Banking Blockade @wikileaks

Banking Blockade

For information on how to beat the banks visit our donate page.
For further information on the banking blockade against WikiLeaks download this PDF.
A kit with full information on the blockade and tools to assist WikiLeaks through it can be downloaded here.

Created: 24th October, 1pm GMT

WikiLeaks has published the biggest leaks in journalistic history. This has triggered aggressive retaliation from powerful groups. Since 7th December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. The attack has destroyed 95% of our revenue. The blockade came into force within ten days of the launch of Cablegate as part of a concerted US-based, political attack that included vitriol by senior right wing politicians, including assassination calls against WikiLeaks staff. The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency. The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of WikiLeaks by politicized US finance companies continues regardless.

As a result, WikiLeaks has been running on cash reserves for the past eleven months. The blockade has cost the organization tens of millions of pounds in lost donations at a time of unprecedented operational costs resulting from publishing alliances in over 50 countries, and their inevitable counter-attacks. Our scarce resources now must focus on fighting the unlawful banking blockade. If this financial attack stands unchallenged, a dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic precedent will have been set, the implications of which go far beyond WikiLeaks and its work. Any organization that falls foul of powerful finance companies or their political allies can expect similar extrajudicial action. Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and other international NGOs that work to expose the wrongdoing of powerful players risk the same fate as WikiLeaks. If publishing the truth about war is enough to warrant such aggressive action by Washington insiders, all newspapers that have published WikiLeaks’ materials are on the verge of having their readers and advertisers blocked from paying for their subscriptions.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has openly criticized the financial blockade against WikiLeaks, as have the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The blockade erects a wall between us and our supporters, preventing them from affiliating with and defending the cause of their choice. It violates the competition laws and trade practice legislation of numerous states. It arbitrarily singles out an organization that has not committed any illegal act in any country and cuts it off from its financial lifeline in every country. In Australia, a formal, US triggered investigation into our operations found that WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange have no case to answer. In the US, our publishing is protected by the First Amendment, as has been repeatedly demonstrated by a wide variety of respected legal experts on the US Constitution. In January 2011 the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy C. Geithner, announced that there were no grounds to blacklist WikiLeaks. There are no judgements, or even charges, against WikiLeaks or its staff anywhere in the world.

The most powerful players in the banking industry have shown themselves to be a politicized arm of Washington. This collusion has occurred outside of any judicial or administrative process. The reach of these companies is global and violates the most basic principles of sovereignty. In Europe, VISA and MasterCard together control 97% of the card payment market. Alternatives have been aggressively opposed by VISA and US embassies. The European Central Bank announced plans in 2008 to introduce a European card system. A similar 2010 proposal in Russia together with a bill banning individualized VISA transaction records from going to the US were met with intervention by the US Embassy in Moscow. VISA calls itself the world’s largest currency, but every transaction is controlled by the VISA corporation and the groups that influence it. VISA is a national security problem and a threat to state sovereignty. No state, individual or organization has full economic autonomy or privacy if they rely on VISA. It is able to provide significant intelligence on not only individual behaviour and economic relationships but on large sections of the entire microeconomy and the movement of labour.

The Bank of America is one of the principle promoters of the WikiLeaks financial blockade; it is also the creator of VISA, which until 1976 was called the “Bank Americard”. In February this year, it was revealed in detail that the Bank of America had commissioned, through Washington lawyers Hunton & Williams, a consortium of three US intelligence contractors, including HBGary, to propose a systematic US $2 million/month multi-pronged attack to hack and smear WikiLeaks. HBGary was referred to the bank’s lawyers by contacts within the US Department of Justice. The correspondence and proposals, which include plans to target journalists and lawyers supporting WikiLeaks, are now public. An extract from the proposal to sabotage WikiLeaks can be found on page 16 of plan 6:

Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions of sabotage or discredit the opposing organizations. Submit fake documents and then call out the error.
Create concern over the security of the infrastructure. Create exposure stories. If the process is believed not to be secure they are done.
Cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters. This would kill the project. Since the servers are now in Sweden and France putting a team together to get access is more straightforward.
Media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of WikiLeaks activities. Sustain pressure. Does nothing for the fanatics, but creates concern and doubt among moderates.

In order to ensure our future survival, WikiLeaks is now forced to temporarily suspend its publishing operations and aggressively fundraise in order to fight back against this blockade and its proponents. We have commenced pre-litigation action against the blockade in Iceland, Denmark, the UK, Brussels, the United States and Australia. We have lodged an anti-trust complaint at the European Commission and expect a decision by mid-November as to whether the European Competition Authority will open a full investigation into the wrongdoing of VISA and MasterCard.

Our battles will be costly. We need your support. A handful of US finance companies cannot be allowed to decide how the whole world votes with its pocket.

Graph Showing Donations Successfully Transferred to WikiLeaks:

Financial Blockade: Chronology

– 27 November 2010: United States – US State Department intentionally and wrongfully imply (but do not formally state) illegal conduct by WikiLeaks in a letter to lawyers for Julian Assange, which they then immediately leak to the press

– 29 November 2010: Global – Cablegate publication starts with New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais & the Guardian, expanding eventually to over 90 publications in over 50 countries.

– 29 November 2010 and following days: United States – Assassination calls and declarations of war by US senators, pundits and media against WikiLeaks.

– 1 December 2010: United States/Global – Amazon stops hosting WikiLeaks

– 2 December 2010: United States/Global – EveryDNS stops domain service

– 3 December 2010: United States/Global – Paypal discontinues service

– 4 December 2010: Germany – PayPal blocks Wau Holland Stiftung’s (WHS, the foundation receiving donations for WikiLeaks) access to its account and freezes remaining money for 180 days. The money is released immediately by PayPal after a WHS lawyer intervenes.

– 6 December 2010: Switzerland – Swiss Post Finance freezes Julian Assange Defence Fund account in Switzerland

– 7 December 2010: United States/Global – Visa and MasterCard stop processing payments to WikiLeaks.
Germany – A letter from the FA Kassel (Kassel tax department) to WHS Foundation, which receives donations for WikiLeaks, asked whether donations have been transferred to WikiLeaks. WHS responded promptly, with data detailing transfers to WikiLeaks

– 8 December 2010: United States/global – Updated Statement about WikiLeaks from PayPal General Counsel

– 9 December 2010: Global – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemns blockade

– 12 December 2010: Iceland – Icelandic Parliament Considers Revoking Visa/MasterCard Licenses For Wikileaks Ban

– 15 December 2010: Germany – FA Kassel (tax department) announces WHS (the foundation that receives donations for WikiLeaks) charitable status may be revoked (pending investigation).

– 16 December 2010: Global – Amnesty International examines Human Rights at stake when blocking WikiLeaks payments

– 18 December 2010: United States/global – Bank of America discontinues any services intended for WikiLeaks

– 20 December 2010: United States – Apple removes WikiLeaks application for iPhones

– 21 December 2010: United States/Global – Western Union adds WikiLeaks to ’Interdiction List’
Global: UN and OAS Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression issue a Joint Statement Condemning the Blockade against WikiLeaks

– 26 December 2010: United States: New York Times Editorial Condemns Blockade

– 30 December 2010: Denmark/Global – Denmark-based contractor for VISA Europe and MasterCard, Teller AS, reports that WikiLeaks has not violated any VISA regulations, Icelandic or Danish laws.

– 1 January 2011: Germany – WHS Foundation, which receives donations for WikiLeaks moves its office from Kassel to Hamburg

– 13 January 2011: United States – US Treasury finds no grounds to blacklist WikiLeaks

– 17 January 2011: UK – WikiLeaks Press conference with Rudolf Elmer

– 19 January 2011: Switzerland – Elmer is handed suspended sentence. He is the arrested without charge in connection with WikiLeaks press conference.

– 9 February 2011: United States/Global – Bank of America, who hired data intelligence firms HBGary, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies, is revealed to have commisioned a proposal of a systematic attack against WikiLeaks. The proposal is leaked.

– 24 February/1 March 2011: United States – Ethics complaint filed at the DC Bar against law firm Hunton&Williams and members of Congress call for probe into illegal conduct by the firm (hired by Bank of America to sabotage WikiLeaks and target WikiLeaks’ supporters)

– 14 February 2011: Germany: FA Hamburg-Nord (tax department) drops Kassel investigation into WHS Foundation’s (which receives donations for WikiLeaks) charitable status, but initiates a new investigation on different grounds.

– 9 June 2011: EU – WikiLeaks & Datacell announce prospective EU Commission Complaint against VISA and Mastercard

– 7 – 8 July 2011: Iceland/Global – DataCell: Credit card donation to WikiLeaks is accepted again but VISA closes payments hours after

– 14 July 2011: EU – WikiLeaks & Datacell file a Complaint to the European Commission for infringement of the EU Anti Trust Laws

– 25 July 2011: Switzerland – Rudolf Elmer is released after 187 days in detention. He had not been charged.

– 24 October 2011: Global – WikiLeaks suspends publication to invest all resources in fighting the blockade.
Germany – Decision on revoking WHS (the foundation that receives donations for WikiLeaks) status is still pending; WHS has been prevented from opening new bank accounts in Switzerland and Germany for the past 9 months.

For information on how to beat the banks visit our donate page.
For further information on the banking blockade against WikiLeaks download this PDF.
A kit with full information on the blockade and tools to assist WikiLeaks through it can be downloaded here.


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About Darin Sullivan (1980 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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