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Credit card donations to WikiLeaks restored as Mastercard breaks ranks

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Mastercard has broken ranks with other payment providers such as PayPal and Visa and begun allowing payments to WikiLeaks.

Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, the Bank of America and Western Union all suspended payment processing for WikiLeaks days after the site began publishing leaked US diplomatic cables in November 2010. The decision aroused the ire of hacktivist collective Anonymous which launched denial of service attacks against the websites of Mastercard, Visa et al in retaliation.

In April WikiLeaks and DataCell won a lawsuit against Valitor, the Icelandic partner for Visa and MasterCard, for breach of contract over blocking WikiLeaks' donations at the behest of credit card firms and other financial giants. The Icelandic Supreme Court ordered Valitor to recommence processing donations to WikiLeaks. Damages, if any, will be decided by a separate ongoing legal action.

According to Wikileaks, Valitor complied and reopened its payment gateway while giving notice it intended to terminate its contract on 1 July. In the meantime it sought the opinions of MasterCard International and Visa. Mastercard said it no longer wished to continue with the block against WikiLeaks, while Visa is yet to respond.

In response, Valitor reportedly changed its mind about terminating its contract and decided to continue processing payments to WikiLeaks through DataCell indefinitely. We asked Valitor to comment on these changed circumstances and will update this story as and when we learn more.

Donations by credit cards to WikiLeaks can be made through https://paygate.datacell.com. Bank transfers have always been an option but payments through PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America remain blocked. ®

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