Payment processor PayPal has frozen alternative media powerhouse Consortium News’ (CN) donation page without warning, confiscating the site’s $9,348.14 balance with no explanation beyond the claim that “an investigation and review” of the site’s “history” found “some potential risk associated with this account.”
CN was informed via email on Sunday that it couldn’t use PayPal anymore and told “we noticed activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our User Agreement and we [can] no longer offer you PayPal services.” Absent any further explanation beyond the desire to limit “potential risk exposure,” the site was informed that the nearly $10,000 sitting in its account would be effectively confiscated for “up to 180 days,” after which point, “if applicable, we’ll email you with information on how to withdraw any remaining money.”
In a blog post discussing the suspension, CN editor-in-chief Joe Lauria suggested the site had been targeted due to its coverage of the conflict in Ukraine, noting that MintPress News – another well-known alt-media website with similar political views regarding the US and NATO’s foreign adventures – had its own account frozen by PayPal last week. PayPal’s definition of “violations,” Lauria implied, could easily be stretched to include the Orwellian crime du jour of “fake news,” an especially egregious offense during wartime.
Last week, former RT America correspondent Caleb Maupin also had his PayPal account frozen without warning or explanation, as did MintPress employees Alan MacLeod and Mnar Adley. Many on social media have speculated that the payment processor is deliberately targeting those with dissident views on the conflict in Ukraine and US foreign policy in general – “thoughtcrimes” hundreds of other prominent commentators have been deplatformed for in the past.
Consortium News was founded in 1995 by the late journalist Robert Parry, whose claims to fame included exposing the Iran-Contra scandal, in opposition to what the site’s own biography describes as “a crisis building in the US news media.”
Skewering the “pattern of groupthink on issue after issue, often ignoring important factual information because it didn’t fit with what all the Important People knew to be true,”