TomDispatch Blocked by State Department!

Tom Engelhardt, December 24, 2010

I have a friend who sends a note every year in December, pleading with me to pen one upbeat, hopeful piece before the next year rolls around. Mind you, I consider myself an upbeat guy in a downbeat world and, for me, when it comes to pure upbeatness, you couldn’t have beaten this week if you tried. This was when my Oscar came in—or the equivalent on the political Internet anyway. On December 7th, the State Department announced its brave decision to host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day in 2011. (“[W]e are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information…”) Less than two weeks later, I learned that if you try to go to TomDispatch.com from a State Department computer, you can’t get there. The following message appears instead:

“Access Denied for Security Risk (policy_wikileaks)

“Your requested URL has been blocked to prevent classified information from being downloaded to OpenNet.”

OpenNet is what the State Department calls its unclassified Web system. Maybe it should now consider changing that name as it prepares for World Press Freedom Day. (Small tip to State Department officials: remember that TomDispatch is just as good a read at home as at work!) I’m sure this is all part of the Obama administration’s fabulous sunshine policy, that “new standard of openness” the president embraced on his first day in the Oval Office. It’s certainly part of the U.S. government’s ridiculous attempt to bar its officials, contractors, and anyone else it can reach from the once-secret State Department documents that WikiLeaks is slowly releasing and that everyone else on Earth has access to.

As for me in this holiday season, I couldn’t be happier. Among those sites banned by the State Department, I’m sure in good company and, of course, you’re not likely to be banned if no one’s reading you in the first place. And here’s the holiday miracle: somehow TomDispatch made it onto The List without revealing a single secret document or even hosting one at the site, evidently on the basis of having commented in passing on the WikiLeaks affair.




13 Responses to “TomDispatch Blocked by State Department!”

  1. That's funny. You know, "ha ha" funny? Our blissful State Department stumbles about wildly in utter comedic ignorance. With SecState Schoolmarm acting as 'Moe' and PJ Crowley acting as 'Larry' and the Obama would be 'Curly'?
    Say and a Christmas question, did the SecState Schoolmarm ever get her army?

  2. [...] Read the rest here. [...]

  3. i don't see the blocking of website or any technical fix as being very successful and they can't imprison every one involved so my fear is that, the obvious answer is small fines, i don't think many people could afford even a 10$ fine for every time they have visited a real new site, like yours. and to the general public it would seem allot less draconian and be fairly acceptable.

  4. Congratulations, Tom! It shows you've been doing good work. Have a nice holidays.

  5. I second that. A congratulations is in order.
    It will only make those who are discouraged from reading it more curious, though I hope I’m not being to optimistic there…

  6. There comes a point when fighting the whole world gets too expensive and the people involved lose their focus

  7. Congrats to Tom.

    There’s an old labor song that says, “You ain’t done nothin’ if you ain’t been called a Red!”

    I *hope* there’s an FBI file on me – if not, then my work as an agitator was all in vain…

    I’m not afraid of the day the political police show up at my door, so I can slam it in their face. If they break it down, well, I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees…

  8. Larepublica.com.uy has been blocked for me. Any time I try to add a comment to an article, a message in English pops up and says effectively that " your IP address has been blocked. You are prohibited from accessing this site".'
    La republica is a spanish language newspaper. The problem is not on their end.

    God Bless the fascist, totalitarian states of America. Glad that I watched the movie "1984" this weekend. How telling!

  9. It would be interesting to know who gets to 'call the shots' for the State department's internet blocking service. You can bet yer bippy he's a relative of McCarthy – probably Charlie's twin brother.

  10. Who gets to call the shots? Interesting question. I have read an article recently, by Amy Goodman of " Democracy Now". The article is about Obama's special gift to AT&T. She states in the article that AT&T is so rich and powerful that they have 500 lobbyist working Washingon at any given time. That is at least one personal AT&T lobbyist per congressman.
    Who gets to call the shots? Please read:
    http://www.democracynow.org/es/blog/2010/12/23/el

  11. Perhaps they should confiscate all the computers at the State Dept. These guys are much too delicate to have access -to real news and the truth. Keep them in the dark where they belong!

  12. You can bet yer bippy he's a relative of McCarthy – probably Charlie's twin brother.

  13. That's funny. You know, "ha ha" funny? Our blissful State Department stumbles about wildly in utter comedic ignorance. With SecState Schoolmarm acting as 'Moe' and PJ Crowley acting as 'Larry' and the Obama would be 'Curly'? thanksgiving day limo