UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



London Court Denies WikiLeaks Founder Bail

07 December 2010

A London court has ordered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be held in custody while he fights extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex offenses.

The court denied Assange bail Tuesday, hours after he turned himself in to British police.

The case against Assange stems from his encounters with two women in August. His lawyer says the dispute is over "consensual but unprotected sex" and that the charges are politically motivated.

In a defiant post on its Twitter feed Tuesday, WikiLeaks vowed it will continue to release its stash of classified documents and called for more donations to keep the site alive.

The U.S-based credit card company Visa decided Tuesday to suspend all payments to the WikiLeaks website. Credit card company MasterCard and online payment company PayPal have taken similar action.

A group of online activists called "Anonymous" has begun retaliating against organizations that have refused to deal with WikiLeaks , launching online attacks that shut down their sites or slow them down.

Assange defended his actions in an opinion piece published Tuesday in the Australian newspaper. He said WikiLeaks is part of a strong media and that reporting the truth keeps governments honest.

The most recent memos released by WikiLeaks say NATO drew up military plans to defend Baltic nations against a Russian attack after Russia's conflict with Georgia in 2008. The Guardian newspaper says the memos reveal that secret plans to protect Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were drawn up at NATO headquarters at the urging of the United States and Germany.

The cables leaked by WikiLeaks point to underlying tensions in the relationship between the former Cold War adversaries.

WikiLeaks has been under intense political pressure since it began releasing 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables last week. U.S. officials have said the action has put national security at risk and that a criminal investigation in underway.

The group has been publishing the cables on the Internet, as well as through five major newspapers, The Guardian, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais.

Although the WikiLeaks website and its servers have been shut down in the past week, supporters have opened hundreds of mirror sites, allowing the documents to remain readily available online.

Earlier, WikiLeaks released a secret U.S. government list of infrastructure and resource sites around the world that the United States considers critical to its interests. U.S. and British officials said the publication of the list puts lives at risk.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday described the release of the cables as "illegal," saying it poses real concerns and even potential damage to the United States' friends and partners around the world.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list