[Security] WikiLeaks suspends operations
WikiLeaks claims that it has been the target of "aggressive retaliation" from several groups for publishing tens of thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables starting last November.
The whistleblower site has accused Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union of severely curtailing its ability to receive donations and process payments from supporters around the world.
The blockade, as WikiLeaks terms it, has been going on since December 2010 and has "destroyed 95% of our revenue," WikiLeaks said. The site has been forced to run on cash reserves for the past 11 months, it added.
The site claims that the actions by the financial services companies are politically motivated and designed to push WikiLeaks out of existence.
A chart on its website shows that donations to WikiLeaks have virtually flat-lined since January 2011, after peaking a month earlier.
"The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency," WikiLeaks lamented.
The move to shutter the site at least temporarily is not surprising.
WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange , have been under tremendous pressure since the site began posting nearly a quarter of a million leaked State Department cables last November.
Soon after the site began publishing the documents, Visa , MasterCard, PayPal and others terminated services to WikiLeaks, citing terms of service violations.
Both MasterCard Europe and Visa Europe face complaints that the move to terminate the services violates European Union antitrust laws.
WikiLeaks has also commenced what it calls as pre-litigation action against the financial services companies in several countries including Denmark, Belgium, United Kingdom and the U.S.