Assange blames right-wing US pols for funding block that cost Wikileaks at least $50 million

Julian Assange today accused "hard-right" American lawmakers of pressuring credit card companies to block more than $50 million of donations to Wikileaks, which published thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables and other leaked documents. The European Commission today announced it was unlikely Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe and American Express Co violated EU anti-trust rules by blocking the processing of donations to WikiLeaks.
Snip from Reuters:

Assange said MasterCard had acknowledged in filings with the European Commission it had spoken to the staffs of Joseph Lieberman, an independent U.S. senator who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Republican Representative Peter King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.

This was evidence, Assange said, that "hard-right U.S. politicians were directly behind the extrajudicial banking blockade against WikiLeaks".

He said the action had blocked 95 percent of WikiLeaks' donations from Europe and cost it at least $50 million.

In related news, you need $50 million to operate a website that publishes leaked government documents.

Read the rest at Reuters.


  1. I used to think that wikileaks was cool and all, but then I realized Assange was just using it as soapbox to toot his own narcissistic bullshit horn upon the world.  Can he just go away already, he’s had his fifteen minutes and no one gives a crap anymore.

    1. Rather, could something replace him? We still need the transparency and the concept is good, it just needs a new face.

      1. You do realise it’s standard procedure to focus on the character of individuals rather than attacking the organisation directly. We see the same thing happen to Bradley Manning: government and news media don’t talk about reporting war crimes. They talk about his personality. Apparently he is gay. And troubled. Mentally ill. A misfit. An outcast – like Assange, who even *looks* like a stereotypical baddy in a Hollywood movie. He really must be a very bad man. 

        When it works, people demand WikiLeaks be shut down. When it half works, they want to get rid of Assange (who, if he is such an ego maniac, would be necessary to run the organisation, because that’s how it would be organised). And no matter what, it keeps the conversation off what is important: corruption, profiteering, war crimes, etc. Surprisingly, most people have not seen Collateral Murder, which should be required viewing before having any discussion of Manning or Assange – or indeed their personal habits and foibles.

        There are a lot of Leaks organisations now to enhance the functions of Wikileaks. The idea has spread.

        The War on Transparency will undoubtedly be as effective as the War on Drugs and the War of Terror.

        1. You make a good point. Character assassination can be very effective at ruining or muffling a cause. I should reiterate that we still need the transparency – for all his sleaziness, Assange has helped expose outright moral corruption and bring a paradigm shift. I only wished we had a more charming and alluring fellow at the forefront to rally the people and swiften this war – though if we did then the powers that be would simply spin them until they appeared as smarmy as Assange. Alright, point taken, lets focus on the corruption rather than Assange.

    2. Ah yes…

      Assange saying, “the hard-right U.S. politicians were directly behind the extrajudicial banking blockade against WikiLeaks …” is simply the height of narcissism.  How do you survive the pain of dealing with it?  Oh, dear….  it must be killing your fragile sensibilities.

      1. So why do you think people will shriek in horror when they hear Assange defend Bradley Manning?  Manning should get the Medal of Freedom instead of being imprisoned while a military court tries him.

        1. I agree about Manning. My point was that Wikileaks does important, substantive work, and that Assange uses the attention on him to help others and to call attention to important issues, not to “toot his own narcissistic horn”.

  2. Oh boy. If Jules thinks Lieberman is “hard-right” we would not BELIEVE the politics across the South. I mean Connecticut right is not Southern right, you know?

    Also, I am always confused when Jules says these things. He knows the U.S. considers the documents in question sensitive and secret. That’s why publishing them can be useful. What does he expect the United States to do when he tries to publish secret documents? It’s game on, Jules. Wear your helmet and no whining.

    1. Well, Lieberman’s no Michelle Bachman or Arpaio or whatever, even supports gay rights, but he’s extremely supportive of the military-industrial complex and shows a consistent contempt for civil liberties. He’s just an ecumenical (I guess) authoritarian, except for the Islamo-/Arabo-phobia, which is practically required for an American hawk these days.

    2. Lieberman is a Chicken-Hawk, which by definition is someone who leans to the right on military/security issues while never serving. On anything dealing with intelligence gathering and national defense he regularly positions himself further to the right than Republicans who actually served in Intelligence/Military.

      Lieberman is not alone in being a Chicken-Hawk, in fact to close the “Security gap” Dems have been more keen than Republicans of late to press for more sweeping security measures.  So with respect to Assange’s dealings with the US I think “Far Right” is completely appropriate. Hell our President has a kill list, which evidently included 16 year old Americans on it. That seems pretty “Far Right”.

      Looking at Lieberman’s record after losing the Democratic primary and being re-elected in ’06, he seems to have moved further to the right on most issues. He endorsed McCain in ’08, leaned towards Rmoney this year, but never formally endorsed either candidate. He worked to undermine both health care reform and finance reform as he pressed for the inclusion of unrelated military and surveillance measures, before caving to pressure, dropping the measures, and begrudgingly voting for both. I guess that’s his special way of saying F@#k you to Connecticut Democrats before he retires.

      All in all with respect to the issues directly effecting Assange and others working with Wikileaks, I think it is quite evident that most of the elected and appointed leaders of this country have indeed lurched far to the right.

      I have to be honest, I am a bit curious what the $50 million goes towards. Legal team? Security? Or just salaries that ensure Wikileaks can keep their best talent from leaving to work with a competitor (sarcasm).

      1. Actually, a Chicken Hawk is by definition a middle-aged or older man who pursues younger men for sex.

        1. I am sorry because I can only think of Foghorn Leghorn when I hear the word “chicken hawk”. Maybe I need to join GNAA.

          1. Ah say, boy, ah think the folks who originally applied the term “chicken hawk” to the pro-war personally-draft-avoiding politicians probably also had Foghorn Leghorn in mind as well.

  3. So, now it’s ok to steal money from people we don’t like? Good to know. I grew up under a communist regime and some nuances of this newfangled “freedom” and “capitalism” still escape me. I think i’ll transfer my savings back into goats. Or gold. Or both.

      1. Nah… just good old plain gold bricks and sturdy well-endowed mountain goats. I’ll keep em all under my bed to keep me warm during the coming ice age… or is it global warming now? I keep forgetting what the young uns are into nowadays.

        1. Zombie apocalypse… The young uns are into the zombie apocalypse nowadays. I think that internet thing is a fad too.

      1. If Wikileaks actually received the money people were trying to donate to it, they could take on more ambitious projects.

  4. He’s delusional if he thinks the “hard right” is merely to blame. If anything, this serves to show what little difference there is between Team Blue and Team Red.

    It also serves to highlight the need for more payment service competition that is also free from political control, as well as having freer (non-political) policies. Any controversy and Visa, Mastercard and Paypal are very quick to cut off services or freeze accounts.

    They have the most business now because those are the only three most people think of for money transfers. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think the approach some people take to try to force them (via government institutions like ECB, etc) to accept certain clients is plain wrong. What’s needed is competition. And we get competition by lowering barriers to entry or deregulating. It is extremely difficult to establish some financial service. Save for bitcoin, all of them are subject to immense political pressure as well

  5. In related news, you need $50 million to operate a website that publishes leaked government documents.

    No, but Wikileaks might be able to accomplish quite a bit more if it actually received the money people want to donate to it. The Website and its support apparatus are just what it’s managed to keep going with almost no money and massive legal and political challenges to its existence.

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