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I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help

Pledge “defend-wl”

"I will donate $200 towards defending WikiLeaks in their first amendment fight but only if 10 other good people will give $20 to $200 dollars and encourage others to do the same!."

— James & Jennifer McCain, programmer & journalist

Deadline to sign up by: 1st June 2008
266 people signed up (256 over target)

More details
The Wikileaks case runs over the next two months. Wikileaks has won the second round.

From the New York Times (many more:

A growing number of privacy and civil rights advocates are calling on a federal court to reconsider its decision two weeks ago ordering the controversial whistleblower Web site to be disabled.

In a motion filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and a Wikileaks user asked the court for permission to intervene in the case.

In a 20-page brief, the groups said they were asking to intervene in a bid asking the court to dissolve its permanent injunction disabling the Web site. They claimed that the court's action violated their First Amendment right to access the contents of the Wikileaks Web site.

"The First Amendment encompasses the right to receive information and ideas," the groups said in the brief. "The documents and materials posted on the Wikileaks website concern matters of great public interest" which each of the parties filing the motion had regularly accessed, they said.

Expressing similar support was Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society's Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP). On Wednesday the center filed a brief opposing the court's injunctions against Wikileaks and its domain registrar Dynadot LLC. The amici curiae (friend of the court) brief, which was developed in collaboration with several media and public interest organizations, asked the court to take back its decision and cited First Amendment concerns.

"Under established First Amendment law, prior restraints, if constitutional at all, are permissible only in the most extraordinary circumstances," David Ardia, director of the CMLP said in a statement. "In this case, you have court orders that effectively shut down a website that has been at the forefront of exposing corruption in governments and corporations around the world," he said.

The groundswell of support for Wikileaks comes in the wake of two injunctions issued by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White on Feb 15. The injunctions were in response to a lawsuit filed by the Julius Baer Group, a Swiss bank that, according to documents on Wikileaks, was involved in offshore money laundering and tax evasion in the Cayman Islands for customers in several countries, including the U.S.

Wikileaks claimed the documents had been leaked by a bank employee. In its complaint, the Swiss bank claimed that Wikileaks published hundreds of illegally obtained documents and confidential and copyrighted information belonging to the bank. The bank sued both Wikileaks and its domain registrar Dynadot.

In response, White issued a permanent injunction ordering Dynadot to immediately disable the domain name and lock it to prevent the domain from being transferred to another registrar. The injunction also required Dynadot to immediately remove all DNS hosting records for the domain name. The court asked Dynadot to prevent the domain name from resolving to the wikileaks Web site or any other Web site or server "other than a blank park page."

The judge also issued a temporary restraining order that forbade Wikileaks from displaying, posting, publishing or distributing any material pertaining to the bank on any site that it directly owned or over which it had any control. The order instructed Wikileaks to ensure that all of the bank's information was removed from all Web sites it owned or controlled, to disable links to the material on such sites and to provide the court with proof that it had complied with the orders. The judge's order even enjoined everyone who read the order or received notice of it from publishing or even linking to the documents.

The rulings drew scathing criticism from privacy and civil rights groups who saw it as an unprecedented violation of First Amendment rights. Several felt the court had overreacted in ordering the entire domain shut down, just because a relatively small number of documents it hosted were being disputed.

This week's friends-of-the-court briefs and the move to intervene by the EFF and the ACLU have been the most visible manifestations of that concern.

Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the EFF said his organization decided to file a motion to intervene because the case raises several troubling issues. For instance, the Swiss bank's strategy of getting Dynadot to disable the Wikileaks domain and the court's endorsement of that tactic could set a dangerous precedent if allowed to stand, he said.

"The strategy of going after the registrar is an attempt in a collateral way to get at the remedy," he said. "It shouldn't be a remedy that plaintiffs think is acceptable or that the courts think is acceptable. It's overkill to say the least," he said. It should serve as a warning to others of how vulnerable their Web presence can be if their domain registrars or service providers are unable or unwilling to stand up to legal pressure, he said.

Similarly, Julius Baer's attempt to block access to all materials on Wikileaks because it wanted to protect its own documents, and the court's acceding to that strategy, is unwarranted, Zimmerman said. For one thing, it violates Wikileaks' First Amendment rights, he said. The court's action also violates the First Amendment rights of Web users who might have had a legitimate interest in reading all of the other material posted on Wikileaks, he said.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for Friday.

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Comments on this pledge

  • I was outraged when I read that WIKILEAKS had essentially been censored. I was very upset with the Judge handling the case because if the Court had been smart, knowing he did not have jurisdiction, he could have asked the parties to volunatarily agree to a court ordered mediation and or selected an impartial attorney to assist with binding arbitration. But granting the Plantiff's motions outright was just outrageous over-reaching. I know what censorship feels like. NASA has been behind a well coordinated effort to censor and shut down our web site for several years now but they have failed.

    S. Ray DeRusse
  • Political leaders are not liable for their mistakes or actions. And they will never be.
    But if every aspect of their decisions is recorded and become public within a reasonable time frame, accountability, in other forms, will be guaranteed.
    Private citizens only have the power comfered by the free flow of information.
    Otherwise elections and democracy becomes a sad, self destructing farse. The USA administration is a pathetic example of all the above.
    Hugo Vargas, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • You are surprised? I cannot believe that you are surprised that the U.S. government is trying to trample down the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it suites their desire. Federal, state and local governments in the U.S. have been trampling down the 2nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution for over 70 years (extremely hard for the last 30 years). If you do not protect the 2nd amendment, you will not get to keep the other amendments.
    Tom Redhawke, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • String em up! ;)
  • Protect our freedom of speech
    Anthi Gugusi, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I am outraged that this could happen in our country. I am not a very good writer, but I have just started a blog about food from China. I would hate to be shut down because I named names and demanded full disclosure of where our food is coming from. I am in full support of your cause, and I am donating what I can right now. I will also help you spread the word.
    Nichole Keel, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • A democratic republic is doomed if moneyed powers are able to flaunt the law. There is a push to outlaw whistleblowers as whistleblowers put a crimp on illegal activities which enriches the syndicate of the soulless. Therefore it is necessary for each and every citizen to stand up and demand accountably. After all - what good are laws if they are designed to be circumvented by a small powerful elite of soulless individuals.
  • If the goverment continues to infringe on our rights, we may end up like asian contries like china :(
    ps: any one know where I could find a working mirror for wikileaks?.
    David Manzella, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Being able to speak out against corporations and governments much more powerful than you is an integral part of keeping things honest. The laws are there to ensure that nobody is treated unjustly, but big corporations with expensive law firms on retainer can bend the law as they see fit to suppress these important rights. Whistleblowers are required to ensure any large company is entirely legit and not injuring anyone in the course of its business.

    Wikileaks is an incredible advance on that front. For the first time, ever, we have access to all the dirty laundry we're not supposed to see - the secrets that have been kept from us because they show a corrupt government or a belligerent corporation; or even an abusive cult. And this kind of resource should never, ever be removed or censored. Wikileaks should be a convincing threat to anyone considering illegal activities in their position of power, and the courts (seperated as they are from other branches) must recognise this.

    Best of luck in your future endeavours, wikileaks crew.

  • Wikileaks is the only way for straight-justice in the current world.
    Vyasram, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Democracy is based on the idea that the populace is informed and intelligent enough to make its own decisions. "Protecting" information so that it is proprietary and invisible to the public is anti-democratic. Furthermore, it is an abuse of intellectual property which was designed so that others could see your work and research without it being stolen. Frankly, I find the idea of attempting to shut down wikileaks disturbing.
    Anon., 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • The public deserves to to know information like wikileaks gives, the government is just wanting to take away another right of the American people.

    if the government has nothing to hide, then why exactly should they care..?
  • Why do governments hide things if they are not ashamed of what they do?
    Amitabho, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I am outraged that the cult of $cientology would even dare lash out against wikileaks, one of the few remaining places in which justice and transparency exist. I, for one, support wikileaks 100% in any way possible.

    Anonymous, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Thank YOU for standing up för liberty and freedom of the word! Please inform of a possibility to send you even smaller amount of money (by check or creditcard) just to prove our (my) will to support your work.
    Even the Swedish government backed down to the Scientologists demand to "protect" their "bible". Humbug and a pure scam is what its about. But beurocrats have difficulty so see this.
    Keep up the good work and please continue to inform people all over the world !
    Allan Petree, Sweden.
    Allan Petree, 9 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
This pledge is closed for new comments.

Current signatories (Green text = they've done it)

James & Jennifer McCain, the Pledge Creator, joined by:

  • Wythe Marschall
  • Aleksey Yashchenko
  • Claude Gelinas
  • Mike Hassell
  • Darren Graybehl
  • Roman Khramov
  • Matthew
  • Dr. T. S. Arunkumar
  • Douglas Glosemeyer
  • Ilya Kazachkov
  • Elizabeth Rose
  • Patrick Hamid
  • Ali Hassan
  • Anders Kronquist
  • Esther Rosken
  • Robert Ketteringham
  • Viktor Svensson
  • Shawn Ristvedt
  • Elia G.
  • David Brooks
  • B Perry
  • oleg nepliouev
  • Eric
  • Keith Patton
  • Jason Schapiro
  • Fernando Carrillo
  • Dennis Perov
  • Lawrence Turner
  • Gary Stimson
  • nick
  • shannon dybvig
  • Gautam R. Joshi
  • Raymond Hill
  • Francis Lynch III
  • paul bullock
  • Jen Johnson
  • Martin McMahon
  • Ladislav Mišánik
  • Josh Hughes
  • Nathan Currier
  • Dave Scharffenberg
  • Lars Melander
  • Dan Kim
  • Brent N Kellogg
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  • David Manzella
  • Maritza Rodriguez
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  • Roman Gaufman
  • Henry Muller
  • Christoph Burschka
  • TheUnderNet
  • Christopher C Fellows
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