Even With WikiLeaks Founder in Jail, Secrets Still Flow

Wednesday, 08 Dec 2010 06:43 AM

 

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LONDON — WikiLeaks published a new set of cables Wednesday, andthe secret-spilling website promised in a defiant message posted online that the leaks would keep on flowing despite the arrest and jailing of its founder on sex allegations.

WikiLeaks is under pressure on many fronts: Its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, is in prison fighting extradition to Sweden. Nearly simultaneous moves by credit card companies Visa and MasterCard to stop processing donations to the website have impaired its ability to raise money, and mysterious cyberattacks have periodically crippled its servers.

In a message published to Twitter on Wednesday, spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson shrugged off the pressure.

On Tuesday evening, "the latest batch of cables were released, and our media partners released their next batch of stories," Hrafnsson said. "We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship . . . Wikileaks is still online. The full site is duplicated in more than 500 locations. Every day, the cables are loaded more than 50 million times."

WikiLeaks has benefited from a massive groundswell of online support. Twitter is choked with messages of solidarity. The site's Facebook page has 1 million fans. And tech-savvy supporters are organizing boycotts and other stunts.

The latest cables cover the details of British-Libyan relations in the run-up to the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi, a sensitive subject that roiled relations between Washington and London. Another cable describes, in detail, the eccentricities of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, while the WikiLeaks website also details an underground Halloween party — complete with moonshine, top-shelf liquor, and prostitutes — thrown by a wealthy Saudi prince in the city of Jeddah.

"Behind the facade of Wahhabi conservatism in the streets, the underground nightlife for Jeddah's elite youth is thriving and throbbing," the cable notes. The party-happy royal's name has been redacted.

Meanwhile, Assange faces a new extradition hearing next week, in which his lawyers say they will reapply for bail. The 39-year-old Australian is accused of rape, molestation, and unlawful coercion stemming from separate sexual encounters in August with two women in Sweden. Assange denies the allegations.


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