Saving the world from nefarious government activities and corporate greed doesn't come cheap, as hactivist group WikiLeaks is discovering.
The non-profit group and its eccentric Australian leader, Julian Assange – who is a Robin Hood to some and major pain in the posterior to others – has said it is suspending publishing for a time in order to raise cash. The group said in a statement Monday that it needs to focus on making money. The group has been hard-hit financially due to blockades imposed on it financially by companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal. The blockade prevents supporters from donating money via those services.
In the statement, WikiLeaks said that to ensure its survival, it must “aggressively fund-raise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents.”
A number of financial companies suspended business for WikiLeaks in response to the group's November 2010 publication of over 250,000 U.S. State Department cables, an event that was nicknamed “Cablegate.” The group says the restrictions starved it of nearly all its revenue, according to the Associated Press in London.
“This financial blockade is an existential threat to WikiLeaks,” said Assange in the group's statement. “If the blockade is not torn down by the end of the year, the organization cannot continue its work.”
Wikileaks believes the financial blockade by large financial services operations was undertaken due to pressure from the U.S. government.
The group has reportedly filed a complaint with the European Commission's antitrust authorities. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a WikiLeaks spokesperson, says European authorities are due to decide by mid-November whether to open a probe into the matter. WikiLeaks apparently plans to undertake legal action against the blockade in other countries as well, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.
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