As noted, LibertyLynx received a link to a video of Jacob Appelbaum speaking in Germany at Digitale Gesellschaft on June 25, 2013 in which he admits that he was in Hawaii in April 2013 -- which as we know was the same time Edward Snowden was -- and then goes on to paint a picture of this as some kind of fantastic coincidence, i.e. that he hasn't now been caught out in a lie claiming he hadn't heard of Snowden before he was contacted by him in May over encrypted email with Laura Poitras' help.
Naturally, I don't believe him, for all sorts of reasons. One, because in my first encounters with him, I found him to be such a liar and such a thug, whistling for Anonymous to harass me because I kept calling out the propagandistic lies of WikiLeaks in the "Collateral Murder" video. Appelbaum, like so many WikiLeaks propagandists on day-old accounts on Twitter assigned to heckle bloggers, claimed falsely that American soldiers deliberately shot the children in the van in Iraq. I continued to challenge this as false, as they couldn't possibly see that the van had children in it, and there was absolutely nothing to support this narrative, which was concocted.
Then when I saw Appelbaum's other performances, either in person or on videos on Youtube, I saw what a fabulist and paranoic racconteur he was, and I really was skeptical.
On this story, he makes it sound as if the trip to Hawaii -- paid for by friends unknown -- was some kind of "dream come true" as if it were the fulfillment of a long-held wish.
But he was in Hawaii the year before doing the same thing, so it sounds odd to speak of the second (or next) trip as being this long-awaited wish fulfillment.
Here's the transcript -- where he describes the Hawaii story and then goes on to tell a Boston story:
To give you an example, I just turned 30 and now that I'm halfway to death I...I uh just kidding...you can't be halfway at 98%, but whatever happens it was murder...so...um...terrible...anyway...uh...I..I...I think it's important to understand this...right.
I'm in Berlin right now because I had the really fucking awful unfortunate mistake of for my whole life dreaming to go to Hawaii, to go swimming with mantarays and dolphins and like all this other like you know unicorns and rainbows and all that stuff, right? We didn't find any unicorns and rainbows; well, we actually found two rainbows but no unicorns. And uh, so I was in Hawaii in April for my 30th birthday. And 20 of my friends came. And it was like the most incredible thing I had ever experienced.
Like, if you want to feel loved, have 20 people fly for a really fucking long time to an island in the middle of an ocean, right, and to fly you there as a gift for your birthday. So I felt really loved and I felt like this is incredible, what a fantastic thing and what great friends, and I'm so lucky to have, you know, friends like this in my life.
The problem with data retention is that it tells a story about you which is not necessarily true, and I've said this many times, but it's made up of facts, individual facts which may be correct, but the story that they tell depends on who's telling the story. So the narrator of a story...Like let's say an analyst, looking at your data trial because of a grand jury, let's say related to WikiLeaks, or other things, let's say the largest national security leak in human history. Well, can you imagine what that analyst is thinking, now that I've had the misfortune of finally living this childhood dream? Only to have two months later, a guy from Hawaii being stationed in Hawaii, leaking these documents. So here's a great threat, I don't actually trust that my country is a safe enough place. That I should wait around and see if justice still exists. So I came to Berlin because I thought it would be a much better place to write about some of the things that are taking place now, to work with people that are interested in understanding the surveillance, because for a decade I've worked on these issues, and finally, we have the information, as you've seen in Der Spiegel recently and in the Guardian, and it's possible for us finally to really understand the way the world is working, the way these systems are really watching us
But with data retention, it might tell a different story for an analyst. And can you imagine that, what that story might be. I can imagine that. Because several years ago, I had the misfortune also of flying to another place, from a different island, which is that I was in Iceland with a fellow by the name of Julian. And I happened to be in Boston which I flew by on the way home. And I stopped in Boston for a number of days. I've never talked about this in public, but I'm fucked enough now that it really can't make it any worse but and if it does, it's still worth telling.
I just happened to be there to visit a friend of mine. And then I went home. And it was no big deal. But think about what an analyst would think of this, right. So you've got these like spook analysts, they look at the data trail you leave behind
Well, what happened was that during the WikiLeaks grand jury, the friend that I went to visit in Boston, she was interrogated about me. And the story they told which is not true was that Manning -- again, not true -- had handed me everything -- which is not true -- I gotta keep saying that every other word, right? Think about that.
And the reason that out of 6 million other people in this area that they would say that is because there was a data trail where I used a credit card, where I used a telephone, whatever the case might be. So my friend was interrogated about this theory. Which was just a theory, and it turns out that when Manning's trial started, he actually talked about what happened, he actually leaked documents to WikiLeaks, and you'll note that he did not mention me at all. But the analysts, and the Department of Justice, they told a totally different story because with all the data there you can tell whatever story you like This is an incredibly dangerous thing. So I just decided, I'll spend some time in Europe. I've been through this once before with the Manning issue. I can't even imagine what these analysts are thinking now, and the only thing worse that I can imagine than diplomats and army people and military people is spies. Shit, what bad luck.
So perhaps what we have here finally is at least one name in the case that Edward Snowden gave in his interview with Laura Poitras for Der Spiegel. Remember how I kept asking and asking for the one case -- the one concrete case! -- that Snowden mentioned admidst his flury of vague generalities?
He said there was a "suspected hacker's girlfriend" who was interrogated on the basis of the NSA snooping on her cell phone.
Snowden: Yes, of course. We're in bed together with the Germans the same as with most other Western countries. For example, we2 tip them off when someone we want is flying through their airports (that we for example, have learned from the cell phone of a suspected hacker's girlfriend in a totally unrelated third country -- and they hand them over to us. They don't ask to justify how we know something, and vice versa, to insulate their political leaders from the backlash of knowing how grievously they're violating global privacy.
Snowden seems to have implied that this snooping was of the PRISM sort, or somehow involved the "Tempora" program and the hub in the UK, although one source (completely untrustworthy because anonymous and in comments under a news article) told me that he knew who it was, knew that the story was accidently leaked by a "small publication" (unknown) and that it was a manual surveillance, not the big electronic dragnet of the sort Snowden is gasping about.
Could Jacob Appelbaum be the "suspected hacker"? and could the "girlfriend" be just the girl who was a friend in Boston?
I was guessing before that this was Quinn Norton, and it could still be. But it might be someone else, we'll have to think.
I don't believe a word of what Appelbaum is saying here, but I do see that he is spinning madly, trying to obfuscate, trying to put versions out "in plain sight," trying to set up people to stare at "the hall of mirrors that is the Interwebs".
(I'm wondering how the LibertyLynx's source found this rather obscure video of a meeting that few would know about if they weren't in hacker circles -- maybe that source had some help, and maybe from WikiLeaks.)
I don't believe him when he says he didn't help Manning because of course he helped WikiLeaks. And the story could simply be more complicated, and he is merely being literalist and cunning. For example, he could have helped someone else who helped Manning, and be two or three people removed. The hacking circles at MIT keep cropping up in all these stories. I believe Aaron Swartz could be related to the WikiLeaks story as well because of the Grand Jury questioning of his ex-girl friend Quinn Norton, and because of the FOIA's that he himself filed on Manning, as if he wanted to see "what they know about me".