Lima, October 18: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange described as nonsense reports of defections from his organisation and said his group helped inspire the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Addressing a meeting of the Inter American Press Association in Peru on Monday via Internet video hookup from Britain, Mr. Assange said WikiLeaks' biggest problem is the ban on processing contributions by credit card companies and PayPal.
“We have not cut any staff,” he said, calling it “an exception for most of the newspaper world”.
Though asked for specifics, he did not say how many people WikiLeaks has on staff or offer details about its finances.
“We have been pleasantly in a strong enough financial position to survive entirely on our cash reserves for the past eleven months,” Mr. Assange said.
He said WikiLeaks expects to prevail in legal action it has taken in the European Union against corporations that blocked payments last year after the online secrets-spilling organisation facilitated the release of tens of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and sensitive documents from the Afghan and Iraq conflicts.
He said the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement, which blames corporate greed for the global financial crisis, “is in part inspired by our activities” and claimed “community support and media support for WikiLeaks has never been stronger”.
On Saturday, the 40-year-old Australian spoke to protesters in London during one of scores of global Occupy rallies, calling the international banking system a “recipient of corrupt money”.
As for allegations WikiLeaks may be splintering or weakening, Mr. Assange said reports that circulated last year about 12 people leaving the organisation were “absolute nonsense”.
He said WikiLeaks' sole defection was a German spokesperson he did not name. He was clearly referring to Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who Mr. Assange said he “suspended”.