The bankers’ blockade of WikiLeaks must end
Whether you support WikiLeaks or not, the blockade by Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others is a sinister attack on free speech
guardian.co.uk, Monday 24 October 2011 11.30 EDT
In December 2010 three of the world’s biggest payment providers, Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, cut off funding to WikiLeaks. Ten months later, Julian Assange has announced the whistleblowing site will suspend operations until the blockade is lifted – and warned WikiLeaks does not have the money to continue into 2012 at current levels of funding.
On the surface, it appears as if the bankers’ blockade – encouraged by several US senators, including Joe Lieberman – may have come close to accomplishing its goal. WikiLeaks is, for now, silenced – though not before publishing the full cache of 251,000 diplomatic cables, and the files of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.
The real picture is murkier. As Reuters journalist Mark Hosenball noted at the WikiLeaks press conference, it’s not clear exactly which operations WikiLeaks has to suspend: WikiLeaks has not released a single file since the publication of the Guantánamo Bay material – obtained independently by the Guardian and New York Times – in April. The site’s primary submissions system has been offline since Daniel Domscheit-Berg and others walked away from WikiLeaks in the summer of 2010. Assange says a replacement will be online by the end of November.