WikiLeaks setting up bank account in India

25 Oct 2011, 1616 hrs IST

UK News: London, Oct 25 (IBNS): WikiLeaks is in the process of setting up a bank account in India as a financial “blockade” by U.S. firms such as Visa and MasterCard are driving it to the brink of closure, founder Julain Assnage said Monday. WikiLeaks, which gained international notoriety by releasing classified U.S. government cables, will have to stop publishing activities and devote itself to fund-raising as it needs $3.5 million over the next year to continue operating, Assange said.
Many of the leading U.S. financial institutions had stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks in December 2010 after the United States criticized the website´s release of thousands of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables from its embassies all over the world.A message on the WikiLeaks website on Tuesday, appealing visitors to donate, said, “For almost a year we have been fighting an unlawful financial blockade. We cannot allow giant US finance companies to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket.”

Speaking to the media at a news conference, Assange on Monday said that there were no lawful grounds for the blockade by the Bank of America Corp, Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc, eBay Inc unit PayPal and Western Union Co, which deprived WikiLeaks of 95 percent of its revenue.

“Certainly, it has been difficult for us for the last 11 months; we have been removed from 95 per cent. We have been surviving on cash reserves and the last 11 months, because if the situation continues, it can continue, if it does continue their need is inevitable,” Assange told a TV channel.

“Sometime during next year, Wikileaks would completely run out of money and that would be the end of the organisation,” the 40-year-old Australian said.

Assange said that WikiLeaks was setting up new mechanisms to receive donations. “You can send SMS donations, in some countries international bank transfers through some banks,” he said.

“We are in a process of setting up a local Indian bank account, so our strong Indian support can be represented. We are doing the same in similar countries.

“According to a 24 country poll that had 18,000 people, WikiLeaks has the support of almost 75 percent of the world´s population. And, in fact, one of the strongest supporters is the Indian population,” Assnage told an Indian news network.

Assange, who is fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct, said that they were also hoping to see action against the financial institutions that were blocking donations to WikiLeaks. “Personally, what we would like to see is that Visa and MasterCard and the Bank of America are simply banned for engaging in this sort of activity.

“They should be banned from India. The Icelandic Parliament is looking into banning them and European Commission, as I said before, is looking into whether they could start the prosecution against them,” he said.

India Blooms News Service

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