Saturday, January 26, 2013

Swartz and Wikileaks

Was the brutal persecution of Aaron Swartz really a brutal persecution of Wikileaks?:  "Concerns Raised About Aaron Swartz's Prosecution And The Wikileaks Connection":
". . . it's leading some to wonder if this was more about the big fishing expedition a grand jury has supposedly been working on for quite some time, trying to sniff out anything that can be used against Wikileaks. There is no confirmed connection to the Wikileaks investigation, but Emptywheel notes some oddities in the timing -- such as the grand jury investigation into Aaron seeming to ramp up just as it appeared that the big Wikileaks grand jury was coming up empty. In fact, as Emptywheel showed in a different post, it looked like the investigation into Swartz was going absolutely nowhere... until the grand jury suddenly showed renewed interest long after the arrest. The post notes that the Secret Service didn't even bother searching the laptop onto which Swartz had downloaded the JSTOR material for weeks after getting involved in his case.

But what happened in between the arrest and the sudden decision to really look into Swartz? The DOJ drew a big, fat blank against Wikileaks. The timeline:
  • Swartz was arrested on January 6th, 2011.
  • On February 9th it was reported that the Justice Department had drawn a blank on anything it could use to go after Wikileaks.
  • That same day, February 9th, the Secret Service suddenly got around to issuing warrants to search Swartz's hardware
Oh, and one other key date. Just a couple weeks before all of this, on December 27th, 2010, Swartz had filed a FOIA seeking information concerning the treatment of Bradley Manning. As is noted in the posts linked here, it's not at all normal for the Secret Service to wait so long to get a subpoena."
This might also explain the uncharacteristic outing of Swartz by Wikileaks as a possible source, an outing which goes against the most basic principles and promises of Wikileaks (word of the day:  doxxing). Is Wikileaks just signalling that it knows what the US government is up to, and of course could embarrass some prosecutors unless they stop their grand jury fishing expedition?  Again I see Swartz' suicide as a political act, an attempt, hopefully successful, to throw a cog in the wheels of the American injustice system's crushing of Wikileaks and anybody who might dare reveal the empire's secrets.  And by the way, isn't it time that the misuse of secret grand juries to do things prosecutors would never dare do in open court - the US version of the Star Chamber - becomes an American political issue?
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