In an editorial posted on Christmas Day, the New York Times reminds us that Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have all in the past few weeks announced that they will not process any transactions intended for WikiLeaks; that earlier this month the Bank of America decided to follow suit, arguing that WikiLeaks may be doing things that are “inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments; ” and that governments allow banks, because they control the payment system, to shun businesses on ‘risk management’ grounds – something no other public utility-type organizations get to do.
The Bank of America decision came after WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, said that next year it will release data revealing corruption in the financial industry. In 2009, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.
What would happen, exclaims The Times, if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to [ horror of horrors] – a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision, the paper concludes, "should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks."
Absolutely right to raise this concern. A bit naive not to realize that WikiLeaks is just as important now as any media outlet in the world, including newspapers named The New York Times.