A group of Internet activists calling themselves Operation Payback have taken credit for shutting down the website of a bank that earlier Monday froze funds belonging to WikiLeaks.
Announcing its successful hack on a Twitter account, the group declared, “We will fire at anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks.”
Earlier in the day, Swiss bank PostFinance issued a statement announcing that it had frozen 31,000 euro ($41,000 US) in an account set up as a legal defense fund for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The bank said it had frozen the account because, in opening it, Assange had claimed residency in Geneva.
“Assange cannot provide proof of residence in Switzerland and thus does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship with PostFinance,” the bank said.
As of Monday evening, the PostFinance website was unavailable.
With the financial noose tightening around WikiLeaks even as a legal one tightens around its founder’s neck, Operation Payback has effectively declared war on the organizations working to hobble WikiLeaks.
“In these modern times, Internet access is fast becoming a basic human right,” the group says in a video posted to YouTube. “Just like any other basic human right, we believe it is wrong to infringe upon it.”
The video continues: “To move to censor content on the Internet based on your own prejudice is, at best, laughably impossible. The unjust restrictions you impose on us will meet with disaster, and only strengthen our resolve to disobey and rebel against your tyranny.”
WikiLeaks has in recent days been under a deluge of cyber-attacks that led to its DNS registration for its .org URL being taken down, but by mid-Monday the site had reappeared on more than 500 different domains.
News sources in Britain reported late Monday that Assange has arranged to meet with British police on Tuesday, and will likely face a court hearing over an international warrant issued by Sweden in connection with accusations of sexual assault. The criminal probe does not allege non-consensual sex, only that Assange had sex with two women without a condom.
Supporters of the secret-spilling organization argue that the controversies surrounding WikiLeaks — from the unusual criminal probe against Assange, to banks freezing their funds — are part of a global campaign to shut down a website that has embarrassed world leaders on numerous occasions.
— With earlier reporting by Stephen C. Webster
The following video was posted to YouTube by Operation Payback.
Louisiana Democrat re-elected governor — despite Trump’s rallies for the Republican candidate
The Associated Press has called the Lousiana's governor's race for incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards.
Edwards triumphed over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who called to concede.
The outcome is another major political loss for President Donald Trump, who had held multiple campaign rallies for Rispone.
During his most recent rally, Trump begged the crowd to give him a "big win" in the election.
Eddie Rispone has conceded the #lagov race to Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the Democrat four more years in ruby red Louisiana despite Trump’s best efforts to flip the seat. Edwards camp says Rispone called minutes ago to concede. #lagov #lalege
Press secretary says it is ‘dangerous for the country’ to question whether she is putting out honest info
Press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday argued it was "dangerous for the country" for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.
Grisham made her argument after President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital for an unannounced doctor's visit, resulting in a great deal of speculation.
Following the visit, Grisham claimed Trump was "healthy" and "without complaints" -- a claim many found unlikely as the president has spent a good deal of time as president airing his many grievances.
Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report
Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.
"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.