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Wikileaks Suspends Publishing Of Cables Due To "Financial Blockade" 316

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gotta-pay-for-dem-oracle-licenses-somehow dept.
lee1 writes "Wikileaks has had to cease publishing classified files due to what the organization calls a 'blockade by US-based finance companies' that, according to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has 'destroyed 95% of our revenue.' Assange also opined that 'A handful of US finance companies cannot be allowed to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket.' According to Assange the group was taking 'pre-litigation action' against the financial blockade in Iceland, Denmark, the UK, Brussels, the United States, and Australia. They have also filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission."
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Wikileaks Suspends Publishing Of Cables Due To "Financial Blockade"

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  • BoA Leaks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AdamJS (2466928) on Monday October 24, 2011 @10:55AM (#37817896)
    Publish them already. I simply cannot believe that in all of the Wikileaks organization, not a single copy or backup had been made. There's got to be something, especially with a bundle of files so damaging that they managed to turn one of your own against you. I just can't handle the idea of that level of competence in a modern internet organization tasked with anonymizing its sources. It's too scary.
    • Re:BoA Leaks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:12AM (#37818268)
      Mod parent up - Now is the time to publish any and all of the leaks they have on financial institutions. Fight back!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Mod parent up - Now is the time to publish any and all of the leaks they have on financial institutions. Fight back!

        He can't. His stash of information is like a gun with one bullet. He can shoot, but if he doesn't kill his enemy dead then he's finished--and he's facing multiple enemies. So he's dangerous only as long as he doesn't pull the trigger and I seriously doubt that he's got any information that could neutralize his opponents. Embarrass, yes; neutralize, no. But then the banks would just be even more pissed off and, with no fear of further embarassment, would strangle him and Wikileaks financially until he's home

        • Re:BoA Leaks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RobinEggs (1453925) on Monday October 24, 2011 @02:27PM (#37821336)

          He can't. His stash of information is like a gun with one bullet. He can shoot, but if he doesn't kill his enemy dead then he's finished--and he's facing multiple enemies. So he's dangerous only as long as he doesn't pull the trigger

          He was finished as soon as he started pulling shit like 'insurance policies' and scheduled weekly leaks out of his ass. Rather than being a paragon of honesty and open deliberation he's chosen to showboat, counter-extort, obfuscate, and generally do everything possible to start a personal Cold War between him and the entire western world.

          In fact, the Cold War is an extremely apt analogy. He's basically saying exactly what the US and Soviets said about each other: "If I'm doing anything bad it's because I absolutely have to or they'll annihilate me in an instant, and anyway they started it and they're doing ten times worse!"

          It may be perfectly true that wikileaks can't survive any other way, but if this is how they're going to operate then they're effectively no more than an independent intelligence agency, minus the torturing. The CIA isn't exactly a wonderful, admirable organization, even if you believe it has to exist, and neither is wikileaks.

          Put another way, a necessary evil is still evil.

          • by Uberbah (647458)

            He was finished as soon as he started pulling shit like 'insurance policies' and scheduled weekly leaks out of his ass. Rather than being a paragon of honesty and open deliberation he's chosen to showboat, counter-extort, obfuscate, and generally do everything possible to start a personal Cold War between him and the entire western world.

            What a pile of horseshit. They already tried the "releasing everything" model, and rather than dig though the information, the media yawned. So now the release a few cab

    • by bussdriver (620565) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:34AM (#37818650)

      The corporate media and the fickle public will NEVER digest a huge leak -- it has to be slowly leaked out over time so if we hear anything we hear the SAME bit of leak information at the same time everywhere and not too much that it gets skipped over.

      If you dump it all out on a friday, you'll only hear about some diplomat screwing some presidents wife for the next few weeks and maybe a couple things the station doesn't mind reporting. Then the whole thing dies down and they don't talk about the rest of it anymore. Something like that happens all the time; especially on friday media dumps. (most people don't read the paper; tv, radio are not watched friday night or much on the weekend either.)

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        So basically what you're saying is they have to manipulate it into something other than what it is for people to care?

        • Not exactly... What he's saying is, bring the information to public over the same amount of time for the inappropriate transgressions to occur, so their impact isn't minimized by the short release time. Hearing the methodical nature and time consuming preparation that a serial killer takes, and showing the pain he caused over years of activity, will have more of an impact on readers than stating "Hey look, this guy killed 30 people. Here's a list of his victims". Both sound bad, but saying "This guy kill
        • People to care? people are ignorant. You can't care if you do not know. The whole issue is INFORMING people in a system which fails time after time to properly inform the public. WTF? How can you think that gaming the system to INFORM is turning it into something other than what it is??

          Often it requires DEPTH to understand it and get properly upset about it. If the corruption leaks for Tunisia were simple short headlines about US corrupting their government, it may not be enough to motivate people alread

        • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Monday October 24, 2011 @01:12PM (#37820262)

          So basically what you're saying is they have to manipulate it into something other than what it is for people to care?

          That is why I say Western "democracies" are doomed. A combination of carefully nurtured apathy and misdirection onto utter nonsense (sporting events, "reality" shows etc) and a coordinared effort by the oligarchy-controlled "free press" has pretty much irreversibly poisoned the whole thing to the point that only a major shock would snap the populace out of it. And the powers that be are doing everything possible to make sure that even by then it will be too late.

          And if you do not believe me, just look at the blatant violations of the most basic clauses of the US Constitution (the ones that got the Founding Fathers incited to revolution in the first place) by the US government and the accompanying lack of any reaction whatsoever from the dazed public....

          In Jefferson's time blood would be flowing in the streets if such a thing was tried. Today there is some twitching about to find the remote and change the channel ... ooh, the Bumville Asshats are playing the Barnburg Jackasses for the Stupid Cup! Who cares about all that concentration of money and power thing!

          Better yet, not only there is near total apathy but a slew of apologists come out sneering dismissively to defend the indefensible as "necessary measures" or "its all not so bad compared to North Korea" etc.

      • The corporate media and the fickle public will NEVER digest a huge leak -- it has to be slowly leaked out over time so if we hear anything we hear the SAME bit of leak information at the same time everywhere and not too much that it gets skipped over.

        The West Wing TV show even had an episode called "Take Out The Trash Day" 11 years ago about dumping a bunch of stories out at the same time so reporters have less "column inches" for them.

        While "column inches" is now antiquated, it still translates into reporting hours.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      It is suspected that these data are not in their possession any more and were deleted when Daniel Domscheit-Berg defected from wikileaks with a copy :

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/22/wikileaks_data_lost/ [theregister.co.uk]

      He was #2 in the organization and was heavily trusted. When manipulating non-anonymized data, you have to find a balance between redundancy of backups and protection of sources. Keeping this balance when #1 is in jail and #2 is a traitor is really difficult.

      What we should all do in light of t
      • by AdamJS (2466928)
        That's my point. An organization like this really should have had a large number of redundancies - even ones known only at certain levels, high and low - for a leak of data of such magnitude. It's possible that Daniel really was knowledgeable and smart enough to get to all copies. But I'd sooner believe they were just incompetent. Both ideas show a scary lack of foresight for an organization like this.
  • $3.5 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Monday October 24, 2011 @10:55AM (#37817902) Homepage Journal
    Reuters:

    WikiLeaks would need $3.5 mln over the next 12 months to maintain its current levels of operations, he said.

    Either they've signed up for the world's most expensive hosting plan, or Assange and his friends are running up quite a nightclub tab.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 24, 2011 @10:56AM (#37817906)

    With the U.S. government now controlling all the major credit card companies and banks, I guess they really are the world emperors and overlords. And I, for one, would like to welcome our new Yank overlords.

    • by poity (465672) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:35AM (#37818668)

      I thought it was the corporations that control the government? I guess we can switch narratives whenever it's convenient.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Monday October 24, 2011 @10:58AM (#37817946)

    It's weird that the financial companies can control the media in such a way.

    I thought that credit card companies had some legal obligation to transfer money from A to B, unless the money was actually criminal money? But last time I checked, Assange was accused (not convicted) of rape. And the Wikileaks organization as a whole wasn't accused of anything in a legal court. Or am I missing something?

    • by ksd1337 (1029386)

      I thought that credit card companies had some legal obligation to transfer money from A to B, unless the money was actually criminal money? But last time I checked, Assange was accused (not convicted) of rape. And the Wikileaks organization as a whole wasn't accused of anything in a legal court. Or am I missing something?

      Yeah, you're missing the part where the corporations have an obligation to transfer money to lawmakers for the sake of "national security".

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:20AM (#37818408)

        When a powerful multinational corporation does something that's not legal, it will be made legal afterwards.

        Example #1: Citibank bought Travelers, knowingly violating the Glass-Steagal act. Result, Glass-Steagal was repealed (Joe Biden voting against, oddly enough) with the current, totally predictable results.

        Example #2: Telcos performed warrantless wiretaps for the Bush administration without proper authorization. They (hilariously) claimed to be doing so out of patriotism, but when the FBI missed a billing cycle the telcos suddenly stopped having this vaunted "patriotism" that somehow justified trampling US laws. Result, congress granted telcos immunity from prosecution (both McCain and Obama rushing back to DC from the campaign trail to cast votes in favor).

        They do what they want, and then they buy enough government to make it legal. The only time there is any issue is when two zaibatsus have conflicting goals - the people don't matter any more, which is what OWS is about.

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      It is weird. What is stopping Wikileaks from publishing? All it takes is an Internet connection somewhere.

      This isn't about principle or money. It's about Assange fighting for the Wikileaks brand name.

      • by HereIAmJH (1319621) <HereIAmJHNO@SPAMhdtrvs.org> on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:01PM (#37819122)

        This isn't about principle or money. It's about Assange fighting for the Wikileaks brand name.

        No, it's about money. It's Assange saying "if you want to see the leaked documents from xxxx, I need my pound of flesh." It's how they do fund raising.

        If it was about getting the information to the public, they'd simply post a torrent. If it was about Wikileaks getting credit they could just put banner files in the archives like the warez groups do. But that doesn't give Assange money to fly around the world or support his agendas.

        This is Assange promoting Assange.

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          Much as I think the guy is an ass, I think the whole high profile self promotion thing is somewhat necessary, along with the sensationalism and "we'll be releasing this stuff in x months" stuff. The profile makes it hard to get rid of, the sensationalism ensures it gets some attention (whether this is a good thing or not is largely a personal opinion). The profile also serves to let people know they have a place to send their stuff.. versus the guy posting torrents.. how do you get in touch with him?

    • ...last time I checked, Assange was accused (not convicted) of rape.

      He was accused and then acquitted. The extradition is for interrogation purposes.

  • I have got an impression that Wikileaks haven't reach yet the status of al-Qa'ida, Taliban or al-Shabaab, but they pretty close to that in the ranks of Iran and Syria.

    If I were Julian I would keep my movements to heavily populated areas avoiding shires of England.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:01AM (#37818010)

    The original goal of Wikileaks was to publish documents where secrecy were misused to hide criminal acts. By releasing everything indiscriminately they took upon themselves a load they can not bear.

  • Wait a second.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:02AM (#37818048)

    You threaten to publish the secret, evil, nefarious ways of financial institutions, claim to have a hard drive full of incriminating information, and now these same financial institutions now won't deal with you?

    Why... I never. How demonic indeed!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ciderbrew (1860166)
      A few points here.
      - One) Yes you're right. Why should they deal with him?!?!
      - Two) I'm worried that secret, evil, nefarious people are in control. If only we had a way to undermine them and make it a better world.
      - Three) Why are there no NON-secret, evil, nefarious people in power that he can turn to?
    • Re:Wait a second.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:35AM (#37818680) Homepage

      The 'financial blockade' predates the threat to publish stuff about Bank of America. When the leaks about Iraq were published, the US government, with Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) leading the way, worked with PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and other financial institutions to cut off funding that went through any US-based corporation.

      Note that Wikileaks had not (and still hasn't) done anything illegal in the United States: Publishing classified information that was handed to you is protected under the First Amendment, as decided in the Pentagon Papers case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Note that Wikileaks had not (and still hasn't) done anything illegal in the United States

        Well, good for them that legality is all that matters and public opinion has nothing to do with it.

        Their behavior is what fucked them over, not any government. They made it clear they wanted attention and money, not to show the injustices done in the world. What they are doing is nothing like the Pentagon Papers.

        • Re:Wait a second.... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:29PM (#37819552) Homepage

          Well, good for them that legality is all that matters and public opinion has nothing to do with it.

          When it comes to the actions of the US government, legality is supposed to be what matters.

          They made it clear they wanted attention and money, not to show the injustices done in the world.

          If I had information that suggested that powerful people were committing heinous crimes and getting away with it, I'd want that information spread far and wide. That would necessarily entail having attention, and would require funding. This is all regardless of whether Julian Assange is a jerk who two-timed a couple of Swedish gals.

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:12AM (#37818272)

    Take bitcoins to transfer cash. Doesn't seem overly complicated. I can turn $50 into BTC without much time or effort, send it to them, and they can turn it into euros or whatever they need with little effort.
    Don't they have a postal mail address where they can accept innumerable forms of psuedo-currency like gift cards, postal stamps, etc?
    Handling $3.5 million might be a bit labor intensive, maybe they need a slightly smaller budget?

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      I think this may be the first relevant BitCoin post I've seen here.

    • by jandrese (485)
      Given that there is a $5000/day limit on the Bitcoin exchange, I don't think that's going to be a viable way to launder the money. The whole point of that limit is to prevent people from moving money too fast and showing people the inevitable crash (and why it's crashing veeerrry sloooowly) so the early "investors" get a steady paycheck until the money runs out. If Assange were to try to use it, he would end up losing a fairly hefty percentage of every dollar/euro/pound he put in it due to the constant do
      • by vlm (69642)

        the Bitcoin exchange

        What in the world are you talking about? The ecosystem is a lot bigger than one exchange. Multiple exchanges, and anyone can accept private transactions. I'm not entirely certain what Julian plans to do with 3.5 million but presumably at least some small amount can be directly paid for via BTC. Certainly webhosting, stuff like that.

        Also most activity is quite psuedo-anonymous. Thought experiment: Julian decides to exchange 3.5 million per day, with a 5000 limit, thats a perl script running 700 times c

  • Pay 'em in Bitcoins.

  • by poity (465672) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:31AM (#37818594)

    Isn't that pretty much free?

  • A handful of companies can make sure that you get the media attention, or not. a handful of other companies can decide whether you get the funds to be able to get the media attention, or not. So it goes.

    This is why all the representative democracies on the planet are failing. Because the only ones that can be seen and elected, are those that the powerful few private interests allow people to see.

    Wikileaks has been a prime example that exhibited how crooked our media/finance system, and how they are ab
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      A handful of companies can make sure that you get the media attention, or not. a handful of other companies can decide whether you get the funds to be able to get the media attention, or not. So it goes.

      Yea, that was true right up until the Internet got popular. No longer is it true, you can find safe harbor somewhere to post just about anything, and with a little effort you can probably even find someone else to pay for it.

      Wikileaks has been a prime example that exhibited how crooked people can be while flying a flag of good intentions. Do you REALLY think they couldn't publish all this shit in a torrent and solve all of their hosting problems? If you do, you're a moron ... oh wait, too late, already f

      • by gknoy (899301)

        you can find safe harbor somewhere to post just about anything, and with a little effort you can probably even find someone else to pay for it.

        You can? It seems like TPB's had a relatively hard time finding a safe harbor. I'm amazed that Wikileaks has been able to maintain a net connection.

  • by AmElder (1385909) on Monday October 24, 2011 @11:44AM (#37818822) Homepage

    Wikileaks has taken on the two most powerful kinds of organisations in the world, the pillars of the international political system and the global marketplace. It directly damaged the interests of the government of the world most powerful sovereign state (still the USA) and made noises about hurting corporate financial institutions. That's a tall order for any organisation.

    Wikileaks put itself in a particularly hard spot because it hasn't played well with others. It took an 'our way or the highway' approach to disclosure. It also released information that no one was asking for, so it didn't make allies with its disclosures. Moreover, it didn't support or enable calls for specific kinds of disclosure from existing organisation. Now it's isolated and atrophying because no one can operate at that level without allies for long.

  • the "Conservative" SCOTUS will strike it down.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:00PM (#37819096) Homepage

    The Man cut the money hose to stop us leaking, so we'll show him... why, by golly, we'll not leak anything until we get more money in our pockets.

    Yes, well done, very convincing.

  • According to Assange the group was taking 'pre-litigation action'....

    We call that voting with your money. Perfectly moral and legal.
  • by Dunbal (464142) *
    So you can't get credit card deposits. What is stopping you from doing it the old way, you know, with cheques, money orders and wire transfers?
  • It's called cause and effect.

    Note that these are paraphrases:

    Assange 2010: "I've got secret documents from two US-based financial organizations that I may give to the press."

    Assange 2011: "We don't have enough money to release any more documented due to a blockade by US-based financial organizations."

    Duh, what did you think would happen?

  • Wikileaks wikileaks, is this all people hear can they consider any other method? If I was cynical I'd say that Wikileaks was setup or subverted to discourage people leaking, to change people's perception online. It sounds like whinging but it's good to see attention given to the financial system and to have it so clear.

    There's Freenet, eepsites, tor hosted sites and Bitcoin. No need for Wikileaks, post direct and then leak.

    Perhaps this can help OccupyWallstreet people to stop whinging and start doing, starting by takening a long hard look inside ones own wallet.

  • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afabbro (33948) on Monday October 24, 2011 @12:30PM (#37819574) Homepage

    People manage to distribute petabytes of illegal material daily on bittorrent. Assange can't find a way to distribute megabytes?

    The real story is that Assange can't make a dime off seeding a few torrents, and so he's not interested.

  • I like what wikileaks did in the cables situation. It actually improved my attitude about the US was doing in demonstrating that US diplomats were in fact acting the way they had claimed to be. I like their other leaks...

    But wikileaks has constantly been an anti-establishment, essentially criminal enterprise which is anarchist. Why would they expect governments to intervene against US banks on their behalf?

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