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back to article Court orders Visa partner to allow donations to WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks may soon be able to accept donations again, now that the Icelandic Supreme Court has ruled that the blockade on donations imposed by local Visa partner Valitor is illegal and has ordered the company to pay huge fines if it doesn't change its ways. In its ruling, the court upheld an earlier court decision that cutting …

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Megaphone

Good!

Irrespective of what I think of WikiLeaks, how dare a financial institution dictate to me what I do with my money in any way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good!

Err... They wont let you launder money, as is rightfully required by law. They won't let you withdraw money from a pension, another good thing. There are various other things as well...

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WTF?

Re: Good!

@AC: 22:05GMT: Erm... I think "law" is the keyword here isn't it?

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Re: Good! (@ AC :22:05)

In your examples, it's the Laws that dictate what you can't do with the money, not Visa, PayPal or Mastercard.

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Re: Good!

Any company should be able to not do business with whoever they feel like not doing business.

I'm just wondering how much business Visa actually do in Iceland and if they've considered withdrawing all services. i.e. who needs who more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good!

They won't let you withdraw money from a pension, another good thing

.. which allowed Gordon Brown in his days to tax the crap out of those funds without you being able to protect your hard earned money against that ..

There are 2 sides to everything.

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Thumb Down

Re: Good!

Exactly - companies should have a right to refuse to do business with anyone they dislike: Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Irish, Asians, Africans, Eskimos, French people, Americans, gay people, old people, ginger-haired people, ugly people, people in wheelchairs, blind people, lefties, tories, republicans, democrats - in fact absolutely anyone they don't like. Errrm....or perhaps not.

We have laws to prevent the abuse of their position by businesses - okay, if an individual coffeeshop in London refused to serve a ginger-headed old african jewish lesbian in a wheelchair it's probably not a massive problem, as they can just take their custom to the one owned by the nice person next door (but the discrimination is still illegal). But what about when it's a monopoly or near-monopoly company? What if it's the local electricity supply company, bank, train company or water supply company that refuses them service to please some influential American who muttered "Who will rid me of this turbulent Assange-supporter"?

It's reasonable for small companies to be able to decline to do business with a potential customer on commercial or moral grounds - e.g. a marketing company declines to develop an advertising campaign for a tobacco shop, or because they don't trust their credit rating, or for a pub to ban a habitually drunken, violent and abusive customer but that's about it!

This is a victory for traditional justice!

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Re: Good! @streaky

They'll probably switch to MasterCard. Or maybe even dare to prop up their own payment processor. Like Japan having JCB. Of course, it would suck for those tourists carrying Visa credit cards, but then when clients complain, they can simply point at Visa and say "they won't process the cards for us".

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Facepalm

Re: Daniel B. Re: Good! @streaky

"They'll probably switch to MasterCard....." MasterCard is also refusing to process Dickileaks donations.

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Re: Daniel B. Good! @streaky

I'm referring to the whole country, not just Wikileaks, in response to streaky's suggestion that Visa might just uproot and leave Iceland. Wikileaks wouldn't make a payment processor just to get donations; but if you cut off an entire country, that country might actually get up and build their own processor. Thus the JCB example mentioned.

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Re: Daniel B. Re: Daniel B. Good! @streaky

<Sigh> OK, let's try and explain it in simple terms, just for those with a poor grasp of financial practices. Dickileaks wants donations (and paywall payments from the really thick) in order to pay A$$nut's paycheque and condom bills (yeah, OK, we know he doesn't buy condoms, just forget it, it was a joke, and try and concentrate on the money bit). The biggest source for such donations are the gullible and useful idiots in the States, and because they are too stupid to be able to do indirect bank transfers these numpties need to pay by plastic. So, cash in US bank needs to be debited by the credit card company for A$$nut to keep jetting round the World looking for dumb girls to ra- I mean, have sex with.

But the credit card companies are all US based, and they don't want to do business. What are the Faithful to do? Well, we have your moronic suggestion of starting your own payments transaction service. This is stupid because guess who you would have to transact with - that's right, those same US credit card companies! Want to go round the credit card companies and go direct to the US bank accounts? Slight problem - the US banks won't transfer funds directly to a known Dickileaks account in Iceland for the same reason, that it could lead to their bosses being charged with assisting in the distribution of classified material.

So, here's what you need to do, and I'm only telling you this so you'll go away. You need to make an indirect transfer by using a non-Dickileaks account in Iceland which then forwards it to the Dickileaks account. Be careful as I hear Russian scammers have already started posing as "safe" transferrers and been making off with the Faithfuls' money.

So, there you go, now please fuck off and carry on proving that fools and their money are soon parted.

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Mushroom

Re: Good!

"the company is ordered to pay a fine of 800,000 ISK ($6,829) per day."

In real money that's £4,400.

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Happy

Re: TheVogon Re: Good!

"....In real money that's £4,400." And it goes to the Icelandic government, not Dickileaks. Total gain by Dickileaks is zero, and that's before you consider the legal cost of pushing these cases

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Go

Makes sense to me

I wonder what would happen if Visa started refusing to make payments to Asda in favor of Tesco.

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Re: Makes sense to me

Or didn't allow donations to Greenpeace, or CND, or the labour party or ....

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Re: Makes sense to me

More likely to be the other way I would have thought : Asda is owned by Wallmart, so is American, whereas Tesco is not...

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Re: ratfox Re: Makes sense to me

"I wonder what would happen if Visa started refusing to make payments to Asda in favor of Tesco." Why, have Asda been party to the criminal distribution of US secrets?

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Re: ratfox Makes sense to me

Why, have Asda been party to the criminal distribution of US secrets

Yup. Special offer. Leak two get one free.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Makes sense to me

No Visa, no Mastercard (or whichever other American Credit Card company)

No problem...

Wiki can always try incorporating in HongKong and use China Unionpay, Its huge.

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Re: ratfox Makes sense to me

That's only illegal in the US, methinks. Not Iceland.

Regardless of how much the US thinks it's the Stasi World Police and acts like it.

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Re: ratfox Makes sense to me

"Why, have Asda been party to the criminal distribution of US secrets?"

Which Icelandic law makes it criminal?

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Re: ratfox Makes sense to me

@Matt Bryant:

Wikileaks has not been involved in criminal activities and just because a piece of gossip, or even toilet paper, is marked secret doesn't make it so.

What about the video of Americans using an Apache to kill two Reuters employees and a bunch of civilians - whose a*se is protected by 'secrecy'?

Visa and Mastercard might be businesses but they are governed by banking rules, not some misplaced patriotic duty.

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Re: JaitcH Re: ratfox Makes sense to me

Sriously, JaitcH, you've been told before about trying to join in with adult conversation - you're just not intellectually equipped.

"....Wikileaks has not been involved in criminal activities...." That remains to be seen seeing a the US has not said they will not charge members of the Dickileaks staff for espionage. At the moment they're busy sorting out Manning, from which they will try and extract a statement on A$$nut not being just the surprised receiver of the dump but the person that guided Manning in the process. They have also been gathering evidence in the background, including electronic conversations between A$$nut and the She-Troll Birgitta Jónsdóttir. In the meantime they don't have to worry much about A$$nut as he has painted himself into a corner.

"....What about the video of Americans using an Apache to kill two Reuters employees and a bunch of civilians...." What video. The video I saw (even the heavily edited and twisted "Collateral Murder" vid) just showed an Appache attacking a group of armed Iraqi "insurgents" moving to a position to attack the ground froces the Apache crew were tasked with protecting. There was no way for the Apache crew to know two of the group were journos as they were not wearing their "Press" flak-jackets and had not told the authorities they were planning to join up with their jihadi buddies in the area. Once again, you're about three years behind the conversation, go do a lot of reading to catch up.

"....Visa and Mastercard might be businesses but they are governed by banking rules, not some misplaced patriotic duty." Once again, a complete failure to understand the motivation of those you hate. The board of VISA et al are simply moved by self-preservation, not some higher, nationalistic impulse. If they process Dickileaks donations they could possibly be indicted personally for assisting in the distribution of classified material, a crime under US law for which they would hold corporate responsibility. Try reading something other than the websites of the frothing Faithful.

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Re: JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

"Sriously, JaitcH, you've been told before about trying to join in with adult conversation - you're just not intellectually equipped."

You just lost the argument, and any and all further arguments I see you in.

Assange might be a twat, but Visa and Mastercard are in the wrong.

That video shows a camera so damned clearly that even this untrained eye can tell it apart from a bloody AK47.

Now go play with your toys.

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Re: JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

Does the downvoter want to go watch that video and enjoy the audio, as the gunner looks like he's having an orgasm in his pants at the amount of holes he's pouring into the civvies?

And again at the ones who come in later to try and help the wounded?

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Re: M Gale Re: JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

"You just lost the argument, and any and all further arguments I see you in....." OK, before you want to claim victory, it's kinda key that you present a coherent argument, and not just your rabid bleating, mmmkay? Otherwise you just come across a bit Kim il Jung.

".....Assange might be a twat....." I hope you're not JaitcH's coach or mentor as you seem equally vacuous. A$$nut is a convicted criminal on the run from sex charges in Sweden and contempt of court here - he is not just a twat, he is a criminal twat of the lowest kind. Which is all the more funny when you consider he only went to Sweden in a desperate attempt to get a legal shield for Wikileaks and avoid spending time in an US prison cell, but the his all-consuming ego turned it into Dickileaks and now he's spending time in a tiny Ecuadorean "cell" of his own making!

"....but Visa and Mastercard are in the wrong......" Ooh, they're "wrong" are they! LOL, what a pathetic claim. You can't mean wrong as in illegal as you know full well the idiots like the ACLU would be racing into an US courtroom if they thought they could score an easy win. The truth is the actions of the boards of ViSA, Mastercard and PayPal are not only legal under US laws but they are being very "right" in that they are avoiding committing a possible crime - are you claiming it would be more "right" to commit a crime? In which case can I suggest you and JaitcH go stab each other - I'm not inciting violence, I'm doing "right" by the gene pool.

".....That video shows a camera so damned clearly that even this untrained eye can tell it apart from a bloody AK47....." What, you mean on the highly edited, cleaned up and zoomed video, after you have been told it is a camera, or on the real footage where it is virtually impossible to identify the camera even when you know it is there? Gee, let me guess which one you've watched. Do I really expect you to have gone and looked up the rules of engagement, the background to the ground operations that day, or even the original footage? Of course not, you're one of the dribbling sheeple, it would be way beyond your intellectual capabilities to actually review the evidence and make up your own mind.

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Re: M Gale JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

" Otherwise you just come across a bit Kim il Jung."

"... what a pathetic claim..."

"In which case can I suggest you and JaitcH go stab each other - I'm not inciting violence, I'm doing "right" by the gene pool."

"Of course not, you're one of the dribbling sheeple, it would be way beyond your intellectual capabilities to actually review the evidence and make up your own mind."

And AssangeTM is not the only twat, it seems.

Come up with something other than attempts to suggest I have oedipal relationships or that I am somehow ovine, or be regarded as an utter twat. In fact I bet you were the gunner. Did that twitch in your pants feel good when you squeezed the trigger?

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Re: M Gale Re: JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

"......as the gunner looks like he's having an orgasm in his pants at the amount of holes he's pouring into the civvies....." Well, surely that should be "sounds like" seeing as you can't see the gunner in the video, but then I suspect a lot of your understanding of the event is very confused. To me he just sounds satisfied at stopping some insurgents shooting up fellow Yanks on the ground.

"......And again at the ones who come in later to try and help the wounded?" You mean the ones that made the mistake of entering a combat zone and trying to remove bodies and weapons, both of which made them legitimate targets? The ones that came out of the same mosque the gang of insurgents had come out of - coincidence I'm sure, it's not like the good Muslims of Iraq ever used mosques as weapon stashes, base and firing points in breach of international law (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/fallujah-az-kubaysi-mosque-imagery.htm). Do you mean the ones that tried to use kids as human shields, a common tactic of the jihadis (http://www.scotsman.com/news/international/children-used-as-human-shields-1-874571)? No, you must mean a completely different group of civilians, right? Oh, I guess you really don't know any of the background, do you.

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Re: Moron Gale Re: M Gale JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

Come up with something that hasn't been exposed as a blatant lie not just here in these forums but also in the general media and then you can say something. Since it is very likely you will simply ignore any counter to the whole "Collateral Murder" junket as being "the CIA/military/bogeyman-of-the-day", i'll give you a former military drone controller and former Wikileaks supporter, who came to the conclusion that Wikileaks deliberately hid the truth of the event both in the original reporting and since (http://blog.ajmartinez.com/2010/04/05/wikileaks-collateral-murder/). Read that and try forming your own opinion rather than vomiting up spoonfed lies.

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Re: Moron Gale M Gale JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

If you try talking to people instead of insulting them, they might listen to you. I have never mentioned the CIA. I did however mention a psychopathic fuck of a helicopter gunner, who I would gladly call a twat to his face, then ask if he's thinking about shooting me for it. Hollering, wooping, sadistic little turd that he is.

I'm quite capable of forming my own opinions, especially of twatdangles that like to throw insults from behind the safety of their keyboards.

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Re: Murderous Gale Re: Moron Gale M Gale JaitcH ratfox Makes sense to me

"If you try talking to people instead of insulting them....." People with your level of obtuseness only deserve pity and ridicule. It is not my job to take responsibility for your delusions or try and re-educate you in the ways of the World.

".....I did however mention a psychopathic fuck of a helicopter gunner, who I would gladly call a twat to his face...." I very much doubt it, you strike me as the type that would much rather cower behind the same military you so obviously despise.

".....Hollering, wooping, sadistic little turd that he is....." Men in action often rejoice at the defeat of a foe, if only because it means they have survived. Do you begrudge the men that raised the Stars'n'Stripes over Iwo Jima after they fought their way to the top? They celebrated. How about the RAF pilots during the Battle of Britain, who would often mark a victory with shouts of delight over the radio, do you consider them "sadistic little turds"? How about an example that probably appeals more to your "right on" sense of justice - how about the Russian soldiers that raised the Soviet flag over Berlin in 1945? They danced and celebrated having fought their way to Berlin by killing a lot of Germans. Gosh, doesn't a little context and comparison show you up for the feeble-minded bleater you are.

"....I'm quite capable of forming my own opinions...." So far you have shown nothing of the kind. Please do try and post an original argument.

".....twatdangles that like to throw insults from behind the safety of their keyboards." Oooh, pot meet kettle. It seems the limit of your "original thought" is sulky rants when you have been shown up. It seems I need to remind you it was you that got on your moral hobbyhorse and waded into the thread without anything other than your misplaced convictions to support your bleating, don't start crying now you have been exposed for the fool you are. Besides, I would feel quite safe even if you were right in front of me. Yes, I am laughing at you.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so fast

Visa's legally binding terms and conditions allow it to refuse services to anyone without cause if they so desire. While the court might be able to force the vendor to process donations, Visa has the final say on processing and I would expect and hope that they would refuse to support this criminal operation.

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Re: Not so fast

"While the court might be able to force the vendor to process donations, Visa has the final say on processing"

No. The Law has the final word. See what happens if Visa doesn't comply with a few court orders.

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Happy

Re: Not so fast

T's & C's never supersede the law, no matter what companies, employers, contracts or lawyers try scare you into thinking. Unbelievably, some reason and pragmatism does still exist in the law (some).

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Re: Not so fast

See what happens if Visa doesn't comply with a few court orders.

Is that where Visa cut off Visa Iceland and leave them to pay the "your private business will do as we dictate" fines that the courts impose? Waiting for Visa Iceland to reach the point where it's not financially viable anymore, so they can place it into voluntary liquidation and really fuck the Icelandic financial system over?

Cause if I were CEO of Visa, that's about what I would be thinking about having some twat of a judge (who probably knows about as much about running a business as a five year old) dictating to my business who it will do business with.

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Re: Don Jefe Re: Not so fast

"T's & C's never supersede the law....." Ah, but which law? You see, VISA is an American corporation, and the reason the whole embargo arose was because the board of VISA et al were concerned that trading with Dickileaks could be construed as aiding a criminal operation. Therefore, under Amercian law, the board are quite safe in refusing Dickileaks' transactions, and they will simply smile and chuckle if an Icelandic court tries to force them to. In effect, the Icelandic court would be trying to force an Amercian corporation to commit a crime, which is incitement. So do you really think the board at VISA are more scared of a US court or an Icelandic one? And at the end of the day, it would be far more harmful for the shakey Icelandic economy for VISA, Mastercard and the banks to all leave Iceland rather than the other way round. That is the real reason the Dickitwits are chasing local small fish Valitor and not VISA directly. $7K a day is chump change to VISA, they'd pay more in fees for their legal team in going to court, and they'll probably pay it for Valitor just so they can avoid having to face an US court.

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Re: Not so fast

Compliments on the appropriateness of your handle. You would make an excellent corporate citizen.

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Re: Not so fast

There is a salient point here, which is:

If two national courts order a company to do opposite things, what should the company do? In this case, disobeying the American court (which hasn't ruled yet that supporting Wikileaks is illegal, although soon would if necessary, courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Congressman) would have far more serious consequences than disobeying the Icelandic court, which is a fine of about a million dollars a year, chump change.

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Re: Not so fast (@ obnoxiousGit)

"Is that where Visa cut off Visa Iceland and leave them to pay the "your private business will do as we dictate" fines that the courts impose?"

Yes, Visa America would destroy a valuable company they own, to send a message to those pesky judges. And then, when other similar sentences from other countries arrive -as they will do- , Visa will disappear up its own corporate rectum. And good riddance. :-)

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Holmes

Re: Not so fast

Criminal? Criminal in what land, and to what citizen? The whole crux is that American law says that AMERICANS cannot release US secrets, but since when does American law apply to an Australian citizen operating a business out of Iceland? The short answer is, it doesn't - in the same way that Australian laws don't apply to Americans operating a business in the US. I know that may come as a shock to those of you that believe the US is the only country in the entire world, but, yes, really, your laws do not apply everywhere, and to everyone. They apply to Americans, and they apply to those living or doing business in America. Other than that, you are SOL. And therefore Wikileaks is not a "criminal organisation", because releasing American secrets isn't forbidden under Australian or Icelandic laws. Sorry, nice try.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not so fast

Is that where Visa cut off Visa Iceland and leave them to pay the "your private business will do as we dictate" fines that the courts impose? Waiting for Visa Iceland to reach the point where it's not financially viable anymore, so they can place it into voluntary liquidation and really fuck the Icelandic financial system over?

Won't work. The problem with that is that the US has used that sort of blackmail too much (not just through Visa), and most nations have started developing alternatives. Visa is but a branded transaction carrier, and if Visa walks it leaves the door open for the very one thing it cannot afford to take root: competition. Visa and Mastercard have a global monopoly on transactions, but because the network and methodology has massive flaws (for which you pay on a daily basis via increased transaction charges) there is space for competitors, and they know it.

The reality is that it only takes approx $15..25M to set up a global competitor if you know what you're doing - not bad for getting access to a transaction stream worth a shade over $6T or so. If I had that sort of money I'd do it myself..

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Anonymous Coward

Visa vs VisaEurope

Visa (USA) is not the same as Visa Europe. So why would Visa US rules apply to a European company?

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Re: Not so fast

You have no idea just how many rich people there are in Iceland, do you, git?

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Holmes

Re: Not so fast

I'm sure Mastercard would be happy to get an entire country to itself on the back of Visa withdrawing from iceland. And allow Wikileaks payments as a hoop to jump through to get it.

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Re: Visa vs VisaEurope

The governance of VISA is complex to say the least, but Visa Europe have, since around 2004, been a seperately constituted company with a Board consisting of representatives from European financial institutions. Visa Europe and Visa Inc. (who are registered in the State of Delaware) share a common network for interchange purposes, share common standards etc but may adopt seperate policies should they see fit to do so.

So there's no actual obligation on Visa Europe to play ball with the US although they've obviously seen fit to do so up to this point. A big falling out between Visa Europe and Inc. doesnt seem likely, regardless of which way they jump.

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Pint

Re: Not so fast

Excellent points, FutureShock999, but perhaps addressed to the wrong person. One can't really expect Matt Bryant - who with his brilliant caricature of WikLeaks' name has once more revealed exactly what it is he needs to compensate for by appealing to the power of the United States and corporations incorporated there - to comprehend such advanced matters. Neither of his heads appears to be adequate for its respective job....

Henri

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Re: Not so fast

Visa's "legally binding terms and conditions" have just found to be ILLEGAL.

Besides, credit card companies are governed by laws and regulations - not solely by the companies self serving "legally binding terms and conditions" as the uninformed call them.

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Re: FutureShock999 Re: Not so fast

"..... The whole crux is that American law says that AMERICANS cannot release US secrets, but since when does American law apply to an Australian citizen operating a business out of Iceland?....." The potentially criminal act VISA are worried about is not the leaking itself - that was done by Manning and Dickileaks - it is of being accused of being a party to the distribution of secrets by helping Dickileaks fleece their Faithful. It IS illegal for an US company to take part in activities that could be deemed party to espionage ANYWHERE in the World as the company operates from the US. If your rabid anti-US dribbling means you want to argue that US law cannot apply then I'd point you at the simple example of money laundering, where US companies and individuals have been prosecuted for illegal activities abroad. Oh, was that your bubble bursting?

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Re: mhenriday Re: Not so fast

Blimey, it's Henri! And there was I thinking they'd taken the keyboard out of his padded cell.

"....who with his brilliant caricature of WikLeaks' name...." Sorry, nothing to do with me. I wan't even the first to use it here on The Reg forums. Once again, you're just as wrong as usual.

The really hilarious bit is you Faithful just refuse to admit the simple facts that (a) VISA et al have the right under their Ts & Cs to refuse to transact business, and (b) they can point to the fact that it could be illegal for them to do so under US law, which is the country in which thier HQ is based. Your blind denial is naive and childish. The Icealandic court case is only against Valitor, VISA can leave them to whither on the vine. Should the Icelandic courts try and go directly for VISA then they would promptly see all the US-based banking groups vacate Iceland.

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