“In order to ensure our future survival, WikiLeaks is now forced to temporarily suspend its publishing operations and aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents,” Wikileaks founder Juliane Assange said before a backdrop of upside down logos belonging to the financial institutions instrumental to blockade.
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Assange made the announcement at a press conference in London where he is now residing as he fights off extradition to Sweden to face a swathe of sexual misconduct charges. Assange and his supporters maintain the charges are political persecution and possibly a cover by which to get him extradited to the US.
Assange stressed Wikleaks’ claim that the blockade was “outside of any accountable, public process” and was “without democratic oversight or transparency”.
Presenting Wikileaks’ financial state, Assange explained how what he described as, “the arbitrary and unlawful blockade” had “destroyed 95% of our [Wikileaks’] revenue,” and that the organisation had been running on cash reserves for the past eleven months.
“The blockade has cost Wikileaks 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”.
Assange also made a number of his usual assertions at the press conference such as his and Wikileaks staff having faced assassination calls amidst vitriolic political attacks from senior right-wing US politicians in the wake of Cablegate.
Through a series of five releases: The Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, the Guantanamo Files, the Palestine Papers and Cablegate, Wikileaks has lifted the lid on the often opaque and secretive world of international politics.
Many global leaders and governments have faced embarrassment as a result of these releases particularly the US whose diplomatic cables made up the Cablegate releases.
It was in the wake of Cablegate that the blockade was instituted. Since then Wikileaks, and staunch Wikileaks supporter Anonymous have fought the blockade through legal and extra-legal means respectively.
Explaining what the future of Wikileaks was, Assange said that the organisation’s “scarce resources now must focus entirely on fighting the unlawful banking blockade.”