In Defense Of Online Protest: An Anon Goes On Hunger Strike To Protest The CFAA & Abusive Prosecutions

By Commander X

On February 17th of this year, an article popped up in my feeds that caught my attention. It was by Esquire magazine, and the headline could not help but stop any hacktivist and make them curious.

The FBI Arrested a Suspected Anonymous Hacker After a Disney Cruise Sea Rescue

Now…, yeah. So that seems pretty bizarre, right?  As I read the piece, I recalled seeing the news of the Anonymous cyber-attacks against the Boston Children’s Hospital a couple of years ago. I also remembered not being terribly happy that Anonymous was attacking a hospital. Of course like most people, I didn’t even bother to read up on exactly why Anons were attacking a children’s hospital. And this is the problem when we jump to conclusions without even researching what is really going on.

So, lets first turn this moral dilemma on its head for a second and see where we go. If you have solid evidence that a hospital is torturing children, no like seriously, torturing little kidsand you want to protest this fact – what is the least disruptive method to patient care?  You have basically two options to start, so lets examine them thoughtfully. You can call for in-the-streets protest and march with ten thousand on the hospital. Perfectly legal to do that. Some may go to jail briefly, but they’ll be out in hours. But what about that pesky disruption to patient care everyone has their panties in a bunch over?  Well, trying to get ambulances and emergency supplies through all those packed streets seems pretty disruptive to patient care to me.

Now, lets say you go the route that Anonymous chose – and protest online. Anonymous chose it’s targets with surgical precision, taking out only symbolic pages like the donations portal, etc. By the hospitals own admission, this did not in the least effect patient care. And this online protest cost the hospital far less in “damages” than cleaning up after street marches would have. And so now, as we examine this deeper we see that the actions of Anonymous on those seven fateful days in 2014 were actually pretty reasonable, given what was being protested.


So what does any of this have to do with Martin Gottesfeld the Anon mysteriously arrested by the FBI after being rescued by a Disney Cruise ship?  Plenty. The same US prosecutor who drove our dear Aaron Swartz to suicide is accusing Marty of being the orchestrator and manager of the Anonymous Operation which targeted the Boston Children’s Hospital over the barbaric treatment of vulnerable sick children. Something for which he deserves a reward for if true, but instead he faces 15 years in prison thanks to the persecution of Information Activists by the USA using the archaic and ridiculous CFAA.

Those who know my own story know that I have been running and hiding in Canada for 5 years, attempting to escape this exact same persecution of Anons and hacktivists in the USA. And it may perhaps be true that Marty G was on that sailboat attempting to also flea the same persecution in the USA. If so, it’s a damn shame his boat failed him. And Marty G is far from the first Anon to seek to become a political dissident and ex-patriot. I was the first to publicly do so five years ago. Shortly after Matt DeHart and his family also entered Canada, albeit legally – in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to have the Canadian authorities grant him political asylum. At least one other very well known and influential Anon has publicly announced they were going into self-imposed political exile in Europe preemptively – before being charged with anything!  America’s best and brightest are fleeing the jack-booted secret police in the middle of the night in ever increasing numbers.

But where many would have seen failure and defeat, Martin Gottesfeld saw yet another opportunity to protest. This time, he decided to protest on behalf of all Anonymous and Information Activists being persecuted in the USA via the CFAA. And the form of protest this young hero chose will send shivers up your spine, at least if you have any humanity. Because Marty G is at this writing 40 days into a hunger strike to defend our right in the USA to protest peacefully online. Read his statement below, issued on the day he was formerly indicted under the CFAA.

“The fact that Ortiz’s office indicted on debate day, and without a press release, shows they are aware of the unconscionable human rights violations they are attempting to sweep under the rug and the precedence of impunity that would be even more firmly established. They have no compassion for the suffering of Justina Pelletier, a mentally and physically challenged child, ripped from her family, left in agony without her painkillers, and locked in an abusive psych ward. Nor are they concerned with any real semblance of true justice. They hope to pursue this case far from public scrutiny and also without any mention how they caused the death of Aaron Swartz. Now their opponent is an imprisoned human rights activist on the third week of a hunger strike, and they still won’t engage in a public debate where they hold every advantage, except the whole truth. This indictment, and the manner in which it was unsealed, were cowardly acts.”  ~~ Martin Gottesfeld

There are two forms of transgressive protest that are so extreme they have always given me the creeps. Self-immolation, and hunger striking. The obvious reason is that you have to be pretty desperate and disenfranchised to even attempt such forms of protest. But the other reason, at least vis a vis hunger striking – is more personal.

You see, I tried a hunger strike. Once. Only once. And I failed miserably. I lasted three lousy days and in the end I was begging a jail guard for a candy bar at three in the morning.  I didn’t have the courage then, and I know damn well now that I never will. Unless you have fasted or otherwise gone without food for even a day or two, you can not begin to comprehend the utter agony you endure when hunger striking. This is a form of protest so severe that one is compelled to respect it. The fact that Marty G is doing this for us, for Anonymous, for all of our right to protest online in the USA – this seems to me to warrant the undivided attention of the entire Global Collective, as well as all people around the world of good conscience who value free speech on the Internet.

Post Script: On Friday November 11th Marty was locked in solitary confinement as retribution for his hunger strike and in contravention of his international human rights. In response, he issued another communique and stopped taking liquids. The BOP refuses to allow Marty to stay in a hospital so he can be constantly monitored by medical professionals.

Three days later, on November 14th, Anonymous responded to Marty G’s plight on their behalf with the following Press Release – READ HERE



Twitter: @FreeMartyG

Copyright © 2016 by Christopher Doyon. All Rights Reserved.

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