News / Europe

Lawyer: WikiLeaks' Assange Arranging to Meet Police

WikiLeaks  founder Julian Assange (file photo)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (file photo)

A lawyer for WikiLeaks  founder Julian Assange says he is making arrangements for his client to meet with British police to discuss an arrest warrant issued by Sweden.

Mark Stephens told reporters in London Monday that police called him to say they had received the warrant for Assange, who is wanted in Sweden for questioning about allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.  The lawyer was quoted by British media as saying Assange has not been charged with anything.  

Assange's lawyers have said he will fight extradition to Sweden, for fear he could be turned over to the United States.

Assange, whose WikiLeaks  website has released some 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables over the Internet, has denied the Swedish allegations.

Earlier, WikiLeaks  released what it said was a secret U.S. government list of infrastructure and resource sites around the world that the United States considers critical to its interests.  

U.S. and British officials said the publication of the list puts lives at risk.

The leaked list of U.S. critical interests, which appears in U.S. diplomatic cables dating from 2008, includes the locations of vaccine manufacturers across Europe, undersea cables, ports, and key mineral and power resources from Asia to Brazil.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday described the release of the cables as "illegal," saying it poses real concerns and even potential damage to the United States' friends and partners around the world.  Clinton said this theft of U.S. government information and its publication without regard to consequences are deeply distressing.  

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the release Monday "in the strongest terms" and said the national security of the United States has been put at risk.  Holder also said an active criminal investigation remains under way.

As government outrage mounts against the WikiLeaks  releases and Assange, the website is finding it increasingly difficult to function.

On Monday, the Swiss postal system closed a bank account used for WikiLeaks  donations, following the lead taken by the U.S.-based payment service PayPal, which on Friday blocked financial transfers to the controversial site.

The financial squeeze follows the website being shut out from major servers, forcing it to go to new servers.  WikiLeaks  is also trying to fend off repeated hacker attacks.

In an attempt to fight back, WikiLeaks is informing readers of 350 mirror sites - websites that host exact copies of the information on its site.  It also has threatened to publish a new cache of secret material said to be of an extremely sensitive nature if any legal action is taken against Assange or anything happens to the website.

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