WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the American government of conducting “a neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt” against his organisation as it released confidential e-mails from Stratfor, a Texas-based private intelligence firm, claiming that American authorities had “a secret indictment” against him in place for “more than 12 months”.
Mr. Assange said: “For over a year now, the U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder has been conducting a secret Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks. This neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt against WikiLeaks may be Mr. Holder’s defining legacy. Any student of American history knows that secret justice is no justice at all. Justice must be seen to be done. Legitimate authority arises out of the informed consent of the governed, not Eric Holder’s press secretary. Secret Grand Juries with secret indictments are apparently Eric Holder’s preferred method of dealing with publishers who hold his administration to account. Eric Holder has betrayed the legacy of Madison and Jefferson. He should drop the case or resign. Should he continue, however, the Obama administration may not — Democrats and Republicans alike believe in the right to tell the truth.”
Three WikiLeaks backers lost their bid to keep information on them collected from their Twitter Inc. accounts from being turned over to U.S. prosecutors who are investigating the group’s publication of classified information. The subscribers challenging the order include Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament; Jacob Appelbaum, a computer security researcher who represented WikiLeaks at a 2010 hacker’s conference in New York; and Rop Gonggrijp, described in court papers as a Dutch activist and businessman.
Assange was sitting opposite Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch activist, hacker, and businessman. Gonggrijp—thin and balding,with a soft voice—has known Assange well for several years. He had noticed Assange’s panicky communiqués about being watched and decided that his help was needed. “Julian can deal with incredibly little sleep, and a hell of a lot of chaos, but even he has his limits, and I could see that he was stretching himself,” Gonggrijp told me. “I decided to come out and make things sane again.” Gonggrijp became the unofficial manager and treasurer of Project B, advancing about ten thousand euros to WikiLeaks to finance it. He kept everyone on schedule, and made sure that the kitchen was stocked with food and that the Bunker was orderly.
At around three in the afternoon, an Icelandic parliamentarian named Birgitta Jonsdottir walked in. Jonsdottir, who is in her forties, with long brown hair and bangs, was wearing a short black skirt and a black T-shirt with skulls printed on it. She took a WikiLeaks T-shirt from her bag and tossed it at Assange.“That’s for you,” she said. “You need to change.” He put the T-shirt on a chair next to him, and continued working. Jonsdottir has been in parliament for about a year, but considers herself a poet, artist, writer, and activist. Her political views are mostly anarchist. “I was actually unemployed before I got this job,” she explained. “When we first got to parliament, the staff was so nervous: here are people who were protesting parliament, who were for revolution, and now we are inside. None of us had aspirations to be politicians. We have a checklist, and, once we’re done, we are out.” As she unpacked her computer, she asked Assange how he was planning to delegate the work on Project B. More Icelandic activists were due to arrive; half a dozen ultimately contributed time to the video, and about as many WikiLeaks volunteers from other countries were participating. Assange suggested that someone make contact with Google to insure that YouTube would host the footage.
Mr. Applebaum is a developer for the Tor Project Inc., a Walpole, Mass., nonprofit that provides free tools that help people maintain their anonymity online. Tor’s tools are often used by people living in countries where Internet traffic is monitored by the government. Tor obtains some of its funding from the U.S. government.Mr. Appelbaum has also volunteered for WikiLeaks, which recommends people use Tor’s tools to protect their identities when submitting documents to its website. In April 2010, Mr. Appelbaum’s involvement in WikiLeaks was inadvertently disclosed publicly in a blog post on the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists. The reporter, Danny O’Brien, said Mr. Appelbaum had thought he was speaking anonymously. Mr. O’Brien said he later offered to remove Mr. Appelbaum’s name from the post. After the blog post appeared, Mr. Appelbaum became a public advocate for WikiLeaks.