Swiss cut off bank account for WikiLeaks' Assange

Dec 06, 2010 By JOHN HEILPRIN , Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2010 file photo, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks during a news conference at the Geneva press club, in Geneva, Switzerland. Assange is a former computer hacker who has embarrassed the U.S. government and foreign leaders with his online release of a huge trove of secret American diplomatic cables. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, File)

(AP) -- The Swiss postal system stripped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of a key fundraising tool Monday, accusing him of lying and immediately shutting down one of his bank accounts.

The swift action by Postfinance, the financial arm of Swiss Post, came after it determined the "Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process."

Assange had told Postfinance he lived in Geneva but could offer no proof that he was a Swiss resident, a requirement of opening such an account.

Postfinance spokesman Alex Josty told The Associated Press the account was closed Monday afternoon and there would be "no criminal consequences" for misleading authorities.

"That's his money, he will get his money back," Josty said. "We just close the account and that's it."

The setback leaves Assange with only a few options for for his secret-spilling site through a Swiss-Icelandic credit card processing center and accounts in Iceland and Germany.

WikiLeaks has been under intense international scrutiny over its disclosure of a mountain of classified U.S. diplomatic cables, after previously releasing tens of thousands of classified U.S. on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The unprecedented disclosures have embarrassed the U.S. and other governments worldwide and prompted U.S. officials to pressure the WikiLeaks site and its facilitators.

A Swiss website, wikileaks.ch, has been handling much of the traffic from WikiLeaks after other Internet service and online payment providers began severing ties with the organization.

WikiLeaks' Swedish servers came under suspected attack again Monday, the latest in a series of online computer assaults that have knocked the secret-spilling group across the Web.

, in a tweet to its followers, confirmed it was having difficulty with its PRQ severs but did not elaborate.

"We are investigating the cause," it said.

While U.S. officials are investigating whether they can charge Assange, the 39-year-old Australian faces sexual misconduct allegations connected to his stay in Sweden over the summer.

The Swedish case has been described by his British lawyer Mark Stephens as a political stunt, but it could eventually lead to his extradition from Britain to Sweden. A European arrest warrant was issued for Assange last week and it is currently working its way through the British legal system.

Extradition experts say such warrants can take weeks or even months to lead to an arrest, although high profile cases tend to move faster. The BBC said the Swedish warrant was now with London's Scotland Yard - suggesting that matters were developing quickly.

The broadcaster didn't cite its source, and the police force declined comment.

Scotland Yard would still have to seek a warrant at Westminster and City Magistrates' Court, which handles extradition, before Assange were detained. Such a move would not be announced ahead of time.

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User comments : 23

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Skepticus
4.6 / 5 (10) Dec 06, 2010
Nice natural progression of actions. Destroying reputation, finance and contacts, then...
Blakut
1 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
Hm. Secrets are spilled all over the net while at the same time North Korea attacks the South, forcing everybody's hand. So the Chinese thought the west would be divided and scared.
gmurphy
2.5 / 5 (12) Dec 06, 2010
Frankly, I'm surprised he didn't see this coming, one doesn't challenge the easy life of powerful people without consequences. I personally fully support his acions, maybe not his excessive media dalliances but certainly the exposing of the seedy underbelly of our elected representatives.
Simonsez
2.5 / 5 (18) Dec 06, 2010
@gmurphy

You do realize that his latest actions, namely specifying the "targets of interest" anyone would want to hit who wanted to cripple the U.S., puts 300 million citizens in danger? I don't care so much about the politicians implicated in the first batch of cables, but this latest stunt is unforgiveable.
stealthc
3.1 / 5 (11) Dec 06, 2010
If they want their globalized world, then we will have to purge the underhanded scumbag elitists that are the source of most of human suffering today. Your leaders and the richest of the rich are the reason why this world is going to hell in a hand basket, and yet rather than have the people hold them accountable, tptb hide things -- things which they do not wish wikileaks to publish. Any system that has freedom will include transparancy, the likes of which wikileaks has provided, and will continue to provide.

The powers that be are clearly acting like a guilty party that has much more to hide.
MorituriMax
2.6 / 5 (9) Dec 06, 2010
But the Swiss had no problems dealing with the Nazis for years.
tigger
5 / 5 (8) Dec 06, 2010
All very interesting. The Australian prime minister can't give an answer when asked what law he has broken. U.S are in a similar position, scrambling to make changes to laws for the expressed purpose of being able to arrest him.

This won't stop even if he's arrested... the information wars are well and truly under way now and there appear to be a lot of supporters of freedom of information, as opposed to "freedom of information as long as it doesn't go too far... and we'll decide what 'too far' means, thank you very much".
StarDust21
5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
go download in 256 digit encryption insurance torrent file.
Corban
5 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
The Powers that Be are suprisingly nimble when they want to be.
iPan
5 / 5 (6) Dec 07, 2010
Now, if only a few hundred people were to copycat WikiLeaks, there would be no possible way they could shut down all of them.
Overwhelm them with sheer numbers.
1000 "WikiLeaks" sites by the end of next year.
Replicate.
soulman
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 07, 2010
The sexual misconduct charges are probably trumped up. The Swiss prosecutor originally dropped those charges, but subsequently reinstated them, and sloppily, no doubt due to some strong-arming by the US. And why would such a case warrant and international arrest warrant?

Now, if only a few hundred people were to copycat WikiLeaks, there would be no possible way they could shut down all of them.
Overwhelm them with sheer numbers.
1000 "WikiLeaks" sites by the end of next year.
Replicate.

Kinda like torrent sites.
Skepticus
3 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2010
@gmurphy

You do realize that his latest actions, namely specifying the "targets of interest" anyone would want to hit who wanted to cripple the U.S., puts 300 million citizens in danger? I don't care so much about the politicians implicated in the first batch of cables, but this latest stunt is unforgiveable.

Big deal. Anyboby with malicious intent and an iota of IQ can make up a list of worthwhile targets. As many of the press noted, almost all of them can be Googled. Blame it on the people who are so free, proud, thoughless (or all of them) who make the data visible. Try that from China with infrastructure of China, major industrial complexes, military bases locations, general details of China's intelligence services, branches and personel, etc,.. and you you will have an instant case of servere lead poisoning.

ormondotvos
5 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2010
Five hundred people have already mirrored wikileaks. If you want to understand Assange, http://web.archiv...*/iq.org
Blakut
2 / 5 (6) Dec 07, 2010
I can't really understan the need of the west to self destruct. Yeah, in a world where there's only US, UK and Australia... and maybe Europe, wikileaks is a good ideea. But China is watching. No secrets are to be found out about them. This makes us weak in the face of the Communist Chinese... and one day these leaks will be our downfall. All while celebrating the transparency of the process...
Mesafina
3.5 / 5 (4) Dec 07, 2010
Any public official who is against Wikileaks will never ever ever again receive my vote, nor will any business that impairs them ever receive my money. I will never be using Amazon again, never be using PayPal again.

I will be holding onto archives of every document they ever released, and I recommend all of you do as well. If Wikileaks is removed, spam the files everywhere you can think to. Do not let this die. If you give away your right to information, you might as well go ahead and sign yourself into slavery right now.
otto1932
1 / 5 (24) Dec 07, 2010
I will be holding onto archives of every document they ever released, and I recommend all of you do as well. If Wikileaks is removed, spam the files everywhere you can think to.
You may want to check and see if your personal FBI file is in there first, including your financial records and any other data which might cause you or the company you work for, or the bank where you keep your money, harm. You know, secrets which might do you personal harm as opposed to people you don't know and apparently don't give a shit about, because since there's something secret about them then they must necessarily be guilty of SOMETHING and deserve to have their safety and well-being compromised. Just because YOU say so.

You're an imbecile of the first magnitude.
Javinator
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
I will never be using Amazon again


Sounds like you'll be missing out on some sweeeet deals
Mesafina
not rated yet Dec 08, 2010
He didn't release any bank account numbers or personal financial records, so wth are you talking about? These diplomatic cables concern topics that we as citizens NEED to know. How can we make informed decisions as voters if we don't know how our government is operating? No information was released that has lead to any death's that I know of so far.

What do YOU have to hide Otto?
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (24) Dec 08, 2010
He didn't release any bank account numbers or personal financial records, so wth are you talking about? These diplomatic cables concern topics that we as citizens NEED to know.
According to who? You? You just want to see them because they're secret. And like I say, you only want them released because you're reasonably certain they won't endanger you or people who you know. Probably.
How can we make informed decisions as voters if we don't know how our government is operating
You can't make informed decisions about complex issues, parts of which need to remain secret. If you knew enough about them you would realize WHY they needed to remain secret. That's what educated, experienced professionals are for. Not you.
No information was released that has lead to any death's that I know of so far.
Case in point- how could you possibly know?
What do YOU have to hide Otto?
The extent of my animosity toward willful ignorance like the type you're so eager to demonstrate?
otto1932
1.2 / 5 (23) Dec 08, 2010
The 1/5- last respite of losers made mute by ottos deafening wisdom.
KwasniczJ
1.5 / 5 (2) Dec 08, 2010
The names of all people responsible for this vexation should be made public too.
Mesafina
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 09, 2010
Who gets to make the decision about what should and should not be kept secret? You? The nazi's kept secret's that were vital to their national security, so where do you draw the line, oh wise one? According to you everyone should just take your word for it that 'this' or 'that' is too sensitive.

In the same light that it is impossible for me to say without a doubt that future publications of wikileaks will not result in people coming to harm, it is ALSO equally impossible for you to argue that a future publication couldn't result in people being helped or lives being saved. Your self-assuredness is only a pointer to your apparent bloated ego.
Pete83
5 / 5 (2) Dec 12, 2010
@otto - You claim that you are spreading wisdom when you are clearly just trolling. If you have a point, then make it. You can't simply accuse people of being an "imbecile of the first magnitude" without any evidence. You go on to state that you hate Mesafina, and I believe (it is difficult to follow your madness) that you are upset at the lack of evidence, as you make statements such as "according to whom?". You then go onto to make statements that are clearly your own opinions again without any evidence of your own! You are purely hypocritical sir.

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