Wikileaks may be under attack from many angles, but today it gained additional support from ex-intelligence officers, including the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers some fourty years ago, as well as the credit card processing company Datacell, which said it would sue Visa and MasterCard billions of Euros in damages for blocking Wikileaks.
Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, threw his support behind Wikileaks, saying that Wikileaks is just as important as his leak, which included over 7,000 pages of documents from the US military concerning the Vietnam War.
Ellsberg also said that attacks on Julian Assange are similar to attacks he endured after publishing the Pentagon Papers. He was brought up on charges of theft and possession of secret documents and was indicted, but a mistrial was later declared after it was revealed that the Nixon administration was attempting to meddle with the case. Assange faces far more serious charges of sexual assault, however, which have led to his arrest yesterday.
Ellsberg was strongly condemnatory of Amazon, which ended its web hosting of Wikileaks. He called the company’s actions “cowardice and servility”, suggesting that it made its decision under pressure from Senators and Congressmen. Amazon has denied this, stating that Wikileaks broke its site rules, but Ellsberg said he will no longer use Amazon.com because of the incident.
Wikileaks has also been blocked by a number of other companies, including three essential financial bodies: PayPal, Visa and MasterCard. This will effectively cripple Wikileaks’ ability to earn money to fund the exposure of confidential documents, with only 1,000 of the roughly 250,000 cables yet published.
The ban by Visa and MasterCard has not just upset Wikileaks, however. Datacell, which provides Wikileaks with the credit and debit card processing service required for its donations has accused the two companies of putting political influence above the law.
It said that it has lost billions due to the block and said it would sue Visa and MasterCard for damages, as the ban has threatened its business. It is not clear how successful such a lawsuit might be, but it is sure to be welcomed by Wikileaks and its supporters.