• Feds, well-funded pressure groups collude to suppress the truth
• But truthseekers encouraged by WikiLeaks victory in foreign court
By Victor Thorn
It’s the latest attempt at political censorship: Credit card companies are erecting banking blockades against groups that either challenge government secrecy or are politically incorrect. In November 2010, following publication by WikiLeaks of embarrassing diplomatic cables—and a video entitled “Collateral Murder” that exposed United States war crimes in Baghdad—MasterCard, Visa, Bank of America, eBay, Amazon, Western Union and PayPal blocked donations to this Icelandic whistleblower organization.
In some instances, money was even confiscated from various WikiLeaks accounts. As a consequence, WikiLeaks reportedly lost access to 95% of its potential revenue related to incoming donations.
The financial embargo came as a result of a vendetta waged against WikiLeaks by U.S. policymakers, specifically former Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.)
Officials from WikiLeaks issued a statement blasting the banking blockade, noting: “The most powerful players in the banking industry have shown themselves to be a politicized arm of Washington. This collusion has occurred outside of any judicial or administrative process. The reach of these companies is global and violates the most basic principles of sovereignty. In Europe, VISA and MasterCard together control 97% of the card payment market. Alternatives have been aggressively opposed by VISA and U.S. embassies.”
In retaliation against this economic lockout, the hacker group Anonymous waged a series of attacks called “Operation Payback” on MasterCard’s and Visa’s computer servers, effectively shutting down their electronic services.
The push-back didn’t stop there. WikiLeaks then filed a $55M lawsuit against Valitor, Iceland’s equivalent of Visa and MasterCard.
In July, Iceland’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of WikiLeaks, declaring that these credit card companies violated contractual obligations by imposing a monetary blackout.
With a temporary injunction now enacted, WikiLeaks’s achievement can be viewed in David vs. Goliath terms, as MasterCard and Visa were no longer able to bar donations or other payments through their computer pipelines.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—still exiled inside Ecuador’s embassy in London—declared after the ruling, on July 12: “This is a significant victory against Washington’s attempt to silence WikiLeaks. We will not be silenced. Economic censorship is censorship. It is wrong. . . . Those involved in the attempted censorship of WikiLeaks will find themselves on the wrong side of history.”
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson added, “We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship.”
Despite WikiLeaks’s lawsuit, major credit card companies are still blackballing other organizations through a violation of service agreements. In September, an Internet processor of major credit cards, Authorize.Net, inexplicably dropped one of its clients, Charlotte, North Carolina’s Hyatt Gun Shop.
As a supporter of left-wing causes, as well as a substantial Obama campaign donor, Authorize.Net apparently had problems with Hyatt proudly standing as America’s largest gun shop. The reason provided as to why the company severed ties with Hyatt was clear: Their sale of firearms and similar products was in violation of the company’s “guidelines.”
Writing in the September 27 edition of The Washington Times, Connor Higgins quipped: “The company is called Hyatt Gun Shop. Being surprised that it sells guns is like gasping in amazement when you find out that McGoo’s Beanbag Chairs . . . sells beanbag chairs.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.