Quantcast
Connect with us

‘A new type of business McCarthyism’ hunts WikiLeaks, site founder says

Published

on

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denounced “business McCarthyism” in the United States after the Bank of America halted all transactions to the website Saturday.

The Australian, who was spending his second full day on bail, vowed the whistle-blowing site would carry on releasing controversial leaked US diplomatic cables as he insisted his life was under threat.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bank of America, the largest US bank, halted all transactions for WikiLeaks, joining other institutions that have refused to process payments for the website since it started to publish the documents last month.

“Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks,” it said in a statement.

“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.”

Assange said there was a fiscal witch-hunt against the website.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s a new type of business McCarthyism in the US to deprive this organisation of the funds that it needs to survive, to deprive me personally of the funds that my lawyers need to protect me against extradition to the US or to Sweden,” Assange told AFP.

The term, referring to allegations of treason or subversion without proof, was coined to describe the anti-communist pursuits of former US senator Joseph McCarthy from the late 1940s to the 1950s.

Assange is staying at the mansion of journalist friend Vaughan Smith as part of his bail conditions while he fights extradition. He must also report daily to the police station in the nearby market town of Beccles, eastern England.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 39-year-old, who had been held in a London jail before being granted bail, is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women, which he denies.

“The case in Sweden is a travesty in the way it has been conducted. No person should be exposed to that type of investigation or persecution,” he said.

“It’s not performed in an open way, there are lots of underhanded dealings, giving out selected materials that we do even have.

ADVERTISEMENT

He added: “I have seen a statement from one of the witnesses that she was bamboozled… I have heard a rumour that one has withdrawn her statement.”

The former computer hacker said he fears for his safety.

“There is a threat to my life. There is a threat to my staff. There are significant risks facing us,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Nonetheless, he vowed that WikiLeaks would continue releasing material.

“We are a robust organisation. During my time in solitary confinement we continued to publish everyday and its not going to change,” he said.

Assange claimed earlier in an interview with Forbes magazine that a “megaleak” by the website will target a major US bank “early next year”.

WikiLeaks has enraged Washington with its release of thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables and confidential military documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

ADVERTISEMENT

Assange said Friday it looked “increasingly likely” the US would try to extradite him on charges related to the leaked cables as he savoured his first day on bail.

He said his lawyers believed a secret US grand jury investigation had been started into his role in the release.

Media reports suggest that US prosecutors are trying to build a case against Assange on the grounds that he encouraged a US soldier, Bradley Manning, to steal US cables from a government computer and pass them to WikiLeaks.

A report by congressional researchers said the Espionage Act and other US laws could be used to prosecute Assange, but there is no known precedent for prosecuting publishers in such a case.

ADVERTISEMENT

US Vice President Joe Biden said that the leaks had “damaged and put into jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world” and made it difficult to conduct business with allies.

“For example, in my meetings — I meet with most senior world leaders — there is a desire now to meet with me alone, rather than have staff with me in the room. It makes things more cumbersome. So it has done damage,” he said in an excerpt from interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, due to air Sunday.

The latest US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks indicated that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir siphoned off nine billion dollars (6.79 billion euros) of oil money into British bank accounts.

Meanwhile, according to yet another cable, the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, said last year the world should focus on climate change in Tibet rather than politics.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Maggie Haberman details the insane few hours Trump had a impeachment lawyer — before he was basically out

Published

on

For one brief day this week, President Donald Trump hired former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to help him with a recently launched impeachment inquiry by the House. It took mere hours before the footage was revealed of Gowdy attacking the previous White House for not providing requested documents about Hillary Clinton.

While an impeachment inquiry is supposed to give more teeth to a Congressional investigation, the White House has still refused to cooperate, comply with subpoenas or even allow department staffers to appear and answer questions.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump goes after Fox News’ Chris Wallace after Shep Smith departure

Published

on

President Donald Trump appears to be waging his own war against Fox News hosts that report the factual news and not opinions.

Friday, longtime Fox newsman Shep Smith was officially released from his contract, at his request and fellow Fox staffers are warning it's only the beginning. But now, it seems the president is seeing his sights on ridding the network of anyone who doesn't parrot his policies, politics, talking points or dares to fact-check him.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Robert Reich walks through all the ways Trump is selling America to foreign powers for his own personal profit

Published

on

Notorious class warrior Robert Reich wrote a sharp attack of President Donald Trump for his international policies that are doing nothing more than scoring him personal cash and power.

Writing for The Guardian, Reich called Trump "the most xenophobic and isolationist American president in modern history," saying that the president has been "selling America to foreign powers for his own personal benefit."

While Trump promised during the 2016 election that he would "bring troops home," it was likely assumed that Trump meant the decades-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The work on the ground in Syria was mostly being done by Kurdish allies and not American soldiers. The number of troops on the ground in Syria, prior to Turkey beginning their bombing campaign, was relatively low.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image