But no one can figure out what law he broke.
The mid-June sun is setting on the Mansfield jail near Dallas when Barrett Brown, the former public face of Anonymous, shuffles into the visitors hall wearing a jumpsuit of blazing orange. Once the nattiest anarchist around, Brown now looks like every other inmate in the overcrowded North Texas facility, down to his state-issued faux-Crocs, the color of candy corn.
Brown sits down across from his co-counsel, a young civil-liberties lawyer named Ahmed Ghappour, and raises a triumphant fist holding several sheets of notebook paper. “Penned it out,” he says. “After 10 months, I’m finally getting the hang of these archaic tools.” He hands the article, titled “The Cyber-Intelligence Complex and Its Useful Idiots,” to his lawyer with instructions to send it to his editor at The Guardian. Brown used to write for the British daily, but since he’s been in prison, it’s written about him and his strange legal ordeal that has had him locked up for nearly a year while he awaits trial next month. Should he be found guilty of all the charges the federal government is bringing against him – 17 counts, ranging from obstruction of justice to threatening a federal officer to identity fraud – he’ll face more than 100 years in prison.
Given the serious nature of his predicament, Brown, 32, seems shockingly relaxed. “I’m not worried or panicked,” he says. “It’s not even clear to me that I’ve committed a crime.” He describes his time here as a break from the drug-fueled mania of his prior life, a sort of digital and chemical fast in which he’s kicked opiates and indulged his pre-cyber whims – hours spent on the role-playing game GURPS and tearing through the prison’s collection of what he calls “English manor-house literature.”
Brown has been called many things during his brief public career – satirist, journalist, author, Anonymous spokesman, atheist, “moral fag,” “fame whore,” scourge of the national surveillance state. His commitment to investigating the murky networks that make up America’s post-9/11 intelligence establishment set in motion the chain of events that culminated in a guns-drawn raid of his Dallas apartment last September. “For a long time, the one thing I was happy not to see in here was a computer,” says Brown. “It appears as though the Internet has gotten me into some trouble.”
Continue Reading @ Rolling Stone
- Barrett Brown Agrees to Stop Talking to the Media (blogs.dallasobserver.com)
- US stops jailed activist Barrett Brown from discussing leaks prosecution (consciouslifenews.com)
- Hours before judge hears government’s case to slap gag on jailed hacktivist Barrett Brown, his attorneys strongly object (crimeblog.dallasnews.com)
- The Day the Barrett Brown Hotline Went Dead (alphavilleherald.com)
- Judge’s Gag Order Cuts Off Press From Receiving Reports on Barrett Brown’s Case (dissenter.firedoglake.com)
- Jailed activist Barrett Brown to fight government attempt at media gag order (theguardian.com)
- Is Barrett Brown a journalist or an activist? Regardless of the answer, his case is an outrage (gigaom.com)
- The Government Wants the Media to Stop Covering Barrett Brown (vice.com)