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PayPal Freezes Support Account For Bradley Manning 580

Posted by timothy
from the we-don't-like-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The online payment provider PayPal has frozen the account of Courage to Resist, which in collaboration with the Bradley Manning Support Network is currently raising funds in support of US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. 'We've been in discussions with PayPal for weeks, and by their own admission there's no legal obligation for them to close down our account,' noted Loraine Reitman of the Bradley Manning Support Network (Support Network). 'This was an internal policy decision by PayPal. ... They said they would not unrestrict our account unless we authorized PayPal to withdraw funds from our organization's checking account by default. While there may be no legal obligation to provide services, there is an ethical obligation. By shutting out legitimate nonprofit activity, PayPal shows itself to be morally bankrupt.'"
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PayPal Freezes Support Account For Bradley Manning

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  • Again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nuno Sa (1095047) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:11PM (#35304174)

    Can't those idiots be sued?

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:13PM (#35304192)
    There really is no excuse for this at all. We're all entitled to a fair trial and the best legal defense available to us. This signifies that Paypal doesn't support the constitution or the rule of law. Shameful.
  • Re:Again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:14PM (#35304210)

    cant those idiots stop getting used?
    go for another service, personally i recommend google checkout mainly because it has the biggest chance of getting useful.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by memnock (466995) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:17PM (#35304248)

    Paypal is a private entity. Unfortunately, it's not doing anything illegal or unconstitutional, as far as I can tell, by choosing not to do business with someone. What Paypal should do though is return the funds and those donors decide what to do with their own money, not choose for them.

    As an aside, I've never and never will, use Paypal for anything. I can send a check to a PO BOX. That's not secure, but I don't think of Paypal as secure either. If I want to be anonymous, I can send a money order. Stop giving Paypal business is my opinion.

  • Re:Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:18PM (#35304264)
    I think you forgot the part about "innocent until proven guilty"? How about a fair trial first (which is what he needs the money for), THEN you can condemn him.
  • "Land of the free" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:19PM (#35304282) Homepage Journal
    you are free to do anything in a capitalist economy. see, the catch is, everything costs money, and those with bigger money, can determine how much free can one be.

    such is the lesson of this incident, apart from the paypal's staggering lack of spine. roadside pimp may be having more spine and honor than paypal in regard to principles.
  • Re:Who? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bstender (1279452) <mail DOT slashdo ... T spamgourmet DO> on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:20PM (#35304292)
    so why the fuck am I supposed to feel bad that this guy is getting exactly the punishment that he knew he would get?

    oh i don't know, does "due process" feel like something you could feel good about?
  • by pla (258480) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:22PM (#35304338) Journal
    I cannot imagine why any sane person or organization would use PayPal as a bank-like entity after their many, many, MANY abuses of their "not a bank" status.

    Seriously... It surprises more to hear about people successfully getting their money out, than stories like the FP.

    Really simple, folks - Just stop using them. Period. They have the right not to serve us, and we have the right not to use them. Exercise that right, and put these bastards permanently in the red ASAP.
  • Re:Who? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mug funky (910186) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:23PM (#35304366)

    missing the point. this isn't manning's account, it's an account set up to defend him.

    paypal are basically saying that they reserve the right to screw anyone for no reason if they so choose. politics be damned.

    i think the internet backlash might just hurt their business a little more than threats from a bankrupt government... it's a dumb decision on paypal's part.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:24PM (#35304386)

    So far, the only nominally credible journalistic outlet reporting on this story (and indexed so far by teh Google) is Huffington Post, which appears to be reporting solely based upon the press release.

    This would be a great opportunity for some actual journalism - to find out why Paypal actually suspended access, what the reason behind the checking account access requirement is, whether or not there's government pressure at work here, and whether or not there's something that Courage to Resist knows about but isn't saying in their press release.

    Or, we could just blindly accept everything Courage to Resist says as the unvarnished truth.

  • Re:Who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:25PM (#35304418) Homepage Journal

    Manning is a hero to democracy. He risked everything to ensure that the people found out the truth about all the dirty secrets. I personally believe that in order for our world to get past all the bickering and warring, we will need open government as a constraint. We will not be able to properly explore deep space and survive our eventual destruction without complete openness in all aspects of our lives as well. Until then, we will be playing shadow games with one another and we will remain stuck on this rock, doomed.

    Also, PayPal is not a good organization. They are self-interested, and corrupt.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:25PM (#35304424)

    There really is no excuse for this at all. We're all entitled to a fair trial and the best legal defense available to us. This signifies that Paypal doesn't support the constitution or the rule of law. Shameful.

    Nowhere does the Constitution say that you have the right to have an online money-transfer system facilitate a non-profit in taking donations for a legal defense fund. They are a business, they have the right to refuse service to someone. If Amazon suddenly said "sorry, we aren't going to carry any of your books anymore", are you going to sue them for violation of your 1st Amendment rights against free speech?

    Besides, as he would be tried under court martial since he is a uniformed service member, the military has to provide him with counsel(a military officer). He can of course hire additional civilian lawyers if he so desires. But, if this infringes on his constitutional rights, then that would mean that anyone who did not have a non-profit taking donations for them would have been deprived of their rights as well. And(to get really pessimistic), the Constitution says nothing about the quality of your counsel, only that you have the right TO counsel.

  • by Tsingi (870990) <graham.rick@gma i l .com> on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:27PM (#35304470)
    Well, if he has been convicted already, then I guess this is all moot.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:28PM (#35304490) Journal

    Morals do not apply to corporations.

    My Business Ethics professor would've flunked you for saying that in class.

  • Re:Who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dummondwhu (225225) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:30PM (#35304514)
    I don't owe Bradley Manning a fair trial because I'm not a government entity. He is entitled to a fair trial before government punishment is meted out, period. I'm entitled to form an opinion of him based on available knowledge and I'm also free to decide to not associate with him in any way whether or not that opinion is based on fact or conjecture. PayPal is afforded the exact same rights that I am. They don't owe him anything and they certainly aren't forced to wait for government trials to conclude before they form an opinion of someone and act upon it, so long as they aren't violating traditional discriminatory statutes and the like.
  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:38PM (#35304704)
    Nice straw man, because neither of those equate to freezing your account because it's not set up properly according to their terms of service and standard procedures.
  • by morgauxo (974071) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:39PM (#35304714)
    We need more traitors like that. People should not be allowed to kill indiscriminately regardless of who they are or what their position is. Have you actually read any of the documents he leaked? Soldiers were gunning down whole families because there may possibly have been some terrorists nearby. If our country is going to be doing that then "We the People" need to put an end to it and we can't do that if we don't know what is going on. Afterall, "We the People" are the source of the government in the US, right? If not then worse traitors than Bradly Manning have already done their damage and the wrong traitor is on trial. How can we "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" when the crooks and murderers in charge may hide from us everything important that is going on?
  • Re:Commentary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:39PM (#35304716)

    Not at all. As someone who holds a US security clearance I am absolutely against what he is accused of doing; it was dangerous, irresponsible, and against an oath he took when he agreed to accept his clearance level. At the same time, I have very little faith in a government appointed defense attorney providing the best defense available, which I feel such a high profile, political case deserves. Considering the man has been in solitary confinement for nearly 6 months now without so much as a peep out of anyone representing him, I'd say my lack of faith is well founded. Even if you assume that the man is guilty (which is always a dangerous and stupid thing to do) he deserves the right to defend himself in a court of law and other people have the right to raise money for that defense.

  • by Gorimek (61128) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:39PM (#35304718) Homepage

    That has been rephrased slightly to keep up with the times. It is now Land of the fee.

    We apologize for no inconvenience!

  • Re:Yeah yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:39PM (#35304726) Journal
    Hilariously, Paypal was actually started by a libertarian as some sort of "resist the man and his fiat currency's dead hand on trade." kind of thing. Now it voluntarily licks the boots of those who would suppress the entirely legal efforts of an advocacy group to secure a man a fair trial(rather than the present detention-without-trial-of-indefinite-length...)

    All hail the private sector, defender of liberty!
  • by macraig (621737) <`mark.a.craig' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:40PM (#35304740)

    So now Bradley Manning's ability to mount a strong defense is directly affected by corporate behavior having nothing to do with the judicial system. Gee, who knew that "business" could affect "justice" so directly? Does anybody really still think that simple campaign finance reforms are reformation enough?

    Corporate behavior can be as dangerous to democracy and ethics as any military campaign.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:43PM (#35304814)

    There really is no excuse for this at all. We're all entitled to a fair trial and the best legal defense available to us. This signifies that Paypal doesn't support the constitution or the rule of law. Shameful.

     

    Paypal is a private entity. Unfortunately, it's not doing anything illegal or unconstitutional, as far as I can tell, by choosing not to do business with someone.

    Too many arguments go like this. I believe it misses the real point being made. It was already well-established by the summary that Paypal has no legal obligation here.

    If you truly support the Constitution and principles like rule of law and due process, then you adhere to them even if the government is not going to use force to make you adhere to them. Anywhere that there is a choice in the matter, you get to see what people really believe in. Paypal wouldn't even provide a copy of the relevant portions of their policy.

    The funny thing is the implied hypocrisy. If any of the decision-makers at Paypal did find themselves in violation of the law, they'd never surrender their rights to due process. They'd want to know which law they are being accused of having broken. They'd want the prosecution to have to prove every claim it makes. But in their own little kingdom where they both make and enforce the rules, they want the ability to arbitrarily shut anyone down without ever having to demonstrate that they violeted the rules or even citing which rules would apply.

    In my opinion, they're assholes and if you do business with them, it is because you want assholes to prosper. Like you, I have never onced used Paypal and because of behavior like this, I never will. This is not remotely the first example of pathological behavior from this company.

  • by unil_1005 (1790334) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:45PM (#35304874)
    not this way.
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:46PM (#35304878)
    The summary says why they did it. Paypal asks that the account be set up so that Paypal can withdraw by default. They don't have an account set up for that, so they aren't holding to their part of the agreement. If they don't like those terms, they don't have to to business with Paypal.
  • Re:Who? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @03:57PM (#35305080)

    I'm also free to decide to not associate with him in any way whether or not that opinion is based on fact or conjecture. PayPal is afforded the exact same rights that I am.

    In my opinion, this is yet another example of why corporations deserve LESS rights than real citizens, not the same or more.

    Furthermore, you didn't say you would associate with him. Paypal on the other hand has agreed to transfer funds for all legal transactions. Singling out this one because they think/hope he's guilty or disagree with him, or wish to curry favor with those government powers that have already decided his fate, no, that's not legitimate. Legal of course.

  • Re:Yeah yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @04:09PM (#35305286) Journal

    Libertarians, unsurprisingly, respond to offers of cash for their companies the same way that regular Republicans do.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schadrach (1042952) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @04:18PM (#35305436)

    Big distinction -- they took the money from donators, and are refusing to pass it over the those whose account it was supplied to.

    PayPal can certainly refuse to deal further business with this fund, that is their right. But they should be required to either release the funds collected to the legal fund, or refund it to all donators, such that said funds can be donated through alternative means.

  • Re:Wow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 24, 2011 @04:22PM (#35305510)

    I work for PayPal, but don't have any knowledge of why this decision was made first hand. I can say that in many past cases where a non-profit's funds were frozen, and everyone makes a stink about how evil PayPal is, it comes down to the fact that after the Patriot Act, PayPal is obligated by law to make sure non-profits file extra paperwork to prove their status. I think Xorg's funds were frozen for a while and everyone interpreted as PayPal hating open source, when in reality they just forgot to file paperwork. This certainly could be PayPal refusing to do business with anyone associated with WikiLeaks after Anonymous tried a DDoS attack on api.paypal.com, but it could also be another technicality.

    Then why won't Paypal even provide the relevant policy text explaining their decision? Something stinks here. Oh yeah, it's Paypal. Honestly though, anyone that uses Paypal for more than a token amount is an idiot. This is hardly the first time they've taken arbitrary actions that are unsupported by their stated policies. I don't see how anyone can justify placing any trust in the company.

  • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @04:46PM (#35305862) Homepage

    That is the biggest problem. They claim they are not a bank so as not to be regulated as a bank in the US, so they are allowed to screw customers by freezing funds at their discretion, not giving enough fraud protection etc.
    What is amazing though is this: I was reading an article on consumerist (http://consumerist.com/2010/05/keep-paypal-from-using-the-default-atm-debit-setting-to-save-on-bank-fees.html) and someone from Paypal got offended because they were called an "unregulated bank" by the author. So they posted this little tidbit:

    we're not regulated as a bank in the U.S. (we don't hold deposits or issue credit)

    Whoa, there, cowboy!
    First of all, what do you call the funds in the Paypal account? IMHO the only reason they are not called a "deposit" is because Paypal can freeze it at will!
    Secondly, if they are not issuing credit, WTF is "Bill Me Later"??? Just because they don't CALL it credit, it doesn't mean it is not!

  • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @04:48PM (#35305888)
    They are a bank. They are just what happens when you don't regulate banks.
  • Re:Yeah yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @04:55PM (#35306010)

    When you join the military you sign away your rights. You are subject to the UCMJ.

    You can never sign away rights. You can't sign yourself into slavery. You can, however, sign a contract with the government that subjects you to another set of rules with "alternate" rights. But you know what the rules are before you enter, and they are consistently (if not always fairly) applied. The rights aren't "gone" but you agree to abide by more restrictive ones for the time you are employed by those who, ultimately, grant the rights (and please, no arguments about rights being innate, I understand that argument and point out that, whether true, that's not how rights operate in the real world).

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @05:02PM (#35306144)

    The question is not whether PayPal has the right to do this. They most assuredly do.

    I disagree with that. They are a bank. Whether they are currently regulated as such in the US is irrelevant to the question of whether they are one. As such, they do not have the "right" to do this. That the government has chosen to declare the bank to be not-a-bank because of bribes received is irrelevant to whether they are a bank and whether they have the right to do it. Having the power to do it doesn't mean they have the right to.

  • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @05:14PM (#35306336)

    Patriotic?

    Patriotism is standing up for the ideal that any person accused of a crime deserves a vigorous defense.

  • Re:Yeah yeah (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 24, 2011 @05:20PM (#35306398)

    "stands accused"

    Your post. #fail

  • Re:Again? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @05:44PM (#35306704)

    Does it include the waiver of the right to presumption of innocence and the right to be treated humanely when in captivity?

  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameMaster (148118) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @05:57PM (#35306892)

    No, but authoritarian nuts like Isaac-1 like to use the boogie-man of "UCMJ" as a blanket shield to justify any treatment of someone like Bradley in the hopes that you won't look too closely at the actual UCMJ and realize that it doesn't actually allow abusive treatment of prisoners (even after they've been convicted).

  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yaur (1069446) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @06:13PM (#35307070)
    If they (paypal) are already holding the assets how is this not extortion?
  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @06:33PM (#35307246)

    I didn't really have a "hero" when I was a kid, nor did I as I was growing up, primarily because all of the "heroes" I was told I should look up to were either fictitious (and thus inherently biased) or simply bullshit. Even as a kid that was pretty obvious. I did have people I looked up to, people I emulated as being role models, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., but they focused on the symptoms of what was really a cancer that needed to be excised--they never addressed the root of the problems they made so much noise about.

    I do have a "hero" now, and have since the day I heard about him. Bradley Manning. He found himself in possession of something that could actually be used to address the root of those problems and did what he though would best serve that goal, as well as do what he took an oath to do--protect his country, not the government, but his country...at all costs, up to and including his life.

    Say what you will, but any way I look at it Bradley Manning knowingly risked his life to provide the citizens of this country, as well as the rest of the world, with KNOWLEDGE, knowledge that I think is crucial to our understanding of those we employ to run our country, and by extension, a large portion of the rest of the world (another issue entirely). It is one thing to speak out, it is another thing entirely to risk one's life in order to speak out. He knew the risks and weighed them carefully, I am sure.

    Many do not understand his actions simply because they wouldn't do such a thing themselves--put themselves in harms way for the betterment of others. That in itself, in my mind, is a symptom of exactly what he is trying to fix--the selfish ambivalence pervasive in our society that allows our elected leaders, as well as corporations, to do pretty much anything they want. That selfish ambivalence is a product of the misinformation and lies we've all been handed, as well as the omission of data from the public domain. The release of those cables is a huge step in dealing with such issues.

    That being said, fuck you Paypal. I've never been a customer and I never will because of shit like this (that also rules out doing business with anyone that requires PayPal transactions).

    Anyone have any idea if Courage to Resist has set up a SECURE (and by that I mean "unfreezable") means of donating? I'd like to donate.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 24, 2011 @09:06PM (#35308530) Homepage Journal

    Its actually a pretty clearly spelled out policy... non-profit accounts have to be linked to a bank account. That _doesn't_ mean you have to grant PayPal the ability to roam around the bank account and do anything they want to.

    Yes, yes it does. Because when you give them access to make deposits and withdrawals, which is what you are doing when you "link" paypal to your bank account, then you are giving them permission to do anything they like to your account in practice whether or not that was your intention. I say this as a paypal user who has never had a single problem. It's just a matter of time though, right? If I were doing any meaningful volume, or if I had any meaningful amount of money in the account linked to paypal, then I would feel vulnerable. I would use something else, but nothing else lets me do what paypal does.

  • Re:Again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Friday February 25, 2011 @01:51AM (#35309850)

    No, you don't. Getting a clearance simply means that more things are illegal for you. It does not change the way you must be treated if you are accused of doing something illegal.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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