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Syrian Blogger Sentenced to Three Years in Jail

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the hope-he-gets-net-access dept.

Government 211

blind biker writes "The AP reports (via the Herald Tribune) of Tarek Bayassi, a 24-year old Syrian blogger sentenced to three years in jail for 'undermining the prestige of the state and weakening national morale.' The original sentence was six years but it was commuted on appeal. Apparently, this isn't an isolated case in Syria."

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Prestige of the State? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23401940)

If undermining the prestige of the state were punishable, Bush would have been in prison years ago...

Re:Prestige of the State? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23401978)

"If undermining the prestige of the state were punishable in the US, Bush would have been in prison years ago..."

FYP.

Aren't you glad it's not, and that you don't live in Syria where it is punishable?

Re:Prestige of the State? (3, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402806)

Or Guantanamo bay where things like legal constraints seem optional.

Re:Prestige of the State? (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403070)

Of course, he wouldn't - the point is that the people in power are the state. Under such a system, Bush can't undermine the prestige of the state because Bush is the state. The people who would be in prison are all those who criticise Bush, despite the fact that, to many outside observers, they are the people who offer hope for their country.

Re:Prestige of the State? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402006)

Maybe, but does he blog about his achievements?

Re:Prestige of the State? (-1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402080)

How very true, because we all know that the USA and Syrian, are the exact same government.

Irregardless of that, I was rather dissapointed to find that, on an article that potentially could have been worth reading, would have quite easily have fit into the summary in its entirety.

Re:Prestige of the State? (1, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402230)

Irregardless of that ...

Aaargh.

The choices are regardless or irrespective. Pick one.

Re:Prestige of the State? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402652)

What!? I didn't do nothing!

Re:Prestige of the State? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402772)

In an article about Syria, the first post is a dig at Bush. Keep up the good work, slashdot.

Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (4, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402000)

Why does this surprise anybody?

Since 1963 the country [wikipedia.org] has been governed by the Baath Party; the head of state since 1970 has been a member of the Assad family. Syria's current president is Bashar al-Assad, son of Hafez al-Assad, who held office from 1970 until his death in 2000.[1]

...Upon assuming power, Hafez al-Assad moved quickly to create an organizational infrastructure for his government and to consolidate control.

Since when have any citizens of any dictatorship ever had freedom of speech? If he were Chinese his family would be paying for a bullet.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402412)

Hm, US not much different folks; banned book == no freedom of speech. ( http://www.paynoincometax.com/federalmafia.htm [paynoincometax.com] )

and speaking of which, about the the writers's trial, no due process either, seems that a judge may rule that you are not allowed to mention the law on your defense, under penalty of jail time. :-|

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (3, Informative)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402604)

This book was "Previously banned" by the admission of the author. Right along with Lolita and others. It is banned no more. Don't forget about the Sedition Act when John Adams was President. Christ, it's not like anyone is claming that the US is perfect.

Find a freedom that is PRESENTLY being violated in the US to bitch about. It's not hard to do.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402808)

Ok, ok, then he is still PRESENTLY incarcerated for the rest of his life because in his trial he was basically told to shut up and not defend himself. Repeatedly.

And my point is far from tossing shit on the American flag, like unfortunately is the mindset of today's naive 'it's all Bush's fault' generation, but that residents better start really breathing down congressmen's necks since they obviously can't be trusted to do their job unsupervised ( doh. :-) )

I truly hope America is once again a country for the people and their individual rights, that was the great thing about it.

Shit and I don't even live there! Talk about needing some hope for the world. :-)

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403052)

He is in jail not because he was told to shut up. He's in jail because the jury was improperly instructed. There have been many other cases like his where the question at hand (that there is no law creating the present state of the income tax) was brought up. The problem is that the government has decided that the improper instruction of the jury is proper. So appeals canâ(TM)t work so long as everyone in the bureaucratic chain actually agrees on something. Furthermore, this is not something that our Congressmen have power over, and I guarantee that they are not going to pass a new law banning income tax no matter how many people bitch. The most you could hope for is a real law creating the income tax.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (2, Interesting)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403566)

He is in jail not because he was told to shut up. He's in jail because the jury was improperly instructed. There have been many other cases like his where the question at hand (that there is no law creating the present state of the income tax) was brought up. The problem is that the government has decided that the improper instruction of the jury is proper. So appeals canâ(TM)t work so long as everyone in the bureaucratic chain actually agrees on something. Furthermore, this is not something that our Congressmen have power over, and I guarantee that they are not going to pass a new law banning income tax no matter how many people bitch. The most you could hope for is a real law creating the income tax.

ya ya, but half the reason the jury was improperly instructed is that the defendant couldn't present his defense ( to the jury ) because he was told to shut up, so he is in jail because he was told to shut up; q.e.d.

That's serious malarkey there. Makes me head spin.

Gag Rule (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402946)

Don't forget the Gag Rule [wikipedia.org] used by congress to stop discussion on slavery for 13 years.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403636)

Find a freedom that is PRESENTLY being violated in the US to bitch about. It's not hard to do.

Indeed. I've done it here [slashdot.org] and I did it back when I posted at K5* [kuro5hin.org] . But the fact remains that even though the politicians and cops and rich people would dearly love to get rid of that pesky Constitution (and at times have succeeded), we are no match for Syria when it comes to abusing human rights.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (0, Offtopic)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402558)

Crazy, I'm the anonymous coward below and the post doesnt appear unless i'm logged in. Crap Orwell. :-|

Actually I was surprised (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402572)

he didn't just disappear or have an appointment with a bullet.

perhaps the fact what he did was so easily available saved his life.

I do have to wonder how some people here actually thinks the Syrian leadership is any shape or form actually embarrassed by their handling of it let alone concerned what you think about it. On the world stage nothing much more expected out of a country like this and they wouldn't care anyway.

This is one the of many countries that only exists because its not PC or financially expedient to fix.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (2, Interesting)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402606)

You need to understand that you cannot rule countries like Syria in the same way as US. It's also pretty true about, for example, Russia.

If you don't have strong government there they will descend into anarchy and civil war. Look at Lebanon and you'll understand. Whole middle east is like that. Don't just watch what they show on CNN as quite a big part of transmission is just lost during editing.

My brother-in-law is Syrian (albeit Christian, not Muslim) and I met his family many times. Situation there is more normal that you'd ever dreamed of. It's just that politics needs to be done in this way.

I don't agree with jailing of the poor bastard, but that's how it works there. I'd prefer less restrictive government, but that will not happen anytime soon.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402836)

You need to understand that you cannot rule countries like Syria in the same way as US...If you don't have strong government there they will descend into anarchy and civil war.

I'm old enough to remember when people said that about Latin America and East Asia, that only a sufficiently dictatorial rightist or leftist (depending on the speaker's own prejudices) could run a stable government.

In fact, it turns out that Mexicans, Koreans, Brazilians and Singaporeans are quite as capable of living in democracies as Western Europeans are.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402992)

Yes we are, thanks.

Although laws are a bit ackward, like if you 'disrespect' a public servant, you can go to jail, and freedom of speech isn't exactly well understood, since marching pacifically to legalize marijuana is not allowed while marching pacifically promoting fascism is...

Well, you get the picture, but at least we students aren't arrested and beat up by the cops 10% as much! \o/

p.s.: and civil war and anarchy are bad exactly why? The USA comes to mind, oh, if only that civil war hadn't happened, I might have a slave of my own today.... darn... :)

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403076)

I'm old enough to remember when people said that about Latin America and East Asia

They said the same thing about Germany and Japan before that. Little to differentiate Germany post-Weimer and Iraq, truth be told.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (2, Informative)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403216)

Singapore?

you are using Singapore, the country where they can fine you for not flushing a toilet in a public restroom, where possession of marijuana is punishable by death as an argument FOR people being able to live like we do in the Western world?

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (4, Insightful)

CowTipperGore (1081903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403258)

You need to understand that you cannot rule countries like Syria in the same way as US. It's also pretty true about, for example, Russia. If you don't have strong government there they will descend into anarchy and civil war...Whole middle east is like that.
Grotesque racism and ignorance is modded Interesting?

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403460)

Yes. "Interesting" != "I agree with and support this sentiment".

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402654)

Good old Hafez also massacred 20,000 of his own people at Hama. Violations of human rights are nothing new to Syria, just ask the Lebanese.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (5, Informative)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403238)

It sounds unlikely, but Bashar isn't really to blame here. He was never meant to be president. His brother was groomed for the role, but died in a car accident. When Hafez died, Bashar was working as an eye doctor in London. He was rushed back to inherit a job he never wanted. After he took control he quickly put in place measures to liberalise the country, loosening restriction on freedom of speech among others. However, this didn't last long. it soon became clear that he was not the one with the power. The real leaders were the senior official of the Baath Party who had been put in place by his father. They clamped down and reversed his reforms.

While he is the one whose face is on posters on the side of every building and on the wall of every shop and home, he's not in charge. There's obviously a lot of brainwashing going on, but he really does seem to be very popular in Syria. A lot of this is bread and circuses: people generally have a good quality of life, so tend to ignore the politics.

In any case, Syria is a beautiful country, with incredibly friendly people. It's sad to see stories like this, but there are signs of improvement in the regime. Even the fact that he had a trial and had his sentence reduced is a progress. It's unlikely he would have had that under Hafez. Despite the recent furore over the alleged nuclear reactor, there seems to be signs of progress towards peace with Israel. Only a couple of weeks ago, Turkey's president Erdogan was brokering talks about a possibly treaty. Time will tell.

Re:Guys, we're talking about SYRIA here (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403296)

It could be worse. They could have cameras in the streets and use them to fine people who run red lights. Imagine that!

we do it differently here? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402032)

sort of. there's total censorship (they call it moderation) on most 'mainstream' blogs. &, as annoying as we have been, we must give robbIE credit for at least trying to be fair, & not totally manipulated by his corepirate nazi overlords. see you on the other side of it? let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

Re:we do it differently here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402104)

I can't tell if this message was generated by a markov chain or someone with severe autism.

Re:we do it differently here? (2, Funny)

VeNoM0619 (1058216) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402118)

I would hate to be the grammar nazi who has to clean up that post...

Re:we do it differently here? (1)

Nathrael (1251426) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402202)

Good that I'm only a grammar nazi on German forums.

Re:we do it differently here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402234)

I would hate to be the over critical arse that has to respond to that post...

Re:we do it differently here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402824)

I would hate to be the anonymous coward afraid to take responsibility for his actions... wait a minute here... INFINITE LOOP

Re:we do it differently here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403198)

I can has batshit crazy?

somebody should explain the court (4, Insightful)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402034)

Well ... somebody should probably explain the court that they did much more than the blogger, to undermine the prestige of the state (and to show the national morale as lacking), by simply convicting him.

Re:somebody should explain the court (5, Insightful)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402476)

This is actually very insightful.

The point of free speech is more than just to allow anyone to say their bit. It includes the fact that reasoned and fair debate will do more to undermine any truly dangerous people than any system of censorship could.

There are many examples of this, but the one that springs to mind is BNP (British National Party - right wing skinheads aka Neo Nazis in the UK) being invited to open debates versus simply being sidelined. Every time they are invited to express themselves and engage the mainstream media, they make complete fools of themselves, proving themselves to be nothing more than racist skinheads. Banning them would fan the flames - allowing them free (even if racist and offensive) speech does far more to kill their support.

Suppression of an ideology almost always does more to drive people towards it than free discussion.

Re:somebody should explain the court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403000)

There are many examples of this, but the one that springs to mind is BNP (British National Party - right wing skinheads aka Neo Nazis in the UK) being invited to open debates versus simply being sidelined. Every time they are invited to express themselves and engage the mainstream media, they make complete fools of themselves, proving themselves to be nothing more than racist skinheads. Banning them would fan the flames - allowing them free (even if racist and offensive) speech does far more to kill their support.


That might not be the best example for your case. For one, the BNP gets plenty of harassment from British law and other political groups. Secondly, the BNP seems to be GAINING support lately, not losing it, despite constant media attacks.

Re:somebody should explain the court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403396)

Explain something to me:

It doesn't seem much in doubt that the BNP is, at least, covertly racist. Then why is it that several members are decidedly non-white/Jewish?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharif_Abdel_Gawad [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Richardson_(politician) [wikipedia.org]

Wierd, no?

Re:somebody should explain the court (2, Interesting)

orzetto (545509) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402488)

You and that court have a different appreciation of the term "Prestige": you think that a state has prestige when it respects human rights and allows freedom of speech. They think that prestige means that everybody is so scared of the state that no one dares to speak against it.

Anyway, in my country a journalist just got media-lynched because he pointed out that the new leader [wikipedia.org] of the upper house of the Parliament was a business associate of convicted mafiosi. I suppose Power always has a way to get rid of inconvenient trouble-makers, every country in its own way.

Re:somebody should explain the court (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403362)

They think that prestige means that everybody is so scared of the state that no one dares to speak against it.
Then Bashar al-Assad [wikipedia.org] and his cronies are believing their own propaganda. The definition of prestige, in the hard-power [wikipedia.org] sense, is and always has been what even your external enemies will grudgingly acknowledge. Syria is a third-rate military power and their economy is below average at best. Their lack of prestige is the result of poor leadership, not people speaking their minds.

Re:somebody should explain the court (3, Insightful)

CubeRootOf (849787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402704)

The key here is that they undermined the prestige of the state with other states, not with thier own people.

The Goal of this court is to keep INTERNAL morale high. They don't care what we think of them. They are trying to keep thier message consistent within thier country.

Similar things were done here not so long ago, and just as publically, if not more so. Do you know what happened to folks who said that 'maybe communism isn't so bad?' during the 50's?

The guy wasn't shot, he wasn't maimed, his family wasn't killed, he was just put away for 3 years.

Thats progress.

And looking at where they are starting from - it is pretty damn good progress.

Everything old is new again (4, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402072)

Lese majesty [wikipedia.org] has been a crime since Roman times. Remember, it's only treason if you lose (the revolution).

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

PJ The Womble (963477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402528)

Yes, it IS difficult to use accented characters on this site, isn't it?

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402864)

And remember, it's only righteous if you win(the coup).

I feel the same way about bloggers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402086)

And MySpace users should receive a death sentence.

I'm not any error Cham train! (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402128)

Better story about Tariq Bayassi here:
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.almarfaa.net%2F%3Fp%3D117 [google.com]

His "Free Tariq" site:
http://209.85.171.104/translate_c?hl=en&u=http://ahmadblogs.net/freetariq [209.85.171.104]

The problem I have with all of this is that we simply don't have very much evidence to go on as spectators. If someone was being brought up on trumped up charges, it would make a difference to me whether he was Fred Phelps or Fre Rogers. Justice should be blind, but sometimes taking the blindfold off and snuffing out truly vile people for the sake of the rest of us.

There isn't enough information at all about Tariq that is easily available, so we don't know if he was just bad mouthing Assad or if he was organizing assassination attempts on the President. Without context, I guess we should just cry for Free (as in Speech) Speech.

Re:I'm not any error Cham train! (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402330)

You make it seem like organizing assassination attempts against Assad should be a crime.

Doublespeak? (3, Informative)

PJ The Womble (963477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402140)

There's obviously a couple of homonyms at work here... "prestige of the state" and "weakening national morale". Because here in the UK at least, our perception of what makes us prestigious is that we ARE free to comment on the state, and what weakens our national morale as much as anything is when the state is seen to exercise excessive power over the freedom of the population.

The President of Syria has worked very hard at creating an image of being a humble, quietly-spoken, Western-educated ex-ophthalmologist who's had power lavished upon him almost inadvertently. Well it's back to the drawing board for the Damascus spin-doctors now then!

Re:Doublespeak? (1)

CycleFreak (99646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402594)

Do you perhaps mean "oxymoron" rather than "homonym" ?

Weakening national morale (3, Interesting)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402192)

Well shit, if that were a crime here about half the population, myself included, would be guilty.
We're gonna fail! (Whatever you are thinking, just assume I mean that.)

American jailed for setting up satellites (0, Offtopic)

br00tus (528477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402228)

Javed Iqbal [nytimes.com] is in a US jail for setting up satellites to watch al-Manar, Hezbollah's television station. Funny how Americans are so concerned about Syria but not what happens in their own country. Israel invaded and occupies part of Syria by the way, an occupation that the US supports to the tune of over a billion a year in military aid to Israel every year.


Of course, Hezbollah is a terrorist group...if you happen to live in a current or former British colony. Outside of that type of person, no other country considers Hezbollah to be such, except for Holland for some reason. They consider it to be representative of the Palestinians who were exiled from Palestine to Lebanon when the Zionists burned down their homes in Palestine and forced them.

But hey, why worry about Javed Iqbal rotting in an American jail when the US can point fingers at the lack of "freedom of speech" in a country under siege by the US and its Zionist neighbor, whom as I said, invaded and occupied part of their country, the Golan Heights.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402360)

What Syrian territory has Israel invaded that was not done during a war started by Syria?

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1, Troll)

br00tus (528477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402478)

Anyone who says the Six-Day War was "started by Syria" is so steeped in Zionist delusion and propaganda, they're hopeless. Hell, Israel even attacked the US Navy [wikipedia.org] during the Six Day war, and I am quite sure the Zionists in private discussion blame the US for that talking about how the US Navy "started it" by sending a signals intelligence ship anywhere near them. Of course, this kind of delusion is not one stated publicly.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1, Insightful)

Wolf3685 (1233554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402658)

And you sir are a victim of prejudice propaganda as as well... What about the 1948 Arab-Israeli War? Who started that, last I heard it was started by Arabs cause they don't like Jews...now why is it the Muslims don't like Jews?

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0, Flamebait)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402664)

Okay, Br00tus... show us on the doll where the bad jooz touched you...

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403116)

Oh, it wasn't started by Syria. It was started by Syria, Egypt, and Jordan, who also had help from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Algeria.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_day_war

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403300)

"Israel's official position is that the attack was an accident. Officials say they were assured by the United States that no U.S. ships were in the area, and that its air and naval forces mistakenly identified the Liberty as the Egyptian vessel El Quseir."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident

Someone is steeped in delusion and propaganda, alright.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402430)

Standard Arab response: Look over there! Jooooooz!!!

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1)

Wolf3685 (1233554) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402552)

China, mainland that is, considers Hezbollah a terrorist group. Japan does as well. Germany, and Austria do as well. Most of the former Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe do as well...last I remember Estonia was never part of the British Empire. Also...do you want another Nazi Germany to spring up and start another Holocaust? No one would give Jewish Refugees refuge, not even the US...it only makes sense for them to have a country to protect their rights to exist. Israel may be "Zionist", but in Saudi Arabia you cannot practice another religion on pain of death. At least there are Mosques in Israel. When was the last time you saw a Hindu Temple or a Christian Church in Iran?

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1)

br00tus (528477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403414)

This is simply not correct. China never declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist group. They never did so, and considering their foreign policy, it doesn't make sense that they would either. The only countries other than Holland that consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist group are current or former British colonies.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402580)

Not to be confused with Javid Iqbal [crimelibrary.com] or Javid Iqbal [wikipedia.org] .

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402670)

So many inaccuracies, so little time.

The Golan Heights were "occupied" in a war started by Syria and its allies, not Israel. Israel has then offered it back in return for peace and security arrangements (read up on the US-brokered peace talks in 1999 and 2000), but Syria has refused.

Far from being "exiled" from Palestine, many Palestinians left of their own accord, told by the Arabs that the Jews would be "driven into the sea" and that they could return later. Unfortunately for the Arabs, the Israelis didn't give in so easily. Additionally, 900,000 Jews fled Arab and Muslim countries, many leaving behind their property, but their "right of return" doesn't seem to rate a mention.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (0, Flamebait)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402682)

...when the Zionists burned down their homes in Palestine and forced them.
Those damn Jews again, right?

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402684)

I don't really think it is fair to mark this post as troll, however as others have stated it is also not fair to try to divert discussion away from what should be outcry against these Syrian actions. Also, you are wrong:

Funny how Americans are so concerned about Syria but not what happens in their own country.

Notice how in the article it said:

Civil libertarians also expressed alarm.
"It appears that the statute under which Mr. Iqbal is being prosecuted includes a First Amendment exemption that prevents the government from punishing people for importing news communications," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. "Such an exemption is constitutionally necessary, and the fact that the government is proceeding with the prosecution in spite of it raises serious questions about how free our marketplace of idea is."

There was outcry that Javed was charged ... and likely convicted. I tried googling for more information but found nothing as per a result. Hopefully he was treated fairly, though our current federal government is probably legally retarded.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402850)

I don't really think it is fair to mark this post as troll
Correct. Flamebait would be a more appropriate mod.

Re:American jailed for setting up satellites (2, Insightful)

katz (36161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403452)

Interesting how your post tries to turn story about Syrian a dictatorship into a soapbox from which to pontificate about something unrelated. What does Israel have to do with how Syria mistreats its own people? Leave it out of the picture.

- Roey

Let's bomb 'em (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402266)

That'll teach 'em about prestige of the state.

Seriously though, why do we care that some random blogger in a random dictatorship is jailed for blogging? I mean, its unfortunate, don't get me wrong, but its not entirely unexpected from Syria. I'd say the guy got off pretty lucky considering he still probably has his hands.

So either you're trying to say "Look how great the USA is: We can blog about anything we want without fear of going to jail, unlike Syria for example", or you're saying "Look how horrible Syria is, where you can't even blog about anything you want without fear of going to jail!".

If its the former, no duh, we already knew that. If its the latter, are you trying to get us to want to do something about it? and if so, what do you propose? that we bring them democracy at the barrel of our depleted uranium guns?

What is it that this article is trying to tell us that we didn't know already?

Re:Let's bomb 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402768)

...that we bring them democracy at the barrel of our depleted uranium guns?

Technically, it's the bullets that are depleted uranium. The guns are plastic and steel.

I kid with my pedantry. I thought your post was insightful.

Free Trade is the Answer (4, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402840)

If its the former, no duh, we already knew that. If its the latter, are you trying to get us to want to do something about it? and if so, what do you propose? that we bring them democracy at the barrel of our depleted uranium guns?

Free trade with Syria is the answer. The more open a nation is to trade, the more open that nation is to communications with the outside world. Sanctions are a form of war, remember.

Of all ironies is that Bush, by invading Iraq, threw away the lessons of his own party. Republicans, for better or for worse, have been staunch free traders since Reagan and it is that commitment to free trade around the globe that has caused nations to adopt more open societies, not American bombers. Have a strong defense, but for god's sake, don't start any wars and try and sell people stuff. It's a simple game plan, and Republicans were so good at it. But, after Afghanistan they just got too cocky and thought we could knock off Iraq. I almost want to go back in time and throttle William Kristol, and say "no, no, no, it is not time to have a benevolent American Empire!"

But, we just have to get back to the original game plan. Don't lecture the likes of Syria. Sell them stuff.

While we are at it, get rid of all of this USA PATRIOT nonsense.

Re:Free Trade is the Answer (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403154)

So true. We seemed to be doing better when people were just hating on McDonald's instead of the fact that we're punching them in the metaphorical balls.

I mean, I can kind of see where the likes of Bush and Bill Kristol are coming from: Liberate the people and they'll buy more of our stuff. Nice theory, but its flawed because A.) You can't liberate people unless they think its their own idea, ie they have to liberate themselves, and B.) There's way more people to liberate in this world than we have soldiers to liberate them, so it will naturally quickly get to the point where we're spending more on liberation than we are taking in selling stuff to the liberated. And I would add C.) After you liberate them, you have to follow through.

Shortcuts get taken, people inevitably get screwed. That's exactly what happened in Afghanistan. No follow through. A billion dollars to get the Soviets out and we balked when it came time to build schools. Our mistake was thinking that what they needed was to kick out the Soviets, when we didn't address what the hell the Soviets were doing there in the first place: pushing over an easily pushed over country with no infrastructure to speak of. Probably either for the opium or the pipeline connection to countries that matter, or both.

I'm not a political scientist by the way, this is just the way I've observed how the world works. I'm quite open to modifications to that thinking.

Re:Free Trade is the Answer (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403448)

And I would add C.) After you liberate them, you have to follow through.

I couldn't agree more. If we are going to do "liberation" missions, then, we need to address what the US military lacks. They don't have the ability to plop in an instant infrastructure. Sadr and other militia organizers got popular in Iraq just because they organized soup kitchens. What if our soldiers could plop in semi-trailers with generators, water treatment, instant schools, and heck yeah, get corporate america to kick in and have semi-trailer sized McDonald's, Taco Bells, and more. Who wins the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people more if, in the immediate postwar, we're passing out double QPCs, when Sadr just has some kind of crappy soup? Who wins the hearts and minds more when GI's drop a trailer generator off of a C-130 or a helicopter right into a village where militia leaders are trying to organize. Occupation is all about, who bribes the villagers the best.

If we had had that kind of vision and planning, then, we would probably not even in be in Iraq by now.

Re:Free Trade is the Answer (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403570)

Hell, put a platoon of marines to guard a platoon of engineers (do engineers come in platoons?) to run the stuff out of the village trailers for a year, and now we're talking scalable cost-effective liberation.

Double down as disaster recovery for the likes of Myanmar and NOLA (replacing marines with Nat'l guard domestically). Screw the UN, countries would be lining up around the block to be our friends.

Yeah, I know it would never be that simple, and it would be a hard sell to J. Q. Taxpayer because it doesn't involve spectacular explosions, but I think those are mostly implementation details.

Re:Free Trade is the Answer (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403310)

The more open a nation is to trade, the more open that nation is to communications with the outside world.
Just look at how open China has become...

Re:Free Trade is the Answer (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403370)

Just look at how open China has become..

China is a lot more open than it was before. I mean, China may have a great firewall, but other regimes do not have an internet at all. Plus, you have to realize that there are plenty of Chinese people on the other end of a phone call or even meeting in person with western business partners. Is China as free as we would like, no? But, then, when Western Europe was in the same economic level as China, we were all serfs and slavery was legal.

Re:Free Trade is the Answer (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403612)

I agree, away with NAFTA, ALCA, the WTO, Mercosul and protectionism. :-)

Re:Let's bomb 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403240)

What is it that this article is trying to tell us that we didn't know already?
Assuming that everyone knows is silly. One man's old is another's new.

I didn't know. Now I do. Awareness is important, even if you can't do anything at that particular moment.

Re:Let's bomb 'em (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403426)

You didn't know Syria was a dictatorship/horrible place? I'm curious, what exactly did you think was the meaning of "Axis of Evil"?

prestige? (4, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402270)

I was not aware that Syria had prestige.

Re:prestige? (1)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402392)

Haven't you ever been to Syria? They keep it in a shoebox under the Prestige Minister's bed, and bring it out when they have company over.

Re:prestige? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403506)

I'd love to see their version of the Transported Man.

Fragile Area (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402314)

With Lebanon falling apart next door (Google Hamas and Lebanon), may the Syrian government have valid reasons for a crack down? One wonders exactly what he wrote on these "opposition sites" to earn the wrath of the government.

On the bright side, his sentence was commuted to only three years. He may survive that, depending on where the sentence is to be served.

Re:Fragile Area (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402964)

Can there be "valid reasons" for a government to censor its citizens' speech? Certainly, undermining the prestige of the state doesn't seem even vaguely valid, as all it means is that you can be prosecuted for criticising the government. So, the people in power can reduce the chance of ever being out of power by simply making it illegal to want them to be out of power.

"Only three years"? Hang on, have I been writing a serious response to a sarcastic post here?

He had a trial, at least. (5, Insightful)

glgraca (105308) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402324)

At least they gave him a trial.

People are being freed from Guantamo after 6 years without ever even having being charged with anything. Can you imagine the torture of not even knowing when you are going to get out?

Re:He had a trial, at least. (2, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402908)

s/when/if/

Seriously, for all the horrible stuff that happens in Syria, the chronically bad state of play that is Guantanamo, indefinite detention without trial, and torture is pretty disgusting too. One does not excuse the other, but at least Syria isn't _pretending_ to be an elightened beacon of democracy and humanity.

Re:He had a trial, at least. (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402986)

What is the difference between having a trial under an unfair and rights-infringing legal system, and no trial at all? The former gives the illusion of a democratic and fair process, legitimising what is really no better than illegal detention.

Re:He had a trial, at least. (1)

optimus2861 (760680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403016)

Does anyone else think that one of these days, it would be nice to read an article and discussion about some other country's issue without having to read a gratuitous slam about some aspect of the United States which gets modded up to +5 mostly because it is a gratuitous slam about the United States?

Re:He had a trial, at least. (4, Insightful)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403268)

It may be a gratuitous slam on the United States but its a truthful one. The behaviour of the United Status regard Guantanamo has been a blight on its reputation, one that has soured its image across the world. Its a measure of how badly the image has been soured that its not possible to have a discussion of rights without the subject being raised. This might not be people's taste but its the reality of the situation.

What is the answer? I guess that if you are holding yourselves up as being the defender of the free world and calling 'evil' to account you have to make sure that you don't commit evil yourselves.

I realise that not all US citizens supported this state of affairs but enough of them voted to elect the George W Bush and again to re-elect him. Whilst you might not agree with the policies conducted they are being carried out in your name by your democratically elected government. As such you have to take the heat that goes with it. Fortunately you are free to protest against this and not be locked up.

Re:He had a trial, at least. (1)

shma (863063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403420)

I doubt it's worse than the other forms of torture practised there.

Still, simply because the US has done worse doesn't mean that Syria should be excused for this kind of action.

By the way, does anyone know what he said that got him imprisoned? It would be a small, but significant, act of justice to see it reprinted here.

makes you appreciate home (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402382)

As bad as we all think things are getting in the free world, it's things like this that remind me it could be a helluva lot worse.

Re:makes you appreciate home (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402742)

However ridiculous the charges were, this guy had a trial, and could semi-sucessfully apeal, so yes, it's great to live in a country where anyone can be labelled "ennemy of the state" and be scretly detained without trial.

Re:makes you appreciate home (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403004)

... it's things like this that remind me it could be a helluva lot worse.
I'm afraid it is [unsubscribe-me.org] .

For all we might deplore Syria's actions and legal system, at least this guy got a trial.

Power of a single blogger (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23402466)

If a single blogger can "undermine the prestige of a state and weaken a national morale", that he or she should be sentenced by death, as he's too much power in that country.
Or maybe the case that that state has already a very low prestige and a very weak national morale that a single blogger can blow it away!

The Internet is Syria's business. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23402898)

..sorry

huh? (2, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403278)

Just because Syria has the power to do this does not make it right.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403528)

It's a pun on "serious business". Not a very funny one, mind you.

It is very humbling (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23403190)

to read about people with this sort of courage.

Cancer Sprinkles In The Land of The Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23403390)

Freedom of Speech, is your voice heard? "Cancer Sprinkle" if you're outspoken enough, suddenly you come down with cancer, wait a minute, that guy in the coffee shop did look rather interested in me..

NO CARRIER
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