Wikileaks selling T-shirts, mugs online to raise funds!

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 14:01

Boston: Whistle-blower website Wikileaks,
facing financial troubles in the wake of its founder Julian Assange`s legal cases, is now selling merchandise like
T-shirts and coffee mugs online to raise money to keep itself
afloat.

Wikileaks has launched an online store that sells
everything from T-shirts, goodies, coffee mugs, bumper
stickers to bags, covers for laptops and iPads, umbrellas,
baseball caps and even teddy bears.

The website says "all proceedings will go to Wikileaks
operations" and asks people to "keep us strong". The
merchandise has images of Assange as well as the Wikileaks
logos.

T-shirts of different sizes are available for men and
women. Some shirts show the white-haired Australian dressed as
the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Another T-shirt shows
Assange gagged with an American flag and has the caption `The
Truth Is Not Treason`.

Slogans like `Viva la Information!`, `Truth Will Out`,
`Support Wikileaks`, `Free Assange` and `Courage Is
Contagious` are printed on the items.

The range of the merchandise is USD 17 to USD 57. The
site, hosted by German merchandising company Spread shirt, also
offers a 17 per cent discount on purchases of USD 35 or more.

Customers can chose from 16 countries to shop the
merchandise. The site`s legal page states that "the
accountability for this online shop in terms of copyright law
is: Wikileaks."

Spreadshirt, which has sold T-shirts for pop groups
like the Spice Girls and Boyzone, says WikiLeaks has "better
than average" sales potential.

"WikiLeaks is an emotional proposition: People love it
or hate it. For those that love it and wish to show support
for WikiLeaks by wearing a T-shirt, it is a good proposition,"
the company said.

Trouble for Wikileaks started ever since the website
leaked thousands of classified US documents. WikiLeaks`
financial woes grew when Paypal, MasterCard and Visa cut off
all processing of donations to the site.

According to Assange, the site lost approximately USD
650,000 since this funding was cut off. At its peak, the site
was receiving approximately USD 130,000 in daily donations.

Assange`s legal bills are also mounting as he fights
extradition from the UK to Sweden, where prosecutors want to
question him about rape and molestation charges. Assange has
not been formally charged with a crime and denies any
wrongdoing.

To keep his company afloat and manage funds for his
legal battles, Assange also inked a USD 1.3 million deal with
the US publishing house Alfred Knopf and British publisher
Canongate to write his autobiography.

Assange had set up a fund-raising site
www.dinnerforfreespeech.com to encourage supporters to hold
dinner parties and make donations, in support of him and
WikiLeaks.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 14:01

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