Sentencing Disparities between Jeremy Hammond & Former FBI Child-Porn Offender Reflect the US Government's Shame
Annie Darkhorse, 17 November, 2013, 19:05 AEST
On Friday, 15 November, 2013, hacker and socially-conscious activist whistleblower Jeremy Hammond, was sentenced to the maximum term of imprisonment of ten years.
The sentence was in relation to his plea of guilty to hacking the servers of the private intelligence company Stratfor and leaking the information to WikiLeaks.
RT article in relation to the Jeremy Hammond sentencing
Given clear evidence, provided by the Defence, as to Hammonds' altruistic intentions and personal history, many believe the length of sentence imposed to be politically motivated.
Jeremy Hammond. Photo from FreeJeremy.net
Contrasts can be made with recent sentences imposed upon former FBI Agent, Donald Sachtleben.
RT article describing the back-ground and sentencing, pertaining to the Sachtleben case.
Sachtleben pleaded guilty to disclosing and possessing classified government intelligence to AP Journalists. This information pertained to U.S. operations, in Yemen, in 2012. The disclosure related to an Al Qaeda-related plan to bomb an air-liner and allegedly damaged an on-going investigation. Sachtleben was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison, in relation to that disclosure.
Sachtleben also pleaded guilty to unrelated charges of possessing and distributing pornographic images of under-age girls. For this offence he was sentenced to eight years and one month imprisonment.
Donald Sachtleben. Photo: FBI.
Sachtleben's disclosure, in relation to information provided from his position of trust, in the FBI, should obviously have been viewed gravely by the courts, or at least one would expect this to have been the case.
This judgement would surely have been expected, given the apparent potential for loss of life, particularly given the fact that the subject of the disclosure clearly fits within the parameters of 'terrorism', a subject of supposed high importance to the U.S. government. Despite this, his sentence was more than six years shorter than that imposed on Jeremy Hammond.
Sachtleben's sentence, for child pornography charges, was about two years shorter than that received by Hammond.
Child pornography offences are, arguably, among the most heinous crimes an accused can commit, given the fact that the industry and criminal participants completely destroy the lives of those victims depicted. Hammonds' only real victims could have been Credit Card holders and the only inferred loss could be financial.
The motive for Sachtleben's Yemen disclosure could in no way be construed as altruistic whilst Hammond's was arguably exactly that.
The disparity in sentences, imposed upon these two men, demonstrates a ridiculous and inappropriate U.S. Government obsession with smashing the resolve of whistle-blowers. This obsession apparently far outweighs their interest in investigating and preventing terrorism or protecting victims of crime.
The political embarrassment, caused by leakers, is victimless and sentencing provisions should reflect the low level of criminality. The Government's embarrassment is proportionate to the mendacity demonstrated in the leaked material and is reflected in their attempts to curb it with Draconian sentencing.
Jeremy Hammond's ten year gaol sentence demonstrates the high price to be paid by those altruistic souls who uncover the government's shame.