Video: Defiant Assange fights legal, online attacks

  1. Closed captioning of: Defiant Assange fights legal, online attacks

    >> israel.

    >>> he is one of the most wanted men in the world and tonight an arrest may be imminent for julian assange, the man behind wiki leaks and there are new problems for his website which have gone public with millions of military and diplomatic records. peter alexander is live in london for us with the latest.

    >> lester, good evening to you. even as julian assange's window is closing. the newest documents release detail extensive computer hacking operations o ridge nating in china. why were chinese leaders so obsessed with the web? because according to the cables they were googling themselves and unhappy with the criticisms they found. even as julian assange reveals more document, threatening damage and embarrassment to the u.s. and its allies, the legal process to detain the wikileaks founder for allegations of sex crimes is moving forward.

    >> in case he's arrested he will fight the extradition from whatever country he's arrested in.

    >> while assange battles for his personal freedom , he's also fighting to keep his site online. the latest technical difficulty? the website pay pal cut access to doning as to wikileaks saying its service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to ebb gaungage in illegal activities . meanwhile the game of cat and mouse continues with two american service providers dropping wonning ileaks and france banning the site from its servers, too. still in sweden assange's service remains safe in an underground former military bunker.

    >> as long as there are no legal claims from the proper swedish authorities they will stay on.

    >> the 39-year-old australian computer hacker is wanted in sweden for accusations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women in august, detailed in this 68-page court document obtained by nbc news. assange adamantly denies the allegations and his attorney insists the investigation is dirty tricks . the swedish prosecutor disagrees.

    >> this is like every other case. we have been following the normal procedure.

    >> but assange remains defiant. during an online chat with readers of a british newspaper friday he wrote, the cablegate archive has been spread to 100,000 people in encrypted form. if something happens to us the key parts will be released automatically.

    >> also, in that online q & a assange said no matter what happens to him, lester, quote, history will win. the world will be elevated to a better place.

    >> thanks.

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/5/2010 3:14:07 AM ET 2010-12-05T08:14:07

An encrypted cache of uncensored documents that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has circulated across the Internet may ensure that a huge array of secrets will be revealed even if the website is shut down or Assange is arrested.

Tens of thousands of supporters have downloaded the "insurance" file, which has been available since July, and it includes files on BP and Guantanamo Bay, The Sunday Times reported.

Assange has warned that efforts to curtail his activities could trigger a deluge of national and commercial secrets.

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"If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically," he said in a live chat with readers of the Guardian newspaper this week.

One reader asked if he was tempted to release the password for the encrypted file, but he did not respond to the question.

The Sunday Times said the U.S. Defense Department was unsure what was in the file, and  computer experts said it was unlikely that the U.S. could defeat its encryption.

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Assange is known to possess documents on a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan that killed civilians and Bank of America documents. It is not clear how WikiLeaks obtained the diplomatic documents, but the U.S. government's prime suspect is an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in custody on charges of leaking other classified documents to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks has embarrassed Washington and foreign leaders by releasing a trove of brutally frank U.S. diplomatic cables. The latest batches have touched on U.S. diplomats' view of Afghanistan and North Korea, Iranian nuclear ambitions , and Chinese attacks on U.S. Internet targets

WikiLeaks crackdown
In the aftermath, Assange has faced a variety of legal and technical pressures.

He is named in an arrest warrant from Sweden on an allegation of rape, but is currently free in Britain while issues surrounding the warrant are worked out. Politicians in the United States have called for his arrest for releasing U.S. diplomatic documents, and some have even said he should be assassinated.

Assange's website has been DDoS attack on WikiLeaks gathers strength and was forced to switch hosts after Amazon.com said WikiLeaks had violated terms of service. The site that provided WikiLeaks a domain name cut off service, saying it was being hit by sabotage attacks.

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Some of the contingency plans were revealed Friday when WikiLeaks emerged with a Swiss address, WikiLeaks.ch, provided by the Swiss Pirate Party, which champions Internet freedom.

But on Sunday, the Swiss group that now supports the site said the website's main server in France had gone offline.

Denis Simonet of the Swiss Pirate Party said his group is currently redirecting the domain wikileaks.ch to another server based in Sweden.

Simonet told The Associated Press by phone Sunday that the switch could take several hours but that the site that publishes leaked classified documents is still reachable through the numerical address of its Swedish server.

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He was unable to immediately say why the French server stopped working.

And WikiLeaks lost a major source of revenue when the online payment service PayPal cut off its account used to collect donations, saying the website was engaged in illegal activity.

The insurance file seems meant to dissuade governments that would attempt to stop Assange's efforts — and to ensure that the material could be released in the event that WikiLeaks is driven offline or Assange is arrested.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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