Is this more strategic rule-breaking by the vicious Corporatocracy?

Source: OffG’s PayPal Account has been frozen – please cancel any recurring donations | OffGuardian

An excerpt from the above linked-to blog post by Off Guardian follows:

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OffG’s PayPal account has been frozen for what are described as “security” reasons. We have no access to the funds you have donated and – given PayPal’s history with other alternative news sites – it’s possible we may not be able to regain access.
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The Off Guardian managers have enough to deal with without PayPal’s viciousness. That would be the same company that, together with other financial businesses, orchestrated a banking blockade of the people’s champion, Wikileaks. Comments by participants (including myself) often don’t show up on the Off Guardian website and no one can figure out why. Personally, As they use a WordPress platform (I blog on WordPress myself), I wouldn’t be surprised if WP was behind the problem, or partly behind it. The WP community has watched with dismay as WP has gradually gone into the toilet. I’ve been rescued by the cleverness of one WP blogger who has tech smarts and has created some scripts that rescue some of WP’S desirable features like the sparkline and like WordPress’s original and robust classic editor.

“Wikileaks has published the biggest leaks in journalistic history. This has triggered aggressive retaliation from powerful groups. Since 7th December 2010 an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade has been imposed by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. The attack has destroyed 95% of our revenue. The blockade came into force within ten days of the launch of Cablegate as part of a concerted US-based, political attack that included vitriol by senior right wing politicians, including assassination calls against Wikileaks staff. The blockade is outside of any accountable, public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency. The US government itself found that there were no lawful grounds to add Wikileaks to a US financial blockade. But the blockade of Wikileaks by politicized US finance companies continues regardless.” – Wikileaks

Also from The Wikileaks website:

On 7 December 2010, the same day Julian Assange was remanded to prison without charge, an extra-legal banking blockade was erected against WikiLeaks – as a direct result of WikiLeaks’ publications – by a number of US financial services giants including PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and Western Union.

More than 1,000 people took part in a harmless online protest against the blockade, which attempted to flood the PayPal website with network requests.

The banking blockade against WikiLeaks was subsequently found to be illegal in the European courts and most of the companies involved, including PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, have conceded defeat.

A number of the PayPal blockade protesters were charged by US authorities. For almost four years these protesters, most of whom had never engaged in a protest before, faced threats of imprisonment for what was by all accounts a harmless measure against extra-legal economic censorship.

The most well-known subgroup, the “PayPal 14”, had a significant victory on Thursday, beating felony convictions and jail time.

Each will still have to pay $5,600 in “restitution”, a figure drastically lower than the $5.5 million in “damages” that PayPal initially, and falsely, claimed. Supporters of the protesters, including the Wau Holland Foundation, have raised monies to defray these costs.

Stanley Cohen, a defence attorney for Mercedes Haefer, one of the accused, said last year that the terms of the plea deal were reached “based upon strength, not weakness; based upon principle, not acquiescence”.

“It did not involve cooperation and did not involve any of the defendants renouncing their conduct. They all stood up and said: ’We did what you said we did… We believe it was an appropriate act from us and we’re willing to pay the price’.”

WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange said: “When I first heard about these protests against the financial censorship of WikiLeaks I was in prison, and this expression of popular will lifted my spirits. I know first-hand how grinding years of court cases can be, but also the pleasure in standing up for what you believe in. I encourage everyone to do what they can to help the PayPal 14 and others to get back on their feet as they clear these hurdles.”



I clicked on both links at the bottom of that announcement and they were dead. Why?

WordPress boasts that it “powers 28% of the internet.” In my opinion, that means that it is probably up to no good. Why? A behemoth like WP would not be ignored by the monsters who run the Corporatocracy. One way or another, they will use WP. If they can’t use it, they will kill it. They might take some time to get around to killing it, but that’s how they roll. We haven’t had juicy revelations, via former staffers or leaks or intrepid investigative journos, but give it time. Look at Wikileaks, which was subject to a financial blockade (which involved rule-breaking) as a way to cripple it. It was big and could not be used by the gangster Corporatocracy, ergo… Off Guardian isn’t big, yet, but perhaps it is making more waves than I am aware. And while the editors there stick to their principles, and continue speaking truth to power and practicing democracy, it can’t be used by the gangster Corporatocracy, although Camelot propaganda has snuck in via an editor of OG named Kit.

You may naively think that if you follow all the rules, you will be fine. That’s just not the case. Within the gangster Corporatocracy, being lawful isn’t exactly the ticket – for the 99%. The one law that ‘might’ be the ticket to success, for unprincipled people within the 99%, is serving power no matter how corrupt it is. (I consider 1% of the 99% to be ethically healthy. The rest of my camp are zombies! You are not automatically righteous just because the Corporatocracy victimizes you, primarily via neoliberal capitalism and austerity.)

Let’s suppose that WP’s management is working with the police state, the way Silicon Valley does. (Peter Thiel, an original founder of PayPal, today is a happy Trump supporter and Chairman of the vile Palantir.) That could mean anything. That could explain why Off Guardian is having technical difficulties. And perhaps the technical difficulties, created by idle hands (toward useful activity) in the Devil’s workshop, were actually a sign of things to come.

What I find interesting about all of this is that Off Guardian carries a few links to news and information sites, one which is Pierre Omidyar’s “The Intercept,” that are compromised and can be said, in fact, to be hostile to OG or at least its direction. I’ve posted comments to Off Guardian before about the back and forth between the smart Pando Journos who dug into Pierre Omidyar’s connection to neo-nazi Ukraine, as a funder of its installment. If any of their editors had a reaction, those were private reactions. How, I wonder, do they feel about former PayPal owner and current First Look/ The Intercept owner Pierre Omidyar now? First Look is impressive in looks and content. That’s not hard to pull off when you are a billionaire. (And yet their search feature is rubbish. I must have connected with someone naive in the organization when I pointed that out and she agreed with me and said she would look into it. Nothing’s changed.) Pando writers, whose expertise is in startups, Silicon Valley goings on and internet technology, are paying attention still. (I can’t afford to sign up there, so I’m missing much. I wonder whether it would be less chaotic if I did pay up. Right now, I find the site to be like an acid trip.) In 2014, Paul Carr wrote “The Intercept decides entire country can’t be trusted to know that America is listening to its calls.” I just read it. Comments are now closed, which is to be expected after three years. But I looked through all the names of the commenters because I wondered; If journos like Carr are so passionate about things that other journos are saying, then Why can’t they themselves comment? (Or is it all on Twitter, which I have no use for.) They are informed and their comments would be useful, as opposed to 99% of what I see. But First Look did allow 400 comments before closing them. That’s a hell of a lot better than many other orgs. Anyway, Here’s an excerpt from that article:

“Wikileaks isn’t the only former ally that has now turned on Omidyar’s quarter billion dollar journalism project. Members of the Anonymous hacker collective have launched a campaign to encourage readers to pirate copies of Greenwald’s new book about the Edward Snowden leaks. Anonymous’ beef centers around Greenwald joining forces with Omidyar who they hold partly responsible for the “PayPal 14″ case.” (Regarding that case, Ignore what the major media say about the “attack” on PayPal’s operation and about the character of the participants. This was nothing more than civil disobedience, no different than a harmless sit-in at a politician’s office or something. No computers were damaged. No information compromised. Business, in one small area, was simply held up for a period of time.)

About the PayPal 14, RT News noted: “The US Justice Department pursued felony charges against 14 individuals alleged to have participated in a distributed denial-of-service attack against PayPal in late 2010 after the website stopped processing donations to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks due to the organization’s publication of classified State Dept. diplomatic cables.” (See “Greenwald’s book tour draws ire from Anonymous hactivists.”)

Pierre Omidyar doesn’t own PayPal now, but how much different in outlook and culture is PayPal under Dan Schulman since it was spun off in 2014? Afterall, The PayPal mafia (a term taken from a 2007 Fortune Magazine article) is said to keep good relations with all of the chief figures of the companies spun off from it over the years. There’s reportedly a lot of sharing of ideas and information between them.

Dan Schulman’s PayPal is behaving the way Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal behaved. Actions speak louder, and sometimes more loudly, than words. It wasn’t Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal that stabbed Off Guardian, but he did far worse to Wikileaks and currently runs First Look and its media organization, The Intercept, which Off Guardian links to on its website. And while Off Guardian is far from being subject to a widespread banking blockade, nevertheless, here’s Dan Schulman’s PayPal behaving like a child of Pierre ‘nazi-enabler’ Omidyar.

“Why does PayPal discriminate against Palestinians?” by Jesse Rubin

A commenter attaching a comment to the top of post-linked to article by Off Guardian asked whether we should launch a petition challenging PayPal’s decision here. I then commented, riffing off of that comment:

Perhaps. But this is the 1%’s modis operandi. They break the (written and unwritten) rules. They will not lose in the class war. If they had a principled belief in law & order and the rule of law, then we could challenge them. But they don’t have. When they can’t win by playing by the rules – donors via PayPal to Wikileaks or OG or what have you – then they toss the board. They resort to force. They terrorize. They will even resort to characterizing international humanitarian law (IHL) as offensive and a tool of terrorists if IHL can help the people who are trying to defend themselves against the global pacification program (with the people as the target) underway, as Jeff Halper explains in “War Against The People.”

“By claiming the need to securitize against a threat, the securitizing agent also creates an inherent justification of its actions. An “enemy” is identified and demonized, or a “threat” is identified and an “emergency” – often a permanent emergency – is declared, all of which casts the securitizer as the victim, the one acting in self-defense.” Which I think will work when the audience is already both dependent on the kindness of the securitizer (the police state) and in fear of it. And once people (too few whom are principled) act, which can include making a decision, rationalization and self-justification follow – if the rationalizer is conflicted about his (or…) chosen course. Rationalizing wrong behavior and thinking normalizes it. Halper continues: “This, of course, obfuscates the self-serving aspects of conflict and framing. Warfare is often less about defeating genuine enemies or making the world a safer place than it is about profiteering and power.

“Monitoring uncomfortable laws and enforcing them in tendentious ways is another understated element of securitization. One can regard the emergence of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights covenants as an example of how non-hegemonic actors arising out of civil society have acted through the UN system to institute laws and articulate norms that constrain the actions of hegemonic powers. One can argue, as do Dillon and Reid, that the “universal” values they promote are themselves a mechanism of capitalist hegemony hiding behind liberal forms of governmentality, capable of imposing core discpline over the entire world-system if applied in self-serving ways. The fact that IHL is implemented mainly by the stronger on the weaker; the trial by the International Criminal Court only of people from Third World countries, and then primarily Africans, is a case in point, as well as the fact that the US has refused to join it. And, of course, as with the rulings of the International Court of Justice and even UN resolutions, the hegemonic elites can simply ignore them. All this reinforces the impression that IHL is wielded more as a weapon of the core against the unruly peripheries than as an instrument of the weak to redress structural inequities.” -pages 81 & 82

The law & order crowd know how to beat us via strategic lawbreaking. And Chris Hedges is right, we need to do it too, but non violently. We must stop cooperating. I would add, we who can. It’s called civil disobedience. The 1% and its tools will call it terrorism. But they’re not afraid of the outgunned, mostly law-abiding (and therefore weak) people. They’re not afraid of God either, unfortunately for them.

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