Wikileaks announced the first of four auctions on Friday, blaming its money troubles on "an unlawful financial embargo by the Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union" in a press release. Wikileaks is a not-for-profit, and relies on donations.
"All items have been donated to WikiLeaks by Julian Assange or the guests to his 40th birthday party on July 10, 2011 (while under house arrest)," the release says.
Among the items up for auction: The unopened prison coffee (with a current bid of 200 pounds), two tickets to Vivenne Westwood's Gold Label catwalk in Paris, a 60 Minutes Challenge Coin in the shape of the CBS logo, donated by CBS producer Howard Rosenberg, the computer supposedly used to prepare the "CableGate" State Department cables, and a signed copy of the cable that "details Hilary [Clinton] asking her diplomats to spy on UN officials requesting them to collect details of UN officers, including Ban Ki-moon's DNA."
The cable is signed with the message:
Ellingham 10 July 2011
While under house arrest
"Courage is contagious"
"The blockade against WikiLeaks violates individuals' freedom of conscience and consumer's rights to exercise their choice of which organization to support with their own money," Wikileaks said in the press release. "Crucially, this unprecedented mixing of politics and finance also threatens the future existence of all non-profit organizations. All now risk having their financial lifelines arbitrarily pulled as a result of their commitment to exposing corruption, environmental degradation or war crimes."
Via The Lede blog of New York Times.