WikiLeaks battles to stay online

Last Updated: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 00:52

London: WikiLeaks was battling to stay online on Saturday after Sweden issued a new arrest warrant for its elusive boss Julian Assange, while PayPal axed donations access for the whistleblowing website.

The Times newspaper, citing police sources, reported that Assange -- who is believed to be in Britain -- could be arrested next week. Other media suggested that the 39-year-old Australian could face arrest within 10 days.

Swedish prosecutors have issued a new international arrest warrant for Assange on sex assault allegations that incorporated missing elements which had been requested by British police.

Assange broke cover yesterday to say in an online chat that he had boosted security after receiving death threats amid the storm that was unleashed by his site`s decision to publish 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

The WikiLeaks website was meanwhile forced to turn to Switzerland for a new domain name after its original wikileaks.org address was shut down by an American provider, while Paris tried to ban French servers from hosting it.

The Swiss address -- wikileaks.ch -- was up and running again on Saturday after migrating to new servers, the group which owns the name said.

But in a fresh twist, US-based online financial transactions service PayPal revealed overnight that it would stop taking donations for WikiLeaks.

"PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal acceptable use policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity," it said in a statement.

In a message on its Twitter feed, WikiLeaks blamed "US government pressure" for the PayPal ban.

Over the past several days, WikiLeaks has published dozens of cables, creating an international firestorm as American diplomats` private assessments of foreign leaders and politics has been publicly aired.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has described the leaks as "an attack on the world", has contacted dozens of foreign leaders to smooth over friction and will continue to do so for "the next weeks," she told journalists.

"I haven`t seen everybody in the world, and apparently there are 252,000 of these things (leaks) out there in cyberspace somewhere," she said, noting with a smile that they had not yet all been published.
"So I think I`ll have some outreach to continue doing over the next weeks just to make sure that as things become public, if they raise concerns, I will be prepared to reach out and talk to my counterparts and heads of state and governments," she added.

Bureau Report



First Published: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 00:52

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