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15 December, 2010

Visa, Mastercard, Paypal instruments of US foreign policy says Assange

"We now know that Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and others are instruments of US foreign policy. It's not something we knew before.” - Julian Assange

Julian manages to squeak out one of the biggest disclosures of Wikileaks on the phone with his mum.

One of the biggest disclosures of Wikileaks:

New cables released by the WikiLeaks website disclose how Visa and Mastercard received lobbying support from the Obama administration.

The US was concerned that Russia was planning a new credit card payments system which would lose the two companies billions of dollars in processing fees.

One senior Visa official privately believed that the Russian security services were behing the new system because of fears that the companies were passing payment information to Washington, according to the cables.

The new National Payment Card System, run by Russia’s state-controlled banks, would handle all processing for domestic banking in the country. A cable from the Moscow embassy, dated Feb 1 this year, 2010, said a new law establishing the system would “disadvantage U.S businesses”.

Supporters must raise bail in cash while Assange is held in “Dickensian” conditions? What exactly are the conditions in his prison? I have heard he's being held in the "basement".

On Tuesday, the Chief Magistrate, Howard Riddle, overturned an earlier decision to deny bail to the 39-year-old Australian, instead imposing strict conditions and ordering his supporters lodge £200,000 with the court.

But, amid chaotic and confusing scenes outside City of Westminster Magistrate’s Court, Mr Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, announced that, because of the bitter dispute between WikiLeaks and the credit card giants Master Card and Visa, the money would have to be amassed in cash.

He raised the prospect of suitcases of banknotes being hand delivered to the court and said Mr Assange would remain in “Dickensian” conditions for an “inordinate amount of time” until his supporters got the money together.

Master Card, Visa and Paypal, the online payment service, have blocked payments to the website which has infuriated the US government releasing a stream of confidential diplomatic papers.

Hackers hack back:

WikiLeaks’ connections in the hacker community, however, mean that corporate websites are increasingly finding themselves under attack. A Swiss bank and have both been taken down by “denial of service” campaigns, which bombard websites with so many requests that they buckle under the strain.

Alan Bentley, of security experts Lumension said “Many disgruntled ‘hacktivists’ will be seeking revenge on behalf of the whistleblowing website and it is highly likely that this will be the first in a series of attacks on businesses such as Amazon, PayPal and Visa. All organisations involved will want to beef up their security efforts in a bid to protect themselves."

Denial of service attacks render sites inaccessible, but do not affect the content of the sites themselves. Other hackers have also deface some websites in support of Wikileaks.

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