WikiLeaks believes that it is paying for (or rather, not being paid for) its military leak. According to the Guardian, WikiLeaks has claimed that "it has had its funding blocked and that it is the victim of financial warfare by the US government." Moneybookers, an Internet payment company registered in Britain that collects WikiLeaks donations, emailed the company to say its account was closed down because it was on an official US watchlist and Australian government blacklist.
"The apparent blacklisting came a few days after the Pentagon publicly expressed its anger at Wikileaks and its founder, Australian citizen Julian Assange, for obtaining thousands of classified military documents about the war of Afghanistan, in one of the US army's biggest leaks of information," states the Guardian article by David Leigh and Rob Evans. The documents were then made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and a German magazine Der Spiegel, "revealing hitherto unreported civilian causalities."
Wikileaks went against calls from the Pentagon telling the company to return war logs and destroy the copies they had. "Instead, it has been reported that it intends to release an even larger cache of military documents, disclosing other abuses in Iraq," reports the article by the Guardian.
Moneybookers closed WikiLeaks' account on August 13, less than a week after the Pentagon threatened reprisals against the organization. Moneybookers sent a note to Assange that said following an audit of the company's account by the security department, "we must advise that your account has been closed...to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities."
Assange then emailed to see what the problem was and was told by Daniel Stromberg, Moneybookers' e-commerce manager for the Nordic region, that Stromberg noticed something was wrong with the account and that he emailed the risk and legal department to solve the problem. Assange was then informed Wikileaks was blacklisted in Australia and watchlisted in the United States and the business relationship between WikiLeaks and Moneybookers was terminated. Assange was not happy and replied back saying, "this is likely to cause a huge backlash against Moneybookers," adds the Guardian.
Moneybookers is registered in the UK but owned by Investcorp, a Bahrain-based group. They were unavailable for comment, but the public relations firm, 77PR, said that it sticks with the original decision to cut ties with WikiLeaks. According to oss.itproportal.com, Assange claims that funding was blocked because of a US government bid to stop the organization. Assange said he is the victim of financial warfare to take the Web site down.
In addition, according to rawstory.com, James Clapper, the administration's new director of national intelligence said President Obama is full of "angst" because of the "leaks of sensitive intelligence from government officials." Clapper said intelligence agencies would need to be more restrained about sharing sensitive information in the future. Clapper said he through the leaks were not by reporters, but government officials who are supposed to have taken an oath to protect the United States.
At the moment, WikiLeaks has not said where it received the documents, but it is suspected that Bradley Manning, a US Army intelligence analyst current in military custody, is responsible the Iraq leak this spring. Manning was arrested in May after WikiLeaks released video footage of a US Apache helicopter strike in Iraq where a number of civilians died. He has since been charge with "delivering defense information to an unauthorized source." WikiLeaks received about 91,000 reports concerning raw information of the war in Afghanistan.
There is a fine line to be drawn between protecting free speech and protecting national interests. Should Wikileaks publish all the confidential information it receives: how much is in the public interest and how much is a potential threat? Do governments have a right to try to stop it?