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Icelandic Court Rules: Wikileaks Will Get Contributed Credit Card Money

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the this-page-is-in-icelandic dept.

The Almighty Buck 168

New submitter mordur writes "An Icelandic District Court has ordered the payment processing company Valitor to immediately reopen the merchant account (Icelandic original) of DataCell and start processing credit card payments for the Wikileaks organization. Noncompliance on behalf of Valitor will result in daily fines of ISK 800.000 (approx. USD 60.000). Under pressure from the USA based international credit card companies, Valitor stopped all service to DataCell, and thus to Wikileaks, just hours after having started processing payment in July 2011. The court found that Valitor had failed to prove that the processing of payments for Wikileaks was contrary to the business policies of the international credit card companies, nor had the company proved that DataCell was in breach of the service agreement between the companies by serving Wikileaks."

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168 comments

Good decision by Icelandic court (5, Interesting)

ACTA sucks (2682615) | about 2 years ago | (#40628923)

European countries always seem to have the most common sense in their rulings. USA is out of reality and Asia keeps to their own stuff. EU shines.

I think we should let the US companies and government to know that they can't do shit like this to us Europeans by banning Visa, Mastercard and Google from operating in Europe. Remember, we do have our own credit card processing networks too - lets use them instead. That way your privacy is better too, as your data isn't handed to US companies and therefore US government has no access to them.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (5, Insightful)

Maquis196 (535256) | about 2 years ago | (#40629063)

Well it's not all milk and honey over here. Our airlines ARE supposed to give data to the US government if the airline has anything to do with America. I'm in the UK and were bow down to most US requests for people or information.

Iceland isn't EU (although they are attempting to join afaik), they just happen to be an awesome country that seems to care about such things. They must have been doing a good job, my goverment called them terrorists once for letting their banks fail (oh no, not the banks!).

This might have been feeding a troll but wanted to set a small record straight :)

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629193)

Yeah the bank thing was hilarious.

"We demand the government reimburse us for the money held in failed Icelandic banks!"

"Why? the debt was not backed by the full faith and credence of the government; that's why the interest rates were so high"

"HERP DERP I DON'T CARE GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY!"

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (5, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#40629943)

There's nothing wrong with backing banks as long as all we do is keep them from taking their depositors down with them.

The problem with the US system is that we prop up zombies that don't deserve to stay in business.

But protecting innocent depositors is a good thing.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630181)

Yeah the bank thing was hilarious.

"We demand the government reimburse us for the money held in failed Icelandic banks!"

"Why? the debt was not backed by the full faith and credence of the government; that's why the interest rates were so high"

"HERP DERP I DON'T CARE GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY!"

The hillarious part is if you put all your money in a bank (and not just the couple hundred you got from working at mcdonalds but actual sizeable amounts of money) youd want your money back as well.

See thats whats funny about people like you. You love to make snarky comments about stuff because it doesnt effect you. But if you personally lost all of your money youd be upset and do anything you could to get it back, no matter what the reason was or who lost it. But your types love to make sarcastic comments when its someone else and act like youre better than them or something when in reality you arent. Its easy to sound like an ass and be judgemental when it isnt you.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630373)

DEPOSITED FUNDS != INVESTMENT IN BANK

Deposits are one thing, but investing in a bank that pays high returns on risky investments does not equal government backing, hence the risky and high returns.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

KhabaLox (1906148) | about 2 years ago | (#40630421)

The hillarious part is if you put all your money in a bank (and not just the couple hundred you got from working at mcdonalds but actual sizeable amounts of money) youd want your money back as well.

Well, sure. But the point is (based on my reading of his post - I'm not sure if it's 100% correct as far as the terms/agreements Icelandic banks had with their depositors) that the Icelandic banks were not insured by the Icelandic government, and therefore offered an above-market rate of interest. Depositors (I'm guessing other banks from the EU and US) put there money in to gain that high return, then when the bank failed looked to the Icelandic government to bail them out.

Bottom line, if you invest your money (and depositing money in a bank is an investment that nets you a certain, stated, return at a certain level of risk) you bear a certain risk of losing it.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630471)

Like the people who had their money in Lehman Brothers? Sorry, but there's a difference between a regular bank account and an investment account. Icesave was a program predominantly for retirement funds and municipal investment funds. It wasn't a checking account program.

http://web.archive.org/web/20080225152959/http://icesave.co.uk/legal.html [archive.org]: "Deposits made with Icesave are protected under the Icelandic Deposit Guarantees and Investor-Compensation Scheme (details of this scheme may be obtained from www.landsbanki.com/legislation). Payments under this scheme are limited to the first €20,887 (or the sterling equivalent) of your total deposits held with us. You have further protection from the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (www.fscs.org.uk). Payments under this scheme are limited to 100% of the first £35,000 of all your deposits with us, less any payments made under the Icelandic scheme. This means that the maximum claim amount as at October 2007 is £35,000. The total financial protection given to you under both schemes is no less than you would receive if your deposit was only protected by the UK scheme. Further details about both schemes can be obtained from our web site or by post, on request."

Following the Icelandic side's link [landsbanki.is] for the fund that backed the deposits: Hmm, nowhere in here do I see anything about government backing. Do you?

The fund went bankrupt. The British tried to force the government to pick up the bill. Which is frankly BS. The accounts were never guaranteed by the government, you can't make the government suddenly start guaranteeing them *after* a crash.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40630561)

You assume that, without any evidence of course. It might well be true, I'd want my money and I'd whine about it and hope the government would give me free money too. I'd also expect everyone else to laugh at me, mock me, and tell me to get stuffed.

That isn't hilarious or judgemental. It's just being selfish - which is perfectly normal for humans and apparently a requirement for banks. Wanting something that makes you better off and everyone else worse off isn't exactly a new thing. The very same people not wanting the things that make somebody else better off and everyone else worse off is also not unexpected.

You assume the original poster is in the selfish camp. However, even if they are it doesn't invalidate anything they said anyway or make them an ass or make the comments snarky. It just puts them in with most people.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630365)

Lol, yeah. I like to simply view the British "losses" in the Icesave situation as a late payment for all the cod the British stole from Icelandic waters [wikipedia.org].

"Losses" is in quote because the banks actually are, in fact, paying off their minimum insured obligations, and are on track to finish paying them off within the next year or so (they're already half done). The Icelandic government took on huge amounts of debt, in no small part to help prop up the banks and get them back on their feet so they'd be worth enough to sell off enough asset value to do this. And the British and Dutch are still suing us in the EFTA. Gee, thanks. We appreciate the whole mackerel thing, too. How dare Iceland and the Faroes fish a non-negligable portion of a fish that does most of its growing in Icelandic and Faroese waters? Such insolence, I know. Best to pressure the EC to slap sanctions on us for "overfishing" (aka, taking a non-negligible portion of the catch) when you refuse to negotiate.

Remember all that electricity you're wanting to buy [guardian.co.uk]?...

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (3, Funny)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | about 2 years ago | (#40629759)

This might have been feeding a troll...

Let's see. Brand new account, other posts are pro-Microsoft, and he worked a slam on Google into a post about Iceland and Wikileaks. We have a winner!

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629069)

Forcing a company to do business with someone they don't want to. Yeah, wonderfully enlightened position EU

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40629149)

Forcing a company to do business with someone they don't want to. Yeah, wonderfully enlightened position EU

from the summary you clicked to get to this page:

Under pressure from the USA based international credit card companies, Valitor stopped all service to DataCell and, thus to Wikileaks, just hours after having started processing payment in July 2011.

In other words, Valitor did indeed want to do business with them, but were strongarmed by US credit card companies into violating their contract with DataCell.

Must be troll...

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630519)

That's not what Valitor says [visir.is].

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40630661)

That's not what Valitor says [visir.is].

You must be a native Icelandic speaker; I tried sticking the page into Google Translate and it's damn near un-readable:

Representative Olafur Sigurdsson, owner of Data Cell, argues, however, that links the payment gateway has been submitted with the application so it could open it. Otherwise would not be possible to open it. Valitor would in turn mean that the company had simply hidden their partnership, but a little before closing the Danish credit card company Teller on all trade with Data Cell for their cooperation with Wikileaks. The reason they said at the time a fear of damaging their business with business cards.

Translate - Fail.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629645)

Yeah, it sucks when those damned socialist courts force you to honor your contracts, eh?

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40629105)

Iceland isn't exactly European. I mean, it was settled by Vikings back in the day, and Norway has occasionally over the course of history tried to take charge of it, but generally speaking the Icelanders have done their own thing. They aren't part of the EU or the Euro, for instance.

But yeah, 3 cheers for the world's oldest democracy!

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

ACTA sucks (2682615) | about 2 years ago | (#40629151)

There are other countries in the Europe who also aren't part of the EU or have Euro as their currency. Iceland has language close to other European languages and is geographically in Europe, so yeah, they should (and are) considered to be Europeans.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (4, Interesting)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 2 years ago | (#40629217)

Don't get me wrong, I love Iceland, but I believe that the world's oldest democracy is San Marino [wikipedia.org], which has been a republic since its founding in A.D. 301.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40629329)

Thank you for the correction, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Or at least a scholar.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 2 years ago | (#40629477)

Don't get me wrong, I love Iceland, but I believe that the world's oldest democracy is San Marino [wikipedia.org], which has been a republic since its founding in A.D. 301.

Not that I doubt you, but San Marino was ruled by its bishop as recently as the 9th century, with the democratic part of the government coming in the 10th century.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630603)

Not to mention that the Fascists ruled it from the 1920s to the 1940s and banned all other political parties from participating. Of course Iceland is problematic in and of itself in that Denmark banned the Al(th)ing from 1800 to 1845.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630177)

Then it's not a Democracy. It can be considered a Democratic Republic, but it's still a Republic which is not even remotely resembling the Mob Rule of a pure Democracy.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630645)

I believe a more correct statement would be that San Marino is the world oldest *continuous* democracy. Clearly Athens had one of the first documented democratic government, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 508 BC. It may not be the first democracy, and likely isn't, but it is the oldest recorded democracy. Its not the oldest continuous democracy. I will not confirm nor deny your assertion about San Marino.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629283)

"Iceland isn't exactly European. I mean, it was settled by Vikings back in the day..."

So Scandinavia is in Australia, America, Africa or Asia?
Who would have thought?

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629699)

Scandinavian peninsula is in Europe, it consists of Sweden, most of Norway and some parts of Finland. Iceland is an island in the middle of Atlantic ocean which is halfway split between European and American plates.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629841)

Step 1. Post obvious geographic comment.
Step 2. Declare Iceland to be part of America if Icelanders mod you +informative. Declare Iceland to be a part of Europe if Icelanders mod you -redundant.
Step 3. ...
Step 4. Profit!

You, sir, are a crowd-sourcing genius!

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629963)

Yeah! Look at my karma!

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630325)

Not to pull a CNN here, but I think +3 Informative is enough to call it.
It's hot dogs and baseball for our judicially sensible friends in Iceland.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40630361)

it's ridiculous the sarcastic parent isn't modded up but the "informative" response to it is.
because.. vikings come from scandinavia and scandinavia is in europe, furthermore iceland is fully _european_ as far as customs and traditions go as result. iceland has been an independent country for less than a century and for large parts they've been occupied by foreign forces.

not specifically middle european sure, but there's more to european than french frogs and german lederhosens.

if it's technically fully in europe is just a technicality.

that iceland gets to do it's own thing is that nobody wants it on their social expenses bill and generally doing their own thing has been generally doing fuck all nothing - and the reason their banks were trusted was exactly because they're european - though anyone with a brain should have known that they had nothing to back them up with.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40630667)

Scaninavia is irrelevant if you are going by pure geography. Since Iceland isn't in Scandinavia.

If you are using pure geography half of Iceland is in Europe and half is in North America, since it sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where those plates meet.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629127)

The Internet operates world-wide, as do banks and credit card companies - we consumers have choices. Companies which comply with the freedom killing orders of fascist governments should be boycotted. As the recent Barclay's bank disclosures prove, all of the major banks are run by crooks, who operate in collusion with each other. Perhaps Iceland is the only country who's government refuses to allow it's banks to collude with the rest of the world's banks. When will the countries in Europe demonstrate they are democracies, and stop the democracy killing abuse by their own banks?

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40629213)

Iceland actually totally fucked up at banking not so long ago. However, that may have actually had a salubrious effect. In the US and EU, the fuckuppery of the banking sector has been massive; but small enough that shovelling bushels of money at the people responsible can be advanced as a 'reasonable' proposal. In the case of Iceland, the scale of the meltdown of the imaginary money economy was so enormous that even the most overtly delusional had difficulty advocating the 'just bail out the Experienced Experts who got us here' theory of repair...

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (5, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40629549)

A bunch of banks that happened to be in Iceland, but not backed by the government, made some promises they couldn't keep. A lot of people, mostly in the UK, fell for those promises, and when everything went belly up they demanded that the Icelanders make good on them, which would have essentially bankrupted the country. The Icelanders felt that wasn't fair, and had the wherewithal to tell the banks, the investors, and the countries that were backing them, to go to hell.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40629845)

Indeed. My point was just that(in terms of bank bad debts vs. GDP) Iceland experienced the largest bubble of financial chicanery of any economic region(and, to the best of my knowledge, any point in human history) which helped remove the "zOMG, we have to bail out the banks or Worse Things Will Happen!!!!" faction from serious consideration.

In the US, for instance, the government was only strictly on the hook for the (relatively small, and largely not advantageous to the bankers) FDIC-insured accounts. Minor matters like, oh, All of AIG were 'voluntary' decisions. By virtue of being totally and absolutely fucked, per capita, Iceland managed to make these sorts of 'responsible' responses look entirely insane, while the US, EU, and similar made the same basic mistakes(and, let's not forget, embraced moral hazard like it was going out of style); but managed to carry them through because their costs were simply excessive, rather than overtly ruinous, per capita.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#40629899)

So rather than "Iceland actually totally fucked up at banking" what you meant to say was "some Icelandic banks totally fucked up and Icleand, unlike the rest of the world in a similar situation, DIDN'T fuck up."

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630881)

The point of banking is to make people give you money. Iceland told the bankers to go to hell because they couldn't afford to bail them out.

What are the odds people will put their money in Iceland next time?

Bingo. 0%. Iceland sucks at banking, which may or may not be better for it's people.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630663)

Indeed. It's hard for people to picture how big the scale of the Icelandic banking crisis was. The banks weren't just big by Icelandic standards, they were big by global standards, in a country of only 320,000 people. Remember how big of a deal Lehman Brothers was? Picture 300 Lehman Brothers failing at once. That's the Icelandic per-capita equivalent when the three major banks went down. Here's what happened to the Icelandic stock market [isocracy.org].

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

Catbeller (118204) | about 2 years ago | (#40629981)

And so far, Iceland is doing just fine, while Ireland, for instance, did what it was told.

Ireland balanced its budget, and then had to bail out the banks and is now in a cost-cutting death spiral, while being told all that nasty social spending caused it all and has to stop. Milton Friedman for the win there. Thieves take all.

Iceland for the win. Doing what you are told is not, despite what vast numbers of human instinctively believe, the right thing to do.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (2)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630707)

Iceland is not doing "just fine", and Iceland largely did what it was told by the international community (including becoming the IMF's new poster child) - just not what the British and Dutch demanded it do. There's a lot of myths about Iceland going around (which Krugman gives a wink and a nudge to by posting grossly misleading stats). Trust me on this one, I live in Iceland. The country got slammed, and is far from a "happily ever after" story. The only reason we're growing faster than most of Europe is that we went a lot further down than most of Europe, earlier. It'd be practically impossible not to.

And I say this as someone who supports the Samfylkingin / Vinstri Grænn coalition. Which is probably going to get pummeled by Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (the conservatives, who caused this mess) in the next election. :P

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#40629197)

Eh, there is a certain amount of information bais going on. Stories of EU courts sticking it to the US and being moderate fit an existing narrative well, but the reality is they are just as dysfunctional and have more then their fair share of crazy rulings. There are some thing EU courts (which is a VERY broad concept right there since each country has its own laws in a way that US states do not) are good for, and some things US courts tend to be saner on.

Heh, though as others have pointed out, Iceland isn't EU... but they do rock. Walking on lava and everything ^_^

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629653)

Each US state has its own laws and its own court system too. In fact the US state laws have more power than the federal laws in many cases, when the states aren't busy sucking uncle sam's dick.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40630765)

Indeed. Here's the last thing [grapevine.is] that the Icelandic supreme court made the news for. :P

What makes it so ridiculous is that it's Goldfinger and Strawberries who are the ones who should have been slapped down by the court, not journalists reporting on them. They're so blatantly circumventing the law. Basically, strip clubs were made illegal in Iceland (to try to prevent trafficking and exploitation, not for moral reasons), so they reclassified themselves as bars and simply had the girls come in and work on their own without any legal connection between the two. So they're still strip clubs, just not legally.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629263)

European countries always seem to have the most common sense in their rulings. USA is out of reality and Asia keeps to their own stuff. EU shines.

Is that why the people are rioting, striking, or unemployed?

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#40630217)

Ask yourself why the US people isnt rioting or strinking (ok, both share the unemployed part). Maybe being out of reality isnt exclusive of the government.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

gislifb (1979154) | about 2 years ago | (#40630837)

I wish I had mod-points right now! Although the Occupy Wall Street protests took place in the U.S. the U.S. people don't seem to have the courage to give the government and big firms the finger and if I was a U.S. citizen that would scare me alot!

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40629623)

"European countries always seem to have the most common sense in their rulings."

Always? Like in the 1900 to 1940s?

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630205)

well if we're only looking at economy Germany certainly seems do do well for it self, and it all goes back to those decisions made in "1900 to 1940" :P

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630001)

European countries always seem to have the most common sense in their rulings. USA is out of reality and Asia keeps to their own stuff. EU shines.

I think we should let the US companies and government to know that they can't do shit like this to us Europeans by banning Visa, Mastercard and Google from operating in Europe. Remember, we do have our own credit card processing networks too - lets use them instead. That way your privacy is better too, as your data isn't handed to US companies and therefore US government has no access to them.

Bllah blah cry cry blah /throws tantrum. Blah blah bad mouths america for no reason blah blah.

I know you want to sound snarky and savvy infront of a bunch of virtual strangers but that whole "anything I agree with thats not done in america is awesome because american government is a evil entity bent on destroying the people" speach is really really old and been played way too many times. If youre going to comment atleast sound like you have a brain in your head instead of just spewing some stuff and supposed "facts" that have no proof or reality to them just for the sake of it sounds good to you.

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630111)

you do know that iceland isn't in the EU right?

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40630319)

Note that Iceland is not part of the EU. This is a very small island with an incredible amount of common sense : They have sane privacy laws, they refuse to bail banks out and they understand that wikileaks is regular journalism. All the geeks of the world should migrate to this 300 000 persons island...

Re:Good decision by Icelandic court (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630821)

Call me when you have a sensible immigration policy.

Sixty Bucks a Day? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629077)

Doesn't sound like much of a punishment.

Re:Sixty Bucks a Day? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#40629157)

Try 60,000/day. Many european countries use the "." as a thousands separator rather than a ",".

ISK? (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 years ago | (#40629209)

Why does the court want the fines in Interstellar Kredits?

Re:ISK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629391)

Because that's the currency of Iceland's highest export. OK, it's actually fish and fish products, but Eve Online is probably in the top five.

Re:Sixty Bucks a Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629247)

Most sane people use " " as a thousand separator or nothing at all. Dots and commas are almost acceptable as a millions separator since thats unlikely to be comfused as a decimal point.

Re:Sixty Bucks a Day? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#40630371)

Closer to $6,000 actually. Iceland follows the "Screw decimals. Let's just use whole numbers" philosophy of currency and 1 ISK is about 0.78 cents USD.

Re:Sixty Bucks a Day? (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 years ago | (#40629167)

You forgot a zero, but it's a pretty light punishment. I mean... all they need to do is spend about $30 and get two PLEXes and sell those for about 800,000,000 ISK. That'll keep the fines going for 1,000 days so it works out to about $0.03 USD per day.

Re:Sixty Bucks a Day? (1)

raydobbs (99133) | about 2 years ago | (#40629169)

It's supposed to be 60,000... some places and people have something against using commas to represent thousand separators.

Iceland, for the win (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40629319)

The 2008 crisis hacked them worse than the USA and Europe. Now, 4 years later, they are riding high, and Europe and the USA are still muddling through. How? Why?

For a country that four years ago plunged into a financial abyss so deep it all but shut down overnight, Iceland seems to be doing surprisingly well.

It has repaid, early, many of the international loans that kept it afloat. Unemployment is hovering around 6 percent, and falling. And while much of Europe is struggling to pull itself out of the recessionary swamp, Iceland’s economy is expected to grow by 2.8 percent this year. ...

But during the crisis, the country did many things different from its European counterparts. It let its three largest banks fail, instead of bailing them out. It ensured that domestic depositors got their money back and gave debt relief to struggling homeowners and to businesses facing bankruptcy.

“Taking down a company with positive cash flow but negative equity would in the given circumstances have a domino effect, causing otherwise sound companies to collapse,” said Thorolfur Matthiasson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland. “Forgiving debt under those circumstances can be profitable for the financial institutions and help the economy and reduce unemployment as well.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/world/europe/icelands-economy-is-mending-amid-europes-malaise.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

We, in Europe, and the USA, have much to learn from Iceland about how to survive a crippling financial crisis.

Re:Iceland, for the win (4, Informative)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#40629907)

We, in Europe, and the USA, have much to learn from Iceland about how to survive a crippling financial crisis.

Yeah, like NOT putting the very people responsible for the bank's failures in powerful government positions.

Obama Administration: Deputy Director, National Economic Council
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Financial Analyst

Obama Administration: Chairman, Presidentâ(TM)s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Board Member (Chairman, 1990-94; Director, 2005-)

Obama Administration: Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Partner and Co-head of Finance

Obama Administration: Undersecretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, State Department
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs Group

Obama Administration: Ambassador to Germany
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Head of Goldman Sachs, Frankfurt

Obama Administration: Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner
Former Goldman Sachs Title: Lobbyist 2005-2008; Vice President for Government Relations

Obama Administration: Advisor to Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner
Former Goldman Sachs Title: President and Chief Operating Officer (1999-2003)

They should just change the name from the "White House" to "Goldman Sachs House". Yeah, I'm sure they'll do the right thing to protect regular US taxpayers.

Strat

Re:Iceland, for the win (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40630007)

that's disgusting

so much for meritocracy. more like plutocracy

Re:Iceland, for the win (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#40630293)

I would bet for idiocracy, but as there are surely lawyers involved, reverse Hanlon's razor should apply

Re:Iceland, for the win (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#40630447)

that's disgusting

so much for meritocracy. more like plutocracy

Then why is it that I get modded down for suggesting that OWS should be protesting in Washington D.C. instead of Wall St. NYC? If OWS wanted the Wall St. fat-cats to see their protest, they need to be where they're at. The WH.

And, why are you promoting an anti-TEA Party movie, when they've been pretty much the only ones in the US pointing stuff like this out and trying to hold them to account?

Puzzled it makes me, yes.

Strat

Re:Iceland, for the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630679)

Then why is it that I get modded down for suggesting that OWS should be protesting in Washington D.C. instead of Wall St. NYC? If OWS wanted the Wall St. fat-cats to see their protest, they need to be where they're at. The WH.

Probably because you think this:

And, why are you promoting an anti-TEA Party movie, when they've been pretty much the only ones in the US pointing stuff like this out and trying to hold them to account?

You actually think tea party is "pretty much the only ones in the US" against the collusion of WS and WH. Do you think when OWS complains about the proverbial "1%", they're somehow saying they support this collusion?

Now, is OWS the government? Is OWS the bankers in the Obama administration? No. So why are you so hard on OWS? That's why people don't like the tea party - they get angry at the wrong crowd (ironic and hypocritical, since you're saying OWS is protesting at the wrong place)

Re:Iceland, for the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630741)

Then why is it that I get modded down for suggesting that OWS should be protesting in Washington D.C. instead of Wall St. NYC? If OWS wanted the Wall St. fat-cats to see their protest, they need to be where they're at. The WH.

Why address the puppet rather than the puppeteer?

Re:Iceland, for the win (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40630105)

As much as it sounds like a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, the actions of BoA, Chase, and pals actively forclosing on people IN GOOD STANDING [southcoast...torney.com], and in some cases, WHO DIDN'T HAVE LOANS to begin with, are quite suspicious.

I understand that one shouldn't attribute to malic what can be explained by incompetence, but the "incompetence" defense doesn't mesh with the "leading experts" line of thought behind the bailouts.

What the banking industry and the US govt. Plan to gain by taking the foundation out from under the house of cards like that, I have no clue.

I suppose it is entirely possible that both the banking industry AND the US govt. Are completely incompetent in these matters, and this is the result of a trainwreck double-fail, but that seems highly unlikely when you examine how the bank and loan industry has managed to nearly dominte the world economy, and the US Govt does all manner of complex legal and economic wrangling.

So far though, it seems as if the banks and the world govts have been operating on this plan:

1) treat low quality debt like an asset.
2) sell debts as if they were assets, and amass too much debt.
3) cause a financial crisis.
4) get lots of interest free taxpayer money.
5) forclose on everyone, including people without debts
6) ???????
7) Profit!

From the bank and loan side, the one-time injecton of huge amounts of capitol allows them to make a boom-growth of high interest investments, at leas it does here in the US. (A bank can inflate its hard currency store 900% in loans and investments per the fractional reserve rules.) The banks can quickly return the hard injected cash, because they can treat their interest payments as the new hard currency reserve, and keep their inflation. For the banks, this is clearly candy on a plate, and returning the injected money is easy.

[Analogy: the fed gives the bank a 100$ bill. They pop it in the copier and make 9 copies of that note, which they then loan out to people. People make payments with real notes on the debts, and the bank uses those payments to replace the injected bill. It then returns the injected bill, and keeps the loan income.]

As such, arguments that the banks "paid the money back" are a red herring. The exact same outcome would have happened in terms of banking power increase and currency inflation if the fed had just printed trucks of money and dropped it into the economy. The value of the "loaned" money was inflated 900% before being returned, with the banks keeping the inflated portion.

This is one of the (many!) Reasons that the dollar tanked obscenely in the world currency market.

The banks are then left with inflated notes, and new debts that should be better quality ones to improve their revinue stream, but they need to consolodate assets, so they start forclosures. They need hard assets quickly, because the cash injection was just a temporary high in the face of the real problem, which was outstanding and un-collectable debts. The banks conveniently sell a lot of this bogus debt to the government, but also embark on a radical spree of foreclosure frenzy. I would hazard that this was not accidental, and that they looked for every opportunity to acquire hard assets, including cooking payment histories to make otherwise profitable debtors default on their properties. With the huge size of the cash injection propping them up, they can afford to deflate their holdings by doing so. By selling the forclosed properties, they can rapidly regrow their loan industries, bigger and stronger than before.

The problem is the collateral damage.

People are now disrupted from equitable banking relationships, now have bogus credit ratings, have outstanding bills to pay because of new bankruptcy laws, and are still getting a payrate proportioned for the old level of currency inflation. Essentially, the US govt (and any govts that followed our example) shifted the burden of the debt from the myopic banking institutions onto the public at large, and have refused to render any releif.

The only ones who profit from this are the banking industry, (which now has hard assets it is selling, even if at an "estimated loss.") And the world govts that empowered them (now there's a crisis to manage, and an opportunity to demonstrate how they are 'needed' to manage it, along with ripe opportunities to pass legislation that previously would have gotten people impeached.).

Iceland said they weren't going to do that, let the bankers fail, and as a consequence their currency is now worth more, people retained their assets, debts were forgiven instead of exchanged and obfuscated, and their economy is growing like a dandilion on miracle grow.

The shennanigans needed to make the "bailout plan" work at *all* indicates that this was not accidental, further exemplified by the revolving door policies and large financial portfolios of many world leaders involving these institutions which provided direct incentive to enact the plan, and that it is not based on double-whammy incompetence.

Several clear signs indicate malice, and point toward a more probable "incompitence THEN malice" pattern.

Granted, that's just the way I have understood what has happened with the banking situation, and resultant economic lethargy, given what I could find out about it.

The reason the banks weren't allowed to fail, was because it would destroy the investments of "very important people", eg, the politicians themselves that run the govt. Instead they sneakied a way to spin the disaster into a lucrative (for themselves) venture, by propping up the banks, and leaving everyone else to hold the bag.

This idea appears to have worked in the short term, but the long term economic consequences are blatantly obvious, so perhaps it really was incompetence afterall?

Only time will tell....

Re:Iceland, for the win (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about 2 years ago | (#40630317)

As much as it sounds like a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, the actions of BoA, Chase, and pals actively forclosing on people IN GOOD STANDING [southcoast...torney.com], and in some cases, WHO DIDN'T HAVE LOANS to begin with, are quite suspicious.

I understand that one shouldn't attribute to malic what can be explained by incompetence, but the "incompetence" defense doesn't mesh with the "leading experts" line of thought behind the bailouts.

Having had a bit of "fun" with one of their "pals" until recently you should attribute malice to this situation. Seriously.

Re:Iceland, for the win (3, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | about 2 years ago | (#40630225)

People in Iceland, like the USA, were in danger of losing their homes due to circumstances beyond their control.

The US yakked about "moral hazard" and let the banks take everyone's homes.

Iceland spent a tiny bit and let people keep their homes.

Now the US has millions of disillusioned, unhomed people whose collective demand has pumped rental costs to unaffordable heights, so they are screwed both ways.

In Iceland, people remained in their homes, found new jobs, and everyone is happy except the Friedmanites and Randites. The moral hazard was understood differently. In Iceland, you say, they believed the real moral hazard was the societal breakdown caused by people ruined through no fault of their own, but by the actions of foreign bankers - so they made sure it didn't happen.

In the USA, it is our firm economic religion that people's failures are their own, and them's the breaks. Except rich bankers of course, who made out fine, own everyone's abandoned homes, and are about to make an even bigger killing when the value goes up and they can unload. The moral hazard is never the rich man's, always the schmuck's. 19th century plantation capitalism; freedom is for the owners, not the serfs. You wanna be free, get rich, lazy parasites...

Re:Iceland, for the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630639)

and everyone is happy except the Friedmanites and Randites

Let me get this straight. The people who are opposed to bailing out the banks are upset with Iceland because they didn't bail out the banks?

Re:Iceland, for the win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630279)

Heh... This is the very thing that I said needed to be done. Let them fail. Bail out the People with that "Stimulus" money (Which will have an actual real effect instead of doing basically the same STUPID things we did in the time shortly before the Great Depression...AGAIN...) and plow it into real infrastructure work instead of the laughingstocks we saw done- along with grotesque wastes of money like Solyndra.

Choices (0)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#40629431)

Valitor has a choice. Suicide by disconnecting from the international market, or suicide it's way out of of Iceland and exit their market. I wonder how many payment processing companies will be destroyed by the court before Iceland realizes just how dumb this court order is?

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629719)

The poor banks - they need a defender like you. I didn't know not backing tyrannical governments and institutions was defined as "disconnecting from the international market." Your statement is so misleading I have to assume you are no friend of Wikileaks or open information, but a supporter of Governments hiding their misbehavior behind a wall of secrecy.

Re:Choices (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#40630347)

Responding to AC, but I'm on lunch break and have a moment to swat a bug. My post isn't misleading at all, it's rather direct, the fact that you disagree with it doesn't make it misleading, it just means you have an different opinion. It's the Internet, it's okay to have different opinions. Heck, being the Internet you'll even find posts of mine that are negative of banks.

I am certainly no friend of wikileaks, your right about that. I have spent a fair part of my career doing things like safegaurding private data like medical records, financial data, private student data and all kinds of other data that you don't want leaked. Funny that, someone who has a career in keeping private things private doesn't support leaking private things into the public. But hey, who am I to say whether or not your /private/ data gets to be leaked onto the Internet for everyone to look at.

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630609)

There's a different between the data of private citizens and the date of the government you fucking retard.

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630389)

Actually, they're in breach of their contracts here. As for Iceland doing it's thing- it IS pretty damned much illegal here, in the States, what was done by the interests doing the cutting off here. That's the reason why Valitor's gotten the decision that they did from Iceland. If our Courts had balls (and while I used to believe that they might, Justice Stevens showed me that there's not a SINGLE branch of our Government that's NOT corrupt these days. Guess DC's got the Founding Fathers hooked up to power half or more of the town right now...) and did their jobs right they'd come to the same conclusions.

Re:Choices (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40630449)

Well the next step on the line would be for the USA based credit card companies(amex, visa, dc..) to stop doing business in Iceland if they refuse to let Valitor to continue business while complying.

Thing is, those companies apparently have no court ordered obligations to not serve Wikileaks since they got nothing on Wikileaks except that USA government nudging that it's bad karma to serve them.

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40630651)

They violated a service agreement and are being fined until that error is corrected. This is normal business practice for all sectors in any country.

no court order originally? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40629433)

no court order originally?

I wasn't paying attention when they got banned, but was under the impression that there was at least one court somewhere that had banned them from receiving the money, because otherwise visa/amex/etc are targets to be sued ? sure, they're private organizations.. but they're let to move money only because governments let them and usually that includes that they don't discriminate randomly - which is why these participant organizations are under stress to be fined if they don't comply.

I guess that shows to Valitor & other regional processors that they'd better ask for the fucking permits and court orders first, like nz cops.

Can I make a donation to Wikileaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629695)

From my country, I mean. I don't live in Iceland.

fuckin love iceland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40629869)

after they stood up to the bankers shakedown during the financial crash i have nothing but respect for iceland!

So they will just be cut off. (1)

captaindomon (870655) | about 2 years ago | (#40629973)

This will just mean they will be cut off from the world financial processing system. If they start accepting these payments, the VISA network, for example, will just drop them as a provider. The other networks will as well, and you can count the truly international ones on one hand. As someone said above, it's financial suicide for Valitor.

So. How to contribute and not suffer retribution? (2)

Catbeller (118204) | about 2 years ago | (#40630297)

It's a fact that the US has targeted anyone who contributes to Assange, Manning or Wikileaks. They mess with you at the borders, taking your stuff away and questioning you, making it damned clear that you are their bitch for the rest of your life.

So how do we help Assange, Wikileaks and Manning without effectively losing citizenship? I am not overstating this. They will fuck with you for the rest of your life, in countless ways, untraceable to them. And no court will stop them, given that they don't give a fuck what the courts think. Secret police don't have rules.

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