The Madeleine Brand Show for October 25, 2011

WikiLeaks struggles to survive financial blocks

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stands

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stands in front of a selection of inverted banking company logos as he speaks to journalists during a press conference at the Frontline Club in central London, England on October 24, 2011. Assange was announcing that due to financial blocks introduced by Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Western Union, Wikileaks has lost 95% of it's revenue.

WikiLeaks, the controversial nonprofit website best known for publishing news leaks, exploded into headlines last year when it released confidential diplomatic cables.

Now, Assange says it may not have enough money to continue operations.

Last December, international financial corporations such as Visa, Bank of America and PayPal cut ties with WikiLeaks by refusing to process donations made out to the whistle-blowing organization.

This blockade has slashed WikiLeaks' income by 95 percent, according to its founder Julian Assange.

Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin predicts WikiLeaks will manage to stay afloat. “This is the second time in two years that WikiLeaks has said they’re going to stop publishing documents because of lack of money,” Jardin said. “I don’t think this is going to be the last we see of WikiLeaks.”

Assange claims the website needs $3.5 million a year to continue with publication, Jardin said.

“Part of the confusion around WikiLeaks is what it’s doing with these millions of dollars,” she said. For many, it’s unclear whether Assange, who has been accused of sexual assault and is still under house arrest in his Swedish mansion, is using the funds for his personal defense.

“WikiLeaks is one of the least transparent organizations I can think of,” but it’s still providing a crucial public service by revealing what goes behind closed doors, Jardin said.

Guest:

Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing co-editor, tech culture journalist


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