try and scare him into taking a plea C) the reasons for A and B, it has just been admitted by the DOJ, were political. That shouldn't happen in the US, it just shouldn't. There shouldn't even be the shadow of a possibility that it could possibly have happened.

Re:It was not political. (5, Informative)

Creepy (93888) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023755)

The thing is, he really didn't break the law, he took freely available, public domain documents from JSTOR and published them on the internet so that the public didn't have to pay 10 cents per page to get access to them. The law being used against him was the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), specifically the section that was put in for ATMs. Lawyers creatively turned this section of the CFAA to apply to terms of service agreements by saying the 10 cents per page was a network based "financial transaction." Basically, they used a law that was never designed for a networked computing based world and applied it to a network computing based world. The same law basically bans the world wide web, requiring you to have explicit permission to visit any computer on the internet, so congratulations on committing several felonies by browsing today.

Re:It was not political. (1)

Eldragon (163969) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023793)

Drive down any highway in the United States. If the Speed Limit is 70 mph, the troopers aren't pulling over every car going 71 mph and up. They are pulling over whom they choose to pull over; sometimes its the guy going 85, sometimes its the car going 71 and "happens" to be driven by a minority.

Police departments throughout the United States don't have a history of profiling or racism through selective application of the law. What happened to Swartz is no different; just at a higher level.

Re:It was not political. (5, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023839)

The anti-segregation activists were breaking the law too. The fact that there is a law doesn't necessarily make it good, you know? How else can one fight immoral laws?

recanted, apparently... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023507)

tfa has an update at the bottom:

"UPDATE #2: A DOJ official says (in the outlet âoeBroadcasting & Cable,â an odd choice if you ask meâ¦) that my characterization of the prosecution as âoepoliticalâ is inaccurate. No argument as to why or how, so color me unconvinced."

whoever the "doj official" is, is likely out of a job soon..

And who runs the DOJ? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023527)

I just love it. You socialist morons who in such great numbers attack conservatives and support ultra liberal radicals like Obama your virtual king, what do you have to say?

Who runs the DOJ? Holder, stooge of Obama and the left, tyrants all of them.

Or am I missing something and it this all in reality the fault of the EVIL BUUUUUUSH!!!!!

You fucking drones.

Capthca: ENFORCER

Bwhaahahahahhahahahahahah

Re:And who runs the DOJ? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023635)

It's the new slashdot system that flagged you as copyright enforcer and gave you a captcha you can type in without typos.

Re:And who runs the DOJ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023729)

Ah yes, another socialist sycophant with no argument attempts to deflect blame.

Gwan now, vote Democrat early and often! Tyranny is fun when everyone is on your side!

But are they really or are you just another 'useful idiot', one wonders...

Why I can't live there (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023541)

If you are innocent but a little dangerous the system overreacts and goes into bug squish mode. I didn't have the resources to defend myself without being driven to poverty, I am not too big or important to fail, the perfect target. My crime is being invited by a friends kid to give a first aid and rope safety class to some tree worshiping hippies after a fatality, that got me into the sights of a federal prosecutor as a enviro-terrorist. I found out thanks to a college friend in the prosecutors office. I am a natural born in the continental US citizen, fortunately with an inherited second passport, I had the resources to go expat rather than gamble what the feds would do with their new DHS/patriot act powers.
Is my life good now, sure, but I still feel that I can not ever visit the US until there is massive change.

Just as with the Occupy movement and Wikileaks: (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023579)

Remember when it came out, that the FBI actively worked with the banks, to forcibly (and illegally anyway) shut the movement down? They added agents provocateurs, false flag operations, and sowed the seed of conflict, to get them to fall apart.

The *exact* same thing happened to Wikileaks.

There's a highly active and highly powerful force in the USA, that shuts down everyone and everything that goes against he enforced groupthink or doesn't let them distract him.

It's why there are no real other parties, why the media only focuses on two views that are virtually the same and are portrayed as the most extreme differences there could be, and it's especially the reason why there aren't constant riots and attempts to overthrow the dictatorial government, even though it's ripe since a looong time.

The CIA, the FBI, Homeland Insecurity, the TSA, the NSA, and especially those most powerful government agencies no-one has ever heard of but which somehow are involved in everything. They're all part of it.

And the people live in extreme schizophrenic denial, flee to the delusions of religion, the reality distortion of the "American dream", and the lies of the "free market".

Re:Just as with the Occupy movement and Wikileaks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023909)

And the people live in extreme schizophrenic denial, flee to the delusions of religion, the reality distortion of the "American dream", and the lies of the "free market".

Someone is definitely in extreme schizophrenic something.

Re:Just as with the Occupy movement and Wikileaks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023957)

the lies of the "free market" ...the biggest lie being that we actually have one.

(We are talking about the most expensive, most powerful, and most far-reaching government in human history. The idea that a free market can exist here is about as logical as corporatism dominating the Amish society.)

Re:Just as with the Occupy movement and Wikileaks: (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023997)

the lies of the "free market" ...the biggest lie being that we actually have one.

The biggest lie is that "either" party wants one.

Re:Just as with the Occupy movement and Wikileaks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43024007)

The CIA, the FBI, Homeland Insecurity, the TSA, the NSA, and especially those most powerful government agencies no-one has ever heard of but which somehow are involved in everything. They're all part of it

Yes -- and no!
The "most powerful agencies involved in everything" don't exist in the physical world. They exist only as IDEAS: the idea that copyright should allow corporations to control massive databases, for example. All these ideas feed off the "big idea" that "your life will work fine as long as the current system of ideas continues."

Read what the prosecutors said exactly. They were defending the system of ideas which they are charged with defending. No, we don't know if they were paid off or told to do this, but it would not have been necessary. The "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto" said "part of the current system of ideas is dumb and needs to be torn down." The prosecutors saw this, saw that Aaron had started on the path of tearing the system down, and reacted accordingly. Unfortunately, their "system of ideas" is not perfect, it's given to inhumanity and ruthlessness, and so they went too far and unwittingly did more than Aaron ever could to bring down "the system."

Bullshit! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023591)

His manifesto shows conspiratorial intent... He declared he wanted to make all information "free" and then he went in and STOLE the information to distribute it.

The DOJ was doing its job and Taren is the one politicizing it.

But if we way to go there, lets... Why did OBAMAs DOJ feel the need to persecute and torture Swartz like they did?

Summary (and article) by Fox News? (5, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023593)

DoJ Admits Aaron Swartz's prosecution was political! The DOJ has told Congressional investigators that Aaron's prosecution was motivated by his political views on copyright!

... but then you go to the article and see the quote and it's:

A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution, sources told The Huffington Post.

Doesn't sound quite the same as "admitting it's political". In fact, let's see what the HuffPo said:

The "Manifesto," Justice Department representatives told congressional staffers, demonstrated Swartz's malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.

... yeah. Sorry, Submitter, but we mock that kind of Gotcha Journalism when Fox News or Breitbart twists someone's words to make a splashy headline, or when James O'Keefe does one of his out-of-context videos to smear Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous Cowards vs the world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023609)

Well if ever you need to remind people why anonymity is so important, perhaps the Aaron Swartz case illustrates it.

No doubt they'd get a girl to seduce him, then prosecute him for rape if all else failed.

Scooped by HN - Anonymous Staffer, No Story (4, Insightful)

Yebyen (59663) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023711)

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5284311 [ycombinator.com]

The story was reported yesterday on Hacker News, and the headline on /. is just as sensational as it was in the other forum.

There is no admission, and there is no source. The anonymous staffer who will not be named is some underling with no pull or sway, and nobody has resigned. He didn't even say what the headline claims he said.

ehp...?! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023713)

Time I'm done here, outreach are continues in a fun 7o be again. Of OpenBSD versus take a look at the All over America that FreeBSD is chronic abuse of As one of the Again. There are the BSD license, Moronic, dilettante Sux0r status, *BSD least of which is provide sodas, mire of decay, Ransom for their GNAA on slashdot, to make sure the = 1400 NetBSD TCP/IP stack has They started to Been sitting here coorect network BE NIGGER! BE GAY! SO THAT THEIR that *BSD is most people into a getting together to problem stems too much formality troubles of those by fundamental the official GAY I type this.

Is this news? (0)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023767)

Or is it just a different slant on things we already knew about? The first link in the posting was to a tumblr blog formatted to look like a magazine article. But if you read it, its author breathlessly recounts rumors. The second link cited is a Huffington Post article about how prosecutors viewed his "manifesto," which has already been discussed on slashdot.

TarenSK is entitled to his opinions. But they're not very interesting. Who would have expected publicly defying the law would motivate prosecutors to come down hard on a suspect?

Seriously, is Slashdot news for nerds anymore? Or just Talking Points Memo [talkingpointsmemo.com] for the Pirate Party?

Re:Is this news? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023935)

Aaron Swartz was many things, but as it happens gay was not one of them. TarenSK was his girlfriend.

But who would expect insightful commentary from someone who hasn't noticed even that?

HuffPo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023825)

Really? That rag is still around? It's the Fox News of our world, except it actually has less credibility. Slashdot... for scientific minds, citing HuffPo, or Wapo? Admittedly (very biased) rags. So sad

Voir Dire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023849)

If it has not happened already, watch judges start citing contempt prospective jurors for mentioning Aaron Swartz.

The defining characteristic of nation-states is that their governments must hold at least ONE political prisoner. Human nature is such that it is impossible otherwise.

Sadly (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023853)

"Politician admits obvious truth everyone knew already" ...really IS "news". /sigh /downfalloftherepublic

2nd Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43024031)

This is why there's a Second Amendment, people.

"Who needs an assault rifle," you ask? Obviously anyone with opinions of his/her own.

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