Thursday, February 24, 2011

Paypal freezes account of Bradley Manning defense group, Courage to Resist

PayPal's huge Omaha Operations Center
12312 Port Grace Blvd.,
La Vista,  NE  68128-8236
Gawker's John Cook reports that PayPal continues its war on WikiLeaks by attacking a group defending Bradley Manning. PayPal was cofounded by billionaire Peter Thiel, who in 2010 hosted at his New York home an infamous GOProud event at which Ann Coulter accused liberals of attempting to teach kindergartners about "fisting."
"Literally a few days after PayPal shut down Wikileaks, they started calling me and asking about Bradley Manning," said Courage to Resist project director Jeff Paterson, who also sits on the Bradley Manning Support Network's steering committee. "They wanted to know how much money we intended to raise, and what we planned on doing with it."
     Courage to Resist had opened the account in 2006, and used it without incident until it became affiliated with Manning. PayPal's concerns, Paterson says, were vague but involved unspecified claims that "we were somehow tricking people into donating." But PayPal executives told him the company had received no complaints about the group. After some back and forth, Paterson says, PayPal asked him to link Courage to Resist's checking account to its PayPal account, potentially giving PayPal access to the group's funds (up until then, the group simply had a credit account). When Paterson said no, PayPal froze the account, which contained $400 at the time.
UPDATE: Paypal restores Courage to Resist's account without explanation following widespread bad publicity on Gawker, FiredogLake, Towleroad, (and the paltry, but feisty readership of Aksarbent!) Below is the explanation on Courage to Resist's website, which has been experiencing bandwidth problems, which is why we copied their account here.)

In wake of protest, PayPal reinstates service PDF Print E-mail
By Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network
SAN FRANCISCO, 25 February 2011 (5pm PST) -- Reacting to an enormous backlash following our statement "PayPal Cuts Service to Courage to Resist, Bradley Manning Effort", PayPal has reinstated the account of Courage to Resist, an organization which has partnered with the Bradley Manning Support Network to raise funds for the defense of accused WikLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. The change in account status comes with no explanation from the online payment provider, and only hours after the nonprofit organization published a press release drawing attention to the matter.
Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, and member of the Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee, released the following statement this evening:
We have spent nearly a month trying to resolve this matter with senior PayPal staff. Only after a conference call in which their chief compliance officer bluntly stated at our account would be permanently restricted, and our funds returned in 180 days, did we issue this morning’s statement on the matter. During our conversations with PayPal, we covered possible solutions such as opening a separate checking account to link with, opening a new PayPal account, or changing our PayPal account type from non-profit to a standard business account, in order to resolve our impasse. We were told that all such efforts would be considered "fraudulent" and not acceptable.
I few moments ago I received an email from PayPal, “Hello Courage to Resist. Our review is complete and we have restored your account.” Upon logging into the PayPal account, we’re now greeted with, "Your Account Access is Back in Regular Standing. Thank you for taking the steps to return your account to regular standing..."(screen capture below) [Note: Aksarbent did not reproduce the capture.]
Thank you to all of our supporters – many of whom contacted PayPal individually or signed the petition hosted by Firedoglake – who helped us restore our account. We are extremely grateful to everyone who raised their voice today. While PayPal was never a primary channel for our online donors, it is especially valuable to our international supporters who do not use US-based credit cards or checks. I hope you will now help us get back to our real work in support of accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning.
  • Stop the extreme, inhumane and illegal pre-trial punishment of Bradley Manning
  • Ensure that Bradley Manning receives top-notch legal representation from the lawyer of his choice
  • Stop any effort by the United States government to hold a secret court martial trial, unchecked by public and media oversight
  • Free Bradley Manning!

PayPal is a subsidiary of Ebay. Here, via towleroad, is a description of how Ebay passively abets Chinese counterfeiters.

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  1. knowing paypal and their nastiness about, well, everything, i am not surprised at all.


  2. Paypal has the account back up, and just to be a bastard, I sent Courage To Resist $25 on Bradley Manning's behalf through them. It'll be the last time I use the damned thing.