Way too many people out in Ye Olde Blogosphere are getting their collective knickers in a twist over the reality that - GASP! - wikileaks is getting shut down by a combination of government and commercial actors.
Grow. The. Fuck. Up.
First., let's dispense with the notion that Julian Assange is doing some service to mankind by vomiting up a set of diplomatic cables provided to him and his operation by parties unknown. This is not some take down of empire, and has more than likely contributed to strengthening exactly the most imperialistic elements in the various governments mentioned in these cables. It has been the occasion for some posturing and high-fives over showing that US a thing or two, and has given the conspiracy theorists toys to play with as they sit at their computers screens performing their intellectual masturbation for all the world to see. If you are convinced, like a good Jacobin, that government as such is always already corrupt and in need of overthrow, then this is "proof" of the "crimes". If you understand that the use and abuse of power is a given in the affairs of states, then you cringe to see the damage done to ordinary diplomatic maneuvers for no purpose save to be obstreperous.
You can't make a government agree stop being one, especially by calling it names. You can sometimes get a government to stop a particular course of action by making that action so problematic between the government and its citizens and/or other governments that there is no advantage to the government in continuing that action. Even then, it's an uphill battle that will probably deflect or delay rather than halt the problematic action.
The problem with wikileaks is that there is no call to action on it. It is a publicity stunt by Assange - see how clever I am! See how I can piss people off! Oh, poor, poor me, persecuted by the big bad US!
Ironically enough, what the wikileaks imbroglio demonstrates is how unlike the current administration is from the conspiracy spinners' fever dreams of Big Brother. Assange's freedom of movement is being constrained by Sweden because of a criminal charge there, one that I find all too believable. The US has known of his document stash for some time and has not seized it because, what do you know, they have no legal standing to do so. It is investigating the US military and other government personnel who may have provided the documents in the first place, which is what anyone would do if they discovered they'd been robbed. They are putting out their own interpretation of the situation, which is pretty much what any person or entity would do when facing bad public news.
There seems to be a lot of outrage that the US is doing anything at all to prevent release of more information or to do anything in the way of damage control. News flash - nations will defend themselves when attacked. This is a feature, not a bug. The argument takes the form of "You're a big meanie and an imperialist power and I hatehatehate you so how dare you do anything to contradict my worst opinions of you!" The infantile ids on display are simply embarrassing to read. There is also a mutually contradictory stance that A) these are so damning it will stop the US in its tracks and expose its criminal core and B) the documents can't possibly do any collateral damage. If A is true, B is a given. The problem is that A can be untrue, yet B can still occur. The less specific and more general the communiques, the less likely A will be and the more likely B.
Much is being made of the incredible shrinking digital island wikileaks sits on. The US must be behind all of the attacks! Yes and no.
Looking at what's happening to Assange and his ego project, you're actually observing an example of how states defend their interests. The US has stated its case and asked for other entities to not distribute the materials. That's really all it has to do. It now is concentrating on damage control with the partners and adversaries who appeared in the cables. To think that it would do anything besides this is a failure of rational analysis.
The denial of service attacks wikileaks is experiencing are probably coming from criminal bot networks at the behest of governments who were embarrassed by the releases, but not the US. Claims that the DNS organization was "told" to drop wikileaks DNS record shows a profound ignorance of how denial of service attacks really do cause exactly the effect the company described. My bets are on China as the instigator because A) they've done this in the past and B) the embarrassment of having their internal actions exposed for international mockery is one of those "collateral damage" things I mentioned above. All of the various efforts on the Korean peninsula to keep North Korea from going off the deep end are now at risk. It may be nothing to you, writing from the safety of your apartment in New York or London, that quiet negotiations have been shaken up like a crate of soda bottles, but it matters a great deal to the millions living in that region near a border with a nuclear-armed batshit crazy dictator of a deeply paranoid nation. Me saying critical things of North Korea is negligible because I am a nobody writing my personal opinion. To see comparable sentiments as part of an official communication between states now makes it, if you will, actionable.
Amazon and PayPal are both dropping business relations with Assange because of legal liability for doing business with someone peddling stolen goods. They don't need a call from a government to calculate their rational business self interest, and I tend to classify Lieberman's aide's call as having more to do with the Senator's self-interest than anything else. Expecting commercial entities to bear the cost (in more ways than one) of political actions by an outside customer is laughable. These companies exist to make money, not support political causes. They have no obligation to assist Assange's promotion of his agenda. This also gets to the situations of Internet service providers. If a domain server (in truth, server bank) is being killed by DDoS, that's a hell of an attack, much greater than just flooding a single under-powered and over-loaded server with a rush of page requests. That DNS vendor had obligations to all of its customers, not just wikileaks, and made a rational decision to drop that record from its domain server.
The point here is that you don't need central coordination from some US-run command and control office for a variety of actors to end up at the same spot. Assange is releasing mountains of stuff in a general broadside against pretty much every moderately powerful nation on the globe and they are acting to defend their own interests. Duh. The seeming banality of the cables is the true motivating factor for the reactions because their exposure destroys the arena for ordinary diplomatic give and take. It raises the costs and risks of interacting with other nations because, frankly, the variance between public face and private actions is where diplomacy has the chance to turn around explosive situations. To attack this mode of interaction as such is why wikileaks is being steadily, methodically shut down.
Had the release been smaller and targeted to a specific set of actions or problems, I strongly suspect it would stand a greater chance of remaining in the public space because of its specificity. Exposure of government behavior needs a case or an argument to say why X behavior is wrong, which also means demonstrating that it is in violation of law or agreement, or that there has been a misrepresentation of such a degree that national interests have been damaged. The Pentagon Papers could stand because it was clear that the misrepresentation was deliberate and aimed at fooling the nation itself. Likewise the photos of Abu Ghraib showed torture being performed. The diplomatic cables for the most part are the antithesis of this - blunt and honest evaluations of other actors that are in the US's interest to know.
So, I have to ask, what did anyone think was going to happen as a result of Assange's dump on the world? That the governments would just stand there, wringing their hands, and vowing to do better?
They are moving to protect their interests, which is the normal and predictable behavior of states.