REYKJAVIK — Seven months after Visa and MasterCard blocked credit card payments to WikiLeaks, donating to the whistleblower website using plastic became possible again on Thursday, its data hosting service provider said.
“Today (Thursday) we have observed that an alternative payment processor that we have contracted with, has in fact opened the gateway for payments (to WikiLeaks) with Visa and MasterCard,” DataCell, the Icelandic firm that handles WikiLeaks’ donation collection, said in a statement.
It added that payments by American Express, which it did not have access to even before the conflict with the credit card companies began in December, were also now possible.
“We choose to interpret this as that Visa and Mastercard (have) in fact given in to our demand that the payment services (be) reinstated,” the statement said.
In December, as WikiLeaks began publishing some 250,000 secret diplomatic cables, sparking an international controversy, Visa and MasterCard imposed a ban on all payments made to the whistleblowing website.
WikiLeaks says that cost them 130,000 euros ($185,250) a day.
The website said at the weekend it was planning to file a complaint this week with the European Commission against Visa and MasterCard, but its lawyer told AFP Thursday, when the suit was supposed to have been filed, the move had been delayed since Visa had asked for more time to react to its demands.
Visa “said they would come back to us Friday… If nothing changes, we will file the complaint after the weekend. We just have the courtesy to not file a complaint when they requested a delay,” Reykjavik-based lawyer Svein Andri Sveinsson told AFP.
WikiLeaks and DataCell, who argue that Visa and MasterCard have abused their dominant market positions and violated European competition rules, have also said they will file separate lawsuits in Denmark and Iceland.
On Thursday, DataCell said it was “happy that our threats of legal action have had this effect. But the battle is by far not over!”
“We will initiate the lawsuit in Denmark to get compensated for our losses in the last seven months, and we consider it likely that we will file the complaint before the EU Commission,” it said.
WikiLeaks leaked classified information about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as private cables written by US diplomats, many of which contained embarrassing revelations and descriptions of foreign officials.