Paypal Unfrozen for Accused Whistleblower Bradley Manning's Defense
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Paypal Unfrozen for Accused Whistleblower Bradley Manning's Defense

Quantico : VA : USA | Mar 01, 2011 at 5:55 AM PST
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After a month of negotiations with Paypal, Courage to Resist's account has been restored. The account was shut down as part of an "internal policy decision" by Paypal, immediately after Courage to Resist issued a call for donations to support accused Wikileaks informant U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, allegedly responsible for the leak of the now famous video known as "Collateral Murder" in 2010.

Paypal denies any link between the two events. In a public statement, director of communications Anuj Nayar indicated that the company "placed a temporary limitation of the Courage to Resist organization’s PayPal account as they had not complied to our stated policy requiring non profits to associate a bank account with their PayPal account."

However, Loraine Reitman of the Bradley Manning Support Network disagrees. “We’ve been in discussions with PayPal for weeks, and by their own admission there’s no legal obligation for them to close down our account.”

Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist and member of the Bradley Manning Support Network’s steering committee, posted the following statement:

We have spent nearly a month trying to resolve this matter with senior PayPal staff. Only after a conference call in which their chief compliance officer bluntly stated that our account would be permanently restricted and our funds returned in 180 days did we issue this morning’s statement on the matter.

I [sic] little while ago I received an email from the PayPal machine, “Hello Courage to Resist, Our review is complete and we have restored your account.” Upon logging into the PayPal account, we’re now greeted with, “Your Account Access is Back in Regular Standing. Thank you for taking the steps to return your account to regular standing…”

According to Courage to Resist's website, the non-profit supports Manning because "we realize that troops who speak out and share the realities of war after witnessing or participating have an important role to play in educating the American people. If Bradley Manning is indeed "the WikiLeaks source”, he deserves our support in this regard. If he is not the individual who courageously exposed these possible war crimes, then he needs our help regardless."

Legal defense costs are estimated at approximately 115,000 USD. Manning has been held in isolation in Quantico, Virginia for 279 days, under conditions reported by his attorney and at least one visitor to be seriously damaging to his mental health, including being woken up regularly, no access to blankets, constant exposure to bright lights, and other measures supposedly taken to protect him from suicide.

These measures could affect his ability to stand trial. Psychologists for Social Responsibility sent an open letter to this effect: "solitary confinement can have severely deleterious effects on the psychological well-being of those subjected to it. We therefore call for a revision in the conditions of PFC Manning’s incarceration while he awaits trial, based on the exhaustive documentation and research that have determined that solitary confinement is, at the very least, a form of cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment in violation of U.S. law."

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claims that the conditions are designed to "coerce him into testifying against me, or against the organization, to try and suggest that there is some kind of a conspiracy to commit espionage. Which there is not."

Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard recently froze Wikileaks' accounts as well. In spite of the restoration of Courage to Resist's account, online donations to Wikileaks remain blocked at the present time.



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Warfare training at Marine Corps Base Quantico, where Manning is held in solitary confinement
Marion Lougheed is based in Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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