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Editorial - PayPal freezes WikiLeaks donations

Digital McCarthism in the United States?

Saturday December 4, 2010

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE

Yesterday, PayPal, the US based internet banking giant, froze the public donations of whistleblowing publication WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is entirely supported by donations from the general public, most of which come via PayPal. PayPal issued a concurrent press release saying that it had "permanently suspended" the WikiLeaks account, which is operated by the German charity WHS, under its charter to support the distribution of knowledge.

Although WikiLeaks has been victorious in all its court proceedings, and there are no pending proceedings, PayPal claims "our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity."

WikiLeaks editor, Julian Assange, stated that "What we are seeing here are dangerous moves towards a digital McCarthyism. These actions, and the others like it, are not the result of a legal process, but rather, are a result of fear of falling out of favor with Washington."

The move comes after several similar attacks this week, starting with the removal of WikiLeaks’ Amazon.com servers after interference by US Senator Lieberman & the Department of Homeland Security. Lieberman called for "[A]ny other company or organization that is hosting WikiLeaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them,". On Thursday the Callifornia company EveryDNS severed its connections with WikiLeaks after it said it suffered massive, illegal, denial of service attacks on its infrastructure by unknown entities. On Friday, the Library of Congress censored connections to WikLeaks.

PayPal is not the first payment processor to bow to U.S. pressure. Back on August 13, 2010, just one week after the release of the WikiLeaks "Afghan War Dairies", Moneybookers, also suspend WikiLeaks ability to collect donations, stating that, "[F]ollowing recent publicity [The Afghan War Diaries] and the subsequently [sic] addition of the WikiLeaks entity to blacklists in Australia and watchlists in the USA, we have terminated the business relationship"

WikiLeaks stated that the PayPal account suspension was serious. "The vast majority of our donations come through this account. We can still accept bank transfers, cheques and some credit cards. If you support our work, right now is the time to support us through these another means."

On Wednesday, two days before the asset freeze, WikiLeaks Editor in Chief also stated in a widely reported Forbes cover story that WikiLeaks would expose tens of thousands of files relating to abusive practices in US financial institutions.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/201...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101201...

https://www.thepaypalblog.com/2010/...

END