WikiLeaks’ domain killed; Assange faces arrest



WikiLeaks’ domain killed; Assange faces arrest Zeenews Bureau

Paris: Days after launching its ongoing revelation assault that has shook capitals around the world, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange faced an existential threat on Friday as the domain of the website was ‘killed’ in the US and Assange faced another arrest warrant and attack threats. The whistleblower website WikiLeaks was put back on line with a new Swiss address -- Wikileaks.ch -- six hours after its previous domain name -- Wikileaks.org -- was killed.

" WikiLeaks moves to Switzerland," the group declared on Twitter, although an Internet trace of the new domain name suggested that the site itself is still hosted in Sweden and in France.

Earlier WikiLeaks said that it had been taken offline by its US-based domain name hosting firm provider following allegations of massive cyber attacks on the site.

"WikiLeaks.org domain killed by US everydns.net after claimed mass attacks," a message on the whistle blowing website's Twitter feed said.

"KEEP US STRONG," the message continued, inserting the link to a donations website.

A statement on the everydns.net website said the company provided domain name services (DNS) to WikiLeaks until 0300 GMT Friday, when such services were terminated.

Attacks likely by 'state actor': Assange lawyer

The lawyer for Assange said that a "state actor" is likely to blame for massive cyber attacks on the whistleblower website after it released secret US diplomatic cables.

Mark Stephens said the "sophisticated" efforts to take down the site may be part of a general effort to silence the elusive Assange, after Sweden said it was issuing a fresh arrest warrant for him on sexual assault charges.

"Somebody, probably a state actor, has taken control of literally hundreds of thousands of vulnerable computers across the world and got them all to dial in to the WikiLeaks website simultaneously," Stephens said to a news agency.

"It's very sophisticated and we know that Julian has suffered a number of such attacks, we know there have also been some odd other things going on in Sweden," added Stephens, who is based in London.

Asked which country he believed was responsible, he replied: "I am not prepared to go into further details that we have."

Assange's chat foiled by heavy traffic

An online question-and-answer session with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been crippled by heavy traffic but it's not immediately clear if The Guardian newspaper website is under a denial-of-service attack.

The Guardian said on one of its Twitter feeds that readers should be patient because the website is under heavy visitor loads.

Assange has not made a public appearance in nearly a month, although he has spoken to journalists over the Internet.



Second arrest warrant issued

Sweden issued a second warrant for the arrest and extradition of Julian Assange, who is reported to be in the UK at a secret location.

"We sent it. They asked for complementary information and now they have it," Swedish Prosecution Authority spokeswoman Karin Rosander said.

His British lawyer Mark Stephens told the BBC that the police knew where Assange was living if they needed to get in touch with him.

Swedish prosecutors drew up a second European Arrest Warrant, after the first was rejected on legal grounds.

Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sex crimes although no charges have been laid. British authorities, however, did not confirm that the second arrest warrant has been received.

Assange denies the allegations and has vowed to fight them in court, saying they are part of a smear campaign against him.

His lawyer said his client was in a "bizarre situation" where he had tried to seek a meeting with the Swedish prosecutor to discuss the charges against him, but had been rebuffed.

The warrant, valid in all EU member states, requires the receiving member state to arrest and extradict the suspect within 90 days of arrest, or within 10 days if the arrested person consents to surrender.

Assange boosts security after death threats

Assange said in a question and answer session on The Guardian newspaper's website that his team was taking security precautions due to "threats against our lives".

"The threats against our lives are a matter of public record. However, we are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we are able when dealing with a super power," Assange wrote in response to a reader's question.

A Canadian pundit called earlier this week for him to be assassinated for leaking US diplomatic cables, while former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said those responsible for the leaks should face execution.

Assange also said that some of the diplomatic memos obtained by the whistleblowing website contain references to UFOs, although he did not give further details.

"It is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the 'cablegate' archive there are indeed references to UFOs," he wrote when asked if any of the documents he had received referred to extraterrestrial life.

With PTI inputs