RIP Aaron Swartz

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
Originally published on Off the Grid in Minneapolis

Discuss this article at the Heros of the Revolution Table inside the Diner

The death of the techie “wizard” Aaron Swartz has affected me as much as, and really even more deeply, than the incident at Sandy Hook. I’m not comparing the two cases in any other way than to say that they affected me deeply; nor did I know any of the dead. It affected me though, not merely because of what happened, but also because of what I have learned about my country, by the response. On one extreme is the netherworld of the fringe of fringe media, claiming Sandy Hook was a covert government/Illuminati operation to lead to a national database on all guns and eventually their seizure and martial law and extermination of Americans; to the other extreme of MSM manipulation, and hopeless obfuscation, about damn near everything newsworthy, left and right, the Swartz case a prime example.

If you think the charges against Aaron Swartz levied by the Federal Government were about some science documents he attempted to liberate from MIT and JSTOR, then you don’t know anything about power. I mean yeah, he was challenging their right to profit selling public-paid-for research (which the government accused the dead man of having wanted to do.) But really, Those charges were RETRIBUTION for SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, 2011 Federal legislation that nearly everyone in Congress and the President were firmly behind, Left and Right, when it was first introduced. Which, after Google, Craigslist, much of the techie crowd and Aaron Swartz including a great many Americans across the spectrum, made it very clear that this bald-faced government attempt to take over the Internet was a problem, Congress and the President were united firmly against the bill.

So, when Aaron Swartz took those documents from MIT and JSTOR, despite it being clear that he was making a statement more than anything – that research paid for by public funding should be free to the public, which it was not – he opened the door for them to attempt to destroy him.

Never mind that he had been described as a “wizard of programming.” Never mind that he was at least partially responsible for the RSS feed. Never mind, that he was responsible at least in part for Reddit. A prodigy. A genius. Deeply caring and peaceful.

Government now is circling the wagons. Various enquiries are being suggested, others initiated. MIT administration is taking a beating somewhat, for their betrayal of him. Laws are being discussed. The Wall Street Journal as early as Sunday night, doing it’s elite service, quoted “a person familiar with the matter”, that Aaron had been offered a 6 month plea deal, managing the discussion with unaccountable bullshit, trying to manage the blowback. It seems clear to me now they were fully intending to ruin him.

And why, really? Because he wasn’t an empire builder.

What did the great Eric Shmidt of Google have to say about this case? How about the techie genius Larry Ellison at Oracle? Bill Gates? That Facebook guy? Craigslist merely notes generically that Aaron Swartz “is a person who has recently died.” No call out to their friend, their fellow culture-warrior, protector of freedom, no goodbye header. WTF?

And gov? Darell Issa is at least going to investigate. Which, yeah, he’s one of the few who was against SOPA, but that’s mostly just because he’s a pirate basically, and he despises that “cock-suck” Eric Holder, and he’d do anything to embarrass Holder’s boss. Speaking of “cock sucks”, Elijah Cummings, ranking DEM member of the House Oversight Committee, jumped to the defense of the government. Whatever. Bunch a god damn wet noodles in the face of the banks.

The whole god damn scenario basically confirms for me that Authority in this country is overrun with murderers, pedophiles, sadists and thieves. Counting on American obliviousness, basically. Expecting American obedience for sure.

I mean, jail time and financial ruination, one way or another, for the young man? For “stealing” public-paid-for research, that he gave back. Where the fuck is John Corzine? I mean, these guys can’t even offer up one of their own as a sacrificial lamb! For stealing 2 billion dollars! HSBC gets caught laundering international drug money to the tune of many tens (hundreds) of billions, AND NOTHING HAPPENS.

And even with all that surreality, more than all that, it’s like a betrayal of the promise of science and technology. Because it’s clear to me now, it’s not about what is good or best for people, it’s only about power. Money and power; who controls what and whom.

So let it be known, America. You will play along. You may question the arrangement of things; but if you stand in our way, if you embarrass us with any success, we will destroy you.

RIP Aaron Swartz

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