Published October 24, 2011
| Associated Press
LONDON – The world's most notorious secret-spiller is going silent.
WikiLeaks -- the whistle-blower group responsible for releasing confidential government documents that had angry government officials calling the group a terrorist organization -- said in a statement Monday that it would stop publishing in order to focus on making money. WikiLeaks head Julian Assange further explained that the blockade imposed by financial companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal left it with no choice.
"We have decided to redirect the vast amount of our resources into knocking down the blockade," Assange said during a press event at the Frontline Club in London.
The statement says that in order to ensure survival, WikiLeaks must "aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents."
U.S.-based financial companies pulled the plug on WikiLeaks shortly after it began publishing some 250,000 U.S. State Department cables last year. The group says the restrictions starved it of nearly all its revenue.
Over 50,000 people have donated to WikiLeaks so far to date, Assange said, with an average donation of $25.
"We are not an organization that relies on a few wealthy individuals or foundations," he said, "and that is why we have been able to publish so frequently."
The company will turn instead to electronic transfers through the standard banking infrastructure, he announced.
In September, a massive release of diplomatic cables from the group had some politicians calling for decisive cyberaction against WikiLeaks.
“The latest release of stolen American secrets by the organization WikiLeaks once again proves that they are a terrorist operation that puts the lives of Americans and our allies at risk,” U.S. Rep Candice Miller (R-Mich.) said in a statement in response to the latest leak.
WikiLeaks has 20 or so full time staff members and around 800 volunteers, Assange said. The group will launch a new publishing platform on November 28, Assange said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.