Will WikiLeakS.org legal silence count against them this Friday ?

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It is worrying that the WikiLeakS.org project did not manage to file, even electronically, any counter arguments to the exaggerated and misleading claims by their opponents in the California Northern District Federal Court.

See the (.pdf) copies of the Court Orders and Submissions at the
Citizen Media Law Project's Julius Baer Bank and Trust v. Wikileaks archive.

The TRO and OSC set Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 12:00 p.m. as the deadline for Defendants and anyone else to file and serve any opposition to the issuance of the Preliminary Injunction

However, the Bank Julius Baer and ther lawyers Lavely & Singer have gleefully filed another document, trying to make out that because WikiLeakS.org have not filed anything in writing, that this somehow justifies the Plaintiffs' claims.

See Banks' Notice of Non-Opposition (02-22-2008) (.pdf)

Bank Julius Baer and their lawyers Lavely & Singer are happy to quote Swiss Federal criminal laws about banking secrecy, and the laws of the Cayman Islands in their submissions to the California Northern District Federal Court

They deliberately make no mention of any Swedish laws, or the Council of Europe's European Convention on Human Rights, or European Union privacy and freedom of expression laws, which are equally applicable, and which one would have expected the WikiLeakS.org legal team to have brought to the attention of the US Federal Court.

If Swiss criminal law penalties, including the threat of prison, are not enough to prevent the leaking of the alleged confidential documents to newspapers and to national tax investigation authorities, then why should the US Federal Court seek to impose civil penalties on people and computer systems outside of the United States of America ?

Nowhere in the Lavely & Singer penned documents, is there any mention of the fact that the Dynadot LLC Domain Name Registrars or even the EasyDNS Domain Name Servers are not the actual webservers which hold electronic copies , which are not the original documents which Lavely & Singer claim are the Property of Bank Julius Baer.

Nowhere do they dare to mention that these webservers are not physically hosted in California or even in the United States of America, but in Stockholm, Sweden, which is a very pertinent fact which should have been brought before the US Federal Court, and which WikiLeakS.org are allowing to be glossed over, through their legal silence.

Since the Plaintiffs appear to have either found a Judge who is actually ignorant about how exactly the internet works, or, more likely, one who is being professionally ignorant unless formally presented with submissions which contradict the exaggerated claims of the Plaintiffs, they are trying it on again, with even more specious claims.

3. This matter relates primarily to the protection and enforcement of privacy and property rights. The spread of stolen private bank records, account numbers and information, tax documents and other protected consumer records, significantly harms privacy rights of every single individual in the United States and world-wide, and could have a harmful impact on confidence in the banking industry as a whole. The leak of confidential bank records, including altered and semi-forged documents, by the anonymous Wikileaks Defendants, unchecked, will likely have a devastating impact on financial institutions and the authorities ability to combat credit and identity fraud.

These claims are utter nonsense - the international banking industry has not collapsed, even after breaches of confidence which are orders of magnitude greater than those alleged in this court case e.g.

  • The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) scandal, whereby the US Treasury and intelligence agencies have had unfettered, unmonitored access to the entire computer network for international bank transfers of money. All of these highly encrypted transactions were handed over at source, in bulk, without any judicial warrants or oversight for several years after the September 2001 terrorist attacks - See Privacy International for more details.

  • The purchase by the German BND intelligence agency and by the United Kingdom's HM Revenue and Customs, of thousands of stolen bank details of very rich tax avoiding or tax evading or money laundering clients, of one or more secretive Banks in Liechtenstein, some of whose clients and transactions are very likely also involve Bank Julius Baer, directly or indirectly.- see the German Tax Affair 2008 Wikipedia article.

There has been no " harmful impact on confidence in the banking industry as a whole" and neither have these revelations impeded "the authorities ability to combat credit and identity fraud", quite the reverse.

This may perhaps be the real reason why Bank Julius Baer are trying this litigation against WikiLeakS.org.

It would be immensely valuable to Bank Julius Baer to be able to bamboozle a US Federal Court into creating a legal precedent, which could be used to hinder the US Government if they attempt to use such stolen confidential data, which neither originates, nor resides physically within the USA, in current or future administrative or civil tax avoidance settlements, or in criminal tax evasion or money laundering court cases involving their clients or potential clients.

It is hard to believe that a US Federal Court Judge is actually really so ignorant of both the way in which the internet actually works, or of how the international tax avoidance (legal in some countries) or evasion or money laundering (illegal in most countries) works.

Will the US Treasury end up filing an amicus brief, (probably on appeal, and not by this Friday), opposing Bank Julius Baer and their lawyers Lavely & Singer's attempts to set such a legal preceden, which would hinder the wider public interest of US Government tax collection and and anti-organised crime and anti-terrorism money laundering and terrorist finance investigations ?

Are WikiLeakS.org actually going to be legally represented by counsel at the hearing at 9am this Friday 29th February 2008 in San Francisco, or will they simply be ruled against, by default ?

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

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

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

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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