Home PayPal Freezes Donations to Bradley Manning Defense Fund [Updated]

PayPal Freezes Donations to Bradley Manning Defense Fund [Updated]

Want to make a donation to support Bradley Manning, the soldier arrested under suspicion of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks? No longer will you be able to send money via PayPal.

Update: PayPal has just posted a press statement to its blog, stating that “we have decided to lift the temporary restriction placed on their account because we have sufficient information to meet our statutory ‘Know Your Customer’ obligations.”

The Bradley Manning Support Network has been raising funds, most of which has been used so far for public awareness efforts around Manning’s case. Money will also go towards his legal defense, and Manning’s fees are estimated to run around $115,000.

Donations to the Bradley Manning Support Network, which is run in conjunction with the conscientious resister organization Courage to Resist, have been generous. But the organization announced today that it was losing one important means by which folks can give money. Echoing its decision in December that it would not handle donations to WikiLeaks, PayPal has now frozen the support network’s account.

“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,” says Loraine Reitman of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “This was an internal policy decision by PayPal.”

The Bradley Manning Support Network claims its PayPal account was frozen as it would not authorize PayPal to withdraw funds from its checking account, something the organization says runs counter to its accounting practices. The support network calls this an “exceptional hurdle to clear in order to continue as a customer,” and argues that PayPal has been unresponsive to the nonprofit’s efforts to work with the financial service. While the account has been open and in good standing since 2006, PayPal’s attitude shifted once money was earmarked for Manning, according to the support network.

Donations by Visa and Mastercard remain unaffected at this time.

We have contacted PayPal for comment, but have not heard back at time of publication. It is worth noting, of course, that PayPal is under no obligation to provide anyone – WikiLeaks, the Bradley Manning Support Network, you, or me – with financial services.

Bradley Manning is being held in solitary confinement at Quantico and is not expected to face court martial until at least October 2011.

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