[NEW YORK, NY] A late-Sunday news report has indicated the Cerberus Capital Management LP will allow individual investors the option of divesting from Cerberus’ stake in Freedom Group, the manufacturer of the military-style assault rifle used in the Sandy Hook shooting. Cerberus Capital Management owns a 94% stake in Freedom Group and has had difficulty structuring a deal to sell the tainted arms manufacturer.
Cerberus Capital Management has faced increasing pressure from Sandy Hook victims’ family members and institutional investors who believe Cerberus’ ownership of Freedom Group is irresponsible. Immediately after the Newtown massacre, Cerberus’ CEO, Stephen Feinberg, pledged to divest from the gun manufacturer. Since making that promise, Freedom Group has made large financial contributions to the NRA’s lobbying efforts that have stymied common sense gun-safety laws, such as requiring universal background checks.
In the proposal reported on Sunday, Cerberus would allow fund investors to individually divest from Freedom Group. This move would diminish internal pressure on Cerberus to sell its ownership stake in Freedom Group all the while protecting Cerberus’ financial position in an otherwise toxic company.
[NEW YORK, NY] A collective of projection artists and activists lit up the bleak walls of The Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC Brooklyn) last night with visually arresting images and messages proclaiming solidarity with jailed political activist Jeremy Hammond. The artists’ stunning action, which captured the attention of prisoners and administrators alike, comes two weeks after the 28 year old activist was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1984. Hammond’s sentence, handed down on November 15th, follows his May 28, 2013 plea of guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). The hack and the subsequent publishing of millions of exfiltrated Stratfor emails has sparked a global conversation into the unregulated operations of private intelligence firms and their frequent extralegal activities.
» Demonstrators from the In our Hearts Collective brought instruments, pots and pans, and their voices to make noise loud enough to be heard within the walls of the detention center. The Illuminator projected messages of solidarity on the bleak walls of the prison. “Free Jeremy Hammond!”, “Solidarity with all Hacktivists!” and images of the infamous Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask lit up the night. Additional images are posted below.
Shortly after his sentencing at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, Jeremy Hammond was transferred from the Metropolitan Corrections Center (MCC) on Park Row in Manhattan to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where he awaits designation by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to an institution where he will serve the majority of his sentence.
[NEW YORK, NY] Jeremy Hammond, a 28-year-old political activist, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor). The Ceremonial Courtroom at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York was filled today with an outpouring of support by journalists, activists and other whistleblowers who see Jeremy Hammond’s actions as a form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.
Jeremy Hammond, by Molly Crabapple
The hearing opened with arguments as to what sections of the court record will remain redacted after sentencing. While Jeremy’s attorneys initially erred on the side of caution in previous memorandums and kept large pieces of the record redacted, both the defense and prosecution agreed this morning that many of the sections should now be made available for public view. The prosecution, however took stiff exception to portions of the court record being made public that indicate victims, specifically foreign governments, that Jeremy allegedly hacked under the direction of Hector “Sabu” Monsegur, the FBI informant at the helm of Jeremy’s alleged actions. Judge Preska ordered that the names of these foreign governments remain sealed.
[CAMBRIDGE, MA] The Federal Bureau of Investigation is claiming the dissertation research of Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will “irreparably damage national security.” Radical and unprecedented in nature, the FBI’s efforts in this case stand to change the landscape of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as we know it.
In an exclusive report for Mother Jones, Will Potter, author of Green is The New Red, breaks down the chilling implications of the FBI’s pending challenge to Shapiro’s research. In part the FBI is claiming the following:
1.) The FBI is arguing in court that an MIT PhD candidate’s prolific Freedom of Information Act research about FBI investigations of animal rights activists is a threat to national security.
2.) The FBI is employing radical and at times unprecedented measures to exempt itself from compliance with the Freedom of Information Act in this case. These measures include a radical new application of a Cold War-era FOIA doctrine, a radical new application of the FOIA “nuclear option,” and submission of a secret declaration from the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division to the judge about the alleged threat posed by the MIT student’s dissertation research.
3.) The FBI’s efforts to exempt itself from the Freedom of Information Act in this case are so extreme and sweeping that, if the judge rules for the FBI, it could have a devastating impact on other FOIA requestors’ ability to obtain any records from the FBI and government agencies more broadly.
[NEW YORK, NY] Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, announced this morning that since the launch of the group’s Rolling Jubilee effort one year ago, it has abolished $13.5 million worth of medical debt owed by 2,693 people across 45 states and in Puerto Rico. This is the third announcement by Strike Debt in the last year which to date has abolished over $14.7 million dollars of medical bills through its Rolling Jubilee project.
The Rolling Jubilee campaign relieves debtors (by buying debt for pennies on the dollar) while building a debt resistance movement. This project highlights the injustice of having to go into debt for basic needs that should be publicly provided, like education and healthcare. “We have been honored to facilitate this effort but understand Rolling Jubilee is a spark, not a solution” said Andrew Ross, a fellow Strike Debt organizer. “Being forced into debt for basic social services is a systemic problem that will require a collective response.”“No one should have to go into debt or bankruptcy because they get sick,” said Laura Hanna, an organizer with Strike Debt, noting that 62% of all personal bankruptcies have medical debt as a contributing factor.