Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Political Prisoners, Repression
Anarchist political prisoner Jeremy Hammond was moved from prison in Oklahoma today to Virginia and is currently being housed in the same facility as Chelsea Manning, who continues to face fines for refusing to testify before a grand jury, presumably the same that Hammond is being called on by the Justice Department to speak before in relation to WikiLeaks. Hammond is serving time after receiving various federal charges for engaging in hacking against police, immigration, and other State institutions.
As Gizmodo wrote:
An anarchist who waged cyberwar against police departments, private security firms, and other institutions he deemed symbols of tyranny and social control, Hammond pleaded guilty in 2013 to attacking Stratfor, the global intelligence firm based in Austin, Texas. Among Stratfor’s clients at the time were the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, employees of the National Security Agency, countless police agency heads, and, among other notable figures, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
After stealing some 60,000 credit cards from the company, Hammond and his “revolutionary comrades” carried out what they called an “act of loving egalitarian criminality,” using the cards to donate tens of thousands of dollars to charities, prisoner support groups, and digital rights organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace, and the American Red Cross. The hackers’ eventually totaled more than $700,000 in fraudulent charges, according to one FBI estimate.
This move appears to be an attempt by the State to push Hammond to testify on the WikiLeaks case as he approaches a release date at the end of the year, having enrolled in programs that would expedite his departure.
Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond has been called against his will to testify before a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Last week Hammond was removed from the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis, Tennessee where he was serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges he hacked the private intelligence contractor Stratfor Global Intelligence. At the time of his transfer Hammond was enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Prison’s intensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) which upon completion qualifies participating inmates for early release. Hammond’s prison release date was projected to come around mid December of 2019 but because of his removal from the RDAP program and the summons to this grand jury his time incarcerated could be extended by over two years.
In a statement Jeremy Hammond’s support group denounced the move the State writing:
It’s with great sadness and anger we announce that Jeremy Hammond is being brought to the Eastern District of Virginia in an effort to compel him to testify before a grand jury. Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation. However, our assumption is that this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning is currently being incarcerated for refusing to testify before.
Jeremy pled guilty to put an end to the case against him. He pled guilty because he had no interest in cooperating with the government. He was sentenced to 10 years —the maximum allowed under his plea agreement— and has been serving his time, counting down to the day that he will finally be free. That day was supposed to come in mid-December of 2019.
“The government’s effort to try to compel Jeremy to testify is punitive and mean-spirited. Jeremy has spent nearly 10 years in prison because of his commitment to his firmly held beliefs. There is no way that he would ever testify before a grand jury. The government knew this when they gave him immunity in every federal jurisdiction in exchange for his guilty plea. In bringing him against his will to the Eastern District of Virginia, the government has put an end to his participation in the RDAP drug program, effectively adding a year to his sentence. (If Jeremy had been permitted to complete the 9-month program, he would have earned a 12-month sentence reduction.) When he refuses to testify, his sentence will be prolonged indefinitely when he is punished with further incarceration for contempt of a court order to testify.
Like brave grand jury resisters before him, including Chelsea Manning, Jeremy firmly believes that grand juries are repressive tools of the government, used to investigate and intimidate activist communities and are abused by prosecutors to gain access to intelligence to which they are not entitled.
Currently Chelsea Manning is incarcerated for refusing to testify before the grand jury and is also being fined $500 for every day that she does not cooperate. A recent report in Gizmodo wrote that Chelsea could “remain behind bars for up to another year and face nearly a half-million dollars in fines.”
It remains unclear as to what information U.S. prosecutors hope to attain from Manning’s testimony. Her interactions with WikiLeaks were all detailed during her court-martial six years ago, and logs of her conversations with Assange are already public record.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District have helmed the Justice Department’s investigation and prosecution of WikiLeaks. In May, the DOJ charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act for revealing government secrets. The move horrified some free-speech advocates, who noted that it was the first time the U.S. government charged anyone under that law just for publishing material.
Those looking to support Jeremy are encouraged to keep up to date with his case on his website and on social media, especially as things develop. Those looking to support Chelsea Manning can visit her support website, donate, and write to her here:
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
William G.Trausdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road, Alexandria, Va 22314