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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:51 PM
Original message
PayPal admits US pressure over WikiLeaks account freeze
Edited on Wed Dec-08-10 12:52 PM by Turborama
Source: The Guardian

Esther Addley
Wednesday December 08 2010 14.13 GMT

PayPal today admitted it suspended payments to WikiLeaks after an intervention from the US State Department.

The site's vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, told an internet conference the site had decided to freeze WikiLeaks's account on 4 December after government representatives said it was engaged in illegal activity. "State Dept told us these were illegal activities. It was straightforward," he told the LeWeb conference in Paris, adding: "We ... comply with regulations around the world, making sure that we protect our brand."

PayPal is the first major corporation to admit that its decision to suspend dealings with WikiLeaks was a result of US government pressure.

It will intensify criticism from supporters of WikiLeaks that the site is being targeted for political reasons. Visa, Amazon, the Swiss bank PostFinance and others have also announced in recent days that they will cease trading with the whistleblowing site.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/08/paypal-us-p...
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. is it fascism yet?
:grr:
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City Lights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Yes.
:grr:
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
40. We can really see how they are controlling the money
so they can dictate who goes to jail and which business survives
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nc_gadfly Donating Member (48 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
12. meanwhile, check out this announcement from the state dept...
Edited on Wed Dec-08-10 01:20 PM by nc_gadfly
...and TRY to get through the entire thing without laughing

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/12/152465.htm
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Are you kidding? I couldn't even get past the first SENTENCE! The irony HURTS! nt
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. I didn't make it past the title....
What a farce.
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Ticonderoga Donating Member (489 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:28 PM
Response to Reply #23
38. That's amazing, as I never made it past the link.
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
37. That's Hillary Clinton's Private little Plantation
Hired Black water lately Hillary

Oh ya still helping Porker get a lewinsky or 2
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks for the post! I'm surprised they said that.
I thought it might have been the case.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I'm glad they did. Maybe State will be asked about it, squirm and "allow"
PayPal and amazon and Visa and Master Card, and....? to resume business.

This fucking infuriates me.
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #5
35. Yawp. I wonder how much customer heat they got for the action?
I can't think of any other reason to come forward and say this...It's a scary time.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. Maybe they're feeling the pressure from the "other" side
You know, the side the government's fat boot is sitting on?

They could have asked the government to produce evidence of a crime *before* cutting off Wikileaks.
They could have immediately published that they'd been asked by the government to cut off Wikileaks.

Instead, they followed their orders and assisted in violation of Freedom of the Press. They plea for pity doesn't move me one iota. When they restore business with Wikileaks, then I'll care. Until then... :nopity:
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #13
36. I can understand why they did it. I'm glad they at least were public about it.
But I don't disagree with you. They had other options.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. On what charges? The games and manipulation continue. It's not fair to
ask these companies to forego their revenue from the transactions, but that doesn't matter to the big, bad USA. :grr:
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
15. The companies expected rewards ultimately.
Edited on Wed Dec-08-10 01:23 PM by caseymoz
It would have been implied, and they know our terrorists laws are "written" (though our counter-terrorist practices aren't written) so that the government wins, so they had reason to fear not cooperating. However, they expected the government to do a good turn for them for their cooperation here. The government bureaucracy and political staffs are shod through with company operatives, and politicians are bought off so this isn't as antagonistic as it looks.

What they didn't count on was their customers and the public to go ape shit over it and to have their sites under attack. They thought the propaganda and misinformation would prevent that.

That's why PayPal is squealing now. It will be interesting to see what other company turns on the government under this pressure.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. We should contact these companies and let them know we support them if they
do change their minds -- give them some incentive and promise of $$$.
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #16
42. It won't work like that.

The government is the eight hundred pound gorilla. And we're like fleas.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. "The State Department said so" .
What a joke.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. They're just strengthening the picture of them that the 'leaks' have painted. I love my
country, but sometimes I hate it, you know?

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Well, the country and the government aren't the same thing, are they?
You can love this country and disagree with the actions of the government. :)

You're right, too. Every part of their response to wikileaks has only proved wikileaks' point about repressive secrecy. It's as though the system can't respond any other way.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. You're right - I was thinking of that distinction when I typed it but I knew you'd
know what I meant. :7

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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. "The site's vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier"
Osama?? no wonder.




;-)
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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
8. If it was straight forward why did they have to lie.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
10. Well, freakin' DUH
I have one more round of textbooks to buy...and then I cut off my paypal account. Wish I could today, but I can't just yet. x(
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
21. That's understandable...
Edited on Wed Dec-08-10 01:25 PM by ProudDad
:hi:

It'll be fun for you when you can though -- there's a nice big box to tell them why you're leaving in 1000 words or less...
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caseymoz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:12 PM
Response to Original message
14. So, our government and the Obama adminstration are caught red handed.

This is going to be a hard one for plausible deniability.

Interesting that Paypal, knowing that this was a PR stink bomb, decided to throw the US government under the bus now. My, maybe our secret, shadow government is losing its mojo? We can only hope.

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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
18. Good!
I'm EXTRA glad I removed my account with those cowardly fascist fucks...

Remember Meg Whitman? She got some of her money to run her campaign from Paypal...
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Clear abuse of power. There are no charges against Assange
or Wikileaks in the United States.
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I'm shocked, shocked
that the USAmerikan Empire abuses their power...

:)
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. LOL.
The info fight is State Dept presenting itself as guardian of the people v. that terrorist Assange. The fun will be pointing out their every predictable abusive move. :)
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Autumn Colors Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
24. xipwire has not frozen its donation page for wikileaks
Edited on Wed Dec-08-10 01:29 PM by Autumn Colors
I saw this on Common Dreams and went over to their site to check it out.
http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/12/08-6

Xipwire also has a statement up regarding Wikileaks on the donation page.
https://xipwire.com/give/wl
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
26. has DU come under any pressure - curious?

I'm guessing the NYT has, but frankly if they are going to try to drum up all kinds of pressure and charges against reporters in the NYT and Guardian etc, they'll start with the low hanging fruit of those they can easily spook
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Downwinder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Righthaven already tried that approach.
Word get around in a hurry.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
27. PayPal Was Reputed to Be Right Wing
The pointy-haired boss probably salivated at the chance to do in a "socialist", until the blowback hit the fan...
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
29. We need calls to Senators, e-mail to White House ... and calls to the slimey State Dept....!!
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
30. Looked into this earlier today and found the pertinent video
from the conference:
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/11319925

The exchange takes place near the start.


Bedier backtracked the statement afterwards:
http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/08/paypal-wikileaks /

In his answer Bedier made it seem like PayPal had complied with a governmental request to deny service to WikiLeaks, We have an acceptable use policy and their job is make sure that our customers are protected, making sure that we comply with regulations around the world and making sure that we protect our brand.

Bedier also said that PayPals decision was influenced by the fact that the State Department deemed WikiLeaks illegal in a letter sent on November 27th, a statement that was not followed up on by Yiannopoulos. It is still unclear what exact US laws WikiLeaks is breaking.

When asked about Mastercard.com going down earlier today and whether or not Paypal had fears of retaliation, One of the signs that youre a successful payments company is that hackers start to target you, this case isnt anything different.

Update: After talking to Bedier backstage, he clarified that the State Department did not directly talk to PayPal and that the letter in question here was actually sent by the State Department to WikiLeaks. I have changed the headline of this post to reflect this statement. Full text of the letter Osama said he was referencing and video of the talk, below:


Hmm, whether State Dept contacted them directly or they were "influenced" by the State Dept's letter to Assange (and boy is that contorted), they still did this without any evidence that there are even laws Wikileaks is breaking.

Interesting sidenote:
In tracking this down, I read a scathing piece on Assange from the journalist who interviewed Bedier. He actually makes some salient points in terms of the manner in which the corporations have joined together to prevent Wikileaks from accessing finances since the announcement about Wikileaks upcoming release of US bank info. He clearly falls on the side of the corporations in doing this, though and makes increasingly outrageous attacks against Assange, to the point of calling him a terrorist and calling for this pattern to be used against future whistleblowers. Interesting reading, if only to see how corporatist sycophants are pushing for suppression.
Last paragraph from it:
It will take a truly Herculean - and harmonious - effort by government and businesses to keep these dangerous extremists in check. But at least now we know how to go about it. Follow the money.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/818...

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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. Thanks a lot for your excellent research!
I saw a clip of him on BBC World earlier and as there's actually a video out there of him saying it I had a look on YouTube but didn't come up with anything.

You're right, he's making a very contorted backtrack there. Maybe they spoke to him after he made his comment?
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Scary precedent either way
They may have spoken to him or he may have realized he misspoke or needed to clarify that the letter to which he referred was the one that was printed in the press.

Here's the pertinent text as published by Reuters:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AR1E420101128
As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.

Even if we give the consideration that it's the latter case, that means any accusations published by the State Dept are enough to shut down or freeze funds and, sites, and, therefore, speech.

Scary days.


And thank you for your excellent threads on this topic.

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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #33
41. Thought this would be worth adding here
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/12/08/...
We've been focusing on whether and how the Obama administration could try to extradite Julian Assange to the United States to face criminal charges. But whether any such charges will be brought is still a major unresolved question.

And judging from new media reports describing the administration's thinking on this, there is currently no plausible theory under which Assange could be charged with a crime -- despite claims by Obama officials that WikiLeaks has broken the law.

Take this New York Times story today and this item from NBC yesterday, both based on interviews with unnamed government officials. Facing widespread expert skepticism about charging Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917, the administration is exploring new theories.



Interesting looking at Paypal's action in this light. "...no plausible theory under which Assange could be charged with a crime" yet a claim - with no hard evidence- by the State Dept is enough to enact shut down of account.

Rest of the article is well worth the read.
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wowimthere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
31. All of 'em cowards bowing down to the government without understanding why n/t
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BB1 Donating Member (671 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
32. Just wondering..
All that talk about Big Business running the politicians. Isn't this just a case of Big Bidness doing what it wants, regardless? And blaming some radical elements in the 'entertainment branche of industry'.
I think we're being played on all sides. Those in charge know there's so much info out in the open already, and they're still getting away with it. What better than releasing ALL THEIR SHIT, getting a bunch of people killed and later that week 'shutting down the internet'?
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-08-10 03:31 PM
Response to Original message
39. Wikileaks is NOT engaged in illegal activities. They are a news
organization. PayPal should go to the ACLU or other international legal organizations to find out how to continue serving this award-winning news organization without being arrested themselves.

And Wikileaks should start suing those who are denying them service.
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