We can only hope that Aaron Swartz did not die in vain. That people will keep fighting for Internet freedom and new people will join the cause.
The government can’t kill everyone.
TechDirt reported, the government severely escalated the already-excessive four-felony-count indictment by adding nine new felony counts, each of which "carrie[d] the possibility of a fine and imprisonment of up to 10-20 years per felony", meaning "the sentence could conceivably total 50+ years and [a] fine in the area of $4 million." That meant, as Think Progress documented, that Swartz faced "a more severe prison term than killers, slave dealers and bank robbers".
Swartz's girlfriend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, told the WSJ that the case had drained all of his money and he could not afford to pay for a trial. At Swartz's funeral in Chicago on Tuesday, his father flatly stated that his son "was killed by the government".
Meanwhile, no banking executive from Countrywide, Citigroup, or Lehman Brothers have been prosecuted. That would have involved a prosecutor going up against the powerful.
Prosecutors make their careers going after easily prosecutable people with relatively little ability to defend themselves.
The CIA can and does kill people while making the murder look like suicide.
Aaron spoke against US President Barack Obama’s “kill list” and cyber attacks against Iran.
The government had excellent reasons to wish Aaron dead. As in most cases of covert gov't assassinations Aaron’s death was preceded by a vicious, totally unjustified, campaign of surveillance, harassment, vilification, and intimidation.
In an online “manifesto” dated 2008, Aaron wrote: “Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.” He dedicated his life precisely to the goal of depriving the government of this power.
He co-authored the “RSS 1.0″ specification of RSS, and built the website framework and the architecture for the Open Library. Swartz also focused on sociology, civic awareness, and activism.
“Swartz’s Web savvy took him from Internet entrepreneur to online activist, co-founding Demand Progress, a group that campaigns for progressive public policy — in particular fighting against Internet censorship. His crusades boosted his status as something of a folk hero.” Demand Progress had over one million members.
This figure of 1,000,000 is extremely important, for it shows Aaron posed a real threat to the status quo.
“Swartz had an enormous following in the technology world” and was one of the “most influential figures in talking about technology’s social, cultural and political effect.” The independent Electronic Frontier Foundation concurs: Swartz “did more than almost anyone to make the internet a thriving ecosystem for open knowledge, and to keep it that way.”
In 2009, the FBI put Aaron under “investigation” for publicly releasing 20% of United States Federal Court documents. The “case” was closed two months later, without filing any charges.
The entire exercise had nothing to do with breaking laws, or justice, but a warning: “Stop harassing us,” the FBI was telling him, “or else!” And yet, just like a tree standing by the waters, Aaron was not moved. Despite the extreme pressure he was under, Aaron Swartz (like Bradley Manning and many other unsung heroes) remained defiant and, in late October 2009, posted his FBI file on the internet.
With this single act of defiance, Aaron probably signed his own lynch warrant.
Most of us spend entire lifetimes without ever accomplishing what Aaron accomplished in his 26 short years. The US government is evil. No conspiracy theory necessary.
FBI Files: Who Killed Aaron Swartz?
By Alyson Shontell Business Insider
Internet activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz committed suicide.
He left no note in his New York apartment explaining his death. Many assumed the 26-year-old was depressed based on an earlier blog post Swartz had written.
Swartz was facing potential jail time for hacking into MIT's computer network and stealing copies of 4.8 million academic papers.
But Swartz's live-in girlfriend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, doesn't think depression killed Aaron.
From her Tumblr:
"I believe that Aaron’s death was not caused by depression...I say this because, since his suicide, as I’ve tried to grapple with what happened, I’ve been learning. I’ve researched clinical depression and associated disorders. I’ve read their symptoms, and at least until the last 24 hours of his life, Aaron didn’t fit them.
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By Jason C. McLean ForgetTheBox.com
Something just doesn’t add up. An Internet freedom activist facing the fight of his life decides to stop fighting and hangs himself?
I get it when rockstars and regular people down on their luck do themselves in. It’s an unnecessary tragedy, but sometimes one that fits the narrative of their life.
But an activist? A fighter? Someone who had just willfully provoked on a massive scale, knowing full well there would be a reaction?
When Reddit builder, boy genius and Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz downloaded millions of academic journal articles with the intent of giving them away for free, he knew there would be repercussions. He wanted a response, he was trying to make a point.
He was succeeding and then he just gave up. Again, it doesn’t add up, why quit before you see if you win or lose?
Try to think of the last time you heard of an activist killing themselves. Now eliminate hunger strikes, self immolation and other very public, point-making ways to die.
Hanging, on the other hand, is very solitary and also a great way to disguise a murder as a suicide. Pointing to the fact that no autopsy was performed and the US has a history of silencing those they don’t agree with. That's true of Schwartz - all of his friends and colleagues admit he broke the law, stole, and left a trail of evidence so he could be caught.
“Anybody can commit a murder; it takes a real pro to commit a suicide“ Peter Janney, 2012
“How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?”—Bob Marley
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation . . . shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”—Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, 1863
On January 11, 2013, according to indoctrination organs of the criminal Syndicate calling itself the US government (a Syndicate comprised, for the most part, of big bankers, generals, spooks and, below them, their puppets in the White House and gubernatorial mansions, Congress and state legislatures, and almost the entire judiciary), Aaron Swartz, aged 26, killed himself.
He was a huge threat as he already helped defeat SOPA/PIPA.
Aaron Swartz, the late digital rights activist and hacker, did not kill himself because he was depressed, according to his girlfriend.
Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman found Swartz dead in their Brooklyn apartment on Jan. 11, and as she explains, she is the person Swartz spent the most time with in the last 20 months of his life — living together, commuting together and working together. And for her, that person she spent so much time with was not showing symptoms of depression, according to an emotional blog post on Tumblr.
At the time of his death, Swartz was facing a potential conviction of 35 years and up to $1 million in fines for allegedly downloading thousands of scholarly articles from the online database JSTOR with a hidden computer connected to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's network. His family and supporters have been repeatedly pointing their finger at overzealous prosecutors to explain his suicide. And Stinebrickner-Kauffman agrees, even if she isn't sure what killed him.
Stinebrickner-Kauffman doesn't believe Aaron was depressed in the first place, as she told The Atlantic Wire.