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Plotting a Coup In the Internet Age

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-become-mayor-via-foursquare dept.

Government 183

chrb writes "The Guardian is reporting on the attempts of an exiled Sheikh to regain power in a bloodless coup. The plot, led by British solicitor Peter Cathcart, involves the use of Washington political lobbyists, PR agencies writing fake blogs and Twitter accounts, and a newspaper advertising campaign in the US. The coup attempt is remarkable in its choice of modern communications and political lobbying, rather than the traditional resort to violence."

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183 comments

Colonel Cathcart (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32478902)

Anyone else think of him first?

Re:Colonel Cathcart (2, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32478916)

I thought of Ender's brother

Re:Colonel Cathcart (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32478978)

I'll admit, that one is way better.

Re:Colonel Cathcart (2, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479084)

"Dear Peter Wiggin: This letter is to inform you that you have received enough upvotes on your reddit comments to become president of the world. Please be at the UN tomorrow at 8:00 sharp." :D

Re:Colonel Cathcart (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479074)

nope, I tought of GWB

Re:Colonel Cathcart (1)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479134)

The Sheikh would already have returned to his home country, but Cathcart raised the number of years of exile to 55.

Re:Colonel Cathcart (2, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479246)

Hmm, sounds more like Milo Minderbinder. From TFA:

"Documents seen by the Guardian show that Cathcart has acted as a paid agent for Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Qasimi in a multimillion-pound campaign to "undermine the current regime's standing"...Cathcart, a miniature steam train enthusiast and chairman of his local parish council who operates from modest offices in the outer London suburbs, cuts an unlikely figure in the plot, which involves highly paid US PR consultants, Washington lobbyists and former US-special forces strategists hired at a cost of at least $3.7m (£2.6m)."

Is this a serious attempt to 'undermine the current regime's standing', or just a successful scheme for undermining the Sheikh's bank balance? I guess Cathcart's alleged cut of the proceeds will really help him expand his model train layout, though.

Re:Colonel Cathcart (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479482)

Hmm, sounds more like Milo Minderbinder. From TFA:

"Documents seen by the Guardian show that Cathcart has acted as a paid agent for Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Qasimi in a multimillion-pound campaign to "undermine the current regime's standing"...Cathcart, a miniature steam train enthusiast and chairman of his local parish council who operates from modest offices in the outer London suburbs, cuts an unlikely figure in the plot, which involves highly paid US PR consultants, Washington lobbyists and former US-special forces strategists hired at a cost of at least $3.7m (£2.6m)."

Is this a serious attempt to 'undermine the current regime's standing', or just a successful scheme for undermining the Sheikh's bank balance? I guess Cathcart's alleged cut of the proceeds will really help him expand his model train layout, though.

Yet more evidence that PR people are evil and have no good purpose. Tell me, if what you are doing is really good and true, why are the facts of the matter not enough? Why do you need public relations people to spin something favorably if the facts are already on your side? They're little more than mercenaries who don't give a damn about whether the conflict is justified so long as they get paid.

Same deal with lobbyists. If the thing in question really is sound public policy, why can it not stand on its own merits? Why do you need highly paid professionals to use skilled salesmanship and slick presentations to impress people in order to promote something with inherent merit? You see, it doesn't make sense.

Re:Colonel Cathcart (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479506)

But if everyone's stuff could stand on its own merits, then you still have a signal noise ratio problem. You need PR and marketing to cut through noise.

Re:Colonel Cathcart (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479664)

But if everyone's stuff could stand on its own merits, then you still have a signal noise ratio problem. You need PR and marketing to cut through noise.

I must disagree here. You don't need PR and marketing. What you need is critical thinking. I suppose you could call that an ability to research coupled with an ability to interpret your own information. Then you don't need PR and marketing, which are all about interpretations and how to encourage particular ones that suit their purposes. I like that much better than depending on highly compensated parties to be honest about something they are paid to slant and spin.

Signal-to-noise isn't a problem when your signal comes from within you and not from external suggestion. By comparison, "opt-in vs. opt-out" is a much weaker concept though similar in spirit.

Re:Colonel Cathcart (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479274)

fifty burly men cumming inside of your colon

Just like here (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32478940)

Not unlike what happened hereinto US.

It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbying? (5, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479012)

Can we finally close this legal loophole? There's no reason why lawmakers should be allowed to take money from non-US citizens, and particularly from other countries. Only US Citizens can vote in elections; there's no reason why other countries and non-citizens should be able to influence how citizens vote, or dictate our foreign policy.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479020)

If this happens then they will just setup a US shell corporation for a few hundred bucks in Nevada or whatever to channel the money through. Or in the case of Canadian elections a company funneled the money through children and relatives to bypass the maximum donation per person. At least with it out in the open we can easily see who (politicians that is) is accepted what from whom.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479922)

Corporations have to funnel money through PACs. PAC spending is closely monitored by competing PACs. PACs are generally limited to ~$5,000 per employee. Shell corporations only have a handful of employees. It's not a perfect system and can be abused, but at least something exists to avoid wholesale abuse of the lobbying system. From wikipedia:

Contributions by individuals to federal PACs are limited to $5,000 per year. Federal multi-candidate PACs are limited in the amount of money they can contribute to candidate campaigns or other organizations:

  • at most $5,000 per candidate per election. Elections such as primaries, general elections and special elections are counted separately.
  • at most $15,000 per political party per year.
  • at most $5,000 per PAC per year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (4, Insightful)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479032)

An outright ban on lobbying would be nice in any case.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479054)

yah! Better yet, how about an outright ban on campaign contributions?

"Vote with your wallet" should be reserved for consumer activities.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479082)

Except that if you ban campaign contributions outright, the winners of your elections will be the candidates with the most money.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (4, Insightful)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479148)

Whereas now the winner is the candidate backed by the organization with the most money. I'm not sure how this is better.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479916)

Pausing my cynicism for a second, you might get candidates who, having been successful in private enterprise, have turned their mind to the public service. That might be a good thing. See for example Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Unpausing the cynicism, it may just result in payments being covert and jobs-for-the-boys being the order of the day, at least until the Other Rich White Guy gets in to power.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479236)

Other countries just cap expenditures, campaign advertising, etc. I think this is the entire point... America has a broken political system where its perfectly acceptable to buy an elected official and rather than look to the rest of the world for how to solve this they just declare that they are already living in the best of all possible worlds.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1, Interesting)

rhakka (224319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479426)

I don't think that's necessary. I believe it's been shown in studies that there is a basic threshold for monetary expenditures in elections: below that, and your message doesn't reach the whole electorate well enough. but beyond that point, more money doesn't help.

we will never keep money out of politics. there is just too many ways to give gifts, favors, contributions, bribes, you name it.

However, we CAN make political survival not dependent on private money. the answer is public campaign financing to adequate levels for well qualified candidates, coupled with free access to the airwaves for set amounts of time for well qualified candidates. I wouldn't even be opposed to some legislated mandate for airtime/space in any media outlet owned by a public corporation.

if that were done, private money may still buy favor to some degree, but at least clean politicians wouldn't be handicapped compared to ones that are happily bought and paid for.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479472)

we will never keep money out of politics. there is just too many ways to give gifts, favors, contributions, bribes, you name it.

There we go again. Existence proofs only work if the people you're talking to as willing to look at the proof. Listen up Americans, there's plenty of other civilized countries around the world that send politicians to jail for taking gifts, favors, contributions and bribes. Wake up and demand accountability.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479660)

did you finish reading my post?

the point is that you can minimize the damage money can do in politics. this will minimize corruption, since being corrupt then offers no advantage to campaigning and keeping your job. Nothing *eliminates* corruption. You can only minimize it. it's like the 'war on drugs' in that respect.

I believe many of those other countries have public financing as a very important part of their corruption reduction scheme. it's illegal to take bribes here too, it's just a lot harder to differentiate between what is a bribe and what is a "campaign contribution" or other such legally allowed transaction.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479780)

a bribe is a bribe. Splitting hairs and calling it a "campaign contribution" is a symptom of a sick society. If you're a politician and you're receiving any incoming beyond what your position pays you, you're accepting bribes. The possibly permissible exception is if you own shares in a company, in which case you need to keep away from anything which may be a conflict of interest. And no, it doesn't matter if you set up a shell company to receive the payment, or it's your political party that is receiving the payment, or it's your wife or your friends that are receiving the payment.

Nothing *eliminates* corruption. You can only minimize it. it's like the 'war on drugs' in that respect.

Wow, you really don't get it do you? Every other civilized country in the world has done it. Corruption is headline news in these countries. The US is not the norm, it's the sick exception.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479958)

Wow, you really don't get it do you? Every other civilized country in the world has done it. Corruption is headline news in these countries. The US is not the norm, it's the sick exception.

So the US is sick because it isn't as corrupt as the rest of the world?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Interesting)

valdezjuan (83925) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480506)

I think the greater point is that corruption doesn't always look like corruption. Other countries have helped mitigate this problem, but I seriously doubt the public knows about even a fraction of how often this happens on a global scale. Especially given how many countries are not open books when it comes to these sort of things. Not to mention the rampant corruption organized crime helps create. While a bribe is always a bribe, a bride doesn't always look like one.

The companies that offer bribes also need to be punished for doing so. The US enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/) to combat this problem but few companies ever get more than a slap on the wrist and a wink & nod. Both sides need to realize that offering or accepting a bribe is something that can cost them more than just a few dollars (or whatever the currency).

Now for the obligatory wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_corruption [wikipedia.org]
The global costs are quite large.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480146)

send politicians to jail for taking gifts, favors, contributions and bribes. Wake up and demand accountability.

Neato Idea. That's awesome. Seriously, not trolling here. Plain. Fucking. Awesomeness. If I could choose between You and bottled lightning, I would choose you.

So we have established:

1) Your Awesome.
2) You clearly have more morality in your fingernail (any one of them) than any politician in Washington.

Now..... let's start...

We need to make it a crime to be "taking gifts, favors, contributions and bribes" if you hold political office.... Hmmmm....

Okay. I'll fire up my word processor of +10 Legal Lawyerin' and get to work on making the law and you get out there and explain to people what we are trying to accomplish and secure enough votes so we have a majority of the US and can get the law enacted.

Huh? What do you mean we can't do that? We're a democracy! WTF! Reprawhatsits?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh.. Representative Democracy. We elect those people and they are supposed to represent us. Wellll... it seems like a catch-22 here. They won't vote the law in, and we can't make the law ourselves..

Wait... We can get you elected and have you propose the law and change things right?

Let's take over a small state with enough like minded people and get you into the Senate. The people need your common sense and decency based approach to government and politics.

********************
a few years pass
********************

Senate: "The Senate floor will recognize the junior member QuantumG from the State of Complete-Awesomeness (we managed to rename Idaho or some shit)"

QuantumG: "I propose a law criminalizing the acceptance of any campaign contributions, material items, gifts, bribes, or sexual favors from willing pages in a completely non-homosexual manner"

Senate: (hushed) "We have a turd in the punchbowl.. repeat ... turd in the punchbowl"

*******************

Do you seriously wonder at all why most Americans are either a) Completely disillusioned and apathetic (the smart ones), or b) Raving fucking lunatics screaming at the top of their lungs about how the other side is evil, bruises fruit on sight, and beats small children?

Even the most idealistic and decent people will be tainted by government within the first few months and you can't get shit done till you have been in Washington for years. It's seniority and it is just a huge boys club up there. You wait, Al Franken will turn into Palpatine given enough time.

Wake Up?

I am awake. I also have no power to change a god damn thing. It does not matter who I vote for, it does not matter if the person I voted for is a good person either, nothing good will come from anything in government.

We have not been represented in forever. The last thing I really remember that was profoundly good and representative of our collective will (most of us) was civil rights. Back to bullshit as usual after that.

Those that have the power right now are only going to grant, or delegate, that power to like minded people willing to promulgate their views. You seem to think that if enough Buddhist Monks were to join the Yakuza that in a few years the Yakuza would be all peaceful, shiny, and happy and shit. No. You would have monks with tainted souls and bad Karma.

I just hope we don't turn into a police state within my lifetime so I don't have to get in better shape and start putting bullets through storm troopers heads. I am too old and tired at this point to start and participate in the inevitable revolution to come.

Yes, I am hopelessly cynical and disillusioned with government and politics, and deservedly so. It's a fucking circus, has been my whole life, and will continue to be one. It has only serviced the agendas of the powerful and influential (corporations) and consistently shafted the people. My disillusionment and bitterness is founded upon a lifetime of disappointment and gradual erosion of my civil rights and freedoms that my forefathers suffered for, died for, and bled out for in foreign lands.

So it may be popular to say wake up, but with all due respect, it's just offensive. We are awake. Just paralyzed and being eaten alive.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479538)

I would love to see some studies backing your claims but alas it is Sunday and I am on the run. To the point, we ban gifts, bribes, quid pro quo not because we think by doing so that we would eliminate them without doubt but we have decided they influence elections unfairly. The price of running a campaign has grown 10x in some area in a period of less than 8 years, the only thing that is good for is the TV stations running the ADs and the PR firms running them. The voter in some races contributes less than half of what corporations do now, something is very wrong.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479434)

Other countries just cap expenditures, campaign advertising, etc. I think this is the entire point... America has a broken political system where its perfectly acceptable to buy an elected official and rather than look to the rest of the world for how to solve this they just declare that they are already living in the best of all possible worlds.

Other countries just drive the bribery underground and suffer the consequences. What those other countries need is legalization! Think of all the tax dollars that are going uncollected! Think of how many bribery-lords are being created! Think of the children! Legalize bribery now!

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Insightful)

Emetophobe (878584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479882)

The U.S should adopt election laws like the ones we have up here in Canada. Take a look at the Federal Accountability Act [elections.ca] .

Here are some key points:

  • Corporations, trade unions, associations and groups can no longer make political contributions.
  • You can make a political donation to registered political entities only if you are a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
  • You can donate a maximum of $1100 to each party or candidate every year.
  • You can no longer make a cash contribution of more than $20 to registered political entities. Also, all contributions over $20 must be receipted and reported.
  • If you are running as a nomination contestant or a candidate, you can make an additional contribution up to $1,000 in total per election from your own funds to your own campaign.
  • Candidates cannot accept any gift that might influence them as eventual members of Parliament.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479960)

You can donate a maximum of $1100 to each party or candidate every year.

Yes, and there are people who follow the lead of Howard Hughes, and do exactly that: give the maximum to every candidate, no matter what their platform. That way, whoever wins, they'll be able to say, "I gave."

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479950)

The sad thing it's our precious First Amendment that is causing the problem. We can't restrict speech or expression and lobbying falls under that premise, whether with money, words or actions.

The only solution is another amendment to the Constitution, and I can only imagine the precarious slope that would entail. It's impossible for our Congress to write simple straight-forward bills or amendments anymore. It would end up being a 1000 page nightmare that they would debate for 4 years and never pass.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (3, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479242)

Better yet, how about an outright ban on campaign contributions?

So you'd limit lobbying to organizations powerful enough to directly support a candidate, such as TV stations, newspapers, and organizations who can open their own TV stations and newspapers?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479292)

As I said in another post, other countries have already solved this problem.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480576)

Nope, that would just be silly.... 100% public funds. Not a dime out of their own pockets could be spent towards the election.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Informative)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480616)

Nope, that would just be silly.... 100% public funds. Not a dime out of their own pockets could be spent towards the election.

So I'm not allowed to endorse a candidate in my own publication? Or on my own Web page? That would kill freedom of speech.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479492)

Or better yet, "If you can't vote for them, you can't contribute to their campaign. If you could vote for them, you can contribute _a limited amount of money_ to their campaign." Thus for a federal office, you have to be a registered voter somewhere in the US to contribute to a candidate running for that office; for a state office, a registered voter somewhere in the state; for a town or city office, a registered voter in the town or city. This would also help with the situation where every other commercial on TV for the month or two prior to the election is an ad for a political candidate -- less money should lead to fewer such commercials.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479076)

There is a term for a government that bans lobbying. Its called a dictatorship.

I know we're supposed to hate corporations, lobbyists, etc, but I wish that people would stop and think about what they're saying.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479142)

There is a term for people that use hyperbole. They are called pedophile, commie picko, nazis.

I know we're suppose to hate liberals, brown people, etc, but I wish that people would stop and think about what they're saying.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479250)

You don't understand. Lobbying is merely the expression of a group's desires to their representatives. If you outlaw lobbying, you either outlaw expressing your desires to your representatives on a collective basis or on an individual basis. Neither is good for democracy. We are free to assemble and organize in this country. Which freedom do you want to give up?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479438)

The freedom to back a lobbying effort with cash. We're talking about two different scenarios here:

1) "I represent many large oil companies, and we think approach X would be beneficial to not only our interests but the interests of the general public."

2) "I represent many large oil companies, and we think approach X would be beneficial to not only our interests but the interests of the general public. And here's a check for a hundred thousand dollars."

You really don't see a problem with this?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479466)

No he does not. Hence the hyperbole joke.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Interesting)

zill (1690130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479566)

You're missing the point of lobbying, which was to combat bribery:

1) "I represent many large oil companies, and we think approach X would be beneficial to not only our interests but the interests of the general public." Later that night a hundred thousand dollars in cash is transferred.

2) "I represent many large oil companies, and we think approach X would be beneficial to not only our interests but the interests of the general public. And here's a check for a hundred thousand dollars."

Your scenario 1 isn't realistic because large oil companies is happy to pay the hundred thousand dollars, and the politician is happy to received the hundred thousand dollars regardless of whether it's legal or not. Outlawing it will simply make it underground.

and you catch them being bribed (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479698)

and you catch them being bribed as it wold be called you make it a hanging , lethal injection , electric chair offense. YEA then they are gonna have to give me a lot more then 100K and if they are willing to pass 10 million per person or more its gonna be hard to hide that when your audits come due. OH we lost ten million....just around election time..... and suddenly joe blow deposits it ....well Brian mulroney kept all his cash in 3 boxes and they bought him off with 300K OR more that we dont know of.....SO while doable its risky and the places you can hide cash are disappearing

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480066)

You sound like a right wingnut. Next you'll be telling us the big oil lobby should be allowed to buy votes outright.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479164)

Right; I'm not saying to ban lobbying, simply, ban lobbying by those who can't vote in our country. To bring up the old Nazi defense, how would things have turned out in WW2 if the Nazis had dumped a bunch of money into US lobbying to win support for Germany in the war? Or at least delayed it until they'd occupied Britain and Sweden?
 
That's an extreme point of view, but on a smaller scale, Israel dumps a huge amount of money into our political system, and in return they get $100 for every $1 they spend on lobbying in terms of foreign aid, $15 billion dollars worth of "military aid money", in addition to discounts on US military hardware and preferential treatment on military equipment sales to the US government.
 
We do help out a lot of smaller countries financially and send aid, but it is nowhere near what we send to Israel, and Israel's funding on lobbying reflects that. The whitehouse has been mum on this whole flotilla disaster so far, and while they've been more vocal lately, it's generally very muted response in general.
 
There's no reason why you can't have lobbying, it's a good system that definitely gets abused, but in a two party system you definitely need lobbying so that special interest groups like PETA, Pro-Lifers, Pro-Choicers, Gun Control, NRA, Socialized Medicine-ites, "Hands off my Medicare!"-ers and every other group out there can have their say in Washington. By no means end lobbying outright.... just limit it to domestic and foreign policy that is actually beneficial to our country, not policies that are detrimental to the USA.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479216)

just limit it to domestic and foreign policy that is actually beneficial to our country, not policies that are detrimental to the USA.

And who decides if a policy being lobbied for is actually beneficial to our country before it can be lobbied for?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479300)

The lobbiysts?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479448)

I think you're twisting what I'm saying here. Otherwise known as trolling. I am saying to limit lobbying from international entities. Only allow domestic dollars and companies to lobby our government. In practice domestic entities are typically looking for some sort of gain.
 
I'm sure the Chinese or Russians wouldn't like it very much if I started paying their party leaders to enact policies that awarded me (not a Chinese or Russian citizen) lots and lots of contracts for military hardware, sold me the state-owned mineral rights to oil fields and gold and precious gem mines at 10% of the actual value, and then export those raw goods duty (export tax) free to the USA where their prices are much higher. The Russians lose money on that deal, the Chinese loose money on that deal, but I come out way, way ahead. How much would it cost to keep my loyal politicians in support of my raping of their lands, despite public outcry and my willful ignorance of environmental law? Not nearly as much as the money I'm making.
 
Surely the Russians and Chinese in that instance would not approve of my foreign money influencing their politics that way? Would you allow that sort of abuse of our government on our watch? Let the domestic lobbyists do what they will, at least when they're abusing our government, the majority of the money stays in the country. Right now we're exporting literally billions, tens of billions of dollars in hard currency in addition to military hardware based on private international lobbying efforts. The cost:benefit ratio in these situations is very, very high, that is, unless you're a politician facing a difficult reelection.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (3, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479896)

So you'd ban all foreign lobbying, not just what appears detrimental to the country? That makes more sense.

However, it is often incredibly difficult to separate domestic from foreign. In Check Point, for example, a foreign company (HQ in Israel), or a domestic company (shares traded on the NASDAQ, most share owners probably US entities)? What about IBM (HQ in the US and the majority of employees in other countries, shared publicly traded)?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479610)

There's no reason why you can't have lobbying, it's a good system that definitely gets abused, but in a two party system you definitely need lobbying so that special interest groups like PETA, Pro-Lifers, Pro-Choicers, Gun Control, NRA, Socialized Medicine-ites, "Hands off my Medicare!"-ers and every other group out there can have their say in Washington.

But there is already a way that those groups and all others, including those not affiliated with an organization, can have their say in Washington. That's by voting in order to elect representatives. The only reason why voting is so broken is because we have a very high (around 90%) incumbency rate at the federal level and once in office, to whom will the politician listen? The voter who is 90+% likely to re-elect him, or the lobbyist who gives him cold hard cash? The answer to that seems rather obvious. If you want voting to once again be something better than "the lesser of two evils" you need to eliminate lobbying as a necessary first step. The necessary second step would be to allocate an amount of public money for candidates' campaigns, a very generous amount that is adjusted yearly for inflation, and then outlaw as bribery all other financial contributions to a candidate or his/her campaign.

Then and only then does the vote start to mean something again. Since the people vastly outnumber the corporations and their owners, and the corporations do not get to inject their superior concentrated wealth into the political system, you end up with a vote that means more and a system that tends to represent the people better than it represents the corporations. It's not a matter of taking the money out of politics, for (as others have pointed out) that's not feasible; it's about making the money meaningless by having a large amount of it available for all candidates. Even a very large amount would cost us far less than what we now finance because of special interests and others with clout.

I would be in favor of this being done in such a way that the "minor parties" would have an equal ability to put their candidates onto ballots and to finance campaigns. Only when a real diversity of political philosophies all have an equally viable chance at winning elections can you have real choice for the people. Among many other things, that would imply a replacement of the two-party dupoloy with the recognition that the domination of politics by two parties is equivalent to the negative effects for customers caused by an economic duopoly, with or without collusion. Only when the people have real choice can the powers-that-be claim true legitimacy.

Right now it isn't the throne, but the power behind the throne that is important. Matthew Paris said:

Television lies. All television lies. It lies persistently, instinctively and by habit. Everyone involved lies. A culture of mendacity surrounds the medium, and those who work there live it, breath it and prosper by it. I know of no area of public life -- no, not even politics -- more saturated by a professional cynicism. If you want a word that takes you to the core of it, I would offer rigged.

...is it dishonest for the presenter to imply that the pundit in the chair is free to offer any opinion, when the truth is that fifty pundits were telephoned, but only the fellow prepared to offer the requisite opinion was invited? -- Matthew Parris

Right now that is how politics works. "Fifty pundits were telephoned, but only the fellow prepared to offer the requisite opinion was invited." Fifty, or maybe fifty thousand or more people would like to hold public office. Only the fellows of the requisite opinion, as evidenced by party affiliation and loyalty/orthodoxy, were invited to receive campaign contributions. Those with the cash to contribute have that cash because they benefit from the status quo, and could benefit more from a stronger version of it (caused by proceeding further along the course it has been on). Now you inherit a self-reinforcing feedback cycle that wants to become more so. Nowhere in this do you have free choice for the governed, only for those to whom the governed has surrendered his power.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479614)

While it's true that money spent on lobbying can have a large impact, Israel is hardly the prime example of this. A far better example is that of Saudi Arabia, a far richer country that has succeeded through lobbying and the cultivation of connections with people like the Bush family in deflecting serious criticism of its awful human rights record and support for Islamic extremism. In the case of Israel there are several additional factors: (a) the very strong moral case for supporting Israel; (b) the fact that Israel is far more representative of American values of freedom, democracy, and transparency than any other state in the Middle East; (c) the significant return that the US gets on its investment in the form of military technology and intelligence; (d) the fact that Israel is a much more genuine ally than the Arab countries, for whom alliance with the US, when it occurs, is a matter of convenience.

That the US has not been a more vocal critic of Israel's interdiction of the jihad flottila reflects an understanding of what is really going on: the flottila was not bringing critically needed aid to Gaza and the people involved were not neutral humanitarians but jihadists and their dupes.

If you think that the purpose of the flottilla was to bring humanitarian aid, consider the following facts: (a) the blockade does not and never has affected critical supplies such as food and medicine; (b) Israel offered to accept the flottilla's cargo, inspect it for contraband (weapons, explosives, and other supplies of military use to Hamas), and pass it on to Gaza by truck if the flottila would dock at Ashdod. The entire dispute is about whether the flottilla would be able to dock and unload unsupervised, not whether aid could be given to Gaza; (c) once Israel seized the ships, it unloaded the cargo, inspected it, and moved it by truck to Gaza; (d) the cargo has not been distributed in Gaza because Hamas has refused to permit it. Evidently they don't think that there is such a humanitarian crisis, or they do, but they don't care as much about the people of Gaza as Israel does; (e) the Egyptian government opened its crossing into Gaza shortly after the seizure of the flottilla. If there were an urgent need for aid, we would expect Free Gaza and other organizations to have taken advantage of this opportunity to move supplies into Gaza. Did they? No. The Egyptian Red Cross moved a modest amount of supplies (mostly tents and things like that) into Gaza. That's it. No rush to move those urgently needed supplies via Egypt. (f) Al-Fatah, the mainline Palestinian organization, the one in actual control of Judea and Samaria and nominal control of the entire Palestinian government, has stated that there is no humanitarian crisis and no urgent need for supplies.

In short, the whole thing is a fraud, a stunt by jihadists and other rabid anti-Israel forces. It is mostly a publicity stunt, though at least one of the "humanitarians" has now bragged that one of their goals was to take Israeli soldiers hostage and that they briefly succeeded before the Israeli forces finally resorted to lethal force and freed the hostage. Fortunately, the US government, whose grasp of foreign affairs I sometimes wonder about, has got this one right and is not jumping on the anti-Semitic bandwagon.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479700)

Saudi Arabia already recieves plenty of money and goods exports from the US. I do agree with you on building close family ties with the Bush family. At least that's an indirect influence - nobody in the Bush family has direct influence on federal legislation anymore.
 
re: flotilla
 
You're very liberal with the use of the word jihadist
 
You are right that it is a publicity stunt. The flotilla is simply trying to shed light on the apartheid policy Israel has been enforcing for years. Bringing aid to the Palestinians is a fairly neutral way to raise international awareness and attempt to get the UN to take action on this. Apartheid didn't work in South Africa, and while the region is a giant mess, Apartheid isn't really solving any long term problems in Israel either. It's a poor band-aid creating a festering abscess. Both sides are at fault for many things, but keeping up this policy of Apartheid is dehumanizing and not acceptable.
 
/not Islamic, not Jewish, simply an outside observer

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479224)

There is a term for a government that accepts money as a form of lobbying. It's called a Plutocracy.

OOH, EDGY!

Your strawman looks quite flammable (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479570)

Your statement makes no logical sense. Any form of government could ban lobbying for any number of reasons.

There's a term for government that is run by the majority population. It's called a democracy, and if it's people choose, they can ban lobbying. And if that doesn't work, they can bring it back.

A country run by lobbyists paid by the rich is called a plutocracy, and while not quite as bad as some dictatorships, is still highly undesirable if you have any interest in equality before the law. I'd say paid lobbyists distort the government that's supposed to represent the will of the majority of americans, since lobbyist access is wealth dependent.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479662)

An outright ban on lobbying would be nice in any case.

Except for the fact that lobbying is protected explicitly by the US Constitution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480274)

and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

You think you have a point.... but you really don't.

Petition does not mean offer money, or some other form of compensation. It means, in this context, "a written document signed by a large number of people demanding some form of action from a government or other authority".

No, it does not "explicitly" state anywhere that the act of proffering anything other than words is constitutionally protected behavior.

It was an interesting argument, but 60 seconds with a dictionary kind of tears your argument apart there.

Now of course, I am equating Lobbying "explicitly" with the act of proffering money in return for preferential representation in government. Just from observation alone, that would seem to be what is happening quite frequently. Perhaps we nee another word for such a disgusting practice, rightfully lamented, and wholly responsible for the hopeless state of affairs that is government.

i concur (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479678)

i htink in the end that is where the world will head and slowly copyrights and patents will get smoothed to sanity whats going on now is the last steps of a dying model and its lawsuits and mass efforts at scamming the people everywhere once people had enough ....they will remove there ability forever. i could see a non profit that has no affiliations to any for profits or subsidiaries that are for profits being able to lobby that allows charities and real ones NOT the riaa ( a non profit that does shit for the for profit labels ) see that took 4 minutes a work to solve 50% of the worlds problems. Next week ill solve world hunger and after that war.THen ill change my name to zephram chochran and build a warp engine.....

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480704)

First Amendment, I'd like you to meet my friend, KarlIsNotMyName. KarlIsNotMyName, this is the First Amendment. Why don't you two get acquainted?

Seriously, I know that the term "lobbying" is associated with a lot of shady stuff, but at the core, the term's definition is just asking a legislator to vote a particular way. To redress your grievances, perhaps. I would like special interests to hold less of a disproportionate sway over American politics too, but the reason you can't just ban them out of existence is because they're not really special at all.

Exercising political influence is part of the definition of citizenship; some are just better at it. Better to the point of unfairness? Probably. But you still need to take a remedial course in civics before you start dropping ignorant, anti-democratic bullshit like "An outright ban on lobbying would be nice in any case."

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479042)

Though I completely agree with you it's not "people" but "companies" purchasing lobbying every minute of every day here in the US. Our country has been for sale to industries and individual companies for quite a while. The politicians don't care who writes the checks as along as they clear. It's just a sad state of affairs.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Interesting)

knutkracker (1089397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479044)

If your foreign policy involves invading their country and killing thousands of innocent people (or funding others to do it instead), then why shouldn't they have a say?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479262)

Because quite frankly, it's irrelevant what they say.

If it is in our best national interest to invade another country, then their lobbying and say should have no part of the equation. All that should matter is the military, political, and economics considerations.

It sounds cold, but the poor bastards that get killed are really meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479446)

It sounds cold, but the poor bastards that get killed are really meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

And for that matter, so are you.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479604)

Historicism is bullshit, you don't get material, technological or political progress without the vast majority of folks contributing to society. Empires wane not when leaders make mistakes but when the system is rigged so when leaders make mistakes there is no mechanism to reliably removed them or make them pay for their crimes. The United States is fine till we can't fire those people who would presume to call themselves our bosses, than we are fucked.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479106)

Such a thing might be nice if we had a sane foreign policy or sustainable economic policy but they don't. "Our" country thinks nothing of financially supporting an unpopular dictator (because heaven forbid we have a "communist" third world country!), bombing third world nations into submission, destroying economies because they produce "drugs", and giving aid to corrupt regimes.

Until we fix this situation and focus on having a limited, sustainable and sane government, I don't blame foreign countries from trying to appease us.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479174)

There's no reason why lawmakers should be allowed to take money from non-US citizens

How would you enforce that? How can you verify that none of the people who go around distributing fliers and organizing campaigns and all the ways money is spent in electing a politician have not received money from someone out of the country?

You know, it's not only the money that gets deposited in a bank account that counts.

I beg to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479192)

You americans don't live in a vacuum. What you do affects the whole world. If a politician drives forward an issue that would greatly benefit me (As this is Slashdot, lets say that he opposes ACTA. Other examples could include him supporting tighter weapons treaties, green values or whatnot) I think that it is entirely reasonable that I can send him a donation even if I can't vote for him.

You don't live in a vacuum and many issues are international these days. When a politician makes a decision, he has some moral responsibility towards all the people who his decision affects, not only the ones that were able to vote for him. As such, it is reasonable that all those people can support him.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479304)

Hey, keep it down, or not only will US corporations gain personhood... which they already have... but if they can't grease congress, they'll grant them citizenship so they can!

Is a corporation foreign? What about PR? (2, Insightful)

weston (16146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479788)

Let's assume we ban campaign donations from foreign individuals -- can they give money to citizens who may be sympathetic to their cause? Or organizations formed inside the U.S.?

What about, say, BP, which, though of foreign origination, is a legally recognized entity inside the U.S.? Now that the Citizens United Ruling [scotuswiki.com] has come down, what kind of law will you pass to keep them from spending as money as they like getting people who are sympathetic to them elected this fall?

Even if you manage some way to fence out campaign donations flowing through citizens and businesses -- how will you keep them from spending huge amounts of money on PR firms? Without creating an highly regulated press and broadcast industry... and preserving internet freedoms?

I'm with you that these things are all real and significant problems, worthy of some serious thought about how to fix. I'm just trying to point out that even apparently simply fixes like the idea of banning foreign campaign contributions are harder than they might seem to implement. The problem of the power of money is a deep, deep topic.

Re:Is a corporation foreign? What about PR? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479870)

PACs already have a capped limit for donations. Lobbyists have to register with the government on the federal and (most) state levels. Checks and balances already exist on some (low) level.
 
  Foreign companies are already advertising in mass media (freedom of speech and all that). Money spent on PR firms and advertising funnels money back into the country so I'm not against that. It's the direct lobbying that is an issue and we already have an (admittedly low, with lots of holes in it) fence, but you have to start a groundwork somewhere. If you can cut off 50% of outside international lobbyist influence, you're still letting in 50%, but on the other hand, you've still cut out 50% of international lobbyist influence. Once a law is in place, it's much easier for the ethics committee to point to the law and say "hey what you're doing is wrong". At the very least writing a bill and putting it to a debate and a vote on the house/senate floor gets the discussion going and we can come to some sort of consensus on the subject. I'm sure we could get both sides of the asile on board with this if we advertised that currently Iran, China and North Korea (or even drug-funded terrorist groups) have a perfectly legal avenue to directly influence US legislation and foreign policy.

OT: Only US Citizens can vote in [US] elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479874)

Only US Citizens can vote in elections So why do they count non-citizens in the census?

It's not like Disney World should get an extra congressman just because they have a busy season of visitors, right?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (2, Funny)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479962)

Can we finally close this legal loophole? There's no reason why lawmakers should be allowed to take money

i stopped reading after this.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480110)

Why?

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480448)

lawmakers are supposed to be public servants; they should be payed from government coffers with funds collected from the citizenry. as soon as they're allowed to take money from whomever, they stop serving the public and start serving the guy who signs those checks; when that happens you have a situation where the guys with the most money get to buy the laws.

Re:It's legal for foreign money to be spent lobbyi (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480692)

What would that actually achieve? Surely any foreign lobbyist would simply establish/find a US proxy to funnel the donations? Seems to me that other posters have made better suggestions -- ban lobbying altogether.

Not a coup... (5, Informative)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479014)

attempts of an exiled Sheikh to regain power in a bloodless coup. The plot, led by British solicitor Peter Cathcart, involves the use of Washington political lobbyists, PR agencies writing fake blogs and Twitter accounts, and a newspaper advertising campaign in the US.

That's called politics.

Is there a missing link? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479024)

Because, apart from the Washington lobbyists/PR agencies this is not mentioned anywhere in the link provided.

The headline is misleading. Doesn't look like the internet has anything to do with it.

The plot, led by British solicitor Peter Cathcart, involves the use of Washington political lobbyists, PR agencies writing fake blogs and Twitter accounts, and a newspaper advertising campaign in the US.

Re:Is there a missing link? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479658)

My guess would be to start here: http://twitter.com/sheikhkhalidrak
and here: http://www.rakforthepeople.com/blog/

Captcha: unrest

O RLY? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479048)

...involves the use of Washington political lobbyists, PR agencies writing fake blogs and Twitter accounts, and a newspaper advertising campaign in the US.

"Credibility is a condition of persuasion. Before you can make a man do as you say, you must make him believe what you say." ~ Daniel Lerner

You killed your credibility the moment you made it public, guys. Fail.

Re:O RLY? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479126)

...involves the use of Washington political lobbyists, PR agencies writing fake blogs and Twitter accounts, and a newspaper advertising campaign in the US.

"Credibility is a condition of persuasion. Before you can make a man do as you say, you must make him believe what you say." ~ Daniel Lerner

You killed your credibility the moment you made it public, guys. Fail.

All they have to do is to say "conspiracy theory" and their credibility will magically reappear.

Re:O RLY? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479908)

Next step, make this the plot the line of the next James Bond film. After that you'll have a real hard time convincing the general public that its not true.

use gnu-plot and gnu-coup (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479086)

use gnu-plot and gnu-coup

Re:use gnu-plot and gnu-coup (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479828)

And frankly, I'm getting old enough that I'm probably gonna plot a sedan.

Historically wrong (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479146)

The coup attempt is remarkable in its choice of modern communications and political lobbying, rather than the traditional resort to violence

How is this unique? History has been dotted with bloodless revolutions, The Glorious Revolution in England, the mostly-peaceful resistance to the 1991 soviet coup attempt, resistance to the salt laws in India, etc.

Heck, the majority of successful revolutions have been bloodless. Those that involve wars and the such usually have to fight another war or conflict to solidify the victory. Had the American Revolution been bloodless chances are the War of 1812 wouldn't have happened, etc.

Re:Historically wrong (2, Informative)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479392)

It's an interesting thought. The American "Revolution" was not so much a revolution as a war of independence (as was the American "Civil" War). One succeeded (with important outside help), and one failed. Both were clearly different from real revolutions such as the French Revolution and the October Revolution. I am not sure what bearing, if any, this has on your remark about bloodless revolutions. I think the reason that bloodless revolutions, if successful, seldom have return engagements, is simply that the status quo side is not very committed - else they would not have been bloodless in the first place.

Lobbyists Now! $999.95! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479176)

So US has the best lobbyists. What a surprise. Finally, a product made in the U.S.A.

Dear Sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479230)

Dear Sir/Madame

I am the crown prince of Ras al-Khaimah and I need your help! I have recently been exiled from my country and am planning a bloodless coup to return to power. If you help me by mentioning me in your blog or Twitter account, I will send you the sum of $1,000,000 (one million) zeny that is in the royal coffers when I am returned to power!

I eagerly await your reply.

non-violence? (1, Funny)

stms (1132653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479270)

Why do they always have to resort to non-violence why can't they just kick their ass.

We know how the original pitch went (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479374)

Dear Sir,

I am the ousted prince of an Arab Emerite, in possession of $22 million US dollars, and need your assistance in transfering those funds into another account. If you help me, a payment of $220,000 US dollars will be transferred to you for you5r help.

If you are interested, please visit http://www.scams-r-us.com/ [scams-r-us.com] .

Sincerely,
Sheikh Khalid, Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah

Coups in the paywall age... (5, Funny)

incubbus13 (1631009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479376)

I bet nobody in that country notices the coup. Damn paywalls.

K.

that's UAE's internal matter (2, Insightful)

keeboo (724305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479462)

This looks more an internal power struggle. Why should any other country be involved?

The article says the champaign claims that UAE "a rogue state and gateway for Iran", while it's conveniently forgotten that before 2003 there was already Al-Qaeda money in transit there.
The sheik-whatever seems to be playing the US fears towards Iran too, that's very convenient.

Most worrying, is the fact the presence of "regime change" referring to the attempt of that sheik's return, while expecting support from the US (since he's sympathetic to that country). Sounds familiar?
Nowhere in the article I could see the wishes of UAE's people being considered. But that's a minor detail, it seems.

people they dont need stinkin people (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479714)

sheep thats all we need baaaaaaaa

Re:that's UAE's internal matter (2, Insightful)

mallydobb (1785726) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480658)

I agree with you completely. Seems that this enterprising man discovered that if you can claim your country has connections to terrorism, Iran, being roguish, and is otherwise a junior member of the Axis of Evil then you can get the US ad Britain to help you overthrow the government. As you said, playing off the fears of the US. We have no business being involved with a spoiled baby who is mad because the family cut off his 'trust fund'.

I RTFA and no reference to Twitter or blogs (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479632)

Where did the new media angle come from?

Similar to "The Whole Truth" by David Baldacci (2, Interesting)

whitefox (16740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480052)

I just finished reading a fictional book with a similar plot. In summary, a defense contractor wishes to restart the cold and so hires a "perception management" (PM) consultant to whip up world hysteria against Russia via the internet by utilizing fake blogs & news reports.

Stranger than fiction (2, Insightful)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480258)

If Garry Trudeau had put this into Doonesbury ("Duke's PR Coup"), his readers might have accused him of going too far off the deep end.

Business as usual (2, Insightful)

Hunter761 (1444301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480380)

Sounds a lot like the way politics is played in America. Looks like we just exported it.

This has been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480480)

This is more or less how Israel was formed, right? Except the propaganda blogs were so old-school low-tech that they were called the Old Testament.

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