Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wikileaks, KKK & PayPal, VISA & MasterCard

The Ku Klux Klan is, I believe, a despicable organisation. Their move to violence was so horrific that one of the founders turned his back on them. In short I don't like them,

However they are legal. As a supporter of free speech I accept that. I'm not happy with it, but I accept it. The thing is you don't have to be happy with any group in order for them to be legal.

As a legal organisation PayPal, VISA, and MasterCard can do business with them. Well it is if you take a position that you are impartial. This is a logical consistent view.

However that is not what PayPal, et all are doing. They took an explicit decision not to treat Wikileaks impartiality. They treated them differently to the KKK. And that's the problem.

Wikileaks is a legal organisation. It has been subject to no legal case in the US or anywhere. There has been no court case or judgement that makes these financial organisations shut down their accounts. It is VISA's, et all, choice.

The treatment of Wikilekas when contrasted with the KKK, or any other legal organisation, is marked. It is this hypocrisy and craven surrender to the US politicians or public that is the problem.

You can find a million and one groups who use VISA, et al, whom you don't agree with. You'll find racists, religious extremists, pro & anti-abortionists, Jews, communists, Catholics, Muslims, the far left and the ultra right, and millions of others, use them to raise money or pay their bills.

All of these bodies are free to do so, unless a court has ruled that they are illegal. You can disagree with a lot of these groups depending upon your political or religious stance. This is fine, but it doesn't mean they should be banned our have their accounts suspended. Not unless a court says they should be.

I do find it worrying that these international businesses will suspend any account because some politician or media group in the US says so.

Giving in to the will of a politician or the mob is scary.

They suspend Wikileaks which is good, if you believe that they should be suspended. But what happens if they suspend your group? What happens if they suspend you because a politician or newspaper doesn't like you? Without any legal protection for you and your rights?

This isn't about Wikileaks as such, rather it is doing something out of fear rather than doing what a court says.

We have courts and laws. These laws protect all of us. The defend our rights. We are supposed to have moved away from the dark days where political bullying can drive a coach and horses over our rights.

If a court said that Wikilekas had acted illegally and ordered tthe suspension of their accounts then fine. But this is just giving in to graven political bullying.

The thing is that PayPal, VISA, and MasterCard are international bushiness who make most of their money outside the US. To link their businesses to the US, and to open up the possibility that anyone's accounts can be suspended because some American politician says so without any court being involved is a bad business choice.

Would you use them if there is a chance that you'll be suspended on the say so of a fly-by-night politician?

7 comments:

  1. A good example of double standards. I'd prefer to see the KKK with sanctions against it and for wikileaks to be free to do what it's currently doing. We as citizens have a right to know what our governments are doing. After all, we are the ones that voted for them

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  2. I have to agree with u, except I cannot believe the KKK have not been court ordered as a terrorist group? Is what they want to do, is to terrorise ppl of other races and religions?
    But even then Freedom of speach and thought r just too important.

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  3. When one thinks of the KKK one thinks of lynching, at least I do. As they are not an illegal organisation there must have some legal protection. I think this being that they don't use violence any more as an organisation. Some members may use violence but the group doesn't, at least that is the argument. They are protected by laws on freedom of expression. You can hate them, and I do, but they are protected. You don't have to agree with or support a group to understand that they are not illegal. The same should apply to WikiLeaks. You may not like or agree with them but they are not illegal. As they are a legal group then they deserve the same protection as any other legal group. It is the persecution of them by politicions without any legal judgement against them that I find terrible

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  4. What alternative is their to visa mastercard and american express

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  5. We all need the current credit card/debit card businesses. It is the concentration of such cards in US hands which may cause problems. Problems for us and the companies themselves. Well to be accurate it is a problem if these companies bow to political pressure rather than a court ruling. You can use use the new social micropayment system, Flattr, to make donations to anyone you like. This a new Swedish startup. This is not prone to US pressure, though to be fair it depends upon the Swedish government to. This, and other sites are great for small donations the problem is how can you not use VISA, et al. To my mind this shows the world that there is a Market for, and a need for, a non-US based card system free from US pressure. If played right this is going to be a massive opportunity for a non-US company. Though this isn't much use now, it will lead to a reduction of US commercial power

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  6. Less of a pragmatic issue it's more a symbolic fight that just plays dirty roles, with these companies playing double standards, same story for amazon who has requested to keep books on pedophilia but refuses to host wikileaks. Wikileaks will continue to flourish and companies will be looked down for rejecting a new foundation of transparency and righteousness. I am happy that these companies received DDOS attacks, while I personally understand they're illegal and do not do it myself, As St. Augustine says "An unjust law is no law", hence attributions to Thorough for civil disobedience.

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  7. The problem is hypocrisy and firms buckling to poltical pressure rather than doing something because a court orders them to shut an account down

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