[NetBehaviour] US court attacks web freedom; enjoins Wikileaks.org out of existence.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Feb 25 00:18:56 CET 2008

US court attacks web freedom; enjoins Wikileaks.org out of existence.

By Stephen Soldz.

One of the most important web sites in recent months has been 
Wikileaks.org. Created by several brave journalists committed to 
transparency, Wikileaks has published important leaked documents, such 
as the Rules of Engagement for Iraq [see my The Secret Rules of 
Engagement in Iraq], the 2003 and 2004 Guantanamo Camp Delta Standard 
Operating Procedures, and evidence of major bank fraud in Kenya [see 
also here] that apparently affected the Kenyan elections. Wikileaks has 
upset the Chinese government enough that they are attempting to censor 
it, as is the Thai military junta.

Now censorship has extended to the United States of America, land of the 
First Amendment. 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 Cayman Island’s Bank Julius Baer lawyers. It seems that the 
bank is trying to keep the public from accessing documents that may 
reveal shady dealings. Wikileaks was only given a couple of hours notice 
“by email” and was not even represented at the hearing where a U.S. 
judge took such a drastic step attempting to totally shut down an 
important information outlet. The result was this totally unprecedented 
attempt to totally wipe out the existence of Wikileaks:

“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.”

There have, of course, been previous attempts by the U.S. Government and 
others to block publication of particular documents, most famously in 
1971 when the Nixon administration attempted to stop publication by the 
New York Times of excerpts from the Pentagon Papers, leaked by Daniel 
Ellsberg. But trying to close down an entire site in this way is truly 
unprecedented. Not even the Nixon administration, when they sought to 
block publication of the Pentagon Papers, considered closing down the 
New York Times in response.


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