A California District Judge ordered the domain name for Wikileaks disabled and all access removed. Wikileaks is a website that attempts to create an online database of leaked information from whisteblowers, about illegal and/or inhumane and immoral actions by governments and corporations around the world. They claim to do all they can to protect whistleblowers’ anonymity. Wikileaks’ past work has been instrumental in allowing individuals to present information to the public regarding repressive regimes and dangerous corporate actions.
This recent court decision was based on a filing brought by a large Swiss bank, Julius Baer, who brought the complaint based on released documents covering aspects of the bank’s alleged asset hiding and money laundering techniques. Both the bank and Wikileaks are based outside of the United States. The webhost for the website, Dynadot, was the defendant in the preliminary hearing. Wikileaks’ attorneys appear to have not been invited to the hearing.
The website information remains available through servers outside the United States, using other website addresses.
Partial list of links to Wikileaks websites that remain active.
This court ruling in reminiscent, although more extensive, of the ruling against The New York Times in 1971 to not publish information provided by noted whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. In that case, the court ruling only applied to the information in question and allowed the New York Times to continue publishing other information. This ruling prevents all publishing by the Wikileaks United States domain. The 1971 New York Times court decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional.
The Judge who issued the prior restraint ruling against the Wikileaks website, Judge Jeffrey S. White, is known for previously rejecting a plea deal as too lenient against Troy Ellerman, a lawyer who was accused of leaking information regarding the Barry Bonds steroid issue.