Tag Archives: integrity

making contact

A funny thing about being “internet famous” is that, for some reason, people assume direct contact is difficult. That’s sort of strange. Also, in my case anyhow, it’s certainly not true.

Yes hello, here I am. If you want to contact me, go right ahead. Lots of channels, too:

❦ ds@wrinko.net
onename.io validated
bitmessage: BM-NBQFsiE513gJHEE3dKeERMq5NzF7km8m
❦ twitter: @LeConteSpink
Pond: contact out-of-band
❦ Facebook: nope
❦ Ello: soon

❦ Hyperboria, Jabber, GitHub, IRC, telnet, Mumble, OTR’d XMPP, Hidden Service, DHT, Open Bazaar, AIM, Ethereum, blockchain embed, {whateverforum} DM, i2p, Diaspora, smoke signals, etc: contact out-of-band

The book written by an investigative reporter on my decade-long “unwavering defiance” in the face of hysterical persecution is set to be published any day now. If you want to contact the author of Uniquely Dangerous, her site has details.

I live in a very remote area of Washington State, on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula abutting the Pacific Ocean. If you find your way there, perhaps we’ll chat. My packets get out and about, in the aether. Perhaps we’ll run into each other there.

So it goes.

First, Be Kind

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by naves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them “Hold on”;

If you can talk with the crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with the kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

~ Rudyard Kipling

Farewell Tour

By now, folks are probably getting used to the metronymic regularity with which I tend to write about the fine-grained actions of a small slice of the bureaucratic apparatus that makes up the United Police States of America (UPSA). Along the way, I’ve named names – calling to task individual government bureaucrats & thugs-with-badges who have chosen to flaunt their sworn obligation to defend the right of all Americans to receive “equal protection under law.” And, yes, along the way I’ve been threatened over and over by those same thugs with (re-)imprisonment – and assassination (their word, not mine) – if I didn’t engage in self-censorship of my writing on this topic.

So naturally, I’ve kept writing as usual… and I’m now once again a political prisoner of the UPSA. This time ’round the wheel of the American Gulag, I’ve been “down” (locked up in prison) for nearly two months with no hearing, no finding that I’m “guilty” of anything. The “land of the free” becomes a mockery of itself – not an observation unique to me, of course: UPSA currently incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any other nation on earth… indeed, more than any other nation in the history of the human race. Everyone’s gotta be good at something, and the UPSA’s become good at locking people up – whether they’ve done anything objectively wrong, or not.

But enough about all that :-P

This week, I’ve been asked by a good friend to share some experiences of “life on the inside,” what it’s like to be inside the prison-industrial complex of the UPSA, firsthand.

SeaTac Resort
SeaTac Resort

Fair enough – it’s a good question, and common enough. Folks who have TeeVees (I killed mine in 1989 and never looked back) tell me that TeeVee glamourizes a form of “prison life” that’s fantastically violent, exciting, unpredictable, and TeeVee-friendly. Perhaps unsurprisingly, things in here really aren’t like that. Mostly, prison is about boredom: many, many hours of monotony. Prison’s about being separated from one’s loved ones and family. Prison is punishment – not “rehabilitation” nor “penitence” (the word from whence the sobriquet “Penitentiary” derives) – and it’s biggest punishment inflicted is the destruction of families and communities by abducting selected members and placing them in the parallel universe of the Gulag. There’s certainly violence in prisons – some “joints” (prisons) are frighteningly violent, although I’ve never done time in such places myself – but the real violence of prisons is the destruction of communities that imprisonment is designed to accomplish.

Sadly, that’s all old news by now. Any American who remains ignorant of the bloated, tick-like presence of the prison/industrial complex in this country does so by choice, not by lack of available information. It’s estimated that, in upcoming decades, roughly 1 in 10 American males will do time in the American Gulag… with 1 in 3 black men being imprisoned. These numbers are astonishing, disgusting, and utterly disgraceful. A parallel, albeit smaller-scale, disaster is unfolding in the uniquely American system of “supervised release” – an effectively constitutionally unprotected limbo-land where former inmates of the Fed Gulag are subjected to years or decades of arbitrary arrest, formal absence of 1st/4th/6th amendment protections, political harassment by jackbooted USPO thugs who couldn’t cut it as real police, and the constant threat of return to prison at the whim of said simpering USPO thugs: they call such re-imprisonment “violation,” and it’s an apt phrase. Currently there’s hundreds of thousands of Americans trapped in the Kafka-esque no-mans-land of supervised release… and the number goes up every year. Think of it as a fast-track to re-imprisonment, no allegation of any crime needed. The American concept of supervised release – not parole, which is early release from prison, and not probation which is an alternative to prison – is a mutant cancer on our society, and someday will be cast in Fukayama’s proverbial dustbin of history. Soon, we can all hope.

Phew. Well, that all said… what about prison? What’s it like? The first time I was ever imprisoned – back in 2005, when I was arrested in my smuggling case – I did my 3 years’ time in the Fed system. For convicts, Fed time has pros and cons: the latter being the unsettling reality of Fed time being measured in years, not months, because Fed time goes long. There’s no parole (it was superseded by, you guessed it, supervised release), so you’re going to do at least 85% of your prison time on lockdown. The flipside – the upsides of Fed time – are numerous.

First off, time with the Feds is “postgraduate education for felons.” That’s no hyperbole. Most guys, they come into the Feds with some expertise in a given field of crime (a solid majority of prisoners of the American Gulag – Fed prisons – aren’t in on a violent “beef”/crime; rather, they’re in on victim-free drug “crimes” or, increasingly, white-collar matters like “wire fraud” or the gloriously vague concept of “money laundering”)… but it’s during our time inside that we learn how to be real professionals. One meets genuine experts in the Feds, on any given type of criminal activity – and one then has years and years of time during which to study with them. Inmates share their knowledge with each other, famously so… and noplace perhaps more effectively, systematically, and thoroughly than in the Feds.

That’s been a fascinating experience for me, despite the fact that I’m out of the smuggling business permanently. I’m a curious sort, and the opportunity to sit with global experts on, say, international money laundering on behalf of Mexican cartels… well, it’s like catnip to my Spectrum-situated, systems theoretician’s mind. I’ve no desire to do such things (as a profession), but I find I learn a great deal nevertheless. Indeed, in my “real work” as a counter-surveillance specialist, I’ve learned as much – perhaps more – from my fellow felons than from any free-world teachers or resources. No surprise there, eh? If one wants to learn how to deal with serious, heavy government surveillance pressure… well, one’s best served studying at the feet of folks whose lives literally depend on their ability to evade such dragnets; all the better if such folks have succumbed to some government spy tricks once, as we can learn both from their mistakes and their iterated responses to same.

I have productively whiled away countless hundreds of hours of prison time sitting with fellow inmates, learning their stories of surveillance: studying their court documents, reviewing discovery files from their criminal trials, hearing them explain how it all went down. It all goes into my trove of knowledge about surveillance/counter-surveillance tactics, strategy, and theory. There’s no book or class, anywhere in the world, that even comes close to this data set. It’s the basis on which much of my own competence as a network security & counter-surveillance specialist rests. I’ve earned it the hard way: years of prison time, one day after another.

But that’s only one benefit of doing time with the Feds. Another is the fact that Fed joints are, simply put, the most professionally run prisons in the world. That may seem odd coming from me – famous for my “unwavering defiance” of UPSA police-state tactics – but it’s true, and I give full credit for that. I’ve never had a beef with the BOP – the federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs the American Gulag – and I don’t have one now. They’re functionaries, warehousing hundreds of thousands of bodies of American sent there by a “criminal justice” system warped beyond recognition… but the BOP doesn’t run that system, and doesn’t claim to. It just runs prisons, and does a generally damned good job of it. Fed joints are clean, (relatively) violence-free, and rarely end up saddled with COs (“correctional officers,” i.e. prison guards) who are sadistic, power-mad freaks. There’s bureaucratic inefficiency, sure, and sometimes things are inexplicably FUBARed… but by and all, Feds run prisons well. What’s concomitantly sad is that… America has become really, really good at running prisons. Think about that: what a specialisation to have, eh?

So anyhow, I did my first “Fed bit” (stint in a federal prison) from 2005-2007. Back then, the American Gulag – an archipelago of nearly 200 federal prisons, scattered across America from Hawaii to New York – was flush with money and still in cancerous growth mode, aggressively so. More fed prisons were getting opened every year, and more Americans were getting locked up. It was the “boom time” for COs and other BOP employees: money rained from the sky, and nothing was beyond reach. Back then, a time which for me seems like the “old days” now, money was literally no object. It’s not that we inmates were coddled, but rather that one simply never saw financial constraints at work in any decisions the BOP made. Come the end of the budget year, we’d have funds left over in every department in the prisons where I did time. The scramble was then on to “spend it or lose it” – burn that budget before the end of the fiscal year. And burn it we did! Ah, the good old days…

Today, sitting in my fourth federal “bit” (prison term), it’s all different. Of course, the last three times I’ve been locked up it’s been for “violations” – not actual, you know, crimes – but even so I do the same time with the same inmates in the same BOP as those with “real” crimes. Nowadays, the budget fairyland of endless money has come to a crunching, crashing, shuddering halt. After several UPSA federal budget shutdowns, the BOP is now on a tight fiscal leash. For the first time in decades, in 2013 there were fewer people in the American Gulag than in the previous year. The horrors! Worse (for the BOP), the decades-long orgy of hatred spawned by movie-boy Reagan and his footlicker Ed Meese – the “war on dark people,” err War on Drugs – has popped like a rancid balloon, leaving in its wake billions of dollars of budget deficits. Billions… sorry, I meant trillions. With a “t.”

Life inside the Gulag is different, now. We can smell the winds of change, even locked behind the razor wire and sentry towers. The fatted-calf opulence of BOP budgets – carrying with them a raft of famously-bounteous salaries for COs & bureaucrats alike – has evaporated. Now, the BOP and the CO’s labour union are mortal enemies, two parasites sucking off a host body quickly shriveling to dust. The clever bureaucrats have engineered early retirements for themselves, parachuting off to taxpayer-funded houses in sunny climes. The COs who joined up for goodies like free educational support are gone, replaced by ex-military types feeling fortunate to have any steady work whatsoever; by and large, the inmates are socially closer to the COs than to any other group, and there’s a certain esprit de corps shared between the two: each aware of the gurgling sound of the American Empire going down the drain, each stuck in the accreted soap-scum left behind. We’re not enemies; we’re fellow victims of the vampire squid: the 1% who sucked off all the blood for themselves.

The joint I’m in currently, FDC SeaTac, is running at barely half-capacity. This, down from the days of triple-bunked cells and constant population pressure. COs are morose: no more endless overtime pay, no more guaranteed careers for life. Bureaucrats are fiercely aggrieved, no longer coddled behind layers and layers of useless middle management – some of them actually do real work now. Quite a change – not for the better, in their own weird internal Zeitgeist. It’s all different, gone seedy around the edges – the centre cannot hold, and mere chaos looms.

So, for an old-timer like me, it’s all vaguely unsettling. We developed our prison skills at a time when the bloated body of the BOP was riding the wave of imprisonment, and now our skills are oddly out-of-tune with the new reality. In this new world, the BOP can’t shovel inmates out the front door fast enough. After all, if budgets are tight there’s two big areas that are ripe for cutting when you’re running prisons: either cut down on prisoners (and the costs incurred in taking care of them, like food and such), or cut down on staffing expenses (lowered salaries, layoffs, other such unpleasantness). It’s not hard to guess that the bureaucrats and COs of the belt-tightened BOP can and do heartily agree on this one thing above all else: cutting their own salaries and benefits is last in line. So, by process of elimination, the easiest way to cut costs is to… get rid of prisoners.

One can imagine a fat-staffed BOP, in decades hence, having shed most all of those pesky prisoners (costly to maintain, to boot) but still packed with layers and layers of bureaucratic fluff. The perfect prison-industrial complex: pure pork, no inmates whatsoever. Oddly, and sadly, it’d be a more just system than the one that sends millions of Americans to dungeons for decades as a flimsy cover for corporate welfare channeled to private prison “management” companies. Cut out the middleman, get rid of the prisoners and just transfer over those taxpayer billions right to the GEO group and their fascism-cheerleading brethren. American ingenuity, ftw!

Meh. :-/

This trip through the feds is my farewell tour – on that even the USPO agrees. They’ve run out of excuses to keep locking me back up, run out of time on my “supervised release” – even by the fuzzy maths of the USPO, the fact that I began my five years of supervised release seven years ago is getting difficult to ignore. Steve Gregoryk might not be able to count with his fingers well enough to run the numbers correctly (60 minus 36 is 24, Steve, not 30…), but the results are impossible to ignore. There won’t be another “violation” of me by the UPSA. I’ve done all my supervised release time – and then some; most of it in prison, the rest under constant harassment by the bigots at the USPO. It’s over. The fat lady, she’s not sung the swan song but we can all hear her warming up.

This time, when I walk out of here after my latest stint of political imprisonment – head held high, “unwavering defiance” most proudly intact – there’s no more “paper” (supervised release) left. No more UPSA goon-squads showing up at my home, waving guns and threatening to kill me and my loved ones. No more hostages taken at gunpoint, no more trips back here to SeaTac. So this is the farewell tour… and it’s been enlightening, as always. I’ve been studying in the daily classes of post-doctoral crime – not to return to non-lawful activities, but just to mine the wisdom for useful nuggets – and watching the BOP work through this formerly unimaginable era of less Americans in prison than before: the shocked, care-lined faces of COs… the furtive, evasive bureaucrats frantically seeking a way to keep their plush positions intact during budget shrinkage… the empty beds and empty cells that represent an end to the great, ghastly era of the American Gulag. What more appropriate time for a farewell tour, indeed.

I often tell guys new to this system, those facing “drugs” cases with no victims (sometimes for “drugs” – marijuana – which are now legal in some states already), that in decades hence we’ll all be telling our grandkids about these times at the waning end of the era of the American Gulag. “Yes, America used to lock people up for decades for the ‘crime’ of simply possessing ‘drugs’ like marijuana that we all know are totally harmless… billions and billions of dollars spent to build bigger and bigger prisons, housing more and more (mostly dark-skinned) folks.” It’ll all seem like some weird, Grimm-style dark fairytale – not like a reality we all survived, here on the inside looking out.

The American empire crashes to its knees… slowly, fatally, like an aircraft carrier smashing up against the walls of a massive granite fjord. No chance of turning away from the impact, no way it’s going to end well. The empire crashes and burns, and the disgusting edifice of prisons it spawned comes apart at the seams. All those people, torn from their families and communities at gunpoint in the War on Reality… all those victims, slowly rebuilding our lives.

Goodbye, and good riddance. The BOP has become the best at what is inescapably an horrific expertise: running prisons at an unprecedented scale and scope. Those skills, we all are better off when they’re long forgotten. Any country that prides itself on being good at locking people up is already long past moral bankruptcy.

This farewell tour of mine stutters on, slowly grinding down to its own inevitable end. I’ll walk out of here, truly “free” for the first time in nearly a decade. No restrictions, no constraints, no USPO thugs shadowing my every move & whingeing about every article I write. You can just imagine a whole cadre of professional hate-mongers, cowardly bigots, and back-stabbing nobodies developing cold sweats at the mere thought of that upcoming day. So will end my farewell tour of the UPSA’s dark underworld: the BOP.

I can’t even say that imprisonment is really “punishment” for me any longer. As with so many other things, practice makes perfect and in nearly six years of cumulative imprisonment (and counting), I’ve learned how to do time well. It’s my own intensive-study period, wherein I dig deep into the heavy books and academic materials that prove impossible to tackle when out in the free world. Books I’ve worked through, including Infinite Jest, East of Eden, 2666, A New Kind of Science… the list runs long. Yes, I’m a geek and I’ve kept a list: as of today, the total count is 597 books (plus near-countless magazines and academic research articles). Coming up on 100,000 pages of prison reading. It’s my academic core; I’ve read through entire fields of literature, in here, which now animate and suffuse my own writing and research. Plus, there’s the years of tutoring GED classes – with many dozens of fellow inmates receiving their high school degrees in my classrooms – the classes I’ve taught in French, Spanish, entrepreneurship, network security… it’s been a busy eight years.

No, prison’s no longer really punishment for me at all; it’s just a different phase of existence, and it’s over soon enough. I’m, in some senses, more productive in here than I am on the outside – fewer distractions, eh? Prison has taught me to be strong, situationally aware, clever, careful, mistrustful of arbitrary authority, and far more attuned with a wider swath of communities. I can swear in Spanish with the best of ‘em in D.F., I can teach a classroom of surly students how to finish their GED despite lifetimes’ being told they would never amount to anything… I can stand up to bigotry, and persecution, and threats, and the fear of being locked in a small box for months at a time. One faces ones fears, and one overcomes them.

I’ve long since overcome the fear of prison. I’ve made it my classroom, and it has taught me so much.

Alas, my farewell tour through the prison gulag winds itself down, day by day. Those prison skills will soon grow rusty with disuse, and I’ll be once again able to spread my wings as an eager practitioner of the best counter-surveillance tactics and techniques in existence today – not merely a practitioner myself, but a teacher of those skills to the entire world’s population. Prison, it’s been real. Time for the next chapter.

A new era, indeed :-)

~ Douglas Bryan “unwavering defiance” LeConte-Spink

The Omnipresent Teacher

“[D]ecency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means – to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal – would bring terrible retribution.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson, “Sharp Necklace Agreement” (R.I.P.)

hunter s thompson

Again, A Political Prisoner

I’ve once again been abducted by the “Forces of Justice.” This time, their justification is – oh, hell, why even pretend there’s a justification at this point in time? Rather, best to cut to the chase:

Do what you will to me. Your hatred & bigotry take you beyond the pale, and serve as their own rebuke. The more your violence-based, destructive assaults on me escalate, the more you confirm all I’ve observed over the years and years of your ongoing persecution and political imprisonment of me. Bigotry is bigotry, and hatred only brings destruction and misery.

The easy, safe path of avoiding confrontation with power-made bureaucrats tempts us. But the path of acquiescence and frightened avoidance is not always the right path. Right now, we must resist that temptation. We must confront police state power… not with anger, but with a mirror: this is the modern police state, in all its self-reinforcing absurdity. Look in the mirror, see it for what it is. It is absurd. Speak truth to power, and that truth is this: we do not fear you, nor your predictable, ponderous attacks. We transcend you, and we choose to work together to build a better future.

Already, pressures build on me to betray colleagues and friends. Indeed, handcuffed and faced with the barrels of loaded guns held quivering to my face, I was told to do exactly that during the latest SWATting this week. I decline, and not so much respectfully as vehemently. Excalate your persecution and abuse of me as you will, but nobody else will be pulled into your maelstrom of hatred. Efforts to compel my betrayal have failed, again. As they always have before (.gov stooge disinformation to the contrary). They always will. Nobody will serve as a proxy target on my behalf. Those close to me are safe and secure. Friends and colleagues who have helped me to rebuild my life from the last hysterical SWAT assault, in 2010, won’t be subject to the glare of Fed black proaganda attacks. Nope. They are insulated. We have learned our lessons, and now we present a much smaller attack surface, overall.

I stand ready to see this round of lynch-mob absurdity turn into a parody of itself. I carry no hatred, and seek only to live my life with integrity and an ongoing engagement with fellow activists seeking likewise.

America: land of the free, home of the brave…
… is this so much to ask?

“Some walks you have to take alone.”
- Suzanne Collins, “Mockingjay”

Name and Shame

“Brady, of course, is shorthand for the Supreme Court decision that requires prosecutors to turn over exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys. In Olsen, a ruling from a three-judge 9th Circuit panel in January detailed extensive questionable conduct on the part of the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks, who works for the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. (Kozinski’s opinion this week doesn’t name Hicks, nor do most press accounts of the decision, but I will. These prosecutors need to be identified by name.)” {boldface added}

Radley Balko, writing on the widespread presence of prosecutorial misconduct and the pressures brought to bear in attempts to protect the these malefactors from being “named and shamed” for their unethical – and often illegal – behaviour.

‘Nuff said.

~ Andy

Dissent

fighting fascism
stand against it – always & forever

“The term ‘radical’ has the same meaning in politics as it does in mathematics or in the word ‘radish.’ It simply means ‘root.’ So a radical would be a person who wants to address the root causes of a particular problem.”

~ Wendell Berry

Madiba

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

“I was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what I had done, but because of what I stood for, because of what I thought, because of my conscience.”

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“It always seems impossible until its done.”

~ Madiba | Nelson Mandela

…R.I.P. to a man of courage, conviction, and unshakeable dedication to his community & his vision.

Called a terrorist and a monster due to his unstinting youthful activism in support of his community and his people, he eventually earned a life sentence in prison from the racist regime. Offered the chance to walk free if he’d only renounce his political views and turn his back on his people, he politely – but vehemently – rejected the path of betrayal.

Throughout, he refused to accept the stigma his country tried so hard to force onto his community. Told he – and they – were second-class citizens (if that), he never gave an inch. He stood tall against insults, smears, disinformation, violence, and psychological torture. His family was targeted as he sat helpless to protect them, in prison, and he was taunted with the knowledge that he couldn’t help them.

Nothing broke his spirit. Nothing would ever convince him that he – and his people – were any less worthy than those who forced oppression upon them. He never gave them a fucking inch, not once.

He embraced compassion and forgiveness for those who tortured, murdered, and victimized his people… but only after he’d won their equality and their dignity back from the monsters who sought to steal it from them with guns and prisons. He rejected the path of hatred… but never forgot that it was steadfast struggle – and yes, at times armed struggle – that enabled that defence to succeed in the end. He was unapologetic for that process. As is right.

A great man. A kind man, and a generous man. An imperfect man, too – like all men (all humans, all mammals… ). Deeply shaped by the strong, wise, immensely courageous women in his life – his wives, his daughters, his lovers – he had the heart of a lion and the spirit of a seer. To his people, he was Madiba. Their leader, and the leader in time of their united, troubled, complex, brilliant, beautiful country.

To the rest of us, he was a hero. To me, since my childhood, Mandela was always a reminder that the right path is not always the easy, or popular, or conventional one. Loved – and hated – by many around the world, he followed his path from his heart and from his soul… not from the demands of others, or of the world at large. And he was right – in the beginning, in the end, in the middle: he was right. His detractors, his haters, and those who many times thought to assassinate him… they were all wrong, dead wrong.

A gifted orator, a brilliant author, a prison scholar, an uncompromising activist, a loyal father and husband… a true leader. We were all blessed to share this planet, for a time, with him. In Cape Town myself, I looked across the bay at Robben Island… but couldn’t bring myself to visit firsthand. Too much. Twenty seven years, locked up for his activism and his dedication to his people.

Never gave them a fucking inch, not one.

Thank you, Nelson – for your courage and your compassion and your humanity and your unshakeable warrior’s heart. A giant of a man. A true hero.

Rest in peace…

Grow A Pair

By the look of things, there’s a veritable micro-ecology of bottom-tier keyboard bangers – some call themselves “journalists,” some “bloggers,” some… who really knows? – pouring forth paragraph after paragraph of stuff written about me. Keeping up with it would both be a considerable time-sink – these writers may not know what the word “rambling” actually means but are nonetheless able to ramble endlessly themselves – and an exercise in futility: the vast majority of this junk is recycled patter that was itself recycled by some other hack-“writer” out the back end of an equally crapulous piece authored by someone else.

And yet… occasionally I dip my toe into this morass of foam-speckled nonsense just to see what this slow-wilting industry of write-about-Spink obsessives have to say. What can I say – it’s a vice. As with any vice, I’m consistently filled with regret when I fall victim to this particular weakness: those are minutes I’ll never get back.

I’m really easy to contact. Email ds@wrinko.net and it’ll get to me. Pretty quick, too. You’ll get a reply, if it’s a fact-check issue. Or, I guess if you’re worried I have cooties and/or I’m to scaaaaaary to actually email (as to that… wtf?), you could email Carreen Maloney. She’s good about replying, from what I’ve heard. She’s got a full set of documents relating to my stuff – the actual documents: real, genuine facts instead of “fact-ish bullshit.” And I believe she’s willing to share, within reason. If not, well I’ve got the documents as well and I am willing to share – not so much reason constraint present.

And yet: nobody does. Contact me to fact-check, that is. Nobody. Zero. Zilch. Despite it being easy, and helping to avoid looking (more) like a down-and out, copy-paste, lazy-writing loser. Nobody does it. Why?

I’ve been told there’s two reasons, non-exclusive to each other. One is sheer laziness: why bother checking facts when “fact-ish bullshit” is more fun, less work, and makes for a better “story” since it’s not constrained by reality? Not much to say about this one, really: people who do this should be dunked in a vat of tar, covered with feathers, and left in the hot sun to bake until done. Because, seriously: scum of the earth.

The second one is, in its own way, even more strange: I am told – by people who appear to be genuine – that these massive fact-check failures are because these writers are too scared of me to contact me as part of routine fact-checking. Seriously, that’s what people tell me – multiple people, not merely a few. Too scared. Boo hoo. Spooooooky.

And this little rambling missive I’ve penned here tonite pretty much has one goal, and that goal is communicating one message to this (surprisingly large, surprisingly stable over time) sea of non-contacting journalists: grow a pair, or shut the fuck up. As in a pair of testicles (or, for the XX folks, a pair of ovaries will do fine). Meaning, metaphorically, grow some fucking balls – generate some courage. Or, as I said, shut the hell up.

Put another way: if you’re too much of a candyass to actually email me and check whether your “facts” copied from the {inser random title here} are bullshit or not… because you’re scared of me… then go write about yarn-throwing contests, or apple pie, or the theory of cuddling. Whatever – not me, nor my work, nor my history.

The entire pretence of “write-about-Spink but too scared to actually write to Spink to ensure I’m not writing bullshit resulting from rampant personal cowardice” is just too jaw-chenchingly disappointing to really summarize in words. Are you worried I’ll l337 hax0r you – all your bases are belong to Spink? Or what? Because, well, I’m not “feeling your fear” as the phrasing goes. At all.

Here’s my email: ds@wrinko.net – do you have a pair? Can you grow a pair? If not: stfu. I can’t stop you from being a lazy journlist and writing nonsensical drivel about me… but I can sure as hell poke fun at you when you do. And I will. As is only fair, no?

Kthxbai.

“Parallel Construction”

One thing I did pick up from over the summer was the Reuters article detailing the decades-long DEA practice of “parallel construction.” This is where the DEA illegally uses NSA-sourced data to “accidentally” catch people committing victim-free “crimes” involving narcotics. Then, they lie to judges and defence attorneys about where the information came from. Nice.

Estimating conservatively, that’s likely tens of thousands of instances of perjury by DEA agents who took the stand and flat-out lied about their claimed “investigations.” Plus all the AUSAs who participated in this fraud, denying defendants access to crucial information concerning the persecution they faced. And various ancillary goons, thugs, self-important power fanatics, and other badge-carrying fascists. Felony counts, if you add all this malfeasance up? Tens of thousands, on the low end. How many years of prison have men & women done as a direct result of this illegal program of deceit? Thousands, at least. Families destroyed. Lives ruined.

So how is the prosecution of this sea of felonies coming? Great! If by “great” you mean: zero prosecutions. Zero. And there won’t be any, either. Not one.

See, we live in a police state: the police rule and the rest of us mere unarmed civilians live in constant danger of their authorized use of violence (authorized by themselves, generally, but still). Were I to get on the stand, say, in the chamber of Judge Martinez and lie my fucking balls off – about an essential matter in an extant case, natch – then proceed to get caught red-handed… what do you think would happen? Oh, there’d be felony counts coming off the AUSA’s printers as fast as they could spent taxpayer money typing them up (and running them through “ham sandwich” kangaroo Grand Juries for the rubber-stamp approval). Indeed, I spent years in prison on the basis of “spiritual” transgressions of laws that don’t actually exist.

But if you’re a DEA agent – or AUSA – who lies her ass off to the judge, repeatedly, for years… destroying the lives of defendants in the process (some perhaps guilty, some surely innocent), what’s the punishment? If you guessed “absolutely nothing,” you’re 100% correct! Nothing. Not even an admonition. Indeed, the DEA doesn’t claim to have stopped this practice – and we can be sure other Fed thug conspiracies, err “law enforcement agencies” are doing exactly the same thing. They just haven’t been Snowden’d. Yet.

This strikes pretty close to home, for me. Thanks to an insider who is helping the legal team preparing civil RICO claims against a host of thugs who illegally conspired to deprive me of my civil rights in 2010, I have access to some “special” information myself. Turns out not only was my case in 2005 “parallel constructed” out of illegally-obtained spy intel (generated by a weaponized branch of the military: the NSA), it looks like some folks dipped into the same stream as they tried to “get Spink” during the winter of 2009/2010. If you’re thinking, “gee… that sounds like USPO he’s talking about” – well, I neither confirm nor deny. For now.

The ironic thing, of course, is that siccing the NSA on my ass is close to a waste of time. I’m one of those people who has concluded years ago that the NSA has gone rogue and is spying on anyone and everyone they can physically target. I don’t follow perfect OpSec – since I’m not, you know, actually committing any crimes and haven’t done so for nearly a decade… which should matter in such things. But now I know it doesn’t really matter, because the USPO… err, I meant “someone,” was accessing military-sourced illegal surveillance systems in an attempt to “get me” because of my political views and stated anti-bigotry position. That said, I do take steps to stay clean of routine (illegal, unconstitutional) NSA surveillance. It’s just a habit. At the least, they’ll have to work to snoop on my life – send the TAO after me, perhaps I’ll learn something from them along the way.

Same was true back in 2004/2005.

So the comms intercepts illegally used by the DEA – and then covered-up during my attempt to defend myself – weren’t of me. Who were they of? We’ll see if that comes clean in FOIA requests (or, more likely, in RICO discovery) – or if the thugs commit further fraud and try to cover up the cover-up by not producing dispositive FOIA materials. At which point, we’ll go after them for that fraud, too. But in any case, it sure explains the heated efforts by every police-state goon involved to falsely paint me as a snitch. Let’s take some quotes from the Reuters article, shall we. How about this…

“About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. “

So that’s how many badge-carrying thugs can access this “secret” database of “secret” information hoovered up by the military arm of the U.S. government – in direct contravention of the Constitution and countless criminal statutes passed by Congress and signed into law by one president or another. Note the boldface I inserted of the word “local” – that means you, Whatcom county goons. Yep.

Next:

“As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SOD’s involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.”

…you know, that’s funny, ’cause I demanded to see discovery in my case back in 2005 – and was then offered my 3 year plea deal by Friedman and Susie Roe. With no real explanation for it. But I never did see that discovery. Then, of course, they turned around and falsely branded me a snitch – which, apparently, was/is standard practice in the “parallel construction” fraud. To wit:

“One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.”

So if they can’t explain where their “magic” intel came from, they just blame some random (nonexistent) “informant.” How convenient. That’s funny, ’cause I never did get a straight answer about how the investigation of my smuggling organization – that’s the one in which nobody but me was ever arrested, charged, convicted, or imprisoned… just to be clear – got started and progressed. There’s a bunch of shit that lazy “journalists” printed after being spoon-fed it by various Fed thugs – but they can’t even keep their own stories straight: each one contradicts the other.

But hey, lying is ok – so long as your a Fed. Or some corrupt thug in Whatcom county, of course. Or an AUSA suborning perjury from a witness in federal court. Oh, well…

Anyway, in 2005 they had a dirty little secret about their case against me: it was built on some form of illegal NSA intel. When I pressed for discovery – when I told them “I want my lawyer” as I sat in the rain in Monroe, WA on the night of 29 February and refused consent to search my truck – I created a real problem for them. Fight me, and I might uncover the dirty source of the info they were using (perhaps tracking Cornett or Kesling via NSA data – thus eventually hitting me since I did deliveries to both?).

Plus the fucked-up arrest procedures- nobody thought to have a drug dog with them and thus I was illegally detained for nearly an hour, in handcuffs, prior to my arrest, as it was assumed I’d simply “roll” and not demand they follow the law in their attempt to trick me into admitting guilt – added a real risk this would go to the Ninth Circuit for real review. So the fix? Offer me a “sweetheart” deal (given that, inexplicably until now, Judge Martinez insists on repeating said phrase, at every opportunity – does he know the illegal backstory on my case, in his courtroom?) and I won’t dig deeper.

Well, I sure as fuck am digging deeper, now.

Once it looked like I might start ferreting out what really happened, the disinformation guns came out: brand me a snitch. Get your pathetic little pet stoolies to print shit about me in local newspapers. Tar me so badly, nobody will listen. Operation Cover Fed Asses, eh? And thanks to the complicity, or incompetence, or laziness of local “journalists” (or a combination of all three), it worked great. Well, that and sending me back to prison for years on bullshit, trumped-up “spiritual transgressions.”

But now we’ve got an insider, and that insider has already proved to be very helpful. All my suspicions, that I couldn’t yet prove. Yep. There you go – in black and white. That’s the smell of vindication, that.

So what about 2010? Did the USP… err, “someone,” use illegally-sourced military intel in their frantic, expensive, violent effort to “get Spink?” Ah, yes, that’s an interesting question. Let’s just say that the discovery we received back then – because I did insist on a full (kangaroo court, ’cause it is only “supervised release” and not a real) trial. Which means we were legally entitled to all evidence of a potentially exculpatory nature. Like, you know, the fact that they Feds were tuning into NSA datasets to try to catch me doing something wrong (irony alert: they failed, and found nothing whatsoever).

Is this what General Alexander’s $50 billion (billion – with a “b”) spending spree of secret spy systems was intended to support? Local persecutions of unpopular minority activists, for non-crimes and for the “crime” of helping protect people against those very same illegal NSA spying programs? No, this is a police state: the military run amok, cut loose of any actual legal constraints. And, as I’ve said before, once they’re using it against “people like me” who commit no crimes and harm nobody, don’t be a crybaby when they turn Sauron’s eye on you. Except, I’m prepared for it (mostly).

You aren’t.

Nowhere in the Constitution of this country does it say that cops and other violence-happy, officially-sanctioned thugs are exempt from the laws that cover the rest of us mere mortals. Nowhere. Indeed, the idea of law being applied equally – even the President is not exempt – is a bedrock platform of the United States of America. Or it was, anyway.

Now it’s a fucking joke.

I’ve got so many instances of confirmed, undeniable, flagrant perjury at this point – DEA, AUSA, USPO, Whatcom county sheriffs and prosecutors, Laura Clark… the list goes on and on. None will ever be charged for their crimes. Of course not. This is the United Police States of America: they are above the law.

I told you so.

Now I know. Now I know what happened in 2005. Now I also know (most of) what happened in 2010 – that witchunt in which several of my canine friends were murdered by Laura Clark, and the rest mutilated for life. This was the police state lashing out against someone who is publicly sworn as an enemy of the illegal spread of police-state tactics and technology, secretly, without citizen oversight. So they came after me, with guns drawn. And beat me the fuck down. To silence me.

How’d that go, you cowardly fucks? I’m not so silent, am I?

They may well send another SWAT team after me and try to fake up some excuse to send me to prison again. So be it. At this point, it’s become parody. Also, I have far, far more tools at my disposal to protect against their efforts to frame me. I’m no babe in the woods in that regard, any more. What tools? Ah, well, like the NSA I prefer not to discuss my operational techniques. But look up “sousveillance,” and that’s a start. Who watches the watchmen? I do, now – and I make sure that watching is encrypted, archived, and stored offshore in multiple redundant copies. Try deleting that, you corrupt scum.

The police state, it wants you to be cowed. It demands your obeisance, your submission. It needs that, because even with all its tools and spying, if enough folks simply stop cooperating with it, the whole thing falls apart under its own weight. I’m not “fighting” the police state, the USPO, or anything else. I’m just not playing their game any more. I follow their rules – “spiritual transgressions” aside – but I live my own life. And I speak my perspective on the truth – at least when I’m not being gagged illegally.

It’s that speaking out part they hate, eh? Because, who knows, someone might hear me and start thinking for themselves… even after all the smears the bootlickers at the Seattle Times and Huffington Post could throw my way. Back in 2010, Susie Roe complained bitterly in open court about my “unusual resilience” after I survived my smuggling case (without sending anyone to prison but myself, and remaining on good terms with my former colleagues in “the business” along the way). How dare I! How dare I think I could rebuild my life, and worse than that start talking about anti-surveillance technology.

So there you go.

I know the reality. I’ve lived it. I’ve got the scars – well-earned – to show for it. Some of my loved ones died during the process, an unforgiveable crime for which those responsible will never, ever be free of debt. And, day by day, I have more people around me who have seen the forest behind the trees and get it – they get this isn’t about “animals,” nor even about me. It’s about unchecked governmental power, about organized violence, about the smooth rollout of Amerika 2.0: Police State version. I’m no hero – and I’m certainly not a deep digger like the inestimable Barrett Brown – but I do my part, as best I can.

And apparently that part I’m doing is getting some traction, ’cause the police state sure as fuck wants to see me dead. I consider that quite a compliment – just as I consider “hate” directed at me by fraudsters, scammers, bigots, and cowards to be a badge of honour. Besides, what goes around comes around. See also: RICO.

I bide my time out in the coastal forests, smelling the Pacific air. I mediate on all my friends still locked up in Federal prisons – I may join them in the future, I may not. What I do know is that I’ll never bend knee to the police state, never submit dumbly, never acquiesce to their theatre of fear. I don’t fight it – I just think it’s fucking pathetic. And they know it. And they fear that. As they should.

Because when we all realize their Empire of Fear is just an excuse to fleece us, and the planet, and every other living being, to support the greed of the 0.1%… it all falls apart. Peacefully, quietly, not even a whimper. Let them keep their spy machines and multi-billion-dollar monstrosities. We walk away, and go back to doing real things: making friends, building community, sharing knowledge, learning the land, and of course hearing the wisdom and love offered by the other sentient species who share our planet with us. That’s enough to keep busy, day by day – who has time for military monsters in their kiddie-costumes with the shiny pretty badges and silly shoulder pads? Fuck them.

You can’t run an empire if everyone simply… walks away. And you need not walk someplace physical, as in Daniel Quinn’s examples of such events throughout human history. You can walk away cognitively, functionally, on a daily basis. Step out of the cage of fear. Live. Share. Be kind. Show compassion. Make the world better, a little bit at a time.

They hate that, don’t they?

Let them hate. I don’t have time to care, one way or another. I’ve got waves to surf, friends to see, nails to pound. A Forks in the road, as it were…

They think I’ll go out and build things that help protect people from their illegal, immoral, disgusting obsession with Bentham’s Panopticon. They’re right. I’m taking this time to go back and refresh on the fundamentals of crypto, from the ground up. Sit. Read. Meditate. Study. Think. Then, when the Fed thugs lose their boot-on-neck stance with me, I’ll do what I’ve done for years: make good things, to help folks lead happier, more diverse lives. And also that nonhuman reciprocity stuff – living on the planet as one of many species, not with some self-defined, solipsistic sense of Doghood. Fuck that, too.

Parallel Construction. Funny how those two words can say so much. For me, it’s the lightbulb in a dim room: now I can see all the colours – and what a tapestry of deceit and disgrace it is. I thought they were corrupt, and amoral, and power-mad… now I know. And I can prove it.

Lots of you don’t care. Some do. More, every day – because you can feel the hot stare of Sauron coming your way. Those of us who have lived under it for years, we know how it feels. Welcome to our Hell. Sorry to see you here, but it’s not so bad. You can shrug off Sauron, if you know how…

I know how.

Cheers :-)

gag order = police state

An outspoken activist unafraid to speak out on controversial topics using his real name, someone who reacts strongly to abuses of power, someone not intimidated by thugs with badges who flaunt their corruption, someone who has run up against the War on Drugs in his own past life but doesn’t let that stop him from moving forward to do important work, someone who writes with strength and occasionally unvarnished vitriol, someone whose personal integrity has drawn fire from cowards hiding behind keyboards who claim to be working for the same goals but who can’t stand to see their own cowardice overshadowed by a person who steps forward to act in real life and not just in secret chatrooms, someone charged with astonishingly nebulous “crimes” that serve purely as thin cover for outright political persecution, someone imprisoned for years despite not being convicted by a real jury based on real evidence, someone who has fought back against his persecution even from within the walls of federal prison by publishing strong writing that speaks hard truth to brute power, someone whose family is attacked and harassed and persecuted by these same corrupt thugs, and someone who fights back against those family attacks with the righteous indignation entirely appropriate to these horrific crimes… an activist driving right at the core of fundamental issues that will determine the future of our planet and all its species for better or for ill.

Not me. Barret Brown.

And now Barrett has been slapped with a Fed gag order frighteningly similar to the constraints placed on me earlier this year. Of course, it’s been put in place only after the Feds have already smeared him for many months with the simpering assistance of their usual “journalist” mouthpieces; now that the smears are well-entrenched, it’s time to stop talking and just let them fester. And it’s only been put in place after Barrett’s work – along with his attorneys – has begun to show real success in unmasking the corruption, fraud, and abuse of power at the core of the persecution he faces. Only then is it suddenly necessary “for the interests of justice” to threaten him with more prison time if he doesn’t shut the fuck up.

Nice.

This is what we refer to as a “police state.” It was fine when it was applied to me – because “people like me” are legitimate targets of social persecution, just like gay folks were just a few years ago. Now, the tactics jump over to targets like Barrett – not a persecuted sexual minority, but rather a frontline political activist who gets real traction with his writing and his work exposing the underpinnings of the vast, secret, out-of-control private cyber-military complex. And still most average Americans are just… meh. Whatever. I read that he’s a druggie, so who cares – right? Gag him. Imprison him. Do what you want – he’s not a “real” person.

Then the tactic jumps further, and some lawyer who is charged with a white-collar crime is going to get gagged. Oops. Now it’s a “real” person – but it’s too late to change. The momentum is already afoot. Judges get comfortable with this shit, prosecutors learn they can get away with it, corrupt FBI agents know they can do whatever the fuck they want and they will never – ever – be held accountable. By then, even “real” people start getting gagged. Oops.

Barrett is a hero of our times. His work exposing Stratfor – before Snowden took his own courageous stance – was both ahead of its time and spot-on accurate. Like Jeremy Hammond, he decided to draw a line and take a stand: this is wrong, this is our country too, damnit, and we’re fucking sick of seeing these gun-toting thugs run roughshod over our Constitution, our society, and our culture. If we’re a country of laws, then the laws apply to everyone. If HBGary goes after the families of political dissidents, why aren’t they prosecuted?

Secret laws. Secret courts. Secret court rulings. Secret, multi-billion dollar spy schemes. Secret programs. And gag orders to prevent anyone from discussing not only the secrets, but the persecution they themselves face as a result of working to understand and expose these disgusting, perverted forms of totalitarian rot. Welcome to the United Police States of America.

And yeah, sadly enough… I told you so.

 

ps: full respect to District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez for lifting the gag order against me, in April – a gag order that (unlike Barrett’s) was not judicially implemented but rather unilaterally ginned out of thin air by the U.S. Probation Office. Mr. Martinez could have easily enough let it stand, and likely not been overruled on appeal before my supervised release was done (& thus the case would become “moot,” turning into the proverbial pumpkin at midnight & being dismissed). It took integrity and it took real respect for the rule of law for him to make the choice he did. He & I certainly disagree on plenty of other issues – I won’t sugarcoat that and I doubt he would, either – but that doesn’t change the respect he’s earned. Every American who cares about the rule of law, and about freedom of speech in particular, shares that respect for Mr. Martinez’s ruling in this matter. It’s easy to go along with the mob, to join in the witch-hunt when the pitchforks are out, to stand back and watch the lynching unfold… it takes integrity to step beyond mob insanity and to retain our humanity – more than that, to retain our cosmopolitan commitment to diversity, the rule of law, and the right of others to speak in their own words on their own behalf.

Spiritual Transgressions

I must admit to stepping away from worldly affairs for the better part of the summer. To be out in the coastal forests, working not with a keyboard but with my hands to build a future… this is good. There’s a lifetime for me to wear down my fingers writing code – it’s actually rather nice to stray from that for a bit.

Even so, my own years of conflict with the punitive forces of the United States government can hardly be forgotten – nor would I want to. And in that regard, what a summer it’s been…

Attorney General Holder acknowledges that the entire edifice of Federal drug laws is a disgraceful, punitive, unjust perversion of our country’s heritage. Years of lying on the part of countless governmental bureaucrats regarding dragnet surveillance are exposed, bare and impossible to deny, by a courageous young sysadmin who decides he won’t be part of a totalitarian nightmare. Along the way, the hope-ridden regime of Obama – water-carriers for Wall Street power to the end – has done away with any pretence of being bound by the laws that apply to mere American citizens.

Sadly, it’s another case of “I told you so.”

I’ve seen firsthand years worth of Federal employees perjuring themselves, lying, falsifying evidence, blithely committing crimes secure that they are immune because they are friends with the local AUSA (or they are the local AUSA)… all along, I was warning: “if you let this happen to ‘someone like me’ because you’ve decided your personal prejudice and hatred of my stance on fundamental equality between sentient species justifies any abuses directed at me by anyone who feels the need to abuse, then sooner or later don’t be surprised when the worm turns and the same lawless rampage that Fed goons directed at me ends up seeking you out, too.”

I’m done with this country’s efforts to persecute, harass, and subjugate me. Having survived the worst excesses of the police state, now I fear nothing the goons could possibly threaten me with. My loved ones were abducted, mutilated, murdered… what else can be done to me? Nothing. I’ve earned immunity by coming through the torture sessions, scarred but still breathing. And I warned, along the way, that the tools developed to assault my family & I won’t be put to rest once they’re done trying (and failing) to break my spirit. Nope, those tools will find new targets – new bones to break.

Are you ready for that, out there? You, reading this? Are you prepared to be the target of a multi-billion dollar cyberwar machine – the National Security Agency – that sees itself as truly immune from legal oversight, entitled to absolute secrecy, and empowered to bend the full extra-legal force of the American empire to its will in service of pursuing anyone who dares stand in its way (in re: Snowden)? Are you?

I am.

I’ve lived as a target of unjust, legally unconstrained persecution and abuse for my entire adult life. I know what it is to be targeted by surveillance not because I’ve done wrong, but because of who I am – and because of the knowledge I work to share with others. That experience is bred into my very bones – so deep it’s a part of me. Hell, I grew up with a sense of oppressive surveillance that Normals will never understand – cannot understand.

And yet now, the Normals are targets themselves: targets of the NSA’s rampage of illegal surveillance. Targets of the corrupting power of financial hegemony – stripped of their assets as Goldman Sachs gets richer by the day. Targets of multinational entities that can literally write their own laws – via lobbyists and paid-for Senators – at the drop of a hat. Targets of power: pure, unvarnished, unconstrained power.

They’re like lambs going to the slaughterhouse. You are, you reading this. You are utterly unprepared for the world in which you now live. You have no idea the power aligned against you, and no conception of what it feels like when “the law” becomes simply a tool to strip you of autonomy and value… if someone more powerful than you wills it.

This summer, the wheels came off the ragged, fantastical narrative of America as a country of laws: one nation, under Dog. All men created equal. All that claptrap. It’s all water under the bridge, now. Now, it’s those who deploy laws against their opponents, against anyone who threatens their power and privilege – and there’s those who are targeted by a police state machinery spun wildly, violently, inevitably out of any form of societal control.

Good luck what that, eh? You’re going to fucking need it.

Back in 2008, in a presentation at a hacker conference, I was teaching people how to use corporate structures to protect themselves and their anti-censorship tech projects from extra-legal harassment & persecution by shady governmental agencies. It’s the sort of thing I’ve been teaching for more than a decade – and clearly it’s gotten under the skin of the police state, because they decided they’d roll out the SWAT team in an effort to shut me up.

Specifically the federal judge overseeing my long-forgotten drug possession case – the putative justification for ongoing Fed intrusion into my law-abiding life, more than a decade later – has tripped over himself with astonishment that I dared to utter the following phrase in front of a room full of assorted technologists, hackers, activists, and social subversives, in New York City. I said…

“It’s not as much fun to to simply break the rules as it is to find creative ways to get around it [sic].”

The [sic] notes that I actually used the correct pronoun (“them” – 3rd person, plural) in the presentation, not as inaccurately quoted by the judge. 

Now, in the America of today, for a dissident such as myself to dare to do this – to teach others how to get around unjust, unfair, or over-broad statutory law by studying and understanding those laws… by knowing enough not to break them, even as one manages to continue one’s work unhindered – is to risk assault by gun-toting Fed SWAT teams. How dare I! How dare I teach others how to avoid breaking the law… not only that, but suggest it might even be “fun” to do so?

The judge, alas, seems to have no such concern for – just to pick one of countless possible examples – tax attorneys advise their clients how to creatively structure financial transactions in order to minimize taxes without overtly breaking tax laws in the process. That’s just normal business practice, right? It’s only when “people like me” get uppity – when we think that we, too, can learn to avoid breaking the law by studying the law, by noting any creative avenues around the law – that the judge is more than happy to see the SWAT teams deployed. Off to prison with you, peon! Learning how to avoid breaking laws is for the ruling class – not for “people like you.”

Fuck that.

All you’re seeing, in his repeated hyperbolic ranting – repeatedly quoting my innocuous, utterly unremarkable statement – is a concrete manifestation of the breakdown of the rule of law in America. Nobody really cared, so long it was just me being subjected to this kind of rattle-trap logical atrocity (to wit: remaining law-abiding by studying the law and explicitly seeking to avoid breaking the laws is, in and of itself, reason enough for abduction & long-term imprisonment). But now that the cat’s long since out of the bag, all the rest of you are subjected to the same kind of circular self-justification.

Manning went public with evidence of extensive war crimes on the part of America’s military – an act not only protected under international law, but actually noted specifically as a duty (the duty to speak out against war crimes) after the atrocities of World War II and the Holocaust. The legal establishment’s reaction? He’s a criminal – never mind the laws. He’s a criminal because he dared to speak truth to power, period & full stop. These pesky “laws” won’t get in the way of a good public witch-burning now will they?

Indeed, I know how that goes.

When I was sent off to prison in 2010 – because of who I am, because of my work in anti-surveillance encryption technology, because I teach others how to avoid breaking laws, because I was “unrepentant” and unwilling to turn on my community and loved ones, because I refused to allow my family to be murdered without putting up every ounce of fight I could muster, because I told Susie Roe to “go fuck herself” when she asked me to agree to their murder, because I wouldn’t bend my fucking knee to these corrupt, power-mad monsters – the judge admitted from the bench that there really wasn’t much in the way of actual, you know, wrongdoing to hang on my shoulders.

The snitch sent to entrap me – Stephen Clarke – managed to record hours of himself engaging in intimate relations at my farm… but not a frame of me doing anything whatsoever. The computers seized by three gun-toting FBI agents were encrypted… and never got unencrypted despite years of threats, demands, and escalating harassment via media slander. The customers of Baneki/Cryptocloud were never compromised, not one – not a packet of data leaked, ever. No drugs found on my property. No weapons. No evidence any crimes whatsoever.

But that certainly wasn’t going to stop the witchunt, as well all know. Facts – or laws – are mere distractions when the persecution machine is in full swing.

In the end, I agreed that I’d travelled to New York City without getting permission from my PO – the same conference cited above, ironically. That’s called a “technical violation,” and would hardly justify incarceration. Other than that, hours of smears and innuendo and random misunderstandings of simple Internet technology on the part of USPO did nothing to actually, you know, show I’d actually done something I wasn’t supposed to.

And then there’s Clarke. His affidavit claiming I knew what he was up to? He recanted, less than a year later – sworn, under oath, with witnesses. The works. So that whole campaign to entrap me ended up dying with a desperate, corrupt sigh: we didn’t catch him doing any of that cross-species stuff… but we still hate him, so fuck it – same difference.

That left the question of how to word this particular abortion of a sentencing, back in 2010 – can’t really say I broke any laws, as I never got a jury trial and all that claptrap so I could defend myself. Claiming I’d violated supervised release by, um, teaching people to protect themselves against illegal NSA surveillance sounded a bit too honest – and also lacked any actual basis in fact. So that wasn’t going to work. What to do..?

Bingo: spiritual transgression. That’s it! Sure, I didn’t really violate supervised release conditions (apart from the travel thing)… but in police state America, that doesn’t matter. Indeed, it meant I was smart – dangerous – because I’d nefariously learned how to avoid breaking the rules by actually, you know, studying and understanding the rules. Un-acc-ceptable! That deserves double punishment – the gall of it.

Thus it was that, in 2010, I was sent to prison because – I quote the judge here – I was found guilty of “violating the spirit of supervised release.” Spiritual transgression, in black and white. If we can’t hang you with a law – even a law as bizarrely open-ended as the Enumclaw Witchunt statute – then we’ll just claim you violated the spirit of the law… and off you go. Off to prison for lousy dissidents like you: it’s where you belong.

And the world applauded. To hell with these “laws” and “facts” and stuff: we hate Spink! So just skip to the money shot, sentence him to prison, and we can go back to eating our factory-farmed hamburgers & feeling sanctimoniously smug in our superior moral status. Problem. Fucking. Solved.

In his ruling lifting the gag order, the judge couldn’t help but cite this bizarre concept of “spiritual transgression” again – multiple times. Quoting from the transcript:

“…it’s the spirit behind these conditions that is important.” ~ Ricardo Martinez

Really? Wow, because in my own non-lawyerly study of the American legal system, I just can’t find much in the way of precedent on the concept of spiritual transgressions and the role of criminal courts in enforcing them. It’s just not there, sorry. If you actually read the literature, you see that – bear with me here – the idea is that we have these things called “laws.” When it comes to criminal laws, they’re written down. We call those things “statutes.” Courts interpret the language of statutes, sure… but it’s the language that encodes the laws themselves.

Not the spirit of anything.

A country in which “spiritual” interpretations of statute take front role would be the antithesis of the rule of law. That’d be a country where… oh, let’s see… James “pantsonfire” Clapper gets up in front of Congress and lies his ass off. Snowden blows the whistle and he’s caught red-handed. Liar liar, pants on fire. That’s a felony. He admits to it… but claims it’s ok because his heart was in the right place.

No prosecution. No prison time. No pesky “laws applied equally to all” nonsense. He’s above the law – his spirit was sound – and he’s exempt. Snowden, however, who exposes a vast, criminal, secret, utterly unconstitutional spy apparatus – all repeatedly denied in the most strenuous terms by Obama and his Wall Street groupies, for years – is a criminal. A traitor. To hell with any pretence of “innocent until proven guilty,” or any other crap like that: we’ll down the plane of the President of a democratic country if we think he might be hiding in the loo.

So there’s your “rule of law,” folks. I hope you like it.

– – –

As to me, all this stuff is old hat. Corrupt cops, power-mad prosecutors, broken legal systems, spiritual transgressions… it’s part of my fabric of existence and has been, now, for years. One learns to cope with it – learns to defend oneself, learns to use the system’s own warped logic against it, learns to watch it chase its own tail down the road to hell. One becomes accustomed to it, and one build a life beyond its confines.

All the rest of you… good luck with that. You’ve now got the NSA on your ass, each and every one of you, and when they decide you’ve broken the “spirit” of the NSA’s read of the way things should work, I hope the SWAT team doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Reap what you sow…

Testimony & Integrity

A common thread in the years-long smear campaigns against Doug Spink has been the ever-shifting sands of accusations against him. Even the Ninth Circuit court, during oral arguments last year, admitted that it wasn’t entirely clear exactly what Doug was alleged to have actually done.

There’s the obvious fabrications: the “vaseline slathered” mice that never existed; the “beastiality farm” that was conjured out of thin air (and directly refuted by the sworn statements of the government’s own snitch); ‘injured’ dogs who were in fact in excellent health before being abducted by gun-toting thugs; the “compound” which was in fact a beautiful, hand-built, ecologically sound cedar cabin set in the mountains… the list goes on. It’s the moving-goalposts style of lynch-mob attack: when one lie is refuted, two more are created to take its place. By now, it’s become a form of self-parody… with toadies in the local media reprinting silly propaganda fed to them by police state functionaries panicking that their schemes are all coming unwound.

Two things have stayed constant, and they’re closely related: the hatred of Doug by the United Police States of America, and their constant smearing of him as a snitch.

True to form, the exact story of what Doug supposedly did to get labelled a snitch never really holds stable over time. The ever-creative Seattle Times can’t quite keep him distinct from Wesley Cornett – the actual snitch who actually wore a DEA wire on Doug (and others) for several months. And then Mike “Wiki” Carter rolls out the “testified against” claim… which begs the obvious question: testified against who? Mike doesn’t know, but the lack of a “who” appears to be no hindrance to making such claims – which is weird. It’s like saying someone got married… but not ever really saying who they got married to. Weird. And not terribly credible.

A few facts help clear the air:

First, Doug worked for a Canadian smuggling organization. They delivered to clients in Seattle. One of those clients “went bad” and began cooperating with the DEA: Wesley Cornett. It happens; it’s the drug business. Quoting the Seattle Times: “…Cornett had agreed to wear a body wire and to allow federal agents to record his phone calls.” [note: If you read the rest of that story, you see that the Times is already engaging in a hand-waving conflation of Doug with Cornett – the entire article is about Cornett, his wire, his cooperation, his work to catch the two dirty lawyers… Doug comes up only in reference to an issue relating to conflict with his attorney, Jeff Steinborn – more on that below…]

Second, the night Doug was arrested he’d just picked up a load from Cornett, in Everett. Pulled over, he was handcuffed and subjected to the good cop/bad cop routine by the FBI agents who quickly appeared – his truck was locked, and its contents (officially) unknown.

Third, Doug refused to take the various law enforcement folks gathered in Monroe to his ‘meet’ location with the helicopter, in the North Cascades, later that evening. It’s pretty obvious that the goal of a “pretext stop” like this is to get him to do exactly that – and indeed later cases, dubbed “Operation Blade Runner,” saw other drivers roll over and take down helicopter crews in just that manner. Here’s how that looks:

The operation was first uncovered when U.S. police stopped a vehicle in Utah during a routine traffic stop and found 83 kg of cocaine inside, police said. An American and a Canadian man were arrested and charged, the RCMP said in a statement released Tuesday.

Information from that bust led police to a remote helicopter landing pad cut in the forest near Colville, Wash. There they arrested a 24-year-old man from Revelstoke, B.C., who they say was attempting to drop off 193 kg of marijuana using a helicopter.

CBC News later reported the pilot was Samuel Brown, who was charged and held at the Spokane County Jail, where he reportedly hanged himself on Feb. 27. {boldface added}

Doug didn’t take cops to the helicopter, and was booked into jail that night. Since the pilot of his crew (Owe Jensen, who died later in 2005 in a helicopter crash – and no, it wasn’t an “accident”) was never arrested nor charged with a crime, it’s quite obvious Doug didn’t provide information to the Feds so they could catch the helicopter. Thus was a sad fate, like the suicide of Sam Brown, averted when Doug refused the Fed offer.

Doesn’t fit the warped narrative proposed by the press lackeys, does it? Since it’s based on verified facts – not Mike Carter’s stumbling ‘hunches,’ nor planted disinformation from the Feds – it’s quite a bit more substantive. Facts matter.

Fourth, the absence of a search warrant for his truck was a bit of a sticky wicket. Since he refused to cooperate, the cops couldn’t just ransack it. And they couldn’t “out” their snitch, Cornett, since they hoped to (and indeed did) keep him “on the street” for several more months, without blowing his cover. So, in an irony hard to miss, they needed to have a drug-sniffing dog to “alert” and justify the search (per the then-recent Illinois v. Caballes ruling, from the Supreme Court). But nobody brought the dog. No dog. The wait for the dog became, in a small circle of folks in the know, legendary: “get the dog, get the fucking dog!!!” was the bellow from onsite DEA agents once Doug spoke the four magic words: “I. Want. My. Lawyer.”

Fifth, Doug went to prison that night, and didn’t step free until several years later. Indeed, he was locked up the whole time Cornett was wearing his DEA wire to meet with the two local attorneys who eventually plead guilty to accepting drug money. Despite that, the “Seattle Wiki” can’t quite seem to stop saying that Doug was responsible for these two lawyers’ subsequent legal troubles – apparently, he has magical superpowers and can arrange for meetings with people while in solitary confinement, in prison. Wow.

Sixth, Doug hired a fellow named Jeffrey Steinborn as his attorney. Steinborn was paid $25,000 in cash to take his case – delivered to him by none other than Corinne Super, aka the Langley Horse Thief. Steinborn wrote the suppression motion to contest the illegal detention of Doug during his traffic stop arrest. But, he also did some other things that aren’t quite legit. Not at all. As Steinborn likes to say, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the crime” – he doesn’t like to follow his own advice, unfortunately. Doug blew the whistle on Steinborn’s betrayal. He’s never discussed this before, but apparently that information is shortly to be published in an upcoming book, so we don’t think it’s out of line to mention it here. Oddly, a competent writer at the Seattle Times actually got this basically right in an article back in 2005:

Friedman referred to a “conflict of interest” between Spink and his attorney. Spink’s cooperation has “given rise to independent investigation of others, including members of our bar,” Friedman said.

He said the matters under investigation involving attorneys relate to their obligations to their clients and to the court. He characterized Spink’s information as “very significant” and likened it to “turning on a light in a room.” {boldface added}

Seventh, Doug plead guilty to one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance. One count. His recommended sentence range was 6-7 years – not 10 years, not 15 years. Further, he quite clearly qualified for the “safety valve” as a first-time, nonviolent offender – which removed the mandatory minimum 10 year sentence for his charge). Here’s how Families Against Mandatory Minimums describes the safety valve: “…some defendants qualify for the ‘safety valve,’ a law Congress passed in 1994 (at FAMM’s urging) to provide relief from mandatory minimums” (a detailed overview is available here, as .pdf).

Is it fair that he could get so little time for carrying such a large load of drugs? No, it’s not – the drug laws in this country are hideously unfair. In the years since his arrest, Doug has spoken out loudly and consistently on these unfair laws – the very laws which ended up unfairly benefiting him after his arrest. They are unfair, they are indefensible, and even someone who got the less-bad end of them rejects them as evil. (Doug, it should be said, knew those laws intimately and had researched the sentencing guidelines extensively before he was ever arrested. Geeks do stuff like that. So perhaps it was not just “luck” that lead him to avoid a far worse baseline guideline range…)

Eight, Doug reached an agreement with the AUSA in charge of his case to jointly recommend a lowered sentence. As is the case with any guilty plea in any federal case, he provided a “proffer” of his involvement in the drug business. Nothing in that guilty plea resulted in anybody else being questioned, charged, tried, or convicted of anything – except himself, of course. Remember, he worked for a Canadian smuggling organization: how many Canadians were ever brought into his actual case? Zero. A pretty clear number: zero. Ove Jensen was never arrested or charged or convicted or imprisoned.

Nor, perhaps most tellingly was Corinne Super – ake the “Langley Horse Thief” – the person who recruited him into the smuggling ring, helped launder proceeds for Ove Jensen, and directly participated in smuggling operations from beginning to end – an admitted, long-time participant in the B.C. drug underground. How is it, if Doug was doing all this “cooperating” and “snitching,” that nobody involved in his case ever got in trouble – including the people closest to him, the ones most actively involved? There’s something obviously wrong here – the facts keep getting in the way of the smears and disinformation!

Ninth, when he was sentenced, the prosecutor in his case made a very specific statement to the court justifying the sentence recommendation of 3 years. He likened it to “turning on a light in a room,” and stated it related to “members of our bar” – if you want to replace that with “Jeff Steinborn,” you won’t be far off the mark. So did Doug blow the whistle on Steinborn? Yep. Lawyers who betray their own clients are lower that dirt, and we don’t know anyone who actually thinks they deserve anything but contempt when they do so.

No mention, in that statement, was made about the drug business, the smuggling business, “testifying” against anyone, or any other “cooperation” – the focus was clearly on Steinborn’s betrayal, first and foremost. Nor, perhaps not surprisingly, was there public mention of the bad traffic stop, missing drug dog, and possibility the whole thing would be tossed on a suppression ruling – that was a ‘handshake’ deal between Doug and his prosecutor.

Tenth, the specifics of Doug’s aforementioned handshake deal with the prosecutor on his case have never been made public. As we understand it, Doug gave his word not to do so and – despite what we’d honestly say are some waffles on that over the years – he’s largely kept that bargain. But, that’s about to end with that book that’s coming out, which will have the full story in it. And it’s a hell of a story… but it’s not, alas, what the Seattle Wiki keeps claiming. No surprise, as they’ve never actually asked Doug what actually happened – a telling omission.

❧   ❧   ❧

As with so much else, we expect Doug will be talking about this – in his own words – once the last vestiges of the gag order are cleared away, in due course. For now, he’s suggested that the facts largely speak for themselves – and that anyone who cares about the truth can read the uncontested facts and put together the outlines of what went down. That’ll all come clearer as real reporters – and not washed-up, bitter almost-beens – publish the results of their investigations.

But there’s one thing that we just can’t refrain from pointing out, although it should be really obvious to anyone by now:

Ten years on, the federal government – and their sock-puppets in the local press – continues to go to astonishing lengths to paint Doug as a happy ally in their War on Whatever. And… honestly… are we supposed to believe their frantic efforts to do are just, um, some concern with keeping the historical record accurate? C’mon! These folks have lied about every step in Doug’s battles with them, year after year. They’ve fed disinformation to the press, they’ve suborned perjury from witnesses, they’ve changed their stories so many times the blur becomes dizzying. One thing is constant: their hatred of Doug.

Why do they hate him, and why do they feel so desperate a need to smear him as a government agent? Not hard to figure out, really: he does a kind of work, in the encryption/privacy world, that scares the hell out of the police state. They’ve said as much in court, over and over. Alas, they can’t actually send him to prison for doing that – not yet, anyway. Instead, they’ve smeared him and targeted him and attacked him and murdered his loved ones… anything they could get away with, they’ve done. All along, a key goal has been to discredit him. And what better way to do so than a false label of “testifying witness?”

Doug plead guilty, in 2005. He made a deal with the prosecutor to get a lower sentence than his guidelines, yep. To do so is not the same (or even “the same”) as testifying against anyone, or sending anyone to prison, or anything that actually qualifies as actually betraying someone (unless you count Steinborn, and really…) Also, all that was after he refused to take the cops to the helicopter, and went to prison instead. If cutting a good plea bargain in a drug case makes him a shifty dude, then I guess he’s guilty as charged. Ironically, the Feds seem to think his deal was too good – like he outsmarted them – and some of them have been pulling strings to “get that time back” ever since. Which would be pretty bizarre behaviour, if he was helping them out so much. Right?

In the end, Doug has lived under the glare of media – and police – obsession for almost a decade now, since that arrest. Suffice to say that he’s received enormous pressure to roll over on people around him, again and again and again. Those who know him personally have seen that pressure. And the public reaction he’s had to that pressure is pretty much undeniable: he’s told the cops to go fuck themselves, over and over. That’s just the sum of it, and it’s pretty hard to claim otherwise. They’ve targeted him, and punished him, and labelled him “unrepentant,” and threatened him, and harassed him… for years. And he’s never broken, to the point where they seem (almost) to be ready to simply give him up as a lost cause. If you can’t break someone after years of that shit, what’s the point in wasting more effort trying?

You have to laugh, at a certain level, at how utterly silly the smear really is. Doug is about as “crossed up” with the United States government as a nonviolent Buddhist can get. They don’t like him, and he doesn’t like them. Not much of a secret, that. And at the same time as they’re foaming at the mouth about how much they hate him, they turn around and try to label him as a super-secret asset of their Stasi informer network. Really? Srsly? Does that even make sense? (plus, if he was a secret agent for them, wouldn’t that make him a “good guy” – so why do they keep using that as a claim against him… it makes no sense at all)

The final irony is this: the vast majority of the people who smear Doug with passed-along disinformation about “testifying” have never, themselves, stood up under a feather’s weight of pressure from cops. He sat in the rain, in a parking lot in Monroe, in February of 2005 and turned down an offer to “cooperate” that would likely have resulted him him walking scot free. He went to prison that night, and stayed there. Not many of us can imagine what that kind of decision is actually like, in actual life – it’s simply beyond comparison to how we live. He made that choice – among other choices – and he has walked off the consequences of his refusal to roll over ever since. How many people trolling him now, ten years on, have even a fraction of that credibility behind their own choices? Not many, surely. And since then he’s made the same choice, over and over – not only that, but he’s also actually gone out of his way to pick fights with specific government employees he feels have broken the law in the context of law enforcement actions… naming names, and taking real steps to hold them legally accountable. How many people criticizing him have done that? None, basically. You might say that’s dumb, or reckless, or whatever – but it’s not the sign of someone with a secret agent status, that’s for sure. (yes, Sabu pretended to be an activist while he was working for the FBI… but Doug’s been growling at the Feds, publicly, for years and years – imagining him as a double agent goes past paranoia into outright lunacy)

One thing he says to just about anyone who will listen is this: hate him for who he is, or hate him for the choices he’s made, or hate him out of envy or whatever… but hate him for something genuine, not for some fabricated bullshit. And, you know what? Fair enough. I mean, he’s certainly controversial enough that people shouldn’t need to make stuff up in order to justify hating him. That includes you, Mike Carter: don’t pull imaginary fantasies out of your ear – just pick something he’s actually done, or said, or supported and hate him for that. Fair enough, right? We all know you hate him, for whatever personal reasons or old prejudices you have – just be honest about it, and don’t wrap it up in a cloak of faked-up nonsense.

Integrity matters, and trust matters. So does the truth. Doug’s record of standing against pressure to “turn” on others is pretty damned good – that’s what the facts say, anyway. Since nobody can ever come up with anyone he’s actually betrayed, that kind of acts as a “proof by negation” by this point in time. If you survive under the pressure he’s faced, for as long as he has, without ever giving a single person up – even people who have not reciprocated that trust – well… that’s no small matter. It might not fit into a Mike Cater hit-job article, but it’s a rather more interesting story. Because it’s actually true.