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Wikileaks Plugged
February 18, 2008 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Wikileaks has been plugged. Get it? Leak... plugged. Brilliant. Wikileaks, the fairly recent tool for providing both publicity and anonymity to whistleblowers leaking classified documents, has been censored! Well, it was already censored by China, but this time it's the Land of the Free (no, not that one). The DNS records have been deleted by Californian host Dynadot after a court injunction following action from a Cayman Islands bank. Naughty ol' Bush-appointed Judge White, apparently. But don't worry, you can't stop the signal. There are zillions of mirrors. Look at them shine.
posted by Wataki (35 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 

Just wait. There'll be a 404 error on this page.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 1:38 PM on February 18, 2008


AFAIK they only put a stop to the DNS record. The IP still works so far: http://88.80.13.160/
posted by poe at 1:40 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I were rich I would do everything I could to avoid paying taxes.

I am not rich and I do everything I can to avoid paying taxes.
posted by plexi at 1:44 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or there are tons of other names.

What gets me is that the scumbag judge issued the immediate injunction without even contacting WikiLeaks. That's perilously close to malfeasance; that's like having eviction hearings which exclude the tenant. How do they get away with this crap?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:48 PM on February 18, 2008


How do they get away with this crap?

Torturing people helps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is insane. It's hard to believe that granting the injunction without notice like this is legal. If it is, it shouldn't be.

I am not rich and I do everything I can to avoid paying taxes.

Presumably you aren't doing anything illegal to do so, though.
posted by grouse at 1:55 PM on February 18, 2008


Also, I can't think of a single better way for Bank Julius Baer to spread this story.
posted by grouse at 1:58 PM on February 18, 2008


I grabbed the xls file earlier when this popped up on Reddit. I have to say...it means nothing to me. Did anyone else grab it who can explain, or is there somewhere I can toss it?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:00 PM on February 18, 2008


I was just about to post this.

Cryptome* has more info, including a 3MB .zip of (at least some?) of the documents in question.

Also, here's Talking Points Memo:
As for why this California judge ordered the whole site taken down over a few documents, that's not clear. As the BBC reports, "The case was brought by lawyers working for the Swiss banking group Julius Baer. It concerned several documents posted on the site which allegedly reveal that the bank was involved with money laundering and tax evasion." Why didn't the judge just didn't order the documents taken down instead of the whole site? We hope to get some expert guidance on the question.

Update: Just spoke with Steve Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy, who offered a clue. "My hunch is that the action was dictated by the practical options. [The judge and Julius Baer] don't know who wikileaks.org is or who the responsible parties are upon whom a court order could be served. What they did know was the U.S. based internet service provider." So they got the ISP to shut the site down. "If they had known who to serve the order to – who represents Wikileaks --, then they might have chosen a more targeted action." Nevertheless, he thought the judge's move was "extraordinary," based as it was on the bank's contention that these were legally protected documents.
(*)On a curious side not, Cryptome has a colorful history with Wikileaks (scroll down to "Suspicious motives").
One of the problems that a secret site faces is that the domain name system, the service that converts web names into the IP addresses that the servers use, requires a real person to be registered as the owner, even if the location of the physical server is hidden behind layers of obscuring technology.

The Wikileaks team approached John Young, a New York based architect who has run his own public disclosure site at Cryptome for many years, and he agreed to help out.

Unfortunately he began to be suspicious of the motives and capabilities of the organisers, and after they failed to reassure them he pulled out - pausing only to publish all of the contents of the supposedly secret wikileaks mailing list on his own site.
posted by Anything at 2:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


supposedly secret wikileaks mailing list

They know email goes out on the network in plaintext, right?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on February 18, 2008


"If they had known who to serve the order to – who represents Wikileaks --, then they might have chosen a more targeted action."

They can't send an e-mail or send a letter to the addresses on the contact page? Or even issue a preliminary injunction doing the same thing rather than a permanent one?
posted by grouse at 2:27 PM on February 18, 2008


For those of us that aren't fans of the Bush administration and find legal and moral problems with the issues behind the documents posted on Wikileaks, this is a loss (perhaps an outrage). However, consider for a moment a situation where Wikileaks posted confidential or security sensitive information about things we would not like to have disclosed. For example, what if Wikileaks posted the names, photos, and affiliations of our undercover investigators? I think we'd be crying for the website to be taken down.

My point is that the moral and ethical righteousness for disclosing governmental leaks is in the eye of the beholder. The issue truly uncovered by Wikileaks is that our system of deciding what is confidential or secret is broken. Similarly our oversight of such designations is weak and ineffective. Wikileaks, and those that provided the leaked information, should never have had to come to a point where they felt the media and the website were the proper method of disclosing such information. However, the current atmosphere of secrecy has left few alternatives. I, for one, would think the democracy of the free world would be better served by keeping secrets a secret – but having trustworthy individuals make the decision as to what is secret, and a highly reliable system in place to review such decisions. In such a world, there is no need nor tolerance for a website such as Wikileaks. If only we lived in such a world.
posted by Muddler at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Excuse me? DEAR? I'll have you know that the supreme court has ROUNDLY rejected prior restraint!
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


They know email goes out on the network in plaintext, right?

You know you can encrypt email, right?
posted by delmoi at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2008


Surprised I never heard of this site before. Way for this bank to lose at the internet, since they've now made sure even more people will hear about their alleged misdoings and see the secret docs.

(*)On a curious side not, Cryptome has a colorful history with Wikileaks (scroll down to "Suspicious motives").

It's my understanding that the Cryptome guy, while he does good work, is ridiculously paranoid, though I guess of all people they might really be out to get him.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:41 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sure, delmoi, but if you read what Young was posting, none of it seemed encrypted, and few seemed to take the header's advice to heart (not mentioning Wikileaks by name). It just seems an odd attitude by self-described "cypherpunks" to use an unencrypted mailing list as a means to communicate, or hold Young to standards they didn't hold up themselves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:43 PM on February 18, 2008


This bank has Streisand Syndromed itself.
posted by aerotive at 2:56 PM on February 18, 2008


I, for one, would think the democracy of the free world would be better served by keeping secrets a secret – but having trustworthy individuals make the decision as to what is secret, and a highly reliable system in place to review such decisions. In such a world, there is no need nor tolerance for a website such as Wikileaks. If only we lived in such a world.

Well, as long as we're playing fairytale, wouldn't it be great if there was a Trustworthy Individual we could give absolute power to, and who would rule us all as Benign Philosopher King?
posted by freebird at 3:05 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Excuse my ignorance, but I don't understand - if the documents showed the bank was evading taxes, wouldn't the judge, as an officer of the court, have a duty to have the bank officers charged, or at least to turn the evidence over to the US AG?
posted by tommyD at 3:34 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


For your very own local copy of the entirety of Wikileaks, as of February 10th, here's a torrent.
posted by Anything at 4:24 PM on February 18, 2008


Impeach Jeffrey S. White. Remove him from office.
posted by oaf at 4:43 PM on February 18, 2008


tommyD, I have no idea, but there's something going on in Switzerland, according to BBC:
The BBC understands that Julius Baer asked for the documents to be removed because they could have an impact on a separate legal case ongoing in Switzerland.
A shame that it gives no word on whether that's a case where Bank Julius Baer is a plaintiff or whether they're a defendant.

Regarding preliminary vs. permanent injunction, this bit on an update to the Talking Points Memo post linked above may give a clue about the judge's motives:
The court documents show that no lawyer has stepped forward to defend Wikileaks in the case, and that Wikileaks did not respond to Julius Baer's legal filings, including the original complaint, which was filed February 8th.
posted by Anything at 5:02 PM on February 18, 2008


Wikileak.org (note the lack of 's' before the '.org'), a blog about Wikileaks, seems like it might be a useful source of info.
posted by Anything at 5:10 PM on February 18, 2008


Well, as long as we're playing fairytale, wouldn't it be great if there was a Trustworthy Individual we could give absolute power to, and who would rule us all as Benign Philosopher King?

freebird, ummm....that would be why I said we needed oversight as well
posted by Muddler at 7:12 PM on February 18, 2008


that Wikileaks did not respond to Julius Baer's legal filings, including the original complaint, which was filed February 8th.

This statement is meaningless, and completely fails to make the order anything other than illegitimate, if they weren't actually served with the complaint.
posted by oaf at 7:33 PM on February 18, 2008


that would be why I said we needed oversight as well

And who oversees the overseers? Sorry, no - it's turtles all the way up.
posted by freebird at 10:29 PM on February 18, 2008


I am not rich and I do everything I can to avoid paying taxes.

Presumably you aren't doing anything illegal to do so, though.


Nah, he just means he's homeless and unemployed, but he pays hardly any tax! Win!
posted by The Monkey at 10:30 PM on February 18, 2008


none of these addresses are working properly for me.
posted by mary8nne at 2:57 AM on February 19, 2008


The full pre-hearing correspondence is here. The only other contact pre-hearing, say wikileaks, was a phonecall, detailed here. However, this, from the press release, is interesting:

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.

It sounds like she told the court "I'm here but I have no instructions to represent Wikileaks at this hearing". That the judge asked her to leave is fishy, and, I would have thought, unconstitutional; justice is supposed to be done in public.
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:07 AM on February 19, 2008


Oh, and according to the Wikileaks press release:

The order also enjoins every person who has heard about the order from from even linking to the documents.

So, linking to the documents could be contempt of court. However, looks like there's only an abridged version of the Order on the Wikileaks site. Has anyone found the full text?
posted by tiny crocodile at 3:11 AM on February 19, 2008


tiny crocodile, I believe it's a PDF at the bottom of the "Wikileaks.org under injunction" page. But I can't find anything in it that "enjoins every person who has heard about the order" from linking to the documents.
posted by grouse at 3:50 AM on February 19, 2008


Grouse, thanks for finding that, and you're right, it doesn't say anything about enjoining other persons. So why would wikileaks say it does? This is odd.

Although perhaps that pdf just contains the Order made against Dynadot, and there's an additional Order made regarding everybody else. Still, would expect to find it up there.

Interestingly, the last paragraph of that Order shows that what Dynadot got in return was that the action as against them be struck out:

6. Plaintiffs shall immediately upon entry of this order file a dismissal with prejudice
in favor of Dynadot.

posted by tiny crocodile at 4:06 AM on February 19, 2008


"I am not rich and I do everything I can to avoid paying taxes."

Presumably you aren't doing anything illegal to do so, though.


And even if he is, I doubt he's doing anything unConstitutional in the process.
posted by Eideteker at 10:09 AM on February 19, 2008


NYT story:
Judge White’s order disabling the entire site “is clearly not constitutional,” said David Ardia, the director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard Law School. “There is no justification under the First Amendment for shutting down an entire Web site.”
That led me to the Citizen Media Law Project's blog, which sheds a little more light on the situation. It also includes a link to a temporary restraining order with the clause tiny crocodile asked about.
posted by grouse at 3:59 PM on February 19, 2008


UPDATE [Also from NYT]: Judge White reversed his order on February 29th. White added in his remarks,“We live in an age when people can do some good things and people can do some terrible things without accountability necessarily in a court of law.”
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:40 AM on March 1, 2008


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