WikiLeaks’ prior document dump on the Iraq war elicited several “Tut, tut, tuts” from Mr. Obama’s government. The current release has introduced something between acute anxiety and pure panic.
Why the difference?
The Iraq documents focused on the Bush administration. “Well, see, we told you so …” was the Obama government’s comment.
The current diplomatic cable comments from Obama’s government were more along the lines of “Cough, uh, um …” This release also scored a direct, midship hit on the Clinton dynasty, as Dick Morris alludes to in his column. You do remember that Bill Clinton sees himself as head of the United Nations, right? How convenient if Hillary were to be POTUS at the same time. This leak makes that less likely, but not impossible.
One of the more interesting elements of this WikiLeak is that the Obama government attempted to stop it. There were two phases to this effort.
On Black Friday, the heaviest shopping day of the year, the Department of Homeland Security seized – and then later announced they had seized – 82 website domains. The reason given was that these websites were selling knockoff watches and handbags, and offering free copies of music and movies.
This was interesting, because the FBI claims copyright violations as its turf. One associates Islamic-hate websites as the domain of Homeland Security, not cheap knockoffs of fancy watches and handbags.
It turns out that the real target of the website domain seizure was peer-to-peer networking sites, commonly used to download and share copyrighted movies and music for free. Such networks spread copies of files over many users’ computers and make the task of regaining control of information so shared impossible.
Phase 2 of the government’s effort launched a massive denial-of-service attack against WikiLeaks’ servers roughly four hours prior to the document dump. While this was temporarily successful in preventing dissemination, it had no effect on the files released to newspapers some two months ago.
From the Obama government’s perspective, this was a two-fer, or maybe a three-fer. First, it did impede proliferation of the documents on p2p networks. Second, it will help to free up Democratic campaign contributions by Hollywood’s capitalistic-communists. “He feels our pain about illegal downloads! Harriet, where’s my checkbook?”
Third, the effort moved DHS further into internet surveillance. Now Chinese knockoff watches and handbags are as important as Islamic-hate sites to national security.
Does anybody really care if illegal file sharing sites and cheap knockoffs of designer goods are shut down by Homeland Security? It certainly doesn’t affect me. I can’t afford, nor am I interested in, a designer handbag. And I can afford to buy the music I want off iTunes.
But still, I wonder. I’ve seen references to a warrant issued by a federal district court posted on the involved agencies’ websites. But I haven’t seen a copy of the warrant. Does it exist? Or is it perhaps a warrant from a secret court?
Secret courts. Secret warrants. Secret police. Drug-seizure laws applied to websites selling bogus goods. I’m getting very uncomfortable, and here’s why.
Websites are the real estate of the Internet. As such, they are private property, just like a merchant’s storefront. It seems to me that a well-known bookseller was caught several years ago peddling a pedophile book, yet I don’t recall any of their storefronts being seized by the government. Due process, guaranteed under the Constitution, still applies.
But I forgot. The left is in power now. The rule of law applies only when it advances the communist agenda. My mistake, Herr Comrade.