WikiLeaks is back in business and once again accepting donations to its cause, thanks to a new partnership with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a brand new organization that’s been set up to channel much-needed funds to the whistle blowing site and other worthy causes.
A post titled “WikiLeaks Declares War on Banking” informs us that the Freedom of the Press Foundation is backed by a number of heavyweight US publishers, including John Perry Barlow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Daniel Ellsberg, publisher of the Pentagon Papers, to name just a few.
The group has been set up exclusively to channel tax deductible donations to WikiLeaks and similar organizations, and once again paves the way for these contributions to be made via PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, and WikiLeak’s favorite currency, Bitcoin.
“The Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to helping promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government,” it says in its mission statement.
“We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations dedicated to government transparency and accountability.”
The move seemingly brings to an end a two year financial blockade imposed on WikiLeaks following its controversial decision to publish thousands of diplomatic cables that caused huge embarrassment to the US government. Officials responded to this by soliciting the assistance of various financial institutions, which quickly ‘announced’ that they would no longer be processing payments to WikiLeaks, on the grounds that the money was funding “illegal activities”.
With the vast majority of his funding cut, WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has faced mounting financial problems, which were further compounded by his legal battles to avoid extradition from the UK to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sex assaults on two women. At one point, WikiLeaks revealed that its finances had slumped to less than $1,000 in the black.
“We’ve fought this immoral blockade for two long years. We smashed it in the courts. We smashed it in the Treasury,” said Assange.
“We smashed it in France. We smashed it in Germany. And now, with strong and generous friends who still believe in First Amendment rights, we’re going to smash it in the United States as well.”
Whether or not the US authorities will have anything to say about it remains to be seen. Officials could respond by simply blocking the organization, or alternatively they could once again apply pressure on financial institutions to refuse to process any payments to the organization.
However, Assange seems more than happy to take the gamble, reasoning that things will not be so easy this time given that the Freedom of the Press Foundation has been set up to channel funds to several charitable causes and not just WikiLeaks itself:
“Let Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and all the rest block them. Let them demonstrate to the world once again who they really are.”