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Bank Julius Baer Issues Statement On WikiLeaks 187

Posted by kdawson
from the 11-days-to-say-very-little dept.
dtwood writes "The bank that got WikiLeaks.org erased from DNS finally hired a PR agency and issued a press release filled with half truths and non-statements. Tynan on Tech has it, along with some brief commentary. Worth a look."
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Bank Julius Baer Issues Statement On WikiLeaks

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  • Um... ok (Score:5, Funny)

    by downix (84795) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:03PM (#22591202) Homepage
    Can someone please tell Mr Baer that anything he says will be used against him in the court of public opinion?

    Sounds like his lawyers are getting nervous.
    • Sounds like his lawyers are getting nervous.
      Or the PR people. I'm sure even in their insulated world of high finance and 'creative' accounting [88.80.13.160] they got some backlash for their behavior over the matter.
  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:05PM (#22591234) Homepage Journal
    Are there any US institutions that are associated with this bank that I should be considering boycotting?
  • by greenslashpurple (1236792) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:05PM (#22591244)
    "The posting of confidential bank records by anonymous sources significantly harms the privacy rights of all individuals." Especially individuals engaged in tax fraud.
    • by howdoesth (1132949) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:27PM (#22591624)
      Isn't being engaged in tax fraud a prerequisite for having a bank account in the Cayman Islands?
      • Actually (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wsanders (114993) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:45PM (#22591930) Homepage
        I once worked at a place where a lot of people had security clearances. A coworker enjoyed scuba diving, and bought a condo in Grand Cayman. That security clearance whooshed away faster than a bottle of vodka in Britney Spear's glove compartment.

        Eventually the coworker was reinstated, so there are bind fide reasons for transacting business in the Caymans. Scuba diving, nig game fishing, genocide, drug dealing, weapons smuggling, corporate espionage come to mind, in addition to plain old tax fraud.

    • by jtheisen (893138) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:11PM (#22592290) Journal
      Which is exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago here in Europe: German tax offices bought (with the help of the BND, Germany's service for foreign intelligence) records from a leaker of a bank in Lichtenstein with information about who had foundations there - foundations that are almost always used in order to commit tax fraud. They bought it for 3 million Euro, but claimed to get much more than that back. The CEO of the German Post fell over that scandal. According to SPIEGEL ONLINE, many other countries, including the US, also bought that information. Naturally, Liechtenstein got quite a fit about this and accused the German goverment of "Hehlerei im großen Stil" (legal expression, to receive stolen goods as a criminal act).
  • Non-truths and half-statements?

    What the hell is that??

    If you're going to chide a company for putting out a shitty document, at least have the balls to use some real language when you do it.

    Is it a lie? then call it a lie! "half truths" my ass.

    And what's a "half-statement"??? An incomplete sentence? A run-on sentence?
    • by Itninja (937614) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:08PM (#22591304) Homepage
      I think any reasonable person knows what a half-statement. It's a completely legitimate. Most English professors.
    • by gambit3 (463693)
      Sorry, that should've been half-truths and non-statements. I should've taken Slashdot's advice and used the "Preview" button.

      I apologize.
    • Re:Non-truths? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:12PM (#22591376) Journal

      > If you're going to chide a company for putting out a shitty document, at least have the balls to use some real language when you do it.

      > Is it a lie? then call it a lie! "half truths" my ass.

      You mean like this?

      And the statement "Julius Baer's sole objective has always been limited to the removal of these private and legally protected documents from the website" means either that a) they're lying, b) they really did think that wiping WikiLeaks.org from the DNS records of the Net would only remove those 'inauthentic' documents they're so concerned about, or c) they're lying.

      I'm betting on a and c. How about you?

      Looks to me like the article accuses Bank Julius Baer of... lying.

      • by gambit3 (463693)
        I have no problem with the article. It's the summary that uses the non-sensical words.
    • Re:Non-truths? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:17PM (#22591458) Homepage Journal
      Erm, well, one of the things they say relates to the documents being "stolen and forged". Then, in the very same paragraph, they refer to the documents as "private" and "confidential".

      Sorry, but, um, forged documents aren't private or confidential unless they contain some degree of accurate information, I suppose...but then they're not subject to banking laws because they're fake documents, right?

      So, which is it, Julius Baer? Are these documents forgeries, or are they real documents and therefore subject to banking privacy laws? You don't get to have your cake and eat it, too.

      If JB lawyers really had the aim to stop the publication of the documents, they could have just sent WikiLeaks a C&D, who maybe would have even taken it down. But instead, they call up WikiLeaks asking them who their lawyer is and refuse to identify themselves. Who do these people think they are? The fscking Mafia? Wait, don't answer that ... :-D
      • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:38PM (#22591798)

        So, which is it, Julius Baer? Are these documents forgeries, or are they real documents and therefore subject to banking privacy laws? You don't get to have your cake and eat it, too.
        Have you not heard of superposition? It's a matter of quantum legal entanglement.
        • by The Angry Mick (632931) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:45PM (#22592644) Homepage

          Have you not heard of superposition? It's a matter of quantum legal entanglement.

          Is that when the plaintiff gets to be on top, or is it the other way around?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dubbreak (623656)

          So, which is it, Julius Baer? Are these documents forgeries, or are they real documents and therefore subject to banking privacy laws? You don't get to have your cake and eat it, too.

          Have you not heard of superposition? It's a matter of quantum legal entanglement.

          In law you can have "conflicting" statements via alternative arguments. For instance:

          • I was not at the scene of the crime.
          • alternatively, I was at the scene of the crime but was not involved and did not see the crime take place from my vantage point.
          • in the further alternative, I was there, saw it happen but was unable to intervene or identify the culprits

          It may seem to logically conflict, but each argument stands by itself. You could think of each alternative argument as a root to an individual tree

          • by ifdef (450739)

            In law you can have "conflicting" statements via alternative arguments. For instance:

            * I was not at the scene of the crime.
            * alternatively, I was at the scene of the crime but was not involved and did not see the crime take place from my vantage point.
            * in the further alternative, I was there, saw it happen but was unable to intervene or identify the culprits

            It may seem to logically conflict, but each argument stands by itself. You could think of each alternative argument as a root to an individual tree (i.e. you can have multiple starting points for your arguments, they don't all have to start from one premise).

            Yeah, but I think that, if I was on a jury and heard a lawyer make a set of arguments like that, I would have to assume he or she was lying. Any of the three could be true, but it is impossible for all three to be true simultaneously.

            If the facts seem to show that I am guilty, I think the way a truly innocent person would counter that would be to say "No, here is the real story, and here's the explanation for the suspicious facts." To come up with alternate, inconsistent explanations is practically ADMIT

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by dubbreak (623656)

              Any of the three could be true, but it is impossible for all three to be true simultaneously.

              Very true, but you are thinking like a programmer. Each argument is exclusive to itself and is not to have any bearing on other arguments.

              In the contract example (trying to show contract between X and Z possibly using y as a contracting agent) it should make sense why this is allowed. The point to prove (or disprove) the existence of a contract. Depending on the facts it may be easier to prove the contract existed via one method (which should be your first argument), though if it is possible to prove i

      • Re:Non-truths? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by harryHenderson (729254) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:12PM (#22592302)
        Not to defend the bank, but a set of documents CAN be both legitimate and forged at the same time. Some can be real and some can be false. The problem that the bank could be in (if they aren't totally lying) is that only demanding the take down of the real documents in the C&D will expose which records are real, and as such need to be kept confidential. The ONLY thing the bank could do in that case is to BOTH deny any of the documents are true and demand that they all be taken down.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:23PM (#22591576) Journal

      Non-truths and half-statements?>br>
      What the hell is that??
      I think that any Brit will know that the correct term is being "economical with the truth"
    • by geekoid (135745)
      a half-truth is a truth that implies one thing, but can certianly be taken a different way.

      "Did you sleep with her?"
      "NO!, I didn't sleep with her!"

      Clearly the person posing the first question means "have sex"
      The person answering knows this, but uses the word sleep, since he didn't actually sleep.

  • by Dice (109560) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:06PM (#22591256)
    Sigh.

    I was hoping this story wouldn't get big. I was really hoping that I'd found a bank through which I could launder and stash various... shall we say... "unreported monies". Like a stack of $100 bills the size of a small room. Homeland Security can be really unforgiving about that sort of thing, you know?
    • If you think DHS is bad about things like this, I suggest you acquaint yourself with the folks over at the Internal Revenue Service...
    • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:11PM (#22591354) Homepage Journal
      HELLO good sir i am an honest man from the UNITED STATES who has a BUSINESS proposition for you in good health and honesty for good christian man of good character such as yourself.

      I am prepared to offer a BUSINESS deal to great advantage for you in monetary security terms for the storage of your FINANCIAL difficulties for very reasonable rate. Please to send to me your

      name
      date of birth
      bank routing number
      social security number
      mother's name

      and i will PROVIDE for YOU a small room for the storage of your MONETARY. For this service you may keep 10% of the AMOUNT GIVEN in good health as thanks for your ASSISTANCE.

      In good health and honesty,
      Fow Ern Ineteen, Esq.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by compro01 (777531)

      Homeland Security can be really unforgiving about that sort of thing, you know?
      the DHS? don't make people laugh, they're wussy amateurs compared to the IRS. they've got what it takes to take what you've got, along with everything you'll ever have. the government takes receiving "their" money very very seriously.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mister Whirly (964219)
        "the DHS? don't make people laugh, they're wussy amateurs compared to the IRS."

        No doubt. The IRS brought down Al Capone for christ sakes. No other law enforcement agency could come close to bringing him down.
      • by Dice (109560)
        This used to be true, but then the DHS gained the ability to lock arbitrary persons away indefinitely without warrant, trial, or access to legal recourse.
    • by Intron (870560)
      I need the pallets back if you're done with them.

      -- Paul Bremer
  • Seem like lawyers all own us and the system is unbalanced against the average person.

    The lawyers OWN congress.
  • Opinions, Opinions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by matt4077 (581118) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:12PM (#22591380) Homepage
    Quote: "And the statement "Julius Baer's sole objective has always been limited to the removal of these private and legally protected documents from the website" means either that a) they're lying, b) they really did think that wiping WikiLeaks.org from the DNS records of the Net would only remove those 'inauthentic' documents they're so concerned about, or c) they're lying."

    I'd interpret it as meaning they tried everything else and then had to resort to these means to get these documents offline. In a way, I can understand the Bank. If the documents are true, it's confidential information that shouldn't be published. If they're forged, it's obviously defamatory and shouldn't be published, either. I'm not sure if exposing some tax fraud is a goal high enough to disregard legal standards. WIkileaks is obviously doing good work, as with last years documents about african dictators. Not sure if this is among that good work,
    • by Danse (1026)

      I'm not sure if exposing some tax fraud is a goal high enough to disregard legal standards.
      Isn't committing or abetting tax fraud already disregarding legal standards?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by saltydog56 (1135213)
        You know, just to piss on the embers a little. How many here would object to someone at the Pirate Bay disclosing who was downloading torrent files in preparation for a little midnight P2P action?

        We all know that at least a fraction of that activity is done with a disregard for legal standards.

        At what point do we expect privacy, and at what point should shady acts be exposed to the light of day.

        It seems that many get their panties an a wad when the privacy issue hits close to home but love it when someone
    • by Otto (17870)

      If the documents are true, it's confidential information that shouldn't be published.
      Says who, exactly?

      Of course they don't want them published, they're evidence of wrongdoing, yesno? They very likely have no legal basis on which to get them removed. Trying to exercise prior restraint on publishing documents like these usually doesn't survive an appeal to the first amendment.
    • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:53PM (#22592046)

      I'm not sure if exposing some tax fraud is a goal high enough to disregard legal standards.
      Well this is the fundamental question of whistle-blowing. Nearly all whistle-blowing is illegal, since someone is violating a confidentiality agreement, breaking a contract, publishing private information, etc.

      I don't know to what extent this has been legally codified, but the consensus has grown to be that whistle-blowing should be somehow allowed, or even encouraged and protected. This is why we consider it reasonable for a reporter to "not disclose a source" and why Wikileaks should be protected.

      If the information can be shown to be false, then yes it should be removed. But unauthorized publication of data which unequivocally proves that some bigger crime has occurred has to be allowed and protected if we are going to fight big crimes. This protection has to extend to the original whistle-blower, and the reporting agents (journalists, wikileaks, etc.), even though they may be technically breaking certain laws (e.g. disclosure of private data).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Nearly all whistle-blowing is illegal, since someone is violating a confidentiality agreement, breaking a contract, publishing private information, etc.

        Which makes me question the legality of such confidentiality agreements.

        If I remain silent because of a confidentiality agreement, then am I an accomplice in the crime I have discovered? Under these circumstances, can I be legally be bound to remain silent? If I am forced to testify in court, does this still violate the agreement and make me liable? If polic

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      There seem to be several possible senarios here.

      1. All the documents are authentic and expose illegal activity.

      In which case, claiming forged documents would solve to PR problem.

      2. All the documents are forged.

      In which case, claiming forged documents would solve the Pr problem.

      3. Some of the documents or document information is real s
  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:13PM (#22591392)
    I'd hardly describe that press release as being filled with half truths. Only point that's really debatable is the dialogue part but there's nothing especially wrong with asking for dialogue between lawyers, especially given the potentially legally complex nature of the post.
    • by djupedal (584558)
      "...hardly describe that press release as being filled with half truths."

      As long as kdawson [slashdot.org] jr. gets a kickback, it doesn't really matter, now, does it?
  • actually, yes you can. the bank's efforts at defending itself are certainly vile, but this doesn't mean the leaker has virtuous motivations either. if you think it is impossible to leak and lie at the same time, you've never encountered a disgruntled ex-employee or ex-client before

    it's sort of like some of the problems surrounding allegations of rape. most charges of rape are indeed cases about a real rape, that needs to be punished harshly. but a handful of charges of rape are made by women who's motivations are completely false. the horrible tragedy is that the real damage such women do is not to the man they want to hurt, but to the 100 other cases of genuine rape their false rape charges now put into doubt

    so let us hope this wikileaks case does not involve a maliciously intended disgruntled ex-employee or ex-client. not that the bank's actions are defensible in any way, regardless of the leaker's motivations, but if the motivations of the leaker aren't squeeky clean, on such a high profile affair, then this entire wikileaks first amendment situation gets poisoned in a way it would be viewed on the street in a way no one who cares about the first amendment wants to see happen
    • What difference does the motives of the person who revealed the information make? Either the allegations are true and the bank is guilty, or they're false and the bank is innocent. The whole thing can be cleared up rather easily by providing proof that the "leaked" documents are fake. Either way the motives of the person are irrelevant. This isn't like a rape case because in a rape case the actions and motivations of both parties determine the legality of the situation (that is, who consented to what), wher
      • i'm talking about the public perception of the high profile case if the leaker turns out to be ill-intentioned. a fake allegation of rape casts a cloud on 100 other valid charges of rape in the mind of the public. that's unfortunate, but real. likewise, if the leaker turns out to be a saboteur instead, 100 other whistleblower cases have a pall cast over them

        what you are talking about is a totally different comparison i didn't even make. try to pay attention before responding next time please
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by orclevegam (940336)
          You don't get it. There is no way for this to be a "saboteur", because it requires complicity of both parties involved. Even if the source is a pissed off ex-employee, the company committing the tax evasion, and the bank facilitating it are both still guilty. It really doesn't factor in who the source was, and anyone who thinks it matters at all be they the "public" or anyone else is a moron. The only reason it matters in rape cases is because there's the potential for the one doing the accusing to have tri
    • Rape, really? A little bit of a tangent, but okay.

      FBI says 9 percent of rape accusations are unfounded. That's a not insignificant minority when you consider the "guilty until proven innocent" approach taken in rape cases, the lingering suspicion even after an acquittal, and the willingness of political entities to prosecute obviously false charges out of some kind of vindictiveness (witness the Duke case, and not just the prosecutor; look at all the concerned organizations that piled on).

      All charges,

  • DNS is for the week ;)

    Any one have the IP address from cache?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BridgeBum (11413)
      Wikipedia has it. 88.80.13.160
    • by Niten (201835)
      I have a simple BIND server that performs recursive DNS for my home network... if you really want the (meaningless, but nonetheless heartwarming) satisfaction of metaphorically flipping BJB the bird, add

      zone "wikileaks.org" {
      type master;
      file "master/db.org.wikileaks";
      }

      to your named.conf, then enter the following master/db.org.wikileaks:

      $ORIGIN wikileaks.org.
      $TTL 3h

      @ IN SOA your
  • by Sepiraph (1162995) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:35PM (#22591756)
    According to wikipedia,

    On February 18, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a permanent injunction against Dynadot forcing it to "lock the wikileaks.org domain name

    Whereas what wikileak did was to release the illegal activities of asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion.

    So U.S. District Court, where is the justice?
  • by Mike1024 (184871) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:38PM (#22591810)
    From the article

    You can't be a leaker and a liar at the same time. In fact, it's really unclear what Baer claims is legit (but stolen) and what it claims is false or forged.
    It would be possible to have both stolen true information and fabricated false information in the same document - or to have a mix of authentic documents and forged documents. Hence "stolen and forged bank records" could be true.

    Also, it makes sense for a company not to comment on the authenticity of leaked documents - and the bank could argue that wikileaks should remove the documents if they are fake (assuming wikileaks purports to be a factual site); and should remove them if they are illegal; and therefore should remove the documents without the bank specifying if they are authentic or not.

    That said, hosting fictional information probably isn't a crime (unless you could work slander or libel into it); and hosting private/secret documents against the rights holders' wishes is kind of wikileaks' raison d'etre.

    Just my $0.02
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by cube135 (1231528)
      Leaked material, by definition, need to be authentic documents. If they're not, it's not leaked material-it's falsified trash.
      • The bank never uses the word "leaked". They use the term "stolen and forged bank records", which can certainly mean that they claim some of the documents were stolen and others were forged. Or perhaps they mean that a stolen document was modified to create a forgery. There doesn't appear to be anything contradictory in what they said.

        It seems to me that a lot of people are trying to read something into the bank's statement that just isn't there.
  • It's quite right that private banking information should remain private. It's also quite correct that JB should take great pains to avoid confirming that the data is genuine. As such, whether the data is legitimate or forged, they should behave in exactly the same way.

    And that's about it for my sympathy. JB could have asked wikileaks to take down specific pages (wikileaks most likely would not have done but it's a matter of courtesy). They could have specified a jurisdiction for their demands, or giv
  • Are the relevant documents on Freenet yet? If so, what's the link?

    If not, is there a convenient mirror package somewhere? I'd be happy to post it, but I'd rather not deal with converting the hyperlinks and removing the Wikileaks formatting from the html -- I'd rather have just the documents themselves. Wikileaks doesn't seem to have such available, or if they do I haven't found it.

    • by jroysdon (201893)
      3-4 different news stories provided links to other sites that have it, including Cryptome and The Pirate Bay. All the lawyers have done is cause this to explode into the headlines and push the contents all over the internet. One site I saw had over 50 links to other sites in many different country code domains (and assumingly hosted locally) with the content.

      No doubt you'd need to be a CPA to figure out if the content has any real value. But I look at this like Watergate - what if the next Bob Woodward a
  • start -> run -> notepad c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

    Make host file look like

    127.0.0.1 localhost
    88.80.13.60 wikileaks.org

    Problem solved ...
  • News coverage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:07PM (#22592232) Journal
    Did anyone see the Associated Press coverage? link [yahoo.com].

    "An effort at damage control has snowballed into a public relations disaster for a Swiss bank seeking to crack down on a renegade Web site for posting classified information about some of its wealthy clients."

    Apparently, company information is "classified information", and WikiLeaks is a "renegade" website. I guess it is compared to the Associated Press. Here's a high school example of propaganda. Perhaps it was written by a high school student.
  • by taustin (171655) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @03:39PM (#22592580) Homepage Journal
    Looking at the archive of correspondence, it looks to me like both sides were evasive, rude and snotty. Both sides, no doubt, had their reasons. Given the nature of the web site, and the history of this kind of fight, were I the bank's lawyers, I'd be very concerned that they would zip it all up and send it off to a hundred other web sites as soon as they got file names, especially if they could so do legally (and they could, since they wouldn't have gotten the C&D yet). Given the history of such C&D efforts, I can see why the web site wouldn't want to give out any freebies to the other side's lawyers.

    However, in the end, the only thing Wikileaks made available to the bank to deal with was their domain name. I can't imagine how else they thought this would go, when the bank had no other path to follow.
    • by emurphy42 (631808)

      If Wikileaks is smart, they're already zipping up all their files and sending them off to some other web sites on a regular basis. If BJB's lawyers were smart, they would realize this.

      BJB's lawyers claimed the following (emphasis added) - anyone know whether the emphasized part is true?

      You have no legal right to demand advance knowledge of the name of our client and the documents at issue -- that is the information that is to be and will be included in a DMCA notice and demand letter.

  • by sugar and acid (88555) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @04:29PM (#22593156)
    Ahh the irony. The way wikileaks facilitates the distribution of stolen,illegal and/or highly sensitive information in broadly very similar mechanisms that banks like BRB facilitates the hiding and laundering of stolen,illegal and/or highly taxable amounts of money.

    Keep the information about where it came from tightly secured. Distribute and flow it through a number of international sites, ideally with favourable political/legal/tax climates. Fight tooth and nail against any attempts to force divulging or removal of information when requested by various national legal jurisdictions.

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