Julian Assange

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Twitter Subpoena'd over WikiLeaks

The latest news is that a Magistrate in Virginia has ordered twitter to hand over any and all information it has on five users including Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and the Army’s Pfc. Bradley Manning, one-time Baghdad, Iraq-based intelligence analyst accused of downloading hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents.

The subpoena was issued on the 14th of December but was only unsealed this Wednesday past at Twitter's request so that it could notify the persons whose records had been demanded.

As well as Assange and Manning, the subpoena also seeks the records of one Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland's parliament and a former volunteer for WikiLeaks; Rop Gonggrijp, the well-known Dutch computer programmer whose surname the subpoena misspelled as Gongrijp and so will possibly have to be reissued, and Jacob Appelbaum, an American WikiLeaks supporter who is not identified by name, but whose Twitter username, ioerror, is used to identify the account. Two other usernames are listed to identify the accounts sought: rop - g and birgittaj.

The subpoena was made public in an interview with the British newspaper the Guardian by Jonsdottir. made public the subpoena in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian and posted on the paper's website on Friday. Both WikiLeaks and Gonggrijp confirmed the subpoena in tweets and blog posts on Saturday.

The subpoena asks Twitter for "records of any activity to and from the accounts," including the size of files that may have been transferred to them or from them as well as IP addresses and any other account information. The subpoena also requests this information from the 1st of November 2009. A time when Manning was still working in Baghdad. He was arrested in May after WikiLeaks posted in April a video taken from a U.S. helicopter as it fired on and killed innocent people including two employees of the Reuters news agency in Baghdad. Assange, Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp were listed as the producers of that famous WikiLeaks report, titled "Collateral Murder."

Late Friday, Appelbaum warned followers in a Twitter post not to message him privately. Then, on Saturday, Gonggrijp posted on his blog, rop.gonggri.jp, a copy of what he said was Twitter's notification about the subpoena.

In the notification, which was addressed to Gonggrijp by his Twitter username, Twitter said it would surrender the records to the Justice Department on Jan. 17 "unless we receive notice from you that a motion to quash the legal process has been filed or that this matter has been otherwise resolved."

Gonggrijp did not mention if he would challenge the subpoena. He did praise Twitter for notifying its users of the government demand. "It appears that twitter, as a matter of policy, does the right thing in wanting to inform their users when one of these comes in," he wrote. "Heaven knows how many places have received similar subpoenas and just quietly submitted all they had on me."

WikiLeaks said subpoenas had likely also had been sent to Facebook, where the WikiLeaks page has more than a million followers, but there was no confirmation of that claim.

According to The Kansas Star, subpoenas mark an intensification of the Justice Department's efforts to tie WikiLeaks and Assange to Manning, who is currently jailed at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., facing charges that could send him to prison, if convicted, for 52 years. Pentagon officials have said that while prosecutors believe the files Manning is accused of downloading were passed to WikiLeaks, they have yet to establish a direct link between Manning and Assange. Without that link, it may be difficult to charge Assange with a crime in connection with the ongoing publication of the documents by the website.

More information at:http://www.kansascity.com/2011/01/08/2569812/us-seeks-twitter-info-on-wikileaks.html

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