Aaron Swartz: Suicide or Murder?

Off the keyboard of Steve Lendman

Published on the Steve Lendman Blog on January 17, 2013

Discuss this article at the Heros of the Revolution table inside the Diner

 
Advocates of online openness and freedom lost a committed champion. The Economist said to call him “gifted would be to miss the point. As far as the internet was concerned, he was the gift.”
 
The Electronic Frontier Foundation called him an “Internet freedom rock star.”
 
An official family statement called him “(o)ur beloved brother, son, friend, and partner….We are in shock, and have not yet come terms with his passing.”
 
His “insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable – these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter.”
 
“Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge.”
 
“He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place.”
 
“His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.”
 
“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
 
“Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
 
“Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”
 
“Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost.”
 
Lawrence Lessig is an academic, political activist, online freedom proponent, former University of Chicago/Harvard Law School Professor, and current Professor of Law at Stanford. He founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society.
 
He knew Aaron as a friend and lawyer. On January 13, he headlined “Prosecutor as Bully,” saying:
 
Whatever Aaron did wasn’t for personal gain. He did what he thought right. JSTOR understood. “They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron.”
 
They asked prosecutors to drop charges. “MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear.”
 
Prosecutors took full advantage. They got the excuse they wanted to target Aaron. They wrongfully criminalized him.
 
“From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way.”
 
It suggested he downloaded academic and scholarly articles for profit.
 
“But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.”
 
“Aaron had literally done nothing in his life ‘to make money.’ ” Whatever he earned wasn’t by intent.
 
“(W)e live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis, (notorious despots, and other scoundrels) regularly dine at the White House.”
 
“(W)hy (was) Aaron labeled a ‘felon?’ ” Prosecutors bled him dry. “(W)e need to get beyond the ‘I’m right so I’m right to nuke you’ ethics that dominates our time.”
 
“That begins with one word: shame. One word, and endless tears.”
 
A previous article questioned the official suicide story. It quoted Aaron extensively in his own words. It asked if he sounded like someone planning suicide.
 
He advocated online openness and freedom. He called information “power.” He wanted it in the public domain. He wanted everyone able to share it freely and openly. Failure is “too high a price to pay,” he said.
 
It’s “outrageous and unacceptable,” he added. Possessors of information are obligated to share it. They’re morally bound not to “keep this privilege for (them)selves.”
 
“(S)haring isn’t immoral – it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.”
 
“Large corporations….are blinded by greed.” Politicians are “bought off to back them.” Legislation follows. It’s immoral and unjust.
 
“There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.”
 
Aaron advocated open access. He wanted information everyone has the right to know made public. Download them from scientific journals, he urged. Upload them to file sharing networks.
 
Make privatization of knowledge a thing of the past. He asked everyone to join him in a struggle for what’s right. He did it because it matters.
 
He paid with his life. New York’s medical examiner allegedly conducted an autopsy. He pronounced death by “hang(ing) himself in his Brooklyn apartment.”
 
A previous article said lingering suspicions remain. Why would someone with so much to give end it all this way? Why would he throw it away?
 
Why was no private autopsy and forensic examination done? Why aren’t questions raised about a potential coverup? Why isn’t independently determined full disclosure demanded?
 
Prosecutors notoriously lie. Medical examiners help them. So do media scoundrels.
 
Did Aaron take his own life or was he murdered? America has a dark history of eliminating noted figures it wants silenced.
 
Aaron perhaps is the latest. His death raises obvious suspicions. He appears a victim of capitalist greed. His open access advocacy had to be silenced. What better way than by making murder look like suicide.
 
Was he drugged and then hanged? Was eliminating him planned long ago? Was it done to avoid protracted headline-making trial proceedings?
 
Many of Aaron’s global followers would have reported them daily. Doing so would have revealed prosecutorial injustice. Dark forces perhaps decided not to risk it.
 
Prosecutors hounded him. His attorney, Elliot Peters, accused them of doing it to gain publicity. They cooked up alleged computer crimes against him.
 
They targeted his advocacy for what’s right. They wanted him silenced. They wanted him put away for decades. They wanted him out of sight and mind.
 
They crossed ethical and moral lines, said Lessig. They did what they did because they can. They made him a martyr in the process. He’s internationally recognized for fighting for what’s right.
 
Internet freedom is at stake. In 2008, candidate Obama promised to “(s)upport the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.”
 
As president he’s waged war to destroy it. He wants open access advocates criminalized. He calls doing so investing in America’s future. He wants censorship replacing First Amendment rights.
 
He and likeminded Washington extremists support an alphabet soup of federal and international freedom-destroying measures.
 
Various cybersecurity acts threaten constitutional freedoms. SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, ACTA, and TPP are stealth pro-corporate, anti-populist schemes.
 
Secrecy and misbranding conceal their harshness. Activists know what’s going on and say so. At issue is unchallenged global corporate empowerment regulation free.
 
Internet freedom, popular rights, and national sovereignty are too important to lose. They’re on the chopping block for elimination.
 
Profits alone matter. Compromising civil liberties is a small price to pay. So are public knowledge, privacy, and other fundamental rights free societies should champion. Democratic values are too important to lose.
 
Obama has other ideas in mind. Aaron and likeminded open access advocates challenged him. Doing so targeted him for elimination. Others are likewise threatened.
 
Doing the right thing is dangerous. Everyone involved is closely monitored. FBI, CIA and other national security files are maintained.
 
Lawless warrantless surveillance watches like Big Brother. Phones are tapped. Emails and other private communications are monitored, collected and stored. Stealth videos at times are used. There’s no place to hide.
 
Doing the right thing is hazardous. America’s unfit to live in. For many, it’s dangerous. Other Western societies operate the same way. The best, brightest and most dedicated are targeted.
 
Some are marked for elimination. Odds suggest Aaron was one. A fitting epitaph should read killed by capitalist greed.
 
He’s gone but by no means forgotten. Others continue his struggle for open access justice. Doing so is the only chance to have it. The alternative is too intolerable to accept.
 
A Final Comment
 
On January 15, Russia Today said Massachusetts federal court charges were dropped. Why pursue a dead man. A simple statement read:
 
“DISMISSAL”
 
“Pursuant to FRCP 48(a), the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, hereby dismisses the case presently pending against Defendant Aaron Swartz.”
 
“In support of this dismissal, the government states that Mr. Swartz died on January 11, 2013.”
 
Omitted was full disclosure about how and most important why. Aaron was no ordinary Internet freedom advocate. His prominence made him a marked man. It cost him his life.
 
JSTOR didn’t press charges. MIT pursued a civil suit. Repercussions remain ongoing.
 
On January 14, the global hacktivist collective, Anonymous, broke into MIT’s website. It replaced its front page. A simple line read: “In Memoriam, Aaron Swartz.”
 
A statement followed. It called the Justice Department’s prosecution “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for.”
 
“We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered Internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all,” it added.
 
Aaron grew up in suburban Chicago. On January 11, he died in his Brooklyn apartment. He was 26 years old.
 
On January 15, suburban Chicago’s Highland Park Central Avenue Synagogue was filled to capacity.
 
Family, friends and supporters came to honor him. Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman spoke for others, saying “Aaron wanted so badly to change the world. He wanted it more than money. He wanted it more than fame.”
 
“When things are hard – and he said it is the important things that are hard – you have to lean into the pain.”

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: RE on January 20, 2020, 06:51:07 PMQuote from: moniker on January 20, 2020, 06:35:12 PMQuote from: RE on January 20, 2020, 02:54:26 PM[quote author=moniker link=topic=1...

Quote from: moniker on January 20, 2020, 06:35:12 PMQuote from: RE on January 20, 2020, 02:54:26 PMQuote from: moniker on January 20, 2020, 02:06:30 PM[quote author=RE link=topic=1...

Quote from: RE on January 20, 2020, 02:54:26 PMQuote from: moniker on January 20, 2020, 02:06:30 PMQuote from: RE on January 20, 2020, 12:01:01 PM[quote author=moniker link=topic=1...

Why Manhattan’s Skyscrapers Are EmptyApproximately half of the luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold.January 16, 2020 In Manhattan, the homeless shelters are full, and the luxury skyscrapers are v...

I’m fascinated by news this past month of exciting results from a quantum physics experiment that according to the MIT Technology Review appears to provide evidence that two people can observe the exact same event, see two different things happen, and...

Recent Facebook Posts
Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. firearms makers will b [...]

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s [...]

Paris' Louvre Museum has closed down as prote [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Quote from: Eddie on Today at 06:11:55 AM[img widt [...]

This looks like a mix.....a little playing soldier [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 05:52:31 AMBecause [...]

Joseph A. Bondy@josephabondy·8hHere’s a nice shot [...]

[img]https://scontent.forf1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0 [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. firearms makers will b [...]

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s [...]

Paris' Louvre Museum has closed down as prote [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

Wisconsin Bill Would Remove Barrier to Using Gold, [...]

Under extreme conditions, gold rearranges its atom [...]

The cost of gold futures on the Comex exchange inc [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society Chapter One By Cognitive Dissonance     From my perspective at [...]

Missing In Action By Cognitive Dissonance     As a very young pup, whenever I was overdue and not ho [...]

Politicians’ Privilege By Cognitive Dissonance     Imagine for a moment you work for a small or medi [...]

Shaking the August Stick By Cognitive Dissonance     Sometime towards the end of the third or fourth [...]

Empire in Decline - Propaganda and the American Myth By Cognitive Dissonance     “Oh, what a tangled [...]

Event Update For 2020-01-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-01-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-01-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-01-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-01-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Thugs and Circuses: President Cobblepot's Season Finale"As the world watches, our circus moves to the floor of the Senate next week, pitting a real-es [...]

John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen"Being a good climate scientist doesn’t automatically give you a doctorate in health physics. [...]

Detoxing Capitalism"Capitalism is a system used by sunflowers and salamanders. But sunflowers and salamanders are [...]

Climate Games"We should feel fortunate to have arrived at such a moment and to have witnessed the peak, all [...]

Our Genetic Timebomb"The yaksha asked: “What is the greatest surprise?” Yudhisthira replied: “People die every day, [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

So when a developer goes in there with a completely different idea, and scrapes away buildings and r [...]

Perhaps I should write a post about this topic. I can give you some idea now. In the simplest case, [...]

Just as with the Black Death or any other bacterial or viral pandemic we've so far encountered, [...]

Can you imagine practicing or submitting to dentistry once the power goes off for good? The dental a [...]

Without BAU....status quo ...building a greenhouse will not be an option... We assume just because w [...]

The interest rates haven't been moving very far in either direction compared to what they used [...]

I don't believe what they're saying. "3: The Fed has yet to address the "demand [...]

Can't help checking out ZH every now and then. Here is the penultimate paragraph in an article [...]

Let's abolish the Fed. Banks cover their own ass in the repo market. Frackers fail unless oil p [...]

Has the repo situation really resolved? I followed the link to the Martens' article. It seemed [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

Adapting our cities to the new climate regime is critical to ensure that human development is not je [...]

Air temperature, both cold and hot, has impacts on mortality and morbidities, which are exacerbated [...]

The prospect of an ice-free Arctic in our near future due to the rapid and accelerated Arctic sea ic [...]

The editorial team greatly appreciates the reviewers who have dedicated their considerable time and [...]

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a basic variability mode in the Northern Hemisphere, undergoes [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/