Courage, Love

Oils on 40 x 40 cm stretched canvas. 
Oils on 40 x 40 cm stretched canvas. 

Emergency plea: Please donate to Lauri Love’s Courage Foundation emergency legal defense fund ahead of his 28-29 June U.S. extradition hearings.

To encourage people to support Lauri, I’m raffling a painting. This one, if you like it. Or another one you prefer; we can talk. Just send me proof of donation (e.g., an email receipt forward). Donations will be quantity-pegged—1 euro, 1 raffle ticket. So the more you donate to the fund, the more chances you get to win. You can enter the raffle by donating to Lauri’s Courage fund by 28 June and emailing me the confirmation. 


Why support Lauri? 

Support Lauri to support truth-tellers, civil disobedience in the Internet age, and liberal democracy as we know it.  Lauri is an Occupier, musician, student, hacktivist, half-Finn, infectious smile carrier (beware), and alleged Anonymous hacker of various U.S. governmental agency websites. I’ve previously written about his case here

Lauri’s extradition case matters for truth-tellers worldwide, because journalist, publisher, whistleblower, hacker, scholar, artist, and activist rights are under threat worldwide. If you have to worry as a truth-teller that you need to follow every country’s laws, and not only your own… Well, then sovereignty isn’t particularly meaningful anymore as a legal concept.

And maybe it’s not. But rule of law ostensibly means I follow applicable laws under applicable jurisdictions. Not the laws of the whoever files an extradition request (and has the political clout to bully client regimes into granting it). 

Lauri’s case is also of great importance to people who practice or care about civil disobedience, or citizens’ right (some might say obligation) to engage in peaceful but active protest of injustice. It’s not clear the hacktivism he’s alleged to have participated in actually caused any damage (peaceful). And it was part of a much larger political protest over—ironically—the exceedingly harsh U.S. prosecution of hacker and democratic activist Aaron Swartz, which led to Swartz’s suicide. You do not respond to peaceful anti-war activism by shooting hippie college students (although the U.S. did). And you do not respond to peaceful civil disobedience by extraditing other countries’ musicians.

But digital civil disobedience is very poorly understood, and the battle for its tools (like the DDoS attacks protesting PayPal’s participation in the extrajudicial financial blockade of WikiLeaks) seems to be a losing one. At the same time, unduly harsh prosecutions and record-breaking sentences under pretrial conditions that often qualify as torture according to Amnesty International (e.g., solitary confinement) are the current norm for hacktivists, whistleblowers, and their ilk in the U.S.

Finally, Lauri’s case also tells us something about the state of liberal democracy today. If you cannot engage in peaceful protest in your own country without another country extraditing you with a strong possibility of torture—then you cannot meaningfully express your political views as a law-abiding citizen. Citizenship loses its value when suspicion of the wrong mouse click can land you incommunicado in a country where you lack basic protections. 

Do we want to get rid of citizenship now? Fine by me. No love for a nation, to paraphrase José Pacheco. But as long as I’m paying taxes and my passport seems to work? #NoLove4USGov


Other stuff you can do

Support other Courage Foundation truthtellers

UK denizens can also write your MP in support of Lauri Love.