Embattled Whistleblowers Shut Down

Dennis Faas's picture

The Swiss bank Julius Baer & Company recently set off a backlash over its part in a censorship scandal. Last week, a federal judge ordered the website Wikileaks to be shut down after it published documents belonging to Baer & Co., which reportedly show money laundering and tax evasion schemes involving the bank's Cayman Islands offices. (Source: csmonitor.com)

The US-based site, www.wikileaks.org, was shut down by its hosting company, Dynadot last Thursday and agreed not to allow the domain name to be transferred to another web host. On Friday, Judge Jeffrey White, a U.S. District Judge for Northern California, issued his formal ruling which officially ordered the site closed. (Source: foxnews.com)

Wikileaks first went online in December 2006, and is an anonymous information depot where whistle blowers can post potentially incriminating information about their employers or governments. Julia Turner, an attorney specializing in Internet law who represented Wikileaks for a short time, told Fox News that the shut down was, "akin to seizing all the copies of the New York Times, locking the doors and ordering the landlords not to let anyone back in the building."

In a statement, Wikileaks said the order to close its site was unconstitutional and is equal to "prior restraint" (governmental interference to prevent information from being published) by the U.S. government. Despite the loss of its American-based domain, the company vowed to go on with its mirrors around the world. On its Belgian site, Wikileaks says it was started by a group of Chinese dissidents, and is "developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis." (Source: wikileaks.be)

For its part, Julius Baer & Co. said its suit against Wikileaks was over defamation, and claimed that some of the documents posted by the website had been altered, but it did not specify what that meant.

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