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Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the obey-the-law dept.

The Almighty Buck 234

davecb writes "Rick Falkvinge reports today that the Swedish Pirate Party has laid charges against at least Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal before the Finansinspektionen for refusing to pass on money owed to WikiLeaks. The overseer of bank licenses notes (in translation) that 'The law states, that if there aren't legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed.'"

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Excellent. (5, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#42320677)

I look forward to seeing Paypal get a taste of having to follow rules.

Re:Excellent. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320743)

Corporations are people too, Sweden has just unilaterally declared war on an American citizen, our drones will be there and filled with democracy and liberty for the Swedish people soon.

Re:Excellent. (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#42320911)

There is no "too"here, corporations are the only people.

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322431)

The only smart people, certainly. Incorporation is the best thing I ever did for my personal finances.

Re:Excellent. (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42322227)

Yes. Free Paypal from the tyranny that is Sweden!

Re:Excellent. (0)

shitzu (931108) | about 2 years ago | (#42322583)

The trouble is that Pirate Party in Sweden is no way a dominant policymaker in Sweden. It is a tiny minority with 2 members of parliament.

Re:Excellent. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322751)

They're suing, ie applying the law, not changing it.

Re:Excellent. (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#42320907)

I look forward to seeing Paypal get a taste of having to follow rules.

They do need to be reigned in.

But perhaps Visa and Mastercard need to be put in their place even more. I can usually avoid PayPal in my everyday life, but Visa and Mastercard together pretty much control the world of online purchases. They cannot be allowed pick and choose who gets the payment and who doesn't.

Aren't there any equivalent US laws? Or is no one in US interested in prosecuting?

Re:Excellent. (1, Flamebait)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42321017)

Aren't there any equivalent US laws? Or is no one in US interested in prosecuting?

Not if one doesn't want to put themselves on the shit list of our shadow government.

Re:Excellent. (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | about 2 years ago | (#42321055)

... shadow government.

Shadow??? We don't need no steekin' shadow. We do it in broad daylight.

Re:Excellent. (4, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#42321447)

Aren't there any equivalent US laws? Or is no one in US interested in prosecuting?

Who do you think pushed to get Wikileaks payments blocked? The US Government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11945875 [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Excellent. (4, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#42321987)

Who wants to bet that Visa and Mastercard will follow the telecoms into getting retroactive immunity?

Re:Excellent. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322603)

Aren't there any equivalent US laws? Or is no one in US interested in prosecuting?

Who do you think pushed to get Wikileaks payments blocked? The US Government.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11945875 [bbc.co.uk]

That doesn't necessarily mean anything. Like any large organization, different departments of the US government often work at cross purposes. I'm not saying that anyone will, just that the fact that some part of the government did one thing gives no assurance that another won't try to do the opposite.

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321505)

They cannot be allowed pick and choose who gets the payment and who doesn't.

Why?

Why is it that VISA and MasterCard are not simply normal businesses, free to pick and choose who they do business with in order to reduce risk and maximise profit. Is it that these companies were too successful and are now somehow too powerful or are these not normal companies? Is there anything other than the network effect stopping me from starting my own international payments provider such as special agreements with governments?

If VISA and MasterCard decide they will do business with WikiLeaks but will charge them much higher fees to help mitigate the risk with doing business with them does that make things alright? If you're thinking "No, they should be required to do business with everyone (performing legal activities), with 'fair' fees" then perhaps you advocate having VISA and MasterCard being absorbed into the governments and relevant international organisations.

Personally, I don't like the idea of governments being in complete control of payments and am not keen on being boiled like a frog. I think it would be better for everyone if there were a single, open, international payments network upon which successful payment processors can grow (offering services like insurance and fraud protection) but which ultimately can be used directly by anyone.

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42321743)

Thet're not normal businesses, they are global financial institutions with the power to economically strangle small to medium businesses anywhere on the planet, they get special treatment by governments and society, in return they get special responsibilities. Global telecommunications are the same deal, people would soon start screaming if ISP's were selectively blocking internet banking transactions.

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322033)

They have a lot of power. They could even strangle whole nations.

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322375)

Which is why they shouldn't even exist. There needs to be a limit of how powerful/big a corporation can be. I definitely think that monopoly laws should apply in this case for example (yes, I understand what monopoly means). It is blatantly clear that these two corporations control the entire payment market.

Re:Excellent. (4, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 2 years ago | (#42322241)

VISA and MasterCard aren't normal businesses, they're banks. If you don't understand why banks are special and need to be regulated, I suggest you pick up an economics textbook, I recommend Principles of Economics by N. Gregory Mankiw [amazon.com] , and read the chapter(s) covering the monetary system, banking and the growth of money and inflation. As for "relevant international organizations" there basically are none, apart from powerful nation states, because the power to regulate commerce has always rested implicitly, and when necessary explicitly, upon the economic and military might of those nations that can enforce their wills upon other potential or competing authorities. It's no accident after all that the value of any currency throughout history has always been closely associated with the economic and military might of the entity issuing it and their ability to standardize and enforce its use.

Re:Excellent. (0, Troll)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322161)

Yes there are US Laws.

Trouble is Wikileaks broke them. You don't have to like that the US Government declared everything Bradley Manning sent them to be Classified, and declared repeating said information to be illegal, but you do have to acknowledge that these events did actually happen.

And if your organization's main goal is to break US Law, then you don't get to do business with US-Based Financial Firms. Which just happens to be all of them.

Re:Excellent. (1)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | about 2 years ago | (#42322283)

So all these US companies that let women drive and so forth should not be allowed to do business with Saudi Arabia then? US law only applies in the US. Should you be deported for prosecution overseas for drinking alcohol, blasphemy etc.

Re:Excellent. (-1, Troll)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322565)

The release of US classified information is illegal everywhere. Otherwise anyone who spied on the US Government while in Paris would be fine.

That's not the case with any of the rules you mentioned.

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322795)

"The release of US classified information is illegal everywhere."

What?

Re:Excellent. (4, Insightful)

Sabriel (134364) | about 2 years ago | (#42322299)

From what I understand, the New York Times also reported (some of) Manning's leaks. Are you claiming the New York Times broke the law?

There was also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers [wikipedia.org]

Are you claiming that the New York Times should not have released the Pentagon Papers and in fact did so illegally?

Re:Excellent. (-1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322585)

No.

The NYT is a legitimate journalist organization. They have rights that random dudes do not. That's why they aren't being investigated.

Re:Excellent. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322757)

There is no definition for a "legitimate journalist organization" in law, and whether a group is protected under journalist shield laws tends to be discretionary by the courts. Seeing as no charges exist against Wikileaks themselves as an organization, only charges against individuals involved in leaking the information to them (like Manning), there has been no definitive judgement as to whether Wikileaks is a journalistic organization whose would fall under shield laws or not. Hell, the only charges existing against any actual member of Wikileaks itself are the ones implied by the request for questioning of Assange by the Swedes for sexual misconduct, and have nothing to do with the organization itself.

The very fact that there are no charges against the organization itself however makes freezing their payments even more questionable than not.

Re:Excellent. (5, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#42322301)

Yes there are US Laws. Trouble is Wikileaks broke them.

Bullshit they did. American military who released the information may have a case to answer, not those who distributed it. Otherwise, why isn't, for example, the New York Times having its bank accounts frozen? It published "Wikileaks" stories on its front page.

The whole fucking world isn't legally beholden to the US government, and US laws, and the US is just being a bully to use tactics like this to strike out at people who embarrassed it.

Re:Excellent. (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 2 years ago | (#42322485)

organization's main goal is to break US Law, then you don't get to do business with US-Based Financial Firms.

Prisoners are allowed to own a business while in prison.

Are you sure the intent of a corporation can be used to ban their operation in the US ?

e.g Would someone associated with the mafia (but not charged) be banned from running a legitimate buisness ?

Re:Excellent. (0)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322621)

Problem with Wikileaks is they are the illegitimate business from the Point of View of US Law. If the US can take assets from people just because they've been charged with being drug lords Wikileaks is just screwed.

Even if they weren't, I've never heard of anyone actually operating a business while in prison. Continuing to own it, yes. But actually operating it? Nope. Pretty much the only person you can talk to more then once every few months while in custody is your lawyer.

Re:Excellent. (4, Informative)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#42320927)

In case anyone else was wondering what Finansinspektionen was, the following is taken from wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

Finansinspektionen (FI; Financial Supervisory Authority in English) is the Swedish government agency responsible for financial regulation in Sweden. It is responsible for the oversight, regulation and authorisation of financial markets and their participants. The agency falls under the Swedish Ministry of Finance and regulates all organisations that provide financial services in Sweden.

Re:Excellent. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321547)

Good fucking grief, another WikiNerd. Planning a school shooting, are you?

Re:Excellent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321041)

I wished paypal had no rules. It is getting harder to pay for service from an u s e n e t provider with paypal cause of the rules from paypal. As a service provider, you have to some how prove to paypal you are complying with DMCA take down requests for example.

Re:Excellent. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321193)

I look forward to seeing Paypal get a taste of having to follow rules.

Sorry, but as a swede I can safely say that "Finansinspektionen" has no real teeth. They will not do anything about this. Too bad though.

Hope I am proven wrong.

Re:Excellent. (2)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#42321439)

Paypal probably will not get in trouble since technically they do not behave like a bank and move around other people's money, but instead take the money and promise to give it to someone else... but in that intermediate state they own it, which is why they keep getting away with confiscating it.

Re:Excellent. (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 2 years ago | (#42322533)

Isn't that the same as Visa and Mastercard?
I thought they were being targeted as a "payment processor", not as a bank.

Re:Excellent. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#42321891)

"I look forward to seeing Paypal get a taste of having to follow rules."

Yeah... like having to use ACTUAL monetary exchange rates when dealing internationally, rather than some inflated figure they made up.

Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (-1)

CajunArson (465943) | about 2 years ago | (#42320727)

Looks like Sweden lacks an independent judiciary when any political party can file charges at will. I'm sure there are plenty of people here on Slashdot who'd *love* to see Obama file charges against any Republican he didn't like... fortunately that isn't his call though.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320765)

what the fuck are you even talking about?

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (3, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42320793)

What? It's not like the pirate party decide the outcome.

What they have done is of course to ask Finansinspektionen to investigate it and is the organization which look after the financial markets in Sweden. I assume the actual charges will go from someone with the authority to do so. Not from the Pirate party.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42320861)

The headline suits from bad translation. What they did is filed a complaint.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42320875)

The headline suits from bad translation. What they did is filed a complaint.

Goddamn spell correction! -suits +suffers.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#42320959)

The headline suits from bad translation. What they did is filed a complaint.

If the official is not mis-quoted, then the complaint is as good as pressing charges. From TFA:

Johan Terfelt, who oversees the Finansinspektionen unit for payment providers, confirms that the authority has received the filed charges .... He also states there's no room at all for arbitrary randomness, and gives a careful hint at a possible outcome: "The law states, that if there aren't legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed."

I am fairly certain no one had any legal grounds to deny payments to Wikileaks. How could they?

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42321053)

I am fairly certain no one had any legal grounds to deny payments to Wikileaks. How could they?

Well, the legal grounds amount to some nice men in dark suits told Visa that since wikileaks were terrorists, they could possibly run into some unspecified trouble if they paid that money.

Make no mistake about it, it was pressure applied to these companies to stop payment, and VISA may find themselves in the middle of two governments who differ in their interpretation of what is required here.

One side will say they were funding terrorism, and the money needs to be withheld (if not seized), and the other side will say there isn't sufficient legal basis to withhold.

Bring on the popcorn.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 2 years ago | (#42321209)

Well, the legal grounds amount to some nice men in dark suits told Visa that since wikileaks were terrorists, they could possibly run into some unspecified trouble if they paid that money.

Unspecified?

I thought it was "... be in violation of, and prosecuted under, the U.S. banking laws prohibiting transferring funds to recognized (i.e. on the government's public list) terrorist organizations."

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#42321281)

Wikileaks appears to be absent from those lists.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322277)

He's exaggerating. Wikileaks weren't declared terrorists. They weren't formally declared anything.

But they are clearly out to break US Law, and if you give money to people who break US Law you are a co-conspirator. The men in dark suits made sure Visa/Mastercard knew this, and Visa/Mastercard decided not to risk it. Wikileaks does not like this, and loudly proclaims that a) leaking Classified information isn't illegal under US Law, and b) they're the victims of a nefarious illegal conspiracy to crush them.

If they were right about a) Jonathan Pollard would be free. If they were right about b) they'd be suing in US Courts.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322401)

Well, it's a good thing I will never visit the USA - the rectum of the Earth . ever again.

I sincerely hope that you, the people of this rectum, get more and more school shootings, terrorism, nature catastrophes and general illness. Because frankly, you deserve it for creating this ugly monster of a country.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321283)

Make no mistake about it, it was pressure applied to these companies to stop payment, and VISA may find themselves in the middle of two governments who differ in their interpretation of what is required here.

Except that even in US it isn't a "legal" status to be told that by men in dark suits that Wikileaks are terrorists. It would have to be on the official terrorist list or such
So VISA is is in the middle of two governments, where one had taken to operating by the rules of convenience. The actual law is almost certainly the same on both sides.

Bring on the popcorn.

Indeed. I think VISA is one of the very few entities that cannot simply be crushed by the US government. They just need to be prodded into action by another government...

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42321629)

When in the EU, for EU law 'banks" seem to have some EU arm. That takes care of any privacy and local data protection laws.
Any real law lays with the HQ in the USA and that would fall under U.S. laws and political requests.
It will be an interesting day. Will the EU suits turn up? The US suits fly in? Or will it just be a closed door 'chat' between legal teams?
The real risk with an open court is the EU/US banking version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McLibel_case [wikipedia.org]
What is a bank? What is a financial services corporation ... did a US financial services corporation get a US banking bailout...

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321619)

Popcorn? Your idea of a show might differ from mine.

I remember the dim and distant past (2008), when the US was found to have violated multiple WTO rules and treaties by blocking Mastercard/Visa transactions on gambling websites based in Antigua. The Antiguans were jubilant at winning their case, until the US made it clear that nothing was going to change - it simply didn't care. And there's no-one who could hold it to account.

I expect much the same to happen this time. There will be a brief sideshow in some sort of court. But if Visa/Mastercard lose, nothing at all will change. Worst case, perhaps the Swedish government will stop accepting those credit cards in payment, but that's about it.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (2)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322289)

That's the problem with everyone who depends on international law for anything.

International Law between two sovereigns is precisely what the two sovereigns say it is. They are allowed to change their minds. Groups like the EU work because the sovereigns have added EU laws to their domestic legal codes, not due to some complicated theory of international law.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 2 years ago | (#42322031)

Make no mistake about it, it was pressure applied to these companies to stop payment, and VISA may find themselves in the middle of two governments who differ in their interpretation of what is required here.

One side will say they were funding terrorism, and the money needs to be withheld (if not seized), and the other side will say there isn't sufficient legal basis to withhold.

When they became international money handlers, I bet they thought they could get all the perks of global power and none of the liabilities that come with governance. Certainly, the ones that inherited the company after decades of prosperity and peace thought so.

Naivete is so cute.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322247)

I am fairly certain no one had any legal grounds to deny payments to Wikileaks. How could they?

Same way they have grounds to acquire a Drug Lord's assets and auction them to the highest bidder before he's convicted.

If you're involved in an organization designed to break US Law you just don't get much protection from US Law.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320797)

They're actually filing what would be called a complaint in the US with their financial regulatory authority, if I'm understanding this correctly.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320879)

yes, you are.

Re: Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320827)

Yes, prosecuting people for political dissent is the exact same thing as prosecuting people for breaking banking laws.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42320831)

And yeah. I assume that to do banking business in Sweden you have to follow Swedish laws. And the "finance inspection" looks after the market looking for people who don't.

Re:Sweden doesn't have a judiciary? (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322225)

This is not a criminal complaint. In the US to file this type of complaint all you'd have to do is try to donate to Wikileaks, and then sue the bank in Federal Court. Literally anyone could do it. Assuming there was any chance in hell the Judge you drew would actually rule against he Feds on this case, you'd have standing to sue.

Nobody bothers because under US Law Wikileaks really doesn't have a leg to stand on. They are an organization dedicated to leaking secrets, including legitimately classified US Government Documents, they don't hold themselves to the same standards journalists do, therefore they are a Criminal Conspiracy and giving money to them makes you a co-conspirator.

Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320803)

This shouldn't have been posted. Pressing charges is total bullshit. Pressing charges is a criminal justice thingy which is done by a prosecutor. What they've done is the equivalent of sending a politely worded mail to finansinspektionen asking them to look into the matter to determine if anyone has done anything wrong.

Dollars to doughnuts finansinspektionen will conclude that no one in sweden has done anything wrong - and everyone else is based outside of sweden, which means that if finansinspektionen actually thought it merited investigateion they'd defer to some EU instance.

Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (5, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 2 years ago | (#42321269)

Dollars to doughnuts finansinspektionen will conclude that no one in sweden has done anything wrong...

Since Wikileaks has its headquarters in Sweden (specifically BECAUSE if its strong journalistic shield laws), and no doubt tried to collect the money there, one end of the transaction is under Sweedish banking law. No doubt some of their contributors are also making donations in Sweden, putting the entirety of those transactions under Swedish law.

Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321343)

so? if the swedish banks actually tried to preform the transactions, but were rejected by VISA outside of sweden I'm frankly not sure how the blame would be pinned to anyone in sweden (and therefor subject to finansinspektionen's inquries), there might be some way to use some EU legislation to get at VISA but that would require political will.

Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42321767)

Thats the fun test. A US multinational financial services corporation is offering a world wide product.
Think about Cuba- your Canadian and European banks credit card is fine.
This EU probe could bring a lot of US banking laws to the surface :)
If they win - wikileaks gets funding in a part of the world.
If they lose - a cute multinational financial services corporation is found to be a just another US financial services corporation...
A lot of tourist and family funds could be lost to other financial corporations.

Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (2)

sangreal66 (740295) | about 2 years ago | (#42321957)

VISA Europe is a membership association owned entirely by its membership (which are European Banks, including Swedish banks)

FWIW, they are not the same company as VISA, Inc. which operates in the US. The US division was sold off in an IPO years ago

Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#42321995)

Visa probably has to agree to swedish law to accept money for swedish businesses

Re:Unkown Lamer, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322349)

Dollars to doughnuts finansinspektionen will conclude that no one in sweden has done anything wrong...

Since Wikileaks has its headquarters in Sweden (specifically BECAUSE if its strong journalistic shield laws), and no doubt tried to collect the money there, one end of the transaction is under Sweedish banking law. No doubt some of their contributors are also making donations in Sweden, putting the entirety of those transactions under Swedish law.

Only if those transactions did not involve sending the money through any international financial institutions. If a Swede runs money to another Swede through France French laws apply.

Moreover it's likely there's some reciprocity between Swedish laws and US Laws. Wikileaks biggest activity was breaking US Laws on classified information, which is illegal in the US, which generally means that Sweden has an obligation to stop them.

here here! (4, Insightful)

hguorbray (967940) | about 2 years ago | (#42320819)

There was no legal basis for these payment processors to refuse to transfer payments to wikileaks -who had not and have not (as far as I know) been identified as a terrorist or organized crime group....

the payment processors were just sucking up to the corporatist powers and should be punished for refusing to allow legal commerce and monetary transactions -of course they were probably leaned on at the time by the state department or someone and threatened with sanctions or aiding and abetting or giving comfort or some BS

the ultimate end to this would be refusing to send donations to the EFF, ALCU, greenpeace, PETA (OK I know the last two are borderline hippie/batshit crazy) and other radical and democratic groups....so as not to rock the plutocratic ship of state.

-I'm just sayin'

Re:here here! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42320975)

AIPAC?

Re:here here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321211)

It's HEAR, HEAR! [wikipedia.org]

"Here, here!" is either a cat lady calling cats or a prostitute on the docks calling customers. Seriously, how hard is this to remember?

Here here will do (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321473)

Nah, here here will do.

Whoever invented 'hear hear', meaning I hear you, someone else can invent 'here here', means something like we're in the same metaphorical place, just as I can invent 'beer beer' to mean 'let's drink to that'.

Languages change, they don't ask permission. Beer beer!

Re:here here! (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42321221)

There was no legal basis for these payment processors to refuse to transfer payments to wikileaks -who had not and have not (as far as I know) been identified as a terrorist or organized crime group...

the payment processors were just sucking up to the corporatist powers and should be punished for refusing to allow legal commerce and monetary transactions -of course they were probably leaned on at the time by the state department or someone and threatened with sanctions or aiding and abetting or giving comfort or some BS

They were placed on double-secret probation.

TO-GA!

TO-GA!

Seriously though, it may well have been the case that they received a nice friendly National Security Letter that ordered them to halt payment processing.

the ultimate end to this would be refusing to send donations to the EFF, ALCU, greenpeace, PETA (OK I know the last two are borderline hippie/batshit crazy) and other radical and democratic groups....so as not to rock the plutocratic ship of state.

If any of those groups dared to publish embarrassing and damaging information about secret US actions, etc, of the scale and scope that WL did, then I'd expect the talking-heads in the State-run US MSM and the politicians to engage in a full-on media-blitz of propaganda to pave the way to do just that.

The US government is sending a signal that stuff they used to tolerate, like the NYT publishing the Pentagon Papers (which is essentially an almost identical situation from a free speech/free press standpoint (except the NYT is domestic), will no longer be tolerated.

These days, NYT reporter Neil Sheehan (received copies of the Pent. Papers from Daniel Ellsberg), and likely the NYT editor(s) that approved the publication, would find themselves black-bagged and Renditioned to a foreign torture facility.

I wonder if US TLAs have their own domestic supplies of polonium, or import from Russia?

Strat

Re:here here! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#42321899)

"Seriously though, it may well have been the case that they received a nice friendly National Security Letter that ordered them to halt payment processing."

National Security Letters have nothing to do with business transactions, and have no power to alter them.

Re:here here! (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42322245)

"Seriously though, it may well have been the case that they received a nice friendly National Security Letter that ordered them to halt payment processing."

National Security Letters have nothing to do with business transactions, and have no power to alter them.

Mea culpa.

You are absolutely correct. Thanks! :)

Now that I re-think it, it's more than likely it was because they were told that the IRS and every other government agency and department they could toss in would be up their asses until they died if they didn't cooperate.

Strat

Re:here here! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42322551)

Yet the cash stopped Jane. WikiLeaks or its staff faced no public findings, courts at the time yet a group of "US" multinational financial services corporations all stopped?
Call it an extra judical request? A chat over drinks at the club? Lunch?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11945875 [bbc.co.uk]
Just a 'letter"?

Re:here here! (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322445)

The situation with the Pentagon Papers is not identical. The Pentagon Papers were a multi-volume book about the Vietnam War. They had all the context needed to make sense. They also showed us lots of things we didn't know. This means that a responsibly-handled publication was in the public interest. What about either War did this tell us that we didn't know? How can a dump of totally un-redacted cables be considered responsible?

And, perhaps most importantly, what are the odds that Roberts Court does not find a way to shoot the guy who is openly anti-American?

First Pirate! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321051)

Yeah, you heard right!

Journalists (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321069)

Good journalists report what governments don't like reported. Wikileaks did nothing more than journalism. It was a good thing, it gave strength to the people wanting democracy in the African Spring.

The attacks on Wikileaks and on Assange (no I don't accept the rape charges are anything other than malicious) amount to attacks on journalism.

Re:Journalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321725)

Wikileaks did no more reporting than the folks dumping confetti on a parade.

What if it was the New York Times (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321817)

Imagine if Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, failed to pass money sent to the New York Times for their paywall, because New York Times had published leaks about President Assad's attacks on civilians?

You see what I've done there, I've substituted one news reporting company 'New York Times' for another 'Wikileaks' and one government 'Syria' for another 'USA'.

Reporting leaks is not illegal, it's journalism, and Syria might not like it, and they may try to attack the journalists by cutting off money, but it would be WRONG FOR VISA AND MASTERCARD to go along with Syria's wish and cut off money to the New York Times.

If Visa and Mastercard are agents of the USA government, then can we continue to let them operate in Europe for example. They'll be leaking private transaction data, blocking transfers and generally acting against the laws we have.

I'm old, I remember Nixon and his attacks on the Washington Post over the Watergate leaks.
https://ssl1.washingtonpost.com/opinions/woodward-and-bernstein-40-years-after-watergate-nixon-was-far-worse-than-we-thought/2012/06/08/gJQAlsi0NV_story.html

... but the NY Times did real journalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321983)

The New York .Times actually did an assessment of what they reported on, not a document dump. You fail, miserably. Wikileaks has nothing in common with journalism.

You're thinking of propaganda (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322095)

You're defining journalism as reporting + censorship. It isn't the censorship part that makes it journalism, it's reporting part.

Good journalism is reporting the stuff warts and all. Wikileaks 100% documents dumps, is the best kind of journalism. Uncensored, full naked truth.

Propaganda is where you only report the stuff approved by governments. You fail because you're praising New York Times partial government censorship.

Re:What if it was the New York Times (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322479)

Imagine if Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, failed to pass money sent to the New York Times for their paywall, because New York Times had published leaks about President Assad's attacks on civilians?

You see what I've done there, I've substituted one news reporting company 'New York Times' for another 'Wikileaks' and one government 'Syria' for another 'USA'.

Of course the NYT would just publish that, and not accidentally get two Zimbabwean Generals charged with Treason.

That's the problem with Wikileaks. They just publish everything. They assume the US is the absolute worst government in the world, and don't really care that actual people get hurt badly as long as the US gets embarrassed.

wikileaks was wholesale theft of American secrets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321797)

Releasing the 7,000 page history of American-Vietnam relations ie. the "Pentagon Papers" was journalism. Releasing classified assessments of Iraq by the Bush Administration or military in ~2005 would have been journalism. The wholesale release of 200,000+ classified diplomatic cables on a wide variety of topics is just massive theft of American secrets.

Pity they didn't release the Nixon papers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321931)

" The wholesale release of 200,000+ classified diplomatic cables on a wide variety of topics is just massive theft of American secrets."

Wikileaks didn't steal squat, and 200,000 documents makes it 28 times better reporting than the 7000 Pentagon papers. If they're managed to leak the Nixon tapes aswell then perhaps it would have been be 29 times better. We learned so much from the documents they released, so did Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Kenya...

The biggest attack on them was the collateral murder video, where the originally killing of a journalist thinking it was an RPG was a tragic mistake, the approval to attack the people coming to their aid was a bad decision and the coverup was the crime being exposed. The USA military cannot get so big that they can cover their mistakes.

Really Visa and Mastercard should not be attacking journalists on behalf of Nixon. Which is basically what they're doing. Nixon attacked the Washington Post to try to suppress the Watergate leaks, Bush/Obama are attacking Wikileaks to cover up their embarrassment and the mistakes of the military and government.

Visa and Mastercard should be ashamed, but more than that, non USA countries should ask themselves what crimes Visa and Mastercard are committing by acting as agents of a foreign power and attacking journalists.

Today it's Wikileaks.
Tomorrow it's New York Times paywall subscription fees.
The day after it's BBC license fees.

A shameful attack on journalism.

Re:wikileaks was wholesale theft of American secre (2)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#42321979)

You're creating an imaginary distinction where there is none.

Please, correct me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321227)

But why do private banks (businesses) have to accept payment processing from anyone. They are not governmental agencies, shouldn't they be allowed to chose who they do business with?

Re:Please, correct me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321259)

psst,
whom.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#42321475)

But why do private banks (businesses) have to accept payment processing from anyone. They are not governmental agencies, shouldn't they be allowed to chose who they do business with?

Because "private" banks are heavily-regulated and must obey banking laws, both domestically in the countries they operate in, and internationally. The laws and regulations, both in the US and Sweden, say that they may not discriminate in this manner against anyone that has not been legally sanctioned/convicted and/or placed on an official terrorist list. Neither of which is the case for WL.

Strat

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322549)

But why do private banks (businesses) have to accept payment processing from anyone. They are not governmental agencies, shouldn't they be allowed to chose who they do business with?

Because "private" banks are heavily-regulated and must obey banking laws, both domestically in the countries they operate in, and internationally. The laws and regulations, both in the US and Sweden, say that they may not discriminate in this manner against anyone that has not been legally sanctioned/convicted and/or placed on an official terrorist list. Neither of which is the case for WL.

Strat

So if I told a Loan Officer "Don't worry, the money I use to murder my wife will not come from this loan," he would have to lend it to me? He couldn't decide that it would be bad PR to lend me money, and show me the door?

Wikileaks is very open about publishing leaks. Their best leak is a massive US-data dump. As far as the US Government is concerned that was illegal. As far as most Americans are concerned Assange is a batshit crazy anti-American loony. You don't have to do business with people you think are about to be charged with major crimes. You don't have to do business with people who piss off your other customers.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 2 years ago | (#42322697)

You don't have to do business with people you think are about to be charged with major crimes. You don't have to do business with people who piss off your other customers.

You don't have to run a company, but if you do, there are certain rules you have to follow. Not doing business with blacks because it pisses off your other customers is, for example, not an option. Not moving money to people because you think they might be charged for something might not be, either. If you don't like that, you are free to not run a bank. If nobody wants to run a bank under those circumstances, we might have to rethink them.

Re:Please, correct me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322745)

Banks and financial transaction processors are not afforded the luxury of picking and choosing their customers in Europe. Banking is considered a necessity, and thus is regulated so that everyone can access services. Wikileaks essentially had a positive net balance on account and were refused access to withdraw it. This may not be done without court order, and is an illegal discrimination.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#42322777)

So if I told a Loan Officer "Don't worry, the money I use to murder my wife will not come from this loan," he would have to lend it to me? He couldn't decide that it would be bad PR to lend me money, and show me the door?

Nope. Nobody ever forced those people to get into the banking business.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#42321483)

It comes with being monopolies. Some countries like Sweden, have regulations to prevent abuse of monopolies. Even pass laws specifically for certain important services.
 
In the US, you cannot say that you will not serve African American people in your restaurant, even though it is a private business. Private business doesnt mean you can choose to offer services. This true in pretty much any country.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 2 years ago | (#42322535)

And yet many people wearing perfectly legal outfits are thrown out of my place of employment for not wearing shoes...

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 2 years ago | (#42322709)

Is it a bank in Sweden? Otherwise it isn't really relevant.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#42322783)

Health issues. Completely different.

Re:Please, correct me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322123)

But why do private banks (businesses) have to accept payment processing from anyone. They are not governmental agencies, shouldn't they be allowed to chose who they do business with?

Monopolies, which is what these payment processors are, cannot be given a say over what orginasations, (journalistic enitities, EFF, greanpeace,...) get funded by the public and which not. It's comparable to ISPs blocking traffic from certain newspapers or other orginaizations, or a toll-way operator refusing to let through cars for a certain corporation or with certain bumper stickers.

Re:Please, correct me... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#42322765)

Nope. They get special powers and privileges by being global financial institutions. If they were willing to give up that power, and take responsibility for EVERY transaction they process, then perhaps it would be ok.

Pirate Party (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321507)

I notice that again it takes the Pirate Party to stand up against these bullies. And still there are people that cannot see further than the name, or assert that it's just people "wanting to download stuff for free".

Hats off to the Swedish Pirate Party!

Re:Pirate Party (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42322237)

I couldn't agree more. The key people behind the Swedish Pirate Party have managed to maintain a startling level of integrity for politicians. I'm so used to all parliaments being filled with lazy, selfish, cowardly, evil, parasitic, greedy, soulless, psychopathic wastes of food that I'd forgotten that these attributes are not job requirements.

Thank you.

Yo0 Fail It. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321635)

wwot.. fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42321663)

AT DEATH'S DOOR 4erform keeping but with Netcraft
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