Saturday, February 23, 2008

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

Cayman Islands Bank Gets Wikileaks Taken Offline in U.S.
By Kim Zetter
February 18, 2008

Categories: Censorship

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 and domain registrar for Wikileaks, to agree not only to take down the Wikileaks site but also to "lock the domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar." Judge Jeffrey White 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...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Court Shuts Down Whistleblower Site published the following article:

Court Shuts Down Whistleblower Site
Feb 20th 2008
by Tim Stevens

Nobody likes a snitch, but the whistleblower, someone who exposes corruption, is often held in quite high regard. There's a fine line between the two types of tattletales, but most everyone is almost always happy to see shady and illegal back room dealings exposed.

Everyone, it seems, except the American courts. The U.S. Supreme Court made exposing misdeeds a little more dangerous last year when it ruled that whistleblowing employees had no protection against retaliation from employers. Now, a California District Court judge has ordered the online anonymous whistleblowing site,, to shut down.

Wikileaks, which is currently available at the address, launched in December of 2006 as a place for the anonymous posting of information by whistleblowers. It was responsible for the revealing of the controversial "Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta" at Guantanamo Bay, which exposed some potential civil rights violations. The site hosts thousands of other posted documents, which range from supposed e-mails from U.S. Ambassadors to videos showing a nuclear accident in Japan.

Last week's ruling from the California judge is in response to a lawsuit by the Julius Baer Group, a Swiss bank that was alleged to be involved in money laundering. The allegations were backed up by documents posted -- illegally, according to the bank -- to Wikileaks. The judge ruled that the domain name could no longer be renewed or resolved.

Given that the site is mirrored in many countries around the world with suffixes besides ".org," however, it's likely that Wikileaks won't be affected too much by this immediate ruling. All that said, we expect a more concerted effort against this site in the not too distant future, given that the site's main purpose of exposing secrets more less always creates enemies.

From Computerworld and Wikipedia

Scott says:
Speaking of "concerted efforts", the injunction was preceded several hours earlier by both a 500Mbps distributed denial of service attack and a fire at the website's ISP.

02/20/08 11:37 AM

Keith J. Mohrhoff says:
This is ridiculous!! What ever happened to freedom of speech? That aside, by not protecting whistleblowers, we are forcing ordinary working people to become part of the crime by continuing to protect their employers interests regardless of their legality!!

02/20/08 11:57 AM

Kate says:
"Freedom of speech" sometimes actually means "libel". There's no proof of anything these people have written or put up (plus it doesn't sound as though this is a solely US site, and our constitutional freedoms do not protect us against a foreign government) - if they want to be real whistleblowers and not just disgruntled employees they should contact the appropriate authorities, not post anonymously on a website.

02/20/08 12:05 PM

warren garrison says:
Naturally they don't want anyone blowing the whistle, they might be targeted themselves. It's like the sorry ass Pima County Attorneys office in Tucson Arizona. A disgruntled mother who worked at a convenienct store falsely accused me of things I did not do because I had called the cops on her two boys vandalizing first the local laundry, and then the car wash so this was a chance to get even with me rather than thanking me. As I began to gather up my disclosures to defend myself I made the mistake of saying to a prosecutor, "when you see the tape you'll see I did nothing and was falsely arrested", my first arrest in 54 years, and then I added that I was going to sue the county because of how they treated me. Guess what? Before one of the receptionist realized what was going on she told me she had the tape and if I would bring $10 and a blank she would make me a copy, but by the time I got down to the county attorneys office, it had disappeared. BUT, you have to understand that Barbara LaWall's office has pulled some pret-ty shady and underhanded things in this town and yet they continue to get away with it. And if you want to take a shot at me bitch, this is Warren Garrison writing this, come on!!!!!!

02/20/08 12:11 PM

Ann says:
IT'S OBAMA 2008!!!!!!!!!
GO OBAMA, GO,GO,GO!!!!!!!!!

02/20/08 12:21 PM

Carol Levy says:
Whistleblowing is necessary and so is protection.
In my medical malpractice against Dr, Peter J. Jannetta nurses told me they would not testify against him because they were afraid for their jobs. Doctors said they would not testify because he is so big in the neurosurgery world.
The Pa. Superior Court called Dr. Jannetta's testmony re: the risks of the surgery, an MVD or 'Jannetta Procedure', perjurioous * yet no one cared that he committed a felony by lying under oath. The Court did not sanction him nor did the state or medical societies. (In fact my lawyer forced me, literally, to settle out of court for a pittance that does not even cover my lifetime medical expenses. The lawyer, Michael Fishbein, as an offcer of the court, should have made a criminal complaint for perjury.)
Maybe if people felt safe coming forward when they see illegal or unethical prosecutable acts the court systems would not be so clogged up - the proof would be out there. The guilty would be pleading guilty.
* "We have little difficulty in concluding that Dr. Jannetta's testimony at deposition was different than, or inconsistent with, the testimony at trial." Levy v Jannetta, CCP Allegheny County, GD 81-7689; appeal -J. A370017/92 Levy v Jannetta et al, No. 00150 Pittsburgh, 1992. settled, 1995

02/20/08 12:23 PM

nationalsecuritymatters says:
If this site is posting material that would directly impact United States national security, it should be shut down in a heartbeat.

02/20/08 12:28 PM

Keith J. Mohrhoff says:
Kate: the problem is that since the Supreme Court denies any protection to whistleblowers, "Going to the authorities" is impossible! It is now to the point where the only people who can afford to do the right thing are those with enough financial resources to whether the fallout.

Hence, anonymity is necessary and may serve a useful purpose. If an employee can go on-line and post anonymously about the illegal actions of their employer, then maybe, someone from the authorities can investigate and discover the proof.

02/20/08 12:42 PM

PG says:
Another example of the Bush Adminstration and the GOP ruining this country. This Supreme Court is a disgrace. Thomas is an embarrasment, and Scalia, Alito, and Roberts should be nowhere near the Court. Bush goes in less than a year, but we'll be stuck with these losers for years.

02/20/08 12:48 PM

Joe Alt says:
I can't believe that there are so many people out there who THINK that there is still free speech in The United States.

02/20/08 1:00 PM

Jim from Michigan says:
We need to discuus issues like this (and many others) and have a mechanism nationally to use our collective ideas to "reinvent and actually implement" some forward thinking. Thsis and antithesis on many issues like this.

What if a standing committee of congressmen/women (and their humongous staff) reviewed anonymous whistleblowing cases without publication to see if a basis of truth exists?

02/20/08 1:02 PM

Bob says:
While this ruling makes me a bit uncomfortable as well, people have brought this upon themselves. People have abused the whistleblowing system as a tool of retaliation and political smear. To make it legal to leak sensitive information about our country just for selfish political motivations is wrong and I've seen too much of this. Furthermore in our country we have a right to see who our accuser is, and for someone to be able to just throw something out there to destroy somebody without having to respond to is wrong. Think about this, if you are an employer and you have a disgrutled employee who decides to go on a site like this and falsely name you as a child molester, there is nothing you can do. Even though there is no proof, the very suggestion has ruined your repution and your life and there's nothing you can do because this person would be hiding behind some whistleblower law.

02/20/08 1:02 PM

Joe Alt says:
"Free Speech" vanished along with our Right to Vote way back in 2000.

02/20/08 1:04 PM

Joe Alt says:
"Free Speech" vanished along with our Right to Vote way back in 2000.

02/20/08 1:05 PM

TIM says:

Do you shake in your pants when someone on TV speaks the word Terroist or maybe believe in the fairy tale (The sky is falling ) that is what the Repubican party is trying to do to americans is take away there rights and say everything is nationalsecurity so they bring out the BOGGYMAN talk every other week to scare your simple minded people.

02/20/08 1:06 PM

Jim says:
So let's see...Supreme Court allows domestic spying to go on unabated but shuts down a snitch site that PROTECTS PEOPLE. We the people are keeping score of the parasitic LEETCH known as "our" so-called government. Like every other government before it that played the same game, it too shall someday fall.

02/20/08 1:12 PM

Kate says:
First off, you don't need a website aimed at whistleblowers to go online and post whatever you want about whomever you want. So the judge's decision is really moot.

Secondly, if you don't protect whistleblower's from retaliation, either from their company or coworkers, we will no longer find out about tainted beef like the story in the news now.

How much protection do you want to give companies that routinely lie and cheat?

02/20/08 1:34 PM

Carol Levy says:
To Bob, a few bad apples does not mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater. If whistleblowers had not, and continue to be retaliated against for telling the truth, for exposing $100.00 toilet seats paid for by our tac dollars there would be no need for sites where they can go. My name has been sullied by some people without any proof. I on;t like it but I am not going to shut them up. It's their right to be liars but there must nbe recourse to prove accusations to be false. If no one listens then a website may well be the only answer.

02/20/08 1:35 PM

Earl Bailey says:
Before retirement I worked in manufacturing. A defect in the product was detected but, having been unsure of it's effect on performance, I needed access to testing equipment that was locked up on the off shifts. The shift supervisor would only allow me access if I agreed not to devulge the test results until the following day. I refused, and, as a result, the factory manufactured defective product for 24 hrs. "Boy was he holding his breath to find out if I'd told the truth the next day. (All involved were called in )

02/20/08 1:35 PM

djknugget says:
Has anyone ever considered:

A. The fact that the constitution clearly states that if we are not happy with the government we can dismantle it. Right now it seems like people are so fed up with the government that we should just go ahead and scrap it, and make a new one.

B. Sueing the supreme court for failing to obey the constitution.

C. That Ron Paul is a republican who voted against illegal wiretapping, the patriot act, raising taxes, against the war in Iraq, and has never voted for anything that is protected by the constitution.

Sorry to put in my little political add, but for all of the republican bashers, keep him in mind! He actually stands for what the republicans are supposed to stand for: small government and the freedoms gaurenteed by our constitution. There is always the write-in.

02/20/08 1:40 PM

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The SDUT connection with KPBS: how embarrassing for KPBS

February 18, 2008
Aguirre takes issue with The U-T

What started with a question about a State Bar investigation turned into a heated encounter between City Attorney Michael Aguirre and San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Alex Roth today.

The exchange was videotaped for about 10 minutes by Channel 7/39 and posted on its Web site.

Aguirre called a noon news conference in Old Town to talk about his re-election bid. Roth was there to cover the news conference, but also asked Aguirre about the Bar investigation for a separate story he was writing.

"Why do you think the State Bar is investigating you?" Roth asked in front of other reporters.

Aguirre responded that the investigation was based on Roth's incomplete and faulty reporting, including a reliance on sources "that have grievances or axes to grind." "There's no substance to anything that you write," Aguirre said.
Roth said he wanted to limit his questioning to the investigation.
Aguirre said Roth asked about the investigation to embarrass him. Roth asked Aguirre to step aside to privately talk about the investigation. The two walked away and continued talking for about eight minutes while the 7/39 camera rolled.
Aguirre can be heard suggesting Roth see a counselor, and accusing the reporter of ethical lapses in previous stories. Aguirre said Roth's 2007 coverage of Aguirre's investigation into KPBS programming, for example, did not mention that Roth's wife worked for KPBS.

Roth's wife left her job as a KPBS education reporter in 2006. Roth and Union-Tribune editors said they stand by his coverage of the city attorney.

Posted by Alexa Capeloto February 18, 2008 07:34 PM