You know what's really sad? I met a programmer the other day who works in a related field, and he categorically states he never wants to meet or correspond with Jake. He couldn't deal with the level of harassment that Jake is getting.
I don't think "cowardly" is the right way to put it. The level of harassment you put up with is obscene, and that you continue to stick to your guns in the face of it is admirable. That said, it's not something that most people want in their lives. Many people just want to pursue their interests, develop their career, and raise a family. Dealing with the level of harassment you face imperils all of those goals. Unless someone is dedicated to a cause and willing to sacrifice a lot to serve it, it's unreasonable to ask them to invite that kind of drama into their lives.
I respect what you do, but I think it's unfair and myopic to label as "cowards" anyone who doesn't share your commitment.
On an unrelated note, does this mean the FBI will be serving pg with a warrant for our info?
It is cowardly, though. By refusing to associate with someone simply because they've been bullied, you have given your consent to the bullying and even (to a small degree) participated in it. By the way, no one was labeled a coward for failing to share his commitment; that part of your comment is a straw man. People were labeled as cowards for refusing to associate with him.
As I said, the refusal to risk the harassment he endures comes not from cowardice, but from having other, competing goals that are more personally important. If I, as a 20-something man saw a woman getting raped, I would feel compelled to intervene, at non-zero risk to myself. Would I take the same risk if I had a wife at home with our newborn child? Likely not.
The willingness to expose oneself to the kind of harassment Applebaum endures is derived from one's commitment to the cause. I can certainly applaud those who risk being ostracized by associating with someone being bullied, without condemning those who don't. The bullying is morally wrong, but the reaction of others is neutral.
Back in the days I used to live in quite a politically volatile area in a developing nation while trying to get myself an education. It is the kind of place where it is not uncommon to be knifed/hacked/soundly beaten in a public place in broad daylight for being on the wrong end of the political spectrum or even just for being bothersome.
It was eye opening for the young and somewhat naive me that very very few people were willing to interfere in this. Even to the point of not calling the police or an ambulance while someone slowly bleeds down.
I have had discussions with people on this topic. Every time the response was exactly the same as yours. Also everyone believed that nothing could be done about it. It was socially accepted that this sort of thing happen and all you can do is to keep your head down and go about your own business. People survived by holding the magical belief that whatever was happening to their fellow citizens won't happen to them .. Somehow ..
Irrespective of what we were always told (i.e. That the incredible apathy was the result of a lack of education and an issue endemic to poor third world nations), it appears that the attitude is not as uncommon as it was made out to be.
I never claimed nothing could be done about it, or that people who aren't willing to stand up to injustice are deluded. I said that oftentimes, for those who are not committed to a given cause, there are things they care more about that standing up for that cause would imperil.
I don't advocate doing nothing in the face of injustice, but neither do I condemn those who are unwilling to risk their families and careers over causes they aren't wed to. Morality isn't binary, and so we can applaud those with the courage and conviction to suffer for a cause, without condemning those who lack such dedication.
Or we could go the nihilistic way, and not even applaud those who act. They are, after all, only being consequent with who they are, and that's hardly special or worthy of praise.
Sorry, I've been reading too much Camus...
I don't have a partner or a child, so what I think I'd do isn't worth much. I'm not even sure I'd have the courage to intervene as a single person. But I hope I would.
And I don't think having a partner and child would change that. Because I don't want my children to grow up in a world where someone would walk by them getting raped and ignore it. I would rather they grow up in a world where their father died to help someone.
The same applies to Applebaum. I don't want my children to grow up in a world where it's considered good and decent for them to be ostracized by people like you for making choices like Jacob's. I wouldn't want them to grow up with a father who supported that.
At least he won't have contributed to that world. If enough others followed the example, it would cease to exist. These people are what we call natural leaders, able to inspire those around them to rise to an occasion to prove their decency and humanity.
There are plenty of good reasons to take a more cowardly route. I know plenty of good people who have decided that this isn't a good battle for them to fight. I still respect them, but backing down from this is a cowardly thing to do. If you have a lot to lose it is indeed much much harder to stand up for what is right. That does not mean Jake chose the wrong word. It does not mean you are not a good person either, it just means you're in a bad position to take a stand.
Typically, 'cowardly' characterizes those who shy away from difficult or unpleasant situation or tasks that a significant number of people still manage to do. That's the whole point. Shying away is the exception, not the rule, which is why it's given a derogatory characterization. Are you sure that's what's going on here? Or has the abuse reached a point where reasonable people start to say "yeah - this is monstrous, it's way bigger than me, and can I afford to put myself in harm's way as an identifiable individual?"
Also, you're speaking in VERY broad terms when you say "By refusing to associate with someone simply because they've been bullied, you have given your consent to the bullying and even (to a small degree) participated in it." Do you think this is equally true of ALL bullies? That is to say, do you see ZERO difference between (say) a wayward grade-school thug who picks on the most promising target, and armed federal agents who have clearly been given specific orders to harass, intimidate, and coerce a very specific individual for a very specific reason?
I'm not convinced. It may not be a popular sentiment, but I don't think that there is a moral imperative to risk life and liberty to extinguish injustice. We can certainly applaud those who do, without condemning those who don't. Not everyone has the moral fortitude and strength of character to be an Oskar Schindler. We could wish the world were otherwise, but I don't think recognizing the virtue of those such as Schindler necessitates condemning his neighbour who only wanted to protect and provide for his family.
I can see where you're coming from because you've already determined that you don't have anything to lose by standing up for yourself. However, the folks that distance themselves from you undoubtedly have things to lose, and can't afford to share your fight. You could certainly label those folks as cowards, but I think it's a bit disingenuous.
As you are finding out, the government can take a lot from you when you piss them off. In the case of people who otherwise share your sentiment, it's simple risk management to protect your loved ones from similar treatment, particularly if you're raising a family. Not many employers will stick with you if you get this kind of harassment in your personal life, because it will eventually affect them too; that cuts right into feeding your family, which is high on my list of things I will not sacrifice. Putting my family above an ideal is not cowardice, particularly when my family isn't even aware of the reason for an ideal and definitely doesn't share it.
It's also dangerous to assume that a given outcome is unlikely for any set of circumstances. Continuously, we read about things that blow our mind when governments abuse power, and there are probably far more things that we are not lucky enough to read about; if they really wanted you gone, you'd be gone tomorrow and none of us would ever know. It stands to reason that you haven't disappeared yet because they want Assange. Planning for the best from your adversary is a dangerous path, I think, but I know that you're far more familiar with your own circumstances than Mr. Internet Commenter here is.
I can see where you're coming from because you've already determined that you don't have anything to lose by standing up for yourself.
What? That sounds insane. In what sense does he have nothing to lose?
Bowing to bullies is cowardice, no matter how rational it is. The reason "cowardice" is a perjorative word is that usually seeking your own rational self-interest by accommodating thugs ends up hurting other people, and I believe that's true in this case, as well. If you don't associate with Jacob because you think it risks your own livelihood, you are providing a clear incentive for the government to pursue this kind of harassment in the future; you are the mechanism of their attack.
Based upon my quick reading, it sounds like he has nobody that depends on him. All of us have to consider that if we were to suddenly disappear from the face of the planet, who would suffer as a direct result?
> If you don't associate with Jacob because you think it risks your own livelihood, you are providing a clear incentive for the government to pursue this kind of harassment in the future; you are the mechanism of their attack.
Yeah, I detained him at the border. Good one.
You give the government a lot of credit for being extraordinarily clever. I have serious, serious doubts that people distancing themselves from inviting similar harassment (which means aiding Jacob, not necessarily knowing him -- I never committed on that point) is something that the government would consider a win. "We have succeeded by limiting new acquaintances!" That's hysterical.
This is the government we're talking about here, the world's legendary bureaucracy, the same government that can't even find bin Laden after how many years. They want Julian Assange, and they'll procedurally harass anybody they can to get to him until they get him. Assuming there's a shadowy evil plot to decrease Jacob's LinkedIn connection count is patently silly, and accusing me of furthering the government's attack because I don't want to risk my family for a cause is a pile of disrespectful and stupid.
It might be true that nobody depends on him, but that's sure a long way from "nothing to lose." Notwithstanding his own self, I'm sure he has a lot of friends and loved ones that suffer when he's hurt.
I don't think it takes extraordinary cleverness to try to attack people by ostracizing them and indirectly threatening others who associate or collaborate with them. That sounds as straightforward as it gets. I guess I don't see what seems silly about it.
Granted. I can see your point, but I'd argue that Jacob is a means to the end, not the end. I don't think ruining his life is the goal here. They just want to beat him up until he gives them who or what they really want.
I'd love to see your evidence that it is beyond drawing a conclusion from circumstances. That's a zero-sum game, right there, because there's no way either of us could have evidence as to the ultimate motive.
At any rate, I've said my piece, and I'm circling close to offending you -- which isn't my goal -- so don't take anything I say as intentionally offensive. It seems silly to argue about your life, anyway, from the perspective of someone not in your life.
> You could certainly label those folks as cowards, but I think it's a bit disingenuous … In the case of people who otherwise share your sentiment, it's simple risk management
I don't think "simple risk management" and "cowardice" are mutually exclusive, and I am deeply offended that you are accusing me and Jake and others of dishonesty for expressing that opinion. I understand the desire to defend yourself (however cowardly you may be) but I do not believe that desire justifies launching personal attacks on the integrity of those who disagree with you.
Indeed, it's rather ironic to hear someone justifying cowardice setting themself up as a judge of the integrity of others.
Please do not infer that I was accusing anybody of dishonesty. I wasn't aware that disingenuous carried that overtone -- to me, it means "aware of a couple explanations and intentionally picking one that makes a little less sense," and I have seen now that my usage of the word was incorrect. I meant no such attack, and had I wanted to call you dishonest, I would have gone about it more directly.
HN certainly gets more and more hostile as days go by, and I think it'd do us all a favor to assume the best in our conversational counterparts. Judge of integrity, indeed.
I would argue that someone assuming you actually know the definitions of the words you use is assuming the best in their conversational counterpart. It isn't like you made a super complex point and he's nitpicking and straw-manning and the like -- it's a pretty well understood word.
> to me, it means "aware of a couple explanations and intentionally picking one that makes a little less sense,"
If a person is aware of a couple of explanations for something and has judgments about how much sense they make, those judgments represent their degree of belief in those explanations. If they claim to believe the one they actually believe in less, then they are being dishonest.
> On an unrelated note, does this mean the FBI will be serving pg with a warrant for our info?
If they already had, would you even know? Twitter has fought the subpoena and gag order in court, which is the only reason we've heard about it. Presumably Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Hotmail, and other service providers have also had information requested from them, but we haven't heard anything from them, presumably because they cooperated instead of fighting.
I am under the impression that public libraries in the US will often place signs in their windows saying something to the effect of "The FBI have NOT yet visited us". When they get served with a warrant and a gag order, they simply remove the sign (but are unable to actually mention anything).
rsync.net famously does (did?) the same thing, publishing weekly messages of "as of april 11, 2011 we have not been served". There was some debate about whether they could stop publishing these messages without violating the gag order.
> I don't think "cowardly" is the right way to put it.
Oh, is "apathetic" a more comfortable label ?
> The level of harassment you put up with is obscene, and that you continue to stick to your guns in the face of it is admirable. That said, it's not something that most people want in their lives.
That guy is getting harassed a lot because he is alone. I don't think the overloads up there have the courage to harass tens of thousands - do they ? Wide ranging support means less heroism will be required to get what people want. He is not fighting a personal battle, right ? It is better to fight smaller battles now and avoid the possibility of all out wars that we are seeing in Africa and the Middle-East.
> Dealing with the level of harassment you face imperils all of those goals. Unless someone is dedicated to a cause and willing to sacrifice a lot to serve it, it's unreasonable to ask them to invite that kind of drama into their lives.
So, that person won't even "want to meet or correspond with" them. Do they realize the stark contrast between Jake's priorities and theirs.
is there any way to help? apart from being generally sympathetic to the appropriate causes, donating to Tor, EFF, etc, is there anything that a bit more specific that people with the kind of skills that read HN can do?
"apart from being generally sympathetic to the appropriate causes, donating to Tor", there you go, that's what this whole threatre performance is about. Donating to Tor is not going to stop the DHS in any way, but you know, it certainly doesn't hurt Appelbaum's employer when you donate!
As an aside, but nevertheless siginificant to point out, these trips of Appelbaum's are AFAIK business trips, not recreational trips. Appelbaum is traveling because his employer asked him to. So why isn't Appelbaum's employer Tor, or the University of Washington for that matter, taking the necessary steps to assist a traveling researcher/proselytizer? If Appelbaum's employer demands that he travel, isn't it Appelbaum's employer own responsibility to make sure an employee can travel, assisting him with a lawyer or a co-traveling escort? And why would an employer put up with all this, when the employer can just as well hire another proselytizer, one who is not associated with Wikileaks and who can cross borders with a lot less hassle?
Sorry folks, it's just not adding up for me. (But your donations are certainly adding up for Tor!)
I'm sorry you have to go through that bullshit, and I support your work making sure that people have the tech infrastructure they need to communicate privately and publish anonymously. So thank you.
I just wanted to throw in there... I feel for you with the issues dating.. but in my experience it's not worth dating someone long-term who doesn't have the highest degree of respect for who you are. And for someone who really respects you, that conversation would only deepen their connection to you.
They may be few and far between, but anyone else isn't worth your time.
I'm assuming you're Jacob? I'm curious how accurately you believe the article portrays the harassment. It's hard to read between the lines, and the Stranger is biased to the left (not that this invalidates it). Have you consulted a lawyer about legal recourse? Is UW supporting you?
It says that (presumably in Newark?) you were handed over to a US Army official. Are you certain the individual worked for the Army?
Wikileaks and the Federal Government's response to it is fascinating to me. I'd love to hear more details than what little teaser of an article offers.
ioerror is Jacob Appelbaum's handle on twitter too.
I don't know anything about the site that the article is on, but it corresponds pretty closely to what I've read elsewhere.
I suppose a lot of folks probably do consider this type of extralegal harassment to be a political left/right issue. Personally I don't understand that type of thinking and suspect it's probably not useful to attempt to reason about that degree of madness.
I do believe that a lot of politicians and prominent officials are earning their place in the history books...right next to Sen Joe McCarthy in the article on 'Un-American Douchebags'.
It's true that McCarthy had a solid basis of support for his program, especially at the beginning before people saw where it was going. There were, in fact, a wide variety of leftist groups operating in America and no doubt some had a long-term vision of imposing a communist system here with the assistance of foreign powers. This was not pure fantasy - it was actually happening at a surprising rate in the late 40's and 50's.
But McCarthy & co. did more than simple fear-mongering and "making political hay". They were using the considerable power of the US Federal Govt against individuals for their politics and for not-justifiably-illegal actions. They were destroying livelihoods and putting people in jail.
It's easy to see in retrospect that the US was not at risk of the Red Tide because the economic fundamentals were absurdly better than what was needed for the leftist revolution.
McCarthy & co. degraded America and damaged our principles out of stupid hysteria and demagoguery. This only went on as long as it did because there weren't enough level-headed people who were willing to pay the price of questioning it openly.
Wikileaks/Manning/ioerror are not an existential threat to America, but this path of systematically abandoning principles of protecting individuals from the abuses of government power absolutely is.
To clarify, I don't think its a left or right issue. I probably worded it wrong. The stranger is Seattle's alt-Weekly and while it typically has very good reporting, the format lends itself to sensationalism on some issues.
Samfoo, don't ask him any questions about his refusal to get a lawyer. I posed the very same questions and he called me a "stalker" for daring to question. Jacob Appelbaum has taken to using the term "extralegal harassment" to dodge critical questions about his refusal to get a lawyer to sue the DHS, like Jesse Ventura is doing with the TSA.
Appelbaum wants you to think that the kind of treatment he is undergoing at airports is exceptional. It is not. It is almost identical to the treatment the likes of Ventura and Alex Jones and his staff are subjected to. Ventura is certainly suing, so why isn't Appelbaum? Something is not adding up here.
It is feasible and is well within his means. Jacob Appelbaum is not poor. With his work for Tor Appelbaum earns 96 000 dollars a year, almost triple the American average of 33 000 dollars. He's got enough money to get himself a lawyer. Even if he didn't have the money, Appelbaum has over 10 000 followers on Twitter, if everyone chipped in with $10 he'd have the money to sue the DHS. Wikileaks with Assange's 1,7 million bookdeal could also chip in with a bit of money. The elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about is: why is none of this happening? Why is Appelbaum openly wallowing in his victimization and defeatism, when he could be doing so many other things to pursue his 4th amendment rights? I can no longer escape the impression that I am watching a drama-queen theatre performance.
It's always very easy to spend other people's money, isn't it. I make more than the amount you quote, but I don't have enough money to go around suing the government. Is it because I'm a drama queen? Nope, it's because I have other things to do that require money. I am sure Appelbaum does too.
"It's always very easy to spend other people's money, isn't it."
It's nowhere near as easy as pointing the finger at people with less means than yourself and calling them "cowards" for not having the financial means to pursue their rights. Using the law is expesive, but this particular person is not poor. He deliberately chooses to not use the law.
"I make more than the amount you quote, but I don't have enough money to go around suing the government."
Well, I'd have to ask, why don't you? Maybe that's the problem: all you people who really do have the means to sue the government aren't doing so. Instead, you're just pointing the finger at the "sheeple" who make a lot less than you do, saying: "Look at those cowards over there, they're doing anything to resist,the country is going down the drain because of them, bla bla bla".
Listen, we are all on leash, and those of you with the longer leash should be doing more to resist than those of us with the shorter leash. Instead, you point the finger and call those with the shorter leash "cowards" and "collaborators". That's "lifestyle activism" for ya.
WTF is an Army officer doing intergating an American civilian at the airport? They have no jurisdiction or authority off base. Military activity in a civilian context should sacre the shit out of everyone.
I thought the founding fathers had something to say about standing armies. Standing armies should be disbanded and instead we should seek advice from the 2nd amendment as to how the gov't can best guarantee rights not delegated from the people.
The fact that we crushed Al Qaeda in the opening years of the war doesn't diminish the threat that existed at the time. The Treasury Department essentially rewrote the rules of international finance in a matter of months, devastating their financing, and the followup in Afghanistan crippled them.
This hasn't been a "war", it's been a War.
The biggest problem is that we haven't gone far enough yet- security theater in the airports instead of Israeli-style real security. No screening of cargo containers. Virtually all American cities lack plans for how to deal with nuclear terrorism.
I highly recommend the film "Trumbo", about the Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted for refusing to say whether or not he was, or ever had been, a member of the communist party.
It is extremely relevant to all of this discussion, including the question of whether one should sacrifice the wellbeing and safety of one's family in order to promote a cause that's somewhat secondary to them.
Lots of people lied under oath, or turned other people in in order to protect their families, because they didn't want to "risk it". But Trumbo and several others stood up for their right to free speech and paid dearly for it.
Some goals: to deter others, to extra-legally punish me personally, to pressure me into taking some kind of action that is subject to punishment, to upset others into action that is also subject to punishment, to profile me under stress, to monitor my associates as I am harassed, to watch the tactics or long term strategy, to attempt to provide comfort for these stresses (that's a weird story), and so.
So yeah, they're trying to make an example of me but it's not limited to run ins with CBP. The ongoing legal issue with a specific microblog is another example. Visiting me when I give talks is another.
There are others but I'm not comfortable discussing them at this time.
Deterring future whistleblowers (as mentioned below) is why the Bradley Manning has essentially become a political prisoner who is being held in solitary confinement. It is why, as the article mentions, the DOJ issued a subpoena to Twitter for the personal info of 600,000 supporters. Fear. Fear is why Rep. Peter King talks about "labeling" WikiLeaks a "foreign terrorist organization".
This article made me angry, but also sad, as I believe if we allow the government (in many cases we already have) to use tools like the Patriot Act as a kind of umbrella document to provide cover to go after normal American citizens - academia, free-speech advocates, journalists, hackers working on Tor - we allow an extremely dangerous precedent to be set that will likely lead to all kinds of future abuses of civil rights of people who simply want things like transparency in government. (I mean the real kind, not the kind you promise to implement when you are running for office).
I wish I could bet you that media coverage would cause a quick change, but I fear it'd only make most of the current people dig in deeper and faster. It will, hopefully, eventually do something...
I think the only thing that's going to change this is getting the right people in the right room to have the right quiet conversation to understand that they're inhibiting research and academic freedom with this nonsense. Unfortunately those types of conversations haven't happened much in the last three decades. The system is broken.
Everytime I read about you coming home on your twitter I'm sad and angry. The types of things that happen to you aren't supposed to be how our country works, which happens sometimes, but shouldn't be happening here. Whenever I mention you around people who work for the government it is a conversation killer. It is rare to find someone who is given enough responsibility where they feel they can be anything but helpless even if they wanted to. (Which how could they not? I don't understand it. There has to be a hell of a classified file on you that paints a nice smear job so that these normally reasonable people can sleep at night.) The worst part is so few of the individuals in this mess are evil, it is the system that we've created that does the evil and the responsibility for this is widely distributed.
You're getting screwed. I hope that changes. In the meantime... I hope they have a light touch in Texas.
The gov has enough influence in mainstream media, via corporate ownership and operative staff members, that they can mostly control the public narrative: so I'd also guess "no". If they ever lose control of the narrative, and your story maintains steam, they will likely attempt to discredit you via smear tactics.
"Land of the free , home of the brave" but the government prefer to defend freedom of speech in other countries not in USA. It's the same song in almost all the western countries, we talk about democracy and human rights , but we support dictatorships all over the world, and forget about rights when we want.
You are rifgt the US gov is not the only one, that's why i say western world, cause here in Spain, for example ,is exactly the same, the gov has the mouth full of human rights and democracy but the dictator of Morocco is like the young brother of our king (yes Spain is a Kingdom in the XXI century) and our government is silent about the tortures and everything that happens on the Sahara.
US gov is not the only one, the problem is that they are the ones talking louder about other countries like China not respecting human rights.
This sounds like the sort of harassment that would happen to people in dodgy countries with poor human rights records. And the truth is, America isn't a democracy under the rule of law, it's a nasty vicious oligarchy that denies human rights to its citizens while hypocritically lecturing other countries on those rights.
Appelbaum already tried that. Appelbaum was engaged to and tried to marry a Canadian photographer so that he could move to Canada. Back in the day he bragged to the media about becoming an expat, but soon she figured him out and refused to get married. Appelbaum also openly bragged to Rolling Stone magazine about having dozens of GFs around the world, yet he has never considered moving in with any of them. Rightly so, IMO no woman should have to put up with his drama-queen defeatism.
Is it possible that Jacob is calling others "cowardly" because he wants to prove how brave he is?
Taking a leadership role in a movement of moral prescience is at once commendable, laudable but also dangerous, onerous. I really appreciate what Jacob is doing by putting his face to the Wikileaks organization. It is something that I personally would not want to do.
Wikileaks' stated goal is to "...be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behaviour in their governments and corporations." In this, Jacob is succeeding. He is assuredly revealing this behavior through personal sacrifice. Part one is complete. Rejoice. Step two will be about knowledge. Now it is up to supporters of this cause to spread that information as far and as wide as possible. We've already seen the power of knowledge in this first quarter of 2011. A reality that wikileaks, twitter, the internet and the freedom of information has wrought.
Instead of spreading this message, Jacob seems to sprinkle a bit of guilt and self aggrandizing. Maybe I am speaking out of turn because the only interaction with Jacob I have is seen in here in this thread. However, let's take a step back from our Jacob- and self-imposed guilt and execute the next stage.
Edit: By all means we should empathize with Jacob and try to understand his sacrifice. We do not, however, all have to be martyrs in order to be Good(tm).
What? How does this.. what? You seem to contradict yourself: you admit he is spreading knowledge of the governments' misbehavior (and that this is a laudable thing) and then.. question mark?
Upon 5th reread: are you actually accusing him of falsely accusing others of cowardice for self-aggrandizement because these 'others' (aka: us) are not spreading the word of governmental misbehavior fast enough?
I seriously can't see any other statement in your comment, and it seems like even the anti-Jacob sentiment I quote above died after the third sentence - I'm just trying to string a single thought through the whole comment. Please clarify.
I think people who stand on the side lines and do not take part in movements that have an open and objectively good cause could be called part of the problem by not doing anything.
Let me give an example: In my country, when a motorist witnesses an accident with injured people, he is required by law to provide first aid to the injured and call additional help to the scene. Needless to say, first aid education is required when applying for a drivers license here.
Some people will help if they see injured people on the side of the road and some people will not. I call the latter cowards and they are doing harm by not providing timely help or even call for professional help. People die because other people look away and ignore them.
Now, I think what ioerror is doing is brave, and everybody not doing the same or more is a coward (including me, I'd like to do more, yet all I can do is trying to make information available to as many people as possible). He does not look away.
Bradley Manning did not look away. He is the one who is the bravest man in this equation. He knew what he did would have consequences, yet looking away while innocent people get mown down video-game stile needs a special kind of ignorance and evil to be able to ignore or even call it OK.
The US government is able to do that at the moment including large parts of the population. Cowards, all of them.
I don't think they are cowards, though I do think that Appelbaum's public defeatism with regards to his refusal to sue the DHS is going to discourage a lot of people who would have also sued the DHS over similar treatment (Appelbaum is not alone, though he wants you to think he is) from doing so. Appelbaum earns triple the American average and can't get a lawyer. People who earn less than him (the overwhelming majority of Americans) are going to look at this, think to themselves: "This guy has more money than I do, yet even he can't get a lawyer to sue the DHS", and give up before they've even started.
Public defeatism? I'm sorry but you're simply not seeing the bigger picture here. Silence is defeat. I am speaking up about what is happening to thousands of people by telling my story. I have never claimed that I am alone. Quite the contrary actually - I told the author of this story that I am but one of thousands.
"Instead of spreading this message, Jacob seems to sprinkle a bit of guilt and self aggrandizing"
Hammerdr, I couldn't agree with you more. Willfull masochism is not bravery, or some activist good guy bagde of achievement. It's sad that our society mistakes the one with the other.
Appelbaum, I will be even more blunt than the previous commenter and say that I think you are wallowing in your Jesus complex. If you were serious about all this you would have already sued the DHS the first time you were harassed. You've been held up and hassled, how many times already? I've already lost count. You would have called up Jesse Ventura's lawyer and asked him to represent you as well. You would have contacted Alex Jones from Infowars, who specializes in reporting on DHS harassment, and gotten on his show. Instead, you keep coming back for more abuse like a masochist. You're 100% Jesus to me, and I don't mean that in a flattering way. Stop taking it, stop being a politically correct victim, get a lawyer and fight back. And stop calling people who question your ineffectual and pointless public masochism "trolls", "cowards" and "stalkers".
You have no idea what actions I am taking or not taking. However, you have shown that you are not interested in supporting me when I discuss the harassment that I receive.
For example, if I filed formal complaints or suit against CBP, would you support my actions? If so, why do you not support the actions that you have seen so far? If not, why are you here? Just to tell me that there is a single way to respond and that I'm wrong?
Do you really believe that I should simply be silent about the specific harassment that I receive?
There is more than one way to respond and I'm taking all of my options seriously. Your presumption of knowledge about my actions is of course incorrect and your arrogance is showing.
I hate to pull a [CITATION NEEDED] but FedEx packages go through customs too. On what basis are they still allowed to seize drugs, money, counterfeit goods, weapons, but not an (alleged) terrorist's computer and cellphones?
EDIT: I used to work with a guy who had $300 worth of Made-to-measure shirts from the UK seized by customs. If they can do that, I'm sure they can find a regulation that lets them seize a laptop.
There's a difference though, at least if your fedexed laptop gets pulled for examination, the customs agents don't get to play their sadistic "make you pee your pants" game while they look at it...
I'm seriously surprised the customs agents keep getting away with that. I'd like to think any Australian customs agent responsible for those sorts of tricks would very quickly be without a job and paying for his own defense lawyers... (And yeah, I'd probably be sadly disappointed in my own countries response to customs abuse of power too...)
I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this but Australian Customs and Border Protection agents harass people too, specifically taking business documents, mobile phones, USB drive contents, demanding passwords where there is no legislated power to do so, not keeping records/track of the items seized: http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/files/customs_admin_of_coercive_...
The secure way would be to upload an encrypted copy of the harddrive, bring across wiped hardware, and re-download the contents after clearing the boarder. FedEx packages go through customs, encrypted internet data does not.
That is to say -- if the intent is to sneak some data into the country, it seems obvious that it should not be available in plaintext on a physical device. With that in mind, is there ever a legitimate reason to seize all electronics, up to and including gaming consoles, from a security researcher (warrant had to do with MySpace, not anything console related)?
With that in mind, is there ever a legitimate reason to seize all electronics, up to and including gaming consoles, from a security researcher (warrant had to do with MySpace, not anything console related)?
Sure! A court would never convict the guy of anything, but Someone still thinks the guy should be punished. "Hi, we stole all your possessions again!" can be a good way to persuade people to interest themselves in a different field.
(I have to think this is intentional. If the government didn't want seizures to be punitive, then there would be a law that every device has to be paid for or returned within 10 days. But this is like the bill of rights for the government; a convenient way of circumventing "oppressive" laws when necessary.
Better idea: Any time anything is seized without an according arrest, they have to hand you a check right then and there for the retail value of the goods. If a conviction comes out of it, they can tack that check onto the amount of your restitution.
As of the last conference I attended (in Chicago), I have started bringing an extra hard drive filled with apparently random data with me. I'm not actually bothering to put an encrypted version of my laptop hard disk on the spare disk and place a stock honeypot image on my laptop HD -- or am I? Either way, I like to think that I'm lending plausible deniability to everyone else with extra hard disks.
Take your primary hard drive out of your machine when crossing borders and put some vanilla install of whateveer on the machine. Fedex the primary drive to your destination or keep all your shit in the cloud.
Some years ago I did a design spec for what is now the atrix -- I wrote a paper and tried to get some google eng contacts to work with me on the idea that all machiens are jsut a KVM for your data - and that our primary data device would be both our phones and datasets in the cloud...
Sadly, I couldnt convince them this was true then - but i is clear now.
So it would be great to have a /home/ on your mobile that you can sync to your machine when they are close. If the machine dissapears, no big deal.
Here is how I would model that today:
You carry three devices - laptop, mobile and a USB stick and cloud storage.
Under normal operating circumstance, you work on your laptop as you would any other time.
The mobile has some 32GB of storage -- this is a clean install backup of all your installed apps.
The USB has a BASE install of your OS and whatever apps you can fit -- in a live USB install.
All your personal data is in the cloud, such that if you lose any of the three devices - none of your data goes with it.
Swap the HDD of the laptop when travelling to a clean install drive with no data - do not sync till you get to the destination.
Should you lose your laptop, you can use the USB to run a live session on any machine you can boot to it from.
Why wouldn't having all your critical data online work. The idea being that you wouldn't access/sync any of it until you reached your destination and while you were traveling you only had a base install of the OS of choice?
Further, I can see that if you were intending to malicious activities that this would be illegal -- but is there some other laws that would preclude one from using this model for 'user session portability'?
I'm assuming it's because if they know your data is online they can simply ask you for a password. Also, it looks like probable cause since your computer isn't really usable with no data and without regular programs that the average person uses.
They gain the effect it is having on other people. For every one of us that gets enraged at this sort of bullshit, there's 9 more that are terrified to speak out after seeing this. The problem with America is that unless we personally are being injured we see terrible things happening and just shrug and go on with our latte-sipping, BMW-driving lives. Our freedoms are slowly being eroded and no one really cares as long as they can keep watching TV and driving their fat asses to McDonalds every day. It's like the toad in the pot with the water getting hotter ever-so-slowly...
Julian Assange urges people to take a "scientific" approach to media reports, and to ask to see the primary documents. Well, allow me to be "scientific" with regards to all these reports about Jacob Appelbaum's customs&border issues right now: has Appelbaum ever published his correspondence with the DHS? His FOIA requests? Denial letters he has received from government agencies, the DHS, the TSA, CBP, ICE? The answer is no, no and no. There is no way to verify "scientifically" any of his statements. All we have are Appelbaum's claims on Twitter that "I was told by the G-man that Obama himself has a problem with me"... seriously, how can someone who claims to be a hacker believe such a statement, straight from the mouth of a government goon, cos hey, we all know the G-men never ever lie or exaggerate in order to intimidate, right? Still, no documentation whatsoever, no correspondence between Appelbaum and the DHS. Again, think what you will about Obama allegedly having a personal problem with Appelbaum, this is just not adding up for me.
How many reading this article, and are disgusted by these clearly unconstitutional actions, are still living in the USA? How many of you are paying taxes to the very government that is using this money to fund this harassment, among other illegal activities?
You're providing material support to a terrorist organization! (presuming some number of harassed people are terrorized by the harassment.)
What are you doing to compensate for this material support? Are you going to stop it, withdraw your support? Or are you going to expend energy to compensate for the aiding these oppressors?
This is a rhetorical question. I've my own answer, and I hope you have yours.
It's not as easy to move out of the country as you seem to think, for a lot of us. Yes, it really is disturbing that I now live in a country that tortures people, and holds them for years without any trial at all. It's disturbing that it seems that humans are getting to be less and less important to our government than corporations all the time.
Still, what can I do? I'm disabled, and dependent on the government for survival. The only way I'm going to be able to get out of this country is by dying.
I'm having trouble coming up with reasons that this isn't appropriate for HN.
A programmer, who just-so-happens to be a founder of noisebridge, is being harassed by the federal government for participating in an online newspaper.
He's effectively being harassed for participating in the types of things that programmers participate in. Since this is hacker news, most of the people here are programmers, meaning most of the people here are interested in it, meaning that it's appropriate.
tl;dr: programmers tend to be interested in news about programmers and how their activities as programmers can effect them.
A parallel might be a musician being harassed by their government for writing anti-war songs, and a story about it being covered on a music website.
OK, the government is DDOSing him. This would be interesting if it were the 90s in the 4chan sort of way. Childish but technically uninteresting.
PS. I don't buy the argument about publishing any news article related to programmers, especially if it is not related to the field of programming. For instance, if a programmer runs a meth lab and gets in trouble, is it necessarily hacker news material?
I haven't heard a decent argument on how Wikileaks isn't a terrorist organization, and why the principal members aren't enemy combatants.
The scattershot releases show that the goal is to hurt the US, not to affect change. There was real legitimate news in the releases so far- hidden in mounds of classified information that had no news value beyond exposing sources, risking lives, and slinging mud at the State Department.
There's HUGE value in an organization like Wikileaks, as shown in Tunisia.
Wikileaks itself, though, has shown that it is blatantly anti-American, risking the lives of our allies and sources. I really, really hope that one of the splinter groups takes off, with a bit more respect for the human cost of these kind of releases.
> Wikileaks isn't a terrorist organization, and why the principal members aren't enemy combatants.
Well, they aren't operating with the intent to cause terror in enemy civilians. Further, an enemy combatant is usually considered to be someone armed on the field of combat. I believe there is a very technical legal definition of an enemy combatant.
They - Wikileaks - are pursuing anti-US goals, however. That is not illegal. It should be expected, however, that the US will retaliate in various fashions, because the interests of the US dictate that anti-US interests be diminished.
I am not certain in the least of the facts of Jacob Appelbaum's case.
Certainly, if he was definitively operating against the US government in a terrorist fashion, he would deny it. But if he was an honest man, he would also deny that he was operating against the US government.
After spending an amount of my time in the last few months reading about the USSR's beginnings and the fall of the Tsar, I can assure him that he is living in a very nice country where dissidents don't simply get shot out without a trial. Being stuck in a holding cell is quite gentle comparatively. Which does not make it perfectly upright either, nontheless.
There is a higher problem here. The conventions of warfare since 1812 or so describe nation-states at war with each other, including how to deal with prisoners and manage trials. However, today we do not have significant nation-state actors in active war with each other, we have un-uniformed militias operating against nation-states. I do not know of any serious attempt in international circles to define the non-nation-state actors in legal categories. This has led to the Guantanemo Bay problem. A terrorist is neither a civilian nor a military officer, but current law - to the best of my knowledge - does not handle that.
Nor does current law - to the best of my knowledge - handle the 'info-war' legal categories well. What are the legal details on publishing sensitive or classified material in time of peace, if you are not constrained to silence by your duties? I don't know that that's ever been seriously treated in the US.
So how should the laws of a country handle someone who appears to be acting as the ambassador for an anti-country interest? That's the real question.
 At least in the narrow eyes of the law, uniforms matter, according to a former US Army officer I know.
What are the legal details on publishing sensitive or classified material in time of peace, if you are not constrained to silence by your duties? I don't know that that's ever been seriously treated in the US.
Treason? Applies to citizens acting against their own sovereign nation. I don't know what you call it from a non-citizen. Perhaps sedition?
Well, Merriam Webster defines sedition as "incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority".
Treason also has a fairly narrow meaning, "the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family".
I don't believe Wikileaks' actions falls under sedition or treason. Certainly I've never heard them of them advocating insurrections or US government overthrow.
What they did do is publish large amounts of data classified by the US.
Legally, that should be a crime, I believe. I'm not sure it is. From my brief (and IANAL) reading on the question, it's never been adequately addressed, and it brings up massive First Amendment issues.
There is also the question of Assange, who is not a US citizen, and therefore not per se subject to US law, and then Applebaum, who is a US citizen, and therefore unquestionably subject to US law. Even under harsher strictures is Manning (and other soldiers), who are under military US law, which is not like civilian law.
The laws have to deal with the "electronic frontier". They must, or we will continually mire ourselves in grey areas of general suspiciousness.
People who operate against society always get screwed. That's the cost they take on by operating against society. They have the right to work against society- but that doesn't mean that they aren't watched, closely. KKK and neo-Nazis have the right to say whatever they want, but life is made difficult for them, and the ATF watches the shit out of them.
In the same way, when someone participates in an organization that's going out of its way to acquire and distribute classified stuff, regardless of news value, but rather simply because it's there, I'd hope that our government would make life hard on them.
Wikileaks is not engaging in journalism- it's engaging in infowar against America. That's not legally defined yet, and the legal ramifications have not been decided yet- but I hope that it is defined, and there are severe legal ramifications for it.
> People who operate against society always get screwed. That's the cost they take on by operating against society.
That's what Wikileaks is trying to make happen: they're making those people who "operate against society" accountable to that society, secondarily so that those people can get screwed, but primarily to protect society from them. Here's a partial list of people "operating against society" who have gotten screwed so far by Wikileaks: Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak, Gamal Mubarak, Omar Suleiman, US troops that murdered civilians in Iraq, Magnus Gudmundsson, Ágúst and Lýður Guðmundsson, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the US diplomats promoting ACTA, and most recently Robert Tchenguiz.
People "operating against society" who still may get screwed by Wikileaks include Björgólfur Guðmundsson, various tax evaders protected by Julius Baer, and some Bank of America executives.
This is not "infowar against America". War involves killing people and creating confusion. This is the opposite of war: exposing corruption and conspiracy, creating accountability, protecting the public.
"naughty words" contain no real meaning, but comparing wikileaks to the KKK or neonazis is truly uncivil.
Perhaps it is a sign that this avenue of discussion is finally maturing enough to understand the difference between a comment that merely uses taboo words, and a comment that actually contains uncivil content.
define: terrorism--the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.
So, while it could be argued that Wikileaks uses intimidation or coercion, it most certainly can not be argued that Wikileaks uses nor threatens violence. This means that they cannot be definition be a terrorist organization.
What evidence is there that Wikileaks is anti-American? They post leaks from every- and anywhere, but they got a HUGE leak that happened to be from the U.S. Of course they're going to concentrate on it! Wikileaks is against opaque government, and the only way it can be called "anti-American" is to recognize that the U.S. government is anything but transparent. This view encompasses many other governments, though, so calling them "anti-American" is disingenuous.