Last year, the Digital First Amendment class at Stanford reported about the new Wikileaks project and one team even made the legal issues surrounding wikileaks the topic of their final project. Sometimes a school paper is more than just a school paper.
Here's the injunction ordering the take down of the domain (2 pages). The order is to the domain name registrar to take down the domain and thereby effectively block access to the site.
Then the Amended Temporary Restraining Order handed down later the same day:
The Citizen Media Law Project comments:
The new order "drops the requirement that Dynadot disable the entire Wikileaks.org domain. Among other things, the amended order enjoins the defendants from "displaying, posting, publishing, distributing, or linking to . . . all documents and information originating from [the plaintiffs' banks] which are internal non-public company documents and/or which contains private client or customer bank records." (I should note, however, that the original order is still listed on the court's docket and the amended order does not rescind -- or even mention -- the earlier order.)"
The BBC Story appears after the injunction and before the TRO:
The Wikileaks press release follows.
Wikileaks Press Release
WIKILEAKS.ORG DELETED AFTER EX-PARTE LEGAL ATTACK BY CAYMAN ISLANDS BANK
Mon Feb 18 00:00:00 GMT 2008
The following release has not been proofed due to time constraints.
Transparency group Wikileaks forcibly censored at ex-parte Californian
hearing -- ordered to print blank pages -- 'wikileaks.org' name forcibly
deleted from Californian domain registrar -- the best justice Cayman
Islands money launderers can buy?
When the transparency group Wikileaks was censored in China last year,
no-one was too surprised. After all, the Chinese government also censors
the Paris based Reporters Sans Frontiers and New York Based Human Rights
Watch. And when Wikileaks published the secret censorship lists of
Thailand's military Junta, no-one was too surprised when people in that
country had to go to extra lengths to read the site. But on Friday the
15th, February 2008, in the home of the free and the land of the brave,
and a constitution which states "Congress shall make no law...
abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press", the Wikileaks.org
press was shutdown:
BANK JULIUS BAER & CO. LTD, a
Swiss entity; and JULIUS BAER BANK
AND TRUST CO. LTD, a Cayman Island
WIKILEAKS, an entity of unknown form;
WIKILEAKS.ORG, an entity of unknown
form; DYNADOT, LLC, a California
limited liability company; and DOES 1
through 10, inclusive, [..]
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
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.
The Cayman Islands is located between Cuba and Honduras. In July 2000,
the United States Department of the Treasure Financial Crimes
Enforcement Network issued an advisory states stating that there were
"serious deficiencies in the counter-money laundering systems of the
Cayman Islands", "Cayman Islands law makes it impossible for the
supervisory and regulatory authority to obtain information held by
financial institutions regarding their client's identity", "Failure of
financial institutions in the Cayman Islands to report suspicious
transactions is not subject to penalty" and that "These deficiencies,
among others, have caused the Cayman Islands to be identified by the
Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (The 'FATF') as
non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering". As of 2006 the
U.S. State Department listed the Cayman Islands in its money laundering
"Countries of Primary Concern".
The Cayman's case is not the first time Wikileaks has tackled bad banks.
In the second half of last year Wikileaks exposed over $4,500,000,000's
worth of money laundering including by the former president of Kenya,
Daniel Arap Moi (see
which became the Guardian's front page story in September 2007 and swung
the Kenyan vote by 10% leading into the December 2007 election and
http://wikileaks.be/wiki/A_Charter_House_of_horrors reported in the
Nairobi paper The Standard and now the subject of a High Court Case in
To find an injunction similar to the Cayman's case, we need to go back
to Monday June 15, 1971 when the New York Times published excepts of of
Daniel Ellsberg's leaked "Pentagon Papers" and found itself injuncted
the following day. The Wikileaks injunction is the equivalent of forcing
the Times' printers to print blank pages and its power company to turn
off press power. The supreme court found the Times censorship injunction
unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision.
The Wikileaks.org injunction is ex-parte, engages in prior restraint and
is clearly unconstitutional. It was granted on Thursday afternoon by
California district court judge White, Bush appointee and former
The order was 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.
Inorder to deal with Chinese censorship, Wikileaks has many backup sites
such as wikileaks.be (Belgium) and wikileaks.org.au (Australia) which
remain active. Wikileaks never expected to be using the alternative
servers to deal with censorship attacks, from, of all places, the United
The order is clearly unconstitutional and exceeds its jurisdiction.
Wikileaks 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.
Wikileaks has six pro-bono attorney's in S.F on roster to deal with a
legal assault, however Wikileaks was given only hours notice "by email"
prior to the hearing. Wikileaks was NOT represented. Wikileaks
pre-litigation California council Julie Turner attended the start of
hearing in a personal capacity but was then asked to leave the court
White signed the Cayman Islands bank censorship order without a single
The injunction claims to be permanent, although the case is only
Wikileaks remains available publishing from non-US, non-Chinese
jurisdictions including http://wikileaks.cx/ and http://wikileaks.be/.
See http://wikileaks.cx/wiki/Wikileaks:Cover_Names for more.
"When intermediate associations are weak and the state
machine so powerful, private interests are always tempted
to establish clientele relations with the state. They seek
favours in the dark, so to speak, rather than demanding
justice in the light of day." -- Larry Siedentop, Democracy
in Europe (New York: Columbia UP, 2001), p.123."