On January 22, journalist and political prisoner Barrett Brown was convicted in a Texas court of controversial charges. In addition to a 63-month sentence, Brown is expected to pay $890,250 in restitution to the private spy agency, Strategic Forecasting (a.k.a. “Stratfor”).
This monumental fine, which turns a theoretically free citizen into an indentured servant of a corporation, is meant to hold Brown responsible for a hack by the Anonymous group LulzSec — even though the government admitted it didn’t have any concrete evidence to show he’d taken any material part in the hack.
Jeremy Hammond, a member of LulzSec, pled guilty in May of 2013 and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The hack, carried out under the instruction of the FBI’s agent saboteur and snitch Sabu, revealed millions of emails that showed the complex interrelationship between the private intelligence firm, multinational corporations, and the surveillance state. The emails also revealed how Stratfor had infiltrated activist groups from Texas to India.
On February 2, 2015, George Friedman, Stratfor’s CEO, was scheduled to sign his book “Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” at Book People, an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas. It would be Hammond’s 1,065th day in prison; Brown had been incarcerated for 874.
George Friedman, you should have expected us.