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[liberationtech] Fighting over-zealous investigators (Re: Petition to remove DA Ortiz)

Ali-Reza Anghaie ali at
Tue Jan 15 22:34:35 PST 2013

I wanted to chime in on one aspect of your call to action - in particular
around *"**And I am equally sick of seeing the community shy away from them
when that happens."*..

As you already noted that is, in part, the hoped for effect - however, I am
not sure how many people realize exactly how many different ways people are
punished for showing support. Not just in these type of activist situations
but in any Federal Prosecution.

A good starting point on the wider topic is ..

I'd like to see more people share their stories about harassment they faced
just for providing a legal reference, or character testimony at sentencing,
donations, even room-and-board..

Cheers, -Ali

On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 4:02 PM, Griffin Boyce <griffinboyce at>wrote:

>   There is also a petition to remove Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann
> for his heavy-handed tactics.[1] In addition to Aaron Swartz, he also led
> the case against Jonathan James, who tragically passed away at age 24. Two
> weeks after his home was raided by Heymann's team.
>   I know that there is insistence to not vilify these people, but they
> must be shown that they are not above reproach. These tactics are not only
> ineffective, they are designed precisely to make life harder for people.
> Jonathan James proclaimed his innocence until the day he died, but was
> denied his day in court because of harsh treatment and the history of
> fiercely one-sided conspiracy cases.
>   I am absolutely *sick* of seeing the best minds of my generation being
> put through the spin cycle by overzealous investigators. And I am equally
> sick of seeing the community shy away from them when that happens. When
> AIDS activists go to jail, they organize from within.  When they get out of
> jail, they are supported by friends and allies and are able to continue
> their work.  This paranoia that pervades our community hinders people who
> might want to organize effectively -- which is exactly the point. Do not
> think for a moment that this is not intentional.
>   Some of the most successful companies in America have been founded by
> hackers, and yet the climate is such that legal activities like
> cryptography, anonymity, or high-level computer science make people
> nervous.  Why is that something we've been putting up with?
>   So yes, sign these petitions, but also write letters in support of your
> stance. Call people. Send faxes. Talk to the media. Hold vigils. Make
> trouble. Do not let these people take away your rights of protest and
> intellectual curiosity.
> Stay safe out there,
> Griffin Boyce
> [1] Heymann petition:
> On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM, Jordan McCarthy <jrmccarthy at>wrote:
>> The probably efficacy of this effort is questionable, of course.  But it
>> seems like a somewhat more appropriately-targeted effort than the
>> petition being aimed at MIT
>> (, which has already showed
>> clear signs of contrition (
>> ).
>> < Jordan
>> --
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