Julian Assange arrested in London

WikiLeaks’ founder and director Julian Assange has been arrested this Tuesday morning at 9.30am (GMT) at a police station in London. According to a statement by the Metropolitan police, he has been arrested based on a Swedish arrest warrant, and is scheduled to appear at City of Westminster magistrates court later today.

The Guardian reports that Assange’s British lawyers are claiming that he has still not been informed by the Swedish police of the full allegations against him, and that they will fight to stop the extradition process, since they believe the whole situation is the result of a smear campaign conducted by the US and are worried that somehow Assange could end up extradited to that country because US politicians are clamoring for getting him indicted for various charges – including terrorism.

The accusations laid against him by the Swedish authorities include one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape, which allegedly happened in August 2010.

In the meantime, the WikiLeaks website is going strong – mirrored by more than 700 sites, there is no immediate worry that it could become inaccessible. The organization has encountered funding problems, though, as the Swiss Bank Post Finance has frozen Assange’s defense fund and personal assets in the amount of €31,000, Business Insider reports.

Add to it the €60,000 of donations that they can’t get their hands on it since the PayPal account they used to funnel them has been frozen a couple of days ago, and you have a pretty big financial hit to an organization that bases its funding mostly on donations.

These moves have not passed without revenge from hacktivist group Anonymous, who declared its intentions of helping WikiLeaks. First, they DDoSed PayPal’s blog, then they turned their attention to the site of the Swiss Bank Post Finance (http://www.postfinance.ch) and crashed it. It is debatable whether these actions have any long term effect, but I guess WikiLeaks appreciates the effort.

It is also interesting to note that so far both Facebook and Twitter have decided not to follow (for now?) some US companies’ lead in cutting any possible ties to everything connected to WikiLeaks. According to Read Write Web, Facebook has no intention of shutting down the WikiLeaks Facebook Page, since it doesn’t violate their content standards nor does it contain any material that violates their policies.

Twitter issued a statement saying that it will not censor WikiLeaks from its trending topics, but wouldn’t comment on whether they were planning to shut down the organization’s Twitter account.

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