Wikileaks, the US, and the SDN List

by Kirk

Julian Assange, Founder of Wikileaks

How the US Could Censor Wikileaks

It’s well known that the US DoD wants to destroy Wikileaks. The document leaking site recently raised the ire of the Department of Defense by releasing videos of American soldiers attacking unarmed civilians. In response, the US has allegedly tried various methods to silence the founder of Wikileaks, most recently by bringing supposed “rape” charges against the founder in Sweden, in an effort to debase his name.

More disturbing than the proxy bickering between the organization and the US government, however, is the recent suggestion that Wikileaks may end up becoming part of the dreaded SDN list, should the argument escalate further.

The Hidden Censor List

If you were in the United States, you’d probably assume no political speech has been censored from the internet.

And you’d be wrong.

In fact, the United States has a special list, called the SDN list that acts as a kind of “backdoor” censorship policy. It states that any site connected to supposed Specifically Designated Nationals (ie rogue governments) can be blacklisted, and have their .com or .org domain suspended, effectively cutting their site off from the rest of the world.

Apparently, this has already happened with two sites related to Cuban interests. The site was operated legally by a British man.

Breaking Through

Of course, an attack like this would only do worse for the US government. The internet hive mind has its own ways of dealing with unfair censorship. In fact, the Wikileaks site also runs through a hidden TOR site, and thus wouldn’t necessarily be possible to take down with just a Domain name attack.

It would, of course, be a much more complicated attack necessary to bring the actual Wikileaks site down. It’d involve taking TOR down, which is plausible with a ddos attack, and a TLD attack.

But more effective would be a series of unfortunate incidents tied to the founder. IE the current situation.

Spreading Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

I have no doubt that Wikileaks is a big deal for the DoD. Because it sets a precedence for what happens with sensitive government data. I’m not sure they’re pursuing the correct strategies, but then again, I can only see what’s happening on the surface levels.

We see Wikileaks posting comments on twitter as being under constant attack by the US gov.

But, a lot of what’s happening could in fact be Assange playing the role of an internet “troll”. Raising the ire of the bigger bureaucracy simply as a play for attention and power. I’d certainly agree with the fact that Wikileaks has yet to release any “smoking gun” viz a viz the United States.

But drawing out these proxy fights only asserts the power of Wikileaks while playing down the actual power of the US intelligence system.

How to Destroy Wikileaks

So how do you destroy a server based in multiple countries, releasing thousands of sensitive documents a year, without raising any suspicions?

Social media is where I would start. One of the great benefits of the explosion of social media is the ability to manipulate headlines with a decent set of “power users”. The headlines relevant to our agenda get seen, and the ones pertaining to our growing thorn in our side get buried.

Without an audience, the Wikileaks page gets nowhere.

Of course, Wikileaks is now using direct connections with traditional media to leak big stories. But even that is subject to manipulation and downplaying.

In fact, the sheer amount of information being leaked could be a blessing itself. Release 7,000 documents that are “sensitive”, and bury the important stuff in the process.

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