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US subpoenas Twitter, seeking information on WikiLeaks’ 635,561 followers

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A Dutch investigative journalist blasted the US Department of Justice for requesting information on everyone following WikiLeaks’ Twitter account and everyone they follow.

Which would include Raw Story.

The US Department of Justice subpoenaed the social networking site Twitter in December in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation of the secrets outlet.

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“The fine people of WikiLeaks alerted me on Twitter that the subpoena you sent to Twitter, Inc. demanding all kinds of records, in fact, includes me too,” Okke Ornstein wrote on his blog.

The subpoena requests all records and other information relating to Twitter accounts associated with WikiLeaks and a few of its current and former supporters, “including non-content information associated with the contents of any communication or file stored by or for the account(s).”

“I hereby confess that I am one of the 635,561 followers of WikiLeaks on Twitter,” Ornstein wrote. “Maybe I should thank the US Department of Justice for including me in this ‘criminal investigation.’ It’s not every day that one gets to be part of history, even if it is a flawed attempt at damage control and political pandering.”

Meanwhile, Icelandic Foreign Minister Oessur Skarphedinsson said US demands for parliamentary representative Birgitta Jonsdottir’s Twitter information were unacceptable.

According to a court order issued by the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the Justice Department is seeking access to the Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Private First Class Bradley Manning, Icelandic MP Jonsdottir, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp, and programmer Jacob Appelbaum.

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“According to the documents that I have seen, an Icelandic parliamentarian is being investigated in a criminal case in the United States for no reason at all,” Skarphedinsson told Icelandic public radio RUV.

“It is intolerable that an elected representative is being treated like that,” he added.

Jonsdottir helped to produce a video for WikiLeaks showing a US helicopter shooting civilians in Baghdad in 2007. She left the organization in 2009 along with other members after arguing that Assange should step down as the spokesman of WikiLeaks until his legal troubles were resolved.

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“This is even more serious when put in perspective and concerns freedom of speech and people’s freedom in general,” Skarphedinsson said.

The information sought by the subpoena includes the user names, mailing addresses, email addresses, connection records, length of service, types of services utilized and means of payment of each account associated with the five WikiLeaks supporters.

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The court order states that there is “reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”

A copy of the document was posted by Salon late Friday night after a judge granted Twitter’s request to disclose the subpoena, which had previously been sealed.

Icelandic Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson described the subpoena of Jonsdottir’s Twitter information as “very odd and grave.”

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“Of course it is a very serious matter, if a demand has been put forward that she submit personal information to US authorities,” he said. “She is an Icelandic member of Althingi and furthermore a member of the Foreign Relations committee of Althingi.”

WikiLeaks, which began slowly releasing 251,287 US diplomatic cables in November, added it had reason to believe Facebook and Google had also received court orders requesting details on users.


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Lara Trump’s lie about Biden family business deals demolished by conservative: ‘You could look it up’

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On Fox News Thursday, ahead of the final presidential debate, President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump repeatedly claimed that Joe Biden was allowing his family to use his name "while he was vice president" to secure profitable business deals.

Lara Trump just murdered irony pic.twitter.com/aBSQjLUp32

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 22, 2020

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Trump supporters linked to Steve Bannon pushing ‘fantastical rumors’ to try to ‘pizzagate’ Joe Biden: report

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NBC News on Thursday published a blockbuster report on efforts to smear former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Some of the same people who pushed a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that first emerged in 2016 are now targeting Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, with similar falsehoods. Their online posts are garnering astronomical numbers of shares on social media," NBC News correspondents Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny reported Thursday.

"The fantastical rumors, which NBC News is declining to repeat verbatim, echo specific plot points central to 'pizzagate,' a viral disinformation campaign that predates QAnon but also falsely alleges a vast conspiracy of child abuse," NBC News explained. "There is an important difference, however. The pizzagate-style rumors in 2016 were largely confined to far-right message boards like 4chan and parts of Reddit. But the Hunter Biden iteration of the same conspiracy theory took off last weekend with the help of speculation from conservative TV hosts and members of Congress. Their theorizing can be traced back to a new website that has been promoted by President Donald Trump and his surrogates."

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2020 Election

Pennsylvania AG warns Trump campaign poll watchers to stop videotaping voters

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On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that the attorney general of Pennsylvania is warning Trump campaign surrogates to stop videotaping voters dropping off mail-in ballots.

"In a statement, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general, said, 'Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them,'" reported Blake Montgomery.

"The campaign has filed complaints with Philadelphia officials based on the videos, alleging fraud on the part of several voters who submitted two or three ballots, according to The New York Times," continued the report. "The Trump campaign initially said the purpose of the videotaping was to catch voters who dropped off a large number of fraudulent ballots rather than one or two, according to the Times."

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