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French credit card allows Wikileaks donations

Assange hopes to raise EU$1m thanks to Carte Bleue

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Wikileaks is back in the donation-accepting business and hopes to raise EUR1 million thanks to French credit card system Carte Bleue.

The organisation claims to have been financially crippled after a lengthy fight against VISA and Mastercard’s banking blockade.

To circumvent the impasse, Julian Assange’s crew has launched a new payment gateway via French credit card system, Carte Bleue.

While is it linked with the VISA and MasterCard systems globally, the financial heavyweights are contractually barred from directly cutting off merchants through the Carte Bleue system. Wikileaks has warned that arrangement may not last long.

French non-profit FDN2 (Fund for the Defense of Net Neutrality- Fonds de Défense de la Net Neutralité) has set up a Carte Bleue fund for WikiLeaks.

"We beat them in Iceland and, by God, we’ll beat them in France as well. Let them shut it down. Let them demonstrate to the world once again their corrupt pandering to Washington. We’re waiting. Our lawyers are waiting. The whole world is waiting. Do it," Assange said in a call to arms and wallets.

WikiLeaks is still pursuing several actions against the blockade. In Australia, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has been urging the Australian government to take domestic actions against the banking blockade.

Last week, an Icelandic court ruled that Valitor, the local agent for Visa, broke the law when it stopped taking donations for the website.

The court found that Valitor had broken contract laws when it stopped accepting payments sent to WikiLeaks by Visa customers in July 2011. WikiLeaks estimates that move cut its funding by 95 per cent and cost it around US$20m in lost donations, leaving it chronically short of cash.

In July 2011 WikiLeaks opened a path through the blockade, when VISA-Valitor agreed to process payments to WikiLeaks through the Icelandic payment gateway, Datacell. Swiftly, VISA-Valitor blocked donations and ended its relationship with Datacell, in violation of its contractual obligations.

Delivering its judgment last week, the Icelandic court in Reykjavik ruled that the donation gateway should be reopened by 26 July 2012, otherwise VISA-Valitor will be penalized with a fine of ISK 800,000 daily.

A European Commission preliminary investigation into the blockade was started in July 2011. A Commission decision on whether to pursue the financial services companies involved in the blockade is expected before the end of August. &reg

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