WikiLeaks cables: US ‘lobbied Russia on behalf of Visa and MasterCard

Oh.

The US lobbied Russia this year on behalf of Visa and MasterCard in an attempt to ensure the payment card companies were not “adversely affected” by new legislation, according to American diplomats in Moscow.

A state department cable released this afternoon by WikiLeaks reveals that US diplomats intervened to try to amend a draft law going through Russia’s duma, or lower house of parliament. Their explicit aim was to ensure the new law did not “disadvantage” the two US firms, the cable states.

The revelation comes a day after Visa – apparently acting under intense pressure from Washington – announced it was suspending all payments to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website. Visa was following MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon, all of which have severed ties with the site and its founder Julian Assange in the last few days.

(Left here by Vlad the Impala)

WikiLeaks supporters hack Mastercard.com

From The Telegraph:

Controversial website WikiLeaks is struggling to raise funds because financial services organisations are refusing to deal with it. PayPal, Mastercard, Visa and other banks previously connected to the organisation have now severed their ties and only direct transfers to the site’s bank account or postal donations to a PO Box in Australia are now being accepted.

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


Mastercard.com
is still down. I keep refreshing and refreshing but it’s not coming up.

Update:
Now Visa.com is not working.

U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011

From their totally unironic press release:

The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.