A spokesman for Wikileaks has told the media that the website continues to function as normal without it’s founder Julian Assange, and that the only way it could be stopped is for the entire internet to be shut down.
In an interview with ABC News, Wikileaks’ spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson noted that Wikileaks is still on track with a prearranged schedule of releasing information.
Hrafnsson said that Wikileaks remains active despite the detention of Assange, the cutting of access to funds and donations and the continuing denial of service attacks, presumably all carried out at the behest of the US government.
“It is not derailing us in any way,” said Hrafnsson, adding that a group of five to six people is running Wikileaks’ operations in Assange’s absence.
The website has 750 mirror sites all over the world, and has threatened a huge classified information dump if attempts to it shut down are carried through.
The aggressive action taken against wikileaks also threatens to spur widespread backlash in cyberspace and beyond.
“This is a turning tide and starting a trend that you can’t really stop unless you want to shut down the Internet.” Hrafnsson told ABC.
Today we also learned that Sen. Joe Lieberman intends to push for investigation of media outlets that reported on the WikiLeaks cables, and possibly even prosecution, a move that would constitute a chilling attack on the first amendment.
“We are getting seriously close to censorship in the U.S., and that must surely go against the fundamental values the country is based upon,” Wikileaks spokesman Hrafnsson added.
Meanwhile, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern told Russia Today that he believes Assange’s life is in danger:
“From the people with power’s perspective, what they want to do is intimidate people.” McGovern said.
“What they want to do is say that even though we have no evidence against this fellow, even though it’s clearly a setup, we’re going to go after him and we’re going to make sure that every newspaper in the world, when it mentions Julian Assange, it will mention also the word ‘rapist’. It’s a matter of intimidating others in an effort to prevent further disclosures, but the cat is out of the bag.”
“If you look at the statements coming out of the department of defense and also the department of justice, you have very implicit threats. They say we’ll try to do this the right way, but there are other ways, everything is on the table. That’s the same thing the Attorney General said, there are other ways we can get at this. I suppose what he means is other ways than legal ways.”
“So yes, I am very afraid, I think that Julian Assange is in danger, personal danger, personal safety. And it wouldn’t have to be the CIA, it could be some of these “friendly” intelligence services. Mossad comes immediately to mind, who are specialists in targeted assassinations.”
In the light of the threat Assange faces, it is likely that he turned himself in to the British police, not only in order to attempt to clear his name, but considering that he may be safer under custody and under more media scrutiny than effectively staying hidden away.
Assange recently told Spanish media that he has “had hundreds of specific death threats from US military militants” warning that those close to him could be murdered in an attempt to silence him. “Recently the situation has changed, with these threats now extending out [to] our lawyers and my children,” he said.
Former NSA analyst Wayne Madsen added that Assange was likely used as a pawn by the US government as a way to draw attention to the issue of cyber defense and general internet freedoms, but could now have “outlived his usefulness".