Another WikiLeaks Hacktivist Jacob Appelbaum Questioned, NYT Corrects Error About $15K Gift to Manning's Defense Fund

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Jacob Appelbaum tweeted about his experience being detained in Seattle's airport. (Credit: Twitter, "ioerror")

WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum was again “questioned and searched” this week, ABC News reported.

Appelbaum also recently tweeted some criticism including correcting Jay Rosen’s spelling of his name and commenting that the ABC News story had some errors:

“Dear @abc – I did not invent the Tor Project, I’m just another hacker who works on it. There are many more incorrect things in your story.”

Appelbaum, an American citizen, is “a member of the core group of computer ‘hacktivists’ who founded WikiLeaks” and was “detained by federal agents at the Seattle airport.”

ABC News called it “an apparent attempt by authorities to learn more about the group that exposed thousands of once-secret U.S. government documents on the internet.”

He tweeted about the detaining, clarifying that he “was not arrested” and “did not consent to any searching.”  Appelbaum recommended Seattle’s search process over Newark’s — “All in all, if you’re going to be detained, searched, and harassed at the border in an extra-legal manner, I guess it’s Seattle over Newark,” he wrote.

Appelbaum explained that he was detained for about thirty minutes and the agents “seemed quite distressed that I have no computer and no phone.”

He said he “requested access to my lawyer and was again denied. They stated I was I wasn’t under arrest and so I was not able to contact my lawyer.”  He had tweeted Jan. 10 about his travel plans:

“I am heading to the airport from Reykjavik and expect to be in the US around 16:40 PST Monday afternoon.  Perhaps everything will go smoothly.”

As iMediaEthics previously reported, a U.S. government subpoena called for information from Twitter accounts run by WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and a few WikiLeaks volunteers — including Appelbaum.  Appelbaum was previously detained in July.

Appelbaum tweeted last week letting his followers know that his account was one of the accounts being subpoenaed by the government.  He wrote on Jan 7:

“Do not send me Direct Messages — My twitter account contents have apparently been invited to the (presumably – Grand Jury) in Alexandria.”

He clarified that as of then, he hadn’t heard from Twitter or the Department of Justice, but that he saw his name listed on the subpoena letter.

Among the people listed on the Twitter subpoena was Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir.  As a result, Iceland “has summoned the U.S. ambassador to a meeting as top officials express concern over the U.S. criminal investigation into WikiLeaks,” the AP reported.

Money to Manning?

The Associated Press reported that WikiLeaks donated $15,100 to Bradley Manning’s defense.

iMediaEthics reported in December when the Bradley Manning Support Network stated it hadn’t received any money from WikiLeaks yet.

According to the AP, Courage to Resist’s Jeff Paterson explained that “the contribution brings the total raised for Pfc. Manning’s defense to more than $100,000 but is still short of the $115,000 needed.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times published a correction to its article on the donation.  According to the Times’ correction, its article “misstated the amount of money donated by WikiLeaks to Private Manning’s legal defense fund.  It has donated $15,100, not more  than $100,000.”

US Government Likes Ellsberg Documentary?

Even though the U.S. government is subpoenaing information regarding WikiLeaks and reportedly investigating what charges it could bring against Assange and WikiLeaks, the U.S. State Department is apparently a fan of a documentary about Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

The documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,” was chosen by the State Department to be “one of 18 films that will tour the world this year as part of its ‘American Documentary Showcase’ program.”

According to the AP, Ellsberg “recalled that it took the New York Times three months to review the study and decide to publish it” regarding the Pentagon Papers leak.

“If that had happened today, I would have posted it directly on the Internet,” he is quoted as saying.

Singapore to be “More Guarded” with U.S. Post-Cablegate

As a result of WikiLeaks’ Cablegate publication, Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister, George Yeo, stated “The WikiLeaks disclosures have been disastrous for U.S. diplomacy,” Yeo is quoted as saying. “We have to be more guarded in our communications with U.S. diplomats. If it happened once, it can happen again, so we’ve got to be more careful.”

According the AP, WikiLeaks published cables that indicate “Singapore statesman Lee Kuan Yew describing Myanmar’s junta leaders as ‘stupid,’ and calling North Korea’s leaders ‘psychopathic type’ in conversations with U.S. diplomats. Another confidential cable quoted Singapore diplomats making unflattering remarks about Malaysia, India, Japan and Thailand during meetings with U.S. officials.”

Next WikiLeaks Publication

Assange “vowed [Jan. 11] to step up” WikiLeaks publications, the AP reported.

“We are stepping up our publishing for matters related to Cablegate and other materials,” Assange is quoted as saying.  “Those will shortly be occurring through our newspaper partners around the world — big and small newspapers and some human rights organizations.”

On Jan. 11, CNBC reported that “a person who has close contact with top people at WikiLeaks” called Bank of America “the target of the next ‘megaleak’ from WikiLeaks.”  As CNBC noted, Assange said in a Forbes interview in the fall of 2010 that WikiLeaks would release documents from “a big US bank” soon and in an interview a year beforehand, Assange said he had Bank of America information.

However, Assange stated Jan. 12 that he has information on Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., the Guardian reported.  “Assange also claimed that WikiLeaks holds more than 500 confidential US diplomatic cables on one broadcasting corporation.”

The information on Murdoch and the broadcasting organization are part of Assange’s “insurance files” to be published “if something happens to [Assange] or to WikiLeaks.”

ABC News also reported that after a procedural hearing in London, which “lasted about 15 minutes,” the judge “decided to relax some of the bail conditions that were set last month. He decided to allow Julian Assange to stay closer to London next month when the hearing starts.” Also, Assange said in a statement “that despite fighting this extradition, they’re not going to stop WikiLeaks from releasing more cables and more documents.”

Assange’s formal extradition hearing is set for Feb. 7 and 8, CNET reported.

Florida Lawsuit

Meanwhile, a Florida man, David Pitchford, has reportedly filed a $150 million lawsuit against Wikileaks and Assange.

According to NBC Miami, Pitchford is suing “for the intentional infliction of emotional distress by the release of the documents that ‘indangered [sic] the PLAINTIFF as well as every person of the United States; and the entire planet.'”

The lawsuit contains many misspellings, including in his request for “$100 million ‘dollars’ in compensatory damages [and] $50 million in punitive damages.”

MSNBC noted that Cryptome posted the lawsuit here.

This isn’t the first time a Florida man has gotten headlines related to Assange and WikiLeaks.  As StinkyJournalism reported in early December, conservative radio host Todd Schnitt offered a $50,000 reward for “information leading to the capture” of Assange.  His reward was offered days before Assange turned himself into UK authorities Dec. 7.

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Another WikiLeaks Hacktivist Jacob Appelbaum Questioned, NYT Corrects Error About $15K WikiLeaks Gift to Manning’s Defense Fund

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