Because of barriers on funding, WikiLeaks could have to close by the end of the year, according to its founder, Julian Assange.
“If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade we will simply not be able to continue by the turn of the new year,” he said. “If we don’t knock down the blockade we simply will not be able to continue.”
WikiLeaks said in a statement Monday that it would stop publishing for the moment in order to focus on making money — explaining that the blockade imposed by financial companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal left it with no choice.
The statement says that in order to ensure survival, WikiLeaks must “aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents.”
These financial companies, whether under direction of the government or not, have frozen out WikiLeaks since the publication of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables, by refusing to process payments from private individuals to the organization. So someone who wants to use their own money to donate to WikiLeaks is barred from doing so using many of the normal channels. And this is starving the organization. This successful muscling out of a private business by going after their funding represents a partnership between the federal government and private corporations. And it’s pretty classic, similar to how embargoes of foreign governments work – they go after the money.
As Glenn Greenwald explained over the weekend, WikiLeaks has at least some claim on ending the Iraq War. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki cited the WikiLeaks release of information about a massacre in a raid in 2006 as a reason why he denied legal immunity for any US troops staying in the country after 2011. WikiLeaks can also take at least some credit for the Arab Spring, due to diplomatic cables showing the horrors of Arab governments and the repression of their citizens. As Greenwald writes:
And yet (or more accurately: therefore) the person accused of accomplishing all of this, Bradley Manning, has been imprisoned for more than a year without trial, and, if convicted, is almost certain to remain in prison for many more years (with the possibility, albeit unlikely, of death, and as the Obama administration continues to block an unmonitored visit by the U.N. official investigating what had been the inhumane conditions of his detention). If one believes the authenticity of the chat logs produced by Wired, Manning’s goal in leaking those cables — “hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms . . . i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public” – have been fulfilled beyond what must have been his wildest dreams. Assuming the truth of those chat logs, he was motivated precisely by seeing cables of the sort that detailed this civilian slaughter and subsequent cover-up in Iraq, and the extreme levels of theft and oppression by Arab dictators, and the desire to have the world know about it. Meanwhile, those responsible for the Iraq War, and who suppressed freedom and democracy in the Middle East by propping up those tyrants, and who committed a slew of other illegal and deeply corrupt acts, continue to prosper and wield substantial power.
History is filled with examples of those who most bravely challenged and subverted corrupted power and who sought reforms being rewarded with prison or worse, at the hands of those whose bad actions they exposed. If Bradley Manning did leak these cables, his imprisonment is a prime example of that inverted justice.
So all of these benefits will be lost, because of embarrassment to the federal government. And yet that same government is taking credit, just in the last week, for ending the Iraq war and working with revolutionaries on the Arab Spring.