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Cashflow woes plug Wikileaks

posted 24 Oct 2011, 07:27 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 24 Oct 2011, 07:52 ]

Wikileaks announces temporary suspension of publishing activity after financial blockades take toll on funding.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 24, 2011) (ITN) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday (October 24) his website would soon cease to exist unless it was able to end a financial "blockade" by U.S. firms such as Visa and MasterCard.

"Since the 7th of December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade imposed by the Bank of America, VISA, Mastercard, Paypal and Western Union has destroyed 95 percent of our revenue," Assange told a news conference.

"As a result Wikileaks has been running on cash reserves for the last eleven months. The blockade has cost the organisation tens of millions of dollars in lost donations at a time of unprecedented costs," he added.

Visa and MasterCard stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks in December 2010 after the United States criticised the organisation's release of tens of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables.

"In order to ensure our future survival, Wikileaks is now forced to temporarily suspend all publishing operations in order to direct all our resources into fighting the blockade and raising funds," Assange said, telling reporters the financial hurdles could force the organisation to fold entirely if they were still in place by the end of the year.

WikiLeaks would need 3.5 million U.S. dollars over the next 12 months to maintain its current levels of operations, he said.

In July, WikiLeaks filed a complaint to the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission, saying Visa and MasterCard had breached antitrust provisions set out by the EU Treaty.

Assange said he hoped the European Commission would make a decision to hold a full investigation by mid-November.