Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship

Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

WikiLeaks’s payment processor, the Icelandic company DataCell ehf, said it would take immediate legal action against the companies to make donations possible again.

“DataCell who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again,” DataCell CEO Andreas Fink said last week. “We can not believe WikiLeaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa.”

“It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards WikiLeaks than to have them occur,” Fink added.


Continue reading


YouTube Didn’t Delete M.I.A. Video, But Did Bury It

See the story here.

From the Ashes of Dying Newspapers Will Come Authentic News

A company called the Audit Bureau of Circulations measures how many actual newspapers are sold by US dailies and has just released its September 2009 six-month report. Newspaper companies pay the Audit Bureau to conduct this measurement to be able to show potential advertisers how many readers – especially the upscale kind – their ads will potentially reach.

The latest audit brings, not surprisingly, very bad news for the American newspaper and its corporate model of journalism.

Of the 25 most widely read newspapers in the US, all but the Wall Street Journal – treading water at 2,024,269 readers, the Journal is now the de facto top daily in the country (but that, with only a tiny elite of 0.6 percent of US residents reading its pages) – have lost significant readership since a year ago, according to the Audit Bureau.

Continue reading

New FAS-FAX Shows (More) Steep Circulation Losses

NEW YORK The Audit Bureau of Circulations released this morning the spring figures for the six months ending March 31, 2009, showing that the largest metros continue to shed daily and Sunday circulation — now at a record rate.

According to ABC, for 395 newspapers reporting this spring, daily circulation fell 7% to 34,439,713 copies, compared with the same March period in 2008. On Sunday, for 557 newspapers, circulation was down 5.3% to 42,082,707. These averages do not include 84 newspapers with circulations below 50,000 due to a change in publishing frequency.

The percent comparisons are for the same period ending in March 2008. (All daily averages are for Monday through Friday.)

Continue reading

More Concerns About NSA’s “Stellar Wind” and Meta-Data Collection

“… But an even more interesting revelation — one ultimately far more troubling — can be found in a regrettably less prominent sidebar to the main Newsweek story, entitled “Now we know what the battle was about”, by Daniel Klaidman. Put together with other reports about the program, it lends considerable credence to claims that telephone companies (including my alma matter AT&T) provided the NSA with wholesale access to purely domestic calling records, on a scale beyond what has been previously acknowledged…”

See also:

Court Rules Patriot Act’s “National Security Letter” Gag Provisions Unconstitutional

In Courtroom Showdown, Bush Demands Amnesty for Spying Telecoms

A Cover for Illegal Domestic Operations?

Information Commissioner publishes freedom of information guidance for personal data

Continue reading

Pentagon Targets Afro and Hispanic Youth to Fight Its Wars

If African-Americans are overrepresented in the armed forces it is likely because of the military’s practice of “strategically targeting low-income youth and students of color,” the ACLU has found.Result: While African-Americans make up only 16% of the same-age civilian population, in 2006 they represented about 22% of enlisted Army personnel.

Even though enlistment under law is supposed to be voluntary, the Pentagon‘s racial targeting “in combination with exaggerated promises of financial rewards for enlistment, undermines the voluntariness of their enlistment,” ACLU said in a 46-page report, “Soldiers of Misfortune.”

Can it be accidental that 54% of the participants in JROTC programs are African-American and Latino students?

Also see: America’s Child Soldiers

Continue reading