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More detail on suspension

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April 13, 2009

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE (Deutsche Fassung: Mehr Details zur Stilllegung)
Tue Apr 14 07:05:51 2009 CEST

Registrar at fault; dispute related to last year's exposure of Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND.

BND chief Ernst Uhrlau

On April the 9th of 2009, the domain ceased to be available after effective control was transferred from its registered owner, Theodore Reppe, to the Germany's internet authority, DeNIC. Details were initially hard to come by due to the Easter holiday period in Germany.

The transfer came two weeks after the March 24 search of Mr. Reppe's house by German police over WikiLeaks' publication of the internet censorship lists for Australia. At that time police demanded Mr. Reppe disable the domain name (the request was denied).

Yet to understand the issue, we need to go back to an incident between a more secretive German authority and WikiLeaks late last year.

In November and December 2008, WikiLeaks released sensitive information on the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence service. This included documents and articles about corruption in Kosovo and a list of covert Internet addresses used by the BND under the cover WikiLeaks had also earlier released documents about the BND's infiltration of Germany's Focus magazine.

The head of the BND, Ernst Uhrlau, eventually threatened WikiLeaks with criminal prosecution unless it removed BND documents (no documents were removed).

The WikiLeaks revelations of the cover operation were debated on the Internet, including in a discussion in the forum.

The Heise discussion addresses the non-compliant information in the BND's domain registration for That registration was accused of violating DeNIC registration standards, by, for instance, failing to include its physical address. As alleged in the posting, according to these standards, the intelligence agency did not have formal ownership over the domain, since it had not met the required standards for ownership.

In order to test this disparity in requirements for the BND, the domain donor, Theodore Reppe, requested that the domain ownership be transferred to his account at the DeNIC licensed registrar Beasts Associated (based in Hamburg), through which the domain was also registered.

As expected, the request was denied,

Original (German)

"Sehr geehrter Herr Reppe,
Sie haben die Domain
per Transfer angefordert. Es handelt sich hierbei - unschwer zu erkennen -
um die Domain des Bundesnachrichtendienstes.
Da es sich hierbei um eine bedeutende Domain handelt, bitten wir Sie
umgehend das entsprechende Transfer-Fax und OwnerChange-Formular an uns zu
Bis zu Klärung dieses Vorfalls haben wir Ihren Account gesperrt.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Daniel Teixeira"

English translation

Dear Mr Reppe

You have requested the domain
be transferred to you. It is not hard to see that the domain is that of the Federal Intelligence (Bundesnachrichtendienstes).
Since this is an important domain, we ask you to immediately send us the appropriate fax and owner change form.
Pending clarification of this incident we have blocked your account.
Yours sincerely,
Daniel Teixeira"

but in response the registrar then attempted to terminate its involvement with all Mr. Reppe's domains, including for "contract violation".

As Mr. Reppe had paid for a full year in advance, it was agreed after a January phone call that the company would not transfer out the domains held by Mr. Reppe until the term paid had expired.

Despite this agreement, the registrar dropped the domains last week, leaving Mr. Reppe with more than 30 broken domains into the Easter festivities, including, his popular Tor node, two film projects and other non-profit and open-source groups.

Mr. Reppe was not given notification of the voiding of the previous hotline agreement. The reasons for specific timing, which occurred nine days after the three month minimum contract resolution period, are unknown and may or may not be related to the police raid over the Australian censorship list.

The Thursday evening domain transfer occurred more than two hours after the close of business of the DeNIC offices, and on the evening before the Easter weekend, that in Germany includes Friday and Monday as public holidays.

Contrary to the pro-forma statement on the DeNIC website that readers received when trying to view, the domain owner was not notified, nor was he given the details necessary to move the domains to another registrar. This effectively rendered and still renders the site unusable. In response to an email by WikiLeaks, DeNIC stated on Sunday that a postal letter would be sent to Mr. Reppe on Tuesday. DeNIC declined to supply an after hours phone number or answer its press phone.

Later the same day DeNIC CEO Sabine Dolderer issued a media statement saying that DeNIC itself did not originate the move, but that the transfer of control was initiated by the DeNIC licensed registrar (domain name company) Beasts Associated of Hamburg, through which the domain had been originally registered.

On Monday, Beasts Associated CEO Daniel Teixeira issued a statement saying the contract with the domain owner had been canceled due to an unspecified "contract violation" in December 2008 and that the domains had therefore been transferred to DeNIC.

Full WikiLeaks content continues to be available on its sites outside of Germany, such as and on the following "solidarity" domains registered by German supporters:


See also

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