Barrett Brown Writes a Letter From Jail

Barrett Brown, as you might know, was arrested in his Uptown apartment earlier this month by the FBI. Here, finally, is the indictment. (UPDATE: There is some question whether that’s the actual indictment. I’m working to figure that out.) He’s facing a total of 10 years behind bars on two charges. And here is his first communication from jail. It’s a long letter, but it’s really quite something. Barrett, as always, has a way with words. The short version is that Barrett says his ribs were broken when he was arrested, and he was denied medical treatment. He sounds shaken but not discouraged. Some excerpts:

But why was I arrested this time? I would love to tell you. But the prosecution wouldn’t like that. I, and everyone else in the court room, were ordered to refrain from discussing the complaint, affidavits, and warrant, all of which are sealed at the request of the author, one FBI special agent whom I shall not name lest I give him cause for fright (or pretend fright — I am allegedly a danger to one especially skittish special agent whom I shall be careful not to name again until such time as I am prepared to list him in the civil suit I’ve been preparing for weeks now). Frankly, I do not blame this other special agent for requesting that the document be sealed — if I had written something of such low quality and demonstrable untruth, I would burn it and ask forgiveness of every deity invented by man and the higher apes/dolphins/whales. Likewise, if I were the US attorney who signed the Motion for Detention dated September 13 2012 — the document that, after having been approved by Judge Paul D. Stickney, ensured I would not only be prevented from discussing what I’m being accused of but also made a prisoner of the state until such time as a trial or some such can be concocted out of the jurisprudential magick I struggle to follow, in my innocence. Apparently I am not just a danger to the fragile FBI agents who have taken to threatening my mother and fracturing my ribs in the course of heavily-armed raids on my uptown Dallas apartment, but must be prevented from explaining to my associates, followers, and even enemies why I have again been subjected to violence and indignity.

And it concludes:

I cannot excuse the mistakes I myself have made on both the strategic and tactical levels in my short career. I shudder when I look back on some of the things I wrote or said when I got my first real taste of power at the dawn of 2011, and I continue to bring shame upon myself and upon my family and work by some of the things I say even lately. In particular I have made comments about the U.S. military that I do not mean and which are obviously not entirely accurate. Along with other nonsense I have said, felt, written throughout my life, many of these things originate from my own fears and weaknesses. I am humiliated at not being able to protect my own mother from the FBI, or to shield my own girlfriend from watching heavily-armed men step on my spine as I scream in pain. I cannot forget how my mom cried on March 6th after the FBI had left with my equipment and hers, and how she whispered through tears that she wanted to be able to protect me from prison but couldn’t; I will never forget the look on Jenna’s face as the federal thugs swept through my efficiency apartment with guns drawn and safeties off, in search of hidden assailants and non-existent weapons. That these things are unjust and increasingly insane does not change the fact that they are the result of my own behavior, my own miscalculations, my own choices.

Having said that, I regret nothing. For the last week I was denied opiates and thus forced to feel not just rage, hatred, all the primal things, but forced to endure them while sicker than most humans can imagine and in a jail that is overcrowded and filled with common criminals. I have gained something extraordinary in that process, which ended this morning when I was given the first of 30 days of suboxone. I will personally thank everyone on the outside who has helped me and this movement particularly at this critical time, when I have regained the freedom that I did nothing to lose. For now, and until that time, it is war, on paper as always, but war.


  • bluebird

    Really appreciate that you continue to document what’s going on with this guy. Whatever his own flaws, the way he’s being treated merits scrutiny.

  • previous teacher

    Keep whatever faith you have, Barrett. There’s no way to avoid introspection, which is a good thing, so use it for strength. You have the example of many, through the centuries, who have been unfairly violently imprisoned. No excuse for the violence. Comfort your mother as she will comfort you. And keep us informed.

  • lolololdicks

    Rot in prison BB, have fun 😉

  • JS

    This guy is a joke. Anything that has happened to him has been sought out or caused by him. I dislike him a little more every time I read something by or about him.

  • Wylie H.

    From what I know of Lew Sterrett, the way he describes his experiences during his stay there ring true.

  • Dubious Brother

    I do not know of anyone who’s life was improved by “opiates” – being clean may help him sort out whatever it is that he needs to sort out. That being said, if he had an attorney, I think that he would be advised to not write letters like the one that you have published.

  • Princess Machiav

    He’s a newbie to expressing opinions that are extremely difficult to, well, express properly-that pressures make him want to apologize for as opposed to refine his statements isn’t saying much for society…

    (I have no opinion on BB himself-not so arrogant as to presume that proper…)