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Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade 234

davecb writes "Rick Falkvinge reports today that the Swedish Pirate Party has laid charges against at least Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal before the Finansinspektionen for refusing to pass on money owed to WikiLeaks. The overseer of bank licenses notes (in translation) that 'The law states, that if there aren't legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed.'"
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Swedish Pirate Party Presses Charges Against Banks For WikiLeaks Blockade

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  • Excellent. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:13PM (#42320677)

    I look forward to seeing Paypal get a taste of having to follow rules.

  • here here! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hguorbray ( 967940 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:30PM (#42320819)
    There was no legal basis for these payment processors to refuse to transfer payments to wikileaks -who had not and have not (as far as I know) been identified as a terrorist or organized crime group....

    the payment processors were just sucking up to the corporatist powers and should be punished for refusing to allow legal commerce and monetary transactions -of course they were probably leaned on at the time by the state department or someone and threatened with sanctions or aiding and abetting or giving comfort or some BS

    the ultimate end to this would be refusing to send donations to the EFF, ALCU, greenpeace, PETA (OK I know the last two are borderline hippie/batshit crazy) and other radical and democratic groups....so as not to rock the plutocratic ship of state.

    -I'm just sayin'
  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ayertim]> on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:39PM (#42320907)

    I look forward to seeing Paypal get a taste of having to follow rules.

    They do need to be reigned in.

    But perhaps Visa and Mastercard need to be put in their place even more. I can usually avoid PayPal in my everyday life, but Visa and Mastercard together pretty much control the world of online purchases. They cannot be allowed pick and choose who gets the payment and who doesn't.

    Aren't there any equivalent US laws? Or is no one in US interested in prosecuting?

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:56PM (#42321053) Homepage

    I am fairly certain no one had any legal grounds to deny payments to Wikileaks. How could they?

    Well, the legal grounds amount to some nice men in dark suits told Visa that since wikileaks were terrorists, they could possibly run into some unspecified trouble if they paid that money.

    Make no mistake about it, it was pressure applied to these companies to stop payment, and VISA may find themselves in the middle of two governments who differ in their interpretation of what is required here.

    One side will say they were funding terrorism, and the money needs to be withheld (if not seized), and the other side will say there isn't sufficient legal basis to withhold.

    Bring on the popcorn.

  • Journalists (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:58PM (#42321069)

    Good journalists report what governments don't like reported. Wikileaks did nothing more than journalism. It was a good thing, it gave strength to the people wanting democracy in the African Spring.

    The attacks on Wikileaks and on Assange (no I don't accept the rape charges are anything other than malicious) amount to attacks on journalism.

  • Pirate Party (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:00PM (#42321507)

    I notice that again it takes the Pirate Party to stand up against these bullies. And still there are people that cannot see further than the name, or assert that it's just people "wanting to download stuff for free".

    Hats off to the Swedish Pirate Party!

  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @11:36PM (#42321743) Journal
    Thet're not normal businesses, they are global financial institutions with the power to economically strangle small to medium businesses anywhere on the planet, they get special treatment by governments and society, in return they get special responsibilities. Global telecommunications are the same deal, people would soon start screaming if ISP's were selectively blocking internet banking transactions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:00AM (#42322095)

    You're defining journalism as reporting + censorship. It isn't the censorship part that makes it journalism, it's reporting part.

    Good journalism is reporting the stuff warts and all. Wikileaks 100% documents dumps, is the best kind of journalism. Uncensored, full naked truth.

    Propaganda is where you only report the stuff approved by governments. You fail because you're praising New York Times partial government censorship.

  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sabriel ( 134364 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:35AM (#42322299)

    From what I understand, the New York Times also reported (some of) Manning's leaks. Are you claiming the New York Times broke the law?

    There was also this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers [wikipedia.org]

    Are you claiming that the New York Times should not have released the Pentagon Papers and in fact did so illegally?

  • Re:Excellent. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @01:35AM (#42322301)

    Yes there are US Laws. Trouble is Wikileaks broke them.

    Bullshit they did. American military who released the information may have a case to answer, not those who distributed it. Otherwise, why isn't, for example, the New York Times having its bank accounts frozen? It published "Wikileaks" stories on its front page.

    The whole fucking world isn't legally beholden to the US government, and US laws, and the US is just being a bully to use tactics like this to strike out at people who embarrassed it.

  • Re:here here! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @03:43AM (#42322875)

    The situation with the Pentagon Papers is not identical. The Pentagon Papers were a multi-volume book about the Vietnam War. They had all the context needed to make sense. They also showed us lots of things we didn't know. This means that a responsibly-handled publication was in the public interest. What about either War did this tell us that we didn't know? How can a dump of totally un-redacted cables be considered responsible?.

    I was a teenager at the time and remember. The PP were a series of classified reports requested by SoD Robert McNamara that were published by the NYT in a series of news articles over a period of time.

    Both the PP and the WL cables were classified material. What form the classified material is in (reports, book, etc) was and is immaterial, as are any subjective views of how informative or "responsible" they may or may not be. If one is legal, so must the other be. The law does not change depending on whether the government favors or disfavors a particular instance. At least, it should not if the government respects and obeys the rule of law. If the government is free to do whatever it wants to whomever it wants whenever it wants for whatever reasons it may choose, that's a tyranny.

    The government tried at that time to prevent the NYT from publishing the PP and were planning to prosecute Sheehan and possibly editors at the NYT. Much as now, the propaganda and inflammatory accusations against the NYT and Sheehan by the government and those supporting the government's position abounded. The courts did not allow the government to prevent publication nor prosecute Sheehan or the others.

    I'm certain that the US government has not moved against WL in the legal venue in a court of law precisely because they know the courts would have to completely reverse themselves on a major already-decided fundamental legal question, and their chances of that happening are remote at best.


  • by gnurfed ( 1051140 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:12AM (#42323007)
    Manning (or so the prosecutors say) leaked the information, not Wikileaks. That was illegal under US law, and the US has jurisdiction. Wikileaks, on the other hand, is not and has never been a US organisation, and are thus not under US jurisdiction. They are registered in Sweden, and I think their infrastructure is placed there as well, so the legality of whatever they have on their servers is a matter of Swedish law. After all, Sweden is a sovereign country, where US laws doesn't apply.
  • by gnurfed ( 1051140 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2012 @04:23AM (#42323089)

    Wikileaks biggest activity was breaking US Laws on classified information, which is illegal in the US, which generally means that Sweden has an obligation to stop them.

    No, Sweden has no obligation to stop them - just like the US isn't obliged to stop an American from doing something in the US that would be illegal in Sweden.

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351