WikiLeaks’ days may be numbered, or at least its function as Web-based whistle-blower may be seriously compromised, if the muckraking site Julian Assange built doesn’t sort out its money issues soon. These issues, Assange was careful to note on Monday, were caused by the deliberate stranglehold that certain financial institutions that shall not remain nameless put on the site despite minor matters such as, oh, the law.
Unfortunately for WikiLeaks, the clampdown on funding has worked, and Assange announced that he and his team have paused publishing operations for the time being to focus on drumming up monetary support. —KA
The website, behind the publication of hundreds of thousands of controversial US embassy cables in late 2010 in partnership with newspapers including the Guardian and New York Times, revealed that it was running on cash reserves after “an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade” by the Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Western Union.
WikiLeaks said in a statement: “The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.
“The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of WikiLeaks by politicised US finance companies continues regardless.”
Assange said donations to WikiLeaks were running at €100,000 a month in 2010, but had dropped to a monthly figure of €6,000 to €7,000 this year.
WikiCrisis: WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange addresses the press about his site’s funding troubles on Monday in London.