Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preskaq is a prime example of a tyrant who’s function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power.
A prime example of this is the controversial case of Jeremy Hammond, a hero of the people with a long history of being a formidable dissident. As such, he is a political prisoner and a victim of the USA’s [in]justice system.
Jeremy Hammond was accused of gaining unauthorized access to Stratfor’s computer systems, and was denied bail by Judge Preskaq; who for 19 months had him jailed in another city, denied bail, held in solitary confinement, and denied the right to see and phone his family.
Jeremy Hammond unsuccessfully sought to have Judge Preskaq recuse herself, claiming information about her husband was released in the leak and that her husband works with Stratfor clients. Therein, her husband is an employee of Cahill Gordon & Reindell LLP, a Stratfor client and associate, and many Hammond supporters claimed that Judge Preskaq impartiality is harmed by this conflict of interest. Judge Loretta Preskaq denied the charge, and in turn, Hammond’s lawyers were unsuccessful in their attempt to force her recusal.
An outpouring of support by journalists, activists and other whistleblowers in the run-up to the sentencing hearing has focused on Jeremy Hammond’s actions as civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.
Jeremy Hammond’s attorneys submitted a sentencing memorandum on his behalf asking for a sentence of time served, a call supported by 5,000 people in petitions hosted by Change.org and Demand Progress. Additionally, over 250 letters addressed to the Judge from friends, family, journalists, academics, the tech community, and prominent whistleblowers have been included with the memorandum. Among these is a letter cosigned by 17 editors and journalists representing international media outlets in fifteen countries with a combined audience of 500 million people.
Some of the public figures who have spoken in support of Jeremy are Daniel Ellsberg, Yes Men activist Andy Bichlbaum, journalist John Knefel, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges, Bhopal activist Saif Ansari, Center for Constitutional Rights President Emeritus Michael Ratner,journalist Alexa O’Brien, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir, and past Weather Underground members Bill Ayers Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Education (ret.) at University of Illinois at Chicago, and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University, as well as Northwestern University philosophy professor Peter Ludlow.
Jeremy Hammond eventually pleaded guilty to leaking information from the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, which revealed that Stratfor had been spying on activists and human rights defenders and selling that information to governments and corporations.
Jeremy Hammond did nothing for personal gain and everything in hopes of making the world a better place. However, on Friday, November 15, 2013, Judge Preska handed down a maximum sentence for Jeremy Hammond under his plea deal – 10 years in prison. After serving his jail term, Hammond will also be subject to three years under supervised release.
In short, Judge Loretta Preskaq orchestrated this miscarriage of justice in behalf of an ever growing tyrannical government. It not only stands as a warning to persecuting future activists and human rights defenders, but includes anyone that desires a just, limited, federal government.
On November 15, 2013, Loretta A. Preska (born January 7, 1949 in Albany, New York) a Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and a former nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit handed down an extremely harsh sentence to Mr. Jeremy Hammond for being entrapped by a an FBI informant into hacking the Stratfor Global Intelligence e-mails servers, in a case she should have removed herself from due to the fact that her husband works with Stratfor and had some minor personal information revealed (reportedly his e-mail address) in the Stratfor hack.
The blowback from the ruling is just beginning to be felt but it promises to be massive with WikiLeaks being one of the first by releasing the rest of the Stratfor e-mails (over 500,000 documents)for which Mr. Hammond has been charged. Hacktivist groups Anononymous, LULZSEC, ANTISEC and others are promising operations and “payback” which will be massive according to members of Anonymous without giving details saying they had already arrived.
The Stratfor e-mails are damning because they show the almost seamless operations of a private corporate intelligence firm with real intelligence agencies and the government. One e-mail details how an Israeli Intelligence informant was targeted for information on Hugo Chavez.
“You have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” Stratfor CEO George Friedman told Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011. He was instructing her how to manipulate an Israeli intelligence informant who was passing Stratfor information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.
The Stratfor e-mails contain private information about the US Government’s campaign against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and even Stratfor’s own private and illegal attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. According to WIkiLeaks more than 4,000 e-mails mention WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.
WikiLEaks calls the files “the Global Intelligence Files” which expose a global network of informants paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit and include covert and overt informants including government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.
The Stratfor e-mails show how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients, including PETA and Bhopal activists such as the “Yes Men” for US Dow Chemical. The targets sought redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India which killed thousands and injured more than half a million.
The biggest and most damning fact against the government with regard to the Stratfor hack is that it was completely organized and carried out by the FBI using Hector Monsegur (Sabu) and the files were actually stored on FBI servers for two weeks before they were released to WikiLeaks. Meaning the entire release could have been stopped at anytime during the entire process.
Besides the above, the irregularities in the case are so many that it was believed by many that the case should have been thrown out or that Mr. Hammond would be released with time served. Now maybe Americans are beginning to understand that their government has been taken over completely by corporations and their system of justice has failed.
The first failure in the case against Hammond was that he was entrapped. In an any faire and just system police and law enforcement bodies cannot entrap people and convince them to do things that they would not do on their own. Nor would they use criminals to entrap innocent individuals or use their testimony to build cases against innocent individuals.
The FBI informant in this case, who entrapped Mr. Hammond, was an individual named Hector Xavier Monsegur, known by the hacker name SABU. Mr. Monsegur was arrested for hacking into computer systems and stealing credit card and other personal information to enrich himself and caused millions of dollars of harm. That is if we can believe anything the FBI reports. Mr. Monsegur’s crimes make Mr. Hammond’s pale in comparison. Hammond attempted to expose the illegality of a private corporation which performs intelligence functions out of the realm of government control, in many cases illegal monitoring for the government, that due to its private nature, it was able to get away with as it handed the date to the CIA and other agencies.
Hammond was aware that Stratfor was among its illegal activities: monitoring indigenous populations, human rights groups, political activists, protestors and any other “undesirables” for the US Government and just like Bradley Manning he attempted to expose criminality and the inappropriate and illegal relationship between a private, well-connected corporate power enriching itself off the government coffers while performing illegal activities for that very government.
There can be little question that the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is one of the most questionable in the world and has handled cases that flaunt international law and norms while continually protecting monied and powerful interests in the United States and those of its “special” friends. It is also one of the most powerful in the United States and one that the record has shown rules as it wishes with little regard for the actual rule of law, public opinion and international and national outcry brought about by its actions.
The court has a history of brutal and questionable ruling and due to its protected nature has had little oversight from any of the bodies that are generally supposed to keep the system in check. The court in particular has handled many cases where the rights of the individual have been violated, proper procedures and rights have been trampled on or ignored and outright illegality by law enforcement and prosecuting bodies and individuals have been documented. However the court has a history of always fulfilling the will of the state and prosecutors no matter how egregious its rulings are or how badly the rights of individuals have been violated.
The court has handled many post 9-11 cases involving questionable charges against foreign and US nationals under the Patriot Act and other Draconian US legislation. Here it is important to note that the court has never heard a case or ruled against any entity with regard to the events of 9-11, despite statements by key figures in 9-11 regarding giving orders to “pull” and the total lack of security which allowed the buildings to be blown up as well as widespread evidence of a cover up and inside involvement. This includes allowing suspected Mossad agents and other suspected perpetrators to leave the country and escape prosecution.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has prosecuted questionable international cases such as the Victor Bout case, where a Russian citizen was illegally kidnapped and taken to the United States as well as being entrapped for the crime of “possibly intending to help someone else commit a crime against the US”.
Other questionable cases include the kidnapping and illegal prosecution of another Russian as well, Constantin Yaroshenko, who was also entrapped by a questionable informant and illegally recorded. Him and Mr. Bout were pilots and there is evidence that they both had some inside knowledge through their professional activities regarding the events of 9-11.
This prosecution of someone with knowledge of 9-11 is completely true in the case of Susan Lindauer, who was a CIA asset and attempted to stop the invasion of Iraq. Her treatment by the court and Judge Preska in particular included Preska attempting to chemically lobotomize Lindauer and calling her mentally incompetent to stand trial. This was due to Lindauer’s inside knowledge of the events of 9-11 gained through her work as a peace negotiator between US targets Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Malaysia and her work with the CIA.
Other Preska prosecutions include that of Abduwali Muse a Somali pirate who was illegally renditioned to the United States and subject to a show trial and to whom she gave 33 years.
She also ruled in the case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailiani one of those illegally held at Guantanamo in the first civilian case against an illegally held and tortured Guantanamo detainee.
Lastly and most importantly here is the fact that she ruled in the case of Hector Monsegur (Sabu), in effect letting his financial and other crimes be ignored in order to persecute a peace activist (Hammond).
The cases Preska has ruled over, the sentences she has handed down, the fact that she habitually refuses to take into account evidence that should either free or exonerate suspects and in the case of Hammond, the fact that she refused to recuse herself from the case, above all, when there was clearly a conflict of interests (her ruling over Sabu and her husband’s ties to Stratfor) paint a picture of a judge above the law, who is in fact a law unto herself and her interests, and one who operates with complete impunity as she has made herself not only above the law, but the only law.
Given her own track record for ignoring the law it was particularly painful to hear that she stated: “Hammond has shown a total lack of respect for the law,” and also, “… there is a desperate need to promote respect for the law,” she said, as well as a “need for adequate public deterrence.” Had her court any respect for the law they would have let Hammond go. He was entrapped. As for deterrence, yes, they are trying to terrorize anyone who would dare expose illegality, because that is what Hammond was guilty of.
Hammond was able to finally speak out and stated: “Those in power do not want the truth exposed. …the injustice I fought against cannot be cured by reform, but by civil disobedience and direct action. The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life, I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice and to bring the truth to light. I tried everything from voting, petitions, and peaceful protests to expose the truth. I believe sometimes laws must be broken to exact change.”
Hammond is clearly a prisoner of conscience, and as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
As for the traitor Loretta Preskaq, the words of Julius Caesaris can best describe her, “If you must break the law, do it to seize power.”