The leaders of Myanmar and Belarus, or Thailand and Russia, can now rightly say to us “You went after Wikileaks’ domain name, their hosting provider, and even denied your citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant and all targeting overseas entities, simply because you decided you don’t like the site. If that’s the way governments get to behave, we can live with that.”

– Extracted from Clay Shirky, “Wikileaks and the Long Haul“, 6 December 2010.

I provide this extract from Internet philosopher Clay Shirky because he invokes two of the countries that we follow most closely here at New Mandala but also because I think anyone interested in ideas, public debate and political analysis should be reading widely around the ongoing Wikileaks controversy. One place to start is this interesting analysis on the scholarly implications by Daniel W. Drezner.

But back to the topic at hand: do you think this matters for mainland Southeast Asia? Are there implications in the wake of Wikileaks for free expression in countries like Burma and Thailand? Could attacks on Wikileaks empower governments in those countries to be even more aggressive in their targeting of websites they don’t like?