Swiss bank freezes Assange defense fund account as UK arrest warrant imminent

A Swiss bank reportedly froze Julian Assange's defense fund today, and authorities in the U.K. have 'received the paperwork' needed to issue their own arrest warrant for Wikileaks' founder. Wikileaks posted a blog item this morning claiming Swiss Bank Post Finance froze the account because Assange used his lawyer's address for correspondence. Referring also to last week's decision by PayPal to shut off Wikileaks, the posting reports that €100,000 in donations is tied up in the two accounts. The paperwork for a U.K. arrest warrant for Julian Assange was received by the Met this morning, according to the UK Press Association. Assange is generally believed to be in London, where local police were apparently reluctant to arrest him on the basis of an international warrant issued last week. If you're tired of hearing about Wikileaks' woes, here's Umberto Eco's thoughts on the matter.


    1. According to that image Assange “doesn’t afraid of fucking anything”. Aside from the amusing language, that could be material for his prosecution back in Sweden…

      As for PayPal, check out some of the stories of open source developers losing access to their funds arbitrarily on the basis that they’re not providing a product in exchange for a set price.

    1. Off the top of my head, I think they recently did it to Thaksin also. Swiss accounts have always had a ‘bonum uncertainty’ element to them: they do what you think they’ll do, but only until someone notices you have one.

      And yes, that includes your wife’s divorce lawyer.

  1. So it’s okay for the Nazis and every other questionable organization since them to use Swiss banks, but not for Wikileaks – who have themselves broken NO laws, anywhere? Hmm. I think this sez more about the Swiss than it does about anything Wiki….

  2. God I love reading Umberto Eco. And reading him casually slamming Dan Brown & his audience is really quite satisfying.

    1. That’s strange. I was thinking the exact opposite while reading the technology and media passages… he’s like a Jerry Seinfeld edition of Marshall MacLuhan, with anecdotal observations posing as investigations.

      Yet ironically, as for Wikileak’s leaks being “no big deal” (my paraphrase) his claim that it only confirms that there is no new news in surveillance files is completely asinine and a perfect example of a pet theory in search of supporting evidence. The cables contain raw assessments of character and intent from an official government voice and influencer of policy, yet Eco claims that the message is that politbureaus are full of paper-pushing bureaucrats?

      Intellectually lazy.

  3. Each new development in this saga is usually interesting enough all by its lonesome. This is becoming quite the story!

  4. Postfinance is not a bank, its the financial service of the swiss post. They have no bank-licence, for example they are not allowed to give a credit. To open an account, they require that you live in switzerland, and Assange claimed he does (with a wrong adress). So basicly Postfinance has to close the account because it violates their terms & conditions. This has nothing to do with some other (“real”) swiss banks which offer accounts to foreigners, or even offer anonymous accounts.

  5. Well, Umberto Eco may be a gifted author, BUT this little piece of writing clearly shows his limitations. I’d say he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about in this case.

      1. There’s a link to an article by him at the end of the post. I found it weird they linked to the article, cause it was pure crap.

  6. I think Wikileaks has lost the plot.

    How leaking the list of facilities vital to US security contributes to the site’s stated aim of “providing a universal way for the revealing of suppressed and censored injustices” is beyond me.

    This week’s Economist neatly describes Wikileaks as “a secretive and autocratic outfit that campaigns for openness”.

    The site’s recent behaviour is more like attention-whoring, not whistle-blowing. In fact I think it’s doing incalculable damage to deserved whistleblowing.

    1. The argument that Wikileaks must be “open” because they preach openness is, frankly, quite childish.
      They “preach” openness of governments because THAT benefits the people and the world as a whole. Does it matter if Wikileaks is open? Well, not really.

    2. Wikileaks has never been about transparency for transparency’s sake. It is about exposing corruption. Their obsession with exposing damaging secrets means they are well aware of the strategic value of secrecy.

      I was going to end this comment with a harsh assessment of your projecting values on Assange, but then realized my entire perspective is cribbed from this excellent article:

      So instead I’ll just recommend that.

    3. I agree with you. I’ve been generally pro-Wikileaks this whole time, but I can’t think of a single bit of good that can come out of leaking the list of vital US national security sites:

      At best, leaking that list shows would-be terrorists the best places to target, leading many, many countries all over the world to have to spend money on much-increased security. At worst, it shows foreign governments eager to become more powerful exactly what they should use obstinately as a leveraging point, leading to world-wide diplomatic pissing contests.

      Wikileak’s job is to humiliate the people high in the US and other governments who have used their power too broadly and too corruptly. Their job is not to just publish anything with the word “secret” on it.

    4. So you consider an insulin plant in Denmark to be vital to the US’ national security? (it was on the list) Seems the definition of vital to national security has gotten pretty damn vague. It is a very convinient way of shutting down any conversation the US (and its buddies) want to control.

  7. As far as I am concerned it is us against them now.
    They have called for assassinations/Queen of crazy,Palin-Huckabee a hillbilly preacher that preaches hate and death. They have called for “laws” to keep this form happening. They have had PayPal/Wikileaks
    shut down. They have kicked Wikileaks off a “free countries” servers/Amazon. They have hijacked our freedom with their fake wars
    and their Faux News/bucket of vomit. I will do anything it takes to fight back against these loons and goons as I know I will live forever.
    if they kill me to silence me fine. They always and I do mean ALWAYS try to smear their opponents as sexual deviants. They do this so much it is predicable and now it has become easy to turn the real truth into guns of data pointed at their heads i.e.. this article we are commenting on here.
    Please consider joining us and quit using Pay Pal. Do not order anything from Amazon again. Fight back when you know your personal freedom is at stake. There has never been a better time to separate yourself from them. They are killers and they have lied their way
    into power with many false flag attacks on innocent civilians. I have decided for myself that the spin stops here. I will no longer tolerate
    or accept anything that comes from their camp and I will support Wikileaks in whatever way I can. I pray and hope every night that we will this battle and I think we are. It has been wonderful to watch them scurry around and try to shut this information down and it is within my hopes and prayers every day that we will continue to do so. It really is quite simple now,it is us against them. Your freedom is at stake!
    Please stand up and fight for it or I know you will regret it.

  8. In light of his coming arrest, the really big issue is how they use the insurance file. I would *hope* it includes staged releases, and is not just one big “thermonuclear bomb,” as they keep referring to it.

    After all, if they cut loose with it upon Assage’s arrest, there will be nothing to stop them from killing him. In fact, if the insurance file goes public, it can be spun to make him look very, very bad. Releasing unredacted documents to the world for personal reasons doesn’t look good.

    I assume they are smart enough to have at least a few stages of release for that file. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

    I can’t believe the media is hardly even talking about the insurance. That’s a critical piece of the strategic game for all involved.

    1. as of now, and this weekend…it is the glaring headline of that cesspool of hate-agenda media known as the drudgereport….one of the (sadly) most trafficked sites on teh netz.

  9. What people are failing to mention here is that the Swiss account was closed because Mr. Assange does not have residence or own property in Switzerland, and listed his lawyer’s address on the application for an account.

    The Swiss are not “caving”. Mr. Assange simply fails to understand how to open a bank account.

  10. Umberto Eco (for some reason the reference/link has been removed from the post above) is really a very intelligent person, but he sounds like he got all of his knowledge of technology from the movie Hackers.

  11. Since Wikileaks has claimed they’ll next be leaking the secrets of banks, it’s not surprising that banks would be less than cooperative…

  12. I was hoping for a voluminous screed on the leaking of classified information as a metaphor for the betrayal of society by the individual psyche.

  13. If they close his account, doesn’t that mean they should refund the money?

    @Teller: I disagree, but we’ll see. It could be that the information is only damaging organizationally – revealing informants, etc. – but not very interesting from a political perspective. I’d place my bet on more serious dirt.

    But then, I don’t buy people’s current lethargy about the current set of cables. Almost every one of these stories is headline news: The overall picture is clearer than any we have had so far.

    It shows me personally that the democratic experiment, as far as the US is concerned, is over, and that the Obama administration is little better than the Bush administration as far as imperial governance. Those are things I didn’t want to admit, but the cable content makes them pretty hard to ignore. Even the reaction itself, from our government, our “representatives,” and our media, is close to a nightmare scenario if you care about transparency and freedom of speech. That seems like pretty big news to me.

    1. Well “revealing informants, etc” is quite damaging to “informants, etc.” Still, I fail to see any groundswell, any movement, any uprising over the dead citizens in Afghanistan or the Saudis absolutely funding fundies or over anything at all. The only move being made is to shut him up or let him keep talking. And, of course, govts crossing folks off the cc list of secret communications. Assange is the flashiest security hacker the world’s govts never had to pay for.

      1. In some sense, I see your point. When Habeas Corpus was suspended in this country I couldn’t believe we weren’t out in the streets. I work in a progressive office, and few people knew or were even interested.

        That said, revolutions start in strange ways. And I do believe this is a sort of revolution we’re seeing, if only in the rise of a new kind of power. Regardless of what happens to Assange, this is a sign of the type of information war that can be waged now. The revolution may not be waged this month, but it is highly likely that the mechanisms and strategies being played out right now will be relevant to the fall of this empire. The internet is proving to be an equalizer. The US has, without a doubt, mechanisms to much more seriously disrupt things than we are seeing now. I have no doubt they could firewall the country, China-style, pretty quickly, and DDOS a large number of targets. However, I wouldn’t underestimate the power of the programmers either. Freenet, mesh networks, bitorrent – these things are difficult for any central authority to definitively shut down. And a Wikileaks function, with or without Wikileaks, is likely here to stay.

        I also wouldn’t underestimate the power of Assange as a martyr and revolutionary. Narcissist or not, he is the closest thing to the embodiment of a global revolutionary that I have seen in my lifetime. That’s not to say he’s always positive or nice or truthful – but I do think he’s having, and will continue to have, widespread effect. And the conversation about government function and empire is an important one to be having, even if the action appears to be muted.

        1. Good thoughts. Global revolutionary – still the Ayatollah Khomeini to me, in terms of empowering Islamic fundamentalism. Then Lennon (aww). I’d give Assange best pirate, though.

          1. Lennon’s a good one. I was not old enough when he died to remember it. And the Ayatollah is definitely up there. Revolutionary leaders are odd creatures, certainly…

  14. It’s a small detail, but nevertheless: Postfinance is not a bank in the proper sense. They’re the financial services branch of the Swiss Post: – in a sense, they’re property of the State, not a private entity.

  15. This is all little more than a massive, co-ordinated attack on the freedom of the press (an attack on Wikileaks is the same as an attack on The Guardian, Le Monde, NYT, et al) by the people who consider themselves our masters and betters and who wish to keep us as little more than uninformed vote-fodder to lend legitimacy to their ‘democratic’ tyranny.

  16. Just out of curiosity, does Interpol routinely expedite red-listing people on charges of “allegedly being an asshole in bed” if they haven’t ticked off a superpower?

  17. Does this now push Wikileaks to accept donations in online game geld? I don’t have personal experience, but I understand that some games have a functioning exchange market with major currencies.

    1. WL still has a German and an Icelandic bank account. Despite the recent troubles with Icelandic banks they may be the safest bet. In-game money strikes me as being even less reliable than PayPal.

  18. Google Northwoods.
    Google Anthrax letters.
    Google Acetaminophen suicide.

    The US government does not actually care whether or not the insurance file is released. They do not care because there are already bountiful buckets of information showing some of the worst crimes committed, in plain view, and no one dares or cares to look. “Other governments do that sort of thing… never my government,” peep the masses.

    They’re going after Wikileaks because it was beginning to look like another Watergate… and Watergate annoyed Powerful People. It didn’t stop them… it didn’t damage their careers… it didn’t change their level of control of the US government. They continued to live the lives of wealthy, Powerful People, but they were annoyed and discomforted by the whole affair. Wikileaks was looking like it would cause another Watergate every few years, forever, so they’re making an example of it… not just as an example of the consequences for Wikileaks and its people, but also as an example of the power wielded by Powerful People. Sadly, few people know of the three topics I mention above well enough to be aware of just how much power is wielded, for whatever purposes they wish.

    Keep your head down; live your life; stay out of their way. Fighting such power in a civilized, information-based manner just doesn’t work. Fighting like a guerrilla/terrorist is a shitty way to live. Let them have their way, and hope that you’re not the next one to open a letter full of white powder from a US government lab. It’s at least statistically improbable. :-)

    1. The US government does not actually care whether or not the insurance file is released. They do not care because there are already bountiful buckets of information showing some of the worst crimes committed, in plain view, and no one dares or cares to look.

      Wrong. I can almost certainly guarantee that some of the files in the insurance package will be prisoner abuse pictures from Abu Ghraib that Obama specifically moved to keep secret. They certainly don’t want those released.

      All the best to Assange and Fuck our pathetic prime minister Julia Gillard and the lame excuse for an opposition leader Tony Abbott for being pathetic turds whose voice is completely inaudible due to the throbbing US Administration cock in their mouths.

  19. “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons…”

    That keeps coming to mind with this whole Wikileaks fiasco.

    1. fiasco?

      It is no way a fiasco — it’s actually a tremendously successful demonstration that the governments of the west are not committed to freedom of the press.

      The cables have already been leaked — at this point wikileaks is just functioning as part of the “free press” (in quotes because we are seeing exactly how free they are) in letting the people know the wrongdoings of their governmentssc

  20. I donated via PayPal a day before they closed the account. They took the money from my (Visa) credit card then effectively kept it for themselves.

    Anyone know if I have any legal recourse for PayPal effectively deciding to award themselves my money?

  21. I want everyone to notice that the big hubub over the government leaks began NOT when he said what he was going to release (the diplomatic cables) some months back, not when the US Gov’t knew what he had.

    The REAL hubub *in which US Senators began pressuring publishers, and banks both foreign and domestic bank began work to stop him defending himself against charges in a third nation * began when he said he had dirt on the US banks.

    when he said he had dirt on the US banks.

    Please, pay attention, look at the timing of the responses.

    Up to now, he’s been a thorn. Nothing more. Once he said “bank” he became public enemy number one, and the wagons of power began to circle. Funny that people think it’s because out opinion of Pakistan/N Korea/British Royalty is suddenly public.

    Occams Razor, please apply it.

    1. agreed. I think the public statement that was akin to “the banks are next” was the straw.

      i hope he doesn’t fall into the hands of the authorities…otherwise he will surely be made to look an hero.

      spazzm – we are all anonymous.

    2. Funny. I noticed the same coincidence. The tsunami of anti-Wikileaks activity really did seem to escalate soon after Assange announced his next target was to be a US bank. Up until then, the furor was relatively low-key.

  22. Here‘s an interesting article about Anna Ardin, the lady who accused Assange of rape, and her connections to the CIA and the Cuban Mob.

  23. Nobody’s explained yet how the cablegate release about security-sensitive sites fulfils wikileaks’ stated aim quoted in my post above.

    ‘Freedom of the press’ is a tradeoff. Journalists are not going to get very far if the difference between “on the record” and “off the record” evaporates.

    1. Until recently I only saw the leaks as bits of information, that could shed some light on the inner workings of governments or make some people in power look bad.

      But the other day someone here on BB linked to an article about one of Assange’s essays available online. After reading it I came to see the leaks in a whole new light. It isn’t just about the information that is leaked, it is about the threat of shady conpirators internal communications POSSIBLY becoming public.

      I recommend reading this article, it will give you more insight into the goals of WL and the means employed to achieve them.

  24. Yes, anon, insulin is vital to American national security. The Market needs us to stay alive to consume, and the only way to do that on the kind of non-food a Walmartized job pays for is through insulin.

  25. I don’t understand why anyone can still call Wikileaks’ Assange an ‘attention whore’ with a straight face. It isn’t as if he is in charge of how the media covers him at this point.

    1. Do you think Julian volunteers his time and effort for the benefit of mankind to do interviews with periodicals such as Time or Forbes?

  26. This kerfuffle reminds me more of the kerfuffle around Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses. Funny what you learn about a culture by looking at what pisses it off most. In this case, what mdh said @ #53. Banks.

  27. A co-worker amusingly suggested provoking indignation in conservative Catholic forums, denouncing Interpol’s misuse of law enforcement resources in issuing a red notice on obfuscated charges that amount only to refusal to wear a condom.

  28. The backlash is already beginning as people see through the hype.

    Any grandstanding moral crusader (state or individual) will eventually have a pie thrown in their face as they cannot live up to their own expectations – he who has not sinned cast the first stone.

    When you think you are some Transnational Citizen (or “citizen of the Internet”) that can selectively take advantage of freedoms here or there and then “bite the hand that feeds you” eventually those societies see through this will shun you.

    The Swiss are always a moral gray area and non-selective with their secretive bank accounts and such. Julian just fucked up his paperwork and lied about his residence, this is nothing about Swiss caving in to pressure, as seen about 30x in this thread already.

    Mr. Eco basically summarized the shocking revelations : All news feeds for the Department of Defense and Department of State originate from CNN…

    1. I would repeat what was said above, he is hardly in control of the media’s coverage of him.

      and nobody has said the swiss caved to external pressure, just that it’s interesting that once a bank is a target the swiss do what they are notorious for not doing.

  29. So you consider an insulin plant in Denmark to be vital to the US’ national security?

    Well, wasn’t the list about sites important to national security, economic vitality and public health? Anyway, yeah – I think that plant should have a coordinated layered defense, including on-site garrisoned commandos, fortified and hardened access-limited perimeter, dedicated theatre-area anti-missile defense, and on-station geosynchronous orbiting battle platforms above, ready to dispense kinetic energy “Rods from God” DFA on anyone who even thinks about messing with it. And roving Israeli hit-squads to go get the f***ers where they live. But that’s just me.

  30. in the next round of epic hilarity, I just read on Wired that the charge is apparently not Rape – but “Sex by Surprise.”

    Sex by Surprise.

    “Oh, hai! We’re having sex now? I’m so surprised!”
    or maybe
    “Wow! You really surprised me with that sex…”

    yeah, bad jokes. sorry. long day. Anyway, the link to the confusion is here:

  31. So what do we do now, boycott swiss miss hot cocoa and anything designed in an attractive way?

    It’s been the case for far too long that we pay a ton of money in tax dollars and have no control over what we are paying for. It’s like showing up to the grocery store, intent on spending $20 for easy mac and bologna, being told by the cashier that I’ll be given bags full of whatever they want to give me and I WILL pay $120 dollars for them, or I’ll be arrested. Have a problem with that? Where else are you going to go?

  32. What is the big deal. They CLOSED his account. They did not FREEZE his funds. He hasn’t lost any money and they aren’t keeping it. This has NOTHING to do with wikileaks being a terrorist organization. In fact this is not about Wikileaks but about Assange.

    This is his personal account. He can get his money when he wants and just transfer it to another account.

    If this guy gets a parking ticket or is on hold to long with customer service it becomes an internet wide issue.

    He is in BRITTAN with his location known about by the British police. The same group that went in full bore with the US for special rendition. No one wants him dead or he’d already be gone.

    The ‘insurance’ is nothing but puffed up crap. If more than one person has the key they information is no longer secret. So that isn’t what’s keeping him alive either.

  33. If Mr. Assange would turn himself in to the police in some tropical resort, we could all just take turns muling cash to him.

  34. Wikileak is a double edged sword. Though intentions are good, chances it will be devoured & distorted in tsunami of political fallouts. Certain leaks do not serve any purpose at all other than causing unnecessary boom

  35. Update . April 11 th. 2011.

    Nov.23 – – -Nov.26 th. 2010.
    The following sent to – – – – 312- – Lords – – – – – – House of Lords. ( Inc. Lord Myners.)
    The following sent to – – – – 649 – – M.P.’s – – – – – House of Commons.


    Pictet & Cie Bank.

    Ivan Pictet.
    Charles Pictet.
    Nicolas Pictet.
    Jacques de Saussure.
    Jean – Francois Demole.
    Renaud de Planta.
    Philippe Bertherat..

    Pictet & Cie.- claim they are the “Rolls Royce”of Swiss banks.

    Swiss Banks or more correctly Swizz banks.

    Swizz. —- “ a great disappointment.” or a “ fraud.”

    Fraud. —“ an intentional deception or dishonesty.”— “a crime.”

    Crime. —“ an act committed or omitted in violation of a law.”

    Serious Crimes .
    Conspiring to pervert the Course of Justice.
    Perverting the Course of Justice.
    Contempt of Court.

    Pictet & Cie Bank –Partners –(1996—2011)—guilty.
    Peters &Peters – Partners.— (1999—2011)— guilty.

    The bank and it’s officials/lawyers deliberately withheld crucial documents requested under a High Court order. The bank and it’s officials/lawyers deliberately withheld evidence from the Police, and one of it’s account managers Susan Broadhead gave a false witness statement to the Police.
    Another one of it’s managers Nicholas Campiche ( Now Head of Pictet – Alternative Investments.) concocted a letter pretending to be a client and closed his account. The senior partner (Ivan Pictet.) sought to have numerous documents destroyed,along with those copies held in their London office’s of Pictet Asset Management. Initially stating that they were forgeries then their lawyers Peters & Peters – Monty Raphael .Q.C.–and the barrister Charles Flint.Q.C. later had to admit in Court that the documents were genuine.

    British Parliament. Hansard .29th March 2007.
    Barry Sheerman .M.P.—quote.

    ———“ Constituents of mine have lost £2 million through fraud. The fraudster used Pictet & Cie – – a French Bank – – and Pictet Asset Management to back the fraud being perpetrated.””

    (1) It is a criminal offence for a bank to knowingly act for an undischarged criminal bankrupt in so far as it seeks to assist that criminal bankrupt in the fraudulent movement of monies. ( Money Laundering.)

    (2) It is a criminal offence for a bank to lie to the police and the bankrupts trustee in bankruptcy in so far as any knowledge of, or dealings with the bank was refuted .

    (3) A bank can be guilty of Contempt of Court if it fails to comply fully with the Courts order for discovery .

    (4) The banks contempt is further compounded if it fails to address its error after it is specifically drawn to the to its solicitors attention. ( Monty Raphael. Q.C.).

  36. *** Were currently waiting to see if the West Yorkshire Police :-
    (1) Chief Constable. — Sir Norman Bettison.
    (2) Forces Solicitor . — Mike Percival .
    (3) Head Of Economic Crime Unit. — Det . Chief Inspector Steven Taylor.
    continue to attempt to cover this case up like their F.S.A. counterparts. If they do –“ then watch this space.”

    We were informed that due to pressure from our M.P. that the Ministry of Justice have asked Lord Myners to investigate our claims that the F.S.A. covered up the illegal activities of Pictet Asset Management. London.
    It has been noted that the book launch for PICTET was held at Lord Myners Belgravia home.We might as well have asked Ivan Pictet to investigate our complaint.-or someone from FRIENDS RE-UNITED.
    Lady Myners on Prix PICTET advisory board.

    The consensus of opinion is the Pictet & Cie should be prosecuted , and that their U.K. banking licence should be taken away.

    Their Solicitors at Peters & Peters .London “ struck off and prosecuted..”
    In America —- they would have all been in prison for the last seven years.

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