PayPal pulls plug on WikiLeaks donations

WikiLeaks has had its donation services pulled by eBay-owned payment service PayPal, effectively cutting off the site's funding.

PayPal said in a statement that its services could not be used to "encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity".

US-based PayPal claimed Wikileaks had committed "a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy".

The whiste-blowing site hit out at the decision in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter, reading "PayPal bans WikiLeaks after US government pressure". The post directed users to a page offering new payment options.

The move represents the latest blow to the site after last Sunday's leak of more then 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables, condemned by US government sources as criminal.

On Tuesday, Amazon pulled the plug on its hosting services for WikiLeaks after coming under pressure from Senator Joe Lieberman, chair of the Homeland Security Committee.

A second setback came late on Thrusday, when DNS provider EveryDNS.net announced its decision to dump WikiLeaks, offering the fig leaf excuse that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against WikiLeaks had been overloading its systems, and that continuing to host WikiLeaks would jeopardise service to the firm's other clients.

The site's original www.wikileaks.org domain disappeared on Friday, but WikiLeaks directed users to its new IP address in a post on Twitter:

"Free speech has a number: http://88.80.13.160".

Within hours, WikiLeaks had renewed its online campaign, first from a Swiss-registered domain, www.wikileaks.ch, subsequently adding German, Finnish and Dutch domains www.wikileaks.de, www.wikileaks.fi and www.wikileaks.nl.

The new domains terminate at a variety of IP addresses, including those of so-called 'bullet-proof' Swedish hosting company PRQ, known for hosting torrent search engine The Pirate Bay.