Bank Drops Wikileaks Case

Run Away! Run Away!

(Not really much else the bank could do at this point):

Julius Baer Bank and Trust dropped its case against Wikileaks today, days after a San Francisco judge reversed an injunction against the iconoclastic document-leaking site. Judge Jeffrey White had ordered Wikileaks shut down in response to arguments that it had published stolen bank documents that contained sensitive proprietary information. But Wikileaks argued that the documents exposed fraud, and the injunction prompted a firestorm in the press over concerns that White had abridged constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and freedom of the press. “There are serious questions of prior restraint, possible violations of the First Amendment,” he said on Friday before reversing the order.

The bank took a voluntary dismissal (PDF), which technically means it could refile the suit if it wanted to.  

I wouldn’t hold my breath for that, though. After the pummeling they took both legally and publicitywise, Julius Baer is more than happy to get as far away from this colossal blunder of a law suit as it can.

To quote myself (ah, what the hell):

The damage to the bank for its ill considered attempt to use the Federal courts as a tool for censorship is already done.  Far from removing the incriminating documents from the public eye, Julius Baer’s blunder now means these documents are the main feature of a cause celeb that has generated the interest of millions of people around the globe, and many who would have otherwise never had known the documents existed are now fully aware of their incriminating contents.

What’s more, the boomerang effect of the bank’s lawsuit will make other would be censors think twice about trying to use the courts to silence opposition – while the bad publicity Dynadot received for cravenly caving to the bank’s intimidation should make other ISPs understand that they need to stand up against corporate bullies, and not sell out their customers at the first whiff of a lawsuit.

Nice to see arrogant corporate bullies actually get their comeuppance for once.

Ain’t it?


  1. I am.

    • RUKind on March 6, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Secrecy. Secrecy of money movement. Julius Baer’s value-add to international banking was invisible, untraceable, hidden, quiet movement of money. Or it was. They just earned the Swiss Banking Darwin Award.

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