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Wikileaks credit card donation is back (wikileaks.org)
360 points by Timshel on July 18, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 79 comments

I really want to donate but honestly feel like I'll be put on a U.S. Government list somewhere of nefarious individuals who support terrorism which might have consequences in the future. Anyone else feel that too? I should just mail them some cash anonymously.

"which might have consequences in the future"

If a secret set of rules is making you less likely to express your viewpoints (and support certain press organizations), that is already a consequence. It's unfortunate that rational people don't feel free to exercise their freedom in today's United States.

Rational people do feel free to express their views in today's United States.

He said freedoms, not views.

Rational people do feel free to express their freedoms in today's United States.

hilarious that this gets a downvote.

Apparently commenters here feel that I must be irrational, because I feel free to express my freedoms every single day in the US without repudiation. I'd love to hear the personal stories of those who downvoted me for how they know that no rational human being in American can express their freedoms.

Well, not donating to an organisation because you fear that you may be put on some government watchlist is the opposite of exercising ones freedom in a free land.

Since your name is in your profile. Let me donate in your name then, it will put your name on the list, you'll know it is there, and you won't worry about it from now on, just keep donating.


But on a serious note. Besides 'terrorists winning' in this game. You know who else won? Every little vindictive pest that you could run into in your daily life. Your neighbor hates your lawn? -- He can report your for suspicious behavior or just donate $5 to Wikileaks in your name.

You got a bigger bonus than your co-worker? He puts a nasty comment about the president on a liberal forum somewhere.

Possibilities for abuse abound. Once the collection of data has been enabled, data will be siphoned through. It could be decades before a court case, a new employment opportunity or overseas travel all of the sudden will trigger a search and will open that archived file and all this stuff will be there. No way to correct it. You would have forgotten about that one incident with your neighbor 20 years ago, but it will be there.

What I fear will happen is that one of the triggers to open and inspect that file will be you participating in any kind of protest. It will be a Constitutionally legal thing to do. However, once you do it, you end up on a list, and now that 'ol file gets opened again and all these things from the past start appearing. You get pulled for random searches in airport. You miss every single flight you book. Every time you enter the country you get interrogated for an hour. All your electronic devices get confiscated.

Basically, once the government is acting irrationally it opens the door for others to exploit that -- angry neighbors, scorned lover, upset employees. How do I know? This is what happened in the Soviet Union. It was for a while common for neighbor to denounce each other for 'anti-Soviet' activities, if they didn't get along. In the best case and best times, those get ignored, in the worst time, whole families disappeared overnight.

One profound concern I have is for "denouncing for terrorist activities" to become a common thing in the US as a way of dealing with unpleasant others.

Cardinal Richelieu only needed six lines, but I bet he'd have been very happy with a decade or so worth of emails and google queries.

Hmm. I was going to get a set of truck nuts for his new Yukon, but this might be even more fun....

"This is what happened in the Soviet Union."

Be careful when you're choosing your enemies. You become them.

You risk losing your security clearance if you're in the US military or a contractor with clearance like Raytheon for example. You also probably won't get clearance if you ever apply for it in future if it's found out.


The government and it's corporate henchmen are all to quick to prove the necessity for resources like wikileaks by ignoring the law that all the "secret" information was immediately declassified by being in the public domain once it hit the intertubes. Their lawyers know that, the degenerate brass has been told that, yet they still go on and try to scare people with threats to their livelihood. Why? Because they don't want people reading the dirty laundry and just how reprehensible it is and they want to control.

Reading or accessing wikileaks cannot threaten your security clearance. As stated, it is the possibility of being compromised that will threaten your clearance. The more you are scared of accessing wikileaks because you are not aware and assertive of your rights, the more you could be compromised by blackmail, which is the threat. It's mostly not what you do, but whether it can be leveraged for manipulation that threatens clearances.

Security clearance is mostly about deception and breach of faith, not supporting the right politics. If you donate $500 to Satan, no big deal. If they ask you about the donation and you lie, no clearance.

Wouldn't it be argued that if you support Wikileaks you're pro information leaking and therefore there's an indication that if you're given access to "secret" information that doesn't match your views you're inclined to leak it? Surely that is enough to warrant no access.

The argument could be used about a subscription to the Washington Post, or support of the State Department.


Self censorship at work. And your real name is in your profile.


Would purchasing a Visa prepaid card and using that to donate be suitably anonymous (or do you need ID to buy one of those?)

Even easier, donate to FDNN without directing the funds to Wikileaks. Part of it will go to WL, but the rest will go to laquadrature (fighting ACTA among other things), some free software associations and some independent ISPs.

Interesting question. It seems you can buy them with cash from local places like Dollar Stores and such, and use for in person purchases with no id. But on line verification uses your provided name, billing address and phone number as validation it is a legit purchase and not a stolen card. So you have to register the card before online use with this information. You are not required though to provide true information here, it just needs to be information that matches what you give when you make the purchase. I could find no reference that SSNs are required, but perhaps some issuers require it. That would be important to know which one since most states allow false names as long as not used for fraud, but there's now a federal law that makes using an incorrect SSN a crime.

I tend to get a Visa gift card from at least one person as a holiday gift. I spend them online without registering them. The big retailers expect lots of gift card buyers after the holidays and don't seem to be doing AVS.

Prepaid cards (bought in the US anyway) need a SSN before they work online.

I assume he is talking about Visa/Mastercard gift cards. If so then they do not need an SSN number to work online. At least here in the USA. You can pretty much enter whatever information you want.

Hmm, the last time I tried one, bought with cash at a 7-11, I needed to go on their website. and enter a lot of information before I could use it online. Are the gift-cards something else? Maybe I am just recalling incorrectly and SSN wasn't one of the things they asked.

They don't in the UK either, sometimes you need to register them (and supply the same info when purchasing) but you can put in whatever info you want there...

I donated because fear is the mind killer.

You're already on a government watch list so donate away! :)


Your most probably on one anyway for other reasons, and its not like you are going on a list of people who want to subvert the Government and carry out terrorist suicide missions, you are just donating to a cause that you find worthwhile (truth, freedom and democracy?), I doubt that you have to worry about a night time snatch and stress positions just yet.

Not tomorrow, but what about 10 years from now?

That is what the Utah DC is for.

But if we really believe that, and we believe the nation will further slide in a fascist state then we probably shouldn't say _anything_ online or over the phone.

I really believe that it's a possibility.

Who would have thought that Obama would bring back the Espionage Act? We used to imprison people for publicly supporting Communism and/or publicly denouncing wars, and the courts upheld it. The Overton Window makes people really complacent in a pretty rapidly changing world, and the civil liberties regressions by Bush that are being institutionalized and explicitly legalized by Obama could give a future Santorum (or his ilk's) administration a bunch of scary options.

In the future, we may regret having had conversations like this on the internet or over the phone. I'm taking that risk.

edit: sentence fragment

edit - relevant: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4259441

Obama is making us less of a hypocrite. If we codify our behavior as lawful everything is legit, no?

We need to encourage people to speak their mind. Can everyone be an enemy of the state? There is strength and anonymity in many voices, many who would not speak, do.

I suppose they could automate the persecution of dissidents by denying them services or charging them more taxes. That way there wouldn't be a labor shortage for actually carrying out persecution.

Can you cite people being jailed for supporting Communism or denouncing wars under Obama.

Never happened under Obama. Sorry if I wasn't being clear. It happened in the US under the same law - the Espionage Act - that Obama has used more than every other US President combined in his war on whistleblowers.



Not that he hasn't done shitty stuff, assassinations of american citizens, torture of Bradley Manning and GitMo is still open.

> We used to imprison people for publicly supporting Communism and/or publicly denouncing wars

also note that the leadership in doing this came from Lincoln and Wilson....

> Who would have thought that Obama would bring back the Espionage Act?

liberals politicians increase police power, conservative politicians increase social spending. their bases let them get away with it because they're "on their side", and their opposition let them get away with it because it's what they wanted anyway.

I'm not naive, I realize Obama is more of a politician than a leader, but this stuff really stinks like someone else is running the show behind the scenes.

Just donated 50 euro to wikileaks and 50 lbs to Assange.

lb is the measure of weight gbp is the currency. I know, it's confusing that they're both spelled "pound".

Yeah I felt exactly the same way. I chose to donate anyways, but it was a close thing.

There is always bitcoin.

Not at all. With bitcoin every transaction is publicly logged, and anyone can see the flow of Bitcoins from address to address. Alone, this information can't identify anyone because the addresses are just random numbers. However, if any of the addresses in a transaction's past or future can be tied to an actual identity, it might be possible to work from that point and figure out who owns all of the other addresses. This identity information might come from network analysis, surveillance, or just Googling the address.

So - Bitcoin won't keep you anonymous.

Edit: Sorry - I was reading your comment in the context of the previous commenter worrying about ending up on a government watch list.

Sure, but if you are concerned about privacy/surveillance, you use a new (one-time) address for each transaction.

Two words: Bitcoin.

I think the Hacker Community's opposition or support for WikiLeaks may decide whether it survives.

In that vein I'm polling HN users: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4261481. Please participate.

Glenn Greenwald has written some excellent stuff on exactly this:


I'm sure it puts you on a list, but I'd rather leave the US if any consequences come from it than just not donate.

"Despite Visa and Mastercard cutting off payments to WikiLeaks, we have found some ways around the banking blockade, at least for now. We currently have a way around the blockade with FDNN who are using the French banking system Carte Bleue to accept donations for us using your Visa and MasterCard."

AFAIK Visa and Mastercard still auth/capture the card and they've just changed their gateway provider. So if the US govt does manage to designate them as a foreign terrorist organization then it will be illegal for any US company to process funds for them.

From 2010 re trying to get wikileaks designated FTO: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023941-38.html

Visa Europe is a completely separate, independently operating company from Visa Inc., with an exclusive and irrevocable license to the Visa brand in Europe, fully owned by its European member banks. It's in no way a US company, so nothing the US does really matters there. I don't know MasterCard's situation.

This is all Greek to me. What is FDNN? And why is this possible now, but wasn't done before? If it's just changing a gateway provider, why did this take so long? Basically, what has changed, and how is MasterCard/Visa allowing this now?

FDNN[1] is a french association created by La Quadrature Du Net[2] ("an advocacy group defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet"). FDNN's goal is "to collect money and fund actions and projects whose goal is to defend and promote net neutrality, and more widely free speech on the Internet".

Why it took so long, I don't know, I guess FDNN is not used to such a big case as wikileaks.

As for why visa/mastercard accept this now, they don't, all payment are actually processed by "Carte Bleue"[3], which is 100% compatible with Visa (they get their license from the european Visa company, which despite the same name has nothing to do with the american company, they only license the brand). Those license (Visa US => Visa EU, and Visa EU => Carte Bleue) are mostly irrevocable, and getting the french banking system to "ban" you because someone high up doesn't like you is much harder than what they did in the US with wikileaks.

I do not know about the mastercard situation, but the cards are accepted pretty much anywhere here so I wouldn't be surprised if Carte Bleue had the same sort of deal with them (but every Carte Bleue is not a Mastercard, unlike Visa).

Not an expert on the subject so I might be wrong on some things, but I hope it helps clear things up.

[1]: http://www.fdn2.org/ [2]: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/who-are-we [3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carte_Bleue

Fund for the Defense of Net Neutrality or Fonds de Défense de la Net Neutralité


There was recently a ruling on this in Iceland. I think this explains the timing.


An article that also mentions Wikileaks' current financial situation - apparently they need 1 million euro immediately:


But... why?

Is WikiLeaks really doing enough to need such a large budget?

Using the same logic as is being used in the prosecution of Bradley Manning: supplying copies of diplomatic cables to Wikileaks is knowingly "aiding the enemy", a capital crime, thus giving money to Wikileaks is "aiding the enemy".

So if you are a US citizen, what chance do you think there will be that you will be prosecuted for treason if you donate to Wikileaks?

Note: I am not expressing an opinion here, merely following the logic of the recent court case against Bradley Manning.

And if you doubt the link between supplying mere money (as opposed to information) and aiding a terrorist organisation, note that an Icelandic bank was declared a terrorist organisation by the UK Govt:


Also recall that US senators have in the past called for Wikileaks to be branded a terrorist organisation:


Manning is being charged under the UCMJ. He was/is an enlisted soldier. He waived certain rights, and is subject to codes and laws that civilians are not.

I'm not sure if people don't understand this or skip over it for the purposes of hyperbole..

No, donating money to an organization like Wikileaks is not the same as illegally releasing classified information.

Edit: ooops, page loading now...I see the bitcoin donation link. Disregard this comment

This page was down when I clicked the link. Not sure what the deal is? As others have said this not a solution to being able to safely support the organization from a personal perspective.

Why are they not accepting Bitcoin donations? If they have a bank working with them it should be trivial for them to setup a Mt. ox or other merchant account to turn the bitcoins into money. I feel like this coudl solve several problems.

Can anybody comment on why they (Wikileaks) would be opposed to accepting bitcoin? Maybe a major bitcoin exchange or merchant (which already has some trust among the bitcoin community) could set up a way to do proxy donations? I see the possibility for fraud out there, but there has been successful bitcoin fundraising in the past...

This is excellent news. Does anyone know if this has to do with the recent Icelandic court ruling in favor of Wikileaks [1]?

Also, anyone who hasn't already checked out assange.rt.com should! JA has been producing high quality interviews with some of the most interesting world leaders while under house arrest.

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/12/wikileaks-court-...

I can confirm this works, just made a donation using my Visa card. Wikileaks is dangerously low on cash, please, if you believe in their ideals of openness, consider donating.

Does Wikileaks do any evaluation of the danger of releasing specific classified information? For example, the leak (by the Obama Administration, not by Wikileaks) of the name of the Pakistani doctor that provided the key information for the Osama Bin Laden raid was arrested, tortured and imprisoned for 30 years because of a leak.

I don't understand the value of the entire world being able to read secret diplomatic and intelligence communications between nations. If we disagree with a specific national policy or ideology, then we should be donating instead to political candidates that support our worldview rather than short circuiting a process that has led to deaths and substantial disruption.

For example, as a direct result of Wikileaks, Iranian Majid Jamali Fashi was executed by Tehran for his role in disrupting the Iranian nuclear program. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-han...

The same people supporting Wikileaks are ostensibly against US/British/French/Israeli nuclear armament or anti-terrorism efforts, yet sabotage efforts to prevent these weapons from reaching the hands of rogue actors. It seems like the Wikileaks crowd is often the same crowd that blocks the Brooklyn Bridge for their own vanity, yet ignores the unintended consequences of their actions (for example, a worker being hours late for his job.) The 1% would just use their helicopters. The real power isn't affected by childish acts, despite the childish miscreants hoping otherwise.

It isn't much different than a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. Perhaps not surprisingly, the same crowd complains about copyrights and have no problem with illegal downloads. Rather than working to change the system legitimately (or through the courts,) they instead ignore the law simply because they don't like it. I don't like paying $1800 per month in taxes so my neighbors living rent free in Section 8 housing can stay up until 3am having parties while I'm trying to sleep for work the next day. But I'm not firebombing the IRS because of it -- I simply vote for the candidates who most support my views. Firebombing gets headlines, but it doesn't catalyze change. Voting does, contributing to political campaigns does, volunteering to knock on doors does.

It just seems incredibly selfish that some people feel like they have a right to every piece of information or have a right to steal any content they want without any regard for the consequences or the effects of this "freedom" on the people that produce the information. You right to information shouldn't override a person's right to not get killed because of it.

It seems like the people most passionate about Wikileaks are people that have little experience with the nature of classified information and the consequences of releasing sources and methods to the general public. Perhaps if more people spent time in public service rather than public criticism, we could really improve the governments of our respective countries. When was the last time anyone here on HN ran for a local school board election or even went to a city council meeting? When was the last time anyone here wrote and mailed their congressman an actual letter? How many people here have applied to work in the Foreign Service, the military or even the Peace Corps? I know for a fact that CIA, NSA and FBI would be salivating over the qualifications of many of you here, yet many of you would never even consider those careers because of a jaded anger or indifference towards the government, yet, the government is us. If we don't step up, things will never change. You can't achieve justice from the outside looking in. You can vandalize, steal or threaten your way to a better world.

I do agree, however, that there is a large amount of information that is classified for reasons other than protecting sources or methods, but is instead classified for political purposes. For example, the Fast and Furious documents are being protected under "Executive Privilege" for the sole reason of protecting politicians from the scrutiny of voters. The 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations files, for example, are classified not because of national security concerns, but political ones; the same goes for many 1960s-era East-Germany operations, as well Vietnam-War era documents. However, we should be pressuring politicians to evaluate the rules of classification or appoint an independent FOIA commission to evaluate document requests objectively instead of through the current lens of political expediency.

I expect to get down voted into oblivion, but hopefully, someone will get it.

They do do some evaluation and have said so. It's true a few people might die for any particular leak, but you don't seem to weigh the potential benefits to its release either. It's possible the release of information could save more lives than it takes.

Governments have proven over and over and over again throughout history that they cannot be trusted with much power, and knowledge is one of the greatest powers. I find your overall authoritarian point of view disturbing, as if government (and its cronies) are sitting around thinking what they can do for us, instead of how to get more from us, or how to cover their own asses.

I agree with your point that there are good people working in govt but I fail to see how the abundance of secrecy helps them do their jobs better. I hope one day in the future that govts are fully transparent in everything they do because technology allows everyone to be a spy.

"I agree with your point that there are good people working in govt but I fail to see how the abundance of secrecy helps them do their jobs better."

Then I don't think you really understand statecraft or warfare. Two essential components of any sovereign nation. No offense meant. Just saying, secrecy are central tenants of both of those, and they are two of the most important functions of government.

I was arguing a bit at the extreme, in reaction to the other extreme. No doubt some secrecy will continue, but it would be preferable if there were a lot less than there is now. You imply that the state/military would collapse without secrecy but haven't given any concrete reason why except perhaps, "that's how it's done." Tenets also implies belief. The world is changing and people will need to adjust regardless of what they believe in.

The rumour of a Majid Jamali Fashi Wikileaks link seems to have been debunked [1].

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/05/16/wikilea...

Thank you for a well thought out and articulated post. I agree 100% and don't see the value either, and I know it's not extremely popular around here with the vocal majority who comment on such articles.


Wikileaks is not the one compiling all of my voicemail, sms text messages, and emails, that's the NSA. I don't get to opt out, see it, or reply to it. Talk about people tho think they have the right to anyones data they want.

Also, it's not a tantrum to recognize that the notion of working INSIDE a system that you are trying to change, or perhaps stop from doing nasty things like slaughtering women and children, is not going to respond to you asking politely or petitioning.

Who decides? Do we trust them?

For example, as a direct result of Wikileaks, Iranian Majid Jamali Fashi was executed by Tehran for his role in disrupting the Iranian nuclear program. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-han....

Your link does not mention wikileaks at all. The closest I could find was a HuffPost article citing "experts" saying that Wikileaks could be responsible as someone with a "vaguely similar description" was implicated in one of the cables.

115 points... no discussion... Has anyone donated yet? What is the state of wikileaks? Is it beyond repair? I haven't kept up with it in the news at all really.

I guess their "transparency report" does not look very transparent to me only.

I wonder if ironically you get enough down votes, thus making your post transparent? :)

Wow, Paypal is ok with wikileaks now.

It's not Wikileaks but FDNN. FDNN is a french non-profit and can decide what they do with their funds.

Also, for the record, in Europe Paypal is a registered bank (unlike in the US where from what I understand its status is more fuzzier)

What's with all the spelling errors? I find them quite distracting.

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