LA Times: 12 media organisations file legal briefs in support of WikiLeakS.org First Amendment rights

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The Los Angeles Times, seems to be first with the news that at last, there now seems to be some legal opposition , to the California Northern District Federal Court orders against WikiLeakS.org, on behalf of Bank Julius Baer:

Judge is asked to rescind shutdown of Web site

Media and public interest organizations tell the jurist that his order violates constitutional provisions against prior restraint of free speech.

By Henry Weinstein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:41 PM PST, February 26, 2008

A coalition of media and public interest organizations went to federal court in San Francisco today to urge a judge to reconsider shutting down a muckraking Web site that publishes business and government documents leaked from around the world.

Lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and several news organizations told U.S. District Jeffrey White that two orders he issued last week to take wikileaks.org off the Internet were a prior restraint on free speech that violated the First Amendment.

"The First Amendment prohibits prior restraints in nearly every circumstance, even where national security may be at risk and even when the source unlawfully obtained the documents," the documents, filed on behalf of 12 media organizations, including The Times, Associated Press , Gannett, Hearst, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Society of Professional Journalists, said.

This must surely be rather more heavyweight legal opposition than Bank Julius Baer and their lawyers Lavely & Singer, were expecting.

[...]

Wikileaks.org urges people to post leaked documents in an effort to discourage "unethical behavior" by corporations and government agencies. Matt Zimmerman, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed separate papers asking White to reverse his ruling, said the case posed a key test of free speech on the Internet.

henry.weinstein@latimes.com

Hopefully the Judge will be able to rule in favour of WikiLeakS.org and to uphold the well established legal prohibitions against "prior restraint" under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

You can read one of the brief, by the Public Citizen and the California First Amendment Coalition:

Press release: Federal Court Should Not Have Shut Down Wikileaks.org, a Web Site for Whistleblowers

Public Citizen and California First Amendment Coalition brief (.pdf 13 pages)

This argues strongly that

  • the Federal Court does not even have jurisdiction in a case involving Swiss individual and corporate citizens, involving only Switzerland and the Cayman Islands

  • . that both the Domain Name Registrar Dynadot and WikiLeakS.org are "interactive computer services"and are therefore immune from responsibility for the publications of their customers, or users, under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

  • WikiLeakS.org is not a business trying to gain commercial advantage, but a non-commercial organisation., so the claims about "business names"do not apply

  • Powerful legal precedents forbidding Prior Restraint of publications.


  • 1 Comments

    The FACT IS if you trace much of the LOOT it goes back to those who appoint FEDERAL JUDGES and that's Billary and Hill and George and Dick and all those associated with Charles Keating, Kenny Boy, Jack Abramoff, Webster Hubble, Vince Foster and that whole GANG of folks who loot WALL STREET and the Pension Funds and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and those SUB PRIME MORTGAGE GOONS

    you all remember the Land Cons and S&L and Bank Lootings of the 1920s. 1940s, 1970s and 1980s HUH

    Judson Witham
    Whistleblower On STERIODS

    About this blog

    This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

    These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

    This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

    Email Contact

    Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

    email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

    Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

    If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

    LeakDirectory.org

    Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

    The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

    There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

    New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

    Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

    The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

    Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

    BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

    Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

    Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

    Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

    Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

    A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

    Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

    WikiLeakS Links

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    Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

    N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

    WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

    WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

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