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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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  • by swinferno (1212408) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:23PM (#28918141)
    Good thing WikiLeaks is still alive and kicking
  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by migla (1099771) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:27PM (#28918181)

    You're being subtly humorous, aren't you?

    (in case you aren't: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org] )

  • by Exception Duck (1524809) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:34PM (#28918233) Homepage Journal

    The bank is owned by the goverment.

  • by Frequency Domain (601421) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:35PM (#28918239)

    When the government starts censoring things, I find that it is usually because of national security issues more than anything else.

    I've seen quite the opposite. Censoring is much more likely to be about covering your ass than about national security.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:35PM (#28918247)
    You do know that national security is a synonym for political embarrassment, don't you?
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:50PM (#28918349) Journal

    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?

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius (318358) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:57PM (#28918395)

    There is also (usually) a correlation between their enthusiasm for suppressing the information and the need for it to be revealed in public interest.

  • 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".
  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.)

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:47PM (#28918769) Journal

    "Innocent until proven guilty" is a rule in the judicial system to ensure safe trial, not a rule to live by in general.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @02:57PM (#28918853)

    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's actions legal.

    Furthermore, if the guy is on public property and not interfering, they can't really do anything. (Right to free assembly.)

    Way to focus on issues not germane. Aside from the fact that I said "driveway" and "property", you missed the point of the example- or you were hoping to be modded up for comment coattail-riding. The crux of the example was that there are many times when it is a perfectly acceptable course of action to ignore something.

  • Mod parent up! Although, I think the grandparent may have been sarcastic? It's not obvious if so.

      Censorship is almost always *officially* about national security, but 99.9% of the time they're actually trying to suppress information which is embarassing or damaging to some particular junta.

  • Money talks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:10PM (#28918935) Homepage Journal
    ... and mutes, too
  • 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.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:25PM (#28919059) Homepage Journal

    in one of the scandinavian countries which are renowned for modern liberties and freedoms ?

  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:46PM (#28919217)

    to be fair, neither is a news article, or at least should be

  • by lgw (121541) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @03:48PM (#28919241) Journal

    The downside of following "Innocent until proven guilty" as a rule to live by in general is far less than the downside of witch hunts! I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • 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.

  • by cc_pirate (82470) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:16PM (#28919467)

    If you are being loaned >$200M of taxpayer money, I don't give a rats a** about your privacy... and I doubt anyone in Iceland does either... and all of these loans were for more than this...

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:18PM (#28919483) Homepage Journal

    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 iserlohn (49556) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:21PM (#28919507) Homepage

    And what if the clients' actions were illegal. How do you weight up the right to privacy against the public interest (a basic question in British constitutional law, or so I've heard)? You speak as if everything was in black and white. Just because there is a privacy angle to this does not mean you win the argument.

    You accuse others of hypocrisy, but yet you fail to realize your own arrogance.

  • by he-sk (103163) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @04:42PM (#28919675)

    Yeah, unless, of course, it's the blogs that break a story.

    Like Monica Lewinsky, Dan Rather's Memogate, the doctored Reuters pictures of bombings in Lebanon, the firing of U.S. prosecutors, "Macaca", etc. etc.

    Face it, the relationship between bloggers and the mainstream media is not parasitic anymore, it's symbiotic.

    It's true, most blogs (including my twitter feed) contain only marginally useful information, if at all. But so do most newspaper articles or TV shows, that merely recite the stuff fed to them by corporations and governments.

    Good investigative journalists are a rare kind. Some of them blog.

  • Whistle blowing... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 02, 2009 @05:07PM (#28919905)

    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 Kaupthing and Exista in a desperate and deluded bid to postpone the inevitable collapse of the bank. _IF_ these allegations turn out to be true (and personally I'll wait until the prosecutor has finished investigating this before I make up my mind) Kaupthing's management and it's owners and their business partners practically robbed their own bank and used the proceeds to commit massive market manipulation offences.

    You have to remember that in Iceland there is still a lot of anger against the people who are perceived to have caused the banking collapse with US style "free-market fundamentalism" and the the news media does have a tendency to surf on waves of public anger. When the Icelandic banks collapsed and all the puss started flowing out of the wounds of the dying banks the Icelandic people ringed the parliament building and pelted it with yoghurt cans, eggs and vegetables. That may not seem like much to somebody in the US or UK but it is a remarkable event for a nation that hasn't seen a really major public protest since a grand punch-up between communists and police in 1949 over the parliament's decision to join NATO. This injunction is probably more of a knee jerk reaction born out of fear of even more public unrest than anything else. I was and still am surprised that neither the US nor UK citizenry turned out in force to egg their parliament buildings after the humongous bailouts in those countries. The UK citizenry in particular has proven to be remarkably docile considering that it is Gordon Brown who is to blame more than most others for the policies that led to the banking mess in that country. Given the amount of taxpayer money he has handed out to fat-cats in the banking system you'd think Britons would be lining up to tar and feather him.

  • 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 7 digits (986730) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:20PM (#28920461)

    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...

  • by infinitelink (963279) * on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:02PM (#28921455) Homepage Journal
    Americans are just conditioned to be politically angry: they're like trained monkeys, throw-in 'corporation' and they become a ravenous mob--probably too glib to realize that any non-individual entity recognized by the government is basically a corporation: corporations are not evil, they can be evil, or they can be otherwise: but nuspeak has conditioned so many to associate them with being so. AIG was living-up to legal obligations: they could have done that, or gotten sued and payed even more: and it was the very top ordering-down to put the dang 'loophole' (i.e. it wasn't a loophole) in there in the first place. But one can expect Americans to be outraged: it's like they know they have a part to play in a giant, pretensious, stage in a giant, fake, show. And they are fake. Signed, An American.
  • by krilli (303497) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:19PM (#28921611) Journal

    Very very true, but there's a problem with "innocent until proven guilty". It is that most people tend to take it to mean that "nothing is suspicious until proven guilty".

  • by Steve Franklin (142698) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @10:11PM (#28921945) Homepage Journal

    There are no "real" journalists anymore. If there ever were. Ask yourself, who broke the news that the sinking of the Maine was an inside job? Was it some historian 100 years later? How about the Reichstag fire? Did the "journalists" report that for what it was at the time? Forget 9/11. It'll be a century before anyone in the mainstream has the guts to call that what it was. "Journalists" just report the official line, no matter how absurd it is.

  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @11:47PM (#28922629) Homepage Journal

    "Joe, get my picture out of there" ... "That's like trying to get pee out of a swimming pool."

  • by MrNiceguy_KS (800771) on Monday August 03, 2009 @12:11PM (#28928715)

    The Mafia is more responsible with how it spends its money.

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