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.

Filed Under: information, marc thiessen, wikileaks

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  1. identicon
    S, 17 Aug 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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