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back to article Financial vice tightens on Wikileaks, hacktivistas retaliate

The financial squeeze has been put onto Wikileaks, with MasterCard refusing to process donations to the whistleblower site and the suspension of the personal bank account of founder Julian Assange in Switzerland. The withdrawal of payment facilities by MasterCard follows a similar decision by PayPal. Would-be supporters are only …

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Anyone surprised?

The problem with wikileaks is that it is anti establishment.

Smear the founders name (the timing of these sex abuse allegations was not a shock)

Stop the finances

Withdraw passport

Arrest the guy

Eventually he will be deported to Guantanamo...

And all this by a collection of countries (USA, UK, Sweden, Australia) who apparently stand up for free speach, freedom, democracy....

Yeah, at least the North Koreans, Chinese and Stalin were honest! (Note Stalin declined to join an anti-Britain pact with America in WW2).

The real crime here? The real crime here was to expose the double standards, lies and backstabbing deals that are normal in 'democracy'

I now await the inevitable visit from the British thugs (sorry police)...

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Take aim, shoot own argument in foot

Stalin != honest. He may have been honest about some things, but the thing with honesty, as with silence, is that it is an absolute.

Pity, as I agree with the rest (except the paranoiac final paragraph).

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FAIL

Shoot the messenger

It certainly does not surprise me that there are anti-establishment quarters around the world when the authorities (including those who purport to be "free") clamp down on anything they do not like to see happening. Suppressing non-followers of a regime do not work and merely foments unrest and disquiet - better to let these people have their say and let the rest decide in an informed manner.

Trying to suppress Wikileaks and punish Julian Assange is pointless. The material is now available on BitTorrent and peer-to-peer networks. Trying to suppress the material is like the music industry trying to stop pirating - Impossible!

So well done the US government and all governments in support of them - you have succeeded in uniting a whole bunch of disparate anti-establishment groups and made Assange and Wikileaks iconic figures, all working against the establishment.

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Anonymous Coward

I am suprised

They took the piss.

Now they are suffering for it.

nuff said.

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The fact he is paranoic

doesn't necessarily mean they will not be after him.

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Anonymous Coward

I think of it more

as a premonition of a time when it's supposed champions decide democracy was a nice idea but in practice unworkable and naive. Say, by 2020.

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Anonymous Coward

@double standards, lies and backstabbing deals that are normal in 'democracy'

Yeah, I've long thought of it - in all of the above mentioned countries - as:

"Government of the people, by the hypocrites, for the hypocrites"

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Good one MasterCard

Having now released a terrorist target list the sooner this site is closed down the better.

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Good one MasterCard

Terrorist Target List? Have you read the relevant document? Which one(s) are particularly suprising and couldn't have been found any other way? Why is there what appears to be an innate assumption that your average terrorist is a retarded moron who requires everything spelled out for him/her and that they're incapable of doing their own research?

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What was the point?

Can't see the point in publishing that list at all. The US government is going to analyse security vulnerabilities and weaknesses, it benefits everyone that they do, and that it remains secret.

Other than making the point that pentagon security is full of holes, which is a point which has already been made, this can only do harm.

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Anonymous Coward

Terrorist target list

USA.

UK.

Leaders of the above.

Armies of the above.

Let's see you campaign for El Reg to be shut down. Come on, we all know it's the only consistent response for you to make.

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Stop

title

Yes, but what benefit is there in publishing that list on Wikileaks? It's not as if it's some government secret that they're hiding from us, it's a list of stuff that they'd like to keep safe for us. I could support Wikileaks if they were publishing stuff that governments were lying to us about but not stuff like this or private comments by US ambassadors to their own bosses back home. He's gone too far here and lost the plot.

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FAIL

Terrorist Research

But there is no reason to make it easy for them. Finally even the register recognizes that Wikileaks is just a mercenary espionage outfit. Why keep defending this crowd of opportunists?

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Black Helicopters

Who does it harm most?

"Can't see the point in publishing that list at all."

I can. There seems to be three kinds of secret at stake here.

Things you don't want your enemies to know. Fair enough and I thought wikileaks was careful to redact information that might scupper operations.

Things you don't want your allies to know. It's highly embarrasing for your friends to find out you've been spying on them, or that you don't rate their capabilities to fight the wars you dragged them into. In the long run it may stop you going round picking fights if you know you won't have a "coalition of the willing" to give a veneer of international support.

Things you don't want your own people to know. It's funny how evidence of corruption or coercion during decision making gets covered by the national security blanket. Perhaps the risk that Wikileaks might obtain and release the evidence might keep politicians honest?

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Simon

Terrorist target list my arse. I went and looked up my local "terrorist target", which admittedly is a site that could be at risk. However information about it is easily available already on http://www.hiberniaatlantic.com/ and wikipedia, including a more detailed grid reference than wikileaks gave (they redacted it down to the city name).

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Joke

How to make a terrorist

In order to get Something You Want(tm) from a smaller group:

* Befriend smaller target group by pointing out how similar you are against A Common Enemy(tm) and how they can only win with your help.

* Train people in the smaller group how to fight the larger, more powerful group.

* Provide the smaller group with a stick to poke the larger, more powerful group.

* Sit back and let them annoy and insult the larger group without your name getting into the papers.

* Once larger group has decided the smaller group is too much of a waste and leaves, come in and assume the smaller group is now your friend and that they will give up their weird ways and become just like you so they will buy your stuff and pay you using the Something You Want(tm).

* Act surprised when they tell you to jump off a cliff.

* Demonize the smaller group by emphasizing the differences, and infer that these make them "bad" to your population.

* Poke smaller group with stick. Repeat until they wave around the stick you gave them.

* Poke smaller group with bigger stick.

* Assist or support other (small/large) groups that are already fighting or more overtly affecting the smaller target group.

* Poke the smaller group's friends with (bigger) stick.

* Create documents spelling out like stereo instructions, how you could be "hurt badly". Leave these Plans To Hurt You(tm) laying around anyplace you can think of. Saying they were secret, stolen, and should never be read should ensure widest distribution.

* Translate documents into other languages, just in case.

* Where did I put that 2x4 support beam? Poke them, their friends, family, their pet and have your animal rights group condemn them for not protecting the pet better.

* Encourage others to stop dealing with target smaller group. Force smaller group into economic misery.

* You did send them the Plans To Hurt You(tm), right?

* Be VERY surprised when they follow one or more of the Plans To Hurt You(tm). Try to be feeding soup to lepers or reading to orphans when it happens. Bonus points if you are on TV doing this when it happens.

* Use act to go in and slap them with LOTS of little sticks. Get your friends to join in the fun.

If you did this right, you get to hang around the smaller group, get the Something You Want(tm), slap them with sticks made in your country (creating jobs!), and try to get other countries to pay for some of it. Win-Win, eh?

Joke? I am hopeful, but sometimes I wonder...

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Anonymous Coward

You didn't think at all.

If you had, you'd know that the only way you can know which information might scupper a secret operation, is if you are RUNNING the secret operation.

Someone I know routinely handles classified information, and the one thing that pisses him off the most is when somebody leaks something that is actually classified for good reason and they can't respond to it because it would confirm the leak is accurate. Well that and incompetent people commenting on operations and scuppering them that way.

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WTF?

@Terrorist Target List

I watched a fascinating interview on BBC News 24 yesterday after comments from Malcolm Rifkind and Liam Fox condemning the latest "criminal" leaks about "an extensive list of facilities around the world that, according to the latest leaked cables, the US describes as vital to its national security"

They had the former US Assistant Head of Homeland Security on whose attitude was a lot more relaxed and saying things like "I don't think terrorists are going to attack eg the Port of Rotterdam simply because the US considers it a 'choke point' in transatlantic trade" and commenting that many of these facilities are more of *economic* interest because to swap to alternatives would cost more money.

Methinks someone doth protest too much!

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Grenade

Ah...but the ante has been upped

This isn't just about the USs lies and poor security any more. This leak could be a warning of what is to come if the US don't back down.

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Big Brother

When you claim everything is secret...

...you devalue the things that really should be kept secret. Too many "secrets" are really just things that embarrass or discredit those in power. Hiding them amongst genuinely sensitive information is the data equivalent of building your military bases next door to schools and hospitals, then crying, "Won't someone think of the children?!!"

If sensitive information is released along with incriminating evidence, is it the fault of those trying to expose corruption or the corrupt trying to hide their failings?

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Terrorist Research?

The only way it would be useful to a terrorist would be as a list of places best avoided as too well watched. It's not like a real war where you need to take out a strategic target. Even if an attack fails it can work. Shoe bomb, pants bomb, maybe a two part liquid bomb... didn't go bang but they still worked.

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Anonymous Coward

@But there is no reason to make it easy for them.

Yes there is. I'm not going to tell you what that reason is though because I'm sure the voices will suggest a reason to you soon enough.

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Pirate

I think I've worked it out now...

Anonymous and Assange are shills for the RIAA. The idea is to make internet anonymity unacceptable to governments and public, at which point the RIAA will really be able to clamp down on illegal file sharing...

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Yep

The phrase "This is why we can't have nice things!" has popped into my head more than a few time as this debacle has continued to unfold.

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Black Helicopters

Be careful of fake Wikileaks sites and supposed torrents of diplomatic cables

Cybercriminals?

I would imagine a few governments are seeding malware loaded deliverables just to see who is reading what they shouldn't be reading.

If Paypal has frozen Julian's account does that mean that he won't get the money I sent him and judging by the fact that I haven't seen any refund neither will I.

Eh the fight on terrorism always seems to make money for the MAN. Funny that...

no point in being anon as they have my Paypal details. So will Paypal protect my privacy?

Oh black helicoptor......................Guess not

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Let's be fair

Paypal finding an excuse to stop paying out funds to someone (whilst still no doubt collecting them) is hardly news. It happens all the time, apparently its not theft, it is good security practise.

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Grenade

PayPal give me my money back

24 hours to clarify what "transaction completed" means really and who has the funds I remitted to Wau Holland Foundation (long live CCC), or the small claims court is coming your way.

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Big Brother

stay out of big boy's games

"I would imagine a few governments are seeding malware loaded deliverables just to see who is reading what they shouldn't be reading."

If you don't know enough about your own computing platform or about how platforms work in general to be able to handle what you download without having confidence that you won't be executing it rather than just reading it, then you really shouldn't be playing this game. Leave untrusted downloadable content to the grownups.

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hi res images

there are some really nice high res images in the postfinance downloads section

http://www.postfinance.ch/en/about/media/download.html

worth a look.

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freedom of information

it is almost sickening that the US keeps banging on to China and the like about freedom of speech and a freedom of information.

soon as the US doesn't like that information freedom goes out the window.

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Heart

Oh, so you DID trust a government ?

Poor you!

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Swiss banks

Oops. Given the number of Swiss banks dumped in the shit by Wikileaks (Julius Baer for one) and their general attitude to secrecy, perhaps using a Swiss account opened with details easily proved false wasn't such a sharp idea.

The irony is if he'd opened an account with the Halifax in Milton Keynes instead he'd still have access to his money. Perhaps he was too busy secretively changing hotel rooms every night to think this through.

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Coat

While there really is a marked decline

of civil liberties and individual freedoms in general, sadly there is no backlash at all. There is no official voice of support for Wikileaks, nor any civil rights organization standing up for this cause. Everyone is minding his own business hoping things will get fixed somehow or at least hoping he will not be the one affected. Those few individuals who dare showing their support are only a few and they are being quickly pressed into a corner and intimidated into silence.

At least here in Canada the mainstream press, radio and TV are reporting this matter as if it was an exotic sports game. Nobody seems to see the danger and the severe consequences this affair will have on our future. We're getting closer to a point where suppressing civil liberties will be considered beneficial for a greater cause. And the great majority of us will pay dearly for that.

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Pirate

"suppressing civil liberties will be considered beneficial for a greater cause" ?

It does seem to me that it's already happening since a long time. And even more since 911... just try to remember all the speeches and laws made by the Bushes, Rumsfelds, Blairs of our world... Take a pick into this list : guatanamo, illegal war and lies about irak, abu grahib, hundred of thousands of civilians dead, enhanced 'security' in airports, wiretaping etc...

All this in the name of freedom and democracy.

A shame.

Long life to wikileaks !

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FAIL

Cryptome and Wikileaks

When was the last time anything of value was posted on Cryptome?

- quote -

Young said that he thought that Wikileaks was supposed to be a public interest group, but as soon as I heard that, I know that "they were a criminal organisation."

His attacks on Julian Assange are particularly nasty and personal. Claiming that he is a "narcissistic personality, he said he craves attention and will do about anything to get it.

- unquote

http://www.techeye.net/business/wikileaks-sells-secret-information

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Stop

PostFinance statement clearly expresses a moral judgement

All the information i have read on this indicates that the reasons for dumping WikiLeaks are purely contractual. but their own press statement makes is clear that it is a moral judgement

It seems under swiss law they have an obligation to continue the contract that they agreed. regardless of any problems with the details supplied prior to that contract being agreed. they are using what could be termed a loop hole to say that the wikileaks runs 'contrary to public and moral opinion.' Which is an odd judgement for a swiss bank to make. clearly they have been leant on.

Charge a man with a crime and cut off his money and therefore his ability to defend himself. you couldn't make it up.

read the second paragraph:

PostFinance has ended its business relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Paul Assange. The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process. Assange entered Geneva as his domicile. Upon inspection, this information was found to be incorrect. Assange cannot provide proof of residence in Switzerland and thus does not meet the criteria for a customer relationship with PostFinance. For this reason, PostFinance is entitled to close his account. If there is any indication that the information provided by an account holder may not comply with the detailed valid provisions, PostFinance investigates the circumstances in detail and draws the appropriate conclusions.

Obligation to contract does not apply

On 22 July 2010, the Swiss Federal Court ruled that PostFinance was obliged to offer all interested parties an account for payment transactions and to continue any existing accounts as part of its basic service mandate (obligation to contract). Termination of an account relationship (or refusal to enter into such a relationship) is, therefore, only possible for compelling reasons. The Swiss Federal Court did not define what constitutes a compelling reason. The Council of States responded to the judgment and incorporated a provision to this effect into the Postal Act on 30 November 2010. This gives PostFinance the option of terminating business relationships which run contrary to public and moral opinion. Approval from the National Council is yet to be granted. Finally, approval is required from the two chambers of parliament on the postal legislation under debate. PostFinance is in favour of transparent regulations which support the interests of Switzerland as a respectable financial centre and the endeavours of the Swiss financial sector.

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Grenade

what a joke...

So here we have one of those swiss banks that shelter money for the bad guys like the mafia, african dictators, war criminals, cybercrooks, corrupt business, citizens looking for tax evasion etc...

And this bank is morally shocked by wikileaks and closes its accounts ?? If I was one of those bad guy having an account in Switzerland I would get scared (or not... as wikileaks had some problems before with leaks from Switzerland we can maybe look at it as a retribution...).

Same for PayPal.

What a wonderful hypocrit world.

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@Roger Varley

Any terrorist smart enough to pull off a serious attack is smart enough to figure out the best targets and to pull off the attack without offing himself so he can do multiple attacks.

Any terrorist that needs that list to pick a good target is probably just going to use a car full of petrol bags or try to make an attack by setting their car on fire and driving it into a support pillar.

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Joke

I blame

The snow

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Anonymous Coward

Even the red faces are Kabuki theater.

Governments read each others mail. That's what governments do to protect their people. After reading the other guys mail, it doesn't do any good not to pass it along to the people who can utilize it to advance their position. So everybody already knows everybody else dirt from "diplomatic communiques."

Which means the only effect of publishing the leaks is to cause disruptions. And the only places where those disruptions are occurring, are in the very places where you unlikely to be summarily shot for publishing them.

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Grenade

Pantegral

Is Pantegral getting restless yet?

Flashmobs with guns, yay.

(http://kamvision.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-model-army-review.html)

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Megaphone

Now VISA joins the sheep

Funny how google searches for "wikileaks site:visa.com" don't match any documents but "wikileaks visa" returns loads of news sites showing that VISA, MASTERCARD and PAYPAL have all withdrawn payment facilities.

Who's next? Western Union? MoneyGram?

Time to ask if we should be concerned about government control of financial duopolies like Visa/Mastercard...

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Black Helicopters

Hmm...

The BBC claim that Visa have blocked donations, TheReg says Mastercard, but the Datacell donations website still seems to be accepting both types.

Anyone would think there was some sort of conspiracy going on.

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WTF?

I want my paper! (news and money)

Will Visa/MC also stop payments to the Guardian and other news papers who published the cables?

If the card companies startXXXXcontinue to block payments to various organisations without proper due legal process we better think twice before we abolish cash.

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Big Brother

Bad move MasterCard

If someone chooses to give their money to Wikileaks then ITS THEIR MONEY, SO THEIR CHOICE!. MasterCard don't own people's money and can't tell us all what we can and can't spend our money on!

MasterCard (and PayPal) have stepped way beyond a service into directly dictating what people can do. That's a shocking move, as it sets such a bad precedent. The MasterCard Corporation are now dictating to us the way governments do. (Same with the Swiss post office and PayPal).

MasterCard and all these companies are highlighting how they are all part of the systems of control that have grown up around us.

Yet the more they hit out at Wikileaks, the more people are seeing how the control freak bastards in power are abusing their power and as a result making this a worse world to live in, not better for everyone the governments are supposed to represent.

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Grenade

Damn!

My last replied-paid envelope from MC trying to sell me debt went out in the recycle collection yesterday morning. But there will be more, and if future I will be posting them all back. Empty.

The only downside is that this puts money into the hands of those parcel-mangling numpties at Australia Post. Though I guess supporting incompetence is better than supporting malice.

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Flame

what really piss me off

it's that they are taking those measures and calling criminal to wikileaks, without a court order/sentence, just because some primate politicians have some opinions.

basically no court order are need to you be economically killed, only the will of the big companies to bend to the MAN.

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@ Bad Move MasterCard

Wrong! While it is your money and you can give it to anyone you want to, you can't compel a 3rd party to deliver it for you if they don't want to.

Neither mastercard or paypal are telling you to do or not do anything. You are free to do as you wish just as they are!

As for the rest of your argument, I can't hear you because your tin foil hat is pulled down too far. Wikileaks deserves what happened, they banked on paranoid people idealizing their stated mission instead of looking logically at what, when, and why they release documents.

Take the latest prime targets cable releases for example, what good interest does that serve? None, it's just a desperate attempt for Wikileaks to get a little more attention before they have to jump ship.

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