David Coombs speaks re Pvt Manning - CA and WA

Public presentations by attorney David Coombs

coombsDavid Coombs, attorney for American prisoner of conscience US Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, will speak at three upcoming West Coast events hosted by the Private Manning Support Network. Mr. Coombs continues to represent the heroic WikiLeaks whistle-blower recently sentenced to 35-years in military prison.

Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7:00pm -- Los Angeles CA
The Church in Ocean Park, 235 Hill Street, Santa Monica CA 90405 - View flyer (pdf)

Monday, Dec. 9 at 6:30pm -- Oakland CA
Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street, Oakland CA 94612 - View flyer (pdf)

Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:00pm -- Seattle WA
University Temple United Methodist Church (Fireplace Room), 1415 NE 43rd St., Seattle WA 98105 - View flyer (pdf)

Events will include Q&A with Mr. Coombs, and a fund pitch by the Support Network to benefit Pvt. Manning's ongoing defense efforts, including pending legal appeals.
Events are presented by the Private Manning Support Network and Courage to Resist, with the help of Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK, Bay Area Military Law Panel, War Resisters League-West, Project Censored and the Media Freedom Foundation, SF Women in Black, World Can't Wait-SF Bay, OccupySF Action Council & Environmental Justice Working Group, OccupyForum, SF LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, Queer Strike, National Lawyers Guild-SF, and the Civilian-Soldier Alliance, MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Progressive Democrats of Santa Monica Mountains, March Forward, The ANSWER Coalition, Common Good Café, G.I. Voice / Coffee Strong, Peace Action Group of Plymouth Church UCC, Fellowship of Reconciliation-Seattle Chapter

$5-$10 donation requested at the door to cover event expenses. Wheelchair accessible. For more info, contact: Courage to Resist, 510-488-3559.

Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees! Donate today.

National Security Letters: Help!

National Security Letters: Help!
by Susan Basko

Someone delivers a document of many pages to your home or office.  It does not look like anything you've ever seen before.  It says you or someone else is under investigation by some Department of the U.S. government and that you must cooperate.  It also says that you are ordered not to tell anyone about the letter or its contents.  You are alarmed and afraid, likely terrified.  Congratulations, the government has just treated you to a National Security Letter.  Here's a few things to know:

1) You can always show the letter to a lawyer.  The letter says you cannot disclose it to anyone, but that does not include that you cannot show it to a lawyer.   In fact, you should show it to a lawyer so they can help you understand what it is and what it means. The lawyer is also under the gag or nondisclosure order and cannot reveal the letter to the press or public.  It is good to have someone else know about the letter, and legally, you cannot tell anyone, not even  your spouse, that you received the letter, or anything about its contents.  So, show it to a lawyer.   

2) National Security Letters include a gag order, also known as a nondisclosure order.  The recipient is  supposed to tell no one about the letter or about what is being investigated.  They are not even supposed to tell that they got a Letter.  The National Security Letter may go into rather extreme detail, for many pages, listing off what it means by "don't tell anyone."   

3) A National Security Letter may be issued to a person or to a company.  The most likely sort of companies are those that deal in internet communications or finances.  Larger companies are more likely to have a lawyer on staff and to be familiar with the Letters.  Individuals or small companies that receive a National Security Letter are more likely to be baffled and frightened by the letters.  

4) A Judge in the Federal 9th Circuit (California, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona) has ruled the gag orders unconstitutional, but has given the government time to gets its act together.  We'll see what happens.  As of now, recipients of a National Security Letter must comply with the gag order.

5) National Security Letters can be used by many federal government agencies.  In some instances, the main purpose in using a letter seems to be the gag order, rather than the investigatory portion. In other words, the letters appear to be used to shut people up.   Sometimes, this may be a valid purpose.  It helps, in assessing a letter, to judge whether the purpose appears to be more investigatory or more to keep the person from going to the media or to the public about a particular topic.

6)  A National Security Letter is supposedly issued for purposes of investigating terrorism or topics of concern to national security.  "National security" has become a broadly-used term that can mean almost anything involving the public or the government.  The governmental agencies are now issuing a huge number of National Security Letters.  That's a lot of intrusion into peoples' lives with no judicial oversight. 

7) If a National Security Letter requires its recipient to hand over information, that information is supposed to be non-content.  For example, if the letter is demanding email information, it is only supposed to be asking for who was contacted and when, not the contents of the emails.  Content-based materials are supposed to require a subpoena or warrant.

8) To send a National Security Letter, the government agency does not need probable cause or to go before a Judge, as is the case with a subpoena or warrant. This makes National Security Letters much more of a fishing expedition and opens them wide for abusive use.  The letters are seen as stepping stones to creating probable cause.   

9) National Security Letters contain a gag order that may be the main purpose of the letter.  If you worked for a government agency and were investigating something sensitive, and if you had an easy tool where you could order everyone involved to keep quiet, would you use it?   Likely so.

10) Tens of thousands of National Security Letters have been issued each year since they were instituted. The Letters are considered by many to be abuses of Constitutional rights.

11) A National Security Letter has 4 main parts.  First, it will tell which agency is investigating.  Many U.S. agencies have been given authority to send National Security Letters. Second, the Letter will tell who or what is being investigated. It may be the recipient, in which case the main purpose is likely to gag the person from speaking privately, publicly, or to the media about the topic or about the letter.  Or the letter may state that someone else is under investigation and may demand that the recipient hand over the requested information about that person, company, or organization.   Third, the letter will state what materials, if any, must be handed over.  Fourth, there will be a detailed gag or nondisclosure order.  If this is highly detailed, then the recipient may assume the main purpose of the letter is to force the recipient to keep quiet because an investigation is ongoing.  

12) A National Security Letter has the force of law.  For example, if the recipient talks to people or to the media about the letter, the recipient can be charged with a crime.  Likewise, if the recipient fails to comply with the demand for information, the recipient might be jailed.  This is very important to know.   

13 ) If you plan to violate the demands of the Letter, discuss first with a lawyer.  Several business owners have closed down their services rather than compromise the future privacy of their clients.   One such business owner is Ladar Levinson of Lavabit, an encrypted email service.  It is believed that Lavabit received either a National Security Letter or a secret subpoena.  Rather than comply, Mr. Levinson closed the service.  He was immediately threatened with jail, but it is dubious the government could force him to keep running his business so they could use it to spy on people.   You can read Mr. Levinson's letter about this HERE, or below:

My Fellow Users,
I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on--the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.
What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.
This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.
Ladar Levison
Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC
Defending the constitution is expensive! Help us by donating to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund here.

How to Plan a Million Mask March

How to Plan a Million Mask March 
in 10 Easy Steps
by Susan Basko

Maybe you've heard about the Million Mask March scheduled for November 5th.  This is a world-wide peaceful march. Maybe you want to plan a march for your own city or town.  Here is how.

Here is some credible information about MMM:
The official website with local events: http://millionmaskmarch.wordpress.com/
The official FB event invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/505027169551591/
The official MMM Twitter acct: www.twitter.com/MillionMaskMarc 

 NOTE:  Do not get involved in groups other than those listed at the links above.  There are some strange groups forming from questionable sources.  


I) First check to see if there is a march already planned for your location. If so, join in with that group. The list is here:  http://millionmaskmarch.wordpress.com/

II) If you need to plan your own march, it is too late in almost any city to get a permit. Therefore, to run a legal protest, you will need to hold it in a plaza or on the public sidewalk.  How to do this:

1) Choose a location that is a publicly-owned plaza such as by a City Hall, government building, etc. or a place on a public sidewalk.   If possible, get a local lawyer to help you with your plans.

2) The date is November 5, 2013.  Choose a 2-hour time slot.  Most likely is a 2-hour slot between the hours of noon and 8 pm.   That is a Tuesday.  For example, 2pm - 4pm is a great time slot.  But if you want students and workers to be able to attend, then 5-7pm or 6-8pm might be better.  Plan according to what works for your people.  The time slot is start to finish and includes gathering, running your protest, speakers, music and dancing, ending, and clean-up.  Plan and write your schedule and get helpers to keep it on time.

3) Create a facebook page for your event. Invite people using the Facebook invite system. Invite others.

4) Make a twitter account for your event.  Post your updates.

5) Put your march on the list: http://millionmaskmarch.wordpress.com/

6) Send out press releases: http://millionmaskmarchmap.wix.com/info#!pressrelease/c1tsl

7) Check your state and municipal statutes to see if it is illegal to wear masks in public.  If it is, print up masks, back them with cardboard or foam core board, and tape them to a flat stick, so you are holding them, not wearing them.  MASK TO PRINT: http://www.guyfawkesmask.org/ 

8) Plan what you are going to do at the protest.  Dancing, music, a speaker, drums, etc. are all good.  It is nice to have a live streamer, live tweeters, photographers, videos, etc.

9) The theme is freedom of internet and freedom from surveillance.

10) Run your protest.  Afterwards, clean up.  Pick up any papers or fliers that were dropped on the ground.  Leave the space cleaner and neater than you found it.

Scoop: Doxbin Arrested

Scoop: Doxbin Arrested
reported by Susan Basko

Note: We've been contacted by someone using name "Nachash," who wanted to let us know she or he was not arrested.  This article does not mention anyone by that name.  
* * * * * *

According to highly reliable sources, Doxbin has been arrested.  As it turned out, Doxbin was three Finnish teens ages 15 - 16.  The case is being handled by the FBI and Finnish authorities.

Doxbin was the name of a criminal enterprise that urged the public to put personal information of the victims onto a website and also onto a tor node.  This is called "doxing."  The information that was gathered and posted opened the victims to further crimes, such as stalking, assault, assassination,   rape, robbery,  credit card fraud, bank account hijacking, and many other such crimes.  Doxbin opened up onto a Twitter account, which provided a link to the site and a portal to the tor.  Although the account was suspended several times, Twitter kept allowing it back on.  The last Twitter handle was @therealdoxbin, which is now suspended.

 Many of the participants in the crimes, who placed information onto Doxbin, appeared to be Americans, as did many of the victims.  It is unclear at this time if the Doxbin co-conspirators, people who posted materials of others onto Doxbin, are being pursued for arrest.

Doxbin was one of several websites that engage in extortion and endangerment of others.  These websites are used by the attackers to stalk, bully and harm others.  These acts are felonies under US federal law as well as under the laws of various states. 

The investigation into Doxbin has been ongoing for at least several  months.  In addition, numerous individuals in the public were trying to discover the identity of Doxbin.  That Doxbin was three people, rather than one, came as a surprise.

Cyberstalking: Illinois

Cyberstalking and Other Internet Crimes: Illinois
by Susan Basko

Cyberstalking and harassment are prohibited by Federal Crime statutes, but most states also have laws.  This is about the Illinois laws.  Illinois criminal laws will apply if the victim is in Illinois, or if the perpetrator is in Illinois, and may apply in other circumstances.   This is not a complete listing, at all.  It simply lists some common transgressions made by cyberstalkers and internet harassers.

  Good Illinois Protection:  If you are in Illinois and anyone posts your name or photo on a creepy website, you are in luck -- there is a criminal law against this.   If you are in Illinois, and anyone secretly records a phone call with you, they are committing a crime.  If you are in Illinois, and anyone is repeatedly contacting you on the internet to cause you distress, there is a criminal law to protect you.

  If you are victim, go to the links here and make a copy of the law.  When you go to make your police report, politely hand the officer a copy of the laws.  Internet crime is new territory to many police and prosecutors.  Persist.  Internet stalkers and bad websites tend to harm many people, so you will be helping many others, as well as yourself.

  RECORDING A PHONE CALL: It is illegal to record phone call without the consent of all parties.  Example:  I am in Illinois.  If you call me and record the call without my permission, you are violating the Illinois Eavesdropping Act.  The first offense is a Class 4 Felony.  The second or more offense is a Class 3 felony.  If you were to place such a recording online, or transcribe it, or otherwise make it available, each time you do, it is an additional felony count.

  RECORDING AN IN-PERSON CONVERSATION:  It is illegal in Illinois to record any conversation without permission of all parties. This includes using a video camera or cellphone camera to record a conversation.  This also violates the Illinois Eavesdropping Act and is a felony.

  MAKING OR POSTING OBSCENE PICTURES:  If you use someone's photo to create an obscene picture or video, this is a violation of the Illinois Obscenity Act and is  a Class A Misdemeanor or a Felony.  If you put such a picture or video online, you are distributing obscenity and distributing obscenity to minors.  These are very serious crimes under the Illinois Obscenity Act that can land you on the Sex Offender registry.  Illinois has a very broad and conservative definition of "obscenity."

  REVENGE PORN, POSTING NAME OR CONTACT INFO OR PHOTO ONTO A WEBSITE THAT CONTAINS ANY OBSCENITY:  If a person posts an image of a person, or posts any identifying information, such as name, address, telephone number, or email address,  about any person on a pornographic site, without the person's permission, that perpetrator is guilty of a felony under 720 ILCS 5/11-23.  If the victim is under 17, he or she cannot give permission and the act is a felony.  A site is considered pornographic if it contains any obscene material as defined under Illinois law, which is very broad and conservative.  Also, see the Cyberstalking Law below - creating a website that harasses another person is against the Illinois Cyberstalking law.

  So what does this mean? It means that if anyone posts your name or other information or any photo of you on a site that contains any obscene photos, the person is committing a Class 3 or Class 4 felony.  Even if the site is held offshore, and even if the person is in a different location, if you are in or from Illinois, you can and should report this crime.

  Example 1: Suppose a site is used by a group to make fun of people they don't like.  Suppose the site has photos on it that show such things that are obscene, such as photos of an anus or of sexual parts.  Anyone that posts any other person's name, contact information or photo on that site without permission has committed a felony. If the victim is under 17, there is no permission possible.  Depending on the situation, this crime may also fall under Cyberstalking, Child pornography, creating obscene materials, distributing obscene material to minors, etc.  MOST LIKELY, the person running or owning the site is also committing a violating of the Illinois Cyberstalking law (below) provision against maintaining a website that harasses any person.

  Example 2:  Someone posts your name and writes about you on a website that contains graphic photos and you are under 17 or you are older than 17 and did not give your permission, this is a felony.  If the person is convicted, they can be sentenced to prison and be forced to register on the Sex Offender registry.

  Example 3: Someone posts a photo of you on a website that contains graphic photos, this is a felony if you are under 17 or if you are over 17 and did not give permission.  If the person is convicted, they can be sentenced to prison and forced to register on the Sex Offender registry.

  CYBERSTALKING: Cyberstalking is when on 2 or more occasions, a person makes unwanted communication to or about another person online, on their own or through a third party, in a way that they know or should know places the victim in fear for their safety or the safety of someone else or of a pet, or that causes the victim distress.  If the victim is in Illinois, or if the perpetrator is in Illinois, the crime falls under the Illinois law.

  Examples 1 - 6: Posting 2 or more taunts at a person via Twitter or Facebook, sending taunting or threatening emails, sending 2 or more @ tweets at a person who has you blocked, posting 2 or more nasty comments at or about a person, posting 2 or more nasty photos or videos of or about a person, having any third party doing any of this for you.

  Example 7: Posting 2 or more threatening tweets, messages, or comments saying such things as that you will post a person's name or photo on an undesirable website.

  Example 8: Creating a website that harasses another person.

  ILLINOIS CYBERSTALKING LAW OF 2010:  You can download a handout on the Illinois Stalking and Cyberstalking laws, prepared by the research staff of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan HERE.    

720 ILCS 5/12-7.5 Cyberstalking
(a) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she engages in a course of conduct
using electronic communication directed at a specific person, and he or she knows or
should know that would cause a reasonable person to:

(1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person; or

(2) suffer other emotional distress.

(a-3) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful
justification, on at least 2 separate occasions, harasses another person through the use of
electronic communication and:

(1) at any time transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault,
confinement, or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family
member of that person, or

(2) places that person or a family member of that person in
reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault,
confinement, or restraint; or

3) at any time knowingly solicits the commission of an act
by any person which would be a violation of this Code directed towards that person or a
family member of that person.

(a-5) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful
justification, creates and maintains an Internet website or webpage which is accessible to
one or more third parties for a period of at least 24 hours, and which contains
statements harassing another person and:

(1) which communicates a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault,
confinement, or restraint, where the threat is directed towards that person or a family
member of that person, (2) which places that person or a family member of that person
in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault,
confinement, or restraint, or (3) which knowingly solicits the commission of an act by any person which would be a violation of this Code directed towards that person or a
family member of that person.

(b) Sentence. Cyberstalking is a Class 4 felony. A second or subsequent conviction for cyberstalking is a Class 3 felony.

(c) For purposes of this Section:

(1) "Course of conduct" means 2 or more acts, including but not limited to acts in
which a defendant directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method,
device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, engages in other non-consensual contact, or interferes with or damages
a person's property or pet. The incarceration in a penal institution of a person who
commits the course of conduct is not a bar to prosecution under this Section.

(2) "Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writings,
sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire,
radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system. "Electronic
communication" includes transmissions by a computer through the Internet to another

(3) "Emotional distress" means significant mental suffering, anxiety or alarm.

(4) "Harass" means to engage in a knowing and willful course of conduct directed
at a specific person that alarms, torments, or terrorizes that person.

(5) "Non-consensual contact" means any contact with the victim that is initiated or
continued without the victim's consent, including but not limited to being in the
physical presence of the victim; appearing within the sight of the victim; approaching or
confronting the victim in a public place or on private property; appearing at the
workplace or residence of the victim; entering onto or remaining on property owned,
leased, or occupied by the victim; or placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim.

(6) "Reasonable person" means a person in the victim's circumstances, with the
victim's knowledge of the defendant and the defendant's prior acts.

(7) "Third party" means any person other than the person violating these provisions
and the person or persons towards whom the violator's actions are directed.

(d) Telecommunications carriers, commercial mobile service providers, and providers
of information services, including, but not limited to, Internet service providers and
hosting service providers, are not liable under this Section, except for willful and wanton
misconduct, by virtue of the transmission, storage, or caching of electronic
communications or messages of others or by virtue of the provision of other related
telecommunications, commercial mobile services, or information services used by others in violation of this Section.

Free Jeremy Hammond
last chance to send letters to the Judge

Free Jeremy Hammond  
Last Chance to send letters to the Judge
by Sue Basko

You have this weekend only to write a letter to Judge Preska asking her to sentence Jeremy Hammond to time served. The letters must be emailed by Tuesday October 15, 2013.

Who is Jeremy Hammond?  READ this.


1) Write your letter.  You can follow the example below if you like.

2)  Make it into a file. 

3) Email that file by Tuesday, October 15, to:  Sarah@KunstlerLaw.net

 Letter Suggestion - Use if you Like:
_ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Your Name
Your Title or Job
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip
Your phone number where you can be reached (optional)
Your email
October __, 2013

Honorable Loretta A. Preska
Chief Judge
Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10007

Dear Judge Preska:

Tell who you are.  Tell about Jeremy and why you think he is a good guy.  Ask Judge Preska to sentence him to time served, send him home, free him, etc.


Your Name

Raided by the FBI: What to Do

Raided by the FBI: What to Do
by Sue Basko

This is a guide for activists who have been or might soon be raided by the FBI.  This applies to online and IRL (in real life) activists.  After a recent raid of a client, I spoke with a lawyer for the FBI.  She was perturbed that I used the word "raid," rather than her preferred term, "execution of a lawful search warrant."  The legality of such searches is always in question.  And, when a person's home is stormed by FBI agents with guns, it is popularly referred to as a raid.

This guide does not apply to you if the FBI is raiding you mainly for stashes of guns, bomb-making supplies, chemical agents or other weapons, illegal porn or obscenity, drugs, or because you have bodies hidden in your crawl space.  Okay?  You're not an activist.

This guide also does not apply if the FBI raid is on a business.  For helpful hints on how to prepare and deal with a business raid, see this GUIDE by the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis.  Some of the ideas in that guide, such as videoing the search,  sound difficult to pull off.  However, the guide is likely to be helpful overall and it is well worth reading now and implementing the advance preparations.

WHY THE FBI RAIDS ACTIVISTS:  The FBI ostensibly raids the homes of activists because they believe that by searching the homes, they will find evidence of a crime. In fact, it appears that the FBI conducts raids on the homes of activists to rein them in, warn them, threaten them with what could happen, to cause them trouble in their lives.  Raiding the home of an activist has a chilling effect against that activist, their group,  and may scare off other participants from exercising their First Amendment rights.

The legally stated purpose is that an FBI agent believes evidence of a crime will be found in the house.   That crime does not have to be one committed by you for your home to become subject to a search warrant.  The alleged crime may be one committed or planned by others in your group. That's why it's real important to watch out who you let into your activist circles and to exclude those advocating violence, etc.

Today's buzzwords that help back up "probable cause" to raid an activist include: anarchist, black bloc, Anonymous, hacker.  Back in the 1950s, it was Communists. In the 1960s and early 1970s, it was anti-war, SDS, Yippie.  In the later 1970s and 1980s, the focus was on cults and communes. In the 1990s, the fear was of protesters against animal and ecological abuse.  The 2000s brought fear of alleged terrorists.  Now, it's Black Bloc with their bandannas and Anonymous with their Guy Fawkes masks.

Be careful not to portray yourself or allow others to portray you in ways that do not reflect reality.  For example, an online news site wrote of one of my clients, "Another Anonymous Hacker Raided by FBI." I pointed out that he was not a "hacker." Then, they called him an "Anonymous Leader."  Again, I pointed out -- he was not a leader, and Anonymous has no leaders.  Another irresponsible website called one of my clients "a mind control occultist."  He had nothing to do with mind control or the occult.  And on and on.  If the website or writer is not malicious, they will make the correction and remove the offending material.


1) Harassment. Before the home of an activist is raided, the FBI will almost always make contact with that person.  This is in the FBI protocol handbook.   This may happen in the form of a contractor.  Usually, there will be someone in person or online who is harassing, following, being too nosy.  Or there may be several people.  If you are an online activist or have an online presence, there are likely to be so-called "trolls" or abusers bothering you.  Some activists, before and after being raided, have been  harassed, impersonated, lied about, etc., by strangers or acquaintances online.  Many of these harassers may be sock puppet personas.  The activist may "know" the persona, but not know in actuality who is behind it.  The correlation between being abused online and being raided is very strong, and it can be most helpful to take action to block the abusers.

2) Visit from an agent.  An FBI agent or two may come to your door to talk to you.  This may happen months before you are raided.  If they show up at your door, you are on their radar.  Anything you tell them can and will be used against you.  It is illegal to lie to an FBI agent, so you are much better off declining to speak than rattling off a mistruth.  "I don't know," is a lie if you do know.  If there is a situation where your telling what you know is likely to save lives or keep people safe, then there is good reason for you to share what you know.  Otherwise, the usual legal advice is to say you cannot talk, but ask for a business card.  Then you can speak with a lawyer and decide what to do.

3)  Someone casing your place.  Before the FBI gets a warrant for a raid, they send an agent to the building to get very exact directions and descriptions on how your place can be found.  They take photos of the building exterior, and hallways and doorways. If you are in an apartment, they may get a floor layout from the management.  These items end out attached as part of the search warrant.  Several people who have been raided  noticed this reconnaissance mission about 1 - 2 weeks before they were raided.  There was someone who did not belong. The person will go all the way to door and past it, to see what is beyond.  Several  people who have been raided have told me they saw such a person at their home or apartment building, and thought it odd.  It can be a warning sign that the warrant is being prepared and a raid is imminent.

4) On the day of the raid: WHEN:  Most federal search warrants are required to be executed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.  Most raids take place bright and early.  A search warrant can be executed while no one is home, and the door will be broken into.  On homes, that is rare, though I have heard of it happening on offices of activist groups.  If the FBI claims that you present a special risk, they can ask the Judge to allow the raid to take place at any time.  That's when they do a raid at night using night vision goggles, etc.  This is more likely if there is strong reason to think there are weapons likely to be used by those inside.

Local police are also more likely to conduct a raid at night, use flashbangs, hold those inside handcuffed and at gunpoint, etc.  Local police units conducting such raids tend to be sloppy, illegal, and highly dangerous.  The FBI will usually follow the FBI rules, which require the raid to be conducted between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and using force only if needed.

Several people have told me that the first sign they knew they were being raided was they heard unusual sounds.  These may be the sounds of many vehicles arriving, agents surrounding the residence, a walky-talky radio, voices heard outside windows that are in private locations, the sound of things being moved outside, such as patio furniture being moved, nearby dogs barking, etc.

Where force is used, the people may hear flashbangs, which are percussive fireworks, loud bangs that sound like very loud gunshots or a small explosion.  I guess the flashbangs are supposed to wake up the occupants and let them know they are being raided.  After flashbangs are used, the raiders then shout out "FBI!" or "Police!"  This generally scares the shit out of the people inside, and sets the tone for a very aggressive, unpleasant experience for all.  It is illegal for the FBI to use force unless a Judge has given permission in a warrant or if circumstances truly require it, which they rarely do.

5) On the day of the raid: HOW: Often, an agent will go to the front door of a residence.  When the person answers, the agent will announce he or she has a warrant.  They are supposed to show the warrant and give a copy.  Then the raid team will enter the residence.

6) On the day of the raid: WHO: In most raids that I know of lately, there have been 12 or more agents entering the home, and guns have been drawn.  The people participating in the raid may be a combination of FBI, NSA, local police, US Marshals, Secret Service, DHS, etc., depending on the location and situation.

7) THE WARRANT: Affidavit.  To get a search warrant, an FBI agent must write up an affidavit, which is a document that has numbered statements of alleged fact on it, and it is signed.  The affidavit must tell WHAT crime the agent believes has been committed and WHY he thinks there is evidence to be found at your house, and WHAT evidence he thinks is at your house.   The FBI agent then brings the affidavit to a magistrate judge, who decides whether or not to issue a search warrant.  I am told that if a magistrate judge wishes to keep his job, he approves all search warrant applications brought to him by the FBI.

In theory, the person named in the search warrant may be able to get a copy of the affidavit. This can be useful as evidence to challenge whether there was probable cause to conduct the search. In reality, most federal cases against activists are kept sealed and the documents are not revealed.  Many such searches do not turn into indictments and are never unsealed.  Thus, it usually remains a mystery what probable cause, if any, was used to get a search warrant on the home of an activist.

A search warrant is usually against a specific location.  That might be a house, an apartment, an office,  a storage locker, etc. I have also seen search warrants against a specific computer server or against a server cabinet.  The search warrant will specify if it is looking for items belonging to or under control of a certain named person.

WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO AVOID "TROLLS" ONLINE: Many of the "trolls" online are actually people working as contractors/ informants.  It is very likely their (mis)information is used as a basis for probable cause to get a search warrant. "Trolls" are known to lie, fabricate entire events, circumstances, and connections, impersonate, fabricate responses, set people up to respond or participate in their own self-defense, create false documents, send false emails, and on and on.

This is why it is so important for activists to shun "trolls" or those with "trollish" behavior.  It should be assumed that any person engaging in such behavior has a paycheck coming for it.  If not, then they would stop such behavior upon having it pointed out to them that it is socially unacceptable.

From what I have seen in recent case after case is that online "trolls" harass and stalk the activist target before and after a raid.  In the case of Barrett Brown, "trolls" were even present in the chat room while he was raided and arrested.  The correlation between an activist being harassed by "trolls" and being raided seems very high, and it seems the higher the intensity of troll activity aimed at a person, the higher the likelihood they are to be raided.

8) THE WARRANT: What's in it.  The search warrant lists what places may be searched and what may be taken.  You should ask upfront for a copy of the warrant and read it before allowing the agents into your home.  Of course, it is hard to have the presence of mind to do such a thing when you are confronted by people with guns.  If you can do so, calmly take your time and read the warrant.  This could easily take 20 minutes or more, as there are likely to be 4 - 8 pages.  It is a good idea to read it.

NEVER GIVE PERMISSION for any area to be searched if it is not listed on the warrant and never give permission for anything to be taken if it is not listed. NEVER sign anything agreeing to any such actions.  For example, a warrant may be for items under the control of the person named in the warrant. If the residence is shared, permission should never be granted to search the rooms or seize items not under control of the person named in the warrant.  This is especially crucial in roommate or shared housing situations or in family situations where there are older or adult children.  ALSO, as to planning, if you are in a shared housing situation, it is a good idea to have a house rule that no one is allowed to keep their personal items in shared common spaces.

It can also be extremely dangerous to share a computer with anyone.  And if you have wifi, have each person have their own password.  Never leave wifi unprotected without a password.  It is a good idea to password protect a computer if you are leaving it alone. I had a client years ago, a university student,  whose landlord was entering the apartment while the student was at school. The landlord would use the student's computer to download obscene materials.  Try to be sure no one else has access to your computer(s), because you can be blamed for everything that takes place on your computer.

10) WHAT IS LIKELY TO BE TAKEN IN A RAID: When searching the home of an activist, the items that are most likely to be taken are:
  • Computers of any kind or size, hard drives, disks, data sticks, and any other data storage device. 
  • Cell phones.
  • Notebooks and papers.
  • Photographs. 
  • Masks, banners, pamphlets, fliers, bandannas.   
 Other Items:  If any other items are in the residence and are illegal but were not listed on the warrant, a second warrant may be issued.  For example, if there are illegal weapons of any kind or illegal drugs, even a pot plant,  the agents may hang around for a long time while one goes and gets a second warrant to take those items.

11) SEARCH: What they do: Many agents with guns will enter your home.  They may handcuff you or the other occupants.  They may force you to stay in a certain location.  They may say you are free to go, but most likely, you want to be there to have some idea of what they are doing to your stuff.  There will be one or more agents who will work on your computer, possibly downloading things or checking things.  They will later pack up your computers and take them.  The other agents will tear your house apart, moving furniture and dismantling things.  They will load things into bags and carry them out.  They will leave your home in an absolute, ransacked mess.  They will give you a receipt for the items they took.   You may lose your data, your records, precious photos, etc.  They will take your computers, phones, papers, etc.  

12) TRUST.  It bears mentioning that once your home is searched, you will never again trust the government or law enforcement.  If you are an activist, the same applies to your relatives, neighbors, friends, your circle of activists, and others who hear of the situation.  I estimate that for every FBI raid on the home of an activist, trust is decreased in probably over a million people,  in varying amounts, and for a time period probably extending 50 years.  The ripple effect seems to be very wide and very long-lasting.  These kind of raids harm the fabric of society and erode any confidence in the integrity of law enforcement.  It is very easy to view law enforcement officers as thugs when they show up at the homes of citizens and take the computers they use for their work, the phones they use to talk with family and friends, years of personal photos, and personal journals.  At this time, such raids have become widespread.  We are in a dire time in U.S. history.  Please pay attention.

13) SEARCH WARRANT VS ARREST WARRANT: A search warrant gives the FBI the right to search the place and seize the items listed in the warrant.  An arrest warrant gives them the right to seize and take a person.   Once an activist has had a search warrant against their home, they are usually afraid that an arrest warrant will follow.  By the apparent numbers, this rarely happens.  Most of the searches appear to be "fishing expeditions" or based on false or trumped up "probable cause."  (Hence, see the notes herein warning about "trolls.")

After a raid, it may be in your best interest to get off social media, or if you stay on, at least remove contact by trolls or problematic people.  It may also be in your best interest to let your lawyer handle certain contacts, such as with media, people with questions or concerns that seem nosy or inappropriate, etc.

  1. DON'T answer questions and don't offer information. 
  2. DON'T interfere.  
  3. DO Make it known if you have medical conditions that need to be tended to. 
  4. DO get a copy of the warrant and read it before you let them in. 
  5. DO get a copy of the receipt. 
  6. DO try to call a lawyer.  
  7. DO take videos or photos of the agents, etc.  You are legally allowed to film law enforcement officers while they are working, so if you can, then do so.  It is likely to cause a ruckus, so be aware if you are going to try it. 
The Right to Remain Silent only works for those who keep their mouth shut.  If you start blabbing, trying to explain, offering information, trying to assure the officers that you have done nothing, answering questions, etc., you are giving up your right to remain silent and everything you say can and will be used against you.  Can and will be.

  1. Get a lawyer.  This is crucial.  You don't necessarily need a criminal defense lawyer since you have not been charged with anything. But you need a lawyer to protect you and look out for your good.  Ask around for lawyers from different organizations.  Put the word out that you need a lawyer.  Most often, there will be a lawyer willing to help you.  Once you get a lawyer, let them handle things for you, such as any contact with the FBI.  Also, let your lawyer screen or front media contacts for you.  Let them decide if they want you to talk with any given media person and on what terms.  
  2. Try to get your stuff back.  Have a lawyer work on this.  There is a motion that can be filed to try to get your things returned.   The requirements of this motion are nearly impossible to meet, so much so that it is unlikely anyone has ever gotten their items returned by using the federal motion.  In addition, since most activist cases remain sealed, there is no way to really file a motion since the paperwork cannot be viewed.  Also, if the items can be replaced by purchasing new ones, it is assumed in law that you can simply go buy new ones -- even if you have no money.  Also, after a certain amount of time when charges are not filed, sometimes the FBI will just return your items.  Have a lawyer ask for you.  Don't do this yourself. 
  3. Get medical help.  If your home has been raided, you likely have medical injuries as a result.  This can come from being held in one place for too long, not having medications, from the stress and shock, from handcuffs, etc. 
  4. Get psychological help.  You have been in a terrifying situation and it is best to have professional help to deal with it. You will likely experience nightmares, panic, fear, etc.   You may face loss of a job, an apartment, and even loss of some friends.
  5. Decide if you want to go public.  This is something you should carefully consider.  Most activist cases are kept sealed during the warrant phase.  If you don't publicize it yourself, it may not become public news.  People have been fired from jobs or lost their apartments because of being raided by the FBI or police.  In most situations, this is legal.  On the other hand, the only way to gather support is by letting others know what happened and what kinds of help you need.   A downside is that going public tends to draw more "trolls" who are likely to criticize, lie, spread misinformation, harass your friends and supporters, stalk your lawyer, and try to thwart your efforts to gather funds or support. 
  6. Avoid Online "Trolls" or in-person Stalker types.  These people may be merely annoying busybodies, but they may also be contractors or informants or agents trying to gather information or trying to trick you into saying something or doing something that will give cause for you to be arrested, and will impede your efforts to get legal help, funding, or support.  You may be best to get off social media for a while, or to limit your contacts and remove those who are trolls.
ADDITIONAL SEARCHING THAT MAY HAPPEN:   When your place has been raided by the FBI, you are under investigation, and it is not likely to stop with the search of your home.  In addition, the FBI may also have a secret warrant to place a video surveillance camera in your place, and may be doing that during the raid, if it is taking them a long time.  They may also get warrants or subpoenas against your email, social media, and other online accounts.  They may also do a "mail cover," which is when they ask the postmaster for data of all the mail that has gone to and from your address.  The outside of all mail is photographed and when a mail cover is requested for a certain span of dates, that information is turned over to the FBI.  They may also subpoena your ISP (internet service provider)  or phone records.  If they wish to listen in on your phone calls, they may place a fake "stingray" cell tower that attracts your phone signal,  so they can listen in.   If you drive a car, they might get a subpoena to put a gps tracker on your car.  

As one of my clients says, in the face of all usurpations of your constitutional rights, "Just keep swimming."  Just keep engaging in legal, constitutionally-protected First Amendment activities.  

Psy-Ops/ Troll Tactics

Psy-Ops / Troll Tactics
bag of tricks
by Sue Basko

The psy-ops/ trolls/ contractors whose job it is to mess with activists have reached into an advanced bag of tricks.  Their online tricks go far past the usual discrediting, name-calling and stalking.

The internet has given psy-ops a whole new set of opportunities - they can work from anywhere, they can have dozens or even hundreds of identities at once, they can use persona management software to run their different identities, one identity can have multiple operators, other identities can be used as a swarm of others who "agree" with the offensive psy-op identity.   Also, online services such as Twitter have shown themselves to be so lax in protecting users that it can be assumed they are, if not in league with government contractors that harass, at least acquiescing to their destructive tactics.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL THE PSY-OPS TACTICS LISTED ARE CRIMINALLY ILLEGAL, as well as being immoral and unethical.   Also, if these acts are done by government or contractor psy-ops, there is absolutely nothing in law that allows these sort of tactics to be used against the people.  But, as many have noted, our government is now doing many things that are illegal and unconstitutional.  Sad, but true.

Sadly, these same kind of malicious online tactics have led to a steady stream of suicides, mostly of high school or college students who have been cyberstalked.  It is such a shame that stalking/ trolling/ psy-ops is not dealt with quicker and more harshly.   I think this sort of online stalking is allowed because the government and its contractors want it to be easy for themselves to use.  The government bought the persona management software; they intend to keep using it.

Two activist journalists that complained of being harassed are including Barrett Brown and Michael Hastings.  Julian Assange's mother is constantly harassed by troll accounts.  From the left to the right, activists and activist journalists are being harassed or psy-oped.

Whenever I see any of the activities listed below, I assume the person is being paid to act maliciously, or that they are direly mentally disturbed and socially rotten.  There is no other suitable explanation.

Here's some of the stuff I've noticed lately:

FAKE EMAILS: The psy-op creates an email account with your name  and emails people as if you.  

FAKE EMAILS 2: The psy-op creates an email account with the name of someone you know, trust, and deal with regularly, and emails you strange things, trying to confuse you.

FAKE DOCUMENTS, FAKE-HACKED: The psy-op creates fake documents or emails, posts these onto Pastebin or some such place, claiming these are real documents or emails that were hacked by them or that were passed to them. Then the psy-ops tweets out links to the fake document, claiming it is by you.  Remember, he who smelt it, dealt it.  If someone is posting links to such things, that person very most likely also created the thing they are posting.

FAKE HACKING:  The psy-op says their twitter account has been hacked, and then starts posting tweets supposedly by the hacker.   They use a secondary account where they claim to be struggling to get their account back.  While the account is "hacked," they post things that are supposedly written by the hacker, raid their own contacts list, etc.

POSTING PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE: The psy-op posts emails or messages that were sent privately to them.  Why do they do
this?  To prove they are not trustworthy.  Who wants to be viewed as untrustworthy?  Weirdos and creeps.  Not sure how they think this gives them any points, or with whom.  Perhaps they are getting points from other trolls or psy-ops?  If you see a person posting private correspondence publicly, this is a sure way to know the person is either a paid psy-op or an untrustworthy, unprofessional person best to avoid. 

FAKE PHOTOS:  The psy-op posts photos and claims it is someone it is not.  Why? Just to cause confusion and mistrust, it seems.  

EMAILS WITH ILLEGAL CONTENT:  Some psy-op has been sending emails containing child porn to activists, in an attempt to entrap them.  READ MORE HERE.  This is desperately malicious.   Another variant is malware that pops up on a person's computer claiming the person has viewed child pornography and must agree to pay a fee to avoid prosecution. This is totally fake and illegal. 

RETWEETING TWEETS of others excessively, or from accounts that have you blocked.  This is an old type of harassment technique.  It's a form of stalking.  It is like the old child trick of repeating everything the other person says.  A person doing such things is either mentally ill or a paid psy-op.   

STALKING ON FACEBOOK and copying the person's posts and posting them elsewhere.  This is a form of stalking/ harassment.

FAKE PEOPLE:  Vicious trolls create fake personas who develop relationships with their target victims.  This has been an elaborate trick engaged in by psychopaths, made much easier by the internet.   There have been news stories of young victims who were "in love" with a fake boyfriend or girlfriend who suddenly dumps them.  Sadly, these fake identities have usually been created by adults trying to harm the young person.  Do psy-ops operatives also engage in long term relationships with their victims by pretending to be an interested friend or lover?  Possibly.  There have been hints at several such stories online.

STALKING OTHER PEOPLES' WEPAY ACCOUNTS:  If  a person or activity asks for donations, you either donate or you don't.  It is a sign of a psy-op or troll to post complaints against the person.   Many such complaints come from people who continuously stalk others. If there is a situation where you have actually purchased something that you have not received, that is one thing.  However, if you are making it your business to mind other peoples' financial business, you are most likely a stalker, troll, or psy-op.

Recording a Cover Song: Most Basic Things in Music Law #1

Recording a Cover Song: Most Basic Things in Music Law #1
by Sue Basko

Want to record a protest or revolutionary song by Bob Dylan, Michelle Shocked, John Lennon, or any other songwriter?  Here's how.

It's easy to legally record a cover song.  A cover song is a song written by someone else.  Just go to Limelight www.songclearance.com and pay a $15 service fee and about 10 cents in songwriter royalties for each copy of the song that you wish to make.  Limelight takes care of all the work for you. So, if you want to make 100 copies of a song you, will be paying  the $15 fee plus about $10, or $25 total.

You can also use a service by Harry Fox.  Or you can do it yourself, but that is complicated.

These kind of licenses are called mechanical licenses.  The royalties are called mechanical royalties.  Mechanical royalties are used to make CDs, internet downloads, vinyl (wax), etc.

The mechanical royalty fee is the same per copy for any song, whether it be by an incredibly famous artist or by a local songwriter.  The royalty rate has been set by law, or statute, and so is called a statutory royalty.  The royalty rate at this time is about 10 cents per song copy. 

The songwriter or publisher is compelled by law to allow you to record the song once you give notice of your intent to take a license on it.  That is why a mechanical license is called a compulsory license.  It is compulsory for the songwriter/ publisher to give you the license.  Limelight and Harry Fox take care of the process of giving notice to the right people and paying the royalties.

In most other nations, the songwriter royalties are paid after a song copy is sold.  In the U.S., the royalties are paid upfront in advance, before the song copies are sold or distributed.

You owe song royalties for every copy you make, whether you give those away for free, sell them, or let them sit in a box collecting dust.

These rules apply if: 
1) You are recording and producing the recording in the U.S.; 
2) You are selling the recording in the U.S.;
3) The song is subject to the U.S. Copyright laws.

 And .. that is all there is to it.  So, go record your favorite hit song.  Have fun.

Barrett Brown at Writers Retreat

Barrett Brown at Writers Retreat
by Sue Basko

Barrett Brown, the Texas journalist, has been enjoying a long stay at a federally-sponsored Writers Retreat in Dallas.  The retreat includes accommodations and meals, access to a library, and plenty of time for reading and writing.  During his stay, Barrett has written several essays that received prominent placement in good publications.

Mr. Brown was nominated for his stay at the Writers Retreat by FBI Agent Robert Smith and U.S. Assistant States Attorney Candina Heath.  Agent Smith became interested in Brown's writing in early 2012.  Although Smith is an FBI Agent, and not a literary agent at all, he recognized provocative writing when he saw it.  He soon became the biggest fan of Brown's journalistic research and writing on surveillance companies.  In March of 2012, Agent Smith planned a surprise visit to Barrett Brown's residence to seek out samples of his writing, in fact, to confiscate his entire laptop computer full of writing.  Barrett Brown was not quite ready to share his writing with Agent Smith, and so allegedly hid his computer in a dish cabinet at his mother's house.  Agent Smith, not one to take "No" for an answer, especially when he is interested in a writer's latest work, rushed over to Barrett's mom's house and dug out the computer.

Mr. Brown's entry into the Dallas Writers Retreat was delayed until September of 2012, nearly six months after the nomination by Agent Smith.  By September, Barrett Brown had grown frustrated and angry that this FBI Agent wannabe Literary Agent had run off with his computer and writing.  Brown made a series of 3 Youtube videos directed at Agent Smith. The videos went viral and were widely hailed as being breathtakingly hilarious and deadly serious at the same time.  Soon, Agent Smith and his friends were knocking down Brown's door to let him know he had been accepted into the exclusive, invitation-only Dallas Writers Retreat.

Agent Smith and U.S. Attorney Candina Heath, as Barrett Brown's retreat sponsors, are ever on the lookout for his welfare.  To that end, they recently filed a court motion to try to keep media types from saying bad things about Barrett.  Smith and Heath, a dynamic duo, filed a brief stating that nasty people  online had written that Brown was incarcerated. Oh my, we all know he is at the Writers Retreat!  Others had called Brown, among other things, an anarchist, atheist, junkie, name fag, and moral fag.  According to Smith and Heath, the media types also said Brown hung out with members of Anonymous, made prank phone calls, and didn't have a steady job.  That list describes about 50% of young adults today, but Smith and Heath care so much about Brown that they sought a court order to protect him.   Since they could not gag the media types, they asked the Judge to gag Brown himself, which basically means Brown cannot defend himself or counter what is written about him.  But never mind, be assured this is being done for Brown's happiness and welfare.

In addition, Agent Smith had listened to recordings of all of Barrett Brown's phone calls made while he has been staying at the Dallas Writers Retreat.  Agent Smith testified about each phone call, and told, in a nutshell, how each person that Barrett Brown had called had tried to manipulate Brown during the phone conversations.  Brown, apparently, does not know how to pick his friends, how to conduct phone calls, or how to see to his own good, and thank heavens he has the ever-caring Agent Smith to watch out for him.

The Court Order does allow Barrett Brown to continue to write and publish on topics other than himself.  Brown looks forward to a continued productive stay at the Dallas Writers Retreat.  Agent Smith and AUSA Candina Heath are proud and pleased to have Barrett Brown on the roster at the retreat, and hope to be able to offer him a long and delightful stay so he can build up his repertoire of writing, as well as learn how to make better friends.

Curious Case of Jason Hammond

Curious Case of Jason Hammond
by Sue Basko

Update August 29, 2013: Jason Hammond had a court date in Bridgeview, Illinois.  His lawyer argued for a bail reduction.  The Judge left the bail the same, but adequate funds had been raised, and Jason was freed and went home.  He also entered a not guilty plea.
+ + + + 
"To know Jason is to have met one of the kindest most gentle people on earth.  He's beautiful inside and out."  - recent tweet by one of Jason Hammond's friends.  That's how people know Jason Hammond -- as a sweetheart, a banjo player, a music teacher, a cartwheel-turner, a caring soul, a long-time volunteer at a food pantry for the hungry, and supporter of his twin brother, hacktivist Jeremy Hammond.

Jason Hammond of Chicago was recently arrested and charged in a violent attack that took place on Saturday, May 19, 2012, at around noon, against a group that was meeting in a restaurant in Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb south of Chicago.  In this article, I am going to explore why Jason Hammond's guilt is unlikely, and what might be the real reasons behind this prosecution.

The group meeting at the suburban restaurant was said by the attackers to be a white racist group. They call themselves a European heritage group that meets near Irish festivals.  Chicago's 2012 Irish Fest was held from May 25 -28, 2012, in Chicago Gaelic Park,  in Oak Forest, Illinois.  The festival site is 4 miles from the restaurant.  The restaurant attack took place May 19, just days before the Irish Fest.  The story that the group was a heritage group meeting before the Irish Fest seems to fit the facts.  A tattooed woman around 40 years old had gone into the restaurant on Friday, May 18, just the day before the luncheon was to be held,  to make the lunch reservation.  While it seems a bit odd to show up in person to make a reservation, perhaps she wanted to check to see if it seemed like a suitable place for the meeting.  

At least five of the men attacking the diners were members of a white anti-racist group called the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement, or HARM, from Bloomington, Indiana.  The in-your-face, menacing rhetoric on the group's website makes them seem eager to pounce.  The group seems rather confused, because they call themselves "anti-fascists" on their website, and yet don't seem to realize that showing up at a restaurant and physically attacking diners with whom they disagree sounds fascist.  The attackers came armed with batons, but their lawyers claim the defendants thought it was going to be a peaceful protest.  There were  about 10 people at the luncheon, and 15 to 18 attackers, depending on the report.  A car full of 5 attackers from HARM were caught within minutes after the attack, when the car they were in was pulled over by a police car.  The five men took non-cooperating plea bargains in January, 2013, and were sentenced to 3 1/2 to 6  years in prison, with day for day time off for good behavior and credit for the 7 months already spent at Cook County Jail.  One of the men wrote in an April 2013 blog post that being held in horrendous Cook County Jail was a deciding factor in making the plea.  He wrote,  "I feel as though only the Cook County Jail could ever make a person “ready to get to prison." Needless to say my conditions have improved greatly."  Over a year later, Jason Hammond has been arrested as a sixth defendant, coincidentally just after his brother, Jeremy Hammond, a hacktivist, took a non-cooperating plea agreement in a federal computer crimes case.

May 19, 2012, the date of the restaurant attack, was during the week of the NATO summit protests in Chicago. It was a week of heavy police entrapment, of massive FBI raids on the homes of activists, of activists and independent media being stopped and harassed by squadrons of police and  DHS,  all set on the background of daily protests by locals supplemented by many who came from out of town to participate.   That Saturday, May 19 2012, was a day filled with various protests in Chicago, gearing up for the big protest scheduled for Sunday, May 20, 2012.

In this backdrop, we are supposed to believe that Jason Hammond, a peaceful music teacher, left Chicago to join a baton-wielding mob from mid- Indiana, who had driven all the way to Chicago's south suburbs by noon to disrupt a luncheon scheduled just the day before, held by what appears to be an ad hoc group of people who may or may not be racists, and that Jason Hammond was not identified or caught for over a year, with the timing of his arrest coinciding with the plea deal made by his brother.  Jason Hammond is being held on $100,000 cash bail with no bonding out. Note: In Illinois, there are no bondsmen, but the state itself bonds out defendants for 10% of their bail. In Jason's case, he is not being allowed the 10% bond, but is required to pay the full $100,000 in cash, which, of course, he cannot do. There is an arraignment and bail reduction hearing scheduled for late August 2013 in the courthouse in Bridgeview, Illinois, a suburb just southwest of Chicago.

Jason is the twin brother of Jeremy Hammond, who recently made a non-cooperating plea deal of up to 10 years in prison for hacking missions orchestrated by Sabu (Hector Monsegur), a former LulzSec hacker from New York City who had been arrested and immediately flipped.  The Sabu-instigated  tour de force was the hack on Stratfor, a private company that is run by former CIA agents and tries to be like a mini-CIA from the olden days.  Stratfor has analysts who are trained in Cold War era techniques.  The analyst recruits are taken out for spy play in an Austin, Texas park, where they are trained in how to blend in and not be noticed while observing the nearly imperceptible fake spy actions of their compatriot spy trainers.  Wearing red pants, which are too noticeable, gets demerit points.  Too much noticeable staring is also a no-go.  Failing to spot the target means you flunk the fake spy school.  Stratfor issues foreign intelligence analyst reports to its subscribers, who pay nicely for what they think is accurate insider information.  Jeremy Hammond hacked the Stratfor emails, which were transmitted to Wikileaks, which dumped them online.  Reading the hacked emails online is how I know about Stratfor's spy games in the parks; they are written of in detail.

Most people quote the Stratfor emails as if the contents are true and as evidence that the Stratfor activities pose great risks to our freedom.  In court trials, there is an evidentiary rule that says hearsay evidence is not accepted for "the truth of the matter asserted," but rather for the fact that the speaker spoke it and may have believed it or may have had some other motivation for speaking it.  A motivation to speak, other than to tell the truth, might be to impress, to trick, to coerce, to woo, to threaten, to entertain, or many other reasons. With the Stratfor emails, I do not accept, as many others do, their contents as valuable for the truth of the matter asserted, but as evidence of what the owners and leaders of Stratfor were writing to each other and to outsiders, for a variety of motivations.  I think much of the contents of the Stratfor emails is posturing to try to make Stratfor seem more important, more involved in government activities than it may have been.  Having read many of the emails, I perceive Stratfor as an underfunded pretend CIA, with braggadocio aging leaders trying to relive their glory days as CIA agents.  They never were promoted to head the CIA, so they created their own little agency.  They make claims, I think often wild claims, in their emails, because it makes them sound like knowledgeable insiders, rather than scratchy coots teaching eager young recruits how to be ersatz foreign intelligence agents by playing hide-and-go-seek in a park.

The Stratfor dump held many golden nuggets, such as inferences that the U.S. government has a secret sealed indictment of Julian Assange, and much more.  Whether these assertions are true is debatable.

Among the Stratfor dump was a cache of credit card numbers of some of its subscribers.  The second indictment of Barrett Brown accuses Brown of trafficking in access devices (passwords) by posting a link to the Stratfor dump, and thus to the cache of credit card info.  It is highly unlikely Brown even knew the credit card cache was in the massive dump.  To use a cliché, this is like a needle in a haystack.

The Barrett Brown second indictment raises a new legal concept: that one can be guilty of a crime for posting a hyperlink online to the fruits of a crime.  To follow this logic, by extension, one would be guilty of a death threat if one posted a link to a death threat tweet made by a stranger, one would be guilty of possession and distribution of obscenity if one linked to an obscene picture, and by further extension, one might be guilty of disturbing the peace by linking to a youtube video showing such a disturbance.  In fact, people were told they might be engaging in disseminating government secrets if they linked to or posted the Collateral Damage video released by Bradley Manning and Wikileaks.  Current law and logic say a hyperlink is a way of pointing to some online information, rather than making the person posting the link a participant in the activity that was posted.  The indictment of Barrett Brown indicates the federal government intends to equate posting a link with committing the underlying action or crime.  This is akin to saying that if you are out on the street and see a crime, and point to it and say, "Look," this makes you guilty of the crime.  A hyperlink is a way of pointing and telling people to look.  Making online linking into a crime is an absolutely gigantic step in the U.S. law, and it is utterly shocking, unconstitutional, irrational, and many other negative adjectives, but such leaps are not unprecedented in the U.S. legal system.  There is such a leap of connectedness in the accountability laws of several states, including Illinois.

Look at Illinois State criminal law, under which Jason Hammond has been charged.  In Illinois law, there are the usual aiding and abetting types of criminal charges, wherein the actor actually assists in some way with the crime.  Go one step further into vague connections and there are state and federal conspiracy laws, in which there is a plan by two or more people to commit some crime, and some step taken in furtherance of the plan.  Such a plan can be "inherited" by those who later join the group.  The plan never has to be possible to carry out.  In many conspiracy cases, there is an undercover agent proposing an idea, such as making a bomb, wheedling others into making statements that sound, when taken out of context, as if they support the idea, and creating scenarios where a step is taken in furtherance of the act.  In many such bomb conspiracy cases, it seems as if those entrapped had little  involvement other than allowing a person talking trash to become part of their circle of friends.  The trash talker is really an FBI agent setting them up.  The social pragmatics of dealing with a troublesome new friend turn into criminal indictments. The entrapped then realize they should have been rude and rejected the trash-talking "friend" from the get-go.  

Going one step further into the abyss, some states, including Illinois, have "accountability laws."  When most people first hear about the Illinois accountability law, they dismiss the information as not possible.  The law says, essentially, that if a person acts to assist the commission of a crime, he is responsible for all acts of all the people involved in the crime.  For example, if someone in Illinois were to lend someone their car to go buy some marijuana illegally, and if instead, that person robs and kills the marijuana seller, then the person lending the car can be charged with robbery and murder.  From the Illinois law: "When 2 or more persons engage in a common criminal design or agreement, any acts in the furtherance of that common design committed by one party are considered to be the acts of all parties to the common design or agreement and all are equally responsible for the consequences of those further acts." (Illinois Criminal Code 720 ILCS 5/5-2)  In Illinois, if the person who killed the marijuana seller is, for some reason, not charged with the crime, or is acquitted, the person who lent the car can still be prosecuted and found guilty of murder.  Does this sound logically wrong, incorrect, preposterous?  This is how the Illinois criminal accountability law works.

So, under Illinois law, Jason Hammond did not need to be present at the restaurant to be charged with the violent attack; he need only have lent a car or gas money or given travel directions to someone talking recklessly about plans to mess with some racists.   At that point, he becomes part of the plan and can be held accountable for everything that goes down.  You don't believe this is possible?  No one does when they first hear about the Illinois accountability law.  Accountability laws have been abolished in most states.  In Illinois, this law is the secret weapon of prosecutors and undercover entrapment agents.

I have no idea what evidence was presented to the Grand Jury in Jason Hammond's case.  Grand juries are secret and not even the defendant or his attorney are allowed to attend.   All the evidence in a grand jury is presented strictly from the point of view of the prosecution, no holds barred, with no checks and balances such as objections, checking to see if someone is telling the truth, checking the legality of searches, or other niceties one might like before being wrenched from one's family and job and jailed interminably in a hell hole on $100,000 bail.  With the Illinois conspiracy and accountability laws, there need only be evidence connecting Jason Hammond with the attack in the most tenuous of ways.  If he lent a car, or was a driver, or tagged along to what he thought was a peaceful protest, he might easily be charged equally with all the crimes that occurred in the attack.

Jason Hammond is the twin brother of Jeremy Hammond.  Jeremy, who is likely the most gifted and prolific hacker in the U.S., hacked on an old laptop out of a little house in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago.   Jeremy shared the house with many young activists and artists.  Jeremy was known for wearing ratty clothes, dumpster diving for food, and being a politically motivated hacker.

At the 2004 Defcon, Jeremy gave a rousing, daring speech about hacking as a political tool.  (Link to video here.)   The 27-minute video gives a good idea of what Jeremy Hammond was like 9 years ago.  He was young, brash, and said things meant as political theater and not to be taken seriously.  Shortly into the talk, he casually tosses off a mention of smashing windows, but he has never been known to smash windows.  Later in the talk, he promises to burn down the White House.  That too, is obviously theatrical.  He has never been known to burn anything.  It's agitprop rhetoric.  Having the video up for years on youtube may have done him more harm than good.  Many people hear the words and accept them as true intentions, not as rhetorical character exposition that is supposed to make you think of Jeremy as a daring young man.

In 2004, when Jeremy Hammond spoke at Defcon, the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) applied mainly to interfering with government or banking computers.  In 2008, the CFAA was amended to make the law applicable to any computer connected to the internet.  Much of the hacking Jeremy Hammond described in 2004 would not have been illegal, but after 2008, it was not only illegal, but had severe penalties far out of proportion with the damage caused.  It is unclear whether he was aware the law had changed, as many Hacktivists had been given incorrect legal information that falsely ameliorated their culpability.  Further, since the CFAA required a $5000 damage threshold, this opened an opportunity for computer security firms to begin claiming that any slight website damage was worth at least $5000.  Courts have allowed the supposedly damaged parties to be the ones to evaluate their own damages, and they have piled it on thick.

The vagueness and stretchy interpretability of the CFAA means that outlandish prosecutions are taking place, such as those against Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz (who committed suicide during the relentless over-prosecution against him), and the aforementioned Barrett Brown, who is facing over 100 years in prison for several acts: 1) hiding his laptop computer that he used for his journalism and book-writing work when the FBI came to search. (Is that a laptop in your dish cabinet, or are you just happy to see the FBI?);  2) ranting on a youtube video about the FBI agent who would not return the computer; 3) the "conspiracy" of getting someone to look up a phone number for the FBI agent, as Brown says in one of the rant videos, to demand the agent return his computer;  and 4) posting a hyperlink to the Stratfor dump on the website of  Project PM,  his journalism research group.  How dare we take a step back and ask why the FBI was allowed to raid Brown's home and seize his computer, the act that began this mess.  The biggest "crime" that can be located is that Brown posted a link.  This being true, we are all one link away from being raided by the FBI and sent to prison.

Before Barrett Brown was raided, he was working on a journalism project to investigate the burgeoning private spy companies in the United States, such as Stratfor.  Barrett Brown did not hack Stratfor. He did not hack anything.  His work threatened to reveal this new complex of former CIA agents who retire and start intelligence and surveillance companies that get giant U.S. contracts.  These companies operate without the oversight or regulation under which the FBI, NSA, CIA, and DHS operate.  Investigative journalism means uncovering information, putting it into a cognizable format, and sharing it.  Investigative journalism is a First Amendment activity, not a crime.  Investigating into the murky world of private surveillance firms is a daring activity.  Now, apparently, it can get one raided by the FBI and charged with "linking."

The disproportionate sentencing for computer crimes in the U.S. can be seen when comparing the 100+ year sentence that was faced by Jeremy Hammond before pleading, and the 100+ year sentence faced by Barrett Brown, to the very lenient sentences given to  LulzSec defendants who are from the U.K.  The sentencing  took place a few months ago, and Jake Davis is already on Twitter.  Just the other day, Jake was whining that he is forbidden from contacting Ryan Cleary, whom Davis says has requested his help in learning how to socialize.  In the US, computer cases are often inflated with  20 - 40 counts that could theoretically call for 100+ years in prison.  The U.S. system of overcharging with the possibility of  drastic prison sentences causes defendants to accept a plea rather than go to trial.  The end sentences, after the pleas, are still disproportionate and harsh.  The sentences of hackers in the U.K. are mild and seem cognizant of the reality that these crimes are actually no big deal and those committing them are good, intelligent young people.  If monkeying around on a computer can bring a greater prison term than rape or killing someone, and it definitely does, then we have a warped system  where being curious and smart are being punished.   The lawmaking and prosecutions seem to be done by people who don't understand computers or the internet.  In the U.S., it is as if the internet is black magic or sorcery and those who practice internetism are being tried as witches to be burnt at the stake.

Jeremy Hammond was not monkeying around in hacking.  His goals were purely political, with the aim of a more honest government for the people.  Jeremy has been arrested many times for political activism and has done a few prison stints for it, too.  His seriousness and political aims put him in stark contrast to the other Lulz Sec defendants, who seem to have engaged in mindless mischief.

Jason Hammond is Jeremy's twin brother.  They are from a suburb outside my hometown of Chicago.  The two of them could often be seen at protests and art events in Chicago.   They look so much alike that, for the longest time, I thought they were the same person.  I thought it was one guy who walked real fast and was really busy.  Oh look, he is over at this protest/ fest.  Oh look, somehow he is a mile away hanging on the street corner passing out leaflets.  Oh look, he is there playing music in the park.  Finally, I figured it out.  They were twins.

Jeremy and Jason are the kind of young people a City should appreciate.  They were a giant pain in the ass for any mayor, but a pain that would have made the City stronger if it had engaged these resourceful minds rather than trying to squelch them.  The twins challenged questionable plans and expenditures.  They were doggedly relentless in trying to force a more transparent government.  When Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference boosting to have the Olympics hosted in Chicago, the Hammonds and their little crew showed up, and the Mayor's fancy banner got ripped down.  It was a kind of  First Amendment statement that said to screw all the showy pretense and admit that hosting the Olympics would drain the City budget for decades.

That was not the first time one or both of the Hammond duo were involved in banner-tearing.  Watching them was how I learned that banners are simply an invitation for someone to tear down the banner.  Banners are for suckers. Banners are an invitation to protesters to have a dramatic First Amendment moment in a way that does no lasting harm.  They rip up a banner that is meant to be disposable and that costs less than $100.  Dramatic, looks good on camera, no big deal.   The banner-rippers get arrested and there are oohs and aahs as the audience divides between those who admire the American Revolutionary spirit of the rippers and those who are angry that these bad boys ruined a perfectly good ceremony. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a former dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, who stands at ballet preparatory position, or premiere en bas, at press conferences.  The Mayor did not appreciate the Hammond galoots galloping through his press conference and sashaying off with his lovely Olympics banner streaming behind them like a rhythmic gymnastics dance.  The rippers had not planned their getaway and Jeremy was nabbed within moments.   Jason insisted the security guards were mistaken, that it was really he who had danced off with the banner.  Twins.  Jason ended out with probation.  This prior  conviction of Jason for ripping Rahm's banner, plus knowing his brother was in jail potentially facing many years in prison, tend to make it seem unlikely Jason would risk participation in the attack on the people at the luncheon.

In March, 2012, Jeremy Hammond was arrested at the little communal house in Bridgeport.  A huge raid was staged, with many vehicles and squadrons of agents and police blocking the street, and yet, it was eerily silent.  Jeremy was taken in the night and has never returned.  He was taken off to New York City to face charges, even though the hacking took place in Chicago and Stratfor is in Texas.  It was later revealed that the judge in New York, Judge Loretta Preska, had direct ties and bias in the case because her husband was a subscriber to the Stratfor analyst reports and his credit card number was part of the cache that had been hacked.  Jeremy Hammond's defense lawyers motioned for Preska to recuse herself, yet she refused.  A Judge is required to recuse herself if there is actual bias or an appearance of impropriety. A judge who does not recuse herself on her own motion may be motioned to recuse by the party who will be prejudiced by the bias.  Oddly, the judge being asked to recuse herself is the one who holds the recusal hearing and decides if she herself is biased.  Judge Preska declared herself unbiased and carried forth, holding Jeremy Hammond on no bail, in solitary, refused family visits, with very limited time to work with his lawyers on his defense, until he finally agreed to a plea deal that can bring him up to 10 years in prison.  Ahh, America, land of the free.

Jeremy Hammond is extremely strong-willed, and to get him to cop a plea was not easy.  He was denied bail, as if he were a serial killer.  He was put in solitary, denied visitors.  In what appeared to be a move to woo him over, at one court hearing, Judge Preska allowed Jeremy a short visit with his mother and brother in her chambers.  Not to mock this kindness, but it was Judge Preska who was holding Jeremy in jail on no bail, thus keeping him from his family, friends, and even from being able to participate properly in his own defense preparation.  The apparently magnanimous gesture of the chambers visit appears less so and more like a ploy to enhance the likelihood he'd cop a plea.  Finally, he caved in and made a plea that could potentially put him in prison for up to 10 years.  He is not cooperating with authorities.  He is awaiting sentencing.

Do the authorities now have what they want from Jeremy?  I don't think so.  He has something they desperately want and need and that he could give them if he chose to do so.  What is it?  His hacking skill.  The U.S. government is being beaten silly by hackers from China and Russia and even from many at home in the U.S.   Jeremy Hammond, fresh out of high school in 2003 created Hack this Site, a training ground for hackers.  Jeremy did not require fancy equipment. He was poor and had an old laptop, and with it, he could  pwn any government or corporate website or server.  Jeremy Hammond rotting in prison does the government no good.  How could the government convince Jeremy Hammond to consider playing on their team? Is that what they want?  Is this all an elaborate job recruitment scheme?

 Jeremy Hammond is a patriot, just like Edward Snowden is a patriot. These men believe in honest government, government that benefits the people being governed. Those governmental traits have been in short supply for a long time, forcing the patriots to object in big ways.  If the government expected its employees to do only ethical acts and to report when wrong things were happening, that would be one thing, but the Obama administration has prosecuted whistleblowers in record numbers.  Former CIA agent John Kiriakou is in prison for reporting that torture is being systematically conducted by our government.  Pfc. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned for over 3 years and tortured, and is now on trial for allowing the public to know of horrendous war crimes.  Edward Snowden is on the lam in Russia after revealing that our government is massively spying on all of our emails and phone calls.  Today, working for the U.S. requires keeping quiet, even while witnessing extreme violations of human rights.  Those whose consciences are awake will have a hard time with this.  It was not always this way; this systematic prosecution of whistleblowers is new in the Obama administration.  The Obama promise of Hope has turned into the reality of Hope they don't toss you in prison.

What weakness does Jeremy Hammond have?  He obviously is not motivated by money, as he has never had any.  What does he have?  His beloved twin brother, Jason.

In mid-July 2013, Jason Hammond was arrested and charged with armed violence for a mob attack that took place over a year earlier, on May 19, 2012.  Let's look closely at that event:

May 19, 2012 was during the week-long NATO protests in Chicago.  Protesters had come in from out of town and were filling homes,  camping on church lawns, sleeping behind bushes in the park along Lake Michigan.  There was a festival atmosphere, with protests taking place each day.  The City was also intensely geared up with Secret Service agents, NSA, DHS, and FBI.  An area of the downtown loop had been declared a Red Zone, or no-man's land.  Snipers were positioned on rooftops.  The City had done its best to quash the main protest scheduled for May 20, causing the planners to go into court hearings and lengthy negotiations.  Due to twists of life, the original protest permit reservation for May 20 was in my name, so I was paying very close attention  to what was happening, who was doing what.  I wanted the May 20 protest to be a strong, healthy display of the First Amendment rights, but did not want things to devolve to property damage or personal injury.  I had visions of 1968's Chicago 7 and ending out, as they had, on trial for conspiracy to riot with people I had never met.  I was particularly wary of anyone who seemed to be geared up to do battle.

In Chicago for NATO 2012, there was a week of protests and events scheduled from Saturday, May 13 though Monday, May 21, 2012.   Around Tuesday, May 15, a group drove in to Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood from out of town, and were stopped and harassed by Chicago cops.  One of those in the car flipped on a video camera, recording the hassling session by an archetypal Bridgeport cop.  The things said by the cop were so  cliché as to seem like a script about a cop in a bungalow neighborhood hassling the quintessential protester kids from out of state.  The cop said he'd be keeping an eye on the protesters and threatened to get them.  The whole mess ended out on Youtube.  The same group of out-of-towners were seen the following day in raucous protests through the south side.  Those protests were live-streamed by Tim Pool, Geoff Shively,  and Luke Rudkowski.  The march was  incredibly long, incredibly fast, and got high points for clever technique in eluding police.   In short, the march was hilarious, daring, crazy, and daunting.  The live stream merited 4 stars for protest porn, with Tim Pool running through a narrow gangway as a protester flipped trash cans.  Tim followed closely behind as protesters hopped a turnstile to run upstairs to the el platform, only to have the trains suddenly shut down.  I hoped  Sunday's protest would be tamer, since my name would be associated with it.

 By Thursday night, the same guys who had been stopped in the car by the Bridgeport cops and who had helped put on the video game-worthy march the day before, were arrested in a massive midnight raid on the house where they were staying with locals.   They had been set up and entrapped by two undercover cops, a man and a woman who called themselves Nadia and Mo, who were "arrested" with them to try to maintain their cover.  When Nadia and Mo disappeared in jail, there was speculation they had been put into a black hole.  Those savvy about the ways of law enforcement quickly realized the two were actually undercover cops there to entrap their prey. Nadia and Mo had instigated the making of molotov cocktails (bottle bombs) and supposedly, the three young men from out of town went along with the plan.  The three are nicknamed the NATO 3, and they are still in Cook County Jail.   Jump back to how the Illinois conspiracy and accountability laws work, and note that the young men need not have done much to be guilty.  In most conspiracy cases, it is the entrapping agents who come up with the plan, provide the materials, do most of the talking, and those being entrapped need only acquiesce.  Nadia and Mo were able to entrap their prey within a few days of their arrival in Bridgeport.  The out-of-towners' lack of moxy to just say no to the cunning duo may land them in prison for decades.

On Friday of that May week, in Tinley Park, a suburb south of Chicago, a tattooed woman in her 40s walked into the Ashford House, an Irish restaurant known for its bland food and senior citizen crowd, and made a noon lunch reservation for 10 diners for the following day, according to a restaurant worker. "It all seemed strange from the beginning," according to the worker.

On Saturday,  a group of men was spotted in the south loop area of Chicago putting batons into the trunk of a dark-colored car.  Some protesters assumed these men to be police who were going to act as agent provocateurs at the protests. The protesters took pictures and put them up online, asking people to identify the men.  What happened to the photos?  Who were the men?  Were they, in fact, agent provocateurs, but headed to Tinley Park?  Or who were they?

At around noon, the European heritage group gathered at Ashford House.  According to a restaurant worker, the group members met out in the parking lot, did not appear to know each other, and introduced themselves to each other before entering the restaurant.  Five were inside awaiting the arrival of ten more when the attackers entered the restaurant.

 According to reports, a group of 15 to 18 men dressed in black with hoods and masks ran in.  The Tinley Park Patch reported:   “Tables were being thrown and chairs were broken,” the employee said. “Then they were gone. They flashed in and out. They had people waiting for them outside.”  The attackers reportedly left in 3 cars.  One car with 5 men from Indiana was stopped within five minutes.  The sixth person to be arrested was Jason Hammond, who was arrested about 14 months after the incident.

I question whether this was a real luncheon, or if it was an elaborate entrapment scheme.  I question if the diners were an actual organization, or if some of them were undercover agents.  This may seem too elaborate of a plan, but keep in mind, that week Chicago was brimming with FBI, NSA, and DHS agents, and several elaborate, but quickly enacted, entrapment schemes had already taken place. I question whether  the men who brought the batons were undercover police.  We know that 5 of the attackers were the HARM group from Indiana.  I question who the rest of the attackers were -- were some of them undercover agents?  Who came up with the idea of the HARM group attacking this luncheon, and how did they find out about it since the luncheon was just planned the day before?   I wonder if the State is claiming Jason Hammond was present at the restaurant, or if they are trying to rope him in on conspiracy or accountability.   If Jason Hammond was present at the restaurant, what was he told he would be attending?

If the Tinley Park 5 who took plea deals suspect that there were undercover agents involved or any entrapment, there is no mention of it on the HARM website.  The HARM website brags that the five attackers who are now in prison have not given up their "comrades," but have they bothered to find out who all their comrades are?  And how does Jason Hammond figure in? He seems one of the least likely persons to be involved in such a group.  It seems highly unlikely he would knowingly go to a "protest" where the "protesters" were bringing batons.  If he was present and could not be identified from the restaurant video, how is it he is being identified 14 months later?  If he was not present, yet is still being accused, how tenuous is his connection to the events?

And my big question: Is the prosecution of Jason Hammond a ploy to get his twin brother, Jeremy Hammond, to agree to hack on behalf of the government?