The WikiLeaks Suit against Visa and MasterCard

You may have heard that WikiLeaks is suing Visa and MasterCard for refusing to process donations to it.

That’s not actually the case. Forbes has gotten a copy of the complaint, and as it lays out, an Icelandic company called DataCell is suing, and it’s suing in Europe, not the US. DataCell is basically a hosting service for WikiLeaks and “businesses, NGOs, humanitarian organisations and others.” It had contracted with two payment services companies, Teller and Korta, on October 18, 2010, with the explicit intention of accepting donations for WL. But on December 7 (not long after the WL cables started coming out), they terminated those services. But that affects both WL and any other clients DataCell might have. And according to an explanation from Teller, no payment services company will contract with DataCell, even if it doesn’t work with WL.

[A]ccording to Teller’s explanations acquiring firms in Europe are not about to be allowed by MC and Visa to open merchant agreements with DataCell, irrespective of whether the company would service Sunshine press/Wikileaks as a payment facilitator or not.

And that’s true even though DataCell has nothing more than business relationship with WL.

There are no ownership or “board or management” connections between DataCell and the Sunshine Press Foundation, the corporate part of Wikileaks. The relationship between DataCell and Sunshine Press/Wikileaks is a pure business relationship.

DataCell also notes that Visa and MasterCard have sustained relationships with other media outlets that have published WL content.

Of note, Teller is also the company that has admitted that WL had broken none of Visa’s rules or Iceland’s laws.

Teller has found no signs indicating that Sunshine Press acts in contravention of Visa rules or national legislation in Iceland. Neither Teller nor Visa licence holders may enter into any agreement with Sunshine Press on the possessing of Visa payments, until this has been approved by Visa Europe. Teller now awaits Visa Europe’s approval.

All of which is the basis for DataCell’s argument that by refusing to let any of its payment services companies in Europe to provide services to DataCell, Visa and MasterCard have violated Europe’s competition laws. It argues that they have used their monopoly position–Visa has 68% of the market and Mastercard has 28%–to prevent DataCell from competing in Europe.

Now, I have no idea how this suit will fare legally.

But I’m interested in what it does rhetorically. Effectively, DataCell has been treated like companies that provide material support for terrorism (without being listed in any list of entities that do so); either through US intervention or via voluntary actions from Visa and MasterCard, they have singled out DataCell to put out of business because of its tie to WL. And it has done so in a market that is none too impressed with US claims about WL’s dangerousness, nor with US bigfooting Europe on data issues.

Effectively, it calls attention to the way that Visa and MasterCard abuse their monopoly position to do the bidding of the US.

We’ll see how that goes over with European consumers.

95 replies
  1. bobschacht says:

    Good catch, EW! Please someone keep an eye on this for us!

    Meanwhile, also on the financial services front, we have this:
    Big Banks Easing Terms on Loans Deemed as Risks
    By DAVID STREITFELD, Published: July 2, 2011.

    I may be affected by this, as my wife has one of those godawful ARMs that sound like the ones discussed in the article. Her mortgage is due to balloon in December. Like many others, these big banks may want to avoid another wave of foreclosures as these mortgages start to balloon– and since many of them were made at the same time during a particular marketing frenzy, they may all start to balloon about the same time, too.

    Bob in AZ

    • Synoia says:


      ARM’s a selectively not-so-bad.

      1. What’s the index for your ARM? T-Bill is best.
      2. What’s the max percentage/year that it can be raised?
      3. What’s the index cap?

      I had an ARM indexed to T-Bills, and the rate when down.

  2. bmaz says:

    I support this case and find the arguments fairly compelling legally; but do not know squat about EU law, therefore have no clue as to the chances for success. It does seem to be more in the form of request for regulatory relief than a traditional lawsuit, but again, being unfamiliar with the protocols, it is hard to tell.

    I am curious as to why DataCell and WL cannot form their own payment system that is capable of accomplishing the goal. The porn industry did this through a company known as “CCBill”. I guess it is because, even if they did, VISA and MC would not allow payments to them and this is typified by Teller and Korda. Still, you would think there would be some way around the issue.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes, sorry, they have. However it appears that they are kind of secondary though in that while DataCell has used its Kerfisþróun arm to do this activity, it really relies on Teller and/or Korta to do the lifting. At least from what I can tell on a quick read.

        I mentioned CCBill, but I think the difference is that while CCBill was set up a literally a “PayPal for porn” because PayPal and similar entities discriminated against the porn industry and did not want their business, CCBill is able to accept payments from the payment card folks at VISA and MC. That said, CCBill also has available modalities to accept payment via “check by phone”, “online check” and “telephone billing”. You would think DataCell and WL would at least be able to utilize the last three modalities even if VISA and MC insist on choking off any potential use of their services, even to an intermediary like Teller and Korta.

        It really is objectionable what VISA and MC are doing though, sure looks like good merit to the complaint here.

    • kgb999 says:

      I don’t think CCBill can answer the question exactly. They are a verification and processing service like Real-Share was back in the day (also used by porn).

      CCBill still looks to be at the mercy of Visa and Mastercard. I know for porn, the only way *anyone* would process transactions was with an explicit agreement not to contest any charge-backs on major credit cards – and that policy was required by the major CC companies. My point being that Visa/MC still call the shots even if there is a third-party in the middle.

      CCBill would be out of business if Visa/MC were to blackball them across-the-board as they have DataCell (as would all the porn sites that rely on it). I think one of the major objectives behind Visa/MC doing what they have done the way they have done it was to threaten all potential servicers who might otherwise be inclined to help Wikileaks process donations. In order to capitalize on alternative payment methods, WL needs to find a processor that specializes only in those niche products without any exposure to potential American corporate retaliation.

      • bmaz says:


        It does maybe seem that WL or DataCell could do the lesser and more direct modalities like check by phone, online check and telephone billing. Problem is, those are really fringe methods; most people would likely be at least worried, if not adverse to doing online or phone check is my guess, and I think the phone billing is limited as to size. So, even at the very best, not a real substitute.

        • littledom says:

          Ironic that people who support a rogue organization that is in business to expose classified information that puts people’s lives at risk, would be afraid to contribute via methods that would out their own secrets at risk.

          • thatvisionthing says:

            Ironic that a country that founded itself on the concept of enlightened self-governance, of, for and by the people — would keep secrets FROM the people. That’s nonsense.

            • littledom says:

              Of the people, for the people, and by the people. When you release secrets that endanger the people, you hurt the people.
              Some secrets need to stay classified.

              • bobschacht says:

                Your system immediately creates two classes of people: those who may keep secrets [i.e., withhold information from other citizens], and those who can’t access those secrets. Are you already a member of the secrecy oligarchy, or are you just brainwashed enough that you suppose that those secrets will never hurt YOU? You’re well on the way in your thinking to a society of a privileged elite class, and a class of commoners. And of course, “secrets” can be used to hide embarrassing information. From what I’ve read, I’d guess that 90% of secrets are improperly classified. But the public has no way to challenge this abuse.

                What we need is a security court, or at least a law which allows secrets to be examined by competent *independent* authorities, and argued in closed proceedings (as needed) before a (panel of?) judge(s). There must be some due process here.

                Bob in AZ

            • bmaz says:

              There was NEVER any contemplation that the American government would possess the ultimate transparency you claim to seek. That was never part of the founding, never part of the reality, and never will be part of the reality.

              • thatvisionthing says:

                Way more than I think you acknowledge. Thinking about juries. You support them being dumbed down and disabled from exercising their conscience to nullify law they find unjust or unjustly applied in the instant case, unable to serve if they don’t agree to follow the law as the judge instructs them. And was it you (maybe not?) who told me that if a lawyer even thinks of reasoning law with a jury the case gets tossed? Well, dude! There’s your problem. That was one of the things Slavoj Zizek was making a point about yesterday — the death of public reasoning. Which I see also as the death of national conscience. And it is NOT, NOT, NOT what the Constitution and Founding Fathers intended. I’ve posted before clear quotes from John Adams and John Jay in his capacity as first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Thomas Jefferson and… I mean, the list goes on and on, yet when those words are printed on a FIJA flyer and a retired professor hands them out in the vicinity of a courthouse now, he gets arrested! Owww! (Though it’s still ok for the guys who wrote The Wire to say them in a Time magazine op-ed:)

                Jury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, and absent a government capable of repairing injustices, it is legitimate protest.

                And there’s nothing about government secrets in the Constitution, and as I understand it the grounds for treason are so weakly and nebulously written that that clause was put in to PREVENT people from being declared treasonous. I think I learned that from Scott Horton of Harper’s in one of his interviews on Antiwar Radio.

                The thing of the thing of it all is that what goes round needs to come round, to be healthy. That health is circulation amongst the people and its government, it’s not something handed down to them from a guy on top of a pyramid. All those people up there in positions on the pyramid, they’re hardly people anymore, they’re entities, like corporate people, funny how that works out. Our nation is being run by conscienceless, sick entities now. Think tourniquet, think rubber band. They’re up there turning purple and black and falling off, they’re so sick. I mean, even John F. Kennedy, he knew it, I remember reading something where he said he was acting as the president, not as himself — distinction was made about what actions were possible when you’re serving as a position. A government of, for and by the people makes sure that the people understand and consent to what their government does. Juries were supposed to be there to be the failsafe of last resort, of constant resort, constantly checking and balancing. All those clauses in the first amendment — freedom of press (thank you jury nullification, John Peter Zenger), freedom of religion and speech and assembly (thank you jury nullification, William Penn) — just thank you, jury nullification. What’s more — we’re SUPPOSED to be different and bring all our perspectives together and sit and reason as equals. Once you get everybody together, it’s not so strange that people can agree on what’s right or wrong in a particular case. It’s actually natural. And it’s ok to turn left one day and right the next…and the next and the next. Just keep rolling, just keep awake, just keep alive. Now the people can’t turn the boat at all, and we’ve got an idiot president who “leads from behind” like a little rudder on a big captainless boat. Hey, stay that course, we certainly will.

                In short, we’re not supposed to be a stupid fucking empire! We’re supposed to be conscious and fair and inclusive! We’re not supposed to be reality-blind and win-lose! We’re supposed to reason together as parts of a whole, friendly — not toxic to each other, not out to get each other.

                I have too much to say and I know I’ve said it here before. What it is.

                Except, except — !! Lawyers! Courts! Idiots! (God love ’em.) You’re the last to see it! You’re the reason juries are disabled and corporations are “persons”!

                Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person.

                “Corporations do everything people do except breathe, die and go to jail for dumping 1.3 million pounds of PCBs in the Hudson River.” –Stephen Colbert

                • bmaz says:

                  Jury nullification already exists in the only way it should. Specifically instructing juries that the law can be disregarded means there is no law. There is a reason that most people who scream for “jury nullification” don’t have any experience actually practicing in front of juries. It is insane.

                  So, I take it you think there should be no presumption of innocence right? Because jury nullification in the absurd way you picture it would remove the presumption of innocence.

                  I also take it that you do not believe the burden of proof in criminal cases should be beyond a reasonable doubt. Because jury nullification would blow that concept up too.

                  I could go on ad infinitum about this absolute insanity gutting every semblance of law (as you seem willing to do blithely supporting it). TThe FIJA is a stunt by a bunch of dogmatic assholes. I have dealt with them personally. A group of them physically and rudely invaded my office once convinced I was going to be their poster boy because I was in a trial and was engaging in a theory of case the prosecutor argued amounted to effective nullification. I literally had to threaten to call the police to get the fuckers to leave my office and leave my staff alone. I have not one single ounce of respect whatsoever for those disingenuous bastards.

                  Oh, and as to this mumbo jumbo:

                  And was it you (maybe not?) who told me that if a lawyer even thinks of reasoning law with a jury the case gets tossed? Well, dude! There’s your problem.

                  I have no idea in the world what you are talking about; it doesn’t even make sense. Please do not associate that with me; I said nothing of the sort.

                  • thatvisionthing says:

                    wtf are you talking about, no presumption of innocence? No reasonable doubt? Gah!!

                    As to the case in your office, write a diary and I’ll try and understand what happened. But basically you refute everything FIJA flyers quote, John Jay, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, all of them — and you support arresting the retired professor for leafleting their words outside a courthouse? And you support potential jurors being tossed if they refuse to relinquish their conscience to the judge? And you support the conduct of the trial of Bidder 70, Tim DeChristopher?

                    TIM DeCHRISTOPHER: And, you know, even though there were a lot of things that most people view as injustices in this trial where the jury wasn’t allowed to hear much evidence and they were really specifically repeatedly told that they weren’t allowed to use their conscience in making their decision, that they weren’t there to judge whether it was right or wrong, that’s really the status quo for our legal system at this point. And so it may or may not be a successful appeal process. Because that– that’s what our legal system has evolved into, where the jury is just there to really rubberstamp the decision that the government has already made.

                    You agree with the 1895 Sparf court…

                    The case has occasionally been simplistically described as: Since the law has no way to prevent the jury from judging the law, they shall have that right, but only if they do not know it.

                    …over 1794 John Jay?

                    “It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision… you [juries] have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy”.

                    In short, you are down with the death of public reason and the constitutional due process of juror review? I don’t want to put words in your mouth.

                    • bmaz says:

                      FIJA is not the subject of this thread. Just stop with this please and I do not owe you a post on it either; if you want to proselytize, please feel free to write a post over at MyFDL.

                    • thatvisionthing says:

                      Secrecy vs public reason is. Wikileaks. Citizens. Of, by and for the people. What it’s all about. Certainly you don’t owe me a post, but I was offering to understand what I thought you were attempting to communicate.

                      So much for communication. Stay purple.

          • bmaz says:

            Cannot speak for others, but my concern would be security in giving access to direct access to bank accounts, not that they would know who I am. I figure credit cards are traceable too, but they do provide a barrier to access to full bank accounts and some measure of fraud liability limitation.

            • littledom says:

              I understand your point, but banks are required to grant the same protection in cases where people’s accounts are fraudulently accessed. If people want to support treachery, there are plenty of ways to do so. MC and Visa don’t have a monopoly in the payments space, just a narrow definition.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      In the Assange streaming interview yesterday (happy 40th birthday Julian!) Amy Goodman asked him why Wikileaks hasn’t released the promised Bank of America documents, and his answer was something like “blackmail” — which he wouldn’t specify but said whatever might come to your mind, it would be one of your top two choices.

      It’s a stream, no podcast, no transcript, more’s the pity. I heard a lot of interesting things I’d like to go back and look at closer.

      One of the things he said was that he took heart from Chinese censorship, because that meant the process of moving decisionmaking from politicization to financialization wasn’t complete, that people’s opinions still mattered. Amy’s other guest, Slavoj Zizek, told a story he had heard recently that China has just banned stories about time travel or alternate realities — like, don’t even go there. The reality you’re presented is the one you have to believe.

      And he talked about grand juries — specifically the one in Alexandria VA, 6 km away from DC (“more government workers per capita than anyplace else in America”), which made me think about Jane Hamsher running into Lynndie England there last month and the cases being considered. He actually had quite a bit to say about the perversion of justice and how it’s being done — grand juries in America, European extradition agreements post 9/11 where facts don’t matter, just checking the right box on the right form. Like I said, I wish I had a transcript. (Does anyone know how to record streaming sound?)

      • scribe says:

        You may be able to get a copy using RealPlayer. IIRC, that does allow capturing livestreams.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes, hearing Julian Assange whine about American grand juries would sure be illuminating. And he has neither been charged nor extradited. Facts DO matter, Assange ought to try getting a grip on them before spewing his rap.

          • bmaz says:

            Because I think the rap that has been being laid on the EDVA GJ is a load of crap. The inquiry, according to reports including that of David House, of the attendant to the GJ all surrounded Manning and the hacker community in Massachusetts, which are certainly legitimate areas of inquiry for an investigative grand jury. Whether people want to admit it or not, crimes, and putatively serious ones, were committed and there were massive security lapses demonstrated. Assange makes it sound, narcissistically, like it is all about him; it isn’t. I will happily defend to death his 1st Amendment rights, status and protections; however, I often think he should just shut the fuck up.

              • bmaz says:

                Trust me if and when they go after Assange with charges, I will scream bloody murder and holy hell with you.

            • thatvisionthing says:

              I DON’T want him to STFU, TYVM. I’m grateful that he does what he does. That’s my bias. I wish I had a transcript so he could speak for himself, because what I heard made sense to me, but one thing I remember is that he said England ended grand juries because they had proven to be inherently secret and unjust, and that at our grand juries there are four prosecutors and no defenders — why a ham sandwich can be indicted — they’re basically an executive-justice hybrid and not a check and balance at all. That’s a history I don’t know at all, although I am familiar with the criticism that the executive fills Supreme Court vacancies solely from the prosecutorial side of the law and not from the defense. Do you know the UK-USA grand jury arguments? Appreciate your input, though we fundamentally disagree on Assange.

              • bmaz says:

                Well, any tool of justice can be abused and misused, and that certainly includes GJs. But, at least conceptually, I see no problem with having grand juries, I think they are a good thing. There is no defense portion, because they are doing nothing but either investigating or determining probable cause for charging purposes. You have to understand that if there were no GJs, the government would simply swear out direct complaints; there is no “defense” component to that, in fact there is even less protection than the somewhat independent decision of the members of the GJ. So, I think the stuff Assange is spewing is just pretty much bunk. Add that to the concern I expressed previously and that is why I am not too keen on his GJ schticht.

                • thatvisionthing says:

                  ok, I did a transcript of what Assange had to say about grand juries. The lead-in was Amy Goodman asked him to comment on Bradley Manning, so this would be in reference to a Manning grand jury in Alexandria:

                  JULIAN ASSANGE: Now there has concurrently been a secret grand jury taking place 6 kilometers from the center of Washington. That grand jury involves 19-23 people selected from that area. Now why was it in Alexandria, Virginia, 6 kilometers from the center of Washington, that that grand jury was placed and those people drawn? Well, it has the highest density of government employees anywhere in the United States. The US government was free to select the place, and they selected this place in order to bias the jury from the very beginning.

                  This is in fact wrong to call a jury. This is a type of medieval star chamber. There are these 19-23 individuals from the population that are sworn to secrecy. They cannot consult with anyone else. There is no judge, there is no defense counsel, and there are four prosecutors. So that is why people that are familiar with grand jury inquiries in the United States say that a grand jury would not only indict a ham sandwich, it would indict the ham and the sandwich. And that’s a real threat to us.

                  A grand jury – which was removed from UK jurisprudence because of abuses – combines the executive and the judiciary. So this old common law notion of the separation of these branches of power is removed in the grand jury. The US government argues that these captive 19-23 individuals are a branch of the judiciary, that they perform a judicial function, where of course actually they’re just captive patsies for the Department of Justice of the United States and the FBI.

                  So they have been going out and they have coercive powers. They can force people to testify and they have been pulling in all sorts of people that are connected to Wikileaks and people that are not.

                  Recently a number of individuals that have been called to the grand jury understand what is going on and they have refused to testify, and have pleaded the 1st amendment, 3rd amendment – 5th amendment protection against self-incrimination to – well I’m not sure the purpose, I have no direct communication, but from the outside it appears to nullify that political witch hunt in the United States against us. Now in response the grand jury has been instructed to send out immunity certificates – so these are certificates that go to subpoenaed individuals that say that if you come to the grand jury to testify, your testimony cannot be used against you and therefore you have no right to plead the 5th. What this means in practice is coerced compulsive interrogation in secret with no defense counsel. There’s not – not even lawyers for the subpoenaed witness are permitted into the grand jury. It is just the prosecutors and these people from 6 kilometers away from the center of Washington. That’s something that should be opposed.

                  There’s another grand jury that has sprung up in the United States and is investigating antiwar activists, engaged in the same sort of witch hunt. So these are really a classical device. It was looked at very critically in the UK 400 years ago, and the result in the UK is this concept that if justice is to be done, it must be done publicly, and that has been a concept that is waylaid. It’s interesting why or how it’s been waylaid. So that on the surface this device of, well you want the police to have an investigation, the executive says it wants to conduct an investigation into some group of people. Well, we get people from the community, 19-23 people from the community, and they monitor the investigation, and they make sure it’s not overstepping and so on. But actually this has been turned on its head and used as a way to completely subvert the judicial system of the United States.

        • greenharper says:

          I have practiced extradition law involving the U.S. and number of continental European countries. Being charged with a felony or having at least a year of a sentence left to serve was the predicate to a request for extradition under any U.S. extradition treaty with which I was familiar. Extradition requests certainly had to lay out probable cause to believe that a crime covered by the applicable treaty had been committed, and that the subject of the extradition request had committed it.

          The one U.K. case with which I assisted was a revelation: the U.K. required the extradition request to include practically the whole case – depositions, documents, an amazing amount of material. Thank goodness that we didn’t need to translate it all! It was probable cause and then some.

          In the late 1990s I once discussed with a U.K. police official the matter of provisional arrest with a view toward extradition on the basis of INTERPOL Red Notices. He thought that it would never happen. INTERPOL Red Notices carried a brief statement of facts, probably edited for brevity by a clerk with no legal training before translation at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat in Lyon, France. Probable cause these were not.

          So hearing from Assange that the U.K. could now extradite him to Sweden based on a post-9/11 European arrest warrant, reportedly having for substantiation but a two-page form with ‘Rape’ checked by police or prosecutor, and no charges filed whatsoever, was a real shock. The judiciary provides some check on the filing of criminal charges. What Assange said about the lowering of European legal standards through lack of any judicial check on issuance of these European arrest warrants was right on the money.

          • bmaz says:

            I do not disagree with Assange’s complaints about the Swedish-British extradition issue; I am a little taken aback by that as well. So, You will get no fight from me on that; completely agree. I do, however, take issue with his constant rap that the US going to extradite him and that the entire EDVA GJ is about him and getting him charged up and extradited. Well there are no charges here and the latest report from the GJ indicated there was no particular examination in relation to Assange/WikiLeaks. And yet Assange, House, and all their minions just relentlessly paint it as if it all is all about only Assange/WL. While i admit there is concern there, the relentless hyperbole and disingenuous painting of the process annoys me. There were crimes committed (apparently by Manning and the govt is entitled to see if by others) and it is legitimate to investigate them.

          • thatvisionthing says:

            The extradition section of the July 2 Livestream interview in London:

            AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of other legal cases, I just wanted to ask you about what you face next week, the extradition case on July 12th. The Nation magazine has done two pieces — one is forthcoming — and they quote your new lawyer, Gareth Peirce, who is very well known for representing prisoners at Guantanamo, a renowned human rights attorney. And Tom Hayden, who writes the piece, interviewed many people in Sweden and the United States and sort of talks about a feeling in Sweden of an attack, very much represented by your past lawyers, on the Swedish justice system and on the integrity of the women in Sweden, and he quotes Gareth Peirce saying that —

            JULIAN ASSANGE: Well our lawyers never attacked any integrity of women.

            AMY GOODMAN: Well, he quotes Gareth Peirce saying, “The history of this case is as unfortunate as it is possible to imagine. Each of the human beings involved deserves respect and consideration.” And I just wanted to ask if you are seeing this as a change of approach with your legal team in dealing with your possible extradition to Sweden?

            JULIAN ASSANGE: Possibly. I mean the situation – what has happened to Europe and what has happened to Sweden is fascinating. I mean, it’s something that I have come to learn because I have been embroiled in it, but it is intellectually extraordinary.

            So we see, for example, that the European Union introduced an arrest warrant system. Another arrest warrant system to extradite from one state of the EU to another state of the EU was put in place in response to 9/11 to extradite terrorists, to have fast extradition of terrorists. And it introduced this concept, or rather recycled a European Union concept, of mutual recognition. This is sort of a very feel-good phrase that one state in the EU mutually recognizes another state in the EU. And that sunk down into mutual recognition between one court in the EU to another court in the EU.

            But actually what it seems to be talking about, if you think about it, given the reality that three people a day are extradited from this country to the rest of Europe, is a mutual recognition of the elite in each country in the EU. It is a method of being at peace, so the elites in each country in the EU have, if you like, made literally a treaty with each other to recognize each other and to not complain about behavior.

            Now, you might say that, well, ok, we have justice systems in the EU in various countries — yes they vary in all sorts of ways, some are better, some are worse, depending on your value system. But we have sunk so low that it’s not even like that anymore. The European arrest warrant talks about the mutual recognition of judicial authorities, so courts, but it has permitted each country to define what they call a judicial authority. And Sweden has chosen to call policemen and prosecutors judicial authorities. And the whole basis of this tone being used in the original introduction of the European arrest warrant was that you would keep the executive separated from the judicial system, that it was meant to be a natural and neutral party who would request extradition. And it’s not.

            So there are many things like this that are going on in that case. I haven’t been charged. Is it right to extradite someone to a state where they do not speak the language, where they do not have family, they do not know the lawyers, they do not know the legal system, if you don’t even have enough evidence to charge them? If you won’t even come over, as we have offered many times, to speak to the people concerned.

            So previous complaints about these sort of problems have led to some inquiries in Sweden. For instance, the biggest Swedish law magazine that goes out to all the lawyers had a survey on this, and 1/3 of the lawyers responding said that yes, that these complaints about the Swedish judicial system, they truly are a problem. On the other hand, it has also engendered a situation where the Swedish prime minister and the Swedish justice minister have personally attacked me and said – the Swedish prime minister said that I had been charged, to the Swedish public, when I hadn’t been. So it is a delicate situation.

            The Sweden we have now is not the Sweden of Olof Palme in the 1970s. Sweden recently sent troops, recently passed a bill to send Marines into Libya. It was the fifth country out to send fighter jets into Libya. This is a different dynamic that has happened now, and we have to be careful dealing with it.

            So it’s one thing to sort of be considerate of differences in the way various justice systems are administered, but it is another to tolerate any difference, and I don’t think any difference should be tolerated in the EU.

            You know, what is it that prevents the justice systems of the EU states from fundamentally collapsing and decaying? You say there’s mutual recognition. There’s mutual recognition between the UK and Romania. And what if the Romanian justice system collapses more and more and more? Who’s going to account for that? Who’s going to scrutinize it? Is it going to be some bureaucrats in the EC that are going to scrutinize the Romanian justice system?

            No, the only sustainable approach to scrutinizing the justice systems of the EU is the extradition process. So it is extradition lawyers and defendants who have the highest motivation to scrutinize the quality of justice in the state that they have been extradited to, and that’s a healthy system that permits outside scrutiny so it can stop European states from decaying.

            But the European arrest warranty system removes that possibility. It’s not open to us to look at any of the facts in the case in the extradition at all. That is completely removed. All we’re arguing about is whether the two-page request that was filled out, which literally has a box ticked “Rape”, is a valid document.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Hard to tell, but it looks like it’s for a Mac? I’m Linux on a CD, I don’t think I can even install software. Plus I’m ticked. I basically just want a podcast! I don’t want to hijack or rip off anything. Why don’t streaming sites like Livestream and Ustream make podcasts available? Think Netroots Nation, all those panels basically kept on a hard-to-reach shelf. I mean, I think that’s profoundly, inexplicably fail.

          But thank you and scribe @14 — I’m so no tech I just got my camera out and recorded the sound from the speakers. I gave up.

          • bmaz says:

            Thanks for the transcribed portions, and as I said above, I do consider his arguments on the EU extradition issues far more meritorious.

            I am not so good tech wise either, so am no help. But will say, the Netroots panels and recordings I think are available online, and have been playing here and there all weekend on CSPAN.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Assange on Bank of America “blackmail”:

        AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of banks, Julian, you mentioned a while ago that you had a good deal of documents on Bank of America, but they haven’t been released. Are you planning to release them?

        JULIAN ASSANGE: There’s a complication with those documents and another group of documents. We are under a type of blackmail in relation to these documents. It is very – it will be dealt with over time, but it is quite difficult to deal with at the moment, so I don’t want to specify what type of blackmail that is because it might make it harder to address the situation, but it is perhaps something like people might guess. You know, there’s a range of possibilities, and it’s probably the first or second possibility if you’re guessing.

        • bmaz says:

          Oh fuck, come on. Julian Assange is either the hero people like you make him out to be, or he is just another schlep subject to forces greater than him; neither he nor you get to play it both ways. Make up your mind.

  3. jawbone says:

    Another example of the exceedingly close relationship between financial behemoths and the US government, what I, and others, refer to as Corporatism, but which had other more famous names in the 20th Century.

    And there may be, it seems, similar relationshps between European countries and the EU and its own financial monopolies, behemoths, Too Big Too Fail entities.)

    Sometimes the government calls the shots — sometimes the Too Big Too Fail financial entities call the shots. Sometimes it seems the TBTF entities have a pretty sizable edge in this Corporoatist relationship….

      • CTuttle says:

        Yesterday’s DSK post…

        @ 3:03 pm

        bmaz, Forbes’ Andy Greenberg posted the Wikileaks complaint…

        Here’s The Legal Complaint WikiLeaks Is Threatening To File Against Visa, MasterCard…

        To which nobody responded to…! ;-)

  4. scribe says:


    There seems to be a lot of typos in the document, which might indicate it’s a draft or might indicate all the complainant could afford was a smallish lawyer who will promptly be swamped.

    But, given the little I know about European antritrust law (other than the quaint fact that they still do enforce their antitrust laws), the complainant seems to have a pretty strong basis for complaining.

    The choice of venue and forum is both unsurprising and interesting. There is no way any sane Euro would file a case like this in American courts after the way the government colluded with Cisco (IIRC) against that Nigerian executive they had arrested in Canada duringhis deposition. IF the USG are merciful enough to not pull that kind of stunt again, they will simply refuse plaintiffs complaining against Corporate America any entry to the US and then dismiss their suits for failing to appear in court to prosecute them.

    On the other hand, they likely don’t have enough information at this juncture to plead a case against Visa and MasterCard in US courts that would stand up to a motion to dismiss under Iqbal (thank you, AG Ashcroft).

    It’s going to dawn on Americans in another 8 or 10 years, but the world is so over America. We are, to them, no longer a shining city on the hill. Rather, to them we are the rough equivalent of a mid-80s Brazilian favela: a shithole of violence, vice and corruption, official and unofficial, best avoided in the hope that you won’t get hit by stray bullets. Just ask the salesmen from Boeing, who got their heads handed to them by Airbus.

  5. thatvisionthing says:

    o/t Oklahoma City bombing case file too massive to search, FBI tells Utah judge
    Deseret News, July 1, 2011

    In a declaration filed in U.S. District Court, the FBI’s top records manager, David M. Hardy, stated that his agency had conducted a reasonable search for video footage requested through a Freedom of Information Act by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue.

    Due to past evidence that Hardy had provided false and misleading information to a court in another case, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ordered Hardy to declare that he or any of the involved federal agents had not provided the court with incomplete or misleading information. Waddoups expressed concern about the previous unrelated case: “When the deception was revealed, the government argued that it had authority to mislead the court and requested an opportunity to brief the issue.”

    In his declaration, Hardy assured the court that he had not misrepresented information, nor had misled the court….Hardy told Waddoups that a manual search of the evidence files would take over a year and a half at an estimated rate of 800 pages a day.

    “They are, in plain English, in contempt of the court’s order,” Trentadue said.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Digital files, of course, are easily searchable. Digital techniques for searching analog records have been around for quite some time, beginning, in fact, about the time of this bombing. The intel services devoted huge resources to making their analog records digitally searchable in the late ’90’s, early ’00’s.

      It would be no surprise if the FBI were behind the times technologically. It has a long history of that, including billions in wasted IT dollars and a famous inability of individual offices to talk with each other. Just as possibly, however, is that the Bureau does not want to provide the court the information requested; believability is a key to any good ruse.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        As I understand the background, there’s known Murrah Bldg videotape that’s gone missing. It was circulated to law enforcement offices at the time of the bombing, and a reporter from the LA Times saw it, but then it was withdrawn–I’m guessing when the decision was made to lose John Doe No. 2–which is Jesse Trentadue’s connection, his brother Kenney was apparently killed by FBI interrogators in August 1995 in prison when he was mistaken for John Doe No. 2, and Jesse’s been FOIAing ever since he learned that. One thing he’s found in his FOIAs is that Eric Holder’s job in the Clinton administration DOJ was to cover up Kenney’s killing and squelch Congressional review of the Oklahoma City bombing. (I’ve commented about that lots of times, just do a search here on “Trentadue” or “Eric Holder sucks.”)

        The video should have been the perfect evidence at McVeigh’s trial, but iirc only a grainy still photo was used. A local TV news station did its own re-creation of the video back then, which you can watch on youtube, and I did a transcript here. Of note, this is WAY different from the MSNBC recreation done for the Rachel Maddow special on McVeigh, in that it shows that John Doe No. 2 is the last one to leave the truck and apparently the one who detonated it, and in Rachel’s bombing video recreation and special there was no John Doe 2 mention at all (one line at the end?).

        This was such prime evidence, it’s crazy for the FBI to say they can’t find it now, and I found the FBI’s statement @16 to the court about searching pages for a year and a half to be a clear statement that it is still misdirecting the court.

        Hardy assured the court that he had not misrepresented information, nor had misled the court. …Hardy told Waddoups that a manual search of the evidence files would take over a year and a half at an estimated rate of 800 pages a day.

        This may be the key part from the transcript:

        NEWSCHANNEL 4 BRAD EDWARDS: Our new information comes directly from a source that has seen parts of those surveillance tapes. It also comes from reports now in the Los Angeles Times. But perhaps the biggest surprise is contained in the NewsChannel’s own information.

        Timothy McVeigh was not the last person to leave the Ryder truck. In fact another man sat inside the cab of the truck after McVeigh got out. We believe that man is John Doe No. 2, a man who for all we know is still on the loose, leaving open the vital question, was it John Doe No. 2 who actually set off the bomb, not Timothy McVeigh as we’ve all been lead to believe? NewsChannel 4 has for weeks been demanding copies of the surveillance tapes from the FBI. The federal government so far is dragging its feet, but many people in the investigation have seen the tapes and now so has a source willing to describe to the NewsChannel what the tapes show. The LA Times report shows there was a surveillance camera near the corner of Fifth and Harvey and another near the corner of Fifth and Robinson. Federal investigators recreated the time sequence leading up to the bombing by matching the video and still photos from the surveillance cameras. Since we can’t show you the tape ourselves, we’re reenacting what our source says he saw on those tapes.

        Jesse Trentadue has been given other videotapes by the FBI in response to his FOIAs — and they all have blanks where the Ryder truck would have been.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Gotta say, it looks like John Doe No. 2 has been pretty well scrubbed from wikipedia too. Their page for the bombing (“redirect from John Doe Number 2“) only shows the drawing of McVeigh and not the one released with it at the same time of John Doe No. 2, and that drawing is not mentioned in the related wikipedia conspiracy theories page, nor does his name there link to anything.


  6. Garrett says:

    In a general/political way, I like

    With such power comes the special responsibility not to distort competition by their actions and conduct.

    as a framework for thinking about regulation in non- or anti-competitive, dominated markets.

  7. nonpartisanliberal says:

    As I was reading the article, I was thinking that Visa-MasterCard ought to be busted up for holding monopoly power and then I got to the part about the violation of competition laws. It seems obvious to me that the case against V-MC has plenty of legal merit.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Having a dominant position is not per se illegal in the EU, only abusing it. That said, Visa and MC are alleged to have done it in the past. It’s hard to prove. Among other things, the terms of their merchant agreements are jealously guarded discrimination is more often less direct than is alleged here.

      In general, there are four sets of contracts involved with these payment groups: 1) those between the principal banks that formed and operate the two payment services groups; and 2) the traditional three-way arrangements involving payment group-merchant; merchant-retail customer; and customer-bank issuing the payment card. The complaint here centers on the merchant-payment group contracts known as “merchant agreements”.

      • emptywheel says:

        Does having the statements from Teller help their case on that front? It doesn’t get you to the agreements. But it does get you to some evidence that DataCell is being discriminated against.

      • nonpartisanliberal says:

        Yes, it’s the EU and they have their own laws. Thank you for all the information provided.

        I was thinking while reading the article about what ought to happen in the US since Visa-MC has a virtual monopoly here. However, in today’s political climate (as alluded to by scribe in #36), there is no concern for fairness and keeping markets truly free.

        The Sherman Anti-Trust Act would not pass today with all of the Republicans and most of the Democrats being complete whores to whoever has the most money. I’m a little surprised that Republicans haven’t yet gotten around to trying to repeal it by arguing that it is “government regulation that penalizes success.”

      • thatvisionthing says:

        From the Assange Democracy Now interview yesterday:

        JuLIAN ASSANGE: So on December 6 last year, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, the Bank of America, Western Union, all ganged up together to engage in an economic blockade against Wikileaks, and and that economic blockade has continued since that point, so it’s over six months now we have been suffering from an extrajudicial economic blockade that has occurred without any process whatsoever.

        In fact, the only two formal investigations into this – one was on January 13 last year by Timothy C. Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, who found that there was no lawful excuse to conduct an economic blockade against Wikileaks, and the other was by a Visa subsidiary who was handling our European payments, Teller, who found that we were not in breach of any of Visa’s bylines or regulations. Those are the only two formal inquiries, and yet the blockade continues.

        It’s an extraordinary thing that we have seen that Visa, Mastercard, Western Union and so on are instruments of US foreign policy, but instruments of not the US, as in a state operating under [war’s?] foreign policy, but rather instruments of Washington’s patronage network policy. So there was no due process at all.

        And so over the past few months – you know we have a number of cases on – so we have been a bit distracted – but over the last few months we have built up a case against Visa and Mastercard under European law. And Visa and Mastercard together own about 95% of the credit card payment industry in Europe and therefore they have a sort of market dominance, and that means under European law they cannot engage in certain actions to unfairly remove people from the market.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is a complaint to the European Commission’s competition directorate (DGIV) in Brussels, which is responsible for enforcement of the EU antitrust laws (along with state courts). The filing is a high profile administrative action; the complainant states it has not filed a separate action in an EU state court.

    MasterCard and Visa are dominant players in the EU (and worldwide) credit industry. There is a history of allegations that one or both have abused their dominant positions and engage in abusive trade practices. They are reputed to guard the terms of their merchant contracts and their “proprietary” practices as zealously as Coke protects its unpatented formula or Disney its TM in its big-eared mouse.

    Articles 101 and 102 of the EU Treaty are the principal EU competition rules. They deal with abusive trade practices and abuse of a dominant position (separate illegal acts). A dominant player abuses its position and engages in abusive practice when, for example, it discriminates by refusing to provide services or differentially enforcing its standard contracts.

    The complaint alleges that Visa (67.6%) and MC (27.7%) Europe each and together have a dominant position in the European market for “payment services” (collectively, 95.3%) and that the two abused their position and engaged in abusive trade practices by breaching their contracts to rovide payment services without cause.

    If DGIV opens an investigation, it will cause a big stink. It may generate significant adverse publicity for Visa and MC, both of which are known at state and EU levels as playing hardball fiercer than the Yankees. It may lead into areas neither wants the EU to look into, such as other alleged discriminatory behavior involving this complainant or others. It would require them to argue on the facts, which is likely to be awkward for the US and quite possibly Visa and MC.

  9. thatvisionthing says:

    Just before that he said…

    JULIAN ASSANGE: …I’ve often lambasted bloggers as people who just want to demonstrate peer value conformity and who don’t actually do any original news, don’t do any original work when we release original documentation on many things, although the situation is very interestingly improving. Often we find that all these left-wing bloggers do not descend on a fresh cable from Panama revealing, as it did today, that the United States has declared the right to board 1/3 of all ships in the world without any justification. They do not descend on that. Rather they read the front page of the New York Times and go “I disagree,” or “I agree,” or “I agree in my categories.” And that is something that has sort of – that hypocrisy of saying that you care about a situation but not actually doing the work is something that has angered me. But it does serve an important function. The function that it serves is the function of the square. It is to show the number of voices that are lining up on one side or another.

    This story? Doesn’t sound exactly like that:

    Leaked Diplomatic Cable Reveals U.S. Panama Express Rendition Program; Hints At FARC In Panama City

    Latin America News Dispatch – July 1, 2011
    Posted by Andrew OReilly

    A secret agreement between the governments of Panama and the United States allows alleged drug traffickers caught in international waters to be “unofficially” brought to Panama before being sent to the United States, a U.S. diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks revealed.

    Known as Panama Express, the agreement allows Panamanian authorities to pick up drug suspects off the country’s coast and bring them to shore before being extradited to the U.S. This system is meant to cut back on U.S. Coast Guard ships going off station for long periods of time and to save fuel.

    …Guatemala has a similar agreement with the U.S., the cable noted.

    …The Panamanian government has a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the U.S., that allows for “creative techniques” that skirt the formal extradition process. Some of these techniques include the direct expulsion of persons of interest to the U.S. and Conditional Release, where suspects under arrest in Panama on other charges are “lent” to the U.S. for prosecution.

    “[Conditional Release]is much faster than a formal extradition, and has proven so successful, that DEA sometimes designs operations to bring suspects to Panama so they can be arrested in Panama and turned over to U.S. authorities quickly,” the cable noted.

    … To read the full cable, follow this link.

    • bobschacht says:

      There is some truth to Julian Assange’s point as quoted. One of the things that is going on is news “cocooning” where a so-called “news” medium such as Fox (there are examples on the Left, too, I’m sure) that help their audience to “digest” the news– interpret it, spin it, and all those elevendy-seven things Roger Ailes figured out after his chat with Nixon. What the public wants is not the news, but how to *understand* the news. 50 years ago, we had only ABC, CBS and NBC, and these were about as alike as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. But then America had a shared view of the world. Then add CNN, and PBS, and before you know it everyone is doing a “news” show, but most of it is spinning and presenting the news of the day to their target audience– which is no longer, really, the entire nation, but some demographic segment that they hope to make money off of.

      The result is that we can’t agree on the “facts” any more. People get their “facts” from their favorite news cocoon, and don’t trust anyone else’s version of the facts, whether evidence-based or not.

      And the system of primaries that this country is now mired in forces voters to the extremes that have no way of carrying on a conversation because they have little left in common.

      WikiLeaks is good because it provides primary data not available anywhere else– without any spin.

      I like to hang around EmptyWheel because her posts (and bmaz’s) are always evidence based, well researched, and often accompanied by very insightful analysis that is not mere spinning. I like Rachel Maddow and Eliot Spitzer’s news because they are smart, insightful and present good journalism. But to the Fox News fans, we are all just biased fuzzy-headed liberals.

      Bob in AZ

      • BearCountry says:

        You should take a look at Bob Somerby’s ongoing critiques of Maddow. The latest is last Friday’s entry. You have to scroll down to see it. As you pass through the post you will also see what he thinks of Digby’s latest. You can find it all here.

        • bobschacht says:

          Yeah, I read just about as much of Somerby as I could stand. I don’t care much for his attitude. Dissing both Digby and Maddow in one post!

          I take it for granted that today’s news no longer is an independent voice. Most are considered part of their corporate culture’s “entertainment” programming. So Maddow needs to be entertaining as well as informative. I like the way that, after a set-up, she asks the interviewee if her set-up summary is right or not. Most of the time, the interviewee will concede the accuracy. Once in a blue moon, she’ll get called out by the interviewee in a way that is in itself newsworthy. And she *listens* to her interviewees.

          So, who is your favorite news anchor?

          Bob in AZ

  10. Anson Mitchell says:

    And these companies have every right NOT to do business with a company that collects funds for traitors.

    If a company in Europe wanted to collect money, for, say, a terrorist group, and a US company refused to do business with them, would that be lawsuit you people could support? What if a group allied with a pro-Apartheid group wanted to raise funds?

    Or do you only back lawsuits by traitors and thugs who happen to be leftists?

      • Anson Mitchell says:

        Assange is a traitor, and Bradley Manning, if he helped him, is a traitor, too.

        As far as I am concerned, if you give documents that aid the enemies of this country, you should be shot.

        Of course, Manning is a hero to The Left because he is gay, or because he was forced to sleep in a diaper, or some such other nonsense.

        • Twain says:

          As BearCountry noted, Assange cannot be a traitor since he is not an American. Manning is a young man who may or may not have leaked information – information which most of us believe American citizens had a right to know. We now have a secret government which, if you haven’t noticed, is not working in our favor. I’d like to see ALL the slime come out.

            • bmaz says:

              Heh, well I will grant you 54 was not, uh, a particularly well taken comment. Littledom at 64 may have a different view than most here (or not, not sure it is particularly clear either way), but as you can tell, so do I in several aspects in relation to Manning and Assange. These areas are pretty complex and not necessarily subject to simple pro or con discussion; they have also become extremely emotionally charged for many people, but there is room for discussion.

              • koolearl says:

                “not particularly well taken” is a bit mild. Stating that support for Manning has anything to do with him being gay is flat out moronic and to jump to that conclusion is a reflection of homophobia. As for Littledom, he/she is just a troll who just comes here to “piss off the libs” (so to speak).

          • littledom says:

            I’d say they women he raped (oh, sorry, allegedly raped) would say he betrayed their trust.

            Definition of “traitor” = One who betrays one’s country, a cause, or a trust, especially (but not exclusively) one who commits treason.

            (emphasis added)


            • thatvisionthing says:

              Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio interviewing The Other Scott Horton of Harper’s last year:

              SCOTT HORTON: All right, so look here, I got the Constitution here somewhere. Article III, Section 3, Treason – and pardon me, I’m clicking my Wikipedia here:

              Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attained.

              Okay, so, that’s from the Constitution of the United States, the only crime defined in the Constitution of the United States. And, first of all, why? And then second of all, what did I just say when I read that? What did it mean?

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: Well, what you said practically is, it’s almost impossible to charge and convict someone under American law with treason. And there’s a very good reason for that, because the people who wrote that constitution, who were our founding fathers, well they were all guilty of treason. They had risen up against the government of Britain, and under English law prevailing at that time there is little doubt that they committed acts of treason.

              SCOTT HORTON: Hey, they even allied with the French to do it.

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: Exactly right. They worked with enemy powers. They, you know, they committed acts of lese majeste, they battled troops sent by their sovereign. So there’s no question about it. They committed treason. So that means that our founding fathers had a very, very restrictive view of treason, and that’s the reason why there’s hardly been – I mean, there have been one or two – but there have hardly been successful treason prosecutions in the entire history of our country.

              SCOTT HORTON: Yeah, well, I guess that’s why they had to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts in the first place. Or they could have just rounded up everybody for treason if they wanted to.

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: That’s right. So, you know, sedition was used as a separate offense, so I mean most people going and looking at early American history view that period, you know, roughly 1789 to 1801, as the blackest period in the early days of the republic, when basically the government attempted to use all sorts of legal tools to repress its political adversaries.

              SCOTT HORTON: And when Aaron Burr tried to take off and become the Emperor of Mexico, and Jefferson tried to prosecute him for treason, it blew up in his face and it turned Jefferson into a laughingstock.

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: That’s right. And I think, you know, it was widely viewed that this would be taken as a political gesture, and it was just unsuccessful.

              SCOTT HORTON: Okay, now. You know, it was funny, before we get to this congressman, Mike Rogers – which don’t anybody confuse him with the writer, because it’s a different guy entirely – Justin Raimondo was on the Freedom Watch with Judge Napolitano the other day arguing with a guy from the War Party, I forgot his name, and he said, “Treason is in the Constitution because that’s how important it was to the Founding Fathers.” I guess apparently you’re supposed to finish the sentence with, “that it be used against people all the time.”

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: It was in the Constitution so as to make it impossible to charge.

              SCOTT HORTON: Right. And so, well and particularly here, this whole thing about adhering to their enemies, obviously the allusion here we’re talking about, the unstated premise of this whole conversation, is WikiLeaks, right? So, if WikiLeaks puts out information that, after all they’re saying, at least, the Taliban is going through it looking for snitches to go and do reprisals against or whatever, then in a sense they are actually directly helping the Taliban in that sense, although they claim their purpose was to help you and me know about the truth about our government’s war over there. So, what about court precedent? There must have been – you know, this must have been thought about before.

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: Yeah, well, WikiLeaks to start off could never be charged with treason, for several reasons. First of all, it’s not an American entity. And of course the whole concept of treason is that you as a citizen of a country, or a subject of a country, owe a duty of loyalty and fidelity to your sovereign, and you dare not go against that, especially –

              SCOTT HORTON: Well, I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear, Scott. Really, the reference was to Bradley Manning, who is an American and who apparently leaked to WikiLeaks.

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: Exactly. Bradley Manning is the person who clearly is the target here, and I think, you know, we even got this – our friend the congressman suggested he should be executed. Or at least I think he said the leaker should be executed. And, you know, you have a bunch of loops to jump through here. The crime that’s really involved would be espionage and sharing information, particularly militarily sensitive information, with an enemy.

              And here, I think, you know, I think it would be very, very difficult to make out an espionage count against Manning. I mean, there’s nothing really that I’ve seen or heard – of course, we don’t know all the facts, they’re not fully developed – but from the press accounts of what I’ve seen and heard, there’s nothing suggesting that he was trying to collect information to share it with a foreign power or a foreign military organization like the Taliban.

              Everything suggests that he was collecting – he was shocked when he came across certain information that suggested to him that political leaders in the United States had misrepresented what was going on in the conflict in Afghanistan. And he felt it was important to share this information with the public so it could form a, you know, a better informed view as to the war.

              I think that’s what is fairly suggested by everything that happened. Although, you know, no one’s interviewed Bradley Manning that I know. You know, I’ve not seen him explain his motive. I have seen photographs in English papers of him participating in demonstrations and things of that sort.

              SCOTT HORTON: Well, in the chat logs, at least, as posted by the Washington Post and Wired magazine, he does talk about being – really, in fact, informing his commanding officer that some innocent men had been rounded up by the Iraqi police, and he was supposed to be participating in this. They were guilty of nothing but writing a No Comment-like article about Nouri al-Maliki, America’s warlord there, and he told his commanding officer, and his commanding officer told him, “I don’t care. You go back and help them do it some more, to more innocent people.” And that was the thing that made him say, “Whoa! Whose side am I on here? I thought we were the good guys!”

              THE OTHER SCOTT HORTON: Yeah, I think all that’s fair. And you know that suggests some measure of motive, and that motive certainly is not consistent with either treason or espionage.

              • bmaz says:

                Nobody of any consequence here said WikiLeaks should or could be charged with treason; so I have no idea what the purpose of this foot long quote is.

                • thatvisionthing says:

                  Reply to littledom @76, maybe better to Anson Mitchell @54 — “nobody of any consequence here”? (ouch)

  11. maadcet says:

    bmaz——-Response to 17
    You did not make a clear point about the grand jury in VA. In my memory (that could be short), I have always found indictments in a Grand Jury set up. Hardly any acquittal. The important point, I think Assange made was that justice should be transparent. I dont think he was Whining.

    • bmaz says:

      Irrespective of whether it was perfectly clear or not, that is what I was talking about. TVT has now gone to the trouble to transcribe Assange on DN and it appears he was talking about the EU situation there. That is an area I have already indicated I also had some issue with and sympathy for.

      I have stated my basis for issue with Assange and his supporters in relation to the EDVA GJ and stick by it. He may not have been talking about that here, but he sure as hell has before in other places. I think the govt is entitled to keep certain things secret and classified, and I do not think it is the province of some maladjusted Army private to take it upon himself to perform massive and indiscriminate data dumps in contravention of the law. Shockingly, I also think it legitimate for the government to investigate the same. By the way, the reason there are “hardly any acquittals” from grand juries is that, statistically, most people are guilty and grand juries actually do root out some of the more bogus cases. Beyond that, that is what trials in front of petit juries and rights to due process and confrontation are meant for. The system is not perfect, but it does work on the whole.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        I think the govt is entitled to keep certain things secret and classified

        So unAmerican! My favorite part of the Assange quote on grand juries was:

        It was looked at very critically in the UK 400 years ago, and the result in the UK is this concept that if justice is to be done, it must be done publicly

        “There’s a bailout coming and it’s not for you, it’s for all those creeps hiding what they do” — Neil Young, Fork in the Road

        • bmaz says:

          Well, I have my own experience with the criminal justice system, including grand juries, and trust it a hell of a lot more than Julian Assange’s self centered anarchist bullshit ramblings. To each their own.

  12. thatvisionthing says:

    edit: Reply to @61

    Yeah, but you can’t download them even as an audio podcast, and you can’t transcribe them to retain and catapult the good parts, and you can’t listen to them if you’re not online — which for me makes them a crazy waste. I mean, why not?

    Wait, C-span? Online? (I have no TV) – (Their transcripts are pretty funny sometimes.) Okay, I see two — identified by one tag: Liberals.


    • littledom says:

      Actually just a headwear fan at heart. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      And I prefer the term “Capitalist”. I wear that badge as proudly as a snappy beret.

    • bmaz says:

      I do not know what you mean by that, nor who you are aiming it at, but it sure appears to be pretty out of line.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sorry to have been incommunicado. EU competition rules are a complex, specialist area of EU law. They come into play, for example, in the context of mergers and acquisitions, and amid allegations of abuse of a dominant position and abusive trade practices. An example of the latter would be discriminatory practices in contracting with distributors or in the provision of services. Typically, they are dealt with in state court proceedings and state level regulation of anti-competitive behavior. The EU Commission (DGIV) becomes directly involved in a limited number of cases, such as large, high-profile mergers.

    I’ll try to find time to do a summary about the jurisdictional requirements the complainant here would need to allege in order for it to get the EU Commission (DGIV) directly involved. They are similar, in theory and by analogy, to the rules required to invoke the jurisdiction of federal courts in the US. Examples of the latter include diversity of citizenship and more than a minimum amount in controversy, and violation of federal law vs. state laws.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      What Assange said @44:

      Visa and Mastercard together own about 95% of the credit card payment industry in Europe and therefore they have a sort of market dominance, and that means under European law they cannot engage in certain actions to unfairly remove people from the market.

      Looking forward to your summary.

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