WikiLeaks got kicked off Amazon on purpose, says Assange

WikiLeaks deliberately chose servers in countries with a "free speech deficit" in order to highlight the state of censorship, says the site's founder.

WikiLeaks put its site on Amazon's servers knowing it would be likely to get booted off, in order to reveal the site's hypocracy, and that of the US, claims Julian Assange in an interview with the Guardian today.

Assange was answering questions from the public, including a person who asked if WikiLeaks had planned to get kicked off Amazon's servers for "good publicity".

"Since 2007 we have been deliberately placing some of our servers in jurisdictions that we suspected suffered a free speech deficit in order to separate rhetoric from reality," replied Assange. "Amazon was one of these cases."

That's not to say WikiLeaks knew for sure that Amazon would cease hosting its website. But it does imply the whistleblower site predicted it was likely to happen and looked forward to the repercussions if it did.

Assange stated that censorship can be a useful indicator of where leaked information can have its most significant impact, especially in the west, where the financial system has become more powerful than the political one.

"The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope; speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade," said Assange.

Meanwhile, Amazon has denied it bounced the WikiLeaks website off its servers because of pressure from the US government .

"There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate," wrote Amazon in a statement

The company also denied that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were to blame, stating that "there were indeed large-scale DDoS attacks, but they were successfully defended against".

Instead, Amazon stated that WikiLeaks didn't adhere to its terms of service because it doesn't own the rights to the US embasssy cables. It also expressed concern that the leaked documents may contain information that put "innocent people in jeopardy".

WikiLeaks replied on Twitter, calling Amazon "cowardly" and accusing it of lying.

But WikiLeaks is far from finding a safe harbour now it's off Amazon's servers. Not only was its DNS entry shut down , causing it to only be accessible by its IP address, but now the French government is trying to ban it from that country's servers altogether. Since losing its Amazon hosting, WikiLeaks has been partially hosted on the servers of French company OVH. 

"France cannot host an Internet site that violates the secrecy of diplomatic relations and endangers people," wrote the French Minister of Industry in a letter leaked, ironically, to Reuters.

 

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