American Political Prisoner Jeremy Hammond Just Sent a Birthday Gift to the World

Justin King
January 9, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Jeremy Hammond has given the world gifts before. His hacks and leaks have benefited people all over the world. From Bhopal to Boston, his leaks mattered. The email spools from Stratfor clearly showed the world the depth of the intelligence community’s connections to the corporate world.

Jeremy’s trial was presided over by a judge whose husband’s name appeared in the leaked emails, showing the connections between the corporate world and the American justice system as well. Hammond is currently being held in a federal prison.

Most would agree that Hammond has done his part for the cause of freedom. He’s made significant contributions. He’s sitting in prison, and will likely be there until January 17th, 2021. Nobody would blame Jeremy if he simply gave up the fight, did his time, and faded away into the mists of hacker legends. That doesn’t seem like a course of action he’s ready for just yet.

Mail from Jeremy Hammond?
Mail from Jeremy Hammond?

Thursday January 8 was Jeremy’s birthday. I felt a little down. Having been there, I can say that sitting in a cell on your birthday is pretty lonely. After my morning coffee, there was a knock at the door. The mailman handed me a box. Glancing down, it had the Anonymous Solidarity Network logo and a small sticker saying the box was a birthday gift from Jeremy Hammond.

I knew I had a “gift” from Hammond coming at some point. I didn’t expect it today. I was also very surprised to find out what it was. Inside the box, I didn’t find reams of documents or an open letter that needed to be published. I found a children’s book ceremoniously wrapped in tissue paper. Being the paranoid person that I am, I flipped through the pages looking for signs of a code in the form of incorrect capitalization or an accompanying set of numbers for which the book was the key. I checked the binding for the tell-tale signs that a message was hidden inside. I looked for all the other ways prisoners communicate. Nothing.

So the only thing left to do was far less exciting. I reached out via Facebook to the person who had tipped me off that I had a package coming. Had I paid more attention to the feeds, I probably would have known the whole story before it arrived.

The cover of the book.
The cover of the book.

The children’s book was not a method of conveying a secret message to me. It was a way of conveying a public message to the world. I wasn’t the only one who received the book. 30 have already been mailed, and another 28 are on the way. The books will find their way into the hands and hearts of children as they make their way to libraries or are passed around the community. This is a global initiative. The books are on their way to libraries in Austria and Spain as well as those delivered in the US.

What children’s book is worthy of such an operation? It’s called “The Parade with the Drums.” It tells the story of a child who, after being tucked in, hears the excitement of a parade outside. He goes to investigate the parade, which is a protest. He meets a few people and sees the good and bad of protests before he finds his mother and he receives the moral of the story.

An afterthought in the book.
An afterthought in the book.

The back cover explains it best.

“In the real world, large organizations have an influence on us as individuals. Sometimes this influence is welcome and beneficial. Sometimes this influence can be harmful and corrupt. When members of a society come together and reach a consensus that a ‘global influence’ is proving harmful to society, steps can be taken towards dismantling this harmful influence and improving the wellbeing of the population as a whole. These are complex ideas, but just because they are complex does not mean they are unimportant or impossible to express to our young. This picture book is an attempt to express these ideas through a context that our children can understand.”

Those that received the book are sending photos of the book in libraries or being read to children to the Anonymous Solidarity Network, so that a collage can be made and sent to Jeremy. Jeremy will be receiving his copy of the book soon.

The book, which is dedicated to a list of political prisoners and refugees, is published by Anonymous Publications and is not yet publicly available. Follow @Anonlit on Twitter for updates.

Actions such as this remind us that there are many who are willing to make sacrifices far beyond our own. As some gripe and fight of petty politics inside organizations, there are men and women sitting in confinement. It also serves as an important reminder that every single one of us needs to stand behind the men and women behind the wire in prisons all over the world. At this point in the country’s history, an eight digit number assigned to you by the Federal Bureau of Prisons for standing against oppressive actions is the biggest honor a person can have. Jeremy’s is 18729-424.

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