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PayPal Withdraws WikiLeaks Donation Service 794

Posted by timothy
from the no-funds-for-you dept.
ItsIllak writes "The BBC are reporting that PayPal is the latest company to abandon WikiLeaks. The list now includes their DNS providers (EveryDNS) and their hosts (Amazon). PayPal's move is unlikely to result in many more people boycotting the company, as most knowledgeable on-line users will have been refusing to use them for years for a wide variety of abusive practices." Adds reader jg21: "As open source freedom fighter Simon Phipps writes in his ComputerWorldUK blog, behavior like this by Amazon and Tableau [and now PayPal] 'informs us as customers of web services and cloud computing services that we are never safe from intentional outages when the business interests of our host are challenged.'"
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PayPal Withdraws WikiLeaks Donation Service

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  • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:33AM (#34443440) Homepage

    If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to worry about.

    Isn't that what they tell us when they pry into our affairs...?

  • by devbox (1919724) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:33AM (#34443444)
    Paypal did the same to cryptome.org, however they later reactivated the account. However, now this is "official" announcement on their blog, so I'm not sure it will happen this time.

    I guess leaking secrets and wrongdoing is all ok until it's about you or your country.
  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:34AM (#34443446)
    Wikileaks, which is revealing the truth about governments and therefore aiding (in a way) the democratic process - is being killed off because it is risky for companies to continue supporting it....
  • Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stellian (673475) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:34AM (#34443452)

    Freedom works both ways. I give you the freedom of speech, but please allow me the freedom to not do business with you.
    I don't so much mind the fact that some american businesses are bigoted red-necks. The politicians are the one to watch.

  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:37AM (#34443472) Homepage
    well, Guess it's time to close that account then.

    what a bunch of bullshit. I'm getting so tired of the the divide that's developing.
  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:38AM (#34443476)
    It is surprising, watching the entire WikiLeaks controversy, how quickly American corporations discard the concepts and ideals of the American constitution.
  • Source? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:40AM (#34443482)

    "most knowledgeable on-line users will have been refusing to use them for years "

    While it's true that paypal generates animosity for some, I still think that the above statement requires a source before putting it in the article summary like it's a fact.

  • backfire (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:47AM (#34443528) Journal

    I think there is a real possibility that the more they stamp down on wikileaks the more people are likely to support it. You don't need paypal to get donations. Unless the government is going to open mail and remove checks (I suppose that COULD happen) wikileaks will get support.

    As for the Web site, copies of it will float around forever in bittorrent, question is,...will we see wikileaks move completely over to something like freenet (which it has not done but it is being mirrored by 3rd party individuals on freenet)

  • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Voline (207517) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:49AM (#34443542)
    The divide has always been there. It is just now becoming visible.
  • by electron sponge (1758814) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:51AM (#34443544)

    I must say, this is sizing up to be quite an interesting chapter in our history. The pressure put on these companies by angry or embarrassed government entities must be enormous.

    Or nonexistent. Seeing as we've seen no report of governmental influence other than one company saying they unilaterally booted Wikileaks after a Senator made a public statement condemning Wikileaks, any supposition of governmental pressure is pure conjecture. One could also surmise that companies might find doing business with a website which is at the very least hostile toward the US government isn't part of their business plan and cut ties. Or maybe they're really patriotic. The point is, we don't know if the government has pressured American companies not to do business with Wikileaks. I suspect it wouldn't take much leaning on the part of the government to convince them to stop, at any rate. I know this doesn't fit the narrative here at /., what with all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, but in the real world businesses do what is in their own best interests.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:57AM (#34443588)
    That's why a small corrupt government in league with big corrupt corporations to run (ruin?) your country can actually be worse than a big corrupt government that still has to pretend to follow the US Constitution and laws.

    If most of the roads were owned by corporations and you had to have an account to use them (tolls etc), you won't be traveling very far when they terminate their business relationship with you.

    Same if you started getting more Company Towns.
  • by nstlgc (945418) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:59AM (#34443592)
    You mean spying as in "The US spies on UN officials" ?
  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @11:59AM (#34443598)
    Wikileaks is at war with your country now? Did you just declare the "War against Freedom of the Press"(TM)? Would fit in well with the War on Terrorism(TM) and the War on Drugs(TM).
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:03PM (#34443634) Homepage Journal
    if those companies are not FOR freedom of speech and information, then it means they are enemies of it. REGARDLESS of their reasons. a tool for oppression, is a tool for oppression. it doesnt matter zit, whether the company shows business reasons as an excuse.

    If, you are helping censorship, oppression, it means YOU ARE HELPING CENSORSHIP AND OPPRESSION.
  • whats going on? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:06PM (#34443660)
    I dunno if you've noticed lately but:
    A. The government is taking down domain names without warrants
    B. The government is pressuring hosts to remove services
    C. The government is encouraging if not mandating ISP to throttle bit torrents
    D. The government is tracking US citizens Via their Credit cards, telephone conversations, Internet traffic and cellphones without warrants.
    E. All sorts of other nefarious things we aren't aware of yet...

    Seriously, this is turning into a bad Oliver Stone movie.
  • by Dasuraga (1147871) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:06PM (#34443662)
    I'm not discussing whether wikileaks has a right to do what it does, but rather whether it should. If they were looking through these cables themselves, pointing out the specific cables with sensitive information, and actually analyzing them( what the guardian, the nyt, etc have been doing), then I wouldn't be complaining as much. But instead they just release these dumps, if only to say "500000 CABLES!"

    Associating wikileaks to the press is an insult to journalistic endeavors. At most they've just become a source for real journalists... one with a huge ego.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:07PM (#34443676) Homepage Journal

    You know, I never thought about how oppressed we really were until your post on this commercial, advertising-supported Web site cleared it up for me.

    Grow up and get some perspective.

    oh geee !!! now i see the error of my ways ..

    so, if we were back in slavery days, and slave in a plantation owners' farm, and talking at night in the log cabin that the plantation owner stuffed us into, while eating the food that plantation owner had given us, it would be totally wrong if i said 'hey, we are slaves here, we have no freedom' ??

    would you say, 'you know, i never thought about how oppressed we really were until your talk in this slaveowner-sponsored log cabin, eating this slave-owner sponsored meal', in that sarcastic manner ?

    wake up and dont be an idiot.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:08PM (#34443692)
    If the US moves Wikileaks on the list of terrorist organizations, I move the US on my list of fascist nations.
  • by neumayr (819083) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:10PM (#34443702)
    Of course it's not journalism - whoever called it journalism? Except in order to protect the sources of course.
    It does provide some interesting input for journalists though, things they maybe wouldn't have legal access to otherwise. That makes it a part of the journalistic process and justifies giving it that legal status. Watching the government can't be bad, it makes officials more accountable among other things. Protecting the sources is essential for that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:10PM (#34443710)

    Meg Whitman? Wow, tinfoil hattery shows no bounds.

  • by Mysteray (713473) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:12PM (#34443728) Homepage

    But he's not an Anonymous Coward calling others names on Slashdot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:13PM (#34443732)

    How is the contrary (ie, forcing companies to host and support any speech whether they like it or not) no less oppressive?

    So if the Neo-Nazis or NAMBLA want to be hosted by Amazon, Amazon has to let them? What about a rival entity, like B&N? Does PayPal have to handle transactions for their rivals? By your all-caps logic, to deny them would be OPPRESSION and AGAINST FREE SPEECH.

    Things aren't black and white. I won't try to dictate where the line is drawn between standing for oppression and standing for freedom, but please try to grasp that there is a discussion that needs to be had (and continuously had, not just once) about it. Your view isn't the only one or even the one that results in the fairest, most reasonable outcome.

  • by darjen (879890) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:14PM (#34443740)

    If the government threatened to shut down your business because you were supporting Wikileaks, you would probably cave too. The real issue here, as always, is government pressure and the power of the state.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:14PM (#34443744)
    What in high heavens has the ego of Assange to do with anything? You are just taking part in the good old character assassination campaign. They got material, they published the material, they are journalists. Freedom of press exists outside of your personal stamp of approval - thank god.
  • oh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:22PM (#34443798) Homepage Journal

    you know, the kind who dedicated their lives so that others could live: the kind who actually lost their lives.

    you mean, the ones who lost their lives while propagating invasions, occupations so that american corporations can create mandates and get access to resources ?

    in NO war after world war ii, there has been a situation in which american soldiers were dying for defending freedom and preventing oppression. in ALL situations, and that includes somalia, they were sent to those places to further private interests's aims in the region. Any zone either had strategic resources (panama canal, middle east), or, natural resources (somalia, middle east, oil).

  • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:23PM (#34443804) Homepage

    Wikileaks, which is revealing the truth about governments and therefore aiding (in a way) the democratic process

    How have they done either? What is your truth? Isolationism? What would you do at the reigns of a nation? "Please stop?", "They're all nuts, close all our windows!"

    The truth is, most people continue to not understand politics, local and especially international. Just as "assist ugly nation X suppress worse nation Y" doesn't mesh with anyone's rose colored view of the world, "congressman from state X brings huge contract to state X" is met with "gah, teh corruption!!!1"

    Everyone wants to believe in some Us vs. Them fantasy world, where Them is fully cognizant, aware and intentionally driving Us in some direction against Our will, unbeknownst to Us, except for You and your favorite radio/TV Host.

    Wikileaks can't fix that.

    Seriously, how has Wikileaks "aided the democratic process"?

  • by lgw (121541) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:25PM (#34443814) Journal

    Really, what new information could come to light about PayPal to make the seem worse than they already seem?

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:26PM (#34443828)
    So what is the problem then with publishing documents that are basically just "gossip"? All harmless, isn't it? You can't have it both ways.
  • by gnola14 (1764100) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:27PM (#34443832)
    Because what you consider "gossip" some other can consider a valuable information. It's not up to you (or Wikileaks) to judge whether one document is more important than other...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:29PM (#34443854)

    Any person proud to be of a specific nationality is by definition an idiot. Pride reflects a choice of actions. Pride is often confused with arrogance. Arrogance is the pride exhibited by those who have no cause to feel pride (e.g., someone of noble birth looking down on a commoner). Pride is also seldomly confused with inspiration.

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:30PM (#34443862) Homepage

    Which is it? Are these companies totally gutless? Unable to recognize the positive publicity they could spin from this? Or - more likely - have they been put under back-room pressure by governmental officials? If so, they should publish *that* through Wikileaks.

    The accounts were terminated, because Wikileaks violated their terms of service. Specifically "encouraging illegal activity". Of course the material is illegal - lots of it is classified, and whoever leaked it violated the law. That's kind of the point. Whistleblowing is always against some regulation, be it corporate or governmental. Whistleblowing to expose corrupt, unethical or simply improper practices nonetheless remains important, and should be supported.

    In the current round of Wikileaks stuff, I haven't heard of any major bombshells. However, the sheer mass of classified materials points to improper governmental secrecy. There is no reason for most of this stuff to be classified in any way. After World War I, Woodrow Wilson named fourteen points for preserving international peace. His very first point includes the statement: "...there shall be no private international understanding of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view."

  • by Third Position (1725934) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:34PM (#34443898)

    Indeed. I might buy that if any of the information released revealed law-breaking by public officials, or that there was some public interest being served. (See Pentagon Papers.)

    But none of that appears to be operative here. There's nothing in these documents besides the typical background noise of diplomacy. No obvious public interest has been served, and possibly the release of some of this information could be quite damaging.

    There's no "whistle-blowing" involved here, it's just an exercise in sticking a thumb in the eye of The Man.

    As far as I'm concerned, the whole matter is a tempest in a teapot. On the other hand, Assange is no hero, releasing government secrets just because they're government secrets is not heroic. If some government does manage to off the obnoxious tool, I can't say that I'll have much sympathy.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:34PM (#34443900) Homepage Journal

    That is why so many of us believe in property rights, the rights to the fruits of our labors and the right to freely trade with others.

    then you are a moron.

    'property rights, 'rights of the fruits of our labors', and 'the right to freely trade with others', ends up at THIS point, if there is no size to the limit of an entity or an individual in regard to resources :

    in a dog eat dog world of competition, you eventually end up with a few very fat dogs.

    and those fattest dogs have the say on what happens and what does not, REGARDLESS of your delusions and self-indulgences about 'freedom of market and fruits of labors' and whatnot.

    see, paypal is now the de facto provider of payment around the internet. it suspended wikileaks account. if 2 more major providers of payment suspends them, say, visa, or mastercard, then wikileaks will be practically unable to use modern payment methods, and people will have to snail mail.

    lets see, if 2-3 major backbone providers, who control the traffic in most of united states, suspends or slows down their traffic, wikileaks site will not be visible to 200 million + americans.

    see ?

    in the world you describe, private INDIVIDUALS and CORPORATIONS decide what your freedom is.

    and, your freedom, as you can see is, 'not'.

  • by Surt (22457) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:35PM (#34443912) Homepage Journal

    Because whatever they withhold, we'd have to wonder who got to them?

  • by Tripp-phpBB (1912354) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:36PM (#34443928)
    Why not, we're the people of America? So who does have the right to say whether all this is damning or not? And regardless of what actually get's leaked, I believe this is a good thing because maybe the government will realize they need to be more transparent about what they do.
  • by Mysteray (713473) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:36PM (#34443930) Homepage
    Here's Sen. Lieberman's site gleefully taking credit for the attack:
    http://lieberman.senate.gov/index.cfm/news-events/news/2010/12/amazon-severs-ties-with-wikileaks [senate.gov]

    After reading press reports that Amazon was hosting the Wikileaks website, Committee staff contacted Amazon Tuesday for an explanation.

    Clearly Lieberman's office called them before they took it down. It is not cool at all in my book for government officials to be calling web providers and demanding "an explanation". It's unpatriotic. Downright un-American.

    "This morning Amazon informed my staff that it has ceased to host the Wikileaks website. I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier based on Wikileaks' previous publication of classified material."

    Clearly Amazon reported their compliance to Lieberman after they did it.

    "The company's decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material. I call on any other company or organization that is hosting Wikileaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them."

    Clearly Lieberman thinks it is a good idea for communications service companies to be under the heel of random senators' offices. It would seem that in his and Amazon's view, cloud computing and data center hosting arrangements should be provisioned at the pleasure of His Royal Highness.

    "Wikileaks' illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world. No responsible company - whether American or foreign - should assist Wikileaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials.

    Lieberman and Amazon need to go on record and explain whether or not this policy should extend to other organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Amazon needs to make a statement about whether or not The New York Times is welcome to host on their EC2 service, and whether or not they intend to exercise editorial control.

    I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with Wikileaks and what it and other web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information.

    Is this guy channeling Nixon, or what?

  • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:39PM (#34443952)
    I find it interesting that the GP claims wikileaks is nothing but a source for actual news organizations to point out specific problems that dumps ridiculous amount of content rather then just relevant information and you argue against this by linking to a bunch of news organizations that point out specific problems using wikileak's massive source dump?
  • Re:Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:42PM (#34443972) Homepage Journal

    Why would I avoid donating to a charity just because I find out that they are helping to fund white supremacist marches. I mean, they're still helping someone, right?

    You don't go to the movies of an actor (let's say Mel Gibson) because he's an anti-Semite because you don't want him to have more money to fuel that cause. And because you want to set a public example for others that says: this sort of behavior is not ok.

  • by Aquitaine (102097) <sam&iamsam,org> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:42PM (#34443974) Homepage

    So let me get this straight:

    You, as a private citizen, are free to stop doing business with anyone whom you so choose simply because you don't like what they are doing.

    But when Paypal, as a private business, stops doing business with someone they choose because they don't like what their client is doing, you threaten to 'report them to the European Parliament?' On what possible basis? Are you actually suggesting that the government should force Paypal or any other private business to continue doing business against their will?

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:44PM (#34443994) Homepage Journal

    I was just cutting and pasting, I'd have linked to the sources directly but I'm hungry.

    In any case, the GGP didn't claim the issue with Wikileaks was the volume, it was that there were no specific wrong doings in the dumps. There most certainly was, as Glenn's excellent collection of links clearly shows.

    If someone wants to make a case that making available a large quantity of material about government actions is wrong even if the dump demonstrates clear, serious, government malfeasance, then that's another issue. I'd take issue with that claim, for hopefully obvious reasons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:44PM (#34444000)
    >IT IS A DEMOCRACY
    yeah, i mean, come on, we have TWICE as many political parties as the soviet union did

    all we have to do is vote for the guy who isn't a corrupt asshole, and everything will be fine
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:45PM (#34444004) Homepage Journal

    While I agree in general with what you are saying, if you are using the assets of the "corporations which dominate the economic side," why would you assume to have any freedoms?

    Should not the corporation that provides the service have a say in who can use that service and how? If not, what about their freedoms? There is an old adage about not biting the hand that feeds you, so this has been around a lot longer than the rise of capitalism.

    a corporation becomes de facto government in a field of life, if that corporation or 1-2 others are de facto controllers of the means of life or services and products in that life.

    basically, visa, mastercard dominate electronic payment. they are de facto governments of that field of life. period. if, they are let practice as they want, it means that they will effectively GOVERN that aspect of life, as they see fit.

    that would be no problem, if visa, mastercard were democratic organizations, in which everyone had equal share. but, due to the principle of property and capitalism mechanics, mastercard, visa, any corporation that spans the globe can be owned/controlled by a a small group, or few individuals. even, one individual at times.

    so basically, that makes that small group, or individuals or individual, the sole decision makers in regard to what happens in that aspect of life.

    they basically become feudal lords of that field of life.

    dont err and deceive yourself by thinking 'competition' -> if a corporation has become so big that it dominates a sector, it means that that corporation has the money and power to keep that position and outdo any competition. exceptions do not make a rule -> walmart is still walmart, visa is still visa, mastercard mastercard ....

    so basically, what capitalism accomplishes in the LONG run, is feudalizing the economic aspect of life. technically, political aspect of life, remains egalitarian and democratic, and that supposedly ensures freedom. BUT, because you need financing power for EVERYthing including politics, inevitably the economic aspect of life governs the political, and carries the feudalism there, to the political life. and that is the ill behind all the issues you people are complaining about corrupt government, senate, congress in usa.

    Amazon, Paypal, etc. is not stopping anyone from exercising their freedoms (most likely speech in the context of your post). They are just not choosing to let you use their resources to do it. If you want to set up your own printing press or the electronic equivelant, you are free to do so. If that is economically not feasible, that isn't because you don't have the freedom to do it, you just don't have the means.

    oh yes they are.

    they are choosing not to let me use their resources, but, it turns out that they are the controller of majority (dominant majority) of those resources.

    that effectively ends up pushing me to, well, 'set up my printing press', or its equivalent. ironically, to be able to make my voice heard to the masses with my 'equivalent' services, i have to first BEAT those corporations so that i can actually access those resources they have been withholding of me.

    so, you are basically saying, every person is free, but the PRACTICE of that freedom requires engaging in a feudal turf battle with the dominant lord in that zone.
    BR. excuse me, but that kind of freedom, we had in medieval times. its 2010.

  • by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @12:48PM (#34444028)
    Of course, the editor sets the content. No problem with that. Why is it suddenly wrong when Wikileaks does it? The GP didn't argue your point, he stated that Wikileaks is not an organ of the press, because he in his glorious majesty disapproves of the content. If he doesn't like it, he's free to open his own website, but he is NOT free to dictate other what constitutes "the press".
  • by fredmosby (545378) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:09PM (#34444198)

    I really don't see how just throwing out a bunch of diplomatic cables "helps" the democratic process.

    It helps the democratic process by making voters better informed. How can Americans be expected to make good decisions if they don't know what's really going on in the world. I don't know if what wikileaks does counts as journalism or whistle blowing, and I don't care. If it makes me better informed I support it.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:18PM (#34444282) Homepage
    We have complete need of this information. We live in a representative democracy. In order to fulfill our half of the obligation that entails, we need to know what government does and who does it so that we can take appropriate action at the ballot box. When the government only lies, we are deprived of our ability and right to choose our leaders for rational reasons. Wikileaks is the best thing to happen to America since the Revolution.
  • Re:Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mysteray (713473) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:19PM (#34444292) Homepage

    Freedom works both ways. I give you the freedom of speech, but please allow me the freedom to not do business with you.

    As a private citizen, I expect the right to be able to invite who I want, and not invite who I don't want, to my birthday party. And they have the right not to come. Or come and bring me a lousy gift. Or come and complain that I serve chocolate cupcakes instead of strawberry. Or whatever.

    But when you go out into the community and open a business, you give up a bit of that right in the interest of others' rights of fair dealing. For example, it's been settled unequivocally that you can't run a lunch counter and refuse to serve blacks.

    So, no, Amazon doesn't have the "freedom to not do business with you". They sell raw CPU by the cycle, disk storage and network bandwidth by the byte. In my opinion it is despicable for them to discriminate against customers based on political beliefs and vague innuendo of legal issues when no actual US law has been cited against their customer.

    For a bookseller and publisher such as Amazon who's profits derive directly from first amendment protections of the press to actively show contempt for those principles is, IMHO, downright disgusting. Keep in mind, this is the company that's trying to sell us books they can later erase.

  • by lexidation (1825996) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:21PM (#34444302)

    I spent ten years of my life as a "real" journalist in several major US media markets. The primary difference between the news "we" presented and what's being presented via Wikileaks is precisely that Wikileaks allows more or less unfiltered access to the source material. Ask yourself: do you really want someone else selecting what's fit for you to read? Trust me, having unfettered access to original sources, so that you can independently develop your own take on what's happening, is infinitely better for you -- and better for society -- than having the news dished out to you by a "professional" like me in my former incarnation.

    What's happening to Wikileaks is astounding and should be scaring the living shit out of each and every one of you. They have been transformed into a "criminal" organization in the eyes of many members of the public and many members of the mainstream media inside of a week. From the beside-the-point rape case involving Julian Assange to the loss of hosting, DNS services and, now, the possibility to gain funding. That's how easy it was to get the job done.

    I've been an observer of political life, professional and otherwise, for more than forty years. Never have I seen an assault on free speech like this one. It doesn't matter what your personal view is on the wisdom of exposing the day-to-day minutiae of realpolitik. Free speech -- and your right as citizens to live under an open government -- are under attack. I can only hope people will speak up to defend them.

  • by Kagura (843695) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:22PM (#34444308)

    "The BBC are reporting that PayPal is the latest company to abandon WikiLeaks. The list now includes their DNS providers (EveryDNS) and their hosts (Amazon). PayPal's move is unlikely to result in many more people boycotting the company, as most knowledgeable on-line users will have been refusing to use them for years for a wide variety of abusive practices."

    There are lots of Paypal horror stories, and Paypal is clearly a bank that is not a bank which gives them way too much power to do whatever they like.

    But come on Slashdot, you are clearly trolling your userbase... and I guess I responded.

  • by scribblej (195445) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:25PM (#34444342)

    You didn't think this through before you started calling people idiots. LOTS of folks have chosen to become Americans.

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:36PM (#34444410)

    ... of how deeply fascist tendencies have crept into our socio-economic system.

    Our government depends heavily upon the cooperation of the corporate community to perform enforcement functions that they themselves are prohibited from by the Constitution. In a true free market, business would tell the government to take a hike until such time as a court injunction was in hand. Up to that point, everyone's money is green. But its evident that our system provides incentives (or pressure) to the corporate world to participate in public policy initiatives, distorting supply and price signals upon which an efficient market depends.

  • by geoskd (321194) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:41PM (#34444458)
    Revealing the truth is *never* inappropriate behavior, only the underlying actions, that led to the "truth", are. If it would be embarrassing or politically dangerous to do something, then make damn sure its the right thing to do because one way or another you or your reputation will have to answer for it. Next?

    As long as politicians believe they can get away with bad behavior, they have no real check against the drive to corruption. It is the fundamental function of journalism to provide the check against corruption. Without freedom of the press,whether you like what they say or not, there is no hope of keeping corruption from becoming pandemic.

    -=Geoskd
  • by drosboro (1046516) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @01:50PM (#34444516)

    I think usually people are "proud" to be of a specific nationality because they are proud of the "choice of actions" of that nation. I could say that I'm proud to be Canadian because of the actions taken by my nation, in much the same way that I could tell my child I'm proud of them for choosing right over wrong, for working hard on their piano practice, or for sticking up for a friend. Pride doesn't have to be completely centered around my own choices.

  • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:02PM (#34444592) Journal

    You're the idiot.

    The US is a Republic, based on the idea that we the people govern the country. It was our successful experimentation in self-government that proved to the world that self-government could be done successfully, and that spread the idea of individual liberty across the entire world. In doing so the US changed the political landscape of the entire world for the better. I'd say that is an accomplishment of which any American can rightfully be proud.

  • Re:Illegal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fishbowl (7759) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:12PM (#34444652)

    > If it was illegal, why hasn't the justice department issued an indictment for Julian Assange?

    I think it's very important to note that Wikileaks hasn't actually released anything that the New York Times hasn't *also* released, *with the same redaction*. And the New York Times has been working directly with the State Department.

    Whatever crime that Assange could be indicted for, would also be a crime that editors of the NYT have committed in a conspiracy with the US State Department.

  • by pjt33 (739471) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:35PM (#34444784)

    If you're going to take the credit for what your forefathers did in the 18th century (assuming that they were among the residents of the 13 colonies, which probably isn't the case for a large number, if not a majority, of current US citizens), then don't you also have to take the blame for all the mistakes and crimes the US has committed since then? Is the total still in your favour?

  • by darjen (879890) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:39PM (#34444810)

    All right, genius, show us even one shred of evidence that the government threatened to shut down either Amazon or Paypal.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/12/01/lieberman/index.html [salon.com]

    I'd say the real issue here is someone's addiction to a rosy-eyed view of corporations who can do no wrong blinds him to what's plainly right in front of him.

    I didn't say corporations can do no wrong. I said the issue HERE is government power. IN THIS CASE.

    GENIUS.

  • by NoSig (1919688) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:41PM (#34444818)
    You didn't get it. The idea is that you're being irrational if you feel proud for yourself on behalf of something someone else did without a significant involvement by you in some way. You can be proud of your children in the sense that you had something to do with whatever they accomplished and that indirectly reflects on you. You can be proud of a friend if you played a significant role in his success. There might even be a tiny proportion of fans of sports teams that can rightfully be proud when they win due to them having done substantial things to make the win possible. The proportion of citizens that have cause to be proud of their country is just as tiny. No American alive today was involved in any way with the founding of America, and so feeling proud of what happened then is taking someone's else's glory for yourself - it is strutting stolen feathers. Not that that ever stopped anyone.
  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:51PM (#34444886) Journal

    if those companies are not FOR freedom of speech and information, then it means they are enemies of it. REGARDLESS of their reasons. a tool for oppression, is a tool for oppression. it doesnt matter zit, whether the company shows business reasons as an excuse. If, you are helping censorship, oppression, it means YOU ARE HELPING CENSORSHIP AND OPPRESSION.

    Wikileaks is actually helping censorship and oppression by publishing documents containing information on sources given to the US in confidentiality.

  • Re:Illegal? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Posting=!Working (197779) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @02:51PM (#34444888)

    Publishing classified material IS legal. Stealing the classified material is illegal, and if it is entrusted to you to keep it classified it is illegal to distribute, but if I find a classified document lying in the street or someone gives one to me there is nothing illegal about publishing it.

    Respecting the constitution is not the sign of an inept ideologue. Just because a few of the previous AG's didn't think they were bound by the constitution doesn't make that a weakness of this one.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @03:10PM (#34444992)

    There's a world of difference between "secrets and wrongdoing" and "privacy and discretion."

    Yes, and it's pretty hard to argue that documents written by state employees on behalf of their employer would fall under privacy.

    Accused rapist Assange* asked for and then published what amounts to the private correspondence of American ambassadors... something that on a long enough timetable is made public as a route matter ANYWAY.

    It amounts to business correspondence. And you know perfectly well that the rape charges are almost certainly false, so stop with the mud-slinging already - it does nothing but makes the US look even more pathetic than it already does.

    (*: If he's innocent, he can go back and defend himself. If he's innocent, he has little reason not to and a big scary reason to do so... namely, to clear his and wikileaks' names.)

    If he's innocent, and goes back to Sweden, there's a pretty good chance they'll deport him to the USA. They've been their lapdogs of late.

  • by fishexe (168879) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @03:17PM (#34445030) Homepage

    To all those who are saying, "Don't blame PayPal and Amazon, because they are responding to government pressure! It's the big bad government that's to blame, not friendly American businesses!" (and there are several of these in the above threads) I would just like to point out that your government/business dichotomy doesn't actually exist in the real world. While I'm sure some in the government have approached these companies, I'd be willing to bet my life the decisions were made for independent business reasons, because the large corporations know which side their bread is buttered on, and it's the side of a large and powerful US government.

    Do you really believe the shareholders of PayPal and Amazon don't see a strong US government as profitable to them? Most of these shareholders own stock in many other corporations, probably including corporations who benefited from government giveaways in Iraq and Afghanistan, from hundreds of other government contracts, from bank bailouts, or from the auto bailout. Notably, anyone who owns stock in companies engaged in war profiteering suffers from both the diplomatic cable leaks and the military leaks because they need the government to have a free hand in matters of war and peace in order to make the decisions that most profit them.

    In this country, large corporations and government are on the same side. They have been for decades. They work together to screw us. Think about it: who do politicians most closely listen to? Lobbyists. Who has most of the lobbyists? Big corporations. The only time government and big corporations are NOT on the same side is when we, the people, really push our government to do something different, and at that point government sometimes does something somewhat beneficial while corporations fight it and claim the government is "anti-business". The truth is, the government is never anti-business except when businesses are doing something really wrong and the people stand up to vocally oppose them.

    After all, how could an entity controlled by business be anti-business?

  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @03:20PM (#34445044)

    It's not just throwing out diplomatic cables. If that's all they needed to do, they wouldn't need a whole organization. They could just use Tor and the hundreds of other back channels by which data circulates on the internet. But consider all the other things that Wikileaks actually does besides distributing data:

    • Wikileaks needs to receive leaks, for which it has to be a credible organization that's worth leaking to. One problem with past leaks is that the leaker's life was destroyed without the leak actually getting out. The alleged diplomatic cables leaker is in deep shit legally, but at least he has the comfort of knowing that his info actually got out. I'm sure we'll see organizations in the near future that pose as leak releasers, but really, they're just cops. Whatever you think of Wikileaks, they're clearly not the cops, and they will pass your leaks to the world.
    • Wikileaks needs to have a pretty serious research arm so they can check the authenticity of the stuff being leaked to them. I'm sure that various governments/firms are, at this very moment, sending them falsified "leaks" in order to discredit them or to gain some sort of an advantage over their rivals.
    • Wikileaks needs to have international security experts in its ranks, or at least reliable access to such experts, in order to know what information needs to be redacted. I can't stress this enough. Wikileaks works very hard at making sure the leaks are redacted in a way that they cannot be used to cause direct harm. This is not an easy job!
    • Wikileaks needs to have open channels to the most respected global media outlets, so that they can consult with them and leverage their fact-checking and distribution resources. That's why the leaks are pre-leaked to selected global media sources.

    These four tasks are absolutely indispensable. If some future Wikileaks copycat thinks that it's enough to dump out documents, then the world is really in trouble. Wikileaks doesn't get enough credit for all the work they do to make sure their leaking is done in a responsible way.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @03:40PM (#34445170) Homepage Journal

    The simple truth is that people who want to criticize Wikileaks will find justification to do so. The (ostensible) truth is that Assange has not released "everything"; otherwise he wouldn't have a doomsday file. That means that there HAS been some selection, thus there is clearly bias of some kind.

    However, under this story I have seen Assange damned both for bias and for not having enough bias, so why even bother to defend him on this basis? You must go another direction, and argue that there is always bias, it is fucking impossible to avoid, and the best situation is when you simply know what it is, which enables you to make an informed reading on a piece of data.

    Assange has shown himself to be anti-authority through his actions, and let me say, thank goodness. We need less big authority running around telling people what to do. Government's role should not be to force but to enable. That means making it possible for people to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, the government actively works in the other direction, routinely using government secrecy to hide wrongdoing of the actual constituents, the corporations. Look at the situation regarding milk labeling and rBGH, which has been outright proven [zimbio.com] to produce inferior product which is substantially, measurably different from milk not produced using the hormones. Yet the FDA continues to be its champion [fda.gov] in spite of diehard evidence that it is harmful! Government actively works to hide evidence of wrongdoing that citizens have the right to know about, and it is only through eternal vigilance by people like Julian Assange that we are even able to find out about it at all.

  • by flyingsquid (813711) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @03:53PM (#34445252)
    I think what people are overlooking is that Wikileaks has gone well beyond just acting as a whistleblower.

    If their efforts focused solely on releasing evidence of crimes and abuses of power, then I think they would be tolerated. But the vast majority of the material that's been released shows no evidence of any government abuses, so its release serves only to hurt U.S. diplomatic relations without actually shedding light on any crime. That's the issue here.

    Releasing that stuff doesn't fight against injustice, it just makes it hard for U.S. diplomats to do their jobs if they can't speak candidly in private. That does a hell of a lot more to hurt U.S. diplomatic efforts than Al Qaeda blowing up a couple of our embassies in Africa. And while we have a right to know what's going on in our government, at some point that right is overridden by the need to keep other people in the dark, including our frenemies like Russia and China, and outright enemies such as Iran, North Korea, and yes, the Taliban. I guarantee you that all of them are right now working overtime reading through these communications.

    It's one thing to target criminals, it's quite another to start throwing hand grenades into a crowded room because there might be a criminal in there. Well, Wikileaks has taken the hand-grenade approach to fighting injustice, and the good done by the scandals exposed is going to be outweighed by all the damage. That's turned the moderates against Assange. I don't think that Amazon or PayPal ditched him because he was a costly inconvenience- I think that the people in charge genuinely felt that they are genuinely against what he was doing.

  • by kdemetter (965669) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @04:30PM (#34445460)

    You know what makes it scary? That the mere accusation is enough to convince many people that you've committed the crime. I sincerely fucking hope it happens to you, and soon.

    You know what's the worst : hearing all this , i should be extremely offended , marching on the streets protesting this with outrage . But here i am sitting in front off my computer , doing nothing.

  • by DELNI-AA (1132369) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @05:07PM (#34445632)

    Well, I terminated both my account at PayPal and Amazon today

    That's called voting with my feet

    Think you guys in the US should watch out for your free speech rights; doesn't sound good when Library of Congress starts to block sites; sounds more like China to be honest.

  • by gclef (96311) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @05:19PM (#34445700)

    Classified? You mean like the identity of Valerie Plame? Or the location of the team that Geraldo Rivera was embedded with in Iraq? Or, just to pull up an old chestnut, the Pentagon Papers?

    News Flash: the media releases classified material *all* *the* *time*. Sometimes it's done with tacit approval (Plame), sometimes it's an honest mistake (Geraldo), sometimes it's actively pushing back on government (Pentagon Papers).

    But, to think that the media doesn't publish classified information is, quite simply, wrong.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @05:47PM (#34445848)

    Then I must ask: Do you live by it? Do you tell the truth, at all times, in your life? That doesn't just mean only saying what is true, that means never omitting important details, never keeping your peace when there is something that would be relevant to say. That includes things like white lies to try and make people feel better and so on. It also means providing anyone who asks with full and complete information on any subject they ask.

    This is a rhetorical question because I know you don't, nobody does. There are plenty of reasons to keep secrets.

    Now I'm not arguing about if specific secret should be kept or not, but it makes your "Revealing the truth is *never* inappropriate behavior," statement look rather silly.

  • by KeensMustard (655606) on Saturday December 04, 2010 @08:30PM (#34446766)

    We don't have to feel shame for we aren't the ones who have done this.

    You did this - Iraq, Abu Graib, Gitmo, the 'rendition' of political prisoners, the cluster bombing of villages, members of your government making death threats against innocent people (Julian Assange) with no legal action taken, on the basis that 'his' organisation revealed some truths that were embarrassing. You sat by silently while it went on in your name. These atrocities are now part of the US legacy - and to the extent that you could have done something about it and didn't they are your legacy too. That's the point - you can't be proud of the long gone legacy that you didn't participate in and cannot influence, and not be ashamed of the recent legacy that you, in a small way, were part of.

    The ones who should feel shame are the progressives/socialists who have been busily destroying our freedoms and sense of love for our country for more than 100 years and lying about what they are doing every step of the way.

    I see. Do Palinisms come in pill form now - making them easier to swallow? Socialism isn't what you think it is, and your freedoms haven't been taken away by socialists - but rather by the corporate hand that steers the actions and positions of your faux representatives in the government. Including Tea Partiers - the same thing, but with different spin.

    We have to feel, and act on, our sense of responsibility we have in the governing of our own country, and the sense of the debt of honor we owe our founders. But, we can still derive pride that we are a part of something that has done such a great thing, if we are willing to fight to return our country to its founding principles. I am. How about you? If not, then you do need to feel a sense of shame until you decide your country's founding ideals are something worth fighting for.

    Then get on with it. A good place to start would be to abandon the notion that the US is somehow different from the rest of the world. This creates a phlegmatic atmosphere - the delusion that somehow, a thread of underlying decency will shine through eventually if we trust the American Ideal and ignore the atrocities of the recent past. The founding principles of your country have been turned into a mythology that your oppressors and their mouthpieces use to stop you acting against them.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday December 04, 2010 @10:36PM (#34447668) Homepage Journal

    However, you also have to deal with the fact that he has not, and probably will not, present himself to the proper authorities and go through the proper legal channels to resolve this issue.

    He offered to make himself available while he was there and was turned down. Now he's not there and they want him to come back. It's a ploy to find out where he is, plain and simple.

    Again, "mere acusation" would not include an arrest warrant, multiple judicial reviews upholding the warrant, and his flight from justice (which mnakes him look guilty.)

    He very much did not flee from justice. He announced he was leaving, they said that was fine, and now they want him to come back.

    What is really scary is that you consider all of those things "mere accusation."

    Whether that is true or not, you have a reading comprehension problem, because I said that the mere accusation is sufficient. Furthermore, so far there is absolutely no evidence save for the accusation, so yes, these things are a whole bunch of legal documentation of a mere accusation. Meanwhile you're still trying to suggest that there is something more to this case when there is not. Or are you planning to go all R.Kelly and tell me there's a video?

    Short form, put up or shut the fuck up, I'm tired of you sheeple that are helping to perform a character assassination of Julian Assange when you don't know a fucking thing. I don't know what it's like where you live, but where I live we supposedly treat people as innocent until they are proven guilty, and I'm going to stick with that as it is an essential component of the free society that all humans deserve.

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan

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