Nancy Keenan Speaks with Jennifer Granholm about 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz was “killed by the government,” his father told mourners Tuesday during his son’s funeral in suburban Chicago.
Swartz, who help create Reddit and RSS, the technology behind blogs, podcasts and other web-based subscription services, was found dead Friday in his New York apartment. He was facing federal charges that alleged he illegally gained access to millions of articles from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer archive.
Robert Swartz said during the service in Highland Park that his son was “hounded by the government, and MIT refused him,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported .
“He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles,” he said.
Swartz, 26, was facing charges that carried a maximum penalty of decades in prison. His trial was scheduled to begin in April.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz had no comment about Robert Swartz’s remarks, Ortiz spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.
A powerful indictment of our justice system, the Swartz case exemplifies the sick hypocrisy of persecuting information activists while corrupt corporations and bankers get off easy.
By Marcy Wheeler
January 15, 2013
On Friday, January 11, 2013, 26-year-old visionary technologist and social activist Aaron Swartz hanged himself in New York City. A passionate advocate for making access to online information as widespread as possible, Swartz was grappling with the fallout from his efforts to do just that.
Two years before Swartz ended his life, he was arrested by police from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City of Cambridge, Mass., police for breaking and entering into an MIT storage closet. In the closet, Swartz had stashed an Acer laptop he had programmed to download in bulk millions of scholarly articles from JSTOR, a non-profit database that provides access to the articles for academic libraries. At the time, articles on JSTOR were locked behind a paywall for non-academics who wished to access them through their own computers. Swartz aimed to make them available, free of charge, to anyone who wanted to read them.
At the time of his arrest, an investigation of Swartz’s MIT/JSTOR action was already underway, and two days earlier, the Secret Service’s online crime division assumed control of the probe. The Secret Service routinely conducts complex computer crime investigations; its involvement signaled the treatment of this as a major crime, not a caper. Six months later, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz charged Swartz with a four-count indictment.
To those who knew Swartz’ ethic, that indictment already seemed like overkill, essentially labeling an effort to share information as wire and computer fraud. But then last year, Ortiz multiplied each of the main charges, turning the same underlying actions into a 13-count indictment that threatened Swartz with a 35-year sentence.
Swartz had long struggled with depression that may have contributed to his suicide. But his family and associates have also blamed the government’s conduct in prosecuting Swartz. A statement issued by the family the day after Swartz’s suicide charges that “the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
Family accuses US Attorney’s office and MIT of contributing to the death of 26-year-old Aaron Swartz.
14 Jan 2013
Angry activists poured scorn on US prosecutors for leading an overzealous campaign against internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz, with his family suggesting it contributed to his suicide.
Swartz, who was just 14 when he co-developed the RSS feeds that are now the norm for publishing frequent updates online and went on to help launch social news website Reddit, hanged himself in his New York apartment on Friday.
He had been due to stand trial in April for allegedly breaking into a closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to plug into the computer network and download millions of academic journal articles from the subscription-only JSTOR service.
Swartz had written openly about suffering periodically from depression, but friends and family suggested the looming trial contributed to his suicide and accused MIT and prosecutors of being overzealous in pursuing their case.
“It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach,” a family statement said on Sunday.
“Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death.”
MIT president Leo Rafael Reif expressed shock and grief at Swartz’s death, and tapped computer science and engineering professor Hal Abelson to lead a “thorough analysis” of MIT’s involvement in the JSTOR case.
Continue reading at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2013/01/20131145435451897.html
By Joe Romm
on Jan 15, 2013
350.org news release
Eighteen of the nation’s top climate scientists released a letter to President Obama today urging him to say no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline
“Eighteen months ago some of us wrote you about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, explaining why in our opinion its construction ran counter to both national and planetary interests,” wrote the scientists. ”Nothing that has happened since has changed that evaluation; indeed, the year of review that you asked for on the project made it clear exactly how pressing the climate issue really is.”
Indeed the past year has shown that climate change is here. A few months after Superstorm Sandy flooded parts of the Northeast, NOAA announced last week that the average temperature for 2012 was 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.2 degrees above normal and a full degree higher than the previous warmest year recorded — 1998.
The State Department is expected to soon release its supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) required for the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The department’s previous pipeline EIS downplayed climate risks by arguing that the tar sands would be developed with or without Keystone XL and therefore the project had no responsibility for the additional greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning tar sands oil.
But two of Canada’s largest banks, TD Economics and CIBC, have recently said that without added capacity, “Canada’s oil industry is facing a serious challenge to its long-term growth” and that “Canada needs pipe — and lots of it — to avoid the opportunity cost of stranding over a million barrels a day of potential crude oil growth.”