The Defining Dignity Initiative, an Essay by Matt DeHart

Published exclusively in The Gad About Town.

This is the fourth article in a series of prison essays by Matt DeHart. The first: “You don’t act like an American,” the second: “Hospitality in Mexico,” and Matt’s third: “Shattered.” It is a personal honor for me to publish his words from prison.

Matt DeHart’s voice is one worth listening to. In “Defining Dignity,” he challenges us all to put meaning—and action—behind that commandment that is so often expressed and so little heeded: “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” which of course is found in the Book of Matthew.

The essay published below is one of the few public statements he has made. It was sent to me by his mother, Leann DeHart, with the request that it is published as written.
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‘Shattered,’ an essay by Matt DeHart

Published exclusively in The Gad About Town.

This is the third article in a series of prison essays by Matt DeHart. The first essay is here: “You don’t act like an American,” and the second is here: “Hospitality in Mexico.”
 
“Shattered” was written in May 2018.

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Last November, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) informed Matt DeHart, a former U.S. Air National Guard drone team member and alleged WikiLeaks courier, that it had reversed its decision that the fourteen months he spent detained in a Canadian prison would be credited toward his sentence as time served. No hearing was held. His release date of September 2018 is no longer in place.

The decision was announced in a letter that neither acknowledges DeHart’s right to due process nor concedes that he has been denied due process. “An inmate held pending a civil deportation determination is not being held in ‘official’ detention pending criminal charges,” the BOP letter reads. This reverses the stance the government took when it sentenced DeHart. It is worth noting that the BOP employed the quotation marks around the word “official” in its letter to Matt DeHart.

DeHart continues to appeal the BOP’s unilateral decision to effectively extend his prison sentence by fourteen months even though the BOP’s paperwork requirements are Kafka-esque: In December 2017, DeHart was required to include with his appeal of the extension of his sentence a sheet that detailed the computation of his time served; it was to be stapled to the document. This is a page that the BOP already possesses as it is that department’s own computation. DeHart did not staple it; he sent it in a separate envelope with explanatory statements (i.e.: This is exhibit 14 that was not included in the earlier letter which states exhibit 14 will be forthcoming). The BOP did not accept the documents (which is an insidious method of rejecting an appeal) and returned them to DeHart.
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When Law and Order Is Neither: Barrett Brown’s Arrest

Updated, May 2, 2017: Barrett Brown was released from FCI Seagoville yesterday. In an article in D Magazine, a publication in Dallas for which he writes an occasional column, Brown reports that he was asked to sign documents on his way out: “One of the forms he was asked to sign gives the Bureau of Prisons permission to talk to the media about him,” which makes no sense, “given that he was ostensibly re-arrested for not getting permission to talk to the media.”

Updated, April 28, 2017: Barrett Brown is being held at FCI Seagoville, a low-security federal correctional institution for male offenders in Seagoville, Texas. My column from last week:
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Lauri Love Can Appeal His Extradition

The High Court of England today granted Lauri Love permission to appeal his extradition to the United States. No date has been set for the hearing.

Permission was given because “the High Court acknowledged that the grounds [for appeal] raised some issues of great importance,” according to one of Love’s lawyers, Karen Todner.

In a post on Facebook, Love wrote, “Not getting kidnapped yet.” He also told the Courage Foundation: “Every day you wake up to some good news is a blessing, and we can’t take any blessings for granted these days. Good news comes scantly between crisis and calamity. I’m thankful the High Court have recognized the strength of our grounds for appeal and the great importance of the issues raised by the case.”
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A Plea from Lauri Love

The waiting is torture enough. Any individual placed in confrontation with the legal system knows that the process somehow moves too quickly in the most painful ways and then too slowly in other, equally painful, moments.

Lauri Love, the British hacktivist who the United Kingdom has agreed to send to the United States to face charges despite pleas from over 100 MPs that he not be extradited, reported earlier today (April 21) that he is becoming ill from the stress.

But in this moment of profound tension, almost in a recognition that this moment is no different than the one immediately before or the one that will follow because no news has been announced, he wrote of his hopes for the rest of us, for his ambition that the fight will continue: “Mostly though I’m worried about the world and whether we can rise to the challenge that we find ourselves in, at this crux of history and generational crisis-cum-opportunity. Show me the courage and strength I need to maintain, and I’ll try to show you the same.”

It is typical of Lauri Love that even in his darker moments he finds hope in his plight, shares that hope (albeit with plenty of sarcasm and wit), and then brings it out to the world.
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#OpFOQ Fights on, Despite Attacks

“Some of these … U.S. Anons have spent the last 24 hours trying to make sure that an Anon op fails. Its name is #OpFOQ.”—a statement from Raymond Johansen, #OpFOQ’s public coordinator, March 28, 2017

In the last twenty-four hours, #OpFOQ has come under fire. #OpFOQ is a campaign to focus attention on a mass kidnapping in Iraq, to force the government of Iran to divulge what it knows about the whereabouts and health of two dozen Qatari hostages, to bring this case to forefront of the world’s consciousness, and to earn the freedom of the hostages.

Raymond Johansen, #OpFOQ’s public coordinator, released this statement to The Gad About Town an hour ago, which I run verbatim:
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#OpFOQ: A Campaign to Free Two Dozen Hostages

A group of human rights activists and members of Anonymous launched an operation directed at Iran on March 24, #OpFOQ, to focus attention on a mass kidnapping in Iraq, to force the government of Iran to divulge what it knows about the whereabouts and health of two dozen Qatari hostages, to bring this case to forefront of the world’s consciousness, and to earn the freedom of the hostages.

The men were kidnapped in December 2015, and since April 2016, when two of the hostages were freed, the missing men have been absent from the world’s headlines and attention as well, despite the fact that a handful of the hostages are members of the royal family of Qatar. Families are missing sons, brothers, husbands, fathers. The men were not taken by an official government entity, so groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been bystanders as the mystery deepens each day.

The men were sportsmen—falconers—who crossed the Saudi Arabian-Iraqi border with government-issued permits and their birds, and they set up camp in Iraq’s remote southern province, Al Muthanna. December is training season for the falcons because December is the breeding season for the houbara bustard, a turkey-like bird found in Central Asia that the falcons hunt.
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‘How could the unpure possibly be of assistance to the holy?’

I admit that my expertise in psychological warfare is limited to good spy novels, better histories, and bad Twitter behavior. Over the last month or so, a campaign to smear and harass a friend of mine has unfolded before my eyes on social media and behind the scenes.

Much as I may want to ignore it, much as I may wish that my words below will bring it to an end and somehow restore his name in the world to the esteem I still hold for him, much as I may want the campaign to end, I am not sufficiently foolish to think my words will have much of an effect. I can not ignore it, though.

I am writing this because I know the human being involved, I know (or I think I know) the desired consequences of the campaign against him, and I know that he will write something similar about me should I ever become important enough in someone’s eyes to attempt to take me down. This is because my friend is a friend and he is loyal.

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