Whose Pal Are You Anyway? Company Cuts Off Financial Support for Wikileaks Through PayPal

The pressure continues to find ways to cut off support and access to WikiLeaks material. PalPal was the latest company to move against Wikileaks by cutting off the ability of people to make donations to support the whistleblower disclosures. The company waited until Friday (when coverage would be reduced) to make the move.

PayPal insists that WikiLeaks violated its acceptable use policy, “which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.” What I fail to understand is how PayPal can be used to support other journalistic and whistleblower organizations under this standard. The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and other media groups routinely publish classified material. Various whistleblower organizations use such material to disclose great government abuses. Under this standard, PayPal will assist the government in shutting off support for anyone using classified or leaked material to disclose wrongdoing.

How about books containing such information? Would that also go to pay for stolen or illegally obtained information? How about the collection of Pentagon Papers?

This comes after the acknowledgment of people like Joe Lieberman that they have been pressuring companies to block access of the public to the material.


43 thoughts on “Whose Pal Are You Anyway? Company Cuts Off Financial Support for Wikileaks Through PayPal”

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/julian-assange-arrested-w_n_792956.html

    “AP’s earlier story is below.”

    LONDON (AP) – Visa says it has suspended all payments to WikiLeaks pending an investigation of the organization’s business.

    Visa’s decision is a powerful blow to the loosely knit organization, which relies on online donations to fund its operations.

    Popular online payment company PayPal, Inc. has already severed its links with WikiLeaks. Visa’s decision to pull the plug on WikiLeaks leaves the website with one fewer source of revenue.

    Swiss authorities closed Assange’s new Swiss bank account Monday.

  2. In previously visiting the Wikileaks site their donations page included PayPal but noted that it was the least secure way to donate and remain anonymous if anonymity was preferred, they gave other, more secure ways to donate.

    PayPal denies service in a fickle manner. One site I visit has had it use of PayPal suspended (for content) but the blawger still has service as an individual so donations can continue unabated.

    PayPal was created by Ebay, they’re only in it for the money. Crusaders they are not.

  3. We were discussing the proverbial abyss a bit ago… Coleen Rowley happened to mention it in her column today, as well.


    begin excerpt

    Unfortunately, the US corporate PR machine is again triumphing. The naked emperor shoots the little boy trying to yell the truth. About 70% of Americans, misled by their politicians, now declare that ignorance is bliss and they want to see Assange assassinated and WikiLeaks taken out. Only a tiny fraction of critical-thinker-Americans recognize that what they don’t know can hurt them.

    The last time an administration got 70% of the country to believe a false proposition (that Iraq was behind 9-11), we launched an unending war that has already killed over a million and, in so doing, we shot ourselves in the foot. So unless Americans are willing to take their heads out of the sand, that’s about to happen again. We find ourselves in such an Orwellian tragedy, that if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry.

    Americans continue like the lemmings in that Apple ad that flopped during the 1985 Superbowl. They are being led blindfolded up to the edge of an abyss and then are, one by one, falling off.

    (end excerpt)

  4. http://whistleblower.org/blog/31-2010/867-gaps-tom-devine-discusses-federal-whistleblower-protections-on-npr-whistleblower-daily-news

    Key Quote: Tom Devine, legal director of the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, said alleged misconduct in the Las Vegas field office, even if it occurred several years ago, needs to come to light.

    “The report could expose the secret history of a government agency that may have set the pace for betraying the public trust,” he said.

    (The aforementioned is from the Air Marshal Report.)

  5. Swarthmore mom:

    “I was taking informal polls of people as Blouise does at social occasions this weekend, and I was surprised to find out that most people think wikileaks is the threat not the government. Amazing isn’t it.”

    Thats the media in action.

  6. In a quasi-public setting some time ago, I observed a “teacher” instructing some young children; the event happened close to the U.S. Thanksgiving day, and the “teacher” asked the young children to tell, in the quasi-public setting, what each of them was thankful for.

    What follows is based on a very real incident, with only such changes as proper human-subject research confidentiality requires.

    One child, whose family had been struggling with difficulties, said she was thankful for “bad dreams.” Having spent much of my “gainfully employed” working life around young children, at Cook County Children’s Hospital, I have long recognized that exceptionally truthful children are grateful for “bad dreams” because it is often partly through “bad dreams” that a child is able to work through serious to severe difficulties.

    In my own childhood, as I worked at learning how to live in a world in which World War II was a current event, it was my own “bad dreams” which pointed me toward ways to survive and, when practicable, thrive.

    So, when this young girl, living in a family which was working through some serious and severe difficulties said she was thankful for “bad dreams,” I had a vivid grasp of what she meant.

    Alas, the “teacher” set out to correct the girl, saying to her, “You meant, ‘good dreams.” ”

    The girl answered, “No, I meant ‘bad dreams.’ ”

    The “teacher repeated, “You meant, ‘good dreams.’ ”

    The girl said, “Bad dreams.”

    The “teacher” said, “Of course, you meant, ‘good dreams.’ ”

    The girl, voice like dejected despair, “Good dreams.”

    The teacher said, “Thank you.”

    The girl, methinks, learned that it is dishonest to be truthful and truthful to be dishonest.

    Suppose anyone else ever learned such a lesson?

    Suppose anyone else who similarly learned that dishonesty is truthfulness and truthfulness is dishonesty ever was elected or appointed to any government office?

    Is there any dispositional attribution (in the social psychology sense of attribution) that is not entirely made of situational factors?

    Is it possible for there to ever be a purely dispositional attribution (totally bereft of any and all situational factors) which is not of unmitigated, absolute, utter dishonesty and/or deception? Methinks, no, never.

  7. I, too, feel a certain degree of hope. The internet may save us…, coupled with the many good and decent people in the world who are willing to stand up and fight for what is fair and just…

    Glenn Greenwald is on the side of right, little doubt about it… (… and by “right”, I don’t mean the side of the Republicans.)

    Swarthmore mom, A part of me wishes that I didn’t… If all goes well, I hope to be able to share the story…

  8. Glenn Greenwald has written some very good things about this. “he U.S. and its “friends” in the Western and business worlds are more than able and happy to severely punish anyone they want without the slightest basis in “law.” That’s what the lawless, Wild Western World is: political leaders punishing whomever they want without any limits, certainly without regard to bothersome concepts of “law.” Anyone who doubts that should just look at what has been done to Wikileaks and Assange over the last week. In this series of events, there are indeed genuine and pernicious threats to basic freedom and security; they most assuredly aren’t coming from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.

    People often have a hard time believing that the terms “authoritarian” and “tyranny” apply to their own government, but that’s because those who meekly stay in line and remain unthreatening are never targeted by such forces. The face of authoritarianism and tyranny reveals itself with how it responds to those who meaningfully dissent from and effectively challenge its authority: do they act within the law or solely through the use of unconstrained force?” (today’s column)

  9. I feel some hope right now. The govt. has pissed off the wrong people. Hacktivists aren’t just letting this go down without a fight. I also believe there are still people of courage left in the govt. This would be a good time for them to leak and speak up.

    Further, other nations have actual opposition parties. They are fighting back as well. Clearly, the top world leadership is moving as one (evil) entity on this, but there is more dissent in some govts. than we experience here.

    With more people willing to speak out and/or take action to fight back, we might get somewhere. I’m certain the govt. has many plans in place but sometimes, empires and their emperors lose their grip on power. In fact, eventually, they all do.

  10. Swarthmore mom

    December 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    anon nurse: Yes, I think after 911, the majority of Americans became willing to give up many rights in the name of national security. If an elected official doesn’t go along with this thinking then he or she is called sympathetic to the terrorists. Obama doesn’t want to be seen as weak on national security and therefore suspect. His fear of that and of losing the election is far greater than his commitment to civil liberties.


    Swarthmore mom,

    Yes, I agree…

    (With regard to “maybe it hasn’t changed that much”, I think things have changed in the sense that certain activities that were probably “going on” before 9/11 have been ramped up to an unprecedented degree… Also, as I indicated in my comment to Elaine, the tools of the security trade have changed dramatically.

  11. Elaine M,

    Regarding: “We sleepwalked into the abyss years ago.”

    I was the one who made that statement, Elaine. 🙂

    Anyway, while it may be true that we sleepwalked into an abyss years ago, it wasn’t anything like the one that’s coming, IMO. Can we stop the march into said abyss? Probably not.

    And believe me, I’ll be perfectly happy to be wrong about what’s apparently headed our way.

    Back in the 70s, the high-tech tools of the security trade were quite different, for one thing. Now, those who seek control, power and money, above all else, will be able to counter any resistance in a very efficient manner…

  12. His fear of that and of losing the election is far greater than his commitment to civil liberties.

    election ? past or future ?

  13. anon nurse: Maybe it hasn’t changed that much. I was remembering that Nixon in 1972 won 49 states. The Pentagon Papers were released in 1971.

  14. anon nurse: Yes, I think after 911, the majority of Americans became willing to give up many rights in the name of national security. If an elected official doesn’t go along with this thinking then he or she is called sympathetic to the terrorists. Obama doesn’t want to be seen as weak on national security and therefore suspect. His fear of that and of losing the election is far greater than his commitment to civil liberties.

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