US Judge Shuts Down Access to Whistleblower Site

But it isn't going over so well:

From the BBC:

Wikileaks.org, as it is known, was cut off from the internet following a California court ruling, the site says. The case was brought by a Swiss bank after "several hundred" documents were posted about its offshore activities.

Other versions of the pages, hosted in countries such as Belgium and India, can still be accessed.

However, the main site was taken offline after the court ordered that Dynadot, which controls the site's domain name, should remove all traces of wikileak from its servers.

Wikileaks has been the source for a number of revelatory documents, including the U.S. military's manual for Gitmo and the rules of engagement for U.S. troops in Iraq.

But see it for yourself, wikileaks.org is indeed out of commission. The Belgian wikileaks, however, is still up.

Wikileaks has released the following statement on the situation:

Wikileaks Press Release



Contacts: http://wikileaks.be/wiki/Contact

Mon Feb 18 00:00:00 GMT 2008

The following release has not been proofed due to time constraints.

Transparency group Wikileaks forcibly censored at ex-parte Californian hearing -- ordered to print blank pages -- 'wikileaks.org' name forcibly deleted from Californian domain registrar -- the best justice Cayman Islands money launderers can buy?

When the transparency group Wikileaks was censored in China last year, no-one was too surprised. After all, the Chinese government also censors the Paris based Reporters Sans Frontiers and New York Based Human Rights Watch. And when Wikileaks published the secret censorship lists of Thailand's military Junta, no-one was too surprised when people in that country had to go to extra lengths to read the site. But on Friday the 15th, February 2008, in the home of the free and the land of the brave, and a constitution which states "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press", the Wikileaks.org press was shutdown:

                    BANK JULIUS BAER & CO. LTD, a
Swiss entity; and JULIUS BAER BANK

WIKILEAKS, an entity of unknown form;
WIKILEAKS.ORG, an entity of unknown
form; DYNADOT, LLC, a California
limited liability company; and DOES 1
through 10, inclusive,


                             IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:


       Dynadot shall immediately clear and remove all DNS hosting
records for the wikileaks.org domain name and prevent the
domain name from resolving to the wikileaks.org website or
any other website or server other than a blank park page,
until further order of this Court.

The Cayman Islands is located between Cuba and Honduras. In July 2000, the United States Department of the Treasure Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued an advisory states stating that there were "serious deficiencies in the counter-money laundering systems of the Cayman Islands", "Cayman Islands law makes it impossible for the supervisory and regulatory authority to obtain information held by financial institutions regarding their client's identity", "Failure of financial institutions in the Cayman Islands to report suspicious transactions is not subject to penalty" and that "These deficiencies, among others, have caused the Cayman Islands to be identified by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (The 'FATF') as non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering". As of 2006 the U.S. State Department listed the Cayman Islands in its money laundering "Countries of Primary Concern".

The Cayman's case is not the first time Wikileaks has tackled bad banks. In the second half of last year Wikileaks exposed over $4,500,000,000's worth of money laundering including by the former president of Kenya, Daniel Arap Moi (see http://wikileaks.be/wiki/The_looting_of_Kenya_under_President_moi which became the Guardian's front page story in September 2007 and swung the Kenyan vote by 10% leading into the December 2007 election and http://wikileaks.be/wiki/A_Charter_House_of_horrors reported in the Nairobi paper The Standard and now the subject of a High Court Case in Kenya).

To find an injunction similar to the Cayman's case, we need to go back to Monday June 15, 1971 when the New York Times published excepts of of Daniel Ellsberg's leaked "Pentagon Papers" and found itself enjoined the following day. The Wikileaks injunction is the equivalent of forcing the Times' printers to print blank pages and its power company to turn off press power. The supreme court found the Times censorship injunction unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision.

The Wikileaks.org injunction is ex-parte, engages in prior restraint and is clearly unconstitutional. It was granted on Thursday afternoon by California district court judge White, Bush appointee and former prosecutor.

The order was written by Cayman Island's Bank Julius Baer lawyers and was accepted by judge White without amendment, or representations by Wikileaks or amicus. The case is over several Wikileaks articles, public commentary and documents dating prior to 2003. The documents allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion. The bank alleges the documents were disclosed to Wikileaks by offshore banking whistleblower and former Vice President the Cayman Island's operation, Rudolf Elmer. Unable to lawfully attack Wikileaks servers which are based in several countries, the order was served on the intermediary Wikileaks purchased the 'Wikileaks.org' name through -- California registrar Dynadot, who then used its access to the internet website name registration system to delete the records for 'Wikileaks.org'. The order also enjoins every person who has heard about the order from from even linking to the documents.

In order to deal with Chinese censorship, Wikileaks has many backup sites such as wikileaks.be (Belgium) and wikileaks.de (Germany) which remain active. Wikileaks never expected to be using the alternative servers to deal with censorship attacks, from, of all places, the United States.

The order is clearly unconstitutional and exceeds its jurisdiction.

Wikileaks will keep on publishing, in-fact, given the level of suppression involved in this case, Wikileaks will step up publication of documents pertaining to illegal or unethical banking practices.

Wikileaks has six pro-bono attorney's in S.F on roster to deal with a legal assault, however Wikileaks was given only hours notice "by email" prior to the hearing. Wikileaks was NOT represented. Wikileaks pre-litigation California council Julie Turner attended the start of hearing in a personal capacity but was then asked to leave the court room.

White signed the order, drafted by the Cayman Islands bank's lawyers without a single amendment.

The injunction claims to be permanent, although the case is only preliminary.

Wikileaks remains available publishing from non-US, non-Chinese jurisdictions including http://wikileaks.cx/ and http://wikileaks.be/. See http://wikileaks.cx/wiki/Wikileaks:Cover_Names for more.





In case you are unfamiliar with Wikileaks, via dkos:

Created by several brave journalists committed to transparency, Wikieaks has published important leaked documents, such as the Rules of Engagement for Iraq [see my The Secret Rules of Engagement in Iraq], the 2003and 2004 Guantanamo Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures, and evidence of major bank fraud in Kenya [see also here] that apparently affected the Kenyan elections.

As of Friday, February 15, those going to Wikileaks.org have gotten Server not found messages. Today I received a message explaining that a California court has granted an injunction written and requested by lawyers for the Cayman Island's Bank Julius Baer. It seems that the bank is trying to keep the public from accessing documents that may reveal shady dealings.
As Time Magazine has said about Wikileaks:
... could become as important a journalistic tool
as the Freedom of Information Act.

— Time Magazine
Important enough as a journalistic tool that some, with shady dealings, seem to see a need to shut it down. Welcome to the bush and GOP created and corporate owned America.

This is just another chapter in a bigger battle, IMHO:
They Want To Rebuild the Internet

Whenever I read paragraphs like these, yanked from the Hartford Courant, I take note:

One challenge in any reconstruction, though, would be balancing the interests of various constituencies. The first time around, researchers were able to toil away in their labs quietly. Industry is playing a bigger role this time, and law enforcement is bound to make its needs for wiretapping known.

There's no evidence they are meddling yet, but once any research looks promising, "a number of people [will] want to be in the drawing room," said Jonathan Zittrain, a law professor affiliated with Oxford and Harvard universities. "They'll be wearing coats and ties and spilling out of the venue."

Do they want to rebuild the Internet for everyones' benefit or will this be the first steps towards a conservative's corporatist wet dream and extremely policed Internet?

The big telcoms have already shown a willingness to try and take control of the internet AND will sell out your right to privacy at the drop of an FBI letter.

Yeah... Ya gotta sleep with one effin' eye open at all times in this modern America. Freedom ain't Free, it'll cost ya a lot of sleep.

A little something you can do about this, as well as helping spread the word for Wikileaks, via Save the Internet:

You can help make the internet faster, more open and accessible to all. Tell Congress to preserve Net Neutrality and help ensure that the benefits and promise of the Internet are available to all Americans.

Tell your story to the FCC

Sign the petition and send a message to Congress

Call your members of Congress

Write a letter to your hometown newspaper

Support the SavetheInternet.com Ad Fund

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Take action today!

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