Jeremy Hammond is a hacktivist who was sentenced to spend a decade in prison for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing the leaks through the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He was attracted to computers early on and won a high school competition for his coding. Opposition to the Iraq War motivated Jeremy to get involved in activism — on the day of the invasion, he organized a school walkout. After graduating, he founded HackthisSite.org to train fellow programmers in various hacking methods and security measures.
According to WikiLeaks, the e-mails date between July 2004 and December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.
The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world gave Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money.
Before going to prison, Hammond said in a statement, “Now that I have pleaded guilty, it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.”
Jeremy Hammond has been in confinement since his arrest in Chicago by the FBI on 5 March 2012. Like others imprisoned for crimes of bringing truths to light, Jeremy has been further retaliated against while in prison, as the government works to deter others from following in his footsteps.
Jeremy was first held in Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, until he was sentenced, and he was transferred to several prisons before ending up where he is now, the Federal Correctional Institution in Manchester, Kentucky.
Accused of various infractions of prison rules, Jeremy was held in punitive segregation (solitary confinement) at MCC on a number of occasions. Solitary confinement has been described by many psychologists, human rights activists, and scholars as psychological torture. Isolation is extremely harmful. As the CCR notes,
Researchers have demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement causes a persistent and heightened state of anxiety and nervousness, headaches, insomnia, lethargy or chronic tiredness, nightmares, heart palpitations, and fear of impending nervous breakdowns.
After 21 months of pretrial detention and threatened with multiple trials in many jurisdictions, Jeremy agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in a noncooperation deal. In May 2013 he received the maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
Jeremy was denied bail and thus prevented from fully participating in his defense preparation. In denying bail, Judge Preska claimed that there was no way to prevent him from using the Internet. She determined that she couldn’t otherwise prevent him from “stopping at an Internet cafe and performing the Stratfor hack all over again,” even though Jeremy and his lawyers said that they would accept house arrest.
Making case preparation even more difficult, Jeremy was also permitted only limited access to his discovery documents by the prison, logging only 11 hours of access to the laptop which contained the necessary files between 13 February 2013 and 10 April 2013.
After he was sentenced to a decade in prison, Jeremy was transferred to the medium-security federal prison in Manchester, KY. Jeremy has called his sentence a “vengeful, spiteful act,” and it appears the government intends to continue retaliating against him while he’s in jail.
Despite good behavior and maintaining a laundry job, Jeremy has had visitor and communication issues with the administration at the Manchester prison. Close friend and longtime manager of FreeJeremy.net, Grace North explained:
Jeremy has stated that his mail – both paper and electronic – comes in bursts. He will get nothing for an extended period of time, and then he will get bundles of mail. This is consistent with him being placed under investigation by “SIS” or “Special Investigative Services.” SIS functions as a sort of internal prison police unit, and Jeremy is likely being targeted for continuing to speak out from behind prison walls. More recently, letters, articles, books, and even court documents related to Jeremy’s own case have been rejected by the prison, all for nonsensical reasons, making it even more clear that Jeremy is likely being punished for what should be Constitutionally protected free speech.
Most recently, Jeremy was placed in solitary confinement for two weeks in the middle of October 2014, when the prison claimed he stole clothing from his laundry job. In solitary confinement, he is afforded no possessions and is allowed just one book at a time.
Jeremy is currently slated for release in February of 2020. Federal law does not include provision for parole.
Donate to the Courage Foundation in support of freeing Jeremy HERE