The anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks could be forced to close up shop in 2012 if they cannot break a U.S. financial blockade, co-founder Julian Assange said Monday.
In an appeal for both political and financial support published to WikiLeaks on Monday, Assange pleads recaps the power their operation has exerted over the world’s political outlook by revealing literally millions of secrets about public and private corruption, the disregard for human life in war zones, environmental issues and more.
“During this time we have withstood attacks from military and intelligence organizations, lawsuits, imprisonment, cyber warfare and high level calls for our assassinations, ” he explained. “But now we face our greatest challenge: a politically motivated banking blockade led by Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America.”
The blockade began late last year, initiated by MasterCard and PayPal. Other organizations soon followed, freezing millions in funds donated by people supportive of WikiLeaks once the site began publishing thousands of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.
Many of those supporters like to highlight that MasterCard and Visa still allow donations to groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but not WikiLeaks.
The blockade has been so successful, the site has now stopped publishing any more leaks in order to focus on their continued survival as an organization. The situation has become so dire, Assange said, that WikiLeaks may not last beyond the turn of the year.
Though Assange claimed recently that they have thousands more forthcoming revelations and numerous contracts with publications all over the world, all of that is now in question without adequate funding for the site.
“These politicized companies believe they have the right to stop you voting with your wallet,” Assange said. “They want to stop you supporting the cause that you believe in.”
Though WikiLeaks or its staff have not been formally accused of legal breaches in their publishing operations, Assange faces possible charges of sexual assault in Sweden, where two women accused him of having sex with them without a condom. He’s been under house arrest in London for months as the investigation continues. A grand jury has also been called in the U.S. to study whether he may be criminally liable for the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. State Department documents.
A lone soldier, Pvt. Bradley Manning, stands accused of releasing the documents and other information downloaded off the Pentagon’s social network. He has been in prison since June, 2010, and could face a life sentence.
The video below is from WikiLeaks, published to YouTube on Oct. 24, 2011.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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