August 8, 2010

Swedish Company Admits to Hosting WikiLeaks Documents

A Swedish Internet company said Friday that it has been helping WikiLeaks since 2008 by hosting its servers at a secret basement location in a Stockholm suburb.

Mikael Viborg, the 27-year-old head of the PRQ Internet hosting company, told AFP that WikiLeaks "contacted us through a third party in Sweden a few years ago and ... their traffic goes through us."

He said, "we have no control over what WikiLeaks publishes. We don't have any contact with them ... We have never talked with (WikiLeaks founder) Julian Assange and they never ask us before they publish something."

He told AFP that the company counts up to 600 customers, ranging from private individuals to international corporations, and also said, "some of the material sent out through our server hall is controversial and we want to avoid sabotage."

Viborg, who served as a legal advisor to popular filesharing website The Pirate Bay, said PRQ had not been contacted by Swedish or U.S. authorities about WikiLeaks' activities.

"I'm a bit worried about that happening, but I don't expect it," he said.

WikiLeaks published about 70,000 classified documents on the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan in late July.

The files contained a string of damaging claims, like allegations that Pakistani spies met directly with the Taliban and that deaths of innocent civilians at the hands of international forces were covered up.

The documents also revealed the names of some Afghan informants, prompting claims that the leaks have endangered lives.

WikiLeaks has acknowledged that it posts material even through servers based in Sweden and Belgium.

The Pentagon urged WikiLeaks on Thursday to "do the right thing," and return the leaked U.S. military documents and stop any future public releases.