WikiLeaks chief denounces 'business McCarthyism' in US

18th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Saturday denounced a "new type of business McCarthyism" in the United States after the Bank of America halted all transactions to the website.

"Bank of America put out a statement... that it is not willing to transport any transactions by any of its clients to any organisations collecting money on our behalf," he told AFP.

"It's a new type of business McCarthyism in the US to deprive this organisation of the funds that it needs to survive, to deprive me personally of the funds that my lawyers need to protect me against extradition to the US or to Sweden," Assange said.

The term referring to allegations of treason or subversion without proof has its roots in the United States and was coined to describe the anti-communist pursuits of former US Senator Joseph McCarthy from the late 1940s to the 1950s.

Assange was speaking in Beccles, eastern England, close to the mansion of journalist friend Vaughan Smith, where he must live while on bail as he fights extradition.

He must report to the police station in the Suffolk market town as part of his bail conditions.

The 39-year-old Australian is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations that he sexually assaulted two women, which he denies.

Bank of America, one of the largest US financial institutions, on Saturday halted all transactions for WikiLeaks, joining other institutions that refuse to process payments for the whistle-blowing website.

Assange claimed earlier in an interview with Forbes magazine that a "megaleak" by the website will target a major US bank "early next year".

WikiLeaks has enraged Washington with its release of thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables and confidential military documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Media reports suggest that US prosecutors are trying to build a case against Assange on the grounds that he encouraged a US soldier, Bradley Manning, to steal US cables from a government computer and pass them to WikiLeaks.

Assange has said he does not known Manning.

© 2010 AFP

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