WikiLeaks' Assange boosts security after death threats

3rd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Friday in a question and answer session on The Guardian newspaper's website that his team was taking security precautions due to "threats against our lives".

"The threats against our lives are a matter of public record. However, we are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we are able when dealing with a super power," Assange wrote in response to a reader's question.

A Canadian pundit called earlier this week for him to be assassinated for leaking US diplomatic cables, while former US Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said those responsible for the leaks should face execution.

The 39-year-old Australian, who is the subject of a Swedish arrest warrant over sex crimes allegations, has not been seen in public since the release of the documents on Sunday and has refused to give his whereabouts.

He is reportedly hiding out in Britain.

Assange called for criminal charges to be lodged against the pundit, Tom Flanagan, who has apologised for saying that President Barack Obama "should put out a contract (on Assange) and maybe use a drone."

"It is correct that Mr Flanagan and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder," the former computer hacker wrote.

Meanwhile Assange said that some of the diplomatic memos obtained by the whistleblowing website contain references to UFOs, although he did not give further details.

"It is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the 'cablegate' archive there are indeed references to UFOs," he wrote when asked if any of the documents he had received referred to extraterrestrial life.

The online session was delayed for nearly an hour due to what The Guardian said were technical problems triggered by "huge" demand.

This came shortly after WikiLeaks was briefly forced off the Internet by cyber attacks following its decision to publish some 250,000 US diplomatic memos.

WikiLeaks had to find a new Swiss domain name Friday after its original address was shut down as it was suffering massive attacks.

Assange's London-based lawyer, Mark Stephens, said Friday that a "state actor" was likely to blame for the "sophisticated" efforts to take down WikiLeaks.

Asked on the Guardian forum what would happen to the US documents if he or WikiLeaks were "taken out", Assange replied that he had taken precautions.

"The cablegate archive has been spread... to over 100,000 people in encrypted form. If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically," he said.

"History will win. The world will be elevated to a better place. Will we survive? That depends on you."

© 2010 AFP

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