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.