February 28th, 2008
In the battle against the totally unprecedented judicial censorship of the entire Wikileaks.org web site, Wikileaks (still available at Wikileaks.be) has issued an editorial rebutting a number of false claims (i.e., lies) contained in press release issued by Bank Julius Baer & Trust, the bank that asked the judge to shut Wikileaks.org down. (Fortunately, the bank, in initiating this action, has caused itself enormous damage):
Wikileaks blasts Cayman Islands bank
Bank Julius Baer & Trust — the Swiss-Cayman “private banking” entity currently attempting to sue Wikileaks before US Federal court Justice Jeffery White in San Francisco today released a press release onto the “Business Wire” vanity wire service. The press release was subsequently picked up by Reuters and other wire services.
Bank Julies Baer & Trust, from here on in, simply referred to as Baer, claimed in relation to Wikileaks:
- “It wasn’t our intention to shut down the Web site”.
This is a lie.
Baer’s requests to the court to do just that are a matter of public record. The only change made by Judge Jeffery White to Baer’s proposed “Wikileaks.org’ takedown order was to cross out the word ‘proposed’! Baer also wrote-for-the-judge a separate order in relation to the documents alone, which was similarly granted. Further, at any time subsequent Baer could have asked the court that its earlier request on the shutdown order be rescinded. It has not done so. While one might be tempted to blame the bank’s Hollywood lawyers Lavely & Singer for running amuck, Baer continues to employ the same law firm. This can only be seen as an endorsement of its conduct.
Baer claimed that:
- “This decision was arrived at only after a month long effort on the part of Julius Baer.. to engage the operators of Wikileaks in a dialogue..”
This is a lie.
Wikileaks responded with grace and speed to every one of Baer’s highly irregular (see below) demands and left communication open. A full record is available as:
The last letter is from Wikileaks. The entire correspondence covers a period of two days. Baer did not submit the correspondence to the court for hearing although it was absolutely central to the issues and Wikileaks was not represented. A clear abuse of process.
Wikileaks is confident about its place in the court of public opinion, but the shadowy Swiss-Cayman “Bank and Trust” Baer, has been allergic to the sun from the very beginning. The first sign of this hyper-sensitivity to light was when its lawyers, Lavely & Singer refused to put their demands in writing — even email — as requested. The second sign was when the same lawyers refused to even identify their client!
Finally Baer’s (as it turned out) lawyers refused to even state what city they would be taking their threatened action in so Wikileaks could arrange representation in that city, instead preferring to abuse process and arrange a hearing where Wikileaks was not represented. But don’t take our word for it — see the submissions to the court by our then pre-litigation council Julie Turner and:
It is Baer who decided to hire Hollywood lawyers Lavely & Singer, who like to describe themselves as “all-around bad cop for stars from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Jim Carrey and Celine Dion.”. It is Baer who stood by these lawyers while they abused process with the assistance of negligent Bush appointed Federal Judge. It is Baer who has refused to make amends for its misdeeds and it is Baer who is now suffering, and will continue to suffer the consequences.
Baer “has form” in engaging in quasi-criminal conduct not just in relation to offshore banking asset hiding. The Swiss court records reveal Baer hired Zurich-based private detectives Ryffel AG to engage in car chases down the streets of Zurich of the person Baer claims is the whistleblower concerned — including while the alleged whistleblower took his daughters to primary school. The police apprehended one of the chases which then because a matter of public record in a Dec 2007 case in Switzerland as did Baer’s attempts to bribe the suspected whistleblower into keeping quiet. See:
- http://wikileaks.be/wiki/Clouds_on_the_Cayman_tax_heaven (Wikileaks story)
Baer claimed that:
- “The posting of confidential bank records by anonymous sources significantly harms the privacy rights of all individuals.”
This is misrepresentation.
Baer likes to spin the documents as ‘bank records’ and never likes to talk about the dates concerned. The documents are nearly all Microsoft Word files setting up trust arrangements used as anonymizing shell structures. In its court filings, Baer claims to have been aware of the documents release since 2003 and the Swiss media had the documents in 2005. The only relevence these documents have now is that they expose the bank’s ultra-rich clients funneling money through Cayman Islands trusts nearly a decade ago under a variety of suspicious circumstances.
Wikileaks took a skeptical position on the documents until attacked by the bank. Baer, in attempting to shoot the messenger has only succeeded, spectacularly, in shooting itself.
Wikileaks awaits Baer’s apology.
Please contribute to the legal costs of Wikileaks essential protection of our First Amendment liberties here.
Entry Filed under: Uncategorized