I just heard on 1070 KNX News Radio, Los Angeles, that PayPal has cut off Wikileaks. In other words, PayPal no longer allows you to donate to http://wikileaks.ch. (If you cannot get to the main Wikileaks site, try a mirror site listed at www.boingboing.net).
Wikileaks has not been convicted of anything by any court of law. Yet PayPal (and, as of December 6, 2010, both VISA and Mastercard) are preventing people from making payments to Wikileaks. This is the privatization of state censorship, pure and simple.
Ironically, the New York Times has published numerous articles based on facts revealed by Wikeleaks. Yet PayPal and VISA and Mastercard are not censoring the New York Times.
You may agree or disagree with Wikileaks releasing documents that were provided to them by sources. But the question I am asking you to consider is what gives these organizations the right to censor people who use these tools to make payments?
I have canceled my PayPal account. I will find it more difficult to cancel my VISA card, I must admit.
I encourage all people who support freedom of the press to do likewise and cancel their PayPal accounts.
[Begin Editor's note:
Although I did cancel my PayPal account, I have not and will not cancel my VISA account nor my Amazon account. I simply depend too much on those mechanisms. Hence, I retract my recommendation that others cancel their accounts. Why?
I wrote my suggestion to cancel PayPal a few minutes after hearing about PayPal’s decision to censor Wikileaks on KNX News radio.
It was not until the next day that VISA and MasterCard did likewise.
I also did not know about Amazon’s decision to cancel hosting of wikileaks.org until later.
That being said, although I did cancel my PayPal account, I simply cannot afford to not use VISA (my one and only credit card) nor cancel Amazon, that provides excellent service and is an integral part of my use of the cloud in my professional life.
In other words, I’m stuck.
We’re all stuck.
We now live in a world where private companies engage in censorship based on extra-judicial directives from government administrators.
In the old days, a court order would have been required, I believe.
Those days are a thing of the past, as is some of our liberties.
End Editor's note]
If you wish to cancel your PayPal account, login to PayPal, go to “My Account”, and click on “Profile”, then click on “Close account”.
Here is a link explaining howto cancel your PayPal account: how to cancel a PayPal account.
To those who are rightfully concerned that Wikileaks documents may lead to harm, I ask them what harm has come not knowing about the hidden lies and backroom hypocrisy of governments and corporations? How many people needlessly died due to wars based on false information or, worse, information that was false and known to be false by our so-called leaders who lied to us about the facts?
Which is worse?
I respect those who argue that Wikileaks should be careful to not reveal names of people who could be endangered by leaks. According to Daniel Ellsberg, there are no documented cases of people who have been harmed as a result of the release of documents by Wikileaks. Daniel Ellsberg is an American hero who, with the help of others, including the New York Times, released The Pentagon Papers in 1971. As http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Paper states:
A 1996 article in the New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance
May Wikileaks continue to serve free society equally well as did the Pentagon Papers.
Were only we, the citizens of the United States and the World, able to be informed of the secret meetings between Dick Cheney and the oil companies or be informed of the plotting between the Bush Administration and the British to lie to the American public about the reasons for going to war in Iraq, or to be informed about back room deals between the Washington oligarchs and the banks to bail out the banks at the expense of the American public. What happened to the “open and transparent government” promised to the U.S. public by President Obama?
Here’s the thing. You cannot censor the Internet. We, the people, won’t allow governments or corporations to censor the Internet. Corporations are not democratic institutions, so the only way to influence them is through government regulation and voting with your dollar. That is why I encourage you to cancel your PayPal account today.