Aaron was killed by the government

Robert Swartz on his son’s death – Published on Russia Today RT, Jan 16, 2013.

The father of information activist Aaron Swartz blames US prosecutors for his son’s death, RT’s Andrew Blake reports from an emotional Tuesday morning funeral outside of Chicago.

Aaron Swartz, 26, was found dead on Friday of a reported suicide. Swartz had been instrumental in designing software that aimed to make the Internet easy and open for everyone, and also co-founded both Reddit.com and Demand Progress — one of the most visited sites on the Web and an highly touted activism organization, respectively. 

But while friends, family and loved ones recalled Swartz’ compassion for technology and his utter selflessness during Tuesday’s service, those in attendance did not shy away from acknowledging the tremendous legal trouble that plagued the activist in recent years.

In 2011, federal prosecutors charged Swartz with a series of counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, crimes that could have sent him away to prison for upwards of 35 years if convicted. Swartz, said the government, entered a building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and downloaded millions of academic and scholarly papers from the service JSTOR with presumably the intent of distributing them for free.

“Aaron did not commit suicide but was killed by the government,” Robert Swartz said during Tuesday’s service at the Central Avenue Synagogue in Highland Park, Illinois. “Someone who made the world a better place was pushed to his death by the government.”

During the funeral, which lasted little less than 90 minutes, phrases such as “Googled,” “Anonymous,” “hackers” and “the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” were spoken so nonchalantly it was as if including them in the service was simply to be expected. Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Swartz’s partner, said amidst laughter and tears that one of her fondest memories of Aaron as of late was an early-morning moment from only weeks earlier when he insisted she help him spend hours analyzing an advanced algebraic math equation he was determined to solve.

In her eulogy as well as those offered by others, the take-away by and large was that Swartz, to the ones closest to the computer genius, was adamant on social change.

“Aaron meant more to our people than I think anyone else we know,” said Stinebrickner-Kauffman, who met Swartz through a tight-knit circle of activists from New England.

“Aaron wanted so badly to change the world,” she said, more so than acquiring wealth or fame.

Despite those intentions though, loved ones said the looming possibility of a felony conviction complicated matters for Swartz since his indictment in 2011.

“He was so tired” in recent weeks, Stinebrickner-Kauffman recalled. “He said to me, ‘Am I always going to feel that way?’”

With Swartz’ passing, though, his partner said it was now up to his colleagues and peers to push forward with the advocacy that Aaron was so incredibly passionate about … //

… Memorial services for Swartz across the country are currently being planned. Hundreds are expected to gather in New York City later this week for a tribute planned in Times Square.
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Links:

Egypt’s socialist paper, on Socialist’s Worker Online, January 12, 2013: Socialists in Egypt are at the forefront of fighting to defend and drive forward the revolution that began in the country two years ago. Anne Alexander spoke to members of the Revolutionary Socialists about how their newspaper has helped build the struggle. Two years ago this month, mass protests and strikes in Egypt forced out hated dictator Hosni Mubarak …

History of the Socialist Workers Party (Britain), on en.wikipedia.

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