“While we don’t have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons,” the group said in a statement. “We want transparency and we counter censorship … we intend to utilize our resources to raise awareness, attack those against and support those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy.”
The website for Swedish lawyer Claes Borgstrom, who represents the two women at the center of Mr. Assange’s sex-crimes case, was unreachable Wednesday.
The Swiss postal system’s financial arm, Postfinance, which shut down Mr. Assange’s bank account on Monday, also was having trouble. Spokesman Alex Josty said the website buckled under a barrage of traffic Tuesday.
“Yesterday it was very, very difficult, then things improved overnight,” he told the AP. “But it’s still not entirely back to normal.”
Ironically, the microblogging site Twitter, home of much WikiLeaks support, could become the next target. Operation Payback posted a statement saying, “Twitter you’re next for censoring Wikileaks discussion.”
Some WikiLeaks supporters accuse Twitter of preventing the term “WikiLeaks” from appearing as one of its popular “trending topics.” Twitter denies censorship, saying the topics are determined by an algorithm.
Meanwhile, the French government’s effort to stop a company from hosting WikiLeaks has failed, at least for now.
The Web services company OVH, which says a client hosts the wikileaks.ch website, sought a ruling by two courts about the legality of hosting WikiLeaks in France. The judges said they couldn’t decide right away on the highly technical case.
WikiLeaks angered the U.S. government earlier this year when it posted a video showing U.S. troops gunning down two Reuters journalists. Since then, the organization has leaked some 400,000 classified U.S. war files from Iraq and 76,000 from Afghanistan that U.S. military officials say contained information that could put people’s lives at risk.
The latest leaks involve private U.S. diplomatic cables that included frank U.S. assessments of foreign nations and their leaders. Those cables have embarrassed U.S. allies, angered rivals and reopened old wounds across the world. U.S. State and Defense department officials said foreign powers have curtailed their dealings with the U.S. government since the documents hit the Internet.
“The core of all this lies with the failure of the government of the United States to properly protect its own diplomatic communications,” Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Wednesday. “To have several million people on their distribution list for a quarter of a million cables — that’s where the problem lies.”
Mr. Assange, meanwhile, faces a new extradition hearing on Tuesday in London, where, his lawyers said, they will reapply for bail. Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, has denied the two women’s allegations in Sweden of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion and is fighting his extradition to that country.
In a Twitter message Wednesday, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson shrugged off the challenges and noted that the site still releasing documents and is mirrored by supporters in over 500 locations.
“We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship … WikiLeaks is still online,” Mr. Hrafnsson said.