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Friday, 04 December 2020

Swiss close bank account of WikiLeaks founder

Swiss Post Office banking closed Julian Assange's accounts as his website releases U.S. secrets, including a list of key sites that could be targeted by terrorists.

AFP, Wednesday 8 Dec 2010
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Switzerland on Monday closed a bank account set up by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as his website unveiled a secret list of key infrastructure sites around the world that could be targeted by terrorists.
The Swiss Post Office's banking arm said it had closed an account set up by the embattled Australian after he gave false information.
"PostFinance has ended its business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Paul Assange," the bank said in a statement.
And in one of its most explosive leaks of US secrets so far, WikiLeaks divulged a list of key infrastructure sites around the world that, if attacked by terrorists, could critically harm US security.Switzerland closed on Monday a bank account set up by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as his website unveiled a secret list of key infrastructure sites around the world that could be targeted by terrorists.

The Swiss Post Office's banking arm said it had closed an account set up by the embattled Australian after he had given false information.

"PostFinance has ended its business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Paul Assange," the bank said in a statement.

In one of its most explosive leaks of U.S. secrets thus far, WikiLeaks revealed a list of key infrastructure sites around the world that, if attacked by terrorists, could critically harm U.S. security.

The whistle-blowing website released a U.S. State Department cable from February 2009, asking its missions to update a list of infrastructure and key resources worldwide whose loss "could critically impact" the country's public health, economy and national security.

Among other disclosures, the latest WikiLeaks document dump showed Australia's then-prime minister Kevin Rudd warning U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that force might be needed against China "if everything goes wrong."

But the most sensational revelation was the list detailing undersea cables, key communications, ports, mineral resources and firms of strategic importance in countries ranging from Britain to New Zealand, including in Africa, the Middle East and China.

Also listed were European manufacturers of vaccines for smallpox and rabies, an Italian maker of treatment for snake-bite venom, and a German company making treatment for plutonium poisoning.

Compilation of the list would help "prevent, deter, neutralize or mitigate the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorists to destroy, incapacitate or exploit" sites deemed of "vital" importance to the United States, the cable said.

Britain condemned the release of the documents, which gave locations of British undersea cables, satellite systems and defence plants, as "damaging to national security."

The release will add to the political storm engulfing WikiLeaks and its 39-year-old founder Julian Assange, who broke cover on Friday to say in an online chat that he had boosted his security after receiving death threats.

The website is already battling to secure its avenues for financial donations online, and has been hop-scotching across servers and legal jurisdictions to evade a total shutdown.

In Switzwerland, PostFinance said it shut down Assange's account after the Australian provided false information about his place of residence which his application had said was in Geneva.

"Assange cannot provide proof of residence in Switzerland and thus does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship with PostFinance. For this reason, PostFinance is entitled to close his account," the bank said.

WikiLeaks had advertised the PostFinance account details online so that users may "donate directly to the Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks Staff Defence Fund."

The whistle-blowing website released a State Department cable from February 2009 asking US missions to update a list of infrastructure and key resources worldwide whose loss "could critically impact" the country's public health, economic life and national security.
Among other disclosures, the latest WikiLeaks document dump showed Australia's then prime minister Kevin Rudd warning US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that force might be needed against China "if everything goes wrong".
But the most sensational revelation was the list detailing undersea cables, key communications, ports, mineral resources and firms of strategic importance in countries ranging from Britain to New Zealand, via Africa, the Middle East and China.
Also listed were European manufacturers of vaccines for smallpox and rabies, an Italian maker of treatment for snake-bite venom, and a German company making treatment for plutonium poisoning.
Compilation of the list would help "prevent, deter, neutralize or mitigate the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorists to destroy, incapacitate or exploit" sites deemed of "vital" importance to the United States, the cable said.
Britain condemned the release, which gave locations of British undersea cables, satellite systems and defence plants, as "damaging to national security".
The release will add to the political storm engulfing WikiLeaks and its 39-year-old founder Julian Assange, who broke cover on Friday to say in an online chat that he had boosted his security after receiving death threats.
The website is already battling to secure its avenues for financial donations online, and has been hop-scotching across servers and legal jurisdictions to evade a total shutdown.
In Switzwerland, PostFinance said it shut down Assange's account after the Australian provided false information about his place of residence which his applicaton had said was in Geneva.
"Assange cannot provide proof of residence in Switzerland and thus does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship with PostFinance. For this reason, PostFinance is entitled to close his account," it said.
WikiLeaks had advertised the PostFinance account details online to "donate directly to the Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks Staff Defence Fund," giving an account name of "Assange Julian Paul, Geneve."

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