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The Accidental Betrayal of Aaron Swartz

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the picking-sides-and-picking-battles dept.

Crime 409

theodp writes "The anarchist dictum when it comes to grand juries, explains Salon's Natasha Lennard, is a simple one: 'No one talks, everyone walks.' It's a lesson journalist Quinn Norton tragically learned only after federal prosecutors got her to inadvertently help incriminate Aaron Swartz, her dearest friend and then-lover. Convinced she knew nothing that could be used against Swartz, Norton at first cooperated with the prosecutors. But prosecutors are pro fishermen — they cast wide nets. And in a moment Norton describes as 'profoundly foolish,' she told the grand jury that Swartz had co-authored a blog post advocating for open data (the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto), which prosecutors latched onto and spun into evidence that the technologist had 'malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.' Norton sadly writes, 'It is important the people know that the prosecutors manipulated me and used my love against Aaron without me understanding what they were doing. This is their normal. They would do this to anyone. We should understand that any alleged crime can become life-ruining if it catches their eyes.' Consider yourself forewarned."

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When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (5, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year and a half ago | (#43083959)

Say absolutely nothing. Every single work spoken to them will come from your lawyers mouth.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (5, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about a year and a half ago | (#43083997)

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of dude's girlfriends, I will find something in them which will get him to hang himself.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084601)

The only good pig is a dead pig.

Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084057)

nobody expects the Spanish inquisition!

Cops too. (5, Informative)

naroom (1560139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084131)

The job of police and prosecutors is to establish guilt. They are not there to help you. They are there to harm you in any way they can. Do not talk to them at all if you can avoid it.

Don't Talk To Cops [youtube.com] is a video detailing exactly how someone who is PURELY INNOCENT can have their words twisted to prove their "guilt". If you have not watched this, watch it. Make your kids watch it too.

Re:Cops too. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084397)

MOD PARENT UP.
Don't Talk To Cops is the most informative video to grace the pages of Youtube.

Re:Cops too. (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084401)

It's supposed to be an adversarial system: The prosecution tries to prove guilt, the defense tries, if not to prove innocence, then at least to show that guilt cannot be proven. A neutral party then listens to the arguments from both sides and decides who has the stronger argument.

The problem is that the prosecution has a very strong incentive to get a conviction, even if that means not playing fair: They have every reason to manipulate, intimidate, hide evidence, outright lie to the defendant, seize everything they possibly can on any grounds and seal bank accounts so the defendant cannot afford a competent defense, and in general do anything and everything they can in order to secure a conviction: Because their job is no longer to search for the truth: Their job is to get that conviction. Their careers depend upon it.

Re:Cops too. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084619)

Watch both parts, the second part is a cop saying the same thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE

Also 10 rules for dealing with the police https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4nQ_mFJV4I

Re:Cops too. (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084629)

Thank you, I came in here to post these videos.

The only information to give to the police is your lawyer's name. Ideally, let your lawyer tell them that too.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084185)

There is a good video about why you should never talk to the police. Look it up on youtube.

Basically the police are, as the kids say, 'incentivized' to closed cases and get the collar. There is not enough incentive to insure the criminal is caught, especially for cases where the jury is not going to understand the case and convict on the basis that the police said the suspect did it.

Police are much better at this than any civilian. There is a reason why we have a right to legal representation, and why we should always get it. There is a reason why on TV procedurals the cops are always trying to keep the lawyers away. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.

Just look at the so-called cannibal cop. No evidence that he it is anything other than fantasy, yet he is on trial for conspiracy. Or the kid who was conned into plotting to detonate a bomb by the FBI. He was an impressionable kid, with the same delusions of grandeur of any other kid. (And for those who say he was not a kid, then why can't an adult drink until 21?). He was manipulated by expert government personell into doing something illegal in the same way that many other kids are manipulated into doing illegal things by the religious fanatics. There was no cry for justice here, just some people trying to get a reputation for conviction.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (2)

clarkn0va (807617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084247)

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (0, Troll)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084517)

Higher quality recording:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ [youtube.com]

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (4, Funny)

martinux (1742570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084639)

Higher quality recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ [youtube.com]

Never gonna give yourself up?

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084201)

This is not a new lesson. This is, in fact, a very ancient lesson. But new generations fail to learn this one from prior generations, and so stories like this keep on happening.

The more shut your mouth is the safer you, and everyone you love, will remain.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084381)

The only person who made Aaron Swartz unsafe was Aaron Swartz.
All the prosecutors ever did was talk; he used deadly force against himself.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084405)

You can't actually do this. Grand juries can compel testimony. There are people in prison right now [wsws.org] for refusing to testify in front of grand juries. And because it's considered civil contempt, you get no trial, no appeal.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (4, Informative)

dondelelcaro (81997) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084593)

And because it's considered civil contempt, you get no trial, no appeal.

They're only jailed for as long as the grand jury is sitting. Secondly, you can contest coercive contempt charges, it's just that your grounds for contesting them are more limited.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (5, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084445)

When you're called before a Grand Jury in the US, you don't have the right to remain silent. The prosecution can effectively force you to answer questions, and if you refuse, you can be jailed for years.

It's still good advice to say absolutely nothing, but it's not as simple as most of you seem to believe. By saying nothing, you are condemning yourself to jail.

This is why pretty much only anarchists refuse to cooperate with Grand Juries, because they have a fundamental ideological opposition to the legal system and will never cooperate with the prosecution, even when their right not to cooperate is suspended. It's one thing to legally exercise your rights, it's another to be willing to go to jail for them.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084613)

I have two three letter phrases for you: "I don't know" "I don't remember" . Remember those, and you set the bar high even where they may not come after you in a worst case scenario because of the psychological aspect. However, this obviously doesn't work for is this color red or blue type questions. But on something like did you hear 1 gun shot or 2? Wtf are they gonna do, tell you you're wrong on what you thought you heard?

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (5, Interesting)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084545)

My father, who was the most straight-laced, church-going guy you would ever meet, once told me that if I ever got into trouble and got arrested that the one and *only* thing I was to say to police was "I won't speak to you without my lawyer present." It was pretty shocking to me that my Ned Flanders-esque dad would give me that kind of advice. But the older and more experienced I get, the more I realize that this is exactly the same advice I'm going to give to my son (after telling him to try to avoid getting into trouble to begin with, of course).

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084611)

What you really need to worry about is secret Grand Jury investigations. You can be jailed if you do not answer their questions.

Re:When talking to a prosecutor in the US. (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084631)

When talking to a prosecutor anywhere

FTFY

Ignorance is bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43083965)

I was tricked.

We Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43083981)

Some of us don't need to be taught that lesson: never talk to the police.

Never.

Period.

Say no more.

Your plan in action (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084081)

Police: So, which way did the mugger run?
You: ...
Police: Hello? Can you talk?
You: ...
Police: Don't you want to get your wallet back?
You: ...
Police: Eh, fuck it. I'll be at the donut shop.

Re:Your plan in action (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084175)

You make the hugely false assumption that a cop would give a mother fuck about a mugger or a person's wallet. Seriously dude....

Re:Your plan in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084423)

Any assumption is false, including your misanthropic, paranoid one.

Re:Your plan in action (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084189)

Probably the best policy.
Lest they find you guilty of something unrelated.

The police are not your friend.

Re:The police are not your friend. (3, Informative)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084341)

When I fought off an attempted robbery at gun point, the police most certainly were my friends. It all depends on the circumstances. I was once pulled over for a speeding offence, and the way I was answering his questions prompted him to ask if I was a lawyer.

Re:The police are not your friend. (1, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084377)

You are lucky you were not charged with assault or anything else they could come up with. Far easier to go after you who are easy to reach than hunt down someone else. They might be temporary allies, but not friends.

Re:temporary allies, but not friends (4, Insightful)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084425)

They might be temporary allies, but not friends.

Understood.

My dad used to be a public defender, and It's interesting to me how nearly every tv show demonizes public defenders, and gives halos to the police. Granted you can't really trust a lawyer any more than anyone else (including police), but we are all just people here.

Re:temporary allies, but not friends (2)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084583)

My dad used to be a public defender, we are all just people here.

Nice try, but we're not buying that a public defender is a person.

Re:The police are not your friend. (1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084565)

"You are lucky you were not charged with assault or anything else they could come up with. "
you're an idiot.

Re:The police are not your friend. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084633)

Or maybe my life has shown me things yours has not.

When people are evaluated on a metric they will do what they can to inflate that metric. Cops do it just like salesmen. If it takes lying and cheating they will do that just as much as a used car salesman.

Re:Your plan in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084293)

Yeah, the kids here are pretty special. Forget subtlety or nuance or having to think. Just stick to absolutist positions and ridicule and/or ignore any real life scenarios. In retrospect, its no surprise that some many of them are ron paul lovers.

Re:Your plan in action (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084315)

As someone who tried to report a mugging and found himself threatened with being charged with trespass, jaywalking, and making false statements, I have to agree.

tldr: after getting mugged, I ran across the street and through a private lot to tell the cop sitting in it that the guy rapidly walking away had mugged me, the cop pointed out that I had jaywalked to get to him and was currently standing on private property with a posted trespassing notice. When I disgustedly said "nevermind, then" and walk away, he shouted that if I put in a complaint, he'd charge me with making a false complaint about the mugging. Never interrupt a cop when he's eating.

Re:Your plan in action (5, Interesting)

UsuallyReasonable (2715457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084403)

I don't believe that story for a second.

Re:Your plan in action (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084553)

As some who has work with law enforcement, I don't believe that story for a moment.

tl;dr - He's a fucking liar.

Re:Your plan in action (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084369)

Police: So, which way did the mugger run?
You: That way.
Police: Eh, fuck it. I'll be at the donut shop.

I fail to see how talking helped you. It can't ever help and will only make it worse. Hell, I had a robber on video, and they still called me in to lineups and such, and never caught the guy (though if ever his girlfriend talks, they may link him to other crimes).

Re:Your plan in action (1)

Cyfun (667564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084447)

You imply that if you did tell the police about your mugger and lost wallet, they would actually do a damn thing about it.

Re:We Know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084321)

Some of us don't need to be taught that lesson: don't commit crimes.

Re:We Know (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084345)

Some of us don't need to be taught that lesson: don't commit crimes.

If you think you've never committed a crime, you've never read the US Revised Statutes.

Here's a resource, [overcriminalized.com] Now please STFU and educate yourself.

Re:We Know (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084433)

This is also not about being a criminal.

The person who is the subject of this article is not a criminal. She was not accused of anything. If anything, she's the next of kin.

Perhaps she should have married the guy and invoked spousal priveledge.

Re:We Know (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084595)

She should have pled the Fifth.

Can't incriminate anyone if you refuse to speak at all...

Re:We Know (4, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084541)

That's funny. I've had several pleasant conversations with cops.

It helps when you're not an adversarial dickbag to the cops.

This is surprising? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43083985)

What's that line that's been repeatedly drummed into our heads?

"Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law"

Re:This is surprising? (1)

lucm (889690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084327)

I prefer: "loose lips shink ships" or "snitches get stitches"

Re:This is surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084443)

The first fits, but the second is less of a wise warning, and more of an open threat against snitches.

Re:This is surprising? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084361)

"Anything you say can and will be used against you..."

And, apparently, your friends and family as well.

There was no Accident (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43083991)

If she didn't talk she should have been charged with aiding and abetting.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43083999)

First

Do not talk to cops/prosecutors w/o counsel, ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084023)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CE4QtwIwAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6wXkI4t7nuc&ei=rmM2UbuuAYPg8wTJ_IGQCw&usg=AFQjCNFCoazxrnNtO6N2bs_yG_tfpcl_vQ&bvm=bv.43287494,d.eWU

Obligatory (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084025)

Don't Talk To Police [youtube.com]

NEVER TALK TO COPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084041)

It's been proven over and over again that there is not a syllable or grunt you can give to the police that will ever help you in any way.
This goes double if you are innocent. Triple if you are a minority. The cops operate on a crooked ethos. Their job is to throw you in jail regardless of your guilt or innocence, not determine the truth. (That's the job of the court system)

All communication goes through your lawyer. No exceptions. Just smile dumbly and ask for your lawyer. No matter what they say, you are under no obligation to tell them anything without legal representation present.

Also, snitches get stitches.

Re:NEVER TALK TO COPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084199)

"Also, snitches get stitches."

I always laugh when I hear this. My response is "retards that try to do me bodily harm get either stabbed in their fucking throat or shot in the face with a 12 gauge."

Stitches ain't gonna help ya there fuck face.

this is a law enforcement mindset (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084063)

if a cop or DA wants to talk to you about something you did or if you don't know why understand that you are not talking your way out of something, they are collecting evidence against you or someone else. Most of the time is not in your interests to talk to the cops or prosecutors.

So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084091)

I didn’t know anything the prosecution cared about, and I thought that maybe I could talk Steve [Heymann, the lead prosecutor] out of the prosecution, or at least into not being so harsh. This was so obviously a ridiculous application of justice, I thought. If I just had the chance to explain, maybe this would all go away. My lawyers told me this was possible. They nursed this idea. They told me Steve wanted to meet me, and they wanted me to meet him. They wanted to set up something called a proffer — a kind of chat with the prosecution.

Perhaps you should have spoken with Aaron's lawyers?

The anarchist dictum when it comes to grand juries, explains Salon's Natasha Lennard, is a simple one: 'No one talks, everyone walks.'

Isn't this just called "The Prisoner's Dilemma [wikipedia.org] "? Or will I be downmodded for using the word "prisoner" -- too harsh for the Aaron Swartz case?

In a moment Norton describes as “profoundly foolish” she told the grand jury that Swartz had co-authored a blog post advocating for open data. As we now know, his Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto was used by prosecutors as evidence that the technologist had “malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.”

So did he write it or not? I mean, he was twenty six years old and at some point you have to start being responsible for your actions. Norton is blaming herself for telling someone about something that Swartz wrote? I mean, at what point was he going to stand up and say proudly "This is my cause and I'm not afraid to stand up for it"? Yeah, if you write stuff that talks about breaking the law and then you are investigated for breaking such laws -- that of course is going to be used as motive!

Political activism is apparently not for people who are clinically depressed. What is supposed to change here? Are prosecutors not supposed to seek a motive when they have a suspect? When someone we do want to go to jail like an embezzler writes an e-mail to his wife about his embezzlement, are prosecutors not supposed to turn the screws on her to get that information? I don't get it! What is Norton blaming herself for? Why write it if you don't believe it and why break the laws that you think are unjust if you're not prepared to challenge them in court?

Did he write it? Was it pertinent to the case? Then what's the problem here? Who betrayed who? Would you rather have prosecutors with hands tied when they need to prove that someone planned to break a law by discovering what they were writing prior to their alleged crimes? Is that not his name at the bottom of the manifesto?

I'm sorry he decided to take his own life and it sickens me that the Slashdot group think is that doing so was his only logical choice. But at some point you have to take the mittens off and stop beating up other people for Aaron Swartz's own words and actions. Political activism is not a place for fragile people who can't handle a book being thrown at them. We celebrate those who stood up to and challenged the governments and did so without resorting to taking their own lives or others'.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084229)

What you say might be used against you, but there is no need for your friends to make the DAs job any easier.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084237)

The group think (that no one is willing to come out and say) is that Aaron took his own life because he was forced to by the prosecutors, but not because they were malicious but because he was guilty and had no way out of the path he walked down. He had no choice but martyrdom, and who rallies an army better than a martyr? If he were alive but in a jail cell, the outrage would be 1/10th what it is now (even though the prosecutors acted no differently in that alternate universe).

His death was tragic, but the slashdot groupthink is so damned determined to take the wrong lesson away from it that it makes it hard to justify participating in this community any more. AC out

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084427)

As a martyr, I think we can count him successful.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084287)

Yeah, but many activists (and those who support them) are really not prepared for how far interested parties are willing to go to teach them a lesson. Many do not find out unti too late how minor (or non) crime can be turned into life destroying elements if they say the wrong thing publicly... many just think '1st amendment' and assume that the people charged with enforcing the laws actually play by them.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084313)

Yeah, but many activists (and those who support them) are really not prepared for how far interested parties are willing to go to teach them a lesson. Many do not find out unti too late how minor (or non) crime can be turned into life destroying elements if they say the wrong thing publicly... many just think '1st amendment' and assume that the people charged with enforcing the laws actually play by them.

Thanks, I didn't realize that "Gee, society, I didn't realize how far I was getting into and now I find myself neck deep in real shit that I had no intent to be in" is a legal defense that should work.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084607)

*shrug* legality is irrelevant here. Yeah, they end up in over their heads, but I can not fault them for failing to realize just how rotten and corrupt things are, esp when they were just trying to do good. If nothing else, who gets slammed and who does not is pretty random, so young activists can look around and see 99 people like them doing fine yet still be that hundredth person who gets the 'special treatment'.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084325)

Yeah, logic need not be applied to this situation here or pretty much anywhere.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084537)

We celebrate those who stood up to and challenged the governments and did so without resorting to taking their own lives or others'.

We also celebrate those who sacrificed their lives for their causes. Whether it's Aaron Swartz or Mohamed Bouazizi, these people deserve to be honored.

Re:So Now His Friend Is to Blame? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084587)

We celebrate those who stood up to and challenged the governments and did so without resorting to taking their own lives or others'.

We also celebrate those who sacrificed their lives for their causes. Whether it's Aaron Swartz or Mohamed Bouazizi, these people deserve to be honored.

Mohamed Bouazizi? Never heard of him ... and after reading his wikipedia page I refuse to persist the idea that by killing yourself you get what you want. Where would the United States be if George Washington had committed suicide in front of the King to prove a point?

Must Watch YouTube Video (5, Informative)

scorp1us (235526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084107)

Don't talk to he police [youtube.com] I was shocked when I watched this.

A much more complete article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084111)

Here is a much more complete article, which I submitted a couple of days ago: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/life-inside-the-aaron-swartz-investigation/273654/

Another pleasant day for capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084119)

So, how long until she writes a tell-all book and makes a boat ton of money off of this guy's death?

NEVER Talk to LEOs (5, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084127)

Re:NEVER Talk to LEOs (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084531)

Oh come on. Why discriminate based on someone's birthday?

Sorry for getting worked up about this, but - I'm a Leo.

Criminals are criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084165)

Just because you love someone, doesn't mean you shouldn't turn them in if they do something wrong and criminal. That being said, exactly what did Swartz do wrong? He exercised free speech?

Re:Criminals are criminals (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084371)

Just because you love someone, doesn't mean you shouldn't turn them in if they do something wrong and criminal.

You do realize those two things are not mutually inclusive, right?

Re:Criminals are criminals (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084479)

Actually it means exactly that.

Blood is thicker than water. The state is not your family. Your employer is not your family either.

She was warned not to (4, Insightful)

wordsnyc (956034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084167)

by every lawyer she encountered. Swartz's family pleaded with her not to talk to them. She was an arrogant fool.

When under investigation trust no one (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084561)

Not your friend, your family, people you've known all your life. There will be no one you can trust because anyone can be pressured to turn against you with enough threats against them. To trust anyone would put them in greater risk of being pressured and being destroyed too.

blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084177)

Perhaps I am wrong but isn't this process flawed? I mean in order for a prosecuting attorney, local law enforcement officer, and of federal agent that wishes to advance their career arrests, prosecutions etc must be a high number? Spinning something from nothing either due to lack of understanding or the all too common 'hunch' allows for far too many abuses to occur. I prefer my law enforcent to be more like the Andy Griffith show

the betrayal runs even deeper (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084187)

"It is important the people know that the prosecutors manipulated me and used my love against Aaron"

No, it's even deeper than this. The prosecutors manipulated her by using her belief that the prosecutors were human beings. She falsely believed that Steve Heymann could be appealed to as a person, and that he is anything but a human facade for the robotic government to provide an illusion of process and balanced justice.

warnings like this are indicative of blindness (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084205)

If you need to be warned that a group of people who collaborate with violent thugs who will kidnap you and steal from you are not interested in your well being, I doubt a warning would actually be useful. Even the simplest thing like a subpoena is an utter transgression against innocent people. Imagine if we stripped away the pomp, the ceremony, the special euphemisms, and just saw these actors for what they are; a subpoena is a threat. A subpoena is a group of people declaring that they will attack you if you do not visit them. That they will steal from you, they will kidnap you if you fend off their theft, and should you somehow manage to resist all that, they will put a bullet in your fucking brain. THAT is the nature of this system we live in. We exist in a murder based society, a pre-philosophical contradictory quagmire where the simplest moral truths between individuals become completely negated when the magical word 'government' is attached to a deed. That is who prosecutors voluntarily associate with.

If you think a prosecutor sees you as anything other than the bait for his next paycheck, you are blind to the nature of our society.

Re:warnings like this are indicative of blindness (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084523)

That's because there are some very much more basic laws at play: Whoever has the strength to enforce their will gets to make their will law. That's how it always worked, and how it always will work. How it has to work. There is no other way. The whole idea of government is to set up a force which holds power by that principle, but still has some level of restriction. Sometimes it works, and sometimes those with power run amok.

Interesting video related to this topic (2)

Niris (1443675) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084211)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com]

Something I watched a couple years ago, and I think still holds true on the idea of never talking to the police.

Re:Interesting video related to this topic (1)

Niris (1443675) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084265)

So... looks like I got beat to it. This is the same link as a couple above. Move along, move along.

Re:Interesting video related to this topic (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084393)

Hey, man, nothing wrong with increasing awareness.

Re:Interesting video related to this topic (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084637)

There is when it's a bunch of crap.

DONT TALK TO THE POLICE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084213)

EVER.

Eeejit (1)

lucm (889690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084285)

On tv they have those cops shows where they play good cop / bad cop or lie to the suspect in order to get information or a confession. As valued spectators we only get to see the times these methods are used to catch a pedophile or stop a nuclear bomb, but in real life this is how it's done all the time. One should keep this in mind when dealing with po-po.

Lennard needed better counsel (2)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084303)

Aaron was furious. He told me not to meet Steve. But no one, including Aaron, would tell me why. No one would tell me even how to get out of it. And still I had an unshakable belief that if I could just somehow explain all this it would go away. I delayed once, too sick to go. My lawyers told me Steve was furious at my medical delay. I might be arrested. I told Aaron, and others, that I wanted to talk to Steve human to human.

Never talking is not necessarily practical. But the problem is not recognizing that once something progresses to a certain point a "human to human" talk is never ever ever going to stop an investigation or prosecution. They were way past that point. That is where they get you: when you believe a human tale will persuade while they are looking for mis-steps that will hang you and all your friends.

The prosecution only hesitates when sources of evidence completely dry up. Talking encourages the prosecution.

These lawyers were giving ineffective counsel, even though they were probably thinking that they could get her immunity for her cooperation and testimony.

Re:Lennard needed better counsel (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084577)

Aaron was furious. He told me not to meet Steve. But no one, including Aaron, would tell me why. No one would tell me even how to get out of it. And still I had an unshakable belief that if I could just somehow explain all this it would go away. I delayed once, too sick to go. My lawyers told me Steve was furious at my medical delay. I might be arrested. I told Aaron, and others, that I wanted to talk to Steve human to human.

Never talking is not necessarily practical. But the problem is not recognizing that once something progresses to a certain point a "human to human" talk is never ever ever going to stop an investigation or prosecution. They were way past that point. That is where they get you: when you believe a human tale will persuade while they are looking for mis-steps that will hang you and all your friends.

The prosecution only hesitates when sources of evidence completely dry up. Talking encourages the prosecution.

These lawyers were giving ineffective counsel, even though they were probably thinking that they could get her immunity for her cooperation and testimony.

Talking to them on their terms is stupid.

Thought crime (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084323)

"she told the grand jury that Swartz had co-authored a blog post advocating for open data (the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto), which prosecutors latched onto and spun into evidence that the technologist had 'malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.'"

What's next? If they find that someone wrote somewhere that he didn't like the look of the WTC building, it will be used as evidence that he was involved in the 9/11 attack?

Re:Thought crime (2)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084609)

"she told the grand jury that Swartz had co-authored a blog post advocating for open data (the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto), which prosecutors latched onto and spun into evidence that the technologist had 'malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.'"

What's next? If they find that someone wrote somewhere that he didn't like the look of the WTC building, it will be used as evidence that he was involved in the 9/11 attack?

The point is, if they want to get you then they'll find something on you. If you're a saint, a team of informants can change that.

Cougar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084359)

It is interesting that she was 13 years older than Aaron Swartz. A cougar by definition, but not a cougar in my book.

Do you understand? (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084461)

"anything you say CAN AND WILL be used against you (and others)"

Obviously not.

Re:Do you understand? (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084623)

"anything you say CAN AND WILL be used against you (and others)"

Obviously not.

Even stuff you didnt say or do could be used against you if an informant says you said it or did it and enough people believe it. The justice system is rotten to the core.

Guilty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084489)

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/x180/tags/quinnnorton/

What else are the supposed to do (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084491)

they are looking for criminal behaviors, so they talk to people about it.

Teach your kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43084547)

All my kids (ages 7 to 16) know that you do not talk to the police, you do not let the police into the house, you do not give the police permission to search you or your belongings, and most of all they know that every word out of a police officer's mouth is potentially a lie. Whether you've done something or not you have nothing to gain by "cooperating". Unless you're the one who called the cops (which should except for the most dire of circumstances) you have nothing to say.

Lessons learned (5, Interesting)

gnujoshua (540710) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084635)

I too was subpoenaed [archive.org] (note I redacted two names) for evidence and to testify before the grand jury that indicted Aaron. They were certainly fishing for a lot of information relating to Guerrilla Open Access. I'm not sure there was much that either Quinn or I could do to prevent the indictment. Although, I can say that on an emotional level rationalizing about the situation doesn't make it suck any less knowing that the evidence and testimony I provided was probably bastardized and used against him. Maybe I'll write up more about the whole thing some time.

The mindset of criminal investigators in America: (3, Insightful)

Marful (861873) | about a year and a half ago | (#43084645)

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

~Attributed to Cardinal Richelieu.

When it comes to criminal investigations in America, there is nothing you can ever say that will help your case. The only thing you can do is make it worse. The best bit of advice is to shut the fuck up and lawyer up.
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