WikiLeaks' money woes brings end to leak of secrets
WikiLeaks is to stop publishing state secrets because it is running out of money.
The whistleblowing website set up by Julian Assange said that it is temporarily suspending publication of leaks to fight a “blockade” by credit card companies, the Daily Telegraph has revealed.
The refusal to accept donations has cost the website “tens of millions of dollars” in lost funding, the website said.
Mr Assange was due to make the announcement at a press conference in London at 1pm today , and appeal for donations to help flight the blockade.
WikiLeaks said “in order to fight for its survival” it has decided temporarily to stop publishing secret state documents, while it battles the financial blockade through the courts.
In a statement, WikiLeaks said: “In order to ensure our future survival, WikiLeaks is now forced to temporarily suspend its publishing operations and aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents.”
The financial problems for WikiLeaks started on 7 December last year when Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union refused to accept donations for WikiLeaks.
This “unlawful financial blockade”, WikiLeaks said, “destroyed 95 per cent of its revenues”, leaving the website near-broke.
The website blamed the blockade on a reaction to its decision to start publishing the first of 250,000 leaked US Government cables days earlier.
The website said: “WikiLeaks has published the biggest leaks in journalistic history. This has triggered aggressive retaliation from powerful groups.
“Since 7th December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union.
“The blockade came into force within ten days of the launch of Cablegate as part of a concerted US-based, political attack that included vitriol by senior right wing politicians, including assassination calls against WikiLeaks staff.
“The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.”
WikiLeaks continued in its statement: “As a result, WikiLeaks has been running on cash reserves for the past eleven months.
“The blockade has cost the organization tens of millions of pounds in ost donations at a time of unprecedented operational costs resulting from publishing alliances in over 50 countries, and their inevitable counter-attacks.
“Our scarce resources now must focus on fighting the unlawful banking blockade.”
WikiLeaks said that it had “commenced pre- litigation action against the blockade in Iceland, Denmark, the UK, Brussels, the United States and Australia.
“We have lodged an anti-trust complaint at the European Commission and expect a decision by mid-November as to whether the European Competition Authority will open a full investigation into the wrongdoing of VISA and MasterCard.”
WikiLeaks is today setting out a number of ways that people can donate to the website.