2011-02-24 PayPal suspends account of Bradley Manning supporters

PayPal, an online payment-transfer service, has apparently developed reservations about the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

As spokespersons for the Bradley Manning Support Network have observed, there is no obligation under US law for a private company to restrict fund-raising for an accused person:

They opted to apply an exceptional hurdle for us to clear in order to continue as a customer, whereas we have clearly provided the legally required information and verification. I think our dealings with PayPal should be a cautionary tale for any possibly controversial not-for-profit entity with a PayPal account,” [Jeff] Paterson said, “While there may be no legal obligation to provide services, there is an ethical obligation. By shutting out legitimate nonprofit activity, PayPal shows itself to be morally bankrupt.

Like previous decisions of PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and others to close down transfer of donations to WikiLeaks, this move against Courage to Resist and the Manning Support Network raises the spectre of private corporations acting as proxies for the political branches of government when the courts would not -- in effect, the invention of law that is at once privatized and politicized.

Members of the US Congress and media figures have sown suspicion in the past about any lawyer who has acted on behalf of prisoners at Guantanamo or even US citizens accused of "terrorist" activities. [Citation to come.] By the light of the Sixth Amendment, all such suspicion should be dissipated, and it is regrettable that companies like PayPal have decided to co-operate with a culture of fear and suspicion rather than to remember their duties as citizens of a republic of laws, not of men.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer