New York: Famous Harvard Law Professor
Alan Dershowitz, who represented O J Simpson and Mike Tyson,
is joining the WikiLeaks legal team, the online organisation
said in a tweet.
WikiLeaks, in same tweet, also expressed its concern
about an action brought by the US government against Twitter
to "disclose the names, dates and locations of all persons who
have used its services to receive messages" from Wikileaks or
"This is an outrageous attack by Obama administration
on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter`s customers -
many of them American citizens," Assange said.
"More shocking, at this time, is that it amounts to an
attack on the right to freedom of association, a freedom that
the people of Tunisia and Egypt, for example, spurred on by
the information released by Wikileaks, have found so
valuable," he added.
Yesterday, a federal judge in Virgina agreed to
consider the case brought by US Attorney General Eric Holder.
Lawyers for the three Twitter customers, including
Assange, argued that their clients` information is protected
by the First Amendment, The Washington Post reported.
The newspaper said that the government has requested
personal Twitter information for Assange, Bradley Manning -
the Army private who is suspected of supplying classified
material to WikiLeaks, Birgitta Jonsdottir- a former WikiLeaks
activist who is also a member of Iceland`s parliament,
computer programmers Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch citizen, and Jacob
Appelbaum, an American.
"It is indeed ironic making this argument here given
what`s going on in Egypt and the whole idea of politics and
the use of social networks like Twitter," defense lawyer John
Keker was quoted as saying by The Post.
The government, however, argued that the information
they seek - addresses, bank account and credit information and
e-mails are not related to what was they but is needed as
part of their ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks.
"This is a standard request that is used everyday all
over the country in criminal investigations," said John S
Davis, the government lawyer.
"This is not about politics. This is about the facts
and evidence. It`s about the communications among people that
might show association," Davis told the judge.
In its tweet, WikiLeaks said that the head of its UK
legal team, Geoffrey Robertson QC, brought in Dershowitz to
take advise on the Holder`s case in the Virgina federal court.
While Twitter was resisting the subpoena, WikiLeaks
said that it was certain that other service providers like
Google, Facebook and Yahoo may have already provided
information to the government by way of a deal under the
secrecy provisions introduced by the Patriot Act.
"We are all asking all service providers to explain
whether they too have been served with a similar order, and
whether, they have caved into it," Assange said.