TL;DR: Google LLC Legal Investigations recently informed WikiLeaks meme graphic designer, Somerset Bean, his Gmail account information had been handed over to the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). Bean, based in the United Kingdom, was notified after the company became “permitted to disclose the receipt of the legal process” by US authorities, but could not “discuss the substance of the legal process.”
WikiLeaks Meme Graphic Designer’s Gmail Account Handed Over to the DoJ
“Finally received my badge of honour,” Bean posted, “with notice that Google have handed over ‘information related to [my] Google account’ to the US DoJ. You think Assange case is just about Assange? Think again.” The online giant did not offer context as to why Bean’s account was targeted and instead referred him to an “agency reference number or case number on the legal process,” “1:18-sc-02921.”
WikiLeaks was one of the earliest and most controversial news outlets slash political watchdog groups to utilize cryptocurrency after famously being cutoff from legacy finance, effectively attempting to starve the nonprofit out of existence. Bean attempted to locate the case number provided through Google, finding search results revealed “‘SEALED v. SEALED; Case is not available to the public.'” A follower found that in fact the case number appears tucked in a seizure warrant dating back to September of last year. That, in turn, referenced the infamous Mueller investigation, 233 pages of which have been posted online as well.
That landmark report was the product of special inquiry into the 2016 US presidential election and alleged meddling by Russia in manipulating election results, along with determining if the Trump campaign and subsequent administration violated applicable laws. WikiLeaks is widely considered by law enforcement to have been in cahoots with Russian intelligence or at least hostile to Trump’s then-rival Hillary Clinton due to the media organization’s release of private emails. Messages therein contained supposedly damaging and embarrassing information that might have turned US voters against Clinton and toward Trump, a popular theory held.
“Almost no data in my Google account as I very rarely use it,” Bean explained. “But obv indicates some level of investigation beyond just that.” He attributed DoJ interest in his activities to “3 things: vocal & active supporter of WL & Assange for 10yrs, was in a twitter DM group that incl @wikileaks, visited Assange several times at the embassy.” Julian Assange co-founded WikiLeaks and was a target of Hillary Clinton for years, including public death threats, and is now awaiting possible extradition to the US while being incarcerated in the UK.
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