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The Media Censorship

Censorship Struggle Underway In Iceland 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-be-free-but-it's-gotta-work-for-it dept.
jon jonson writes "Information from the collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing has been leaked to WikiLeaks, revealing billions in insider loans, and the bank has been working day and night to censor the information contained in the document. Last night at 6:55pm GMT, they served an injunction against the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, five minutes before the 7pm news was due to be aired. The TV station just displayed the WikiLeaks URL instead. They've also injuncted Iceland's national radio, banning all discussion about the contents of the document, and they are actively trying to censor the rest of the Icelandic media along with WikiLeaks."
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Censorship Struggle Underway In Iceland

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Funny)

    by Norsefire (1494323) * on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:23PM (#28918139) Journal
    Kaupthing had fallen over and if they hadn't tried to stop people finding out, it wouldn't have been posted to Slashdot and I and many others would never have known. We need a name for when attempted censorship leads to wider distribution of the information. The Kaupthing effect, perhaps?
  • by swinferno (1212408) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:23PM (#28918141)
    Good thing WikiLeaks is still alive and kicking
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:26PM (#28918163)

    revealing billions in insider loans,

    Like most wikileaks documents, I've found it nearly impossible to verify the high level claim (insider trading) off the information provided. They always seem to drop the ball on writing down their analysis...or letting others (otherwise, it's NOT a wiki!). I expect several pages of summary and analysis, but instead, just broad claims with little or no references or supporting facts.

    For those of us who aren't experts in Icelandic corporations and banking, here's a sample, after some googling- one of the listed parties is a Robert Tchenguiz [icelandweatherreport.com].

    If the claims in that blog posting are true, 500BN of Iceland's citizens' money flew out the door in "loans" to tax haven countries.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:38PM (#28918261)

      Exista == Kaupthing
      Landic == Gaumur == Baugur == Glitnir Bank
      Stodir = FL Group = Baugur = Glitnir Bank

      etc. etc. etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 7 digits (986730)

        The document is fascinating, and quite easy to read. I had to go to page 18 to find the first mention of an exposure that wasn't looking like an insider trade (ie: lending money to people that owned the bank).

        Indeed, the easiest way to rob a bank it to own one...

    • If it was a bunch of lies, then the bank officials would have pointed that out. That they are scrambling to censor is proof this is absolutly 100% legit. kind of nice of them to remove any doubt eh?

      • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:16PM (#28918549)

        If it was a bunch of lies, then the bank officials would have pointed that out.

        And when a guy stands in the driveway of a GM plant screaming that alien technology is being used to make Corvettes, does that mean it's true because GM refuses to answer questions from him or reporters and then kicks him off the property? Of course not.

        First off, I didn't say the claims were lies. I said there was no explanation or analysis, and thus no way for me to verify them. There isn't even any explanation as to why they believe the documents are authentic. I was lamenting, in general, at the lack of explanations and analysis of documents posted to Wikileaks as a whole. Putting down a list of companies and calling it "analysis" isn't.

        Second, it does not logically follow that if someone doesn't deny something, it is true- in part or whole. 5th Amendment, anyone? Same goes for trying to get something out of the public spotlight. Maybe the whole reason they want to suppress it is because it IS bullshit, and letting it spread would make it difficult or impossible to find impartial jurors in a criminal or civil trial- or harm existing companies that have done legitimate business with them.

        Lastly, very often a public relations effort involves not even acknowledging claims, regardless of their merit. There are a variety of reasons why. For example: sometimes the claims are bullshit but you don't feel you can convince the public otherwise. Sometimes you want to keep a low profile and hope people will get bored and move on to shinier news items. Sometimes you cannot say anything because of pending legal action- either because it would be risky to comment, or you've been told not to.

        But hey, feel free to play out the simple Hollywood conspiracy movie plot. The world is rarely that simple.

        • by amiga3D (567632)
          I think anyone that looks at a corvette knows it's not alien technology.
        • by Volante3192 (953645) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:43PM (#28918731)

          And when a guy stands in the driveway of a GM plant screaming that alien technology is being used to make Corvettes, does that mean it's true because GM refuses to answer questions from him or reporters and then kicks him off the property? Of course not.

          But they also don't take him to court and file a gag order against him or issue takedowns. Furthermore, if the guy is on public property and not interfering, they can't really do anything. (Right to free assembly.)

          • But they also don't take him to court and file a gag order against him or issue takedowns.

            Posting a document marked "private and confidential", which were protected by confidentiality agreements signed by the employees who leaked them (or were obtained by breaking into computer systems or bypassing security systems), believe it or not, is not legally defensible. It may be morally correct or even honorable in your eyes (and possibly in mine, I'm on the fence), but one man's morals do not make another man'

            • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:11PM (#28918945)
              This is the exact reason why whistleblower laws exist: to prevent people from being sued for exposing ethics violations.
              • Whistle blowing... (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                This is the exact reason why whistleblower laws exist: to prevent people from being sued for exposing ethics violations.

                You can say that again, whistleblower laws are there for a reason but there must also be due process. The allegation in this case is that the owners of Kaupthing bank effectively loaned them selves and connected parties, specifically the owners of a local company named Exista, ISK 500.000.000.000 which at the time would have been the equivalent of about c.a $6 billion. This money was loaned to shell companies in Holland and the tax haven of Tortola, allegedly in order to pump up the share prices of Kaupthin

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Jafafa Hots (580169)

              There MUST be something in law that a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement cannot compel you to hide crimes or evidence of it... otherwise the mafia is in good shape.

        • by pingveno (708857) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:48PM (#28918777)

          In this case, one of the threatening letters explicitly said:

          These are highly sensitive confidential information from Kaupthings bank hf. loan book regarding the banks clients subject to bank secrecy in Iceland.

          I take this to mean that the documents are legit.

        • by Paladeen (8688)

          Icelandic courts don't use the jury system.

      • by Corbets (169101) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:17PM (#28918557) Homepage

        If it was a bunch of lies, then the bank officials would have pointed that out. That they are scrambling to censor is proof this is absolutly 100% legit. kind of nice of them to remove any doubt eh?

        Just like someone deleting his hard drive is proof that he's guilty of some kind of computer crime or copyright infringement, eh?

        Innocent till proven guilty, people - while it certainly looks suspicious, it isn't any kind of proof of anything.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Like most wikileaks documents, I've found it nearly impossible to verify the high level claim (insider trading) off the information provided.

      Could you at least read the article summary?

      Insider trading is completely different from insider loans (which is what was in the summary).

      Insider trading is when people with secret information about a company trade in its stock without filing the required disclosure forms. It's to protect investors so that all investors (in theory) have access to the same information t

  • by EinarTh (143782) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:33PM (#28918221)

    'nuff said

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zedrick (764028)
      Thanks. I'm visiting Iceland in 3 weeks, will be good to know some useful words!
  • injuncted? (Score:5, Informative)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@@@alum...mit...edu> on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:59PM (#28918403) Homepage

    There's no such word as injuncted. "to issue an injunction" is to "enjoin", so the form needed here is enjoined.

  • by iserlohn (49556) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:59PM (#28918407) Homepage

    To protect private interests against the public's need to know.

    This is the stuff that we should be angry about. Not putting some trailer-trash families in rehabilitation programs discussed about in the recent front page article (That's the one with the hyperbole about 24hr surveillance BTW).

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:00PM (#28918411)
    We (in the USA) still have no idea where our TARP [wikipedia.org] funds went. And no documentation likely to appear on Wikileaks either. When our gov't asked the banks what they did with the money we gave them, they just replied, "We'd rather not say".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MightyYar (622222)

      No one cares, really... they are loans and will (mostly) get paid back. The banks unable to pay back end up being owned by the feds anyway, and then the books are wide open.

      • by BlueStrat (756137) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:05PM (#28918907)

        The banks unable to pay back (...the TARP funds...) end up being owned by the feds anyway, and then the books are wide open.

        Perhaps you're thinking about some other country? The US government is anything but transparent, notwithstanding any "Hope & Change" rhetoric to the contrary. It took an FOIA request and months to even be allowed to see the Air Force One Manhattan fly-over photos that everyone knew existed.

        The chances of the books being opened would be particularly slim if the bank(s) end up being owned by the Federal Reserve. I know that politicians are currently making noise about publicly auditing the Fed, but that's all it will end up being...noise to placate the proles. Unless politicians suddenly start finding themselves losing elections en masse and/or finding themselves at the working end of pitchforks & shotguns.

        Strat

      • by PPH (736903)

        Not loans. Equity positions in the banks. As such, I'd expect that the largest shareholder in any company shouldn't have any problem going to the execs and asking for a full accounting of what they are up to. Or be shown the door very quickly.

        The fact that we "don't care" is a testament to how thoroughly we have been turned into sheep by special interest groups. At least the people in Iceland are being made aware that something foul is afoot.

      • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @05:16PM (#28919993)

        No one cares, really... they are loans and will (mostly) get paid back. The banks unable to pay back end up being owned by the feds anyway, and then the books are wide open.

        Aw. They're so *cute* when they're that trusting, aren't they?

  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:04PM (#28918449)

    Once this shit hits the internet - it's out there. There is no undo button or magical legal action you can take to cover it up anymore.

    You'd be better off to admit you fucked up and spend your efforts cleaning up the mess instead of trying to cover up this crap.

    Oh yeah - and piss off the media - that helps your case too.

  • by aricusmaximus (300760) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:12PM (#28918509)

    Per the cease and desist order [wikileaks.org], it appears that the lawyers on behalf of Kraupthing are doing their job.

    The laws themselves appear to be there to protect the client's confidential information. Paraphrasing (IANAL, IANAL, IANAL!) they are:

    58. Banks are not suppose to disclose their customer's financial information.
    59. Exception #1 - if there is a risk to a parent company
    60. Exception #2 - if the customer(s) say it is okay to disclose the information.

    So basically the bank and the bank lawyers are doing the job they are legally obligated to do on behalf of their customers.

    • by microbox (704317)
      Score 1 for systemic madness!
  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:39PM (#28918697) Homepage Journal

    Especially if it describes how the country's currency became worthless.

    Just because you are in ICEland doesn't mean you can freeze the free flow of information.

  • Of course they are trying to censorship this. They have been hard at work since the bank crash trying to hide all the stuff that can show the illigal stuff they where doing. And this was not the only bank of the 3 that went down that had very questionable (amounts over what was legal) loans to insiders.
  • Money talks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:10PM (#28918935) Homepage Journal
    ... and mutes, too
  • in one of the scandinavian countries which are renowned for modern liberties and freedoms ?

  • by cc_pirate (82470) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:14PM (#28919449)

    The super rich stole from all of us and then used their government connections to force us all to pay for their prolifigate spending.

  • There are viable [computerworld.com] alternatives [digitaltrends.com], temporary as they may be...

  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @05:47PM (#28920231) Homepage

    Here are the MD5 checksums I calculated for various downloads:

    The difference impacts the rendering of the document beginning on page 16. It appears to have HTTP headers inserted into the file. The same difference is seen across these download programs: firefox, lynx, wget. There may be a bad replication to that site. Maybe they used a bad HTTP client.

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