Clueless Commentators Think That It's Possible To Stop Wikileaks

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Marc Thiessen is a former Bush speechwriter, who seems to have tried to make a second career out of saying really clueless things as loudly as possible. Lately he's been on a rampage against Wikileaks, first suggesting that it somehow made sense to use US military power to track down and capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This resulted in a reporter pointing out that Thiessen's response to Wikileaks is like the RIAA's response to Napster: destined to backfire due to a basic misunderstanding of the internet.

Apparently Thiessen either didn't read or understand that response. Or, perhaps in the business of being loud and wrong, he just doesn't care. He's since written a few more pieces attacking Wikileaks, including directly blaming it for an Afghan tribal leader being killed... though in the very next sentence he admits he doesn't know if that had anything to do with Wikileaks. Accuse first, find out the truth later, huh?

But, last Friday, Thiessen moved things up a notch on the RIAA-repeatifier, and suggested that with Assange's recent promise to release the remaining 15,000 documents in the recent collection -- after scrubbing them of identifying information -- the US should somehow "shut down" Wikileaks. Yeah, good luck with that. Kevin Poulsen, over at Wired, does a nice job educating Thiessen once again on what a clueless statement that is. You can't just shut down Wikileaks, and any attempt to do so would only get the material in question significantly more attention.

First of all, a US court once tried to shut down Wikileaks over a minor issue which, in turn, got the documents in question a lot more attention and eventually resulted in a dropped lawsuit. But, more importantly, for the brief time that the site was supposed to be blocked, it didn't take long for many, many, many people around the world to make sure it was not blocked at all. Just imagine the response if the US federal government tried to shut down Wikileaks? It would get a tremendous amount of attention, and would do absolutely nothing to stop the dissemination of the files in question.

It's amazing that anyone can claim to be knowledgeable about these things and suggest a brute force solution that would so obviously backfire. But, then again, the RIAA did do the same sort of thing for nearly a decade, and still is so dizzy from the backlash that it hasn't figured out what it did wrong.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    whoever, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    thiessen / WL

    this crazy ranting pip who thinks he can go on presenting himself as a "journalist" (this dobeljuh-speechwriter thiessen whose only capbility is to write speeches - pure PR, nothing else and nothing more - which made quite a part of the globe for quite a couple of years laugh until getting serious ZWERCHFELLKATER...)

    this crazy pip gets his answers, regardless if he plays not knowing about it, the world cliks and reads them.

    http://shortlinks.de/4rkf just an example of those many pages sampling the answers

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/02/AR2010080202627_Comments. html - direct link to the comment page.

    just take some seconds and see if ya can count all those comments there...

    anyway. this crazy pip thiessen is stealing newspaper place from those people who know about journalism and can present reasons to be called so. this PR pip is simply stealing pro journalists' money, I hope that WP finally stops with this stupid stuff which can make quite some readers finally loose patience with that newspaper.

    pips want quality, not middle age stuff which is neither a journalists' result nor a journalistic content of any kind. they want to see professionalism, even in the united states.

    i appeal to the WP staff to finally stop abusing their readers with publishing that crazy pips middle age cheap PR texts. even if he pays WP like millions for publishing every one of them - the readers they could lose if they go on might be finally more worth taking care for, just like basics in journalism - to clearly differenciate between PR (in this case, OIL texas chick middle age PR) and professional journalism.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Brain Damage

    Just this morning, I was reading about how being in a position of power makes a person act as if they have brain damage.

    The proof just keeps rolling in.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Wikileaks in itself isn't important. Its content is what is important, and the format or technology that can hold that content is far more distributed than the site itself.

    SO I say let them prattle on. Let them take down Wikileaks. It does more for its goals than ignoring it ever would.

     

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  4.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    The war on...

    PPL like that love the impossible fight because it guarantees them a job for a very long time. War on drugs, alcohol, fluffy kittens, etc.

     

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  5.  
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    Brendan (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Redundancy and Deadman Switch

    First, I'm pretty sure Wikileaks server are designed to be highly resilient in the face of national censorship, so I doubt that any attempt to suppress it would have much success.

    Second, even if it did, I understand that the enter collection of leaked documents was already published as an encrypted archive. It's an insurance policy in case that site _does_ somehow suffer and go offline. The password can be easily published to open up the rest of the documents.

     

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  6.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Good Luck With That ... NOT

    (From http://wikileaks.org/wiki/WikiLeaks:About/)
    _____________________________________________
    Re: Blocking Wikileaks ---
    "We also have many thousands of Cover Domains ... In addition you can use Tor or Psiphon to connect to the site"
    _____________________________________________
    Re: Shutting Down Wikileaks ---
    "Our servers are distributed over multiple international jurisdictions and do not keep logs ... Internally the document is distributed to backup servers immediately"
    _____________________________________________
    Like I said .... Good Luck :-

     

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  7.  
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    Matt P (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    They backtraced it, and reported them to the cyber police and the state police. You done goofed.

     

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  8.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Redundancy and Deadman Switch

    "The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." -- John Gilmore

     

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  9.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    This is the reason WikiLeaks cant be undone ....

    "a copy of the "entire" WikiLeaks archive of leaked documents circulated freely on the Pirate Bay."

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    Re:

    Don't you mean

    “I have reported you to AOL for stealing pictures, as it is a crime.”

    ?

     

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  11.  
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    Don (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Bittorrent

    I'm sure all the information on WikiLeaks is a few keystrokes away of finding its way onto the bittorrent if not already there. So it's rather pointless.

     

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  12.  
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    Nate, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    Doesn't mean that crimes aren't being perpetrated in order to leak -- I mean: "whistleblow" -- and subsequently host classified documents.

    I realize it's convenient to try to paint everything as a "new media v. old media" struggle, but some issues fit that mold easier than others and this isn't Barbara Streisand's house or Metallica trying to recoup their leaked LP. Whether you agree with coalition presence in Afghanistan or not, whether you understand why the documents were classified or not, the fact remains that real people's lives have been placed in imminent danger as a result of a willful disclosure of sensitive information.

    Scooter Libby went to jail for less.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 2:16pm

    Merely PR attempting to give credibility to Wikileaks.

    Outside the "mainstream" stenographers, it's getting difficult to find anyone who doesn't believe Wikileaks is an intelligence op front.

    @ Nate: the CRIMES were invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. Perhaps a million people are dead, and millions more injured; a trillion dollars wasted, no end in sight.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Merely PR attempting to give credibility to Wikileaks.

    Hey, it's not all wasted effort. Don't forget the trillion dollar mineral wealth they can now dole out to the righteous North American corporations: http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&source=hp&q=trillion+dollar+minerals+afghanistan&aq=0& ;aqi=g10&aql=&oq=trillion+dollar+min&gs_rfai=&fp=20087eff4cf7b59

     

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  15.  
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    ChronoFish (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    More danger from within

    The real danger is the shear number of people in the defense industry with top secret and compartmental access.

    It's way too easy to get a clearance - all you need to do is be programmer and apply to Lockheed Martin or any number of other contractors. At 1-2 years out of college you'll get your TS badge. And you'll be sitting with Chinese Nationals (who will also have their TS and compartmental access - one of whom will be your boss) - who speak to each other on the job about job related issues - in Chinese.

    And that was back in the 90's. Since 2001 the number of jobs requiring TS clearance has exploded.

    -CF

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    "This memorandum declares that "the FBI may use its statutory authority to investigate and arrest individuals for violating United States law, even if the FBI's actions contravene customary international law" and that an "arrest that is inconsistent with international or foreign law does not violate the Fourth Amendment." In other words, we do not need permission to apprehend Assange or his co-conspirators anywhere in the world. "

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/02/AR2010080202627.html

    Forget international law, it only applies to everyone else and not the U.S.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    War is hell.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    "the fact remains that real people's lives have been placed in imminent danger as a result of a willful disclosure of sensitive information."

    I think the govt and MSM overly exaggerates most of the supposed danger that Wikileaks allegedly causes and I think the govt has put far more people in danger and is responsible for far more innocent deaths than Wikileaks. I think the real reason for wanting those documents censored is mostly to hide the innocent deaths that the U.S. military is responsible for.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    and if you think otherwise then why should I give the govt et al the benefit of the doubt. There is no reason to, it's not like our govt is even remotely trustworthy. They want to convince me of something they must earn my trust and PROVE their position, not merely assert it.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re:

    No, he means that consequences will never be the same.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    myname, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    forget. sry first you have to understand what exactly happened when. look at the docs there - normally the docs are taken care of.

    in this case, pentagon started its rant just in line with p.'s own (and, as we have to read in the newspapers, more and more "private", regardless of what whitehouse says) timeframe re. iran.

    the publication was needed and is needed.

    there is NO SINGLE reasonable 'reason' to call a needed publication that revealed war crimes - the real and factual danger to human beings' lives - and, of course, docs which quite probably can be a danger to the white collars of the responsible pips (den haag) - a danger to anyone else than those pips shouting out most loud now. just like texas babe this thiessen is still doing the job for, as we have to read in his rants.

    and plz don't forget - the first real affair was collateral murder. then there were lots of explanations like "well... nothing special... just war" stuff.

    p's timeframe iran -> begin of rantings.

    all of this: just coincidence?

    so plz take care when purely repeating this putting lives in danger. the docs tell a different story.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Aug 16th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Merely PR attempting to give credibility to Wikileaks.

    ...it's getting difficult to find anyone who doesn't believe Wikileaks is an intelligence op front.

    You got that right. And it’s pretty obvious who’s behind it. What was the effect of the last lot of leaks, if not to characterize Pakistan as a hotbed of support for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda? In whose interest is it to take down Pakistan?

    Answer: Indian intelligence.

     

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  23.  
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    Jason Buberel (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 4:54pm

    Re: More danger from within

    A recent Cato.org podcast focused on this very topic:

    http://www.cato.org/dailypodcast/podcast-archive.php?podcast_id=1212

    In the future, military planners must assume that they will not be able to enforce secrecy to the extent that they've historically done. Given the proliferation of communication mechanisms (email, IM, social network, USB thumb drives), it will be impossible to prevent illegal releases of information.

     

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  24.  
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    Matt P (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 5:56pm

    I don't see any real problem with technology and those using it making nations accountable for their actions.

    Once every nation is at risk of having their secrets blasted all over the internet, maybe they'll get the picture. Anything that encourages this politicking over "national interests" to go away can't be bad.

    I don't see what's wrong with making modern nations live up to the ideals they espouse, instead of giving democracy lip service and then using "The Prince" as an operating manual anyway.

     

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  25.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Aug 16th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    the fact remains that real people's lives have been placed in imminent danger as a result of a willful disclosure of sensitive information.


    That is correct.

    The informants put their own lives in danger by willfully disclosing information to the US.

    Now the consequences of their actions, becoming informants to the US, are coming back to haunt them.

    If you don't want to be put on a hit list for being an informant, don't become an informant.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    MrMgr, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 12:27am

    Wiki Leaks Mirror

    Hi, lest meake mirrors. Do't waitl until WL bocade. I've created a mirror of Afgan War Diry at www.awd.mrmgr.pl

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    S, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 12:34am

    Should the world have more open Governments? Yes

    Should the world have a more transparent Wikileaks where we know the political and econimic equations of the handful of men behding Wikileaks ? Yes

    Can the US Government shut down Wikileaks? Theoritically, it can. Remember, a couple of key players in Wikileaks shut it down for many months as they ran out of funds. Keep in mind that whatever has been published will remain on the net in some form or the other. But nothing new can be added as the site can be shut down.

    I personally support any site that give us more transparency. But Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty feel that Wikileaks has been lax in protecting innocent civilians.

    Rightly or wrongly, the US Government will go after Wikileaks. We have to see how the 2-3 key Wikileaks players respond when faced with international warrants and possible jail time. That would be the true test of their resolve.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 4:21am

    How to stop Wikileaks

    Detonate all six thousand plus nuclear weapons at once, problem solved. Thinking about it, all problems solved.

     

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  29.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 17th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    Re: Just because it may be physically impossible to staunch it...

    whatever. it can't be stopped so it won't be stopped. you could put two bullets in assange's head today and it will keep going like nothing ever happened.

    the government knows this. this is why the conversation is all about what wikileaks did and how wrong it is, rather than the content of those documents.

    the documents could be proof that the war in afghanistan is not being won and cannot be won. all this hand waving and finger pointing is a distraction from that fact.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    You just don't get it......, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 6:42am

    Re:

    What year is this? 1978? This isn't Vietnam, so stop acting like it.
    Gosh, we lose one war due to something along these lines and now people want to have the war lost on the home front again.
    If there are military crimes(usually) the military takes care of their own and they aren't squeamish like most of the cowards who are in charge of most of the 50 states when it comes to dolling out punishment.

    Should we be over there? I don't know. However, pulling out and giving the so called 'freedom fighters' (known commonly as thugs/terrorists) a date to hang on to is COLOSSALLY stupid. It had been pointed out it isn't just our own who will suffer, those who were and are currently helping us will suffer too.

    What about those people? Don't they have civil rights. or just because they dared associate with 'us' they forfeit any rights to life? If informants are open season for being what they are then these 'whistle blowers' ought to know:

    "The informants put their own lives in danger by willfully disclosing information...."
    "Now the consequences of their actions, ...., are coming back to haunt them."

    "If you don't want to be put on a hit list for being an informant, don't become an informant."

    Yes I took out the 'to the US' sections but, these words sound about right for those wikileakers whom governments are going after, which is a sort of hit list. The phrase, turnabout's fair play seems to fit.

    Final Note: If you don't like the country you're living in, immigrate somewhere else and stop bitching.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    "GUEST", Aug 17th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    international petition for wikileaks

    btw...

    http://www.gopetition.com/petition/38165/signatures.html

    (a bit more than 3000 pips took the time to sign and some of them even to comment. we're waiting for the rest of us. plz spread this on.)

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    TDR, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    This is why we need an earthly version of the Prime Directive put in place. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    TDR, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    By that I meant the US/UK/first world not interfering in the internal affairs of other nations (ie not starting wars for profit and putting in puppet rulers sympathetic to western business interests, etc.).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re:

    "If there are military crimes(usually) the military takes care of their own and they aren't squeamish like most of the cowards who are in charge of most of the 50 states when it comes to dolling out punishment. "

    You're right in saying that the military takes care of their own, but I don't think the military really does much to stop military crimes. They do seem to do a lot to hide them.

    "Should we be over there? I don't know. However, pulling out and giving the so called 'freedom fighters' (known commonly as thugs/terrorists) a date to hang on to is COLOSSALLY stupid."

    When the behavior of our military is worse than the behavior of those they seek to suppress then what's the point of even going after them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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