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Why was Barrett arrested and jailed?

See our ‘About Barrett‘ page for the full story. When Barrett was charged with twelve felony counts related to the 2011 breach of private intelligence firm Stratfor, the first charge was merely linking to stolen property, the second was ‘Access Device Fraud’, and the remaining ten were ‘Aggravated Identity Theft.’ After many of the charges against him were dropped, Barrett agreed to a plea deal to, as he put it, avoid a Texas jury.

What was Barrett’s involvement with Anonymous?

As Barrett wrote in a ‘Communiqué from Prison 9/20/12’, published to Pastebin on 24 September 2012,

I am not and never have been the spokesman for Anonymous, nor its “public face” or, worse, “self-proclaimed” “face” or “spokesperson” or “leader” (as the CIA-funded Radio Free Europe called me last year when I felt compelled to “quit” the non-group that I’d never technically joined in the first place, but rather gradually attached myself to as Wikileaks and Tunisia went down in December of 2010). … no one has the authority to designate me as such. … I wrote or edited a number of the press releases [in early 2011], and [ ] the al-Jazeera article written in the first few days of January and which appeared later that month under the title “Anonymous and the Global Correction” was also my work – something I revealed privately to the brilliant cyberpunk essayist Bruce Sterling after he openly speculated as to the author’s background in Wired, noting the sentiments to be that of a true revolutionary. Among those who now agree with him are the FBI, which has since responded accordingly – and unethically.

Contrary to the countless claims to the effect that I hold some official role in Anonymous, I can think of only one occasion in which any Anon has come close to actually deeming me as such, that being the day on which HBGary was hacked in retaliation for HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Baar’s claim – shown to be entirely false – that he had identified Anon’s “lieutenants” and “co-founder” and that he had been contacted by the FBI about this.

Why does Barrett owe Stratfor more than $800,000?

In addition to being sentenced to 63 months in jail, Barrett was ordered to pay Stratfor, his “victim”, more than $800,000.

As Barrett explained,

I will spend the rest of my life in a strange state of post-cyberpunk indentured servitude to an amoral private intelligence firm that’s perhaps best known for having spied on Bhopal activists on behalf of Dow Chemical. That the prosecution did not quite manage to articulate how I did any damage to this particular company did not seem to dissuade U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay in this matter.

Helping Barrett repay this restitution is one of Courage’s primary goals in supporting him. Donate to his fund, which also funds his commissary costs and legal fees, here.

Why was Barrett charged for linking?

Barrett initially faced more than a century in prison, before the government dropped the major charges against him. In one indictment, the first count alleged, “By transferring and posting the hyperlink, Brown caused the data to be made available to other persons online, without the knowledge and authorization of Stratfor and the card holders.” As Adrian Chen noted, “This charge does not allege Brown actually had the credit card numbers on his computer or even created the link: He just allegedly copied a link to a publicly-accessible file with the numbers from one chat room and pasted it into another.”

How can I help?

See our ‘How to Help‘ page for more information. By donating to Barrett’s fund, you can help him pay his restitution, commissary and legal costs. You can also give him a book from his list and raise awareness about his case.

What is the Courage Foundation and who runs it?

Courage is a trust, audited by accountants Derek Rothera & Company in the UK, for the purpose of providing legal defense and campaign aid to journalistic sources. It is overseen by an unrenumerated committee of trustees. Barrett Brown is its fifth recipient. The terms of the fund and its trustees can be obtained from Derek Rothera & Company.

Who runs this website?

The site is commissioned by the trustees of Courage to provide information on Barrett Brown’s case, his current situation and what you can do to support him.