Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Inordinate Amount of Power

From Wired.com (and several other places...)

Cayman Islands Bank Gets Wikileaks Taken Offline in U.S.

Wikileaks, the whistleblower site that recently leaked documents related to prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, was taken offline last week by its U.S. host after posting documents that implicate a Cayman Islands bank in money laundering and tax evasion activities.

In a pretty extraordinary ex-parte move, the Julius Baer Bank and Trust got Dynadot, the U.S. hosting company for Wikileaks, to agree not only to take down the Wikileaks site but also to " lock the wikileaks.org domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar." A judge in the U.S. District Court for Northern California signed off on the stipulation between the two parties last week without giving Wikileaks a chance to address the issue in court.

The Julius Baer Bank, a Swiss bank with a division in the Cayman Islands, took issue with documents that were published on Wikileaks by an unidentified whistleblower, whom the bank claims is the former vice president of its Cayman Islands operation, Rudolf Elmer. The documents purport to provide evidence that the Cayman Islands bank helps customers hide assets and wash funds.


Some of that ole' Soviet Capitalism rears its ugly head again. Isn't it amazing how a Swiss bank in the Cayman Islands could effectively put an end to the First Amendment in the USA over the course of hours? Luckily, WikiLeaks has mirrors around the world, and archivists have propagated the source material beyond that, so our rights are ensured thanks to the generosity of those outside America.

Hopefully this shines a spotlight on the fact that drug dealers, terrorists, and covert government operations (whether for or against us) couldn't exist without the tacit cooperation of institutions such as Julius Baer and other more well-known banks. To them, freedom is a one-way street. Their way.

Update: Here is the main IP address for WikiLeaks and below that are the Wikileaks mirrors:

6 comments:

ladybug said...

I believe some of the countries which have archived copies of these, and other documents are Belgium and India.

What's more telling, if you read the article, is that the US company was served a notice by EMAIL, scant HOURS before the hearing was scheduled, therefore they had no representation whatsoever at this "hearing".

It would be interesting to find out if the Judge in this case was a Bush appointee (it does name him in the article as well), and how he was "selected" to preside over the proceeding....

The Moody Minstrel said...

Well, you know what they say:

"Money talks, can't get fooled again."

Um, no...um...

Don Snabulus said...

Good call Ladybug...

Jeffrey White Nominated for U.S. District Court Bench
Lecturer Jeffrey S. White has been nominated by President Bush to the federal bench. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Dean Wormer said...

You know, I've never considered capitalists immoral. But they're definetly amoral in the same sense of wild animals.

That's why we have to be careful around them. If we try to domesticate them, assume they're on our side and forget to keep a wary eye on them we might get mauled like Siegfried and Roy.

Don Snabulus said...

MM,

Are our judicial system learning?

DW,

Luckily, there are ways to maul back. From a newer Wired.com article...

"The order is clearly unconstitutional and exceeds its jurisdiction," Wikileaks spokesman Julian Assange said in the e-mail statement issued from Paris on Monday. "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."

Dave said...

Banks have all the money. That is why what they say goes. The last thing any government or business wants to do is something that would cut off the money supply.