Editorials
2014-02-18
  NSA and GCHQ spying on WikiLeaks
2013-12-09
  Second release of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement documents
2013-11-29
  WikiLeaks consultant Gottfrid Svartholm Warg extradited from Sweden after alleged access to NSA contractor CSC
2013-11-29
  WikiLeaks Calls for US to Drop Grand Jury
2013-11-15
  Hammond Support Letter from World Media
2013-11-15
  US, Australia isolated in TPP negotiations
2013-11-07
  Announcing Australian Preview Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-11-06
  Statement by Sarah Harrison
2013-11-03
  Video: Snowden meets with German MP regarding being witness in NSA spying investigation
2013-11-01
  Press Release: German Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-10-25
  El Ingeniero: Communicado de Prensa
2013-10-24
  Announcing preview of "The Engineer"
2013-10-23
  Comunicado de Prensa: WikiLeaks estrena el desafía "El Quinto Poder": Mediastan - Un 'Road Movie' de WikiLeaks
2013-10-17
  Press Release: US Release of Mediastan - WikiLeaks’ Fifth Estate Challenger
2013-10-12
  Video: Edward Snowden wins Sam Adams award
2013-10-11
  Watch MEDIASTAN
2013-10-11
  Press Release: WikiLeaks Releases Fifth Estate Challenger: Mediastan - A WikiLeaks Road Movie
2013-10-09
  RELEASE: Julian Assange Correspondence with The Fifth Estate Star Benedict Cumberbatch
2013-10-09
  First Letter from Julian Assange to Benedict Cumberbatch Over The Fifth Estate
2013-09-30
  The Fifth Estate
2013-09-16
  Editorial: Release Barrett Brown
2013-09-06
  Swedish Police Open Investigation into Seizure of War Crime Evidence
2013-09-03
  WikiLeaks Files Second Criminal Complaint in Germany
2013-09-03
  Swedish Police Opens Criminal Complaint File ahead of Wednesday’s Obama Visit to Sweden
2013-09-02
  Press Release: WikiLeaks Launches Criminal Investigation ahead of Wednesday’s Obama Visit to Sweden
2013-08-27
  Op-ed: Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?
2013-08-27
  Op-ed: The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’
2013-08-21
  Statement by Julian Assange on today’s sentencing of Bradley Manning
2013-08-15
  Response to Today’s Bradley Manning Statement
2013-08-01
  Statement on Snowden’s Successful Russian Asylum Bid
2013-07-30
  Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial
2013-07-12
  Statement by Edward Snowden to human rights groups at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport
2013-07-03
  MasterCard breaks ranks in WikiLeaks blockade
2013-07-02
  Edward Snowden submits asylum applications
2013-07-01
  Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow
2013-06-26
  Further Statement From Baltasar Garzón
2013-06-26
  Transcript of WikiLeaks Press Conference on Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong
2013-06-24
  Statement From Baltasar Garzón
2013-06-23
  WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong - UPDATED
2013-06-23
  Profile: Sarah Harrison
2013-06-23
  WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong
2013-06-22
  Statement by Julian Assange after One Year in Ecuadorian Embassy
2013-06-04
  Assange Statement on the First Day of Manning Trial
2013-06-03
  Bradley Manning Trial FAQ
2013-05-24
  WikiLeaks Leaks the Annotated Transcript of Universal’s WikiLeaks Documentary Ahead of Opening Tomorrow Night
2013-05-11
  For the next 49 days you can donate to WikiLeaks
2013-04-22
  Transcript of secret meeting between Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt
2013-02-07
  Eight FBI agents conduct interrogation in Iceland in relation to ongoing U.S. investigation of WikiLeaks
2012-12-20
  Statement by Julian Assange after Six Months in Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-12-16
  WikiLeaks declares war on banking blockade
2012-12-05
  Julian Assange Presentation to EU Parliament on Corruption Revealed in Cablegate
2012-11-29
  Assange statement regarding CNN’s Erinn Burnett show comment on Ecuador
2012-11-27
  European Commission enabling blockade of WikiLeaks by U.S. hard-right Lieberman/King, contrary to European Parliament’s wishes
2012-11-26
  WikiLeaks donations now tax deductible EU wide
2012-11-20
  European Parliament votes to protect WikiLeaks
2012-10-10
  WikiLeaks GI Files Presidential Campaign Release
2012-10-03
  Press Statement: In this election, vote with your wallet, Vote WikiLeaks
2012-09-27
  Transcript of Julian Assange Address to the UN
2012-09-26
  US Military Refers to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as the "enemy" with the "victims" being "society"
2012-09-26
  Background for UN Talk - Ongoing Investigation into WikiLeaks
2012-09-11
  Inside the secrets and lies behind ’Secrets and Lies’
2012-09-10
  The public relations state: full details of WikiLeaks & Assange Ofcom complaint over "WikiLeaks: Secrets & Lies"
2012-08-23
  Statement on U.K. intentions and pressures prior to Ecuadorian embassy siege
2012-08-19
  Official Statement by Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-08-16
  Statement on UK threat to storm Ecuadorian embassy and arrest Julian Assange
2012-07-18
  Press Release: WikiLeaks opens path through banking siege. Donations open.
2012-06-29
  Press Statement: By Julian Assange Defense Fund Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy
2012-06-28
  Press Release - WikiLeaks: Beat the Blockade CD
2012-06-21
  Wikileaks has launched a case against Valitor hf. (formerly VISA Iceland)
2012-06-19
  Effective Declaration of Abandonment from Australian Government
2012-04-18
  Smear and Enjoy
2012-04-17
  Press Release - 500 Days of the WikiLeaks Banking Blockade
2012-04-05
  Assange Submissions to the Leveson Inquiry
2012-03-06
  Kristinn Hrafnsson: The Great WikiLeaks War on Sweden?
2012-03-06
  Press release: WikiLeaks on Recent Fabricated Stories in the Swedish Press
2012-02-15
  WikiLeaks denounces UNESCO after WikiLeaks banned from UNESCO conference on WikiLeaks
2012-01-23
  New Assange TV Series
2011-12-16
  Statement on Bradley Manning Case
2011-11-30
  Guardian’s "WikiLeaks: Secrets and Lies" Documentary:
2011-10-23
  WikiLeaks Press Statement: WikiLeaks vs the Banks
2011-09-22
  Julian Assange: Statement on the Unauthorised, Secret Publishing of the Julian Assange "autobiography" by Canongate
2011-09-19
  WikiLeaks Launches the First of Four Fundraising Auctions
2011-08-24
  US espionage investigation against WikiLeaks: PATRIOT Act order unsealed
2011-06-15
  In Conversation with Julian Assange Part II
2011-05-24
  "WikiSecrets" Julian Assange Full Interview Footage
2011-05-23
  In Conversation with Julian Assange Part I
(on 2012-11-27)

European Commission enabling blockade of WikiLeaks by U.S. hard-right Lieberman/King, contrary to European Parliament’s wishes

Tuesday 27th November, 1300 GMT

European Commission documents released today by WikiLeaks show that hard-right U.S. politicians were directly behind the extrajudicial banking blockade against WikiLeaks. In the heavily redacted documents, MasterCard Europe admits that Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Peter T. King both “had conversations” with MasterCard in the United States. Lieberman, the then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, boasted of instigating Amazon’s cutting of service to WikiLeaks – an action condemned by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on 7 December 2011.

Senator Lieberman tried to introduce the SHIELD Act into the Senate and advocated for prosecuting the New York Times for espionage in connection with WikiLeaks’ releases. Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, tried to formally designate WikiLeaks as a foreign terrorist organization, have its staff listed as ’enemy combatants’, and have WikiLeaks put on a U.S. Treasury blacklist. On 13 January 2011 the U.S. Treasury announced it would not do so because there was no evidence that WikiLeaks should be on such a list. While Lieberman and King were unsuccessful in these methods of legally cutting WikiLeaks from its popular donor base, they were successful in doing so extra-legally via VISA and MasterCard, which together hold a monopoly of 97 per cent of the market of EU card payments.

VISA Europe is registered in London and is owned by a consortium of European banks. MasterCard Europe is registered in Belgium and has similar ownership, but the Commission papers show that European control of VISA Europe and MasterCard Europe is a fiction. The papers reveal that the instructions to blockade WikiLeaks’ operations in Europe came directly from VISA and MasterCard in the United States. Ownership would normally imply control, but VISA and MasterCard Europe are essentially controlled by confidential contracts with their U.S. counterparts, a hidden organizational structure that the Commission calls an “association of undertakings”.

On Tuesday, 19 November 2012, the European Parliament took an important step towards safeguarding the economic sovereignty of all Europeans. In Article 32 of its resolution, the European Parliament expressed the will that the Commission should prevent the arbitrary refusal of payments by credit card companies, which economically strangles businesses and organizations, notably ours. The resolution is an important step to putting an end to the Lieberman/King blockade, which has wiped out 95 per cent of WikiLeaks’ revenues. The Lieberman/King blockade has been directly condemned by, among others, the UN Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Speech and the New York Times Editorial Board. The blockade is a direct infringement of the Article 19 right to receive and impart information, and threatens all donor-funded organizations and the freedom of the press.

It comes as a surprise, then, that the European Commission is taking the contrary view in its preliminary decision, of not opening a formal investigation into VISA, MasterCard and AmEx’s violations against DataCell, the company that collected donations to the WikiLeaks project until the imposition of the blockade in 2010. The Commission’s 16-page preliminary decision has been announced after 15 months of deliberations. The ’normal’ waiting time is four months. Yesterday, DataCell and WikiLeaks submitted detailed counter-arguments to the Commission’s preliminary decision.

Through the leaked documents we learn that VISA and MasterCard have used a false statement by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to mislead the European Commission. The Prime Minister’s statement, which she later claimed was made in her "private capacity", was that the WikiLeaks publication of diplomatic cables was "illegal". This was declared to be false by a subsequent investigation by the Australian Federal Police, which declared that WikiLeaks had not broken any Australian law. Earlier this year, the Australian Senate passed a resolution demanding the retraction of the Prime Minister’s false statement.

The leaked documents reveal MasterCard’s political stance to our exposure of the crimes and horrors of military campaigns: “It is evident that any affiliation with an organisation causing damage to the national interests of several nations involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq... will be extremely damaging for the public perception of MasterCard”.

Julian Assange said: “There is no sovereignty without economic sovereignty. It is concerning that hard-right elements in the United States have been able to pressure VISA and MasterCard, who together hold monopoly over the European market, into introducing a blockade that the U.S. Treasury has rightly rejected. These unaccountable elements are directly interfering in the political and economic freedoms of EU consumers and are setting a precedent for political censorship of the world’s media.”

WikiLeaks will continue to fight the blockade, despite its limited resources, because it is fighting for its survival. Already there have been victories. In June 2012 WikiLeaks won its first court victory in Iceland against the Lieberman-King blockade. Last month WikiLeaks opened a new battle front by filing, together with its partner DataCell, a case against Teller A/S (VISA Denmark).

NOTE

The movement in Parliament and in the rest of Europe is to support WikiLeaks’ publishing rights. The German foundation Wau Holland Stiftung (WHS), which collected donations for WikiLeaks via PayPal had their donations account arbitrarily shut down. The tax-exempt status of the Foundation was challenged as well, as a result of political interference which was exposed this month in Der Spiegel (“Taxing Transparency”). Yesterday, WHS announced that, after almost two years of negotiations with German tax authorities, its tax exemption (charitable status) has been reinstated. Citizens of all EU Member States will now be able to donate to WikiLeaks’ operations through WHS and deduct the donation from their income tax.

EU Preliminary Decision

PDF - 3.2 Mb
EUPreliminaryDecision1
PDF - 2.4 Mb
EUPreliminaryDecision2



Additional Information

- UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

- Council of Europe - Declaration on online service providers

- The Guardian Comment is Free (23 November 2012) by Glenn Greewald


Quote from Visa and MasterCard Submissions to the European Commission

Visa’s response to the European Central Bank:

“As you will no doubt be aware, in some jurisdictions, various stakeholders have questioned whether WikiLeaks is, in respect of some of the material it publishes, committing criminal acts. Our Operating Regulations prohibit the use of the Visa system for illegal purposes either in the jurisdiction of the merchant (in this case Iceland) or the jurisdiction of the cardholder (which could be anywhere in the world). It is possible that activities that are permitted in one jurisdiction may be illegal in others. Accordingly, the application of the relevant position under the Operating Regulations does not necessarily depend solely on Icelandic law.”

“This position is appropriate and proportionate in light of the alleged unlawful conduct of WikiLeaks, which, among other sensitive material, in 2010 published and refuses to return large amounts of material stolen from classified US military databases. Further, according to recent press coverage, it appears that the leaking of sensitive information is continuing.”

MasterCard’s arguments to the European Commission:

“MasterCard does not hold a collective dominant position with Visa... It is also worth mentioning here that MasterCard does not constitute an ’essential facility’, and therefore is under no obligation to provide its services to any particular undertakings.”

“It is evident that any affiliation with an organisation causing damage to the national interests of several nations involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and possibly putting lives needlessly at risk, will be damaging for the public perception of MasterCard and consequently damage MasterCard’s goodwill or its [trade]Marks.”

“By way of example, in 2004 MasterCard requested the Dutch acquirer, then ’Interpay Nederlands B.V.’ (now ’Paysquare’) to suspend the provision of acquiring services to merchants operating websites offering access to pornographic material including showing sexual acts with animals (’bestiality content’).”

“...before taking its decision, MasterCard Incorporated did not have any contacts with public authorities, and therefore did not act upon request from any public authorities.”

“MasterCard Incorporated had several conversations with the FBI, US Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the possibility of such DDoS attacks.”

“MasterCard Incorporated had conversations with certain Congressional staff (i.e. Chairman Lieberman and Chairman King’s [Senate and House Homeland Security Chairs] staff).”


European Parliament - on Card, Internet and mobile payments

Towards an integrated European market for card, internet and mobile payments – 20 November 2012

The European Parliament voted that the Commission introduce legislation to determine when credit card companies can deny payments:

32. Considers it likely that there will be a growing number of European companies whose activities are effectively dependent on being able to accept payments by card; considers it to be in the public interest to define objective rules describing the circumstances and procedures under which card payment schemes may unilaterally refuse acceptance;

In his intervention, Swedish MEP Christian Engstrom explained:

“Another example is when Visa, Mastercard and Paypal blocked payments to WikiLeaks. There was no legal basis and [it] should be seen as the three companies helped the US government to silence an inconvenient voice. It is not acceptable that private corporations have the power of [controlling] free speech."1

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