I think this is the first time we see countries banding together to systematically destroy a website that tells on them.
Through this we can already notice that things are really not that simple in countries through the effort that they put through to disable and render the website useless. Seriously, calling rape on Wikileaks just showed that he was targeted. And the reason might really not be about the “rape”.
They seek it here, they seek it there, the Americans seek it everywhere, wanting to finish off the website that’s put the diplomatic world in a scare. But like the damned, elusive Scarlet Pimpernel, the whistleblower website keeps surfacing in a new place every few hours after it is ousted from a host, a transparent heaven to some, a ratting hell to others.
While much of the world’s political and diplomatic community is being tortured by the drip-drip-drip of cable leaks from the website, the US is haring after the site in a cat-and-mouse game even as the leaks claimed its first prominent victim on Friday. An aide to the German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle was sacked after it transpired he was the source of some information contained in a leaked cable.
US principals have argued that the WikiLeaks’ “reckless” action could even result in death of people mentioned in the cables, but the website, wedded to its idea of government transparency, has scoffed at the idea. An enraged Washington seems determined to kill the website even as some wingnuts in America have called for the head of its founder Julian Assange, not including a radio jock who announced a $ 50,000 bounty.
Assange is still in hiding but he has been busy migrating the website all over the world with the Americans hot on his/its heels. Booted out from Amazon servers reportedly under political pressure , WikiLeaks went on the blink for several hours on Thursday, was briefly hosted by a California-based internet hosting provider called Everydns, and became briefly accessible through a string of digits known as a DNS address. But Everydns also dumped it saying it could not afford its other 500,000 customers being affected by the intense cyber attacks targeted at Wikileaks.
Wikileaks meanwhile mocked Amazon’s explanation that did not conform to rules, saying in a Twitter message, “It is one thing to be cowardly. Another to lie about it.” The scuttlebutt in the cyberworld was that Amazon buckled under scrutiny from Uncle Sam, represented by Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security .
Wikileaks rubbed it in with tweets taunting both America and Amazon. “Wikileaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free — fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe,” read one of its tweets. Another said: “If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.”
WikiLeaks later re-emerged on Friday with a Swiss domain, WikiLeaks.ch. The number of cables it released ticked over to 667 at the time of writing, continuing its slash and burn of the diplomatic world. Among those who have been embarrassed are the ruling elite of Pakistan, some Gulf countries, and European and Russian leaders not to speak of the American establishment.
[from India Times]
Reporters Without Borders condemns the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure being directed at cablegate.wikileaks.org, the website dedicated to the US diplomatic cables. The organization is also concerned by some of the extreme comments made by American authorities concerning WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
Earlier this week, after the publishing several hundred of the 250.000 cables it says it has in its possession, WikiLeaks had to move its site from its servers in Sweden to servers in the United States controlled by online retailer Amazon. Amazon quickly came under pressure to stop hosting WikiLeaks from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman, in particular.
After being ousted from Amazon, WikiLeaks found a refuge for part of its content with the French Internet company OVH. But French digital economy minister Eric Besson today said the French government was looking at ways to ban hosting of the site. WikiLeaks was also recently dropped by its domain name provider EveryDNS. Meanwhile, several countries well known for for their disregard of freedom of expression and information, including Thailand and China, have blocked access to cablegate.wikileaks.org.
This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.
Meanwhile, two Republican senators, John Ensign and Scott Brown, and an independent Lieberman, have introduced a bill that would make it illegal to publish the names of U.S. military and intelligence agency informants. This could facilitate future prosecutions against WikiLeaks and its founder. But a criminal investigation is already under way and many U.S. politicians are calling vociferously for Assange’s arrest.
Reporters Without Borders can only condemn this determination to hound Assange and reiterates its conviction that WikiLeaks has a right under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment to publish these documents and is even playing a useful role by making them available to journalists and the greater public.
We stress that any restriction on the freedom to disseminate this body of documents will affect the entire press, which has given detailed coverage to the information made available by WikiLeaks, with five leading international newspapers actively cooperating in preparing it for publication.
Reporters Without Borders would also like to stress that it has always defended online freedom and the principle of “Net neutrality,” according to which Internet Service Providers and hosting companies should play no role in choosing the content that is placed online