I am an incarcerated human rights activist hacker with Anonymous. My wife is helping me do this from prison. Ask Me Anything!
Human rights activist and Anonymous hacker Martin "MartyG" Gottesfeld knocked Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) off the internet with a massive cyber assault. He did it defend Justina Pelletier, a learning disabled patient tortured in the hospital's notoriously abusive "Bader 5" psych ward. (let me google that for you-- maybe). Before the impact, BCH had bragged that it could withstand Anonymous, but the network of the $2 billion Harvard-affiliated research giant caved within a matter of minutes, imploding on top of bruised egos and stained resumes. Now, for the first time, the mastermind who single-handedly defeated one of the best-funded medical networks in the world is going to answer questions from the general public.
Since Marty is not allowed to speak to the public from behind bars, and every journalist request to interview him has been denied by his prosecutors, Marty's wife will be typing his answers via a telephone call.
You can read more about Marty and Justina on www.FreeMartyG.com
Really want to talk? Marty responds to every letter:
ID #71225, Unit BN2, Bed 4
26 Long Pond Road
Plymouth, MA 02360
(Need to include return address on envelope and on letter itself)
At Boston Children's Hospital only the public internet was affected specifically targeting the donors page. No medical devices were affected and neither was the hospital's internal network, you can see the Huffington Post op-ed for more details.
Edit: Marty has to go, but we will check back in later.
Edit: This is a primer with sources about what happened to Justina at BCH
I think some of the technical people at the FBI have a somewhat nuanced understanding of it, but even they seems to be grasping at the core concepts. I think the people in charge of cybercrime at the Boston US Attorney's office are power-users at best and honestly seem far more concerned with the politics of the situation and their ability to use it to advance their careers than any true semblance of justice. What's more important, computer problems or a young learning-disabled teenager who will never walk again and nearly died? Unfortunately, Carmen Ortiz' office didn't see any opportunities for advancement by doing their job and protecting the Pelletier's.
Trump is firing every US Attorney without preparing replacements... if that makes you feel better.
I have faith that the new administration will do the right thing in response to this travesty.
Ok I'll start, on what actual charges were you incarcerated and how did they find you? Did you try other more legal means to deal with this child's issues, or did you feel that this would be stronger on the grounds of greater publicity?
Are medical information network's not more susceptible to attack than, say, financial information or other networks? How did you go about finding the weakness?
I am charged with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act commonly known as the CFAA. This is the same law that was used to charge Aaron Swartz before he committed suicide. My support of Justina and her family was no secret, I was vocally outspoken on social media and was not seriously attempting to hide my identity because I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong.
Justina had been away from her family for 14 months before the alleged events. Everything that could have been tried was being tried and was not successful. Further, time was of the essence Justina had already been maimed and will not walk again. Her family was publicly expressing fear she would die. Nobody could tell me that if Justina had gotten home one day earlier she wouldn't be walking right now. So while it is possible that other approaches may have eventually worked time was of the essence. I liken what happened to Justina to watching somebody being assaulted in a dark ally. That's not something you just post to Facebook about or pass a petition about. That's something that requires immediate action.
I am an IT professional. Different networks and different types of networks have different vulnerabilities and attack surfaces. Prosecuting activists does nothing to properly secure swiss-cheese like networks constructed by questionably competent Boston Children Hospital's (BCH) IT department. I am very worried about the City of Boston given after the fact propaganda approach employed by BCH and the US Attorney's Office regarding these issues. I volunteered to help properly secure these vulnerable networks but was dismissed out of hand without proper consideration. Please note I was not attempting to hurt anybody and no one was in fact hurt. I am an activist. A more sinister cyber opponent could still do great harm because of the actual vulnerabilities are not being properly addressed and that is the fault of the approach taken by the US Attorney's Office, FBI, and BCH. This is security theater.
My knowledge of the BCH network came solely from publicly available information.
How does one become affiliated with Anonymous? Does one just do something, then say, I am part of Anonymous?
Anonymous is not a fixed-membership group. Anyone can decide to use the symbols of Anonymous in a variety of ways and then it becomes up to others to support those efforts. So, briefly spoken, anyone can decide to become a member at any time and it's up to the group to decide how much support they receive.
My now wife was born with tetralogy of fallot, a very rare disease that effects less than 20,000 newborns each year.
Back 35+ years ago, there was nobody, no doctors, that knew anything about Tet, and she was more or less condemned to die at an early age, that is until she got to BCH. At BCH she found doctors that were studying her disease before anybody else was. (This started back in the early 80's) My wife has had numerous open heart surgeries starting at age 2 and ending at age 23. She has also spent countless hours in the cath lab, with the last one being 12 hours on the table getting a heart valve installed. She is now a very healthy 35 year old women, and although her heart will need some "maintainence" from time to time, she is expected to live a full life. This is all because of BCH.
I have spent a number of days at BCH, bouncing from waiting rooms to the cafeteria's and back. I've sat in rooms with kids so sick that it was a miracle that they were even alive at that moment in time. I can tell you, or anybody, that from personal experience, BCH is a wonderful hospital that saves countless lives year after year. If you, or anybody, has a sick child, you want to take them to BCH if you want the best possible care.
Shutting down the internet on an entire hospital is a selfish act, shutting down the internet on such a prestigious hospital is dam cruel. The internet isn't just for patient or visitors amusement. Doctors, nurses, and all other medical professionals depend on that very useful tool. I would also say that I am sure the use internet has helped doctors communicate with other doctors across the world instantly to the point that it saves lives on the spot. By disabling the internet to such a large hospital you can very well cost peoples lives. (Kind of like shutting down a road seems harmless at first, but then the ambo's can't get to dying people or the firetrucks can't get out to fires quickly)
That being said, nobody just "ends up" in a psyc ward at BCH or any hospital. This person you were "avenging" I'm sure has a long and painful history of mental disorder and was surely a danger to herself and others if she ended up at BCH. At the same time, if you have a sick kid, including a mentally ill child, BCH is one of the best places on the planet that you could possibly take them.
Not everybody is savable, but if there is anyplace on the planet that can save somebody in Justina's situation, it's BCH. You deserve to be in jail for what you did, and you should be asbolutely ashamed of yourself. I wish I knew who your cell mate was, I would donate him some cigarettes for some favors.
EDIT - I received some comments, some good some bad. Those of you defending this twerp. Medicine is not perfect. It is 90% science and 10% luck. Medicine is also a private matter, between doctor and patient. Whether this girl in question was getting the right or wrong treatment is of no matter, OP had no right to interject his own personal opinion into what is a private medical matter. If anybody thinks otherwise, and thinks that anybody can interject their opinions into your own medical matters at any time and for no reason, well you probably belong in a psyc ward as well.
How would your wife feel about you threatening to rape and impregnate another man's wife on the Internet?
Who said anything about rape? I can be fairly charming when I need to be.
Nah, you're a scumbag.
At least I don't go turning off the internet in a hospital full of sick kids.
No children were hurt by anything I was alleged to have done.
On the flip side though, Justina Pelletier will never walk again.
It was only the public (outside) internet. No medical devices were affected, you can see the Huffington Post op-ed for more details. What was done to Justina qualifies are torture under the Convention of Torture and with International Law nothing not even war, threat of war, preservation of human life can justify the torture of a human being. It was damn cruel leaving her for months and months without pain medication.
At what point did you stop shitposting in 4chan and start your activism with Anonymous? Also, are there any official law people overseeing this? Like I can't imagine they're not xD
I never posted on 4chan. The first thing I did was start a petition and a website and then Anonymous approached me. I only took up the Guy Fawkes mask after every law enforcement agency refused to help the kids.
If other patients were affected negatively due to your actions, do you feel as though it was worth it? And if not, was it a risk you were willing to take in order to carry out your objective?
Under international convention and law nothing can justify the torture of a human being. Not even war, the threat of war, or the preservation of human life. Further the US Attorney's Office is obligated under the Convention Against Torture to investigate, prosecute, and punish all acts of torture.
No patients were affected negatively due to my actions. No medical devices were affected and neither was the hospital's internal network, you can see the Huffington Post op-ed for more details.
Serious question: I think your point was made by your acts, whether people agree or not. So, given that, is the punishment worth it?
I will act to defend the life of any child, anywhere, any time, against any consequences.
Will you be allowed by law to continue your IT career when you eventually get out of jail?
Like Aaron Schwartz, the prosecution is seeking to bar me from using computing technology for a long time.
This is for the wife: If he is sentenced for the long haul, are you gonna agree to go your separate ways so you can have a full life? And Marty how would you feel about that?
No, I wouldn't leave him. I'm proud and humbled to be married to someone who fights so hard against institutional child abuse. We got engaged while Marty was kicking ass creating #ShutdownLoganRiver https://web.archive.org/web/20150810131717/https://www.shutdownloganriver.com/
What initially led to you joining anonymous? Did Justina's case influence your views at all or were there others in a similar situation that may not have received media attention?
At any given time there are hundreds of thousands of institutionalized children subject to egregious abuses in the United States. This torture has been well documented by the government accountability office in testimony before Congress. Initially I, like Justina's parents, reached out to every law enforcement and regulatory agency I could think of. No one would help me.
My wife and I even went to the FBI in person and pled for their assistance to save these children. They wouldn't even talk to us. Eventually members of Anonymous proactively volunteered their support. They were the only ones willing to do anything so that greatly influenced my life.
Justina's situation was special in that her family was fighting to get her out and it was the state and the hospital holding her against her will. I also felt her case was extremely cognoscente in nature. Instead I bet if the Pelletier's were Democrats from Lexington, MA instead of Republicans from Connecticut she would have gone home much sooner. I felt Justina was being punished for her family's political and religious affiliations and also felt a sense of urgency and the very real risk she would die.
Do you enjoy the movie Hackers? Follow up question: how many pairs of rollerblades to you own
I don't enjoy security theater because I feel it detracts from vital national and international debate. The area I live in is really hilly and rollerblades aren't in the best state of repair so I do not own any [working] right now.
Do you consider yourself to be a political prisoner? Does the government acknowledge you as such?
I do consider myself a political prisoner. Of course, the government doesn't feel that way. However, when you look at the history of Carmen Ortiz and Justina Pelletier, I think the conclusion is readily apparent.
What made you pick Justina's case as a cause (out of all the other heartbreaking things in the world)?
I consider child abuse especially abhorrent and the torture of children worse still. I've always had a soft spot for abused kids and the hypocrisy of a children's hospital mistreating children so badly was especially egregious. They violated the public's trust in medicine as a science.
Can you name any unbiased sources for us to learn about Justiana's case?
Yes, we have some resources on http://www.freemartyg.com/resources.html and here is a pretty thorough primer with sources: http://www.freemartyg.com/uploads/8/6/5/3/86532106/u-j..docx.pdf. Adding this to the intro too.
Is that unbiased or written by you guys through? I am talking about a reputable source like NYT, WashPo or some other publication, not a blog with agenda.
84 citations. It's pretty comprehensive.
Yeah. We've seen that countless times over the last few years.
On a personal level, what are a few of your favorite films?
Star Wars, Star Trek. I love Captain Picard.
Did you watch Rogue One yet?
No I haven't. I have been very busy writing and defending myself from the vicious dishonest onslaught of Carmen Ortiz's lackeys. https://archive.is/MHrLP and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/carmen-ortiz-us-attorney-marty-walsh-prosecution_us_577a7ddce4b09b4c43c0e29a
I'm reminded of the XKCD: "Hackers briefly took down of the website of the CIA yesterday. What people Hear: Someone Hacked Into The Computers of the CIA!! What computer experts hear: Someone tore down a poster hung up by the CIA!!"
While you did a bit more than that, you didn't disable the hospital or endanger any patients. How much do you think the people involved in your arrest / prosecution / imprisonment understand the technical details of what you did?
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