I’m really concerned with the public complacency about the recent blocking of donations to Wikileaks by the biggest bank in the US: Bank of America, one of the leading credit card companies: Mastercard and the largest online payment provider: PayPal.
I can’t believe that in a free society we can no longer use our money to support an organization that promotes free speech and abhors secrecy.
I don’t completely agree with Wikileaks’ actions, but as of today no lawsuit has been filed against the organization in any court of law, it has not been declared by any country or international organization as a terrorist group, and there is no court order anywhere in the world to freeze their bank accounts. But if I try to go to BoA with my money, and I ask them to make a wire transfer to Wikileaks account in Switzerland, they will refuse to do it.
Their PayPal account has been suspended and Mr. Osama Bedier, a PayPal Vice President, explaining PayPal’s decision, said, “on Nov. 27, the State Department — the U.S. government, basically — wrote a letter saying the WikiLeaks activities were deemed illegal in the United States.” However that letter from the State Department did not argue that publication of the documents by WikiLeaks, or any media organization, would be illegal. Instead, it says that the documents “were provided in violation of U.S. law” to WikiLeaks, which means that the State Department considered the original leak of the documents to Mr. Assange’s organization to have been a criminal act.
As I wrote in a previous post, why the banks are not freezing the accounts of the New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde or El Pais. They have published the documents leaked by Wikileaks. Are they terrorist organizations?
What I miss here is Due Process, respect of the rights of individuals and organizations. Judges, not political or government agencies are the only ones that can freeze accounts, stop payments, hold assets, etc.
But what really worries me is the lack of public outcry; I miss the demonstrations against abuse of power, the people cancelling their PayPal or BoA accounts. We just don’t care anymore.
“We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.” — John F. Kennedy