10 December, 2010 — RT
Visa, MasterCard and Pay Pal suffered online outages when they came under attack from WikiLeaks supporters waging cyber-war against the firms they accuse of stifling the project’s activities by stopping payment processing.
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently in a British jail fighting extradition to Sweden on sex crime allegations.
The US government has presented no charges against Assange, but the absence of solid accusations did not stop American government officials from reportedly putting pressure at the highest level to cut off Wikileaks’ funding supply.
The senior executive of America’s money transfer giant, Pay Pal, said the State Department had written to the company, claiming the online whistleblower had illegally leaked documents. So Pay Pal, along with MasterCard and Visa no longer accept cash donations for the controversial website.
‘It’s the threat of this that has some impact on national security. And when you say that, in the United States, everybody, you know, wets their pants and they do what they’re told,’ scorned Sam Husseini, the communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. ‘It’s a misconception in some cases that people think the US is purely a money-driven society. It is not. The government has certain prerogatives, particularly over national security.’
It appears that no court ruling or legal procedures were needed to crackdown on the media organization.
Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist organization, believes the situation with WikiLeaks is outrageous.
‘Wikileaks has not been charged with a single US crime,’ he said, ‘and here the country’s financial institutions are taking action on behalf of our state department to extinguish this whistleblower’s website.’
Later, Pay Pal backtracked on its reasons for acting on the US government’s request, while MasterCard and Visa were most evasive on the issue.
But the general explanation they give for not accepting donation payments for WikiLeaks is that the site ‘encourages, promotes, facilitates or instructs others to engage in illegal activity.’
But, on the other hand, neither MasterCard nor Visa have any problems processing donations for, say, the Ku Klux Klan – a racist, anti-Semitic movement with a history of extreme violence, with goals of racial segregation and white supremacy. And yet it takes seconds to make a donation for the Klan, using your Visa or MasterCard. In this case, MasterCard and Visa are saying, it is all about business. But they are not saying that when it comes to WikiLeaks.
A number of senators, including the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Joe Lieberman, were quick to pat those companies on the back for cutting off cash to WikiLeaks.
But some cannot help asking: if US officials are so down on WikiLeaks, why are they not after the WikiLeaks’ partner newspapers?
’One other incredible thing about the persecution is that so many people are falsely reporting that WikiLeaks has dumped 250,000 documents but it’s not true at all. They were only putting stuff up on their webpage, when the New York Times, [German] Der Spiegel, [British] The Guardian or [Spanish] El Pais were putting them up. They were very useful to the US government in some ways,’ Sam Husseini reminded.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding WikiLeaks. But what is on the surface now, are examples of double standards: everyone is after WikiLeaks, but not, for example, the New York Times. The question is why?