It's time to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate the Department of Justice (DoJ) and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz about the death of Aaron Swartz.
To the best of my recollection, I've never met Ortiz or Swartz. I write not from any personal connection to this case, but as a deeply concerned American. If we allow the circumstances of Swartz's death to go un-investigated, we'll be a nation of sheep, afraid to question the use of governmental power. Make no mistake: What happened to Swartz could happen to any of us -- gun rights or gun control advocate, Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street supporter, Democrat or Republican -- we'll all be at risk of arbitrary prosecution by DoJ on trumped-up charges. This fight belongs to all of us.&
Swartz was a young, highly-talented computer scientist and an activist who was a thorn in the side of powerful established interests. He was accused by DoJ U.S. Attorney Ortiz of downloading (stealing) several million obscure academic research papers from the Journal Storage Project (JSTOR). Ortiz never claimed these documents were of value for terroristic or other harmful purposes, but simply that:
"Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away," said Ortiz regarding the indictment of Swartz.