Monday, January 21, 2013

The Suicide of Aaron Swartz: MIT-- Moral and Intellectual Integrity—at What Price? 
Conclusion: Fire President L. Rafael Reif and Massachusetts attorney Carmen M. Ortiz!!
For over thirty years, I have been extremely proud of having attended MIT Graduate School in Political Science/International Relations where I received my PhD. 
  At the time that I attended this incredibly innovative, progressive and intellectually rigorous institution [1971-74],  there was underlying moral code of conduct which inspired progressive thinking, analytical perspicacity and open dissensionRarely was a new idea or an aggressive approach to a new problem discarded or summarily dismissed. 
  At that time,  teachers and administrators were in tune with the elan vital of the MIT’s  ‘anything and everything goes’ as long as it presented intellectual and moral integrity as well as intellectual gravitas.  Ad hominem comments, supercilious attitudes and peremptory actions were severely discouraged, if not completely ostracized. 
But that was then, and now it appears that MIT has changed drastically in its moral code of ethics concerning openness, transparency, aggressive intellectual pursuit, defiance of conventional thinking and actions. 
  It’s  appears from the tenor of the mishandling of the Aaron Swartz case, that the President, L. Rafael Reif, an electrical engineer, born in Maracaibo, Venezuela to Eastern-European Jewish parent who spoke Yiddish and Spanish at home should be held accountable for the tragic events.
Why his heritage important in this case? 
Wait and see!  
  According to multiple media  reports, the suicide of Aaron Swartz,  a 26 year-old superstar of the cyberspace and it’s doppelganger, ‘hacking’ [whatever that really means], and ‘open access’ to cyber-information, ‘illegally hacked’ into the school’s computer networks to begin copying ‘millions of research articles belonging to JSTOR, the NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT SELLS SUBSCRIPTION ACCESS TO UNIVERSITIES [my emphasis]. 
  So, in my simplistic mind,  Aaron’s greatest crime was to ‘break’ into an entrepreneurial entity  where he wanted to disseminate information that JSTOR would have SOLD.
 As far as I know, no one was killed!
 No planes crashed!
 No power grids went down!
  And for that the US Attorney in Boston, Carmen M. Ortiz [also a Hispanic minority] decided to press Federal Government charges on a local MIT school incident even after Aaron turned over his hard drives with 4.8million documents.  JSTOR declined to pursue the ‘tainted’ legal case in which possibly Aaron’s first and fourth Amendment rights were completely violated. 
  More importantly this case shocked many if not most of us proud MIT alumni for the following reasons best stated by Brewster Kahle, MIT graduate and founder of the digital library Internet Archive, where Aaron gave programming assistance: 
“When I was at MIT, if someone wanted to hack the system, say by downloading databases to play with them, might be called a hero,  get a degree, and start a company. But they called the cops on him.  COPS [my emphasis].”
Kahle is absolutely correct.
  When I first learned about the internet and social media in 1972 [Professor Ithiel de Sola Pool], I transformed that knowledge into developing a content company, TV, Movie and software companies by creating the  TOM CLANCY’S NET FORCE Series which included such anarchistic ideas as “CYBERNATION”, “CYBERTERRORISM”, “NET FORCE” etc. 
  In fact, if you carefully read these books they were a formula for the dissolution of the nation state and the imposition of FBI supervision, decades before it happened. 
 Was I arrested? 
  As a matter of fact, I was embraced by like-minded, progressive thinker, in of all places,  the American military, who implemented and appreciated the ideas contained within the Realistic Novels
  It could have and would have been the same thing for Aaron Swartz if the over eager, insecure woman prosecutor had bided her time and did not get panicked by Michael Pickett, a Secret Service agent detailed to the crime scene. 
 Also if the President Reif had been a ‘mensch’ [man] and not the personification of the Peter’s Principle, Aaron would have still been alive. 
  So what have I concluded from this tragic occurrence?
  First, the death of Aaron Swartz is directly attributable to the egregious profit motives of JSTOR—whatever BS organization they are. 
  Then, there is no doubt that two Hispanic individuals acted plus catholique que le pope!
 More Catholic than the Pope!
 Why do I say Hispanics?
  Because as  a jewish Cuban of Polish origin, I have been fascinated to watch how my contemporaries have acted in different crises situations
And what I observed is that they lack maturity and judgment … which comes with experience and self-confidence. 
  In the case of President Reif, I know MIT extremely well, having both earned a degree and treated many of the MIT students in the MIT Student Health Center. 
  MIT is unusual because it attracts extremely bright, often socially awkward young people, usually men [at that time there were only men primarily] in a very, very  competitive environment. 
For the most part, a distinguished Engineering Professor in Micro electronics may be exceptional in his field but in no way does it qualify Reif to be an effective administrator of psychologically attuned to the dynamics of these students. 
  Because he is a minority himself, one would have expected Reif to give his Landsman [jew] a fair chance to explain himself [since Reif had been a Provost before]. 
However,  in my professional opinion, Reif was not the right candidate to lead MIT into the future, he panicked and failed miserably in his first but most revealing crisis when he said the following:
“It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.”
  Well, Professor, you and your Hispanic colleague, Ms Ortiz have effectively done what Chavez could not do to you or our family and that is place a noose around Aaron Swartz’s head so that he could find the only reasonable solution out of his personal crisis that you both created needlessly---SUICIDE!
  Professor Reif and Ms Ortiz, as a fellow refugee and a psychiatrist who has been involved in PREVENTING MULTIPLE STUDENT SUICIDES AT MIT,  I urge you both to resign for the welfare of both MIT,  the State of Massachusetts and more importantly, the future welfare of our STUDENTS. 
 You both are a TRUE MENACE to our society when you act in an immature, pernicious, officious way because you want to be more of a ‘gringo’ than the Americans who founded that great institution.
You both have failed. 
Professor Reif, you failed as a President. 
You failed as a compassionate Professor
You failed by not showing “Rachmonis” – Compassion in Yiddish
And you failed as a human being. 
  Please go back to your schizoid world of nano technology and do something better for mankind before you kill another MIT student. 
  As for you Ms Ortiz, you represent the worst of American justice and I strongly suggest,  you leave the Prosecutors office ASAP before you kill another innocent victim. 
As for MIT—Shame on you!
  If you thought there was Chinese infiltration—Bullshit! 
You have more Asia students who are de facto operatives from the PRC and other Asian countries whom you know are being actively recruited by our intelligence organization. 
  So there was no excuse for considering any intrusion to be illegal other than the most important concern for today—COMPROMISING YOUR MONEY FLOW.
  As for JSTOR , I don’t know anything about you. But from my point of view, there will be millions of ANONYMOUS HACKERS that will now find you as ‘grist for the mill’. 
  And as for you Secret Service man, Mr Pickett, go protect POTUS! 
Remember, POTUS surrounds himself with more guns than there are in one Walmart outlet.  So take good care of the Emperor while he espoused “GUN CONTROL”. 
Pickett, stay away from anything that requires maturity and legality.  Don’t forget, you, Secret Service Man, belongs to an organization of “Fornicators” who are so cheap that they refuse to pay their twenty five dollar hookers in Colombia while you were on POTUS’s protective detail. 
And also, Pickett,  why don’t you help your drunk friends in Miami who get busted by the Miami –Dade Police Department for miscreant behavior and are correctly placed in the Miami slammer. [I hope Ms Ortiz  that  you understand this!] 
  In short,  Mr Pickett, tell your boss, Mr Sullivan , another incompetent ‘choir boy’ to GET LOST! 
And as for the Board of Directors of MIT—we are all watching you!
 Soit-sage!!! Be wise!! 


  1. This is a terrible tragedy.

    I previously posted several comments about American justice (or lack of it). If you know the right people, you aren't charged with anything.

    If you're David Gregory of Meet The Press, you can be told by the DC police that you can't bring an arms magazine to Washington, DC--but Gregory did it anyway. A crime, broadcast for all on national tv, performed in knowing violation of the law. No charges were filed.

    If you're HSBC, and you launder drug and terrorist money for decades, you pay a fine worth four weeks of income. No one goes to jail. If you're Jon Corzine and you steal from client accounts, you don't go to jail. If you're Dick Fuld and take $550 million in salary while you lie about the financial health of Lehman Brothers, you don't have to pay back a dime.

    But if you're Aaron Swartz, you're hounded until you commit suicide.

    For what? JSTOR? I've been familiar with JSTOR for a long time; it has back issues of AMERICAN SPEECH, for example. Tons of old academic articles that almost no one reads. Lots of it is in the public domain, anyway. Why is he a bigger criminal than Jon Corzine?

    Did Aaron Swartz not properly fundraise for Obama? Is that the problem?

    Oh, he fought to keep the Internet free. Well, we can't have that, he's obviously got to go, then!

    For what it's worth, I've just added an Aaron Swartz quotation (that's now gone viral) to my website in the Media/Internet section:

    "Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves."

  2. Steve, I think you have missed the point - which was what was intended. This guy drove the opposition to increased control and supervision of the Internet, the path that would begun the shutting down of the 'net as we know it, and TPTB wanted to shut him down. They found something to do it with, and they, as usual, have slipped off into the night scot free and with people looking in the wrong direction. The release today by Wikileaks confirming he may have been a source to them might give you a better sense of the agenda.

    Richard Presser

    1. I agree.
      On its face, it appears to be a suicide, but I believe it is far more sinister and all who prosecuted and who accused, were compelled to follow orders.

      Assange hasn't "committed suicide", but don't be surprised if that is the eventual headline (but not the TRUTH)

      Have you seen this documentary?
      Full version:
      "WHY WE FIGHT"

      it happened to be on cable over the weekend.
      worth a watch by anyone with a triple digit IQ (You don't have to be an alumnus of MIT to GET IT!)

      "...WHY WE FIGHT, the new film by Eugene Jarecki which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is an unflinching look at the anatomy of the American war machine, weaving unforgettable personal stories with commentary by a "who's who" of military and beltway insiders. Featuring John McCain, William Kristol, Chalmers Johnson, Gore Vidal, Richard Perle and others, WHY WE FIGHT launches a bipartisan inquiry into the workings of the military industrial complex and the rise of the American Empire.

      Inspired by Dwight Eisenhower's legendary farewell speech (in which he coined the phrase "military industrial complex"), filmmaker Jarecki (THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER) surveys the scorched landscape of a half-century's military adventures, asking how -- and telling why -- a nation of, by, and for the people has become the savings-and-loan of a system whose survival depends on a state of constant war.

      The film moves beyond the headlines of various American military operations to the deeper questions of why -- why does America fight? What are the forces -- political, economic, ideological -- that drive us to fight against an ever-changing enemy?

      'Frank Capra made a series of films during World War II called WHY WE FIGHT that explored America's reasons for entering the war,' Jarecki notes. 'Today, with our troops engaged in Iraq and elsewhere for reasons far less clear, I think it's crucial to ask the questions: 'Why are we doing what we are doing? What is it doing to others? And what is it doing to us?'..."

    2. "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" full version:

    3. Frank Capra was asked to make those horrible films because months after Pearl Harbor it was clear that the country wasn't pulling together as much as needed. Industrial mobilization was sagging, and the military had to draft 60% of the personnel it needed.

      The myth that WWII was universally popular is widespread today, but it isn't true.

      After it was announced that Europe would be the first priority, and that the war aims in both theaters was UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, many Americans wondered what the hell was really going on.

    4. I had a copy of "Why We Fight" made a few years ago about the war on terror but a drug addict staying with me stole all my CDs and left in the night.

      In my work I have to deal with all kinds of unsavory people.

      It sucks.

  3. ooooh, thank you for the information!

  4. He was facing 35 years in prison according to these statutes, which exist only to protect corporate property interests, and that would have been more than what even bank robbers and drug kingpins get!

    If we live in a democracy the people have to lobby against these insane "intellectual property" laws.
    Get rid of them!

    It takes money to do that so show me who to write my check to and count me in.

    I was in the same program that Dr.P was in although over ten years later. We still had an excellent group of professors there, and at the Center for International Studies. However by the time I arrived in late 1983 I think the quality of the students was bleak compared to the "Vietnam generation" which included Dr.P.

    Among that generation were scholars who remained at MIT, including Stephan Miller and Steve Meyers. But the problem was that the students were just not full of any kind of conviction for anything. They were wonks and so forth. These are the creatures which are senior now everywhere in the government, and they are the cowards who gave us the last ten years of warfare and insane US policy.

    For that matter I have to also say that Rand has gone totally down hill in the last decade or more. The people at Rand have done as much as anyone to distort the nature of "al-Qaeda," which they depict as a kind of international network with a titular head somewhere in a cave somewhere. For want of any other mission they've exaggerated and distorted everything related to that issue.

    And look not further for other villians who distort and exaggerate in order to seek relevance after the Cold War than Harvard's GRAHAM ALLISON. This once august Dean of the Kennedy School has blown it all since the publication of his super-alarmist and utterly unfounded articles and book claiming that "terrorists" can obtain nuclear weapons.

    Not true.

    If Allison had been to MIT as I had and actually studied nuclear weapons design, as I had, he would understand that stolen weapons cannot be used and the challenges of building one from scratch is WAY to difficult for any "terrorist."

    Aaron Swartz Rest In Peace.

    You were a truth-teller but I wish you would have had a little more balls.

    [I don't like suicide].

  5. At the end of Eisenhower's Presidency he commented about MIT President James Killian and the others there by saying,

    "Those people [at MIT] were the only group I encountered anywhere who were only interested in doing what was best for the country."

  6. Avenging AARON:

    The hackers say they've infiltrated several government computer systems and copied secret information that they now threaten to make public.

    1. Well that's the kind of juvenile response I'd expect from these nurds and geeks.

      It ain't gonna do any good.

      Why don't they grow up and have these laws overturned.

      I'll send them the MONEY!