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WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: Stateless, penniless pariahs?

In the latest blow, online payment service PayPal has cut off WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, WikiLeaks has been forced to move from website to website, and Julian Assange has gone to ground.

By Staff writer / December 4, 2010

WikiLeaks' American domain name system provider withdrew service to the wikileaks.org name after the website became the target of hacker attacks. EveryDNS said in a statement that it dropped the website late Thursday because the attacks threatened the rest of its network. WikiLeaks responded by moving to a Swiss domain name, wikileaks.ch.

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WikiLeaks and its beleaguered founder Julian Assange are beginning to look like stateless, penniless pariahs. And yet they continue to dominate the news as government secrets keep emerging, along with the likelihood that inside information about US corporations will be revealed as well.

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In the latest blow, the online payment service PayPal has cut off WikiLeaks. On its blog, PayPal says that WikiLeaks has violated a policy "which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity."

Trying to donate money to WikiLeaks via PayPal now generates an error message saying "this recipient is currently unable to receive money."

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports from Berlin, WikiLeaks has become an “Internet vagabond … forced to move from one website to another as governments and hackers hounded the organization, trying to deprive it of a direct line to the public.”

That began Wednesday when Amazon bounced WikiLeaks from its cloud-based servers.

Another major provider of domain name system services, EveryDNS in Manchester, New Hampshire, stopped directing traffic to wikileaks.org Thursday after it said cyber attacks threatened the rest of its network.

“Wikileaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks,” the company reported on its website. “These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites.”

It was a tough decision for the New Hampshire company.

“First, let’s be clear, this is a difficult issue to deal with and there are opinions on all sides,” the company post reads. “Second, EveryDNS.net, the world’s largest free managed DNS provider, is not taking a position on the content hosted on the wikileaks.org or wikileaks.ch website, it is following established policies so as not to put any one EveryDNS.net user’s interests ahead of any others. Lastly, regardless of what people say about the actions of EveryDNS.net, we know this much is true – we believe in our New Hampshire state motto, Live Free or Die.”

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