Author Topic: Matt DeHart, the hacktivist who was refused asylum in Canada, sentenced in U.S.  (Read 2015 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mayya

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 7874
Matt DeHart, the hacktivist who was refused asylum in Canada, sentenced in U.S. on child porn charges

Adrian Humphreys | February 22, 2016 7:39 PM ET
More from Adrian Humphreys | @AD_Humphreys

Peter J. Thompson / National Post / FilesMatt DeHart, who was turned over to U.S. authorities by Cana
da Border Services Agency after being denied political asylum, has been sentenced in Nashville to seven and a half years in prison.

Matt DeHart, the former U.S. airman and Anonymous hacktivist who made a failed asylum bid in Canada — claiming torture over his access to secret U.S. government documents — has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for possessing sexually explicit photos of two under-aged teenagers and for avoiding court by fleeing across the border.

The sentence in Nashville, Tenn., Monday by District Judge Aleta Trauger brings a judicial close to a bizarre story involving Anonymous hackers, WikiLeaks whistleblowers, Russian spies, military secrets and a dossier purporting to contain highly inflammatory U.S. intelligence secrets.

DeHart was granted credit for his three-years of pre-trial custody in the United States, leaving four and a half years remaining to be served. It is expected his lawyers will argue to have time DeHart spent incarcerated in Canada taken into account in a bid to further reduce his remaining sentence.
DeHart has claimed wrongful prosecution, accusing the U.S. government of using child pornography as a ruse to probe his activist activities.

However, under a plea agreement, DeHart pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving child pornography and one count of failing to appear in court, when he fled to Canada.

My defence was completely emasculated
From the Warren County Regional Jail in Bowling Green, KY, where DeHart, 30, was kept prior to sentencing in protective custody in a basement unit, DeHart gave a statement to the National Post.
“In light of the disappearance of nearly all exculpatory evidence in my case, including the Kangaroo Defender Elite encrypted thumb drive I brought with me to Canada, as well as the seizure or deletion of numerous email and social media accounts, my defence was completely emasculated,” DeHart said.
“The same criminal complaint for which the Canadian [refugee board] found no credible evidence was effectively unchallenged here.
The U.S. not only tortured me but falsely charged me
“I strongly appreciate all those who stand by me and my family.”
His plea acknowledges that in 2006 or early 2007, DeHart, then aged 21, met two boys online, then aged 14 and 16, while playing World of Warcraft, an online role-playing game.
He posed as the 17-year-old son of a Mafia boss and also as two teenaged girls. He encouraged both boys to take sexually explicit photos and video of themselves and email them to the purported girls.
“A forensic analysis of the computers and electronic media seized from DeHart revealed at least seven sexually explicit images,” of one of the boys, the plea says.
The plea says DeHart also asked for a “dick pic” from the second boy who was asking if DeHart could get him a laptop for his birthday. He sent one such photo but then sent penis photos he found on the Internet instead.

Philip Cheung for National PostPeople rally outside the United States Consulate General in Toronto to support Matt DeHart, a former U.S. airman seeking asylum in Canada on Aug. 16, 2014.

The plea further acknowledges that DeHart fled to Canada while released on bond pending trial for the porn charges, where he sought asylum. After his bid was refused by the Immigration and Refugee Board, he was jailed in Canada and turned over to U.S. authorities in March, 2015.

The plea deal asked the judge to impose a sentence of 90 months of incarceration: 72 months for the porn and an additional 18 months for fleeing the country.
Each pornography charge carried a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years. The fail to appear charge carries a maximum of 10 years.

DeHart is a former member of the U.S. Air National Guard, training in the secretive drone program at the same time he was involved in Anonymous, the global hacktivist group.
DeHart ran a dark web Internet server used to leak a classified U.S. government document, likely destined to WikiLeaks, he said.

WikiLeaks refers to DeHart as an “alleged WikiLeaks middleman” and supports his case through the Courage Foundation, naming him one of its beneficiaries, among the others are well-known newsmakers: Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency analyst who leaked documents revealing large-scale global surveillance; and Jeremy Hammond, serving 10 years in a U.S. prison after hacked email from security think-tank Stratfor was published through WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing organization.
Wed love to stay here and be productive citizens in Canada
Courage’s acting director Sarah Harrison condemned the sentence.
“The sentencing of Matt DeHart is another shameful milestone in the U.S. government’s war on digital activists,” she said. “Just look at the timeline of events – Matt was only prosecuted when the government learned that he was affiliated with Anonymous and was a supporter of WikiLeaks.”

DeHart’s strange case was revealed in a long investigation by the National Post in 2014.

He was charged on the porn allegations but unusual circumstances suggested government interest in prosecuting him did not emerge until after he was identified as a threat over his online activities and his potential access to military secrets. After his house was searched and his computer equipment seized, he visited the Russian embassy and discussed defecting to Russia.

He says the Russians tried to sign him up as a spy.

While in U.S. custody, he claimed he was tortured by authorities between interrogations about national security and espionage matters.
He fled to Canada with his father, Paul, and mother, Leann, in 2013 when released on bond and ahead of a criminal trial. The family claimed asylum at the border.

It does merit significantly more attention

In Canada, DeHart was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. While in jail in Canada he twice tried to kill himself.
His and his parent’s asylum claims were rejected in Canada and in March he was deported to the United States, where he was immediately re-arrested.
DeHart’s parents were in court to support their son at sentencing, Paul DeHart said, who added his son is doing OK after the appearance.

“We are relieved to have closure,” said Paul DeHart in a brief interview with the Post. “We pray for Matt’s continuing protection. We are thankful for friends, family, and so many in the public who follow our case to keep those in power honest.” He thanked DeHart’s most recent set of lawyers in the U.S. and his immigration lawyers in Canada.

“We thank God for a son who is resilient and compassionate,” Paul DeHart said.
“After a long process, the United States Attorney’s Office and the victims of DeHart’s crimes are glad to see that justice has finally been served in this case and that Matthew DeHart will now begin to serve the prison sentence that he so deserves,” U.S. Attorney David Rivera said.
The plea agreement states that the deal covers all criminal conduct in the judicial district of Tennessee only.
“Nothing in this plea agreement limits the United States in the prosecution of defendant in other districts or for crimes not disclosed in this plea agreement statement of facts.”

Offline Riney

  • Support Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3000
There are very odd things about this case....

    "a bizarre story involving Anonymous hackers, WikiLeaks whistleblowers, Russian spies, military secrets and a dossier purporting to contain highly inflammatory U.S. intelligence secrets."

    There are just too many bizarre factors about this story, to include possible child porn that is not listed in that statement. There is easily so many times the truth could be completely twisted one way or the other. 

     I do know one thing for sure. Both Sarah Harrison and Julian Assange a huge liars about a lot of other things. With that in mind, I can not help but have my doubts about Matt DeHart.
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage" Anais Nin .. and yet we must arm ourselves with fear