WikiLeaks May Shut Down in Wake of Financial Woes

By Erin Harrison October 24, 2011

Financial problems may lead to the closure of the infamous WikiLeaks website by the end of this year, the group’s founder Julian Assange announced this week.

“If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade we will simply not be able to continue by the turn of the new year,” Assange told the Associated Press. “If we don't knock down the blockade we simply will not be able to continue.”

On the WikiLeaks home page reads a cry for help:

“We are forced to temporarily suspend publishing whilst we secure our economic survival. For almost a year we have been fighting an unlawful financial blockade. We cannot allow giant US finance companies to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket. Our battles are costly. We need your support to fight back. Please donate now.”

WikiLeaks said it has been running on cash reserves for the past 11 months, with the blockade costing the organization tens of millions of pounds in “lost donations at a time of unprecedented operational costs resulting from publishing alliances in over 50 countries, and their inevitable counter-attacks.”

In a statement made public on its website Monday, WikiLeaks said that it would stop publishing in order to focus on making money, “explaining that the blockade imposed by financial companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal left it with no choice.”

In November 2010, WikiLeaks began publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain.

“WikiLeaks has published the biggest leaks in journalistic history. This has triggered aggressive retaliation from powerful groups,” the statement continued.

The documents give people around the world an unprecedented insight into the US Government’s foreign activities.

Following the documents’ release, several U.S.-based financial companies terminated their association with WikiLeaks, which the group says cut off nearly all its revenue.

“Since 7th December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. The attack has destroyed 95 percent of our revenue. 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 WikiLeaks statement said.

In related news, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the U.S. government obtained secret court orders that would force Google as well as a small Internet provider to hand over information from email accounts of a volunteer for WikiLeaks.

The request centered on Jacob Appelbaum, a volunteer for the website, and included the email addresses of people he had corresponded with during the past two years, TechZone360 reported. The newspaper said the request did not include full e-mails according to the documents it had reviewed.

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

Related Articles

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk Square Off on Rocket Firsts

By: Doug Mohney    11/25/2015

On Monday, November 23, Blue Origin successfully flew the first fully reusable rocket into space, giving the company first bragging rights. Founder Je…

Read More

Autonomous Car Technology Takes New Leap Forward With Ford, Uber

By: Larry Alton    11/24/2015

The age of the self-driving car is nearly upon us, or at least that's what major technology and automotive companies are hoping. There have been major…

Read More

Unusual but Fun Tech Ideas for 2015

By: Rob Enderle    11/24/2015

Well, it's the week of the big sales, and many of us are planning to buy that special someone a special something. I figured I'd join my peers and poi…

Read More

Locus Telecommunications is Challenging the FCC's Authority, Claiming Due Process Violations

By: Special Guest    11/24/2015

One of a handful of prepaid calling card companies slapped with a $5 million fine by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) for its…

Read More

Kaspersky: Three Out of Four Users Have Trouble Spotting Big Threats

By: Steve Anderson    11/23/2015

We all know that spending on cybersecurity has been on the rise lately, as everyone from major corporations to military groups ramp up their cyberdefe…

Read More