On the day of Aaron Swartz’ funeral I was talking to a friend of mine who had known him. My friend was quite indignant (understandably) at the prosecutor’s ‘demented’ ferocity and MIT’s craven compliance with it. But when I ventured the observation that there might be something systematically wrong, he didn’t want to hear it. Prosecutor, or rather persecutor, Carmen Ortiz (shown above — an Obama appointee) was an ‘outlier’, he said.

I don’t think so. This lady didn’t parachute in from somewhere; she came up through the Justice Department in the orthodox way, and she’s done equally demented things before without her boss getting upset about it.

No, it’s pretty clear that this is policy.  My own hypothesis is that poor Brad Manning and Wikileaks drove our overlords so crazy that they’re determined to come down like a ton of bricks on anybody who gets any data they’re not supposed to have.

And of course the recording studios and the movie studios would like to have anybody shot who infringes copyright or even terms of use, and they probably have even more influence with a Democratic administration than they would with a Republican one — which is saying something.

Sure, Ortiz is demented, as my friend observed. But she’s demented in the same way as her boss the attorney general, and his boss the president, and the congress who wrote the book she threw at Aaron Swartz and Tarek Mehanna.

Demented, certainly; an outlier, most certainly not.


5 thoughts on “Outliers

  1. Prosecutors in Dallas have said for years–any prosecutor can convict a guilty man. It takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man.”

    It is no stain on a prosecutor’s reputation to be accused of “egregious prosecutorial xxx” even in a Death Row case.

  2. “…there must be something systematically wrong.”

    According to Stirling Newberry’s [http://symbalitics.blogspot.com/2013/01/aaron-swartz-blood-for-oil.html American Thermidor] (“paper-for-oil”) thesis,

    Aaron Swartz died of the system of paper for oil, by challenging the rent that generates paper, and privilege, for those that run that system.

    The original “paper-for-oil” essay is [http://archive.truthout.org/article/stirling-newberry-american-thermidor here.]

  3. An outlier? Does your friend hang out at Crooked Timber? I’ve noticed a tendency over there to be shocked at the vindictive nature of the government. Makes me wonder if they’ve ever read any history if they don’t know what the purpose of “the law” is for.

    I have to disagree with you about going crazy over Wikileaks. A glance at any of the so-called free trade agreements proves that they’ve been planning on hammering people over IP for the last twenty years. I’d argue that this is the primary purpose of NAFTA,etc.

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