ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account

ilene's picture

ML-Implode Gets “Wikileaks Treatment” As Wells Fargo Freezes, Closes Business Account

Courtesy of Aaron Krowne of ML-Implode

feature photo discovered yesterday (2012-06-12) in the course of its normal banking activities that Wells Fargo had frozen its bank account with no warning. Upon inquiring at the local branch (which had no direct knowledge of the incident), it was discovered the account had been flagged “credit risk”, and slated to be immediately closed.

These actions are more than slightly unusual because ML-Implode’s account was a plain checking account and was not an underwritten account. In fact, ML-Implode paid a monthly fee for the account, so Wells Fargo was certainly doing it no favors.

While the site is effectively insolvent (due to the impact of multiple frivolous libel suits, e.g. by the outlawed Grant America scheme) and thus typically had a minimal balance, there had been no problems with overdrafts and all charges and obligations were always dutifully covered.

[ALERT: Help us fight this and other attempts to attack us and shut us down. Donate now. You can also contact us to inquire directly about sending cash or checks. We are also looking for pro bono legal support on financial threats such as this one, and first amendment threats against us. OUR FREE SPEECH IS YOUR FREE SPEECH -- and freedom isn't free!]

Other arrangements are being made; however, the actions are shocking due to their intrinsic lack of due process and harshness — no advance notice was given and no real reason was given for the action (as “credit risk” does not actually apply to the type of account in question).

Were the actions taken in retaliation for a recent series of articles by ML-Implode blogger Martin Andelman? Martin pulled no punches in criticizing Wells Fargo over its foreclosure practices — in particular the tragic and horrific case of Norm Rousseau who was driven to suicide after Wells Fargo lost a mortgage payment and mistakenly foreclosed on the family’s home, despite a lengthy back-and-forth process which gave the bank ample opportunity to correct the mistake.

(Other recent articles by Andelman taking Wells to task that may have angered the bank include this one and this one.)

Andelman is not paid by ML-Implode and blogs wholly independently (as many others have done in the past). ML-Implode does not dictate or control what he writes. As such, if Wells’ actions are truly in retaliation for the articles, they are apparently violating federal law. USC 47 USC § 230 forbids holding an internet “common carrier” (such as an ISP, forum, or any sort of hosting outfit) liable for the content users independently post or transmit.

The prior week, ML-Implode affiliate REST Report Matters (, inspired and promoted by Andelman to give homeowners at risk of foreclosure access to the same loan analysis tools the banks have, also had its account shuttered by Wells Fargo. It appears the bank first followed Andelman’s references to REST Report Matters, targeted that company, then connected REST Report Matters back to ML-Implode’s business account (via affiliate transactions) and marked that account for “summary execution” as well.

Martin Andelman has no ongoing financial relationship with REST Report Matters, which suggests that Wells’ shuttering of their accounts may amount to tortious interference with a legitimate, independent business.

Of course, since that business constitutes giving homeowners tools to force Wells and other banks to modify loans when compelled to do so by the HAMP and other programs, one can easily imagine that they believe they are killing two birds with one stone by trying to shut down them and ML-Implode (which supports just and equitable treatment of homeowners facing foreclosure).

The bank seems to have “covered” itself for its actions by effectively giving no reason for them, so there is nothing to appeal or argue against. However, our sources inside the bank tell us the critical blog posts were the motivating factor.

There is little precedent for such authoritarian, if not illegal actions by a bank, which effectively amount to domestic economic sanctions.

In one case last October, Goldman Sachs pulled its support from the credit union that was merely honoring the Occupy Wall Street group.

Prior to that, in 2011, Wikileaks famously had its account frozen by PayPal and its Swiss bank account closed under pressure from the US State Department.

Meanwhile, Wachovia in 2011 (by that point a subsidiary of Wells Fargo) paid a less-than-.1% fine for knowingly allowing nearly $400 billion in drug money to be laundered through it — a fact which is essentially not discussed in the media at all; the outcome constitutes essentially a free pass.

In a May 2010 landmark decision, the New Hampshire Supreme court ruled in the case of The Mortgage Specialists vs. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc. (ML-Implode’s owner/operator) that the site constituted the “news media” and should be afforded all the journalistic protections provided by the law and our general tradition of free speech jurisprudence.

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otherleading's picture

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JuicedGamma's picture

It never ceases to amaze what a bunch of ass-clowns run the large organizations.  Didn't they ever imagine that closing the account of a popular blog would set off an internet frenzy.  

"Oh, yes sir. Bit me right in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but the army must keep that money 'cause I still haven't seen a nickel of that million dollars."

Forrest Gump.

Element's picture

lol ... you need to pronounce it like a Gump;  "butt-tock"

Yen Cross's picture

  Thanks for your service.  It's a kool idea. ) a little sarcsam/////?

Dr. Sandi's picture

Seems to me that any time ANYBODY gets somebody to close their account at Wells Faggot, that's just doing them a favor. Even if that ANYBODY is WF itself.

GNWT's picture

Warren Buffett is a criminal and this is his company.


Warren I will give you my name and address to sue me for lible 

if you care to but you are the scum of the earth and when you 

are performing your dutiful deeds for the satisfaction of 

your devil master, Charely Munger, pray that the creator does not


Thanks, I feel better now


Stay liquid my friends

zorba THE GREEK's picture

But you guys don't understand, Wells Fargo gave me a Spiderman towel

just for opening an account with $100,000+

Yen Cross's picture

They (Wells Fargo), used to give you a "piggy bank" with a key! What gives?

franzpick's picture

Warren Buffett: The Oriface of Omaha

Yen Cross's picture

 Call that Mike Pines guy! He's looking for a good place to squat!  i'm sure he has some "Hard Money" lined up at ZIRP!/sarc

Miles Kendig's picture

Well, now that you should be more than certain a TBTF/TBTS institution (WFC) is a continuing criminal enterprise you ask for continued financial support after entrusting public financial support to the CCE?


The social structures are completely insolvent.  Wake up, start using alternative banking and stop acting like getting ripped off by the kleptocrats is newsworthy.  We reside in a society where the rule of law no longer applies to government or those deemed to be essential to ongoing psyop operations.  So please do yourself a favor and stop looking to the USC/The Bar for relief.  NOT HAPPENING as the only relief the CondomNation has to offer is to bend you over and do you dirty again, and again, and again.

WaterWings's picture

Yep. Too bad the American public doesn't know how "violated" it is. They still think they are free...and many of them will fight to keep the status quo...poor slaves.

Good to see you, Miles.

reader2010's picture

Next time they probably would send out drones to kill the blogger first, and ask questions later.

Element's picture

They already started to sending pre-emptive warning messages when they think you might be doing something "wrong".

How long until they highjack your computer to insert audio or video commands to obey, or else?

After all what's the difference between an invasive text file, a graphical file, an audio file, or a video file?

These are all just files right?  So if you are already doing it with text and images, why not.  It's logical, right?

Well, that's how they do it, the incrementalism of this thin-end of the wedge attack ... in order to save us.

The next step after that is invasive real-time monitoring and real-time direct audio-visual interventions, by which I mean threats.

Because we are such naughty evil-doers.

We're a few short steps from this sort of digital authoritarian control and they will continue this relentless clamp-down on speech and free activities and choices of humans until they have completely dominated everyone and everything into submission or oblivion.

Go long prison industrial complex.

All in our best interests, due to the terrorists and anarchic thought-criminals amongst us.
hmm ... I read a fictional plot that went something like that once ... in about 1984.

Yes, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.


No matter what you think of Assange or Wikileaks, it is beside the point and immaterial to the notion that we should never cease to expose Govts and security-state actions, policies and plans, as this is fundamentally valid and absolutely necessary for humanity, on countless levels, and it is our essential reserved individual right and service, to ourselves and others we care about, to never turn away from doing this, at any time, or for any reason.

Rearranging Deckchairs's picture

So our whole society is totally corrupted because even the reformists and activists don't practice what they preach!

I totally agree with Karl Denniger on this one? Why do they have their money at a TBTF bank if they are against the current system?

I moved my accounts to a regional bank ( non big 4) for better treatment and service and less fees more than a year ago.


Catherine Austin Fitts seems to have been a proponent of keeping your money local for a long time for this very reason.


When are people going to realize that  we are the change! Its not some activist or politician that is going to change our world for the better it is us!  Our daily actions in aggregate have the most effect on the beast. Don't like big corporates spend your money in local small businesses. Dont' like ponzi finance then eshchew debt and pay for as much as you can in cash. Don't like monoculture factory farming, then make the effort and shop the local organic produce and meat at the farmers markets.


These corporations, zombie mega banks, and even politicians screw us because "we" let them.

sgt_doom's picture

Super blog post, Ilene!

Funny, they had Jamie Dimon before congress the other day for a Love-In (with the exception of that honorable senator from Oregon who isn't on Dimon's payroll), yet not a single "soul" there bothered to ask Dimon who actually owns JPMorgan Chase.

Once upon a time in America, that was considered important?

Funny, this guy named Steve Coll from the New America Foundation, funded by Peter G. Peterson's Peterson Foundation, wrote a book about ExxonMobil and went on a lengthy book tour, yet not a single person who interviewed him (are you listening Terry Gross, fraudster from NPR???) bothered to ever inquire as to who owns ExxonMobil?

Once upon a time in America, that was considered important?

Jeepers, it's as if Ameritards don't even understand the importance of ownership anymore --- the owners really are the masters, doods!

And no, your pension funds and 401(k)s aren't really the owners of record.

bankruptcylawyer's picture

you can look it up. the equity holders who will lose their money are the pension holders. the controlling voting interests i have no clue. and you can bet the debt holders will have sold their stake to the treasury long before they allow jpmorgan to blow up, should they lose control or decide a planned implosion of the bank.


Bohm Squad's picture

So a bank performs an illegal act and the majority of ZH posters say, "You deserved it."  Maybe there's something to the boiling frog theory after all.  

Freezing an account is much different than closing one - in the latter case, you have access to your money.  I'm a silver bull...but if I get mugged, I don't need anyone questioning why I was carrying FRN''s not the point.

We'll see how these posters feel should their accounts ever be frozen for reading ZH...or critisizing TPTB in some other way.  Maybe they pay off their mortgage, but because they're "on the list" the paperwork says they don't own anything.  Pony up for legal representation time!

I don't know the specifics of why the account was frozen - maybe you owe money to someone and don't know it.  But if the account was frozen in retaliation of your free speech, this is an overt attempt by a company to control its customer's basic human rights.  And it's disgusting.

I keep my money in a regional bank...but not for a second do I believe I'm insulated from the abuses of power we've been witnessing.  But hey, these abuses will continue as long as us little people keep hurling insults at one another instead of banding together to affect change.




Zero Govt's picture

..and to effect change have a Tax Revolt

Stop Paying Taxes

Zero Tax = Zero Govt = Zero TBTF

shovelhead's picture

I'm not a lawyer but you seem to have a shakey ground for a claim under the stated code. You are not being held liable for opinions expressed but are merely being told that your business is no longer wanted by the aformentioned criminal enterprise. Business should be conducted on an entirely voluntary basis, no?

I would urge you to continue your services to helping forclosed homeowners but I also would hope you would use a bit of common sense in who you would choose to do business with.

Why would you not expect to get knee-capped if you're dancing with Vinnie the Leg-breaker unless a PR campaign is the desired end?

Why does going deer hunting with antlers on your head instead of an orange hat come to mind? Sheesh.

NotApplicable's picture

Banks (and sadly, credit unions) are fast becoming holes where your money goes in, but not back out.

ATM's picture

No shit. I talked to one of the tellers at my bank last Friday. I told her I was going to make a withdrawal of what they consider a large amount of cash and I knew they were going to want a heads up. I figured she'd say tell me how much and I'll make sure it's here later in the day or at worst on saturday - the branch is open.

She goes in back and comes out with a manager who informed me it would have to wait until Wed. WTF? Three business days to get my money as cash? It was only 30k. Then of course the forms and the questions. They try to act like they are asking but their asking.

What's your occupation?

Are you buying something?

Are you paying something off?

Giving it to your kids?

I kept having flaskbacks to Gerald Celente.

I told her Self Employed (not good enough). I told her I was going to Vegas for a day and a half or maybe buying something or giving to the Church. 


And it's gone.

alien-IQ's picture

Once upon a time, banks kept your money FOR you and paid you interest for the privilege of doing so.

Now they keep your money FROM you, charge you for doing so...and expect you to be thankful.

This shit has gotten turned completely upside down.

chunga's picture

If you want to fuck with these jerks, not just Wells Fargo but all of them, I wrote an open letter calling for the recusal of two Superior Court Judges.

This Court should not be used as a laundromat to wash away lies then starch and press our citizens.

Rhode Island will be a major battleground. There is a standing Federal Stay Order on all foreclosures.

An Open Letter to the State of Rhode Island Superior Court June 9 2012 Regarding Foreclosure Fraud

If you're feeling frisky ZHers sign this electronic petition. It emails the open letter to the Senate President and Majority Leader.

The Honorable Presiding Justice Alice P. Gibney: Recuse Justice's Allen P. Rubine and Michael A. Silverstein

Click it don't be scared.

NotApplicable's picture

If you're putting your faith in the court system, you're just going to be disgusted all over again.

The Mafia doesn't give a flying-fuck about your petitions. At best you embarrass them in public, then they fire up the destructo-tron and exact their revenge. In other words, the exact same thing that this article is about. As for beating them? All they have to do is to stall until the next false-flag "changes everything."

With the ongoing monetary collapse occurring in good ole 2012, I'm guessing we're not going to have to wait too much longer. After all, the Olympics are starting in England soon, providing the ultimate activation energy for the next round of "Let's you and him fight!"

chunga's picture

You can roll over and play dead if you want.

I hear all the time "we should do this" or "we should do that".

So I decided to do something even if it gets me killed.

NotApplicable's picture

I'm just saying that other than the killing part (or other pain inflicted upon you), the something is really a nothing.

The only battle won is the one not fought. War only ranks the losers. Is it worthwhile to be the lesser of the losers? Hard to tell when the all costs are not obvious, and you are vastly outgunned.

This isn't to say I don't support your effort, but that it won't do anything to achieve your goals. Instead, it aids them in their game of divide and conquer, as they do currently hold enough of the cards that they can survive by being the lesser loser. Also note, "they" are an abstract collective, and thus are wholly immortal, while you are an individual whose days will pass.

chunga's picture

I did think about that.

Like when Winston Smith first started writing his diary in Orwell's book - 1984. He knew the "thought police" would get him but he did it anyway.

Most people are afraid to do anything at all.

Zero Govt's picture

(Ere we go again).. the way to beat them is..

Stop Paying Your Taxes

Zero Tax = Zero Govt

nothing beats a good Tax Revolt ..brings the parasites to heel, "Who's the Daddy?"

Bohm Squad's picture


Action beats inaction.  TPTB depend on inaction!

NotApplicable's picture

Not true. They depend upon your reaction as their source of their activation energy. The "we must do something" crowd fails, time and again to note that it is their actions that fuel the fires of divide and conquer, providing cover for the very criminals at the heart of it all (thanks to the idea of a "representative republic").

All actions have consequences. To insist that minimizing unintended consequences is always an inferior strategy is to not understand the nature of the beast.

Bohm Squad's picture

@N/A - Thank you for a well thought out reply and I agree that [disorganized] action is doomed to failure.  I do, however, disagree that failure to take any action is a superior position.  Like chess, one cannot choose not to move because doing so is to forfeit the match.  

My point being that anyone in a position of power will have an easier time imposing their will on others when there is a lack of resistance.

For what it's worth, I did not junk you and thought you made a good argument - it's just one with which I do not agree.

i-dog's picture

That's the crux of it. I gave Chunga a +1 for having the guts to actually fight (I'd do the same, and have done so in the past...with a 'win') and I gave N/A a +1 for pointing out that the fight is on their home turf and using their choice of weapons ... and therefore destined to an annoying failure.

As long as Chunga recognises this -- and I'm sure he does -- then many, many, many more of such fights are to be encouraged by absolutely every serf until the giant is weakened.

chunga's picture

Yes, because the Federal Stay Order in RI will create some great citations for other lawsuits against "Too Big To Fail" enterprises who tell lies that are "Too Big To Believe".

I hope they die a death of a million cuts.

I'm not angry that so few people signed the petition. I wrote the letter and would not take it back.

antisepticWipe's picture

I read every word of that letter then I signed your petition.

I had to. This is Fight Club and I will fight too. Thanks for doing that.

i-dog's picture

Well done! You'll inspire others, one by one, to take the fuckers on. We will win...eventually...and they are running scared right now as their home base (the European "Union") is falling apart.

el Gallinazo's picture

Agree.  Regarding the Status Quo, I agree with Dmirty Orlov that paying attention to them just encourages them.  Going into their rigged court system is like voluntarily trapping yourself in a giant, sticky spider's web.  Our only hope is to try to build parallel social and financial structures outside of their reach.  A major reason that the Soviet Union collpased was that the only people paying taxes were working for the Goobermint.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded 
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed 
Everybody knows that the war is over 
Everybody knows the good guys lost 
Everybody knows the fight was fixed 
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich 
That's how it goes 
Everybody knows 
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking 
Everybody knows that the captain lied 
Everybody got this broken feeling 
Like their father or their dog just died 

Everybody talking to their pockets 
Everybody wants a box of chocolates 
And a long stem rose 
Everybody knows 

ThisIsBob's picture

I am amused that all the libertarians here seem to think that a business should have no right to choose with whom it does business.

Element's picture



"I am amused that all the libertarians here seem to think that a business should have no right to choose with whom it does business."

Lots of people on zh run a business mate, or several of them.  Myself included.  No doubt you have too.  I've at times refused to deal with particular individuals and organisations.  It is necessary to side-step and refuse their trade interactions. They may not pay their bills, they may not be mutually cooperative, they may make vexatious demands or frivolous and false complaints, to extract free service and special treatment, or a product replacement.

I also know what decent and proper behaviour is in that situation.  What has happened here is not it.

This looks like some out of touch fool in the zombie hierarchy decided to get pissy, and act in arbitrary and probably explicitly illegal ways, that no doubt breach a range of guidelines and rules. And towards a company that was not doing anything illegal, nor out of order, and gave no warning, or opportunity for mutual resolution of any dispute.

Valid criticism and applying consumer pressure is not illegal, far from it, nor is it improper, as long as it is factual and true.  It is the case that it's necessary and a commonly used social and commercial tool to name-and-shame some misbehaving companies.  They will mostly respond because, as the above comments show, who wants to deal this a bunch of dishonest arbitrary scoundrels who take your shit and vandalise your business?

If they imagined this would be less trouble and less costly, or legally less problematic, then I'd say they have misjudged.  Seriously though, is this what you would have done, simply because you reserve the right to refuse trade? If you answered yes then your business will no doubt have a very bad reputation and you will soon fail to attract* profitable clients for your sevices and products.


* unless you are Goldman Sachs because muppets are insensitive to shitty deals and getting attacked by zombies.

g speed's picture

I'm amused that you think businesses have any rights at all-- people have rights to do business-- A business is a piece of paper, a contract and you give it rights? -- You are so owned by the system you can't even relate with out the taking point---guffah 

ATM's picture

So as the owner of my business am I not allowed to tell some asshole to fuck off because I've incorporated? A business is a person or people who have agreed to an arrangement. By agreeing to that arrangement those people do not surrender any rights whatsoever.


donsluck's picture

Correct. In a nation of laws, the Contract you have with your client is enforcable through civil procedure. You can screw with your client at your leisure, and be sued for it.

akak's picture

As is typical with anti-libertarians, you are missing the point.

It is not about Wells Fargo's right to do business with whom they please, it is about the underhanded and capricious manner in which they conducted that business with this particular customer.

Logic much?  Apparently, not.

Imminent Crucible's picture

Psssssst. Akak--ThisIsBob is the Bob that Microsoft orphaned back in '97.

ThisIsBob's picture

Thanks.  I think I've got it:

Scumbags are not to be permitted to decide with whom they associate or do business, only right thinking people have that privilege.

Bohm Squad's picture

They froze the account - they did not close it.  Google can fill you in on the rest.

NotApplicable's picture

His mind is made up. Facts will do little to change it.