Jeremy is currently facing federal charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for transferring information from the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting to the whistleblower news site Wikileaks. Written in 1984 and long criticized for being outdated and vague, the CFAA has seen increasing use against information activists in an effort to criminalize a broad spectrum of online activity.
Jeremy was arrested in March 2012 and is currently held at the Manhattan Correctional Center in New York City. Though he is charged with committing non-violent offenses, he has been denied bail. Since his jailing he has been denied access to family (one year) and friends (two years) for minor jailhouse infractions. He has also been placed in solitary confinement on two separate occasions. He has been awaiting a trial date for over a year.
United States attorneys charged Jeremy with five felony counts, including three under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Each of the CFAA counts carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence, with the total amounting to more than 40 years.
His denial of bail is particularly detrimental to his ability to defend himself because he is indigent and the nature of his case requires a high level of technical expertise. As a technical expert himself, he is uniquely qualified to prepare his own defense. Nearly all the evidence against him is in computer files that he is only allowed to access during lawyer visits, which are difficult to schedule and require prison officials to coordinate with attorneys. So far, he has only had 11 hours of computer time to review millions of lines of chat log evidence that have been handed over to the defense team.
The court appointed Elizabeth Fink’s office to defend Mr. Hammond. Ms Fink is best known for securing an $8 million settlement for inmates tortured by prison guards and state troopers after the Attica prison uprising and for the families of inmates who were murdered. She is joined by Sarah Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Gráinne O’Neill.
What is Stratfor?
Strategic Forecasting is a corporation that gathers intelligence at the behest of governments and large multinational corporations. Barron’s magazine once referred to Stratfor as “The Shadow CIA.” Additionally, Stratfor has a membership service that people, including researchers, subscribe to that provides information about current events around the world. Stratfor often targets individuals and groups with left-leaning political values. Some of its targets include: the Yes Men, Bhopal activists, PETA, Occupy Wall Street, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and others.
Several co-defendants in Jeremy’s case live in other countries. Significantly, all four UK co-defendants received sentences which will result in them spending less time in prison than Jeremy has spent awaiting trial. The two Irish men thought to have participated in the same series of online protests will not be prosecuted at all.
Write to Jeremy:
18729-424 Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row
New York, New York 10007