WikiLeaks' donations barely enough to keep the servers running

The project can only be better supported if donations increase, according to WikiLeaks' donations handler

The following donations have been received through bank transfer or by checks / cash sent to the Wau Holland Foundation, listed by month:

The following donations have been received through bank transfer or by checks / cash sent to the Wau Holland Foundation, listed by month:

Donations to WikiLeaks since January have only been enough to cover expenditures in essential infrastructure, such as servers, according to a transparency report.

Donations have been declining substantially over the last two years, the report said. Last year, WikiLeaks had almost €69,000 (US$88,700) in incoming donations while its expenses were a little over €392,000, according to the report, released Monday by the Wau Holland Foundation, a nonprofit foundation in Germany that handles transfers and donations to WikiLeaks.

"Better support for the project will only be possible with increasing donations," the foundation said.

WikiLeaks' donations have been steadily declining since 2010, when the organization raked in more than €1.3 million, Wau Holland's figures showed. In 2011, the amount had declined to €139,400, while expenses were at €660,500, according to the figures.

Donations to WikiLeaks were blocked by PayPal, MasterCard and Bank of America after it began releasing U.S. diplomatic cables in November 2010. That blockade reduced the donations by 95 percent costing WikiLeaks over $20 million, it said.

WikiLeaks has been running on cash reserves at the Wau Holland Foundation for a while, it announced last July when MasterCard and Visa funding were reestablished via a French payment gateway.

In order to effectively continue its mission, WikiLeaks had to raise a minimum of €1 million immediately, the organization said at the time. But it's 2012 figures apparently show that it has been unable to do so.

WikiLeaks' 2012 funds were mainly spent on three campaigns that ran last year, according to Wau Holland. The organization spent over €178,000 on things such as reviewing and processing received material, video processing, reviewing and sorting documents and anonimyzation, it said.

Those funds were used to continue the publication of the "Spy Files", on activities of telecommunication surveillance companies to support public discussion. But also for the review of "The Global Intelligence Files (GIFiles)," which contain over 5 million emails from the Texas company Stratfor.

A third big project was the reviewing and publication of the "Syria Files," a campaign in which more than 2 million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies were released in order to shine a light on the inner workings of the civil war and the influence of the West and Western countries on the regime.

Another big chunk of the funds, €134,400, was spent on planning and logistics. The report also showed that WikiLeaks' coordinator Julian Assange worked without financial compensation in 2012.

Despite WikiLeak's dire financial situation, it is still publishing documents. One of its latest publications is the prosecution and prison documents for Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg who is suspected of performing one of the biggest hacks in Swedish history.

The information is public, but wasn't provided in digital format by the Swedish prosecution. Photocopying this volume of paper cost around £350 (US$530), according to WikiLeaks.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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Tags governmentinternetbusiness issueslegalwikileaksfinancial results

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Loek Essers

IDG News Service
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