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WikiLeaks focus shifts to survival

WASHINGTON – Nearly two months after it made public its unredacted file of stolen U.S. State Department cables, WikiLeaks announced Monday that it was suspending “publishing operations” to concentrate on raising money to stay in business.

The announcement left in doubt the future not just of WikiLeaks but of what had been thought of as a new style of journalism that would allow would-be whistleblowers to leak documents electronically – without the risk of having to reveal their identity to anyone.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blamed WikiLeaks’ financial situation on U.S.-based banking institutions for refusing since December to process donations destined for the website.

The refusal had robbed WikiLeaks of 95 percent of its income, Assange said in charging that the institutions had acted at the behest of the U.S. government. He said the group needed to raise $3.5 million in the next year to continue its operations at its current levels.