back to article WikiLeaks on verge of financial collapse, founder says

WikiLeaks will temporarily stop publishing so members can address a cash shortage that could cause the whistleblower site to financially collapse by the end of the year, founder Julian Assange said on Monday. The dire financial picture comes 10 months after PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and other payment services significantly …

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20 Employees?

grief, what a little baby empire. I wonder WTF they do...

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You can donate by...

... getting stuff from http://wikileaks.spreadshirt.com/

I've already bought the staff Christmas pressies from there. The US government is getting more totalitarian by the day. Such a pity that they managed to see off the soviet monster but are now turning into something just as bad.

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Stop

It annoys me no end (actually I'd say makes me angry)

when people compare their country (UK, US, etc.) to the USSR or the DDR. If you think that things are anywhere near as bad then you're insulting the people who gave up their lives in those states because they believed in an ideal, or because they had misgivings, or because they were the wrong type of person, or just because their neighbours didn't like them. The actions of our governments are indeed worrying, but there's really no comparison to Soviet states, and if you don't believe me, go talk to people who lived through those times and were affected by them, or go to the Stasi museum in Berlin, or just read a bloody book.

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Paris Hilton

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

is always going on about defending freedom of speech and combatting censorship : perhaps she can be counted upon to make a substantial donation to Wikileaks to help the site in its vital work ?...

Paris, because credibility-wise, she and Ms Clinton constitute a pair....

Henri

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What do they expect?

Their donate button results in a 404 - of course they're short on cash.

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Not a great fan of Julian Assclown but surely the credit card cos should be done for abuse of a monopoly. They are effectively acting as an illegal cartel at the behest of the the us government with absolutely no proven wrong doing by Wikimedia.

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A down vote for saying Julian Assclown? I should have gone with my first choice of Asshat.

Alternatively there's a tea partier who thinks that the US Govt leaning on the credit card co's rather than using due process and the law is acceptable. Given that I hope no one is that stupid I hoping it's for the Asshat.

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Mushroom

Yo!~ Gordon Geko

"Alternatively there's a tea partier who thinks that the US Govt leaning on the credit card co's rather than using due process and the law is acceptable. Given that I hope no one is that stupid I hoping it's for the Asshat."

Actually Gordon, the US government has a legal obligation to inform the Financial Institutions that there could be criminal charges brought against them under the existing laws...The fact that Ass-n-age didn't endear himself to the banks clearly made their decision easier.

Ass-n-age is currently trying to sue them. However... that case aint going to survive since the US corporations have to assess their risks under US law and protect themselves.

This has nothing to do with the due process of law. That's still working its way through their investigation. There's a lot of unknowns and now that Assange had further alienated himself from the press... not a smart move.

Sorry. But I'll take a look and see what OpenLeaks produces. Wikileaks aint no whistle blowers unless its Assange looking for some tail.

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Unhappy

Even if you agree/disagree ... Isn't there some freedoms being curtailed here?

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Thumb Up

Curtailed freedoms

Yes, this is definitely the point which matters. These (unelected, unaccountable) banks and credit companies are demonstrating that they can shut down any e-organisation that needs paying customers or supporters any time they choose. Soon, as physical cash fades into history, that'll be any organisation, e- or otherwise.,Today, wikileaks. Tomorrow ... who knows? They already have enough power to take out a small country.

A reminder from the past

First they came for the Communists / And I did not speak out /Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists/ And I did not speak out /Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists/ And I did not speak out /Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews/ And I did not speak out/ Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me/ And there was no one left/ To speak out for me

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Anonymous Coward

you mean

and they came for the crack dealers, the spies, the murderers...somehow these are not the same, but not surprisingly, they all wrap themselves in that same flag and use the same quote to try to get some leniency for their destructive ways.

Sorry, there is a HUGE difference between erasing a threat, and refusing to subsidize it.

People attacking the System but then rely on that System to enable them to continue the attack? Hipster level of hypocritical irony.

If lack of CC support from Big Money crashes your "Revolution", then you DO NOT have a "revolution". Trying to cash in from being the patsy for someone else's agenda, makes one a quisling.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 19:08

"People attacking the System but then rely on that System to enable them to continue the attack? Hipster level of hypocritical irony."

The best way to smash a system is to use the system against itself - Most certainly not hypocritical at all.

INSERT FAIL ICON for you.

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Pirate

$3.5m for 20 employees, a rack in a brave DC and an office? Oh wait, that'll be about $3m for Julian's lawyers.

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Anonymous Coward

Give OpenLeaks a chance!

Since WikiLeaks have proven themselves to be lacking moral principles by repeatedly exposing innocent people and threatening their lives and/or livelihood, good riddance to them.

Anyone thinking of making a donation should consider supporting OpenLeaks instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Which innocent people were exposed?

This is the interwebs.

Links or it didn't happen

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Happy

How much?

So, how does 20 employees equate to $3.5m? Assuming a million for the costs of running their website would still be generous, leaving an average wage of $125k. Oh, I suppose I should take into account A$$nut's salary plus his travel costs, legal costs, hair-dresser costs.... At least donators can rest assured none of their money gets wasted on condoms!

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FAIL

he is scum

He should be in jail for his hurtful actions

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¿WTF?

$3.5 million to run a website for a year? It costs me $179.88 per year, exactly. I know I may run many domains none of which could compete with Wikileaks for traffic, the traffic it does get can in no way or how amount to a cost of $3.5m. The only thing that money could be required for is that idiots lawyers for the fondlegate incident.

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Are your sites resilient to attacks and take-downs though?

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Anonymous Coward

Sympathy - I've heard of it.

Not a fan of the whole thing - sure governments should be more open but this information appears to have been obtained illegally and they are seem to be turning it into a commercial enterprise.

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Anonymous Coward

Absolutely right

Originally I could understand where they were coming from as decent journalism was turned into cheerleading since the axis of evil Bush/Blair. But three things turned me off:

- they WERE handling illegal data. You can get a sentence commuted in court for whistle blowing (good of the society etc), but it does not mitigate the fact that leaking data is in most cases a crime or even treason. But OK, sometimes there is no other way to expose wrongs/dictatorships etc.

- Assange. If you are going to lead something that is on the edge of legality you need a frontman who is of impenetrable integrity. Which is clearly something you cannot accuse Assange of. For him, WL was nothing but a leg up onto the big stage. The Swedish events are 100% his own fault, and personally I hope they ship him over soon, happy to help nail the crate shut.

- threatening to "release all" if something happens to members. Well, if I was anyone whose data they had I'd make sure they got arrested. The only way to deal with threats like that is to draw them - gets the worst case scenario straight out of the way.

I have time for idealism, even deluded. I have no time for camouflaged opportunism, and that's what especially Assange turned WL into. I'm very glad his book sales (or rather, lack thereof) seem to agree with that..

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Anonymous Coward

Taken from CNN:

"Our scarce resources now must focus entirely on fighting this unlawful banking blockade," Assange told reporters. "If this financial attack stands unchallenged, a dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic precedent will have been set, the implications of which go far beyond WikiLeaks and its work."

-=-

What do you think happens when you bite the hand that feeds you?

Wikileaks thumbed their nose at the US. Assange has his own personal vendetta against the US going back to his days as a convicted felon in Australia.... (He's still a convict BTW...)

The point is that when Assange goes against the US, and also against the banks by outing one whistle blower's stuff where the whistle blower is facing court time, and by threatening to out another very large bank in the US... What do you think will happen when the US informed the banks that they could be on the hook for letting Assange use them to solicit funds?

HINT: They're going to look at any excuse to shut them down. You can't fault the US companies, they have an out. You can't fault the US Govt. because they want Assange.

The only one you can blame... Assange himself.

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Anonymous Coward

What?!

"HINT: They're going to look at any excuse to shut them down. You can't fault the US companies, they have an out. You can't fault the US Govt. because they want Assange."

Of course you can fault the US government for breaking the fucking laws you muppet. Or are you saying the US government can ignore laws if they weally weally want to and we shouldn't fault them that?

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Anonymous Coward

I fault no one but ass-n-age

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Anonymous Coward

If self interested banks can't be blamed for being self interested banks,

and self-interested countries can't be blamed for being self interested countries...

why can self-interested whistle blowers be blamed on the same basis?

I can fault all three of them. I can fault the US government's cover up some of the disgraces which have taken place in recent conflicts.

I can fault their reaction to it's exposure; rather than admit "We must do better" then attempt to call Bradley Manning a traitor for holding his country accountable to higher standards.

I can fault the American who put lives at risk; people like Lindy England, or the chopper pilots who shoot up an ambulance, or the Blackwater guys who can do whatever they like abroad and not face prosecution! Or the agents who do deals to kidnap and torture suspects abroad, handing them over to such friendly parties as, say, Gaddaffi. But in this upside-down world, nobody gets the jail for, say, beating to death a hotel receptionist, but dare to report it (or release some cables that a Army general said were "trivial, of no importance") and this warrants indefinite solitary confinement and the possibility of a double life sentence?

Petty vengeance and taking no effort to uphold founding principals; that's what I can blame the US for.

I can't blame the bankers? I'm quite sure I can. if it's not already apparent from the growing lobbying scandal, and current financial crisis, there's quite a bit I can blame them for. Not least bypassing democracy by pressing for lax government regulation, tax structures and so forth.

Wikileaks may have some kind of smoking gun demonstrating business practices which show how crashes are engineered to create profit (and that the risks were known prior), but that's really immaterial given the corpse in the room - and that's how stock markets work.

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FAIL

@ AC re: Self interest

I think that was the point of the initial post.

Assange bit the hand that fed him. So using the excuse of a threat of legal action, they shut him down. You attack the banks, blackmail them... They are going to shut him down using a legal excuse where Assange has no legal recourse.

Reading the other articles also sheds some light on the situation. Assange has self-destructed by believing in his own hype.

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When you say 'ass-n-age', we know it is you, Ian Michael Gumby. No-one else says that on here. You may as well have signed it "AC - Ian Michael Gumby".

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing to see here

please move along.

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Mushroom

Here's why Wikileaks is in trouble...

"Many financial institutions stopped doing business with the site after it published a trove of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables late last year, and donations have been stymied.

U.S. authorities have said disclosing the classified information was illegal and caused risks to individuals and national security.

"WikiLeaks has, however, ignored our requests not to release or disseminate any U.S. documents it may possess and has continued its well-established pattern of irresponsible, reckless, and frankly dangerous actions," U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said last month.

Assange said Monday that WikiLeaks' publications are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and said there were no judgments or charges against his organization."

-=-

Also from the Guardian:

WikiLeaks has published its full archive of 251,000 secret US diplomatic cables, without redactions, potentially exposing thousands of individuals named in the documents to detention, harm or putting their lives in danger.

The move has been strongly condemned by the five previous media partners – the Guardian, New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde – who have worked with WikiLeaks publishing carefully selected and redacted documents.

"We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk," the organisations said in a joint statement.

"Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough joint editing and clearance process. We will continue to defend our previous collaborative publishing endeavour. We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data – indeed, we are united in condemning it.

"The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone."

-=-

And there you have it.

Let the commentards flame me. I don't care.

The truth is that when you bite the hand that feeds you, don't expect any handouts.

Sort of like certain computer/IT firms not extending any press courtesies to El Reg. ;-)

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Paris Hilton

You point out a good point here:

"Assange said Monday that WikiLeaks' publications are protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and said there were no judgments or charges against his organization.""

Seeing as its the U.S. Constitution and applies to U.S. citizens how does he believe it applies to him? I'm a bit confused on that one as I don't recall any other gvmt adopting our laws.

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Good post.

Good post.

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Boffin

@James O'Brien

Assange is under threat of US prosecution for his alleged involvement in the theft and publication of a lot of classified data.

So when the US Government has enough information against Assange and some of his Wikileaks associates, they will officially charge him (them).

The reason the US hadn't moved quicker is that there is some case law which shields the Press from such 'whistle blowing' efforts in the past. The issue in that case was that the courts ruled that the probative value of alerting the public outweighed the charges... Meaning that while the person broke the law, he was doing it for the greater good.

This however may not apply to Assange. First, there is this issue of Manning. Did Assange act merely as an agent and received the stolen electronic documents, or did he help facilitate the theft? (We don't know yet and those that do haven't been talking to the press.)

Assange claims he merely received the documents and that he is a member of the press and distributed those documents and is protected by the first amendment. Even though Assange isn't a US citizen, the charges he faces are in the US and he is still protected by the US Constitution. Unfortunately for Assange is that he doesn't really understand the laws governing the US. They are not absolute and there is some 'free speech' which isn't protected.

Regardless of the Free Speech argument, Assange is also on thin ice because of the other potential charges. This is where the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the press back in the '70s. But Assange isn't a member of the press. And when he decided to publish unredacted information of questionable probative value... Again... he's on thin ice.

So the bottom line, even though Assange isn't a US Citizen, he could face charges in the US for breaking US laws.

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Anonymous Coward

You can close the website

You can jail the whistle blowers

But you can't change what happened

you can't change what the whistle blowers know

you can't eliminate the principal of holding one's country accountable its professed values.

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Anonymous Coward

.. and you cannot eliminate the principle of holding *people* accountable for their actions either.

The whole Swedish affair is 100% Assange's own making:

1 - be creative with condoms when having sex with some Swedish Wikileaks groupies

2 - do not respond to the not unreasonable request of said groupies to have yourself tested so they have at least some assurance

3 - have thus the problem migrate into a rape investigation as per Swedish laws, and realize you're not above the law after all

4 - start hollering loudly that it's all a US plot as if the US has any interest in making someone a martyr and so create a Streisand effect

5 - complain loudly as details of the investigation leak instead of appreciating the irony

6 - hole up in some country house instead of being at least a man.

AFAIK he still hasn't had himself tested. Afraid it will leak? :)

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Neither can you eliminate the principal of the country

protecting its citizens and agents, which is the essential claim being lodged against Assange.

Courts are established so that citizens can hear cases when these principles come into conflict and arrive at decisions the citizens believe best protect their liberty.

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Anonymous Coward

Boo Hoo

Life in prison should change a few attitudes.

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An obvious question, so far unasked.

An obvious question, so far unasked in this thread: "Is Assange telling the truth?"

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Boffin

@Turtle...

What is the truth?

So far what Assange claims to be the truth doesn't mesh with reports from others who were also involved.

And what one perceives to be the truth is irrelevant at this time.

Manning knows some things. He's not talking.

The reporters involved in working w Assange know some things... and what they've so far said, doesn't jibe w Assange's recollection of 'the truth'.

Other members of the Press condemn Assange's release of unredacted information on the public, which also can call to question Assange's version of 'the truth'.

The bottom line... it will be many years before 'the truth' is known and even then... its debatable as to its accuracy of what really happened.

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@Ian Michael Gumby: All good points.

All good points, although it was quite a while ago that I reached the conclusion that, as a heuristic device, when faced with competing stories claiming to be true, the story whose veracity is to be immediately dismissed - and with profound contumely - is Assange's.

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Facepalm

Every Citizen is a US Citizen?

"Seeing as its the U.S. Constitution and applies to U.S. citizens how does he believe it applies to him? I'm a bit confused on that one as I don't recall any other gvmt adopting our laws."

Why not? The US thinks their laws apply to him, so surely should their rights should also?

Ah, America, p&** them off and they cripple you. Official.

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WTF?

Yo! Orwell

So you set up an online pharmacy that then ships illegal drugs to the US.

You're not a US citizen and the drugs you are shipping are not illegal in your country, but they are illegal in the US.

Did you break the US laws?

Now replace the US with any other country in the EU.

The simple truth is that you broke the laws of that country even though A) You're not a citizen of that country and B) you never set foot in that country.

So while you're on an anti-American rant, it seems you don't know jack about what you're talking about.

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@Gummy

Yo yourself too, old chap.

So, thats the American idea of Liberty is it? You can be charged with offenses, but not accorded the right to defend yourself using the same legal standards of the same nation? Not sure I'm suprised by the hypocritical double standard you illustrate.

Note well, I do not say that the EU is any better. They're just as bad, its just that this case happens to be US-centric ('cos they made it so). I am not anti-american, per se, I am anti-oppresive government of all kinds. Before you say it, I am aware that makes me anti-government on the whole, but I don't want government gone, I want BETTER government, honest, open government that abides by the standards to which it pays lip service.

And yes, those same online pharmacies operate all over the world, and I don't see them getting prosecuted either. (More's the pity). US doesn't own/regulate the internet, despite their best efforts to date.

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Coat

So could one say...

...this whistle-blower sucks!?

OK, OK, don't push!

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Julian, my heart bleeds for you

Poor guy, stuck away in his mate's country house. All he wants is to tell the world the truth (and get paid), stick it to the man (and get paid), be worshipped as a demi-god* (and get paid) and philander his way through Europe (and get paid).

The Anonymous fellas seem pretty adept at releasing information without requiring £1.75m a year to do so.

* You should have seen him at St Pauls the other week, to certain portions of the population it seems he already is a demi-god.

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"to certain portions of the population it seems he already is a demigod"

Well, as the repeated voting of New Labour has shown, some people you can sell anything. If anything he's a demi-t*sser - can't even do it with some Swedish girls without screwing up..

However, I suspect there are quite a few hypocrites amongst those followers as well or his *cough* book *cough* would have sold better.

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Kicking in the door

When you have the habit of blowing the doors open, you should not be surprised when others put bomb proof doors up and keep you locked out of their systems. Assange is very handy with a whip but complains when someone turns up with a gun (I am thinking Indiana Jones here).

If he is so dedicated to the cause perhaps he might go out and get a real job to fund his personal crusade. Otherwise he needs to find a new hobby like carving his initials on a Swedish prison wall...!

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Anonymous Coward

If they don't get you one way...

... they'll get you another. Whistle blowing on huge ruthless violent governments is probably even more dangerous than it looks at first sight. They have immense power, no conscience at all, and very little accountability.

One of those days, I wouldn't be surprised if Assange suffered a nasty unforeseeable accident, died of a nasty disease, or unaccountably decided to take his own life. It's hard to tell where governmental thoroughness stops and institutional vindictiveness sets in.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't think any government would bother. As you can see, Assange is another problem that has gone away (seen any releases lately?), and Swedish courts await.

Assange is his own worst enemy. If he'd dealt with that Swedish problem the moment it had appeared it would have never gone legal. But hey, there's that integrity thing he hasn't quite got a handle on - he screwed that up when he started using WL for his own means.

It all went pear shaped when the docs of the Swedish investigation were leaked - it showed that Assange knew full well that there wasn't any US involvement but that the problem was of his own making. Didn't anyone notice he was kinda quiet after that?

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FAIL

@Tom Welsh...

First, I suppose that if Assange died from some untreated STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), that you would blame it on a US conspiracy, even though he's facing rape charges for attempting to have unprotected sex... (Showing that he had a proclivity for having unsafe sex.)

But that's all a US/UN plot. Right?

So what exactly did Assange show in all of his 'whistle blowing' activities?

And that's the point. Nothing of Probative value. Note: This isn't to say that members of the US armed services and the US government didn't do things that could be questionable...

But who broke the story about Abu Graib ?sp? prison? (Hint: It wasn't wikileaks.)

Who broke the story on Water Boarding? (Hint: Again, it wasn't wikileaks.)

Clearly son, you need to go back to school and get an education.

I mean, heck... what's the probative value in knowing some snot nosed young diplomat thinks Germany's Merkel is BORING!

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Not likely. Assange only blows the whistle

on countries that don't actually engage in such tactics. If he pulled this crap on one that did, he'd already be dead.

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