Anonymous claims Stratfor hacking trial is partial, unfair

Anonymous claims Stratfor hacking trial is partial, unfair

Summary: The federal judge presiding over the fate of alleged Stratfor hacker Anarchaos has had her impartiality called into question by Anonymous, after it was revealed that her husband was a victim in the same breach.

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Anonymous is demanding that the judge overseeing the trial of a hacker, who is alleged to be responsible for the Stratfor breach, step down from her position.

In December last year, hackers stole information from intelligence broker Stratfor and published the information online. The information included over 50,000 credit card numbers, as well as a large number of email addresses, phone numbers, and easily cracked encrypted passwords. Over 5 million of Stratfor's emails were also sent to WikiLeaks, which went on to be known as the Global Intelligence Files.

In March, former LulzSec leader turned informant Hector Monsegur provided the FBI with information that led to the arrest of Jeremy Hammond. The FBI believed that he was one of the hackers, known as Anarchaos, behind the breach. Hammond has been held without trial since his arrest.

Last week, Hammond's pre-trial hearing took place, ruled over by Federal Judge Loretta Preska. According to The Associated Press, he was refused bail because he poses "a very substantial danger to the community."

However, members of Anonymous have since drawn attention to Judge Preska and her relationship with the Stratfor hack. Preska's husband, Thomas Kavaler, is among the victims of the breach. Kavaler's work email address at Cahill Gordon & Reindel was among the information leaked from the attack on Stratfor, matching his profile on the CG&R website.

Anonymous has since issued a statement, saying that in the interest of justice, Judge Preska must step down due to a direct conflict of interest.

"Judge Loretta Preska's impartiality is compromised by her husband's involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements."

The Courthouse News Service reported that Preska considers Hammond's lack of regard for legal authority, as well as the length of the expected sentence liable, to make him a flight risk. This is despite Hammond's defence pointing out that he has no passport, has always appeared before court, and would agree to bail conditions that would see him barred from using a computer.

"Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy's case, therefore violating multiple sections of Title 28 of the United States Code," Anonymous said in a statement.

"In the interest of justice, the public, media, and defence should demand Judge Preska remove herself from Hammond's case, or if she will not, demand a superior court provide a writ of prohibition forcing her to step down.

"Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected."

Topics: Security, Government, Government US

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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Talkback

9 comments
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  • Why should I care about what Anonymous thinks?

    Why should I care about what Anonymous thinks?

    They're not lawyers - in fact, I'd say they're more like crooks. "Protecting" the internet by shutting it down.

    Not to mention this isn't even the trial itself yet - this is just the pre-trial. Saying he can't have bail is not the same thing as saying he's guilty. We're a long, long ways from a verdict.
    CobraA1
    • On the contrary..

      Anonymous is a collective of persons from all walks of life. This particular discovery was initially made by contributors of the Anonymous Solidarity Network and published on their website at http://freeanons.org. There are, in fact, lawyers volunteering to the Anonymous Solidarity Network. Regardless, it is an obvious conflict of interest and you don't have to be a lawyer to see that.
      Neely O'Hara
      • So they have something in common with mafias.

        "Anonymous is a collective of persons from all walks of life."

        So are the various mafias. Which is pretty much what Anonymous seems akin to - an online mafia.

        "There are, in fact, lawyers volunteering to the Anonymous Solidarity Network."

        They may exist in Anonymous, but I doubt they run the show. I very much get the impression that members of Anonymous generally don't consult anybody before they say whatever they say. They don't seem to be very tightly controlled.

        In any case - as I've said, this is pre-trial stuff, not the final verdict, so they're blowing things out of proportion anyways.
        CobraA1
        • Uh... that's the whole point?

          First: The only thing Anonymous has in common with organized crime is their tendency to break the law. Never mind that the laws they break are non-violent in nature; The laws themselves, in many cases, are simply unjust to begin with. They have been put in place by power-hungry politicians and greedy corporate filth. There are times when a man of good conscience cannot blindly follow the law.

          Second: Of course they aren't tightly controlled. The whole basis of their philosophy is that individual freedom is essential to the success of our species. Clearly you have no idea what they stand for; why should anyone care what YOU think?
          Dyndrilliac
          • Two wrongs do not make a right.

            "Never mind that the laws they break are non-violent in nature; The laws themselves, in many cases, are simply unjust to begin with."

            Two wrongs do not make a right - and frankly, I find whether these laws to be "unjust to begin with" a questionable claim in many cases.

            "They have been put in place by power-hungry politicians and greedy corporate filth."

            Even worse seems to be the problem of overgeneralization based on political stereotypes.

            "There are times when a man of good conscience cannot blindly follow the law."

            Well, Anonymous seems to be doing the online equivalent of launching missiles into people's houses while claiming to be Rosa Parks. Forgive me if I do not see them as Rosa Parks.

            "The whole basis of their philosophy is that individual freedom is essential to the success of our species. "

            It's universally recognized that interfering with another person's freedom is not a good way to ensure freedom.

            "Clearly you have no idea what they stand for"

            The freedom to interfere with the freedom of others. Which is exactly what they seem to be doing.

            "why should anyone care what YOU think?"

            They should care because they don't want to give Anonymous the right to take down their websites, because that would kill the freedom they have to host whatever they wish.

            Which Anonymous claims to be protecting - but ironically, is actually taking away.

            When their methods consist of the EXACT OPPOSITE of the principles they claim to be protecting, should I not be skeptical?

            Now - why should anybody care about what you think?
            CobraA1
          • Clearly unclear on American history...

            "Never mind that the laws they break are non-violent in nature; The laws themselves, in many cases, are simply unjust to begin with."

            Ever heard of Civil Disobedience? Where would America - land of the free, home of the brave - be if our founding fathers held your views?
            Robynsveil
    • How much Kooky-Aid do you consume a day?... A tanker full?

      you need to watch some real news instead of faux fantasy.
      getting a judge that isn't a crook is a bigger challenge than finding a parking spot in NY.
      Reality Bites
  • error in headline

    Last time I checked, a trial is SUPPOSED to be impartial.
    Shouldn't the headline be "Anonymous claims Stratfor hacking trial is partial, unfair"?
    sparhawks
    • Oops

      Thanks for pointing that out sparhawks. It looks like we missed that one. It has been fixed up.
      Josh Taylor