Internet activist, Aaron Swartz, 26, commits suicide in New York City

Stacy Summary: I remember first hearing about Aaron Swartz on Democracy Now! which covered his arrest by FBI for downloading public domain documents from MIT. They were on his computer and had not yet been shared. Anyway, he was facing 25 years on 13 felony counts.

UPDATE:

Earlier, Lessig tweeted: Aaron Swartz “is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would call bullying.”

**UPDATE 2**:

Aaron’s mother writing at Ycombinator:

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. Aaron has been depressed about his case/upcoming trial, but we had no idea what he was going through was this painful.

Aaron was a terrific young man. He contributed a lot to the world in his short life and I regret the loss of all the things he had yet to accomplish. As you can imagine, we all miss him dearly. The grief is unfathomable.

**UPDATE 3**:

Our nation’s growing humorlessness won’t just mean that insubordinate idealists like Swartz lose their freedom or their lives. As our culture becomes steadily less accepting of people with Swartz’s irreverant attitude toward authority, we’ll all be poorer as a result. Revolutionary new technologies and ideas don’t come from people with a reverence for following the rules. They come from iconoclasts like Jobs, Wozniak, and Swartz. It’s a bad idea to lock them up and throw away the key.

In 2011 Swartz was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. The crime? Downloading academic journals from not-for profit JSTOR on a guest account without permission. JSTOR would later provide free access claiming it already had a program in the works when Swartz committed his crime. In other words, Aaron Swartz did to JSTOR what Mark Zuckerberg did to Harvard’s Facebook – gained unauthorized access to data which lead to offering a service the university said it was already working on. And in the state of Massachusetts no less!

Like Harvard with Zuckerberg, JSTOR was able to settle the issue with Swartz outside of a court room. Unlike with Zuckerberg, the US Attorney for Massachusetts pursued criminal charges which meant Swartz faced up to 35 years in prison and a million dollar fine. Maybe if Zuckerberg had been a political activist…

His interview with RT re: attempts to put internet under UN style control:

And here he is speaking about starting the campaign against SOPA:

41 comments on “Internet activist, Aaron Swartz, 26, commits suicide in New York City
  1. Bonn says:

    So Sad anything out of place ???

  2. Andy B says:

    Sorry to see such a dedicated activist lose his life. Thanks for the links Stacy.

  3. Judge Jeffreys says:

    Unlike Aaron Schwartz, former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger committed a real theft, stealing classified documents from the National Archives. What he actually stole is an open question, as is who ordered Berger to commit the theft. Berger’s punishment: a misdemeanor conviction with no jail time, just 100 hours of community service and a fine. Talk about a double standard at the USDOJ.

    From Wikipedia:
    On July 19, 2004, it was revealed that the U.S. Justice Department was investigating [Sandy] Berger for unauthorized removal of classified documents in October 2003 from a National Archives reading room prior to testifying before the 9/11 Commission. The documents were five classified copies of a single report commissioned from Richard Clarke, covering internal assessments of the Clinton administration’s handling of the unsuccessful 2000 millennium attack plots. An associate of Berger said Berger took one copy in September 2003 and four copies in October 2003.[16]

    Berger pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material on April 1, 2005. Berger was fined $50,000,[17] sentenced to serve two years of probation and 100 hours of community service, and stripped of his security clearance for 3 years.[18] The Justice Department initially said Berger stole only copies of classified documents and not originals.[19] But the House Government Reform Committee later revealed that an unsupervised Berger had been given access to classified files of original, uncopied, uninventoried documents on terrorism. Several Archives officials acknowledged that Berger could have stolen any number of items and they “would never know what, if any, original documents were missing”

  4. jischinger says:

    the guy was not only a genius, he was a danger to the establishment in no small way.

    There’s little doubt …. let’s just say, Activist need to make a public statement about a commitment to live and walk in pairs

  5. Dustbowl Daze says:

    I understand. I would rather kill myself than go to jail for 25 years.

  6. Flopot says:

    The attack dogs of the corporatists killed him. Martyr. No doubt.

  7. gold bullet says:

    So sad that the insane fear & terror machinery otherwise known as the US Prosecution and Government has led to this.

    RIP.

  8. stacyherbert says:

    @Dustbowl Daze – I would, too. Especially if I were a man. Rape is part of the sentence there and it is a stain on the American character that they laugh about this fact.

  9. SophBee says:

    RIP gentle genius.

  10. Sirial says:

    It is getting worse before it is going to get better.

  11. Bonn says:

    @ Stacys
    No we must Fight back

  12. Bonn says:

    Killin your self is falling into there book play

  13. stacyherbert says:

    @Bonn – not necessarily, if their playbook is for you to be raped for 25 years, then refusing to be raped by killing yourself means you have check-mated them; also Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation caused a revolution and the toppling of his enemies – which was the police state which kept him from being free.

  14. MO says:

    suicide conveniently spared the government an embarrassing trial, w/ testimony and a possible acquittal; this is why NDAA is so important, it avoids media coverage, suicide, AND trials (possible unhappy endings for the guberment), Fight Terror w/ Terror

  15. stacyherbert says:

    @MO – it would have cost $1.5 million to defend himself in federal court: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2013/01/12/aaron-swartz/

  16. MO says:

    BTW
    on my above comment: Fight Terror w/ Terror, I mean the NDAA to be used legally on home grown terrorist, like libertarians, constitutionalists, gun owners, dissenters to government fiat: Lastly: home grown terrorists not disappearing, best peacefully, orderly & quietly line up at reeducation vacation spas for mental rehabilitation or perhaps going to a better place.

  17. MO says:

    Stacy, thank you for reply. I understand: who can win a court battle against some one w/ an unlimited budget. But suicide? seems very convenient, too convenient,

  18. Jeremy says:

    Suicide? Too convenient. Homicide before suicide.

  19. Silver Phoenix says:

    This situation fits seeking political asylum, as they weren’t going after him for a crime, but for beating the government and businesses over stopping their push to censor the internet.

  20. jischinger says:

    I don’t know all the details and probably never will, but this man was very intelligent and had friends all around the world who would have helped him in no small ways, if he lost the court battle I feel certain Norway would have taken him in as a political refugee . They’ve done that sort of thing before.

  21. Silver Phoenix says:

    Test.

  22. Silver Phoenix says:

    Of all the people to suggest it, him being jewish, escaping to Israel should have saved him. Or if you want to think happy thoughts and like a conspiracy, imagine that he has.

  23. oneguy says:

    And so the purging of Amerika’s enemies continues,,, who will be next?

    Where’s that damn kill list that Obama has?

  24. Silver Phoenix says:

    The last sentence of his last blog post:

    http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/tdk

    “Thus Master Wayne is left without solutions. Out of options, it’s no wonder the series ends with his staged suicide.”

  25. Bonn says:

    @ Stacys
    What I am suggestin is we have their game plan
    In thier game plan , we blokes are the victims …..
    How do we fight back
    Well get one Bloke into the Police department
    Get another into the Justice Department
    Killin yerself is archaic and pointless
    Think Like the enemy yer fightin
    or else yer bringin a Knife to a Gun fight
    lolz
    Hic ;-)

  26. Bonn says:

    @ Stacys
    Errr yer readin Chapters near the end
    Read the first few
    lolz
    Hic ;-)
    PS And I dun a lotta a research on Suicide
    Its a No No by god ….who ever that might be ……prior to a gang rape maybe its oks
    this accordin to the books
    I personaly am an Athiest
    At the same time ya hafta be smart
    I dunno if ya remember the Cosmic Law I had come up with
    They can only kill ya with yer consent
    ie Ciggarets alcohol
    I will Kill ya ….yeah but over period of time
    As I posted long time ago
    An Alien race dont hafta Enter our atmosphere to defeat us
    They hafta just Kill the Sun …..All 9 planets Die
    So theses blokes probably made a truce
    You can Kill my Solar system So can I
    How do we curb population
    Lets write a law
    I can only Kill ya if ya agree to it Poof !!!!!
    Bonn’s Cosmic Intergallactic Law Deciphered !!!!
    lolz
    Hic ;-)

  27. Bonn says:

    * Correction
    Intergallactic Law Deciphered by Bonn !!!

  28. Aspadistra at Ashdown Forest says:

    On the other hand, the US is understood to have death squads of various kinds operating in its territory … so this is always possible. When Rome was in its late stage of total collapse, it too probably had death squads too. Roman coins, like US ones — have been made of cheaper and cheaper metals as time has passed — so it always goes with empires.

  29. bbrebozo says:

    Bill Clinton? Ha Ha Ha Whaa Ha Ha . He smuggled drugs through Arkansas, He passed NAFTA he was a Rhodes Scholar -read Rothchilds trainee – he had an intern blow him while he was in the office of the Presidency in the White house, and then he lied about it.
    NPR = National Petroleum Radio, BBC = British Brainwash Channel. Who would ever give a fuck what this slave Bill Clinton had to say?

    Now, the Northern Irish issue.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPwiPJatuFQ&list=UUnsUaXejSLQrfjyszAaOGcA&index=2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAvF1O-pv7M&list=UUnsUaXejSLQrfjyszAaOGcA&index=1

  30. snoop diddy says:

    the bottom line for a two tier ‘justice’ system. :-(

  31. SAO says:

    How very sad and what a huge loss for the world. He was bullied to death by the FBI and corrupt court system. There will never be justice. He had such a gift.

  32. O says:

    Stacy
    You are one of us
    Libertarian anarcho capitalist
    Be proud of it. And get that max nut to start reading books. You two are quite messed up in the head with trying to redefine what sector of life you are. Your going to get an aneurism if you keep this dual personality for much longer. Learn to love what you are and slap max into shape too. You two will end up in a padded room if you keep trying to please everyone. You can’t reinvent a science that is 3000 years old. The laws of economics are eternal and can’t be broken.
    Nature is always right.
    Darwin

  33. Bruce says:

    “justice = just us”
    -G. Celente.

  34. Bruce says:

    bbrebozo,
    The Clintons have a great public image despite the crimes. Crazy world we live in..

  35. bbrebozo says:

    @Bruce
    Well, we both know very who creates the public image / mantra. And if anyone reveals the real – to close to home truth – “they” just whack them.

  36. SAO says:

    @bbrebozo
    Bill Clinton with White Water, FCC creation, took down Glass Steagall, gave the Chinese weapons technology for campaign contributions, had a dozen of his pre-presidential body guards wacked, killed Ron Brown (bullet wound found in his head), Vince Foster, Oklahoma City Bombing, sanctions on Iraq killing over 500,000 children, Waco, Ruby Ridge, sent the jobs over seas, Monica was a great distraction for this psychopath. He is in Bilderberg, Trilateral Commission, CFR, ect… Just because he plays the sacks and kissed up to the black community, people think he is cool. He ripped off the people in Haiti with baby Bush regarding the earthquake relief. Hilary was right by his side. More of the same. Throw in WTO and GATT. Such destruction.

  37. SAO says:

    @bbrebozo
    Just so I am clear Ron Brown was in a plane crash with his staff, but a military coroner found a bullet wound in his skull. When the two pointed that fact out, both were ignored and demoted.

  38. TJ says:

    This clown is NOT dead! unfortunately

    Fake suicide, this actor’s role is complete.

    Sayonara Suckers

  39. Authors@Google: Loretta Napoleoni – Rogue Economics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hqVAiCdkn0

    “Conspiracy Theory” In 1992 Manchester hosted a fortnight of Expressionist Art, “ENTRY INTO EUROPE FESTIVAL OF EXPRESSIONISM” President was His Excelelency The German Ambassador. (Grandson of The Red Baron)
    This Festival was over five years in the planning. At center stage was the Whitworth Gallery, the Director was Alistair Smith. The Whitworth is part of the Manchester University Complex on Oxford Road. The proposal put forward by the Exhibition Committee, was that Europe would pay for a brand new gallery, to be constructed on the site of the old one, but much larger, and extending further into Whitworth Park and the adjacent car park on the other side.

    The Highlight of the Festival was envisaged as a “Grand Opening Ceremony of the New Whitworth” … The best llaid plans of mice and men… it was not to be, the UK had cold feet about entry into the Euro and loss of Sterling Currency. Plan B was inaugerated. This was after all a festival of “Expressionist Art” if a new Gallery could not be built on time for the “Great Festival”, perhaps there could be a “Grand Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony?”

    Nope! that idea was rejected as well. Lady Britania was not going to put her feet in the cold European waters in such a hurry!!!… Time was running out as well. what could be done? Enter the “Committee of Art Historians” Laeader of The Expressionist Art Movement, was undoubtebly Oskar Kokoschka, “Das Blaue Reiter” was the Journal of Expressionism, where lead proponents of the movement expressed their ideas. One such idea was the ‘exchange’ of ‘arts’. Oskar Kokoschka could print a poster for an Expressionist Play, but could he write a play? why not get the best Expressionist Playwrite, to teach Oskar how to write a play, and Oskar teach the Expressionist Playwrite how to design and print a poster?… everybody agreed! a marvelous idea!

    “MURDERER HOPE OF WOMANKIND!” screamed the poster of Oskar Kokoschka’s New Expressionist Play. to be performed as a Street Theatre Production.

    Famed Theatre Director, ‘Richard Gregory’ was called in, he had been working on the banned expressionist play “UBU ROI” which circumvented the ban by being performed as Puppet Theatre. Now Richard Gregory had two plays to produce and direct. The Finale of “Murderer Hope of Womankind” was the “Falling Burning Tower Scene”, Richard Gregory suggested that The Whitworth Gallery could be part of a Controlled Demolition, while the play “MURDERER! HOPE OF WOMANKIND” was performed to an audience seated in Whitworth Park.

    But…. Manchester always rains! all those spectators, the grass will become a sea of mud… problems! problems! OK so let’s pretend to Burn Down The Whitworth with Special Stage FX? that could be incorporated into the plot of the play… NOPE! The Manchester Fire Brigade were not going to cooperate! they refused to participate because Fire Engines might be needed for a genuine emergency?… back to the drawing board. A pity, because this Whitworth Gallery Demolition/Arson could also be part of a Terrorist Training Drill. an Exercise for the Emergency Services. February 29th 1992 passed without much incident. The Play was performed as a Ballet with street buskers in the main gallery of the Whitworth to a packed audience…blah.

    Then about five or so years later, news arrived. The New York Port Authority had plans to Demolish The World Trade Center, it was too costly to run, fire protection was asbestos, and that all needed replacement, the sane solution was to get rid! There was one tricky problem. best explained by Dimitri Khalezov. or His Excellency Ambassador Mike Harari. who hired Dimitri to translate the Russian Soviet Treaty Documents concerning EmergencyControlled Nuclear Demolition, that had been mandated by the NY Port Authority, before building could begin. Suitcase Nukes DO EXIST! and an explosion at altitude could devastate the Big Apple! The Ploughshares Treaty set a peacetime limit of 150 kiloton yield. That would be enough to turn 90 floors to dust, but the top floors would have to drop at free fall. The Main Stream Media could help out here, and insert fake planes in their News Coverage. Everybody would know they were fake! because say Flight 175 a 160 ft long aircraft, can’t fly six (or a minimum 5) times it’s own length in one second, at the minimum five lenghts, that would indicate a SEA LEVEL air speed of 545 m.p.h., and every airline pilot alive today will tell you the wings start to fall off at speeds above 350 m.p.h. IF YOU ARE LUCKY! they might come adrift at 300 m.p.h. or even less if it’s an old crate of an aircraft.

    9/11 “MURDERER! HOPE OF WOMANKIND!”… A TRANING EXERCISE FOR THE EMERGENCY SERVICES. As Professor Loretta Napoleoni points out, and she is an insider in the know. 9/11 cost slightly under $half a million bucks. to stage. His Excelency Mike Harari’s Artists, who occupied the three floors of the ‘Impact Zone’ for over a year, who built a platform where everyone looking up saw dummy bodies been thrown out, while a Helicopter Camerman filmed it all. To hire a helicopter film crew is not cheap!

    R.I.P. Aaron Swartz. Did you dig too deep?

  40. Flopot says:

    Definitely a tactical victory for the corporatists – mind you they had the entire law hounding this guy.

  41. Carlotta says:

    Call the bully today, and ask to speak to an attorney. Tell them to PRESS CHARGES AGAINST ZUCKERBERG for exactly the same felony. I did, and I told them how ashamed I was that they hounded this brilliant young man to death.
    CARMEN M. ORTIZ
    U.S. ATTORNEY
    DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
    1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
    Boston, MA 02210
    617-748-3100

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