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Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years for Stratfor Hack (w/ Hammond Statement & World Media Support Letter)

In Anonymous, Archive, Hacking, Jeremy Hammond, LulzSec, Sabu, WikiLeaks on November 15, 2013 at 5:57 PM


Jeremy Hammond, a 28-year-old political activist, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). Hammond is accused of being the source of Stratfor emails leaked to WikiLeaks, which revealed information on a broad range of issues, including the secret, widespread CIA-connected TrapWire surveillance system, a US Department of Homeland Security report on tracking of Occupy Wall Street, a FBI classified investigation into PETA, Stratfor spying on Bhopal activists, and much more.

During the three years of restricted release Hammond’s actions will be supervised and he will be prevented from using internet security tools such as Tor and encryption, and will not be allowed to associate with any civil disobedience organisation.

Jeremy Hammond Sentencing Transcript

The Ceremonial Courtroom at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York was filled with an outpouring of support by journalists, activists and other whistleblowers who see Jeremy Hammond’s actions as a form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.


Courtroom Sketch via @MollyCrabapple


The following is Jeremy’s statement to the court.  We have redacted a portion [marked in red] upon the orders of Judge Preska.  While we believe the public has a right to know the redacted information therein, we refuse to publish information that could adversely effect Jeremy or his counsel.


Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case. I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.

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, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.

Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.

My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.

I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups. I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.

While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.

When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing. But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.

Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.

I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.

I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks. I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time – the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.

I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security. But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.

Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.

I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.

I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.

On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.

I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target. I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.

It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI. Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.

As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.

After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform. Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.

These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.

REVEALED: Targets Supplied by FBI to Jeremy Hammond

The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?

The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.

In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals. I believe in the individual right to privacy – from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us. I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.

It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so — honestly — could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done.



Image via @MollyCrabapple


On 14 October 2013, before the sentence was given by Judge Loretta Preska, a letter was signed by editors and journalists around the world that attested to the importance of the material Hammond was allegedly the source of. This letter was sent to Judge Preska and asked for leniency in the disproportionate possible sentence. Judge Loretta Preska however failed to show any leniency, ignoring the consequences of setting a precedent for prosecution of journalistic sources, as well as the criminality that the leaks reveal. This letter is published today by WikiLeaks.


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

October 14, 2013

Dear Judge Preska,

We are a group of concerned editors and journalists from around the globe. Together we represent newspapers, TV networks, and magazines with a combined audience of 500 million. In 2011 our news outlets published articles using documents allegedly obtained by Mr. Jeremy Hammond. We are aware that Mr Hammond has pled guilty to a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in relation to information from the company Strategic Forecasting Inc, or “Stratfor”. The information allegedly disclosed has helped to keep the public informed about serious wrongdoings of corporations and corrupt governmental officers in more than 15 countries. In literally hundreds of articles based on these documents, we demonstrated corrupt and unethical behavior by a wide range of entities including Stratfor and its clients. These publications have led to important public interest outcomes. We implore you to consider a less severe penalty for Mr. Hammond.

Mr. Hammond did not seek to economically benefit himself by selling the information to Stratfor’s competitors or other interested actors. His co-defendants in Ireland will not be prosecuted and in the United Kingdom those who are already convicted will not spend more than 16 months in prison. We are asking you for leniency. A sentence that is not lenient runs the risk failing to differentiate between media sources whose activities bring about important public good and those engaged in professional criminality. This would have the serious consequence of encouraging the latter form of conduct over the former.

Mr Hammond is young, intelligent, politically engaged, and someone whose alleged conduct is directly linked to the constitutionally protected rights of the press. We believe he has a strong case for leniency.

We have an ongoing interest in this case since it may affect one of our journalistic sources and the ability of the press to function effectively. We remain immensely grateful for Mr. Hammond’s alleged courageous assistance to our publications.

Yours sincerely,

Zaffar Abbas, Dawn Media Group, Editor, Haroon House, Karachi, Pakistan
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Editor-in-Chief, University of Melbourne, P.O. Box 4080, Victoria 3052, Australia
Carlos Enrique Bayo, Publico, Director, Gran Vía, 30 (5º), 28013, Madrid, Spain
Abou Hattab Fathy, Al-masry Al-youm Newspaper, General manager, 49 Almobtdayan St, CIB Building, 2511, Cairo, Egypt
Aissa García, Telesur in México, Director, Rodriguez Saro 130, Delegación Benito Juárez, CP 03100, México, DF, Mexico
Jamal Ghosn, Al Akhbar English, Managing Editor, Concorde Building, 6th Floor, Verdun Street, Beirut, Lebanon
John Goetz, NDR, Editor, Investigations, ARD-Hauptstadtstudio, Wilhelmstr. 67a, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Nicky Hager, The Sunday Star Times, Journalist and Author, Wellington, New Zealand
Vitaliy Leybin, The Russian Reporter magazine, Editor-in-Chief, Bumazhniy proezd 14, floor 8, Moscow, Russia
Jean-Marc Manach,, Journalist and Writer, 80, boulevard Auguste Blanqui, 75707 Paris Cedex 13, France
Stefania Maurizi, L’Espresso, Journalist, via C.Colombo, n.90, 00147, Rome, Italy
Pedro Miguel, La Jornada, Internantional Affairs, Av. Cuauhtémoc 1236, Colonia Sta. Cruz Atoyac, CP 03310, DF, Mexico
Martín Rodríguez Pellecer, Plaza Publica, Director, Universidad Rafael Landívar, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Atanas Tchobanov, Bivol, Editor, Burgas 8000, 4, Baba Ganka Sqr., fl. 4, Bulgaria
Ernesto Tiffenberg, Pagina 12, Executive Editor, Solís 1525., Código Postal C1134ADG, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Natalia Viana, Journalist and Author, Rua Harmoniam 1010-102, Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Related Links:

Hammond Calls His 10-year Sentence a “Vengeful, Spiteful Act” by US Authorities Eager to Put a Chill on Political Hacking

Alexa O’Brien Statement on Jeremy Hammond’s Sentencing Verdict

  1. […] by Sabu, unaware that Monsegur was working as an FBI informant. Hammond was arrested in March 2012 sentenced to 10 years last November. Monsegur walked free in May with a year of […]


  2. […] “praised” by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska.  (transcript) The same judge who imposed the decade long detention of Jeremy […]


  3. […] Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years for Stratfor Hack (w/ Hammond Statement & World Media Suppo… […]


  4. […] Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years for Stratfor Hack (w/ Hammond Statement & World Media Suppo… […]


  5. […] on behalf of the FBI was the arrest and indictment of Jeremy Hammond. Hammond pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in federal prison in November for his role in hacking and leaking files belonging to the private […]


  6. as I know there are hackers who confiscated money from banks or bitcoins, there are also anarchists in greece and other countries that rob banks, so, if they want to pay, everything can be done:
    1)eliminations (anywhere) and
    2)setting free from prisons (this option is more for Europe, I don’t have information so much about American prisons).
    price for prosecutor or judge 50 000 euro, for liberation 50 000 euro too. + financing action (traveling, accommodation, vehicle, gun, renting flat in target city, etc). nothing face to face.
    everything can be done with bitcoins, through black market reloaded ((http://r6rcmz6lga4i5vb4.onion/) BMR has escrow system too, you register as customer and keep money there and you pay me step by step for every single thing, there is no cheating). BMR is improved place for selling drugs and other things, admin never stole money and we use Tor software and pgp for our own security.
    for more information, contact me at:
    we can also use private message system at BMR. send me your gpg public key.
    first it was bradly manning, then assange, now hammond and in the meantime many anarchists in greece, italy, etc… only idiots fight with legal means against repressive departments and their spies. If CIA kills and imprison (in the case of hammond), people must do the same.
    message for hackers: hammond financed red cross with money from hacking, I can tell you, red cross is business and spying shit for secret service, the same like unicef and similar, so, better pay some criminal who will kill your enemy. even julian assange can save his ass from swedish prison if anna ardin in stockholm finish dead but he is reformist and he believed in island, sweden, swiss, but now snowden published info and people can see there is no state you can believe. one more time: if CIA kills, you must do the same, in other case, more and more people will be imprisoned and tortured and killed. there are many imprisoned anarchists, they can be set free if they have help from outside. prosecutors and judges should also be eliminated, longer they are alive, more people will be imprisoned.



  7. […] Related Link: Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years for Stratfor Hack (w/ Hammond Statement & World Media S… […]


  8. and how many years is each willing participant within the NSA, CIA, Corporations, courts, etc involved in the ILLEGAL hacking of millions of computers, cellphones, etc for over 35 years now going to receive??? the day of reckoning is upon them.


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