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Icelandic Court Rules: Wikileaks Will Get Contributed Credit Card Money 168

New submitter mordur writes "An Icelandic District Court has ordered the payment processing company Valitor to immediately reopen the merchant account (Icelandic original) of DataCell and start processing credit card payments for the Wikileaks organization. Noncompliance on behalf of Valitor will result in daily fines of ISK 800.000 (approx. USD 60.000). Under pressure from the USA based international credit card companies, Valitor stopped all service to DataCell, and thus to Wikileaks, just hours after having started processing payment in July 2011. The court found that Valitor had failed to prove that the processing of payments for Wikileaks was contrary to the business policies of the international credit card companies, nor had the company proved that DataCell was in breach of the service agreement between the companies by serving Wikileaks."
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Icelandic Court Rules: Wikileaks Will Get Contributed Credit Card Money

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  • by ACTA sucks ( 2682615 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:17PM (#40628923)
    European countries always seem to have the most common sense in their rulings. USA is out of reality and Asia keeps to their own stuff. EU shines.

    I think we should let the US companies and government to know that they can't do shit like this to us Europeans by banning Visa, Mastercard and Google from operating in Europe. Remember, we do have our own credit card processing networks too - lets use them instead. That way your privacy is better too, as your data isn't handed to US companies and therefore US government has no access to them.
    • by Maquis196 ( 535256 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:29PM (#40629063)

      Well it's not all milk and honey over here. Our airlines ARE supposed to give data to the US government if the airline has anything to do with America. I'm in the UK and were bow down to most US requests for people or information.

      Iceland isn't EU (although they are attempting to join afaik), they just happen to be an awesome country that seems to care about such things. They must have been doing a good job, my goverment called them terrorists once for letting their banks fail (oh no, not the banks!).

      This might have been feeding a troll but wanted to set a small record straight :)

      • Europe != EU
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:40PM (#40629193)

        Yeah the bank thing was hilarious.

        "We demand the government reimburse us for the money held in failed Icelandic banks!"

        "Why? the debt was not backed by the full faith and credence of the government; that's why the interest rates were so high"


        • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <shentino@gmail.com> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:42PM (#40629943)

          There's nothing wrong with backing banks as long as all we do is keep them from taking their depositors down with them.

          The problem with the US system is that we prop up zombies that don't deserve to stay in business.

          But protecting innocent depositors is a good thing.

        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:16PM (#40630365) Homepage

          Lol, yeah. I like to simply view the British "losses" in the Icesave situation as a late payment for all the cod the British stole from Icelandic waters [wikipedia.org].

          "Losses" is in quote because the banks actually are, in fact, paying off their minimum insured obligations, and are on track to finish paying them off within the next year or so (they're already half done). The Icelandic government took on huge amounts of debt, in no small part to help prop up the banks and get them back on their feet so they'd be worth enough to sell off enough asset value to do this. And the British and Dutch are still suing us in the EFTA. Gee, thanks. We appreciate the whole mackerel thing, too. How dare Iceland and the Faroes fish a non-negligable portion of a fish that does most of its growing in Icelandic and Faroese waters? Such insolence, I know. Best to pressure the EC to slap sanctions on us for "overfishing" (aka, taking a non-negligible portion of the catch) when you refuse to negotiate.

          Remember all that electricity you're wanting to buy [guardian.co.uk]?...

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            From the Wikipedia article you linked:
            "In 1972, Iceland unilaterally declared an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending beyond its territorial waters, before announcing plans to reduce overfishing."

            From http://www.britains-smallwars.com/RRGP/CodWar.htm:
            "The 200-mile economic exclusion zone was supported by various coastal states, including Great Britain, at UN conferences on the Law of the Sea, although it was not law yet."

            So Iceland decides to declare that all that territory belongs to them, and somehow i

            • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @07:52PM (#40633817) Homepage

              First off, there were *three* cod wars, in case you forgot. After overfishing your waters (and the waters of several other countries - I've found the Irish people I've met have a lot to complain about on this front, too), you sent trawlers to overfish other people's waters. Iceland's among them, but hardly alone. You started doing that not long after you *invaded* and occupied Iceland, a neutral country, with one of the most bungling invasions ever, in order to prevent a nonexistent Nazi plan which existed only in your leaders' minds. But I digress. You started fishing as little as *4 kilometers* from Iceland's shore, meaning that Icelanders could sit there and easily watch your trawlers overfishing Iceland's waters. The first Cod War pushed you back to 12, which is still easily in sight of the shore, overfishing Iceland's waters with even more ships involved. The second Cod War pushed you back to what was then the international limit of 50km. However, by the 1970s, many nations had already began asserting 200km exclusive economic zones - in fact, the first ones were claimed in the 1940s. By the 1970s, they had become standard. Heck, the groundwork for the concept of the EEZ began from work from UK in *1939* with the Panama declaration, and then in 1942 concerning the Gulf of Paria. The UK claimed exclusive economic access to a wide range of area outside their territorial waters in 1964. And even if all this wasn't the case, it's ridiculous that Britain felt that it had the god-given right to trawl up the lion's share of the fish in waters right next to Iceland - let alone ignoring how much you were overexploiting the stocks (something Iceland immediately reversed). Iceland's actions were upheld by the International Court of Justice in 1974 (United Kingdom vs. Iceland, 1974 ICJ Rep 3, 75).

              You were saying?

              do you really think the cost would add up to the $5 billion you owe to Britain and the Netherlands?

              Well, let's see... Iceland's fisheries are worth about $1.5 billion a year, and you were exploiting them from the 1940s to the 1970s... so no, you still owe us a damn lot more. Perhaps *you* should vote on a repayment plan.

              concerning a single industry that really isn't that important.

              Once again, the world revolves around you. Yeah, not that important for you. It's only 40% of our entire economy. Which was the crux of the whole problem.

              Past problems aside, if someone lends you money you owe it to them to pay it back.

              Companies go bankrupt. Deal with it. Just ignoring that there was clearly no government guarantee, who in their right mind expects a government backing on a 6% interest rate? What's next, do you want us to ensure that anyone who buys junk bonds to get their money back if they loses value? Full reward, no risk, is that the plan?

              Especially if the countries lending it are currently hard up themselves

              Oh yeah, really hard up compared to Iceland, which had just had the per-capita equivalent of 300 Lehman Brothers fail at once.

      • by CowTipperGore ( 1081903 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:28PM (#40629759)

        This might have been feeding a troll...

        Let's see. Brand new account, other posts are pro-Microsoft, and he worked a slam on Google into a post about Iceland and Wikileaks. We have a winner!

    • Iceland isn't exactly European. I mean, it was settled by Vikings back in the day, and Norway has occasionally over the course of history tried to take charge of it, but generally speaking the Icelanders have done their own thing. They aren't part of the EU or the Euro, for instance.

      But yeah, 3 cheers for the world's oldest democracy!

      • There are other countries in the Europe who also aren't part of the EU or have Euro as their currency. Iceland has language close to other European languages and is geographically in Europe, so yeah, they should (and are) considered to be Europeans.
      • Don't get me wrong, I love Iceland, but I believe that the world's oldest democracy is San Marino [wikipedia.org], which has been a republic since its founding in A.D. 301.

        • Thank you for the correction, sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Or at least a scholar.

        • Don't get me wrong, I love Iceland, but I believe that the world's oldest democracy is San Marino [wikipedia.org], which has been a republic since its founding in A.D. 301.

          Not that I doubt you, but San Marino was ruled by its bishop as recently as the 9th century, with the democratic part of the government coming in the 10th century.

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            Not to mention that the Fascists ruled it from the 1920s to the 1940s and banned all other political parties from participating. Of course Iceland is problematic in and of itself in that Denmark banned the Al(th)ing from 1800 to 1845.

        • http://www.iomguide.com/tynwaldhill.php [iomguide.com]
          In 1979, Tynwald celebrated its Millennium under the watchful eye of Her Majesty the Queen, Lord of Man. The Queen returned to preside over the ceremony in 2003, a year after her Golden Jubilee. The Isle of Man is not part of UK, but remains a Crown Dependency.

          http://www.gov.im/mnh/heritage/story/tynwald.xml [www.gov.im]
          The World’s Oldest Continuous Parliament.

          The most enduring relic of Scandinavian culture in the Isle of Man is the Island’s
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Internet operates world-wide, as do banks and credit card companies - we consumers have choices. Companies which comply with the freedom killing orders of fascist governments should be boycotted. As the recent Barclay's bank disclosures prove, all of the major banks are run by crooks, who operate in collusion with each other. Perhaps Iceland is the only country who's government refuses to allow it's banks to collude with the rest of the world's banks. When will the countries in Europe demonstrate they a

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:42PM (#40629213) Journal
        Iceland actually totally fucked up at banking not so long ago. However, that may have actually had a salubrious effect. In the US and EU, the fuckuppery of the banking sector has been massive; but small enough that shovelling bushels of money at the people responsible can be advanced as a 'reasonable' proposal. In the case of Iceland, the scale of the meltdown of the imaginary money economy was so enormous that even the most overtly delusional had difficulty advocating the 'just bail out the Experienced Experts who got us here' theory of repair...
        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:08PM (#40629549)

          A bunch of banks that happened to be in Iceland, but not backed by the government, made some promises they couldn't keep. A lot of people, mostly in the UK, fell for those promises, and when everything went belly up they demanded that the Icelanders make good on them, which would have essentially bankrupted the country. The Icelanders felt that wasn't fair, and had the wherewithal to tell the banks, the investors, and the countries that were backing them, to go to hell.

          • Indeed. My point was just that(in terms of bank bad debts vs. GDP) Iceland experienced the largest bubble of financial chicanery of any economic region(and, to the best of my knowledge, any point in human history) which helped remove the "zOMG, we have to bail out the banks or Worse Things Will Happen!!!!" faction from serious consideration.

            In the US, for instance, the government was only strictly on the hook for the (relatively small, and largely not advantageous to the bankers) FDIC-insured accounts. M
            • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

              So rather than "Iceland actually totally fucked up at banking" what you meant to say was "some Icelandic banks totally fucked up and Icleand, unlike the rest of the world in a similar situation, DIDN'T fuck up."

            • by Rei ( 128717 )

              Indeed. It's hard for people to picture how big the scale of the Icelandic banking crisis was. The banks weren't just big by Icelandic standards, they were big by global standards, in a country of only 320,000 people. Remember how big of a deal Lehman Brothers was? Picture 300 Lehman Brothers failing at once. That's the Icelandic per-capita equivalent when the three major banks went down. Here's what happened to the Icelandic stock market [isocracy.org].

            • You do not understand what happened with AIG and the banks.

              But let me leave this little nugget for you, had the government not bailed out AIG almost every single bank in the US and probably world would have went under. We are talking a total collapse of the banking system and a run on the banks. The economic catastrophe that would have resulted would have made the bailout look like pennies.

              There might have been a couple banks here and there that weren't exposed to the real estate losses and wouldn't have ne

          • And so far, Iceland is doing just fine, while Ireland, for instance, did what it was told.

            Ireland balanced its budget, and then had to bail out the banks and is now in a cost-cutting death spiral, while being told all that nasty social spending caused it all and has to stop. Milton Friedman for the win there. Thieves take all.

            Iceland for the win. Doing what you are told is not, despite what vast numbers of human instinctively believe, the right thing to do.

            • by Rei ( 128717 )

              Iceland is not doing "just fine", and Iceland largely did what it was told by the international community (including becoming the IMF's new poster child) - just not what the British and Dutch demanded it do. There's a lot of myths about Iceland going around (which Krugman gives a wink and a nudge to by posting grossly misleading stats). Trust me on this one, I live in Iceland. The country got slammed, and is far from a "happily ever after" story. The only reason we're growing faster than most of Europe

          • by joe545 ( 871599 )
            The key part you neglect to mention is that the Icelanders signed up to a statutory guarantee to guarantee up to a certain level of depositors funds. When Landsbanki collapsed taking IceSave with it, Iceland turned around and said that this guarantee only applied to Icelanders and not to other countries. Only then did the UK and the Netherlands start taking Landsbanki's assets.
            • by Rei ( 128717 )

              Please point to where the Icelandic government guaranteed the solvency of the Icelandic Deposit Guarantees and Investor-Compensation Scheme.

              They never did. The decision to compensate Icelanders for their losses was purely a choice. Iceland could decide to give everyone Icelander who had an Icesave account a pony. Would that mean that they also owe every British person a pony?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jythie ( 914043 )
      Eh, there is a certain amount of information bais going on. Stories of EU courts sticking it to the US and being moderate fit an existing narrative well, but the reality is they are just as dysfunctional and have more then their fair share of crazy rulings. There are some thing EU courts (which is a VERY broad concept right there since each country has its own laws in a way that US states do not) are good for, and some things US courts tend to be saner on.

      Heh, though as others have pointed out, Iceland
      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        Indeed. Here's the last thing [grapevine.is] that the Icelandic supreme court made the news for. :P

        What makes it so ridiculous is that it's Goldfinger and Strawberries who are the ones who should have been slapped down by the court, not journalists reporting on them. They're so blatantly circumventing the law. Basically, strip clubs were made illegal in Iceland (to try to prevent trafficking and exploitation, not for moral reasons), so they reclassified themselves as bars and simply had the girls come in and work on th

    • "European countries always seem to have the most common sense in their rulings."

      Always? Like in the 1900 to 1940s?
    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      Note that Iceland is not part of the EU. This is a very small island with an incredible amount of common sense : They have sane privacy laws, they refuse to bail banks out and they understand that wikileaks is regular journalism. All the geeks of the world should migrate to this 300 000 persons island...
    • A large part of the European processing network is run by a subsidary of US Bank.

      Guess where they're from.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elavon [wikipedia.org]

  • The first thing I thought when I saw the amount they would be fined was "600 thousand ISK is chump change. I could make 50 million in an hour, no problem."
  • Iceland, for the win (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:51PM (#40629319) Homepage Journal

    The 2008 crisis hacked them worse than the USA and Europe. Now, 4 years later, they are riding high, and Europe and the USA are still muddling through. How? Why?

    For a country that four years ago plunged into a financial abyss so deep it all but shut down overnight, Iceland seems to be doing surprisingly well.

    It has repaid, early, many of the international loans that kept it afloat. Unemployment is hovering around 6 percent, and falling. And while much of Europe is struggling to pull itself out of the recessionary swamp, Iceland’s economy is expected to grow by 2.8 percent this year. ...

    But during the crisis, the country did many things different from its European counterparts. It let its three largest banks fail, instead of bailing them out. It ensured that domestic depositors got their money back and gave debt relief to struggling homeowners and to businesses facing bankruptcy.

    “Taking down a company with positive cash flow but negative equity would in the given circumstances have a domino effect, causing otherwise sound companies to collapse,” said Thorolfur Matthiasson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland. “Forgiving debt under those circumstances can be profitable for the financial institutions and help the economy and reduce unemployment as well.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/world/europe/icelands-economy-is-mending-amid-europes-malaise.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com]

    We, in Europe, and the USA, have much to learn from Iceland about how to survive a crippling financial crisis.

    • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:39PM (#40629907)

      We, in Europe, and the USA, have much to learn from Iceland about how to survive a crippling financial crisis.

      Yeah, like NOT putting the very people responsible for the bank's failures in powerful government positions.

      Obama Administration: Deputy Director, National Economic Council
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: Financial Analyst

      Obama Administration: Chairman, Presidentâ(TM)s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: Board Member (Chairman, 1990-94; Director, 2005-)

      Obama Administration: Commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: Partner and Co-head of Finance

      Obama Administration: Undersecretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, State Department
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs Group

      Obama Administration: Ambassador to Germany
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: Head of Goldman Sachs, Frankfurt

      Obama Administration: Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: Lobbyist 2005-2008; Vice President for Government Relations

      Obama Administration: Advisor to Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geitner
      Former Goldman Sachs Title: President and Chief Operating Officer (1999-2003)

      They should just change the name from the "White House" to "Goldman Sachs House". Yeah, I'm sure they'll do the right thing to protect regular US taxpayers.


    • As much as it sounds like a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, the actions of BoA, Chase, and pals actively forclosing on people IN GOOD STANDING [southcoast...torney.com], and in some cases, WHO DIDN'T HAVE LOANS to begin with, are quite suspicious.

      I understand that one shouldn't attribute to malic what can be explained by incompetence, but the "incompetence" defense doesn't mesh with the "leading experts" line of thought behind the bailouts.

      What the banking industry and the US govt. Plan to gain by taking the foundation out from under

      • by Svartalf ( 2997 )

        As much as it sounds like a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, the actions of BoA, Chase, and pals actively forclosing on people IN GOOD STANDING [southcoast...torney.com], and in some cases, WHO DIDN'T HAVE LOANS to begin with, are quite suspicious.

        I understand that one shouldn't attribute to malic what can be explained by incompetence, but the "incompetence" defense doesn't mesh with the "leading experts" line of thought behind the bailouts.

        Having had a bit of "fun" with one of their "pals" until recently you

    • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:04PM (#40630225) Homepage

      People in Iceland, like the USA, were in danger of losing their homes due to circumstances beyond their control.

      The US yakked about "moral hazard" and let the banks take everyone's homes.

      Iceland spent a tiny bit and let people keep their homes.

      Now the US has millions of disillusioned, unhomed people whose collective demand has pumped rental costs to unaffordable heights, so they are screwed both ways.

      In Iceland, people remained in their homes, found new jobs, and everyone is happy except the Friedmanites and Randites. The moral hazard was understood differently. In Iceland, you say, they believed the real moral hazard was the societal breakdown caused by people ruined through no fault of their own, but by the actions of foreign bankers - so they made sure it didn't happen.

      In the USA, it is our firm economic religion that people's failures are their own, and them's the breaks. Except rich bankers of course, who made out fine, own everyone's abandoned homes, and are about to make an even bigger killing when the value goes up and they can unload. The moral hazard is never the rich man's, always the schmuck's. 19th century plantation capitalism; freedom is for the owners, not the serfs. You wanna be free, get rich, lazy parasites...

      • +1 Depressing.
        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          -1, Not At All Related To The Truth

          People like that need to stop reading leftist blogs (full disclosure: I waver between calling myself "liberal" and "socialist") and even foreign reporting (which is sometimes almost as bad) and read the Icelandic press directly. Don't worry, there's English language sources [mbl.is].

      • True, except the part about foreign bankers. It was Icelandic banks and bankers that screwed up and the Icelandic government that looked the other way while they did it.

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        In Iceland, people remained in their homes, found new jobs, and everyone is happy except the Friedmanites and Randites.

        Keep dreaming.

        (I live in Iceland).

        • Someone earlier posted that unemployment was down to 6% and still falling. Are you seeing something different?
          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            Thought I responded to this already, but the response isn't here :( I'll just sum up very quickly: Already wrote about this elsewhere in this page, highly misleading, unemployment always lower in summer (seasonal jobs), Icelandic unemployment rate for the past several decades normally ranges 1-3%, sometimes below 1% (different countries have different "normal" unemployment rates, Iceland's is very low, so this is abnormally high). And people conveniently ignore all the facts that really suck about the cur

      • No fault of their own? Maybe that's true in Iceland (I don't know), but that is NOT true in the US. All those foreclosures are the direct result of people borrowing more money than they can afford, all because the stupid banks were willing to loan them the money. But you know what the best part is? Idiots like you that claim the bank misled them and it was the banks fault they borrowed all that money and spent it on vacations and SUV's.

        Giving all those people who borrowed more money than they could afford a

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Figured this sort of tripe would run rampant in this article. Let's go down the list.

      1) Surprisingly well? So that's what you call a housing bubble, money going half as far (in a country that imports most goods it consumes), 30% across-the-board austerity cuts, and currency restrictions which prevent you from buying foreign currencies in any sort of quantity so that you can't escape inflation.

      2) "many of the international loans" - no, just the first set of payments. Most of the debt is still quite outsta

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @12:59PM (#40629433) Homepage Journal

    no court order originally?

    I wasn't paying attention when they got banned, but was under the impression that there was at least one court somewhere that had banned them from receiving the money, because otherwise visa/amex/etc are targets to be sued ? sure, they're private organizations.. but they're let to move money only because governments let them and usually that includes that they don't discriminate randomly - which is why these participant organizations are under stress to be fined if they don't comply.

    I guess that shows to Valitor & other regional processors that they'd better ask for the fucking permits and court orders first, like nz cops.

  • Eat that, fascism!

  • This will just mean they will be cut off from the world financial processing system. If they start accepting these payments, the VISA network, for example, will just drop them as a provider. The other networks will as well, and you can count the truly international ones on one hand. As someone said above, it's financial suicide for Valitor.
  • It's a fact that the US has targeted anyone who contributes to Assange, Manning or Wikileaks. They mess with you at the borders, taking your stuff away and questioning you, making it damned clear that you are their bitch for the rest of your life.

    So how do we help Assange, Wikileaks and Manning without effectively losing citizenship? I am not overstating this. They will fuck with you for the rest of your life, in countless ways, untraceable to them. And no court will stop them, given that they don't give a fuck what the courts think. Secret police don't have rules.

  • will start making an impact.

  • The whole world must bow down in fear & awe of the brutal, violent, omnipresent, colonial power that the USA has become!
    The UK has caved, Sweden has caved, only one tiny South American country hasn't!

  • Let companies serve who they want to serve. Those who cater to everyone will probably do better. It's the basis of freedom and market competition.

    There are endless numbers of companies who can process credit cards, and many of them will pay Wikileaks. Use the companies you like and don't use the companies you don't like. It's much more effective then taking them to court to force them to take your money.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.