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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mourning Father Says Aaron Swartz Was "Killed By the Government"

Posted by on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM

The Chicago Sun-Times says:

Aaron Swartz was “killed by the government,” his father, Robert Swartz said at a memorial service Tuesday morning for the 26-year-old tech genius who killed himself in the face of felony charges he’d stolen millions of files from MIT.

Swartz said his son was “hounded by the government, and MIT refused him.”

Everything about this story makes my heart hurt.


Comments (18) RSS

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@6, just STFU, you're a complete and total moron!
Posted by sgt_doom on January 16, 2013 at 11:13 AM · Report this
Aaron Swartz, R.I.P.

There is nothing more sad, more disheartening, than the death of a decent person.

I didn't know Aaron Swartz, although I had communicated with him online on several occasions; a highly intelligent young man with a prodigious mind and noble spirit.

Aaron evidently reached the decision, to spare his family and friends future pain, he would forfeit his own life; in ancient Rome they referred to it as "Falling on one's sword."

Yet another fatality of Obama's War On Whistleblowers, the dramatic extension and expansion from the Bush administration.

Today, Gov. Don Siegelman sits in a penitentiary, his only "crime" was wishing to increase educational access for the many; an authentic democrat, so very rare today.

Today, an Iraqi immigrant, Shakir Hamoodi, who sent small sums of money to his close relatives back home for medical and food emergencies, also sits in a penitentiary, yet another humanist, or "criminal" in America?

Today, a brave CIA whistleblower of the criminal and barbaric torture taking place, John Kiriakou, faces two years in jail, thanks to Obama and life in the land of the lawless.

Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, Gov. Don Siegelman, Shakir Hamoodi, John Kiriakou and others, too many others, a roster of the best of America, wasted lives in others pursuit of never-ending corruption.

A bizarre BBC report the other day --- and bizarre is the only accurate description for both BBC and their news report --- ran an attack piece on WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, nonsensically juxtaposed against the newspaper strike in China!

They --- the BBC and Australian news --- once again perpetrated lies of "sexual assault of two women" against Assange?

Having read all the legal documents, in both English and Swedish, I observed NO verification of such lies, only that Sofia Wilen, the younger woman who first approached Julian Assange, wanted nothing to do with such false allegations, and that the government-affiliated Anna Ardin (one of her many aliases), appears to have been the driving force in stirring up such vicious stories! (When the publicity became too much for Anna Ardin, she was spirited off to Israel, where a member of the Bonnier family was ambassador at that time.)…

The one common factor, known to Americans, which is evident in both the attacks on Wikileaks/Assange and the illegitimate and amoral incarceration of Gov. Siegelman, is Karl Rove.

Rove appears again and again in the background, as the puppet master pulling the strings to take out Gov. Siegelman, and was financed in his multiple trips to Sweden, around the beginning of the WikiLeaks' episode, financed by the Bonnier family, one of the media giant families of Europe and among the top ten media corporations in existence. (Virtually everyone on the Swedish side who has been attacking Julian Assange is financially connected to the Bonnier family: the attorneys, Anna Ardin, the Bonnier-employed reporters, the Justice Minister, etc., the only exception would be Sofia Wilen, the young lady who quickly distanced herself from the horrendously unfolding events.)

Aaron Swartz, both believed in, and fought for, free speech and freedom of the press, an incredibly shrinking freedom which has been all but co-opted by the ruling oligarchs through their corporations today --- does anyone really know who owns AT&T, after all?

Recently, some technically astute friends ran a series of tests, and observed that the most heavily censored sites: Huffington Post,, Naked Capitalism, The Guardian, etc., are considered to be some of the more "liberal" sites on the 'net --- nothing could be further from the truth!

The most heavily censored English-speaking countries on the Web? Canada, the UK and the USA.

Most despicably, network neutrality appears as dead as Aaron Swartz --- and we should all mourn the passing of both noble personages.

In Memoriam

Aaron Swartz

November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013…

Notes and Sources…

"Kiriakou was a CIA veteran who played a role in the agency's capture of the al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded by government interrogators and eventually revealed information that led to the arrest of the "dirty bomb" plotter Jose Padilla and exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. Accounts conflict over whether the waterboarding was helpful in getting intelligence from Zubaydah."

. . . .

"The CIA director, David Petraeus, sent a memo to agency employees noting Kiriakou's conviction, saying: "It marks an important victory for our agency, for our intelligence community, and for our country. Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy."

(Tell that to the wifey, Davey boy! --- sgt_doom)……………
Posted by sgt_doom on January 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
delirian 16
@4 (continued): And maybe they poured a little grease on the ledge to make it a little more slippery. Then they told him that if he came off he would be spending decades in jail. Oh, and Heymann really loved to ram up the stress by repeatedly warning that any delay to take a plea deal would make the plea deal worse.
Posted by delirian on January 16, 2013 at 5:16 AM · Report this
delirian 15
@4: We aren't claiming that Ortiz and Heymann murdered him. All we are saying is that when Swartz was on the ledge, Ortiz and Heymann thought it would be fun to poke him in the back with a stick over and over again telling him "your life is over".
Posted by delirian on January 16, 2013 at 5:09 AM · Report this
Eric Arrr 14

Since you seem to need a little help in the reading comprehension department, I'll clarify:

I blame Ortiz and Heymann for their prosecutorial decisions, not for Swartz' suicide. Swartz killed himself, I hope as a conscious act of protest, against the indefensibly unjust acts of these brazenly irresponsible prosecutors.
Posted by Eric Arrr on January 16, 2013 at 1:59 AM · Report this
NotSean 13
@5 Well said.
Posted by NotSean on January 15, 2013 at 11:42 PM · Report this
seatackled 12
Damn, some of you are real soulless fuckers devoid of empathy.
Posted by seatackled on January 15, 2013 at 11:36 PM · Report this
@7 How the fuck is it not relevant? It's relevant first as insight into what happened and second as evidence that he's not the all singing all dancing crap of the world. If a pastor or republican politician had written,the article (sans confessions of their own same sex activity) it certainly would be noted on Slog and the gay blogs that wrote about the suicide and derided as homophobic and anti gay.
Posted by Endash on January 15, 2013 at 11:23 PM · Report this
That for which Aaron Swartz was indicted is something the most law-abiding and cautious of us do regularly:…
Posted by Phil M on January 15, 2013 at 10:31 PM · Report this
@5: Netiquette be damned, this is the first me-too comment I've ever posted, anywhere. Hear, fucking, hear.
Posted by Phil M on January 15, 2013 at 10:17 PM · Report this
Aren't we all in some sense killed by the government?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 15, 2013 at 9:41 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 7
1, uh, maybe no one mentions it because it's rather irrelevant.

Gee, a 20-something is having issues w/ their sexual identity. That never happens! It must be the key to everything!

Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 15, 2013 at 8:17 PM · Report this
I blame Aaron Schwartz's father for not raising his son better. If he had taught him not to steal, and that committing suicide was bad, this never would have happened. He should lose his job and livelihood, and I hope this haunts him the rest of his life. Well, no, not really. But that's how stupid it sounds when people blame Ortiz.
Posted by GermanSausage on January 15, 2013 at 7:56 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 5

Speaking as someone has has faced prosecution on trumped-up charges, let me tell you something: there is nothing more toxic to one's faith in a just society than being prosecuted by people whom you know are aware of, and indifferent to, your own innocence.

And all I faced was a chickenshit obstructing charge brought by Tom Carr in a counterproductive attempt to cover the asses of some city employees. It was a far, far fucking cry from being made a conspicuous example of what federal prosecutors will do, with the tiniest shred of culpability, to an Anonymous sympathizer who is plugged into the Cambridge hacktivist scene.

What Swartz was alleged to have done is the virtual equivalent of walking into a pay-what-you-can fundraiser and then pigging out on their buffet spread. He logged onto a network whose policy is expressly to be free and open, and used it to download, somewhat gluttonously, several million academic articles which were otherwise free for the taking by users of that same network.

(Never mind, by the way, that these articles were the product of publicly-subsidized research institutions.)

The same way you don't send a man to Alcatraz for stealing a loaf of bread (-- especially when, as here, prosecutors themselves allege that he stole that loaf for the benefit of someone other than himself --) you don't play fifty-plus year federal felony hardball with a decent, productive person who has singlehandedly done more good for the internet in his short life than your average Microsoft, or Google, or Apple employee does in an entire career.

And once you've forced him to exhaust his life's savings defending himself, it's no excuse to say, as Ortiz' husband Thomas Nolan has, "all he had to do was plead guilty, spend six months in jail and be branded a felon and the whole ordeal could have been over."

For all this, Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann should be removed from office and held in contempt by everyone in this country with a proportionate sense of justice.
Posted by Eric Arrr on January 15, 2013 at 7:46 PM · Report this
I think it is a stretch to blame her for the suicide, there are millions of people facing prosecution in this country on trumped up charges or for crimes they may or may not have committed and they don’t take their own life. Seems to be clearly other factors here. 
Posted by Seattle14 on January 15, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
This poor guy had suicidal ideation for years. It's probably easier and an effective coping mechanism for the family to point the blame to ~the government~.
Posted by six five on January 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
I should mention that the article was titled "Why I am not gay." He had at least two serious (include his most recent) romantic relationships with women. Maybe not actually being gay had something to do with it instead of self hating philosophical hocus pocus.
Posted by Endash on January 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this
What I've only seen mentioned once is that he also once wrote an article claiming that gay isn't a valid orientation or identity (he was bisexual and, obviously, had serious issues with it.) He compared it to being predominantly attracted to white people, for instance. Ironic that he would kill himself after so callously writing off so many gay kids who are 4 to 8 times more likely to attempt suicide.
Posted by Endash on January 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM · Report this

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