Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tunisia, Tibet, MIT

"Aaron Swartz Died Innocent — Here Is the Evidence" (or here) by Alex Stamos:
"In short, Aaron Swartz was not the super hacker breathlessly described in the Government's indictment and forensic reports, and his actions did not pose a real danger to JSTOR, MIT or the public. He was an intelligent young man who found a loophole that would allow him to download a lot of documents quickly. This loophole was created intentionally by MIT and JSTOR, and was codified contractually in the piles of paperwork turned over during discovery."
The Null Device:
"In 18th-century England, when they hanged a highwayman, his corpse would be dipped in tar and hung in an iron cage along the side of a highway, as a grim warning to any others contemplating a career of highway robbery. From the point of view of the US Department of Justice, or more specifically, the rent-seeking corporations licensed to make money from the intellectual property system as it stands today, Swartz, with his radical views on open access to information, was the modern-day equivalent of a highwayman, an enemy of the system of intellectual property licensing and the structures of ownership and control built atop it, shoring up the stabilities of the status quo. Were he convicted (or bankrupted by the costs of defending himself), he would have served as the tarred corpse swinging in a gibbet alongside the Information Superhighway, an equally grim warning to any aspiring Information Superhighwaymen that you don't fuck with intellectual property, ever. Or, in other words: if you break the law, the law will break you. An upheld conviction, however, was no guarantee. Dead, arguably, he can serve the same role just as well, without the risk of him being released on appeal. To others, he will be a martyr for the Copyfight and/or an example of the iniquities of a system run for the benefit of corporate rentiers."
"Cartoon – Remember Aaron Swartz (1986-2013)" - with text of ass-covering letter (or here) from the psycho-killers at MIT.  In a better world, all those responsible for his death would be tried for manslaughter, for that is what it was.

"Why Did The Secret Service Take Over Aaron Swartz's Case Two Days Before He Was Arrested"

emptywheel:
". . . the involvement of the Secret Service just as it evolved from a local breaking and entry case into the excessive charges ultimately charged makes it clear that this was a nationally directed effort to take down Swartz."

It is a mistake to turn this into a discussion of mental health issues, demeaning to Swartz and undermining his cause.  His death was a political act, identical to self-immolation that we've seen from Tunisia and Tibet and elsewhere.  The thugs at the US Attorney's office and MIT decided to destroy his life in order to serve as a warning to those who might even think of threatening rentier interests (often known in this blog as 'Hollywood', which explains the escalation of this matter).  Aaron Swartz did the only rational thing left in his power to stop them.  He traded his ruined life for the hope of political change.
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