Wikileaks suspends publication of US files
The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks said Monday it was suspending publishing classified US diplomatic files to focus instead on fundraising “to ensure our future survival “.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that because of a financial “blockade” mounted by Visa, Mastercard and other companies, it was “now forced to temporarily suspend its publishing operations and aggressively fundraise”.
In a press conference in London, he condemned the blockade as politically motivated and linked to the website’s release of tens of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.
Many relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while others contain frank and sometimes embarrassing assessments of world leaders made by US diplomats, prompting outrage in Washington.
Assange said WikiLeaks was taking legal action against the blockade across the world but warned that it posed an “existential threat” and if it was not lifted by the end of the year.
The announcement appears to contradict remarks Assange made last week that WikiLeaks was managing to survive the financial blockade and was even preparing more disclosures.
The Australian former computer hacker is currently living under strict bail conditions in Britain while he fights extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted to answer allegations of rape.
He denies the claims against him, saying they are politically motivated.
In a statement he read out to reporters in London, Assange said that since December last year, “an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union”.