Jeremy Hammond: Brutal Hacktivist Ignored by Media
Why surveillance whistleblower Jeremy Hammond is ignored by the media while Snowden gets the limelight
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 by: J. D. Heyes
Millions of Americans have heard of Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), the U.S. Army intelligence analyst convicted in 2013 of aiding the enemy under terms of the 1917 Espionage Act after she turned over volumes of classified Iraq and Afghanistan data to WikiLeaks.
Millions more know about Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who divulged intimate details about top-secret NSA surveillance technology that is being used to spy on virtually all Americans.
Yet almost no one can remember Jeremy Hammond. The political “hacktivist” is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2011 for hacking into tens of thousands of consumer credit card numbers and millions of private emails affiliated with the global intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, which is based in Austin, Texas.
According to an exclusive Al Jazeera America report, Hammond also admitted to hacking, destroying and releasing confidential information from various other websites, including one belonging to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
“I intentionally and maliciously tried to destroy as many government websites … as I could,” said Hammond, who was once a part of the hacking organization called Anonymous and a subgroup of Anonymous known as Lulzsec.
About those advertisers…
As for Stratfor, MintPress News says that some of the firm’s emails released by Hammond indicated that not only does the Texas company gather intelligence for private entities, it also shares some of its data with government and law enforcement. For example, Dow Chemicals paid Stratfor to spy on The Yes Men after the group publicly humiliated the global chemical giant on behalf of survivors of the 1984 Bhopal, India, disaster that killed thousands of people.
Why is this political prisoner being ignored while Snowden is widely praised as a reformer?
Douglas Lucas, a freelance writer and journalist from Fort Worth, speculated in an interview with MintPress News that the mainstream media could be reluctant to praise Hammond and hammer Stratfor because some of the latter’s clients could be media advertisers.
“Journalists play a large role in controlling what information the public receives,” Lucas said. “It is safer, for business and editorial approval, to write about a whistleblower who leaked information from the federal government, the traditional opponent of influential investigative journalists, than about a whistleblower who hacked out information about local cops collaborating with corporate spies.”
It is important to remember that the Stratfor leak became public at a time when social media was being used in unprecedented ways around the world to gin up support for activist movements such as the “Occupy” movement and the Arab Spring; this was also a time when Anonymous’ power as a collective was at a peak.
Hammond managed to “smash Stratfor to pieces”
As further reported by MintPress News:
Just as Snowden made the world aware of mass surveillance by the United States, [Azzurra] Crispino [an activist with Prison Abolition and Prisoner Support] explained how the emails enhanced the feeling of global solidarity prevalent at the time of the GI Files release.
“I think that one of the strongest things that’s come out of the Stratfor revelations is it gave activists the ability to stand in solidarity with other activists across the world and see those connections in a way that I think is really important for The Struggle.” Crispino observed.
She also said that while Snowden revealed the existence of the government’s massive surveillance state, Hammond essentially bulled his way into Stratfor’s system and smashed it.
“Jeremy didn’t just infiltrate Stratfor quietly. He went in loudly then proceeded to smash Stratfor to pieces,” she concluded. “It took six months for them to get their servers back up.”