A Day of Action protest for the arrested activist Commander X

Let me give you the time and place, before I start writing a huge story about this situation.

-> Show up on Tuesday July the 20th, noon at the Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California. 

Now some of you will ask: who is Commander X and why should I be at this Day of Action protest? Commander X fled to Mexico where he had claimed political asylum after being chased by the United States government. Over a decade later he was arrested and taken to the United States. The original DDoS incident in Santa Cruz that the authorities claim Commander X is responsible for was relatively minor. Triggered by a new law affecting the homeless community, and it affected Santa Cruz servers for just 30 minutes. The government claimed only a few thousand dollars in damages for investigation and remediation, but the amount was just enough to clear the $5000 threshold of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, making the DDoS a federal crime.

More specific: The original indictment alleged that Commander X was part of an online protest organized by the People’s Liberation Front, also allegedly associated with Anonymous, that took place December 16, 2010. For the protest, participants used their computers to launch a distributed denial-of-service attack on Santa Cruz County servers, shutting them down temporarily, the indictment claimed.

And here is basicly what happened when he was taken from Mexico:

Commander X lived in a gated community in Mexico City, and on the afternoon of Friday 11th June, several armed, uniformed, Mexican men identifying themselves as DEA agents attempted to gain entry to the community but were turned away. They returned dressed as civilians, scaled the walls of the compound and took Commander X away in the early evening.

The government provided a list of the agencies involved in tracking Commander X:

  • The FBI, generally
  • The FBI’s Mexico City legal attaché
  • The FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team Unit
  • Mexico City Task Force (which consists of agents from the Mexican Agencia de Investigación Criminal)
  • Mexican State Police and Prosecutors in the State of Morelos (Fiscalia General del Estado de Morelos, Unidad Especializada Contra el Secuestro y Extorsión)
  • Mexican Immigration (Instituto Nacional de Migración)
  • Interpol
  • The US Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Mexico City Office
  • The United States Department of State, Office of American Citizen Services, Mexico City Office

So why does it matter that you show up on the 20th of July at the Day of Action protest? 

Jay Leiderman, his lawyer in 2012, stated back then: “The whole case should be dismissed. Most of the “damages,” he said, were just employee salaries that were already being paid; besides, the whole thing was essentially just a political protest. They didn’t harm Santa Cruz’s computers, they didn’t go in and rape their servers,”. In his view, the DDoS attack, if Commander X was involved, was “absolute speech under the First Amendment.”

For me the main reason is the fact that even after a decade, the United States can apparently arrest you in a foreign country. A country where you claimed asylum, and take you, in the middle of the night, to a prison cell in California. Next to that, the alleged crime just doesn’t fit the actions taken. Commander X protested for human rights, for the homeless in particular. He might face up to 17 years in prison. An activist, who did nothing but stand up for the rights of the weakest in our society, those who really need it. Commander X is a good guy, and I hope I’m exaggerating here, who might now be in jail for the rest of his life.

Updates can be found on the Free Commander X campaign Twitter: @FreeCommanderX_

Any press inquiries can be sent to: freecommanderx@protonmail.com

I will update this blog with more articles when more information becomes available as well.

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