By John Hudson Mar 02, 2011
Remember when PayPal, Mastercard and Visa stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks because it leaked secret State Department cables? At the time Julian Assange blasted the firms as "instruments of U.S. foreign policy" because the move cut off one of the organization's major sources of fundraising. But over the past few weeks, the logos of PayPal, MasterCard and Visa have quietly returned to WikiLeaks and the site is back in the business of asking supporters to send money its way.
So, did the firms that cut WikiLeaks off last year have an about-face? At the time, MasterCard pulled the plug in a huff, claiming its rules "prohibit" customers from taking part in "any action that is illegal." PayPal responded in kind, saying its policy is to ban an organization from using its services if it "encourages, promotes, facilitates or instructs others to engage in illegal activity."
WikiLeaks used to raise much of its funding via online payments in its signature "Keep Us Strong" campaign. The new campaign (which features the same pensive photograph of Assange) is advertised as the "WikiLeaks Defence Fund." Notice the corporate logos back on display:\