WikiLeaks money cuts


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09-12-2010 08:04 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


09-12-2010 08:04 AM



09-12-2010 08:39 AM

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2010-12-09 08:04:03

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VINCENT, Michael


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WikiLeaks money cuts -

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TONY EASTLEY: As attempts by the US and other governments to stop the flow of cables from WikiLeaks
have failed they've now turned their attention to choking off the website's finances.

Overnight, global financial giant Visa announced it would no longer be processing payments and
donations for the whistleblower website.

Under pressure from US authorities Mastercard and Paypal also suspended WikiLeaks accounts.

Michael Vincent reports.

MICHAEL VINCENT: As a non-profit organisation WikiLeaks relies on donations. Most of that money has
come through the Internet via payment services.

Not any more.

Paypal was first to move last Friday blocking transfers, overnight its executive Osama Bedier
explained quite clearly that they'd received pressure from the United States Government.

OSAMA BEDIER: The US Government basically wrote a letter saying that the WikiLeaks activity was
deemed illegal in the United States and as a result our policy group had to make the decision of
suspending the account.

And so they took that decision as a result we informed the account holder on file that that was the
case and suspended the account.

MICHAEL VINCENT: The next to block donations was Mastercard last Monday and now Visa has followed

Andreas Fink is the CEO of a small Icelandic data hosting company DataCell which was one of the
organisations passing on money to WikiLeaks.

ANDREAS FINK: We're not able to receive money from people who donate to WikiLeaks because Visa has
chosen to close this down.

MICHAEL VINCENT: DataCell is going to sue Visa over its decision. Andreas Fink has told the BBC
that Visa shouldn't be worried about its brand image.

ANDREAS FINK: The official request from Visa was that they want to suspend it for a week to figure
out if it could harm their brand - that's the official statement.

BBC REPORTER: I get the sense that you think that there's something, there's an unofficial reason
as well though.

ANDREAS FINK: Yeah well I mean if you look at a company like Visa, they are in money transfer
business. They are transferring money for all kinds businesses. I mean you can pay your credit card
for online gaming, you can buy porn with it, you can do whatever you want with your credit card,
they don't have a moral problem there.

Why do they suddenly have a problem to transfer the nations, where people expressly tell them they
want to give that money to WikiLeaks.

I mean we're not forcing anyone to pay WikiLeaks, so it's a different story, but everyone wants to
donate and why are they stopping them, that just doesn't make any sense to me.

MICHAEL VINCENT: Other companies that have withdrawn services to WikiLeaks after pressure include
Amazon.com and EveryDNS which were hosting the whistleblower website.

Andreas Fink says Visa's decision is creating massive financial losses for WikiLeaks.

But WikiLeaks is still able to accept donations via an account at the National Bank of Iceland
Landsbanki. Overnight a bank spokesperson said WikiLeaks' account is still active.

TONY EASTLEY: Michael Vincent reporting.