The official Occupy website has published an article titled “Hurricane Sandy, From Prison,” bylined by Jeremy Hammond.
Mr. Hammond (aka Anarchaos) is a radical, highly political member of Anonymous who was arrested this year in connection with the hacking of Stratfor.
The article claims to chronicle conditions at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center during Hurricane Sandy and is, not surprisingly, critical of correctional authorities. For example, a description of what sounds like a near riot is called not “too rowdy”:
Like most of the Lower East Side, MCC lost power, heat and water. Naturally, some folks grew panicked and restless and used this opportunity to vent built-up frustrations: people screamed and shouted, banged on doors, and threw junk out into the dayroom, but it did not get too rowdy. Understaffed, the backup guards stayed in their offices and did not make any announcements. Eventually, the emergency generators came on to provide minimal lighting, cold water returned so we would not die of thirst, and the night died down uneventfully.
The next morning the “goon squad” rushed in armed, with a variety of weapons including beanbag guns, pepper spray bullet guns, and teargas. They stormed each tier, angrily cursing us out while taking away the TVs, microwaves and boardgames. No one complained or raised any objection, even as we were told we would be locked down for a week, but the guards picked out three random prisoners – including me – cuffed us, threatened to use the pepper spray on us “for fun,” and took us to the box.
There is nothing but Mr. Hammond’s good word to back up these claims.
Althought Anonymous is a leaderless movement whose members are by no means all politically minded, Mr. Hammond has distinguished himself as a particularly rowdy activist. He has numerous convictions dating back to 2005 for assaulting a police officer, hacking, damage to property, and mob action.
That resume is earning Mr. Hammond a role as a folk hero on the left. In addition to Mr. Hammnond’s publication on the official Occupy Wall Street page, he was also the subject of a recent Rolling Stone profile:
In fact, he was both, as well as many other things: an inveterate “black hat” hacker, an irrepressible agitator and enemy of the “rich, ruling class” who identified with the ideas of the Weather Underground and considered the Occupy movement too tame.
Even before the arrest broadcast his name worldwide, Hammond was well-known in extreme-left circles. An early champion of “cyber-liberation,” he had been described by Chicago magazine at the age of 22 as an “electronic Robin Hood” after he was sentenced to two years in federal prison for hacking a conservative website and making off with 5,000 credit-card numbers, intending to charge donations to progressive causes. But unique within the hacking subculture, Hammond was also a real-life revolutionary: a “modern-day Abbie Hoffman,” in the words of his friend Matt Muchowski. He possessed a shrewd intelligence as well as a certain impulsivity – a fellow hacker referred to it as “urgency” – that had led to a long string of civil-disobedience arrests dating back 10 years, for offenses ranging from defacing a wall with anti-war slogans to banging a drum during a “noise demo” at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.
Mr. Hammond’s account of the “horrors” he faced during Hurricane Sandy certainly sounds like it was a difficult time. As he writes, “Days later, still no TVs or boardgames.”