THE WHISTLEBLOWING WEBSITE WikiLeaks is to “temporarily suspend its publishing operations” as a result of what it calls a financial blockade being waged against it by financial and banking companies.
At a press conference in London this lunchtime, the site’s editor-in-chief Julian Assange said the blockade – which has seen high-profile operators like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Western Union all impeding donations – was severely hampering the site’s ability to function.
Describing the blockade as “an arbitrary and unlawful” move, Assange said that – at a conservative estimate – the website had lost 95 per cent of its income, and that the site was now living on cash reserves.
Donations were running at around €100,000 per month last year, but had dropped to between €6,000 and €7,000 this year – leading Assange to conclude that the site had lost a cumulative €40m to €50m.
In a separate statement, WikiLeaks said it would have to “aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against the blockade and its proponents”.
“WikiLeaks is now forced to temporarily suspend its publishing operations and aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents,” it said.
“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.”
The site said it was now living on cash reserves, but would have to cease publication now in order to save enough cash to mount legal action against the blockade.
It said it had commenced “pre-litigation action” in the US, UK, Australia, Denmark, Iceland and in Brussels.