WikiLeaks still under ‘economic seige ‘

A  cartel of US banks  has placed the site  under  an  “unlawful economic seige,”said WikiLeaks,  at the end of last month

Now, “A block on processing donations for WikiLeaks by Visa Europe and other credit card companies is unlikely to have violated EU anti-trust rules, the European Commission said on Tuesday,   according to Reuters today  (November 27).

The story continues:

“DataCell, a company that collected donations for WikiLeaks, complained to the Commission about Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe and American Express Co after they stopped processing donations for WikiLeaks in December 2010.

“Their decisions followed criticism by the United States of WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables.

” ‘On the basis of the information available, the Commission considers that the complaint does not merit further investigation because it is unlikely that any infringement of EU competition rules could be established ‘,” said a spokesman for the Commission, the EU executive.

“He added, however, that the Commission would look at new information from DataCell before taking a final decision.

WikiLeaks Timeline of events >>>

Financial Blockade: Chronology

– 27 November 2010: United States – US State Department intentionally and wrongfully imply (but do not formally state) illegal conduct by WikiLeaks in a letter to lawyers for Julian Assange, which they then immediately leak to the press

– 29 November 2010: Global – Cablegate publication starts with New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais & the Guardian, expanding eventually to over 90 publications in over 50 countries.

– 29 November 2010 and following days: United States – Assassination calls and declarations of war by US senators, pundits and media against WikiLeaks.

– 1 December 2010: United States/Global – Amazon stops hosting WikiLeaks

– 2 December 2010: United States/Global – EveryDNS stops wikileaks.org domain service

– 3 December 2010: United States/Global – Paypal discontinues service

– 4 December 2010: Germany – PayPal blocks Wau Holland Stiftung’s (WHS, the foundation receiving donations for WikiLeaks) access to its account and freezes remaining money for 180 days. The money is released immediately by PayPal after a WHS lawyer intervenes.

– 6 December 2010: Switzerland – Swiss Post Finance freezes Julian Assange Defence Fund account in Switzerland

– 7 December 2010: United States/Global – Visa and MasterCard stop processing payments to WikiLeaks.
Germany – A letter from the FA Kassel (Kassel tax department) to WHS Foundation, which receives donations for WikiLeaks, asked whether donations have been transferred to WikiLeaks. WHS responded promptly, with data detailing transfers to WikiLeaks

– 8 December 2010: United States/global – Updated Statement about WikiLeaks from PayPal General Counsel

– 9 December 2010: Global – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemns blockade

– 12 December 2010: Iceland – Icelandic Parliament Considers Revoking Visa/MasterCard Licenses For Wikileaks Ban

– 15 December 2010: Germany – FA Kassel (tax department) announces WHS (the foundation that receives donations for WikiLeaks) charitable status may be revoked (pending investigation).

– 16 December 2010: Global – Amnesty International examines Human Rights at stake when blocking WikiLeaks payments

– 18 December 2010: United States/global – Bank of America discontinues any services intended for WikiLeaks

– 20 December 2010: United States – Apple removes WikiLeaks application for iPhones

– 21 December 2010: United States/Global – Western Union adds WikiLeaks to ’Interdiction List’
Global: UN and OAS Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression issue a Joint Statement Condemning the Blockade against WikiLeaks

– 26 December 2010: United States: New York Times Editorial Condemns Blockade

– 30 December 2010: Denmark/Global – Denmark-based contractor for VISA Europe and MasterCard, Teller AS, reports that WikiLeaks has not violated any VISA regulations, Icelandic or Danish laws.

– 1 January 2011: Germany – WHS Foundation, which receives donations for WikiLeaks moves its office from Kassel to Hamburg

– 13 January 2011: United States – US Treasury finds no grounds to blacklist WikiLeaks

– 17 January 2011: UK – WikiLeaks Press conference with Rudolf Elmer

– 19 January 2011: Switzerland – Elmer is handed suspended sentence. He is the arrested without charge in connection with WikiLeaks press conference.

– 9 February 2011: United States/Global – Bank of America, who hired data intelligence firms HBGary, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies, is revealed to have commisioned a proposal of a systematic attack against WikiLeaks. The proposal is leaked.

– 24 February/1 March 2011: United States – Ethics complaint filed at the DC Bar against law firm Hunton&Williams and members of Congress call for probe into illegal conduct by the firm (hired by Bank of America to sabotage WikiLeaks and target WikiLeaks’ supporters)

– 14 February 2011: Germany: FA Hamburg-Nord (tax department) drops Kassel investigation into WHS Foundation’s (which receives donations for WikiLeaks) charitable status, but initiates a new investigation on different grounds.

– 9 June 2011: EU – WikiLeaks & Datacell announce prospective EU Commission Complaint against VISA and Mastercard

– 7 – 8 July 2011: Iceland/Global – DataCell: Credit card donation to WikiLeaks is accepted again but VISA closes payments hours after

– 14 July 2011: EU – WikiLeaks & Datacell file a Complaint to the European Commission for infringement of the EU Anti Trust Laws

– 25 July 2011: Switzerland – Rudolf Elmer is released after 187 days in detention. He had not been charged.

– 24 October 2011: Global – WikiLeaks suspends publication to invest all resources in fighting the blockade.
Germany – Decision on revoking WHS (the foundation that receives donations for WikiLeaks) status is still pending; WHS has been prevented from opening new bank accounts in Switzerland and Germany for the past 9 months.

Donations  blocked

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been staying in Ecuador’s embassy in central London since June to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape and sexual assault allegations.

“Assange said there were no lawful grounds for the card companies’ actions, which he said had cost Wikileaks 95 percent of its revenue and threatened his organization’s existence.”

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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