The website WikiLeaks.org has been taken off line in many parts of the world. Wikileaks is a website dedicated to leaking documents that are "anonymous, untraceable, uncensorable."
Several factors have taken the site off line including DDoS attacks, which was followed by a fire which took out the main servers hosting the site in Sweden, and a restraining order on the domain name 'WikiLeaks.org' issued in the United States.
According to the website HongPong.com, Wikileaks experienced "a 500Mbps distributed denial of service attack" before the fire, but it is not known if the DDoS attack is connected to it.
After the attack, a fire was reported in the Uninterruptible Power Supply of the servers which host the site.
The third and final factor taking the site off line is a permanent injunction granted in the California Northern District Court in San Francisco, California to Bank Julius Baer, a Swiss Bank, which has caused the domain to be taken off line in the U.S.. Wikileaks previously published hundreds of documents obtained from a whistleblower of the Swiss Bank, "purportedly showing offshore tax evasion and money laundering by extremely wealthy and in some cases, politically sensitive, clients from the US, Europe, China and Peru."
According to a Wikileaks press release received by e-mail, the injunction issued by the court states, "Dynadot [Wikileaks host] 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
"The order was entirely written by Cayman Island's Bank Julius Baer lawyers and was accepted by judge White without amendment, or representations by Wikileaks or amicus. The case is over several Wikileaks articles, public commentary and documents dating prior to 2003. The documents allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion. The bank alleges the documents were disclosed to Wikileaks by offshore banking whistleblower and former Vice President the Cayman Island's operation, Rudolf Elmer. Unable to lawfully attack Wikileaks servers which are based in several countries, the order was served on Wikileaks's California registrar Dynadot ("the power company"). The order also enjoins every person who has heard about the order from from even linking to the documents," said Wikileaks in the release.
Despite the injunction, Wikileaks states that they 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."
website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court."
US court attacks web freedom; enjoins Wikileaks.org out of existence
Prof. Stephen Soldz (Boston University)
One of the most important web sites in recent months has been Wikileaks.org. Created by several brave journalists committed to transparency, Wikieaks 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 an 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."
If this injunction stands, it will set an incredible precedent for all of us who use the web to unveil misbehavior by the rich and powerful. Fortunately, Wikileaks is fighting this unconstitutional attack on press freedom, aided by six pro bono attorneys in San Francisco. While Wikileaks has so far not issued any particular call for support, all who value freedom should stand ready to issue whatever support they need.
Meanwhile, Wikileaks still exists. Its founders, knowing that governments and institutions will go to extreme lengths to censor the truth, have created an extensive network of cover names from which one can access their materials or continue leaking the secrets of governments and the corrupt rich and powerful. Thus, everything is available at Wikileaks.be, among other names. Let the leaks continue!
Also posted at TawNews (with updates)