Tag Archives: Michael Ratner

Exclusive Transcript: Jeremy Hammond Defense Rally, New York City, 21 February, 2013

We publish below another of our seemingly endless series of partial transcripts; this one is from today’s rally in New York City’s Foley Square in defense of alleged “Stratfor” hacker & working class hero from Chicago, Jeremy Hammond.

The rally’s turnout was pitifully small.  It is a disgrace that in New York City, a metropolis of some 8 million people, only a handful of people had the guts to actually show up to support Jeremy Hammond’s defense campaign.  Apparently, not a single so-called working class socialist political party showed up at the event!   If they were there, they sure didn’t show up on the video.  Maybe 20 people were there; almost a quarter of those present spoke; a couple others provided live video feeds of the event as well as the gathering of activists after the Chief Judge of the US District Court of Manhattan, Loretta Preska, refused to recuse herself from the case, obscenely claiming that she needed nearly two more months to decide if she has any conflicts of interest in the case that might preclude her from being an objective referee in the case!  As you may know, her own husband’s passwords and email, which he used while doing business with his law firm – which she once worked for – was among the firms whose data was disclosed in the Strafor hack!  She is obviously dragging her feet in order to ensure that Jeremy Hammond’s stay in jail – in solitary confinement, with no visitors allowed! – drags on for as long as possible.  Such is “justice” in the courtrooms of the capitalist class under the capitalist system!

The following transcript was produced by us from the series of videos produced by The Pella Report.  All errors, as usual, are our own.  Free Jeremy Hammond!  If you’d like to write to him, the address to mail (postcards only!) to Jeremy is as follows:
Jeremy Hammond – #18729-424, Metropolitan Correctional Center, 150 Park Row , New York, New York, 10007



“The Pella Report” video of Jeremy Hammond rally and hearing
21 feb 2013
Press conference starts at 12:32 of 22:11



[First Speaker: Jason Hammond (brother of Jeremy Hammond):]

Hi, I’m Jason Hammond, Jeremy’s twin brother.  How are y’all today?  A few things I want to say about my brother’s case; and I’ll try to keep it short, because it’s cold.  And I’ll first read a statement my brother wrote to be read for this press conference:

“Thanks a lot for coming.  It means a lot to see people in court and to know people are attending rallies in front of the courthouse and the jail.  People in here always get excited to hear that the protests are in support of those on the inside.  Over time, people in prison are often forgotten by friends and family members.  It fills me with hope and joy when people show up to let me know that I’m not alone in this fight.  That’s why the work you’re all doing is so necessary.  Keep fighting!”

I personally want to thank you all for coming to support my brother.  It means just as much to me as it does to him to be able to meet and see a lot of people who would go the extra mile to show up at his court hearings.  His current situation is that he’s in solitary confinement for another fifteen days or so; and at this time he is very glad to be able to receive and send letters.  He is currently [denied a visitation for a whole year (?) (unintelligible) because we are only able to talk on the phone for very brief periods.  And I am one of his very few family members who can actually make the hike to attempt to visit him.

Jeremy is a very strong believer in the freedom of expression, the right to privacy for the individual, and in the need for government transparency.  And I also think that he is being prosecuted for his work as a political activist.

I can only hope and assume that the judge, Loretta Preska, will step down, given the fact that her husband’s email is involved in the Stratfor company itself.

I want to give an extra special thanks to those who have done solidarity work for Jeremy.  This press conference
was made possible by the time and effort put in by groups such as: The Jeremy Hammond Solidarity Network and the “FreeAnons Solidarity Network” and the “Books Through Bars” program.

That concludes the “speech” portion, and now begins the musical portion… [he carries a banjo and hands off the mic to someone and begins to play].  O.K.; this one’s called: “They Got The Wrong One”.

“They got the wrong one, It wasn’t Jeremy
They got the wrong one, let me tell you who’s guilty
I’m walking around with only half of me here,
While Sabu and the FBI are surely having a beer
When the house is made of glass, built on secrets and lies,
When people throw stones, it ain’t no suprise
Obama lied about closing down Guantanimo Bay,
He said he’d end the war, but there’s a new one every day,
Portraying Occupy as domestic terrorists,
Hell, we all wanna see the tables turned, the poor rise up, and the rich eat shit
Thats just the way it goes, when the whole world is shown
All those dirty secrets the government don’t want you to know
They got the wrong one, it wasn’t Jeremy
They got the wrong one, it wasn’t even me
Now i’m walking around with only half of me here,
Sabu and the FBI are surely having a beer
When the house is made of glass, built on secrets and lies,
When people throw stones, it ain’t no surprise”

[Song ends.  Applause]

[It’s a great song, an up-tempo, rollicking protest tune that would make Woody Guthrie smile.  Very nice.]

[Next speaker:]

Hi. I’m Heidi Boghosian , the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild.  The National Lawyers Guild, for seventy-five years, has been representing individuals targeted by both the government and corporations for their activism.

We call on Loretta Preska – Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of Manhattan – to immediately recuse herself in the case of Jeremy Hammond.  As you know, the email address and password of Judge Preska’s husband, Thomas Kavaler, were
among the pieces of data released in the crime for which Hammond stands accused: hacking the private security firm Stratfor
and releasing internal emails and personal information on Stratfor’s clients. Kavaler uses the affected email address for business at the law firm Cahill, Gordon and Rydell, where he is a partner, and where Judge Preska once worked.  In addition to Kavaler’s personal information, private emails of major corporate clients to his law firm, including Merrill-Lynch, were also disclosed in the hack.

As any first-year law student knows, a judge must withdraw from hearing any case in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be questioned. The New York [Canons?] of Judicial Conduct are clear: judges must avoid not only “impropriety”, but also “the appearance of impropriety”.  The test for the “appearance of impropriety” is whether a judge’s conduct would create, “in reasonable minds” – in this case, those of New Yorkers – a perception that the judge’s ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired.  No reasonable person would say that a judge, whose husband was a victim of the crime she is presiding over, could do so with integrity or impartiality, much less competence.  If Judge Preska stays on this case, it goes against everything she is sworn to do as Chief Judge; and it denigrates the very integrity of this court.  Thank you.


[Next speaker: Alexa O’Brien, journalist; founder, US Day of Rage]

How is everybody?

Among the number of other items in the legal record of the lawsuit of [Hedges v. Obama?] brought by several plaintiffs including myself against the “indefinite detention provision” of the National Defense Authorization Act is an email published by WikiLeaks from the Stratfor leak.  In this email, Fred Burton is consulting with Thomas Kopecky, a private security contractor who says he’s been “tasked” with trying to
tie a group that I helped found, to any Saudi or fundamentalist Islamist movements.  Because of my work as a journalist covering the US “War on Terror”, government contractors attempted to falsely link a group which I helped found – whose only purpose is to support campaign finance reform in the United States – to Al Qa’ida.  The email is cited in Judge Forrest’s ruling that the indefinite detention provision of the national Defense Authorization Act is unconstitutional.

The aims of life, the desire to learn and to understand, are now a national security threat that can and will be exploited by terrorists using the Internet, aided by social and political activists, whistleblowers, journalists and publishers who are providing you and our enemies with information.

When the notion of property applies to the genes in our body, or the ideas in our head; when entrenched, outdated, incompetent  and corrupt representatives answer questions about “how we should govern the commons” with a never-ending clash of civilizations or ideology for the natural resources, then our 18th-century philosophy, 19th-century institutions, 20th-century outlook and 21st-century problems present us with a vision that we cannot afford to bank on, build on, or believe in.

Today, Judge Loretta Preska will make her decision on a motion to recuse herself for her obvious conflict of interest in the trial of Jeremy Hammond.  She will probably not recuse herself, despite her husband appearing on a list of Stratfor’s “victims”.  She is not impartial. So, while we stand in that space, what may seem to our spirits the emotional equivalent of not being mindfucked in a bathroom rest stop en route to a wasteland called “Paradise”, I would like to remind everyone to “trust the process”.  I am not talking about the process in the courtroom behind us; I am talking about the process in the courtroom we are building right here [she stomps her right foot on the ground several times] and everywhere.

Patience.  Work.  The conflict is unavoidable; reality is ours.



[Next Speaker: Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York]

[The video starts just after Mr. Ratner starts speaking]

… thank you, jason hammond, for being here with his brother.  I find it incredibly moving when I see Jason speaking on behalf of his brother.

I’m Michael Ratner; I’m from the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.  We represent WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; and we’re here in part because alleged sources for WikiLeaks we want to support.   Jeremy Hammond is an alleged source of WikiLeaks of some of the most valuable documents out there on the Internet: five million Stratfor emails.

“I’m here because I support truth-tellers.  I support truth-tellers like Bradley Manning; I support truth-tellers like Jeremy Hammond and Julian Assange.  And right now we’re at a point in this government where they are hitting people with sledgehammers for telling the truth because they don’t want government and corporate corruption, hypocrisy and criminality coming out.  And just yesterday, our wonderful Attorney General announced a new policy – a tougher policy – one he said in which “we’re gonna make truth-tellers – getting them – a priority.  And the question I have is: “how much of a prioity more do they want to make it?”  They already killed Aaron Swartz; they’re… Jeremy Hammond is facing 39 years to life; Bradley Manning: life imprisonment; and Julian Assange – if they ever get him out of that embassy and into a prison here, will face the same.  So I ask the government: “what do they want to do, put ’em up against the wall and just shoot the guys?”  I mean it’s an outrageous suppression of truth, and the struggle that’s going on in this country right now is whether we’re gonna have a transparent government, and corporations that are transparent, or are we gonna continue dirty tricks, hypocrisy and secrecy?  And that’s what this case, that’s what Jeremy Hammond’s case is about.

“I’m also here because I’m seeing unroll in front of me a travesty of justice: a case in which government informants were in on the case, in which the government itself bought the computer, entrapping the people involved in the case.  I’m here because Jeremy Hammond did not get bail which he absolutely should have had; I’m here because today, as Heidi and others have said, we’re seeing a conflict of interest by the judge – as Heidi and the Guild said – she [the judge – IWP] wakes up every morning with someone whose email was hacked in the Stratfor emails.  This is a fair judge?  Not at all.

“I’m here because I stand for a transparent government, transparent corporations and privacy for all of us.  We are on the verge of a major struggle in this country, and this case is critical to how we go forward: will we have a democracy or will we continue to have a government that suppresses the truth and its own criminality?

“So again, thank you all for being here with us to support Jeremy Hammond: [raises his left fist in salute – IWP] Free Jeremy!


[Michael Ratner continues:]  “We all know we’re going to the courtroom after this, right?  It’s on the 12th floor?  12th floor over there at 500 Pearl Street.  All right.”

[Voice:]  “Room 12A.”

[Narrator, Mr. Pella:]  “So that concludes this portion of the press conference…”

[Unidentified woman:]  “A very quick announcement for those of you who have never been in the courtroom before?  They will make you surrender all electronics before you enter the court.  So, please: if you have your phones, lock them; they will make you give them up.  Just be aware of that; anything electronic: phones; MP3 players; doesn’t matter what it is, they will take them.”

[Narrator, Mr. Pella:]  “…Which also kind of ties in to this whole “transparent government” thing: if the government wasn’t so afraid of its own people, then why would they take their electronic possessions?  Makes you wonder, right?”

[Sources: USTREAM, “The Pella Report” (web addresses noted in article);  Lyrics to “They Got the Wrong One” sent in by commenter, below.   Transcript produced by IWPCHI]