WikiLeaks supends publishing due to bank blockade

WikiLeaks has suspended its publishing operations on its whistleblowing website in order to focus on fighting a financial blockade and raise new funds, founder Julian Assange announced yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference in London on Monday, Assange said that a financial blockade by leading banks had led to the site's revenues being cut by 95 per cent.

In 2010, donations to WikiLeaks were running at around €100,000, said Assange. This year that figure has dropped to between €6,000 and €7,000 a month.

In total, the Australian claimed the blockade had cost WikiLeaks a total of between €40m and €50m, assuming donations had stayed at their 2010 level.

If the blockade continued into the new year, Assange said, the whistle-blowing organisation would "simply not able to continue."

In a statement, WikiLeaks said: "The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.

"The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of WikiLeaks by politicised US finance companies continues regardless."

WikiLeaks' funding has been mired in controversy since it was revealed that donations to the site were being used were being used for Julian Assange's defence fund, as the Australian fights extradition from the UK to Sweden where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The site claims it has faced a politically-motivated blockade on its operations, including the suspension of donations by creidt card, since it began publishing more than 250,000 US diplomatic memos in the so-called 'Cablegate' leak last November.

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