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WikiLeaks claims Pentagon blocked donations

Whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks claims the US government has been carrying out a clandestine campaign to clobber its funding.

Internet payment company Moneybookers - the outfit WikiLeaks previously used to collect donations from supporters - has told the Government-bating site that its account has been close because the organisation had been put on official blacklists in the US and Australia.

But according a report in the UK's Guardian newspaper, the payment company actually ceased dealing with WikiLeaks more than two months ago.

The report has prompted speculation that the site's founder, Julian Assange, is draggin up the story to divert attention from his ongoing investigation for rape in Sweden - an accusation he has also put down to a dirty tricks campaign orchestrated by US authorities.

Recent reports have suggested WikiLeaks insiders are unhappy with the level of publicity that has been attached to Assange personally, with unnamed sources calling for him to step down temporarily while he fights the legal case.

According to Assange, Moneybookers wrote on 13th August to tell him: "Following an audit of your account by our security department, we must advise that your account has been closed... to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities."

When Assange emailed Moneybookers' e-commerce manager for the Nordic region, Daniel Stromberg, to ask what the problem was, he was told that WikiLeaks' account had been temporarily suspended after being accessed from a blacklisted IP address.

"However," Stromberg added, "following recent publicity and the subsequently addition of the WikiLeaks entity to blacklists in Australia and watchlists in the USA, we have terminated the business relationship."

Assange predicted a backlash against the company, saying: "Craven behaviour in relation to the US government is unlikely to be seen sympathetically."

Moneybookers, which is registered in the UK but controlled by the Bahrain-based Investcorp group, denies receiving any request to terminate its dealings with WikiLeaks.