WikiLeaks suspends release of secrets to seek cash

October 24, 2011 - 8:20 AM

LONDON (AP) — One of the world's most notorious secret-spillers is going silent.

WikiLeaks said in a statement Monday that it would stop publishing in order to focus on making money — explaining that the blockade imposed by financial companies including Visa, MasterCard, Western Union and PayPal left it with no choice.

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.

The group has long shown signs of financial distress. In a recent statement about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's contested book deal, the group said it did not have enough money to hire a lawyer.

Assange remains under legal pressure in Europe and the United States. A decision on whether to extradite him to Sweden to face sex crime allegations is expected in the next few weeks. He also may face possible legal action in the United States.