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What country is this, again?

An alert reader sent in this news item: A California court has ordered that a website be shut down for revealing documents that, if true, demonstrate that the Swiss Bank Julius Baer engaged in illegal money laundering activity.

There's more on the BBC.

If you want to see these documents, by the way, you can still see them on their Belgian site, so the ruling only serves to demonstrate that

  1. The Judge doesn't understand how the Internet works.
  2. The Judge doesn't understand how wikileaks works.
  3. The American legal system is still at risk of making grievous errors in judgement.

Here's some interesting background on Judge Jeffrey White:

  • He was appointed to his current position by George W. Bush in 2002
  • He sentenced the reporters who blew open the drugs in baseball scandal to 18 months in prison for failing to reveal their sources
  • He also fined the San Francisco Chronicle $1000/day until the names were turned over to the court
  • He ordered a company that continued to call customers who asked not to be called to pay $200 per complaint to the customers and pay $100,000 in fines
  • He ordered struck down a San Francisco ruling that would have provided universal health care for the employed in San Francisco

I like the bit about enforcing Do Not Call legislation and I don't know enough about the universal health care proposal, but I think that reporters don't have to name their sources EVER. It's up to the consumers of the news to decide whether they believe unnamed sources or not. And I think it's dangerous to our civil liberties, criminal against the reporters and illegal under the Constitution to imprison reporters who refuse to give their sources.

Wikileaks Belgian site seems difficult to understand, although their mission statement is one with which I can sympathize.

Aside from the obvious censorship angle, there's also the fact that this was a court case instigated by a foreign Bank. Are they protected the same way under US law? Do they pay US taxes?

And why was it a tort, rather than a straightforward libel case? If Julius Baer didn't break the law, then why bring a tort?

Finally, why wasn't Wikileaks asked to remove only the offending material rather than have their entire site blocked?

Update: Okay, either Judge Jeffrey White is unbelievably technologically inept or his ruling was an intentional attempt to make Bank Julius Baer think he was taking down Wikileaks while in fact doing nothing. What he ordered was that their DNS entry be removed from the DNS server and not allowed to be transferred or re-registered anywhere while the problem gets sorted out. At any rate, here's the IP address for Wikileaks in California: Thank you to Mark Frauenfelder.

Update 2: Doc Ruby on Slashdot found and posted the IP Address, and that's how it spread to BoingBoing and Daily Kos. I would have never looked at this site except for this furor. Now I'm hoping that it can hang on via IP until this afternoon so I can make a copy. I'm hoping someone else has already.


There was an article on this on /. the other day. Seems there was a DDoS, then their UPS caught on fire. I'm willing to accept that the fire might have been an accident with unfortunate timing, but DDoS aren't accidents. I guess someone REALLY wanted everyone to know about it, 'cause it's replicated all over the place and now it's slashdotted.

I'm interested to see what kinds of Google Ads you get. I added them to mine and they're all links to Global Warming stuff since they probably only looked at the last few posts when they reviewed my site. Yours will probably be for tin foil hats.

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