Wikileaks under siege as founder detained
The Wikileaks organization is under siege, with founder Julian Assange held in a UK jail and the site facing increasing difficulty in raising funds.
Assange was remanded in custody on Swedish sexual assault charges yesterday after being denied bail due to fears he would flee the country before a deportation hearing next week, the BBC reported.
His lawyers say the Swedish charges, which involve alleged assaults on two women in August, are politically motivated, however his arrest didn’t prevent Wikileaks from releasing the latest batch of diplomatic cables last night.
The fresh issue takes the tally of leaked US State Department cables to 900 out of a total of around 251,000, and site spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson vowed it would continue, regardless of whether Assange was at the helm or not.
However Kevin Poulsen, a high-profile former US hacker who now writes for Wired, claimed the site was in disarray due to the organization’s “secrecy and compartmentalization.”
Meanwhile, Visa Europe has become the latest US corporation to cut off service, temporarily suspending support for online donations to the group while it probes whether the site breaches its compliance rules, a spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net.
Rival MasterCard is planning to follow suit, the BBC reported.
Payment site PayPal cut ties with Wikileaks on December 4, and various sources state the firm’s Swiss bank account has been frozen.
Wikileaks began setting up mirror sites around the world to post the State Department cables after its US domain provider EveryDNS shut it down on December 3.
At the latest count late Tuesday, it was mirrored on 1005 sites.