The End of WikiLeaks?

October 24, 2011

This is the subtle (or perhaps not-so-subtle) warning, brought to you by an embattled, sweater-clad Julian Assange.

In a video appeal to supporters (watch it above), Assange says that WikiLeaks’ “network is stronger than ever before” with “thousands of pending revelations,” but that his organization is being prevented from receiving 95 percent of its donations because of financial restrictions imposed by a number of banks and credit card companies.

“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 today in a statement, adding that the organization will focus on fundraising and refrain from publishing new documents in the near future.

The blockade Assange refers to stems from the refusal of companies like VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Bank of America to process donations to WikiLeaks after the group’s November 2010 release of 250,000 embassy cables. Shortly afterwards, groups sympathetic to WikiLeaks launched the brief “Operation Payback,” hacking into MasterCard and PayPal.

On top of the “blockade,” legal fees relating to Assange’s sexual assault charge in Sweden and anemic sales of the recently released “unauthorized autobiography” have left WikiLeaks financially strapped. In September, the group even hosted an eBay auction in an attempt to raise funds.

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