14th July 2011, 2pm GMT:
DataCell files a complaint with the European Commission July 14th 2011
The closure by VISA Europe and MasterCard of Datcell‘s access to the payment card networks in order to stop donations to WikiLeaks violates the competition rules of the European Community.
Today WikiLeaks and DataCell Ltd. of Iceland filed a complaint against the international card companies, VISA Europe and MasterCard Eurpe, for infringement of the antitrust rules of the EU.
DataCell offered payment gateway services to WikiLeaks through DataCell´s merchant account with a licensee of VISA Europe and MasterCard in Denmark and through this gateway DataCell received donations for WikilLeaks. In December 2010, after only 7 weeks of operation the Danish licensee terminated its agreement with DataCell at the order of the card companies, and thereby the gateway for donations to WikiLeaks was closed.
VISA Europe and MasterCard together have over 96 % of the payment card market in Europe and when these organizations deny businesses which rely on selling their services on line, access to their networks they contravene the antitrust rules of the European Union, both as regards the ban on restrictive business practices and the one that prohibits the abuse of market dominance:
Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states:
“ The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market, and in particular those which:
(a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;
(b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;
(c) share markets or sources of supply;
(d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;
(e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.”
Article 102 of the Treaty reads: “The abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the internal market or in a substantial part of it as incompatible with the internal market insofar as it may affect trade between Member States shall be prohibited.“ Such abuse may, in particular, consist in: (a) directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions; (b) limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers; (c) applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage; (d) making the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.”
In its complaint to the Commission DataCell stresses that the card companies have not come up with any objective justification for their refusal to do business with DataCell. DataCell points out in particular:
(i) The provision of payment gateway services whereby the holder of a merchant account uses it to accept donations or payments on behalf of businesses or non-profit organisations which do not have their own merchant account is an accepted and a normal business practice.
(ii) When DataCell applied for a merchant agreement with members of the payment card networks in Iceland the Central Bank of Iceland cleared the application without any reservation. Before, the Danish licensee had found DataCell‘s operation to be wholly compliant with Icelandic law. (Being a member of the EEA, Iceland‘s law in the field of payment services have to comply with EU law).
(iii) Neither WikiLeaks nor its Directors, employees or contractors have been indicted, prosecuted or summoned for breach of any civil law, any criminal law provisions or violations of ”ordre public” in any EEA country.
(iv) As concerns jurisdictions outside the EEA, neither WikiLeaks nor its Directors, employees or contractors have been subject to official indictments, prosecutions, judgements or summons for breach of any civil law, any criminal law provisions or violations of ”ordre public”.
DataCell operates a datacenter in Iceland and offers hosting and computer application services to individuals and businesses all over the world. The location of a datacenter in Iceland means that its entirely powered by renewable energy resources. Due to the huge energy demand of datacenters the source of their energy plays an increasingly important role when individuals and businesses choose data hosting services.
28th June 2011, 2pm GMT:
WikiLeaks releases advertisement coinciding with the six month unlawful banking blockage against it
Censorship, like everything else in the West, has been privatized.
For six months now, five major US financial institutions, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and the Bank of America have tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks as a result of political pressure from Washington. The attack has blocked over 90% of the non-profit organization’s donations, costing some $15M in lost revenue. The attack is entirely outside of any due process or rule of law. In fact, in the only formal review to occur, the US Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy C. Geithner found, on January 12, that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a financial blockade.
The fact is, the blockade is not just against WikiLeaks. It is against the associative rights and economic rights of every VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Bank of America account holder, who have been prevented from supporting the organization of their choice. We call on regulators around the world to investigate and de-license these banking institutions. They are not politically neutral and are not obeying the rule of law. When VISA and MasterCard will happily provide services to the Klu Klux Klan, but not to WikiLeaks, it is time to act.
The issue received previous prominence, but the unlawful blockade continues, on Christmas day, the Dec 25 New York Times editorial wrote:
The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down… A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy. The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees. This makes them look not too unlike other public utilities.
There are still some ways around the blockade. Direct bank transfers that do not use the Bank of America network still work. We also accept Bitcoin donations or you can send a donation via postal mail. To find out further details on how to bypass the illegal banking blockade against us and donate to WikiLeaks read further information at the bottom of this page or on our donate page.
WikiLeaks’ Banking Blockade in the Media
Visa Shuts Down Card Payments To WikiLeaks–AgainJuly 8th 2011
"The brief, accidental lull in the fighting between WikiLeaks and the card companies that refuse to allow the group donations has ended. After WikiLeaks announced Thursday that a “workaround” had appeared for those hoping to contribute to the group via credit card, Visa has moved to shut down that channel and reinstitute the card companies’ financial blockade of the secret-spilling group."
Read the full article on Forbes here
Visa blocks WikiLeaks donations via DataCell once againJuly 8th 2011
"For a few hours on Thursday, credit card donations once again flowed to WikiLeaks through a payment gateway at Icelandic hosting company DataCell. Then Visa shut it down again."
Read the full article on Computer world here
Bloomberg Business Week:
MasterCard, Visa Europe Halting Payments to WikiLeaksDecember 7th 2010
“MasterCard is currently in the process of working to suspend the acceptance of MasterCard cards on WikiLeaks,” said James Issokson, a spokesman for the Purchase, New York-based company, in an e-mailed statement today.
The actions are the latest in a series by companies that may crimp access to funds for WikiLeaks. PostFinance, the banking arm of SwissPost, closed a bank account held by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying he doesn’t qualify to be a client. Amazon.com Inc. dropped WikiLeaks from its website- hosting service for breaching terms of service.
Then What Can I Buy With My Credit Cards and PayPal?December 7th 2010
“I can use Visa and Mastercard to pay for porn and support anti-abortion fanatics, Prop 8 homophobic bigots, and the Ku Klux Klan. But I can’t use (see bbc) them or PayPal to support Wikileaks, transparency, the First Amendment, and true government reform.
The New York Times:
Banks and WikiLeaksDecember 25th 2010
“a bank’s ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy….
The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees…
What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.”
The Raw Story:
Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorshipDecember 13th 2010
“Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine).
"People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it," Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. "They said this decision was taken by foreign sources."
The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations. Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.”
How You Can Donate To WikiLeaks
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For maximum security, you can also request a one-time Bitcoin address. To do so, please join our IRC and type /msg Bitcoin new.
Our helpful bot will generate new donation address. Please make sure Bot is active on #bitcoin channel and has @ to the left of his nick.
Bank Transfer - Option 1: via Sunshine Press Productions ehf:
Skulagötu 19, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Landsbanki Islands Account number 0111-26-611010
ACCOUNT/IBAN:IS97 0111 2661 1010 6110 1002 80
Bank Transfer - Option 2: via the not-for-profit Wau Holland Stiftung Foundation (audited by the German Tax Authority):
This support is tax deductible in Germany
Bank Account: 2772812-04
IBAN: DE46 5204 0021 0277 2812 04
BIC Code: COBADEFF520
Bank: Commerzbank Kassel
German BLZ: 52040021
Subject: WIKILEAKS / WHS Projekt 04
Via Postal Mail
You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to:
(or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country)
Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch
How You Can’t Donate To WikiLeaks
We cannot accept PayPal donations direct to our WikiLeaks account anymore.
Nor can we accept online transfers via credit cards via Visa and MasterCard directly any more either.