Courage our network



BB SITE CHOMSKY “The persecution of Barrett Brown is yet another illustration of the near-fanatic dedication of the current administration to security — not security of the population, but the security of state and private power from exposure to citizens who have every right to know what is being exposed by the courageous activists who are being harshly punished for the crime of taking citizenship seriously.”-Noam Chomsky, public intellectual
BB SITE ASSANGE “All journalists must stand firm and fight against this chilling attack on Barrett Brown. Barrett Brown should be released immediately and the charges against him dropped.”-Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks
BB SITE APPLEBAUM “Barrett’s case is one where an effective journalist, really an otherwise normal American, clashed with powerful people using only a keyboard; his keyboard is the pen of the 21st century. Barrett’s legal case is part of a larger systemic crackdown on the free press — one where brutal physical treatment is combined with excessive confinement and the threat of prison sentences we see in countries like Burma, China, and Iran. Barrett’s case will impact all of the free press in the United States and we already see chilling effects from his treatment.”-Jacob Appelbaum, Tor Project
BB SITE GREENWALD “Brown is a serious journalist who has spent the last several years doggedly investigating the shadowy and highly secretive underworld of private intelligence and defense contractors, who work hand-in-hand with the agencies of the Surveillance and National Security State in all sorts of ways that remain completely unknown to the public. It is virtually impossible to conclude that the obscenely excessive prosecution he now faces is unrelated to that journalism and his related activism.”-Glenn Greenwald, journalist
BB SITE MARTIN “While the world has largely forgotten about how Barrett Brown was crushed by the two-tiered justice system, we haven’t. This is about setting an example of a young activist who dared shed light on the dark underbelly of the surveillance state. Look, it’s obvious why they don’t want this case to generate attention. But I’d better stop talking, before they impose a gag order on me.”-Abby Martin, TV journalist and artist
BB SITE RATNER “Barrett Brown is an internet journalist being persecuted by dodos who fear extinction as their criminality, lies and hypocrisy are revealed. The State believes they can put the genie back in the bottle by hitting truth tellers with sledgehammers. ‘But at length the truth will out,’ and Barrett will be free. Support Barrett Brown!”-Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights
BB SITE HEDGES “The persecution of Barrett Brown is part of the state’s draconian war against all those who have the skills, and the conscience, to break down the digital walls to expose the inner workings of power. It does not matter what these people do or have done. They are being ruthlessly targeted, and often entrapped, for who they are. They are threatened with years in prison for acts that are either insignificant or justified forms of civil disobedience. As the traditional press atrophies and dies, as mainstream journalism capitulates to the security and surveillance state, these hacktivists are all that stand between us and corporate totalitarianism. And the state knows it. If there are no Barrett Browns, Chelsea Mannings, Jeremy Hammonds, Edward Snowdens or Julian Assanges there is no free press. It is that simple. And the absurd charges leveled by the state against Brown are part of the effort to criminalize legitimate democratic dissent. The attacks on Brown are attacks on us all.”-Chris Hedges, journalist
BB SITE BIRGITTA “The case of Barrett Brown is so strange and twisted that it is virtually impossible for someone outside of the USA justice system to fully understand his harsh treatment. It is something I would expect from Russia or China but not a country that has such awesome constitutional laws and a history of honoring freedom of speech and press. The attacks by the USA regime on whistleblowers, journalists and media is at such level that I am deeply concerned. The fact that it is forbidden for public workers to look at material from WikiLeaks also raises concerns. The MSM silence as an increasing number of whistleblowers, hacktivists and journalists are being persecuted with disproportional charges is backfiring in their face for they are now under attack for doing exactly the same as Barrett Brown was doing, investigative journalism. His case needs the attention of everyone who cares for the pillars of democracy, for if he is convicted we can only wonder who will be next for reporting on abuse of power and who will then hold those that are supposed to be serving the people accountable by keeping the general public informed.”-Birgitta Jónsdóttir, member of Icelandic Parliament
BB SITE TIMM “The indictment of Barrett Brown for linking strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. If he is convicted, reporters around the country will face criminal liability for routine, and often vital, journalism practices. While Barrett may have been considered outside the mainstream, he is a quintessential investigative journalist, and journalists of all stripes should stand up for his right to link, or his trial may have profound effects on press freedom in this country.”-Trevor Timm, Executive Director of Freedom of Press Foundation
BB SITE COLEMAN “Barrett Brown contributed to the efforts of Anonymous. Adept at stirring controversy, he was criticized for not participating anonymously. Many still respected him for his work. He wrote op-eds, helped secure legal counsel for arrested activists, and was admired for running Project PM—a wiki documenting the world of private security contracting. Among his many skills, hacking was not one of them; a common joke about Brown was he could not hack his way out of a paper bag. So it is both ironic and frightening that the legal system is treating him as even worse than a hacker. Vocal and passionate about his beliefs, he faces over a century in jail merely for sharing a link. If convicted, it will send a devastating message to independent journalists and activists that speaking up can lead to disastrous legal consequences.”-Gabriella Coleman, anthropologist, academic & author
BB SITE ALEXA “The mad brilliance of Barrett Brown’s comic irony is proportionate to the gutless stupidity of the Justice Department’s marketing plan for ‘cyber-security’— which includes the prejudicial prosecution of Brown for linking to an IRC channel and an obviously satirical one part…I mean two part…three part speech about someone who is not the lead singer from the 80′s music band ‘The Cure’. There is an absurd incongruity about the U.S. government putting Brown in a cage for constitutionally protected speech, while disregarding the actual threats made against him and his family by private security contractors and the Department of Justice, whom Brown was also incidentally investigating as a journalist. Boys don’t cry.”-Alexa O’Brien, journalist
BB SITE HASTINGS “Barrett Brown is a journalist, plain and simple. He’s also a colleague and friend, and one of the brilliant, if highly unconventional, American writers of his generation. I offer my support to Barrett and his family, and respectfully ask for his immediate release from custody.”-Michael Hastings, journalist (RIP)
bb site eisler “In an era where bankers are given a pass on epic levels of fraud and high government officials are protected even after publicly confessing to ordering torture, the selective and vindictive prosecution of an investigative journalist like Barrett Brown itself feels like a crime.  One conclusion is that the government has learned nothing from its persecution of Aaron Swartz.  Another is that it has learned its lesson very well indeed, and is now applying it.  Either way, Brown’s imprisonment is a travesty and he should be freed immediately.”-Barry Eisler, author
bb site hrafnsson “New technologies are revolutionizing journalism. The mainstream media is facing a day of judgment as the internet opens up information freedom at unprecedented scale. Journalists who never understood fundamental industry principles of integrity, or knowingly worked against them, are now turning to stone at daybreak. Journalists who stand for principled action—defending the facts as “Fourth Estate” watchdogs of government and private sector accountability—loathe and pity mainstream journalists acting as public relations lapdogs serving the interests of power over those of the people. Barrett Brown is a man of this new age of journalism. He understands that information freedom activism is vital to liberty and civil rights. Those who expose wrongdoings and corruption are being persecuted, but the truth will not be silenced.”-Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks spokesperson
bb site weisman “Brown is the visionary leader of a crowdsourced, citizen-based, journalistic online magazine. Arguably, with ProjectPM, Brown created the journalism of the future. He may be facing more than a century in prison for doing his job as a journalist. In the strange case of Barrett Brown, the DOJ has done the unthinkable; it has criminalized linking. Welcome to the matrix.”

-Vivien Lesnik Weisman, filmmaker

bb site Deloire


“Barrett Brown is not a hacker, he is not a criminal. He did not infiltrate any systems, nor did he appear to have the technical expertise to do so. Above all, Barrett was an investigative journalist who was merely doing his professional duty by looking into the Stratfor emails, an affair of public interest. The sentence of 105 years in prison that he is facing is absurd and dangerous, given that Jeremy Hammond who pleaded guilty for the actual hack on Stratfor is only facing a maximum of 10 years in prison. Threatening a journalist with a possible century-long jail sentence is a scary prospect for journalists investigating the intelligence government contractor industry.”

-Christophe Deloire, General Secretary of Reporters Without Borders

bb site callamard “The charges against Barrett Brown constitute a direct attack against press freedom and the right to information, which are protected under international human rights law and the US Constitution. This absurd prosecution of an investigative journalist is born of the security algorithm that has taken hold of systems, policies and institutions in the US and beyond. It is meant to stifle, threaten and silence. It is yet another evidence of the systematic crackdown against all those who investigate, report, or reveal the security practices and their consequences for human rights. Copying and pasting a link to information that has already been published on the Internet is a common part of online interaction and journalistic practice. The disproportionate response from the US government in charging Brown with “Trafficking Stolen Authentication Features” has worrying implications for internet users worldwide. If Brown is convicted then the right to link — and the related right to receive information — will be severely endangered.”-Agnes Callamard, Executive director of ARTICLE 19
bb site boghosian “The government is terrified of Barrett Brown and his body of work reporting on the covert and unseemly world of corporate surveillance. A real American patriot, he is being publicly vilified and unduly punished for espousing the newest precept of democracy—freedom of information in the digital age.”-Heidi Boghosian, Director of National Lawyers Guild
bb site stearns “Links are the connective tissue of the Internet. They enable us to share news, discover new information, dig deeper into issues and give credit to sources. The government’s effort to criminalize linking is akin to rewiring how the Internet works. It will have a chilling effect on how journalists report on sensitive government matters.”-Josh Stearns, Campaign Director at Free Press
bb site van buren “Criminalizing links, as in Barrett’s case, is a tool employed by the Obama Administration to silence its critics. I should know, as I was one of its victims. In 2011, the US Department of State, where I had worked for 23 years with a Top Secret clearance, used a link on my blog to claim I had “disclosed” classified material and revoked my clearance, leading directly to me losing my job. What they did to me should not be allowed to happen to Barrett.”-Peter Van Buren, author
bb site frediani “Barrett is a freelance investigative journalist. I don’t think he can be defined in any other way. I still wonder how it is possible that he has been detained for such a long time without due process and even bail. I think it has to do with his former association w/ Anonymous (of which he was a sort of “cultural mediator”, explaining the hacktivist movement to mainstream media; he didn’t hack); and to his scrupulous work about the connections between state and corporate surveillance. Now, after the NSA and PRISM scandals broke out, we can say he got it right. If convicted, any other independent journalist will face the risk of being prosecuted and jailed for researching, investigating and writing about thorny issues, or even sharing/copying a link.”-Carola Frediani, journalist & author
bb site russ baker “Barrett Brown’s brave journalistic inquiry is exactly the kind of thing we urgently need in this country. Those of us who, like Brown, investigate the dark side of power in this increasingly troubled democracy, are all threatened by the draconian sentence Brown faces. We must unite and speak up, forcefully, against this attempt to silence truth-seekers. In a sense, we are all Barrett Brown.”-Russ Baker, founder of WhoWhatWhy
bb site clark “An attack on Barrett Brown is an attack on, I would say, all journalists. And it’s kind of a warning shot to the mainstream media, to AP, and to James Rosen, that our government has an agenda and they don’t want that agenda to be fucked with by people reporting the truth.”-Clark Stoeckley, artist
bb site christensen “What is happening to Barrett Brown — the government using wildly disproportionate prison sentences as a blunt instrument to silence a journalist — should give all US citizens pause. In the wake of the tragic Aaron Swartz case, and the incredibly harsh treatment of Bradley Manning, it is clear that certain individuals are being used in order to set chilling precedents. If the United States wishes to call itself a free country, then it must stop the practice of the withdrawal of personal liberty from people whose “crimes” are no more than acting as brave, conscientious citizens.”-Christian Christensen, Professor of Journalism at Stockholm University
bb site doctorow “Transparency means nothing unless it is accompanied by the rule of law. It means nothing unless it is set in a system of good and responsible government, of oversight of authority that expeditiously and effectively handles citizen complaints. Transparency means nothing without justice.”-Cory Doctorow, author
Shepard Fairey, artist “I have complained about the war on whistleblowers several times, but here I go again. History is littered with examples of people who were persecuted/prosecuted for acts that society later considered noble and are now highly regarded as stands for the greater good. Barrett Brown is suffering for trying to alert the public to things that should not be secret.”-Shepard Fairey, artist
bb site crabapple “Barrett Brown’s prosecution is just another battle in the American war on journalists. Brown’s Project PM was doing vital work on the relationships between the government and private contractors. His arrest has a chilling effect on all reporters researching the security state.”-Molly Crabapple, artist
bb site bernard keane “The prosecution of Barrett Brown is one of the clearest examples of the US government’s war on whistleblowers and journalists. Brown’s dogged journalism has brought to light the links between the US government and the burgeoning cyber military-industrial complex and his prosecution, like that of Bradley Manning, is an example of frightening governmental overreach. Like charging Manning with “wanton publication” and “aiding the enemy”, the prosecution of Brown for, inter alia, link-sharing is another example of how the security state now relentlessly seeks to delegitimise any activity that would subject it to scrutiny and accountability. The judicial assault on Brown is an attack on all journalism.”-Bernard Keane, Crikey, author War On The Internet
bb site madar “James Madison wrote that ‘A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.’ That really should not be sounding like a radical slogan in the year 2013. Let’s put a swift end to the state persecution of Barrett Brown, yet another tragic farce from hell.”-Chase Madar, attorney & author
bb site ekeland “Barrett Brown is sitting in federal prison right now because he dared to shed light on the U.S. Government’s highly secretive surveillance state, plain and simple. He is a brilliant individual and investigative journalist. His work made him the target of what is clearly a political prosecution that should have never happened. Barrett’s a strong guy, and I look forward to his release and continued success as a journalist.”-Tor Ekeland, attorney
bb site marthews “Barrett Brown’s case is a flagrant example of prosecutorial abuse. We cannot keep consigning our brightest minds to our deepest jails, and his alleged crimes are ridiculous on their face and transparently aimed at silencing his journalistic work. Orwell said, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” Free Barrett!”-Alex Marthews, President of Digital Fourth
bb site cody wilson “Barrett’s case is the first our generation should examine to understand what is at stake in our battle with post-political institutions. This generalized paradigm of security and an overwhelming availability of enforcement techniques has created an American architecture of oppression that can be employed to crush any digital journalistic enterprise on command—perhaps automatically, reflexively. The aggression and malice shown to Barrett should tell you everything you need to know. His work, and work like it, is politically significant.”-Cody Wilson, Director of Defense Distributed