In the wake of the release of a small fraction of the diplomatic cables it has attained, Wikileaks has faced a barrage of challenges. In addition to threats and denunciations, as well as incoherent accusations of treason and even calls for the extrajudicial execution of Assange, Amazon booted Wikileaks from it’s servers, PayPal “permanently restricted” its account, EveryDNS terminated its DNS services, and MasterCard and Visa stopped processing donations — all in the absence of official charges, let alone a trial or conviction for any wrongdoing.
“We now know that Visa, MasterCard and PayPal are instruments of US foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before.”
At CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn points out that this episode is a “wake-up call on the enormous vulnerability of our prime means of communication to swift government-instigated, summary shutdown”:
So here we have a public “commons”—the Internet—subject to arbitrary onslaught by the state and powerful commercial interests, and not even the shadow of constitutional protections.
Effectively defy the Imperial Will, and the global corporate institutions which sustain your activities — your communications and financial transactions — will evaporate.
Here is a discussion on Al-Jazeera questioning the right of companies like MasterCard and PayPal to deny service to Wikileaks.