Financial Woes Force WikiLeaks To Shut Down

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Whistleblower site WikiLeaks has temporarily suspended operations because of financial constraints. In a short note posted on its website, WikiLeaks blamed its situation on an "unlawful financial blockade" by several U.S. financial services companies. It also urged supporters to donate to its cause.
"We are forced to temporarily suspend publishing whilst we secure our economic survival," WikiLeaks said in its post. "We cannot allow giant U.S. finance companies to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket. Our battles are costly. We need your support to fight back."

WikiLeaks claims it has been the target of "aggressive retaliation" from several groups for publishing tens of thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables starting last November.

The site has accused Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union of severely curtailing its ability to receive donations and process payments from supporters around the world. Soon after WikiLeaks started publishing the classified documents, several of these payment sites terminated services to WikiLeaks, citing terms-of-service violations.

The blockade, as Wikileaks terms it, has been going on since December 2010 and has "destroyed 95% of our revenue," Wikileaks said. The site has been forced to run on cash reserves for the past 11 months, it added. WikiLeaks said it has had to dip into its cash reserves to stay afloat.

The site claims that the actions by the financial services companies are politically motivated and designed to push Wikileaks out of existence. A chart on its website shows that donations to Wikileaks have virtually flat-lined since January, 2011, after peaking a month earlier.

"The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency," Wikileaks lamented.

The move to shutter the site at least temporarily is not surprising. Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, have been under tremendous pressure since the site began posting nearly a quarter of a million leaked State Department cables last November.

Both MasterCard Europe and Visa Europe face complaints that the move to terminate the services violates European Union antitrust laws. Wikileaks has also commenced what it calls as pre-litigation action against the financial services companies in several countries including Denmark, Belgium, United Kingdom and the U.S.

source : pc world
 
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