The future seems bleak for WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange. According to an Associated Press report, Assange has turned to Switzerland’s credit, postal and Internet infrastructure to keep WikiLeaks alive.
Assange is reportedly seeking asylum in Switzerland. He shared with a Spanish newspaper that he has faced “hundreds of death threats,” in which lawyers and children have also been targeted. This focus is in addition to the pressure he is getting from prosecutors in the U.S. and other countries.
Much of the WikiLeak’s site traffic was coming through the wikileaks.ch Web address Sunday after a number of Web companies dropped WikiLeaks. The Swiss Pirate Party controls the wikileaks.ch address. This group was formed two years ago in an effort to campaign for the freedom of information.
According to information on the site, Assange has been seeking donations to an account held in his name through a Swiss portal system in Bern. He is also using a Swiss-Icelandic credit card processing center and other accounts in Iceland and Germany. He is evidently feeling the crunch since the loss of a major source of revenue in PayPal, which cut off WikiLeaks over the weekend as a result of illegal activity.
Assange is both revered and criticized throughout the global industry. While some view him as a savior of the media and free speech, others criticize him for unleashing diplomatic secrets. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Republican leader, referred to him as a “high-tech terrorist.”
Governments are putting on the pressure, yet WikiLeaks continues to persevere. The Swiss Pirate Party claimed on Sunday that wikileaks.ch received about 3,000 visitors a second. In addition, supporters are creating “mirrors” of the WikiLeaks sites on their own servers, which will keep the diplomatic cables open regardless of what happens to WikiLeaks.
Reports show that Assange has to prove that he has obtained Swiss residency, lives near the Swiss border or owns property or does business in Switzerland to keep the Postfinance bank account he opened last month. U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, Donald Beyer, commented that Switzerland should very carefully consider whether to provide shelter to Assange as he is on the run from the law.
Assange is quoted as saying that he has received hundreds of specific death threats from U.S. military militants. While such threats are not necessarily unusual, he finds the specific calls from the elites in U.S. society that are targeting his lawyers and children to be the most concerning.
At present, Assange is wanted in Sweden to face allegations of sexual offenses against two women. He denies the charges. No country – as of yet – has lodged any charges against him over the leaked documents. Assange is currently the target of a European extradition process.
TechZone360 Contributing Editor
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