Julian Assange – who in 2006 founded WikiLeaks in order to facilitate the work of whistleblowers worldwide – is currently detained in the UK, on an extradition warrant filed by the United States Department of Justice.
Previously, Assange spent years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after the website and the project he founded gained global attention for publishing a number of leaks – including, but by no means limited to the shocking 2010 “Collateral Murder” video provided by Chelsea Manning.
Assange is now detained in the UK, awaiting extradition to the US, where he faces multiple counts under the US Espionage Act of 1917.
Needless to say – in this legal limbo – Assange has little, if no, voice of his own. But his mother is still here to speak for him, and those who might be falling as “collateral” victims merely for sharing her son’s cause in the world – or even for being perceived as such.
“This is ominous,” Christine Assange said in a tweet drawing attention to an Australian graphic designer who is now apparently also targeted by the US Department of Justice.
This is ominous..
Australian graphic designer targeted by the US Dept of Justice,
for merely being a long term supporter of my son & designing fabulous #FreeAssange posters, banners & stickers..
Please follow & support @Somersetbean!
First they came for Assange.. https://t.co/1AjDLsEHbU
— Christine Assange (@MrsC_Assange) December 2, 2019
Christine Assange goes on to explain that the artist – who goes by the name of Somersetbean on Twitter – is under legal threat merely for being a long-time supporter of Julian Assange, and designing “FreeAssange” posters, banners, and stickers.
For his part, the artist said that he “received his badge of honor” upon learning that Google had handed over information related to his Google account to the US Department of Justice.
Finally received my badge of honour with notice that Google have handed over "information related to [my] Google account" to the US DoJ.
— Bean🔥 (@SomersetBean) December 2, 2019
A screenshot included in the tweet apparently shows Google informing its user that their Google account information had been handed over at the request of US Department of Justice.
In comments on Christine Assange’s tweet, the artist suggested that Google was able to scoop up information regardless of the fact that the Google account in question was barely used.
“But this is an indication of some level of investigation beyond just a near empty Google account,” Somersetbean wrote.
Other commenters suggested that the artist’s trouble may stem from the long arm of Google – namely, merely from detecting Somersetbean’s activity in other people’s Google accounts, such as perhaps collaborating in Google Docs – even if their own account had been largely inactive.