PayPal blocks donations to WikiLeaks

Saturday, December 4, 2010

BERLIN - PayPal, the online payments service, has blocked donations to WikiLeaks and to a German foundation that raises funds for it.

A statement on dated Friday said PayPal had permanently closed the donations account because terms of service had been breached, adding that PayPal did not allow its service to be used for “illegal activities”.

The blog page was not reachable Saturday, but a link from the WikiLeaks page to PayPal brought up a screen saying, “This recipient is currently unable to receive money.”

The German foundation, the Wau Holland Stiftung, was also unable to receive donations Saturday via PayPal. The foundation is named after a German web activist who died in 2001.

PayPal is an internet payments service owned by eBay.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told media that his web platform needs at least $200,000 annually to operate.

A German news magazine, Focus, said Saturday it had learned that sympathizers round the globe donated $15,000 to WikiLeaks after it began releasing the first of 250,000 US diplomatic cables a week ago.

Focus also reported that Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former German associate of Assange who is now his rival, planned to launch an alternative to WikiLeaks in Germany this month.

Domscheit-Berg, 32, told Focus his site would differ from Assange’s in that leakers would be able to decide themselves how the documents were to be published and the site would be more transparent than Assange’s.

Domscheit-Berg left the WikiLeaks organization in September, criticizing Assange. He said the Australian had been “somewhere between raging and bad-mannered” over that criticism. Domscheit-Berg said he was now writing a book about his WikiLeaks experience.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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