It's been almost two weeks since law enforcement swept into a Dallas apartment and arrested Barrett Brown, frontman for that merry band of hackers at Anonymous, for threatening an FBI agent on YouTube. Brown was taken briefly to Dallas County Jail before being released to the FBI and reportedly sent to Mansfield Federal Detention Center. (The Bureau of Prisons website lists his location as "in transit.")
It was there that Brown, who hasn't yet been charged with anything, apparently wrote his letter from a Mansfield jail discussing his arrest and detention. At least, Anonymous presented the letter as his work in a tweet last night:
Barrett Brown - Communiqué from Prison 9/20/12 | pastebin.com/TDY5gUS4
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) September 25, 2012
It's hard to know for sure the missive was penned from Brown. It was posted anonymously to Pastebin yesterday afternoon, and the first digit of Brown's prisoner ID number is wrong. Then again, it's hard to believe someone would take the effort to forge a 3,000-word letter aping Brown's rambling, eclectic style. So, it's most likely him.
He begins by claiming that the FBI crushed his ribs and his jailers denied him medical treatment.
I believe (the injury) will be healed in time even if I've had trouble acquiring medical attention due to me under Geneva; put in formal request for X-ray last night here at Mansfield, whereas last week at Lew Sterrett I was sent to medic by an officer Tamer before being instead re-directed to what is intended as a temporary holding cell for those about to be released on bond, this change of plan being instigated by an officer Roeun (sic?) whom I have since reported to the proper authorities. Despite my having explained her mistake politely twice over the course of the next seven hours, and despite my condition having been serious enough to have prompted other inmates to suggest I check for internal bleeding, I was screamed at and then later simply ordered to lay down, all of which was witnessed by two other inmates, one of whom promised to inform Tim Rogers of D Magazine that I was potentially dying and needed intervention ASAP as soon as he himself was released a few minutes hence (again, this was the temporary outgoing holding cell, not meant for housing inmates for anything longer than an hour or so as their bond is processed; as such, I was not fed, either, much less given my medication, suboxone.
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Brown ties his arrest to the hack of HBGary, the security firm whose CEO last year claimed publicly that he had figured out who was behind Anyonymous. The company, he writes, had worked with a paid FBI informant to find dirt on him. He doesn't delve into the reasons for his present incarceration since a judge has forbidden discussion of the case.
A good deal of the letter is spent dissecting and disassembling his public image. The misrepresentations started when he was identified on Fox News in 2009 as a spokesman for the American Athiest Society, which he was not. He also is not and has never been "the spokesman for Anonymous, nor its 'public face' or, worse, 'self-proclaimed' 'face' or 'spokesperson' or 'leader.' That, he says, was all cooked up by lazy journalists.
The letter ends with a confession of sorts, half-sorrowful, half apologetic.
I shudder when I look back on some of the things I wrote or said when I got my first real taste of power at the dawn of 2011, and I continue to bring shame upon myself and upon my family and work by some of the things I say even lately. ... I am humiliated at not being able to protect my own mother from the FBI, or to shield my own girlfriend from watching heavily-armed men step on my spine as I scream in pain. I cannot forget how my mom cried on March 6th after the FBI had left with my equipment and hers, and how she whispered through tears that she wanted to be able to protect me from prison but couldn't; I will never forget the look on Jenna's face as the federal thugs swept through my efficiency apartment with guns drawn and safeties off, in search of hidden assailants and non-existent weapons. That these things are unjust and increasingly insane does not change the fact that they are the result of my own behavior, my own miscalculations, my own choices.