Documents Show Lieberman, King Behind Financial Blockade of WikiLeaks

By:  Michael Tennant
11/28/2012
       
Documents Show Lieberman, King Behind Financial Blockade of WikiLeaks

According to European Commission documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks, two high-ranking U.S. politicians are responsible, at least in part, for a financial blockade that the organization claims has cut off 95 percent of its revenue. Those politicians are Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), both of whom pressured MasterCard, and possibly Visa, into refusing to process payments to WikiLeaks, the documents reveal.

According to European Commission documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks, two high-ranking U.S. politicians are responsible, at least in part, for a financial blockade that the organization claims has cut off 95 percent of its revenue. Those politicians are Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), both of whom pressured MasterCard, and possibly Visa, into refusing to process payments to WikiLeaks, the documents reveal. MasterCard and Visa together control 97 percent of European Union (EU) card transactions.

There is no question that WikiLeaks is a thorn in the side of the U.S. government, revealing, in gory detail, how its world-girdling empire really operates. Nevertheless, the United States has never charged WikiLeaks or any of its staffers with a crime, and neither has any other country. Thus, there can be no justification for U.S. or foreign officials to engage in an extralegal campaign against the group; but that is exactly what they are doing.

“WikiLeaks,” writes the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, “has been crippled by a staggering array of extra-judicial punishment imposed either directly by the U.S. and allied governments or with their clear acquiescence.”

Shortly after the group’s 2010 release of U.S. diplomatic cables, it was hit with massive cyber attacks. Lieberman, then the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, publicly and privately — and successfully — leaned on Amazon.com to terminate its hosting services to WikiLeaks. The cyber attacks continued, and the group was forced off all U.S. web hosting services. The U.S. government responded to these clearly criminal acts with indifference.

“Meanwhile,” Greenwald adds, “Chairman Lieberman’s public pressure, by design, also led to the destruction of WikiLeaks’ ability to collect funds from supporters. Master Card and Visa both announced they would refuse to process payments to the group, as did America’s largest financial institution, Bank of America. Paypal not only did the same but froze all funds already in WikiLeaks’ accounts.”

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