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WikiLeaks to suspend publishing, explains Julian Assange

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Julian Assange

© Rex Features

Julian Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, has announced that the whistleblowing website is suspending all publishing operations as it fights a financial blockade.

Speaking at a press conference in London today, Assange said that "an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade" had eroded 95% of the site's revenue.

He added that if the financial boycott by firms such as the Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union is not lifted by the New Year, then WikiLeaks will "simply not be able to continue".

In a statement, WikiLeaks added: "The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency.

"The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of WikiLeaks by politicised US finance companies continues regardless."

The website sprung into the headlines in late 2010 after publishing hundreds of thousands of controversial US embassy and diplomatic cables.

Former computer hacker Assange said that the organisation had been hit by "tens of millions of dollars in lost donations at a time of unprecedented operational costs".

He revealed that donations to WikiLeaks were running at 100,000 euros (£87,000) a month in 2010, but that had tumbled to a monthly income of 6,000-7,000 euros (£3,750-£4,380) this year.

Assange further said that WikiLeaks is facing legal cases in Denmark, Iceland, the UK and Australia, as well as an ongoing action in the European Union.

He is also fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct.

A WikiLeaks spokesman said that the website would reopen for submissions of confidential documents on November 28.

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