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Wikileaks and Democracy In Zimbabwe

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the loose-ips dept.

Government 669

OCatenac writes "The Atlantic has an interesting story on the collateral damage of exposing diplomatic communications in Zimbabwe. From the article: 'The reaction in Zimbabwe was swift. Zimbabwe's Mugabe-appointed attorney general announced he was investigating the Prime Minister on treason charges based exclusively on the contents of the leaked cable. While it's unlikely Tsvangirai could be convicted on the contents of the cable alone, the political damage has already been done. The cable provides Mugabe the opportunity to portray Tsvangirai as an agent of foreign governments working against the people of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, it could provide Mugabe with the pretense to abandon the coalition government that allowed Tsvangirai to become prime minister in 2009.' Undoubtedly there are lots of things that our governments hide from us which should not be hidden but it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure."

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Mugabe (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704008)

Why exactly some decent Western power has had that vile repugnant monster Mugabe filled so full of holes you could use him as a soup strainer is beyond me. That incompetent tyrant has turned Africa's breadbasket into a ill-run starving madhouse.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704032)

That is one robust politician...

Unless you meant to throw a "hasn't" in there somewhere. In which case would the relevant Western power still be decent?

Re:Mugabe (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704304)

That is one robust politician...

Unless you meant to throw a "hasn't" in there somewhere. In which case would the relevant Western power still be decent?

I think he did, and yes it would. Better though, if it could be done via fair elections. But that was the original problem. The next step would be to bring them about through the pressures brought by sanctions by other nations. But thanks to the leak, that will not now be possible.

The question then becomes, what are the next steps? They're likely to be less pleasant for all.

Information wants to be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704038)

Why exactly some decent Western power has [not] had that vile repugnant monster Mugabe filled so full of holes you could use him as a soup strainer is beyond me. That incompetent tyrant has turned Africa's breadbasket into a ill-run starving madhouse.

They were going to, but the assasination plan was leaked on the Internet.

Re:Mugabe (1, Troll)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704050)

yep and wikileaks gave him some more ammo. Just what such a person needs.

But Lord High Julian never made a mistake and ALLL information needs to be free ALL the time.

Derp. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704128)

But Lord High Julian never made a mistake and ALLL information needs to be free ALL the time.

When it comes to my government once again fucking about in a country it has no business meddling with, absolutely.

Re:Derp. (0)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704322)

But Lord High Julian never made a mistake and ALLL information needs to be free ALL the time.

When it comes to my government once again fucking about in a country it has no business meddling with, absolutely.

Wow. Just wow. So you are saying that you don't give two shits about another country if they don't have oil or some other readily exploitable resource?

Re:Derp. (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704424)

Best red herring I've seen today!

Re:Derp. (0)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704504)

By best I take it you mean you are unable to come up with a legitimate response, right?

Re:Derp. (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704480)

No, it sounds to me like he is saying that his government (which I suspect we share) has no business mucking about in the internal politics of other sovereign nations, PERIOD, even *if* they have oil or other readily exploitable resources, a sentiment with which I rather tend to agree.

Re:Mugabe (5, Insightful)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704184)

Mugabe doesn't NEED ammo. Do you think he's survived all these years because of legal niceties and the ability to prosecute people on facts? He don't need no stinkin' facts! He's a dictator and dictators have never needed facts to support their case. The fact that this ONE time the facts give him some support is irrelevant. The implication of your comment is that its Wikileaks' fault (specifically "Lord High Julian") that Zimbabwe will now continue to be under dictatorial rule. Bullshit.

He will continue to rule for as long as the people of Zimbabwe do not rise up and thrown the bum out. If the people of Zimbabwe are more concerned at Tsvangirai's connections to Western powers than Mugabe's rape of the nation then that tells you what their priorities are. The western powers are even less interested in Mugabe than they are Kim Jong Il and even if they were - it ain't their job to tell other peoples how to run their states.

Re:Mugabe (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704296)

He will continue to rule for as long as the people of Zimbabwe do not rise up and thrown the bum out.

And they are far less likely to do that if the only voice of reform is painted as a western puppet and a traitor.

But yeah, you're right, I'm sure wikileaks is completely innocent... they can't *possibly* fuck up.

Re:Mugabe (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704364)

Mugabe is just a thug. I agree that the people of Zimbabwe need to stand up. A few days ago he threatened war if sanctions were not lifted against the country. Also Zimbabwe was kicked out of the commonweath list of countries. Sooner or later this guy will stop oppressing the people of Zimbabwe, people will have freedom once again in the Country.

Just like free Nelson Mandela!

Re:Mugabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704196)

If the crew running he US had not tried to close up the country so much that leaks suddenly were in demand then we'd all be thinking Assange is some exotic fruit, and this would never happened.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704282)

yep and wikileaks gave him some more ammo. Just what such a person needs.

But Lord High Julian never made a mistake and ALLL information needs to be free ALL the time.

*gasp* You left off "His Almighty Exalted Highness"! HERETIC! OUTSIDER! Someone get to work DDoSing him! Hurry! Bring the torches and pitchforks to his house! Mob rule is just rule! Mob rule is just rule! Mob rule is just rule!

Re:Mugabe (2)

multisync (218450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704372)

But Lord High Julian never made a mistake and ALLL information needs to be free ALL the time.

All of the cables published on the WikiLeaks website - a little over a thousand the last time I checked - were first vetted and published by one of the five newspapers they partnered with. So it's not "ALLL" information as you state, it's a small fraction of all of the cables that were submitted to Wikileaks.

And if you feel some of what *was* published should not have been, maybe you should take it up with the newspaper that made the decision to publish it.

Re:Mugabe (5, Insightful)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704090)

"Why exactly [hasn't] some decent Western power has had [sic] that vile repugnant monster Mugabe filled so full of holes you could use him as a soup strainer is beyond me.

Because you cannot bring about Democracy by force. Either the people are ready for it or they are not, and the single best test of "are they ready" is that they overthrow the tyrant (bonus points for NOT filling him full of holes, but trying him in a civilized manner).

If "some decent Western power" fills the sovereign leader of a foreign country full of holes, they immediately invalidate the adjective "decent".

Moreover, since the people aren't ready for Democracy, the result will just be the rise of a new tyrant.

Re:Mugabe (1, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704268)

Some people can only be removed by force, and will keep killing until they are killed. Mugabe is one of them. If the citizens don't have the firepower to do it, it is the moral duty of someone who can to do it. I'm all for arresting him and giving him a fair trial, but I also will not shed a tear if he is killed while resisting arrest.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704348)

Because you cannot bring about Democracy by force. Either the people are ready for it or they are not, and the single best test of "are they ready" is that they overthrow the tyrant

Well I would like to believe in that myth, but I doubt that this is a universal rule and I think the ability to overthrow tyrants depends a lot more on the state of warfare technologies than on the willpower of the people. France, USA, had it easy to revolt at the era of the riffle. At this time, a riffle in a hand was worth another riffle in a hand. Numbers gave victory and thus, military victory was often democratic as well. Nowadays you can exterminate protestors with a few assault tanks [wikipedia.org] . You have to have an organized rebel army if you want to overthrow a dictator's army. A rebel army is often very different from a popular uprising. The only recent success in popular uprising happened in situations where the government was strong but not harsh enough to cause tens of thousands of deaths in its own population.

We have to face it : the era of successful armed popular uprising was a specific time window that is now passed. It is now the role of outside democracies to help people fight their dictators. As "slippery slope" as it is and has proven to be, this is the only way left to overthrow dictators.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704452)

"

Because you cannot bring about Democracy by force.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but didn't the USA bring about democracy by force? Removing a tyrant from power and replacing that power with democracy will always require force.

However, I will agree with your assessment that if a 'decent Western power' does the perforation of holes, they do in fact invalidate the adjective "decent".

I suspect that you meant to say "Because you cannot force a country into democracy by waging war on their tyrant of a leader." Although, gauging by the current situation in Iraq, even that is a questionable statement. Time will tell.

Re:Mugabe (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704460)

Germany was ready for democracy, but it took western powers to deal with that tyrant.

It's not an error where you will have to musket opposing groups shooting it out. It's an era where when the people arise, the get squashed with helicopter, bombs, fire, machine guns and tanks.

People also need the tool. Contrary to what you seem to think, it's a complex issue.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704466)

Because you cannot bring about Democracy by force. Either the people are ready for it or they are not, and the single best test of "are they ready" is that they overthrow the tyrant (bonus points for NOT filling him full of holes, but trying him in a civilized manner)

Perhaps you can't bring democracy by force, but you can prepare them for it, as the UK proved in India and Hong Kong. We'll have to watch Iraq to see if the original premise is proved false or not.

Well, wait. If we consider the cases of Germany and Japan, actually, they prove pretty definitively that you can bring democracy as a result of bringing force.

Re:Mugabe (5, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704496)

Guess you missed most of the world shifting to democracy. Shifting to democracy wasn't love, hugs, and cookies. It was violent, unbelievably so. France slaughtered royalty and politicians alike. In the UK they were drawing magistrates in the streets. The US not only fought the British, but threw them out. India's shift was very violent as well, so was pakistan's. Israel's was the same. Oh lets not forget Argentina either.

People can be ready and want democracy. The shift to give people rights beyond what the government(royalty, or dictatorships), was violent everywhere. So yes, you can bring democracy by force. In fact, most of the democratic world was brought into existence by force. It's the erosion of democracy that's silent.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704112)

Yes, that's certainly worked out well in the past. I'm sure if you look back at history, every time a tyrant was killed, a really nice guy rose up to take his place...

Re:Mugabe (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704126)

Sorta like Saddam Hussein and his sons running Iraq. But Jesus, did America catch hell for doing something about it. We still are.

If it's one thing I've learned, dictators are protected by larger nations so that they may be used like pawns and creating stalemates in global diplomacy. Nice huh?

Re:Mugabe (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704226)

Sorta like Saddam Hussein and his sons running Iraq. But Jesus, did America catch hell for doing something about it. We still are.

We caught hell for that because we put Saddam in power and supported him for decades. When you have to take out the same guy you put in, it makes the game itself look ridiculous. All the players hate it when you make the game look ridiculous.

If it's one thing I've learned, dictators are protected by larger nations so that they may be used like pawns and creating stalemates in global diplomacy. Nice huh?

We are one of the worst offenders in that regard.

Re:Mugabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704344)

No, because sane, rational people realize that alliances change. The whole "Der, howcum we oppose guy we support before?" pseudo-argument is the blithering of fuckheads who do realize that things change over time. We used to be at war with Germany. Should we have continued hostilities forever?

If you think the US is so horrible, go join someone else and fight against the US.

What? You're going to sit there in your pampered, comfy Western lifestyle and just armchair quarterback instead from hyper-simplistic, kindergarten-level viewpoints? Oh, OK.

Re:Mugabe (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704486)

We caught hell for that because we put Saddam in power and supported him for decades.

Even if that were true, what would be the more rational response:

1. "Alright, you guys finally got smart and decided to remove the bastard! Good job!"
2. "LEAVE THAT EVIL DICTATOR ALONE!!!" .... well?

We are one of the worst offenders in that regard.

Well duh. Larger, more powerful nations nations have more influence around the world - Film at 11!

Re:Mugabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704506)

Saddam was a Soviet client. We did not put him in power. They did not want to deal with the Brits which threw them to the krauts before WWII and to the Soviets after WWII. That made us almost as distasteful. Most of their Western trade was with France and Germany. We jumped on the bandwagon late in the game and only because Iran was a bigger problem. The Soviets found it hard to keep our influence completely out since they were busy fucking up Afghanistan and pissing off the Pakistanis. It would have been idiotic to completely ignore Iraq when we had an opportunity to stick out foot in the door.

The OP has an interesting point about stalemates in global diplomacy. Perhaps you should review what happened in 1914 when one such stalemate suddenly collapsed.

It's called Pax Americana for a reason. Peace. You better be ready to replace it with something more functional, because if you just want to tear it down because you're butthurt, you better go dig your won grave--you'll be needing it. No, that's neither a threat from an American, nor from me. It's from history. Read it.

Re:Mugabe (0)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704288)

What part of "it's all about the oil" did you miss? You thought the Iraq war was to unseat the unholy Hussein? No. This was about oil, and Geo Bush's vendetta. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Here was just one more murderous dictator... but this one had oil that Georgie needed. Mugabe doesn't have any oil that we know of, or we'd have been there by now.

Re:Mugabe (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704352)

And now that Saddam is gone, Iraq is enjoying democracy in all its glory? I seem to have missed that happening.

Re:Mugabe (1)

godless dave (844089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704376)

Yes, we caught hell for it, and rightfully so, because removing a violent dictator is not a legitimate reason for going to war. Mugabe is doing terrible things to Zimbabwe, and that sucks, but that doesn't mean it's OK for foreign countries to go in and kill a bunch of Zimbabwe's citizens and try to impose some other kind of government.

Re:Mugabe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704156)

"some decent Western power" ... any examples? . Besides, asking for a "decent" country to "fill full of holes" a foreign head of state, isn't a bit contradictory? Where would the decency be on that? Since when do "Western powers" have the right/duty to meddle/kill on foreign countries? Mugabe is an African issue, not a Western issue.

Re:Mugabe (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704170)

Funny how we shift the blame here. And funny how no mention is made of the fact that all the diplomatic cables were redacted by the five newspapers Assange pre-released the cables to. No, it is not Mugabe or the papers who are to blame here, it is that rapist Assange again. The spin and manipulation seem so blatant to me, so orchestrated, that it amazes me how few people seem to notice the man behind the curtain.

Re:Mugabe (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704286)

Precisely. Don't blame a thug dictator. Don't blame his sponsors.

Pathetic. The man behind the curtain is certainly in the right, isn't he? Ha!

Re:Mugabe (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704320)

Just try searching the web for info on the author of that hit-piece at the Atlantic.

Nothing very old -- even though he was a freelance web designer for four years. Articles in support of the US military as a diplomatic force. Articles regarding internet security. Close ties to the Navy.

I'm calling it right now -- Christopher R. Albon is a government mouthpiece. I'd be willing to bet he's on the payroll of some TLA.

Re:Mugabe (0)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704400)

It is really quite instructive to watch the machine in action, isn't it?

Re:Mugabe (2, Insightful)

kalirion (728907) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704384)

Assange is to blame as well.

To invoke Godwin's Law, would you have supported a leak of where all the Jews were hiding in Nazi Germany? Only the Nazis would be to blame for what happens next, right?

Re:Mugabe (5, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704544)

Assange is to blame as well.

To invoke Godwin's Law, would you have supported a leak of where all the Jews were hiding in Nazi Germany? Only the Nazis would be to blame for what happens next, right?

No, but if diplomatic secrets were given to party A, and party A went to five separate well known and well respected papers to redact those diplomatic secrets, and people were then harmed by unredacted material, I would blame the papers, not the person who went to the papers. You do realize that Assange, responding to criticism that he was not redacting confidential information, made a deal with five venerable papers of record in various countries, and gave them the cables to redact, right? So Assange is still not to blame, the papers are. Nice attempt at deflection though.

Re:Mugabe (2)

bitShift105946 (1967608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704258)

That incompetent tyrant has turned Africa's breadbasket into a ill-run starving madhouse.

Call Mugabe anything you want, goodness knows he deserves it but don't call a place a starving madhouse unless you have anything other than hyped up and horrendously biased Western media stories to prove it.

Re:Mugabe (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704382)

Nice job, you Brits did.

Re:Mugabe (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704410)

Do they have oil in that country?

wrong way round (2)

lkcl (517947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704100)

"it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure."

NO. WRONG.

it's a shame that no-one criticising wikileaks realises that mugabe is an insane criminal and murderer who will take advantage of *anything*.

it takes wikileaks reporting to expose mugabe by "triggering" him to act out his true (insane) nature, for the world to observe how inappropriate a leader he really is.

the days of living in the shadows are over, and the leaders and dictators of the world, as well as the rest of us, need to wake up and realise this.

Re:wrong way round (0, Troll)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704202)

NO. WRONG.

Wrong how? WikiLeaks leaked private communications between a force for reform in Zimbabwe and western nations. Those communications may have irreparably damaged efforts at reform by giving Mugabe and his thugs material to discredit reformers.

It seems blatantly obvious that the actions of wikileaks are to blame here. Yes, I understand, you want to believe wikileaks is pure as the driven snow and immune from all blame. But guess what? This is a *perfect* example of how *some* politics *does* need to go on behind closed doors, and that *some* amount of secrecy is, in fact, necessary.

it's a shame that no-one criticising wikileaks realises that mugabe is an insane criminal and murderer who will take advantage of *anything*.

I'm sure they're quite aware of that. But how does that excuse wikileaks from handing a gun and some ammunition to said insane criminal?

Seriously, you apologists baffle me. Why can't you just admit that wikileaks, to put it succinctly, fucked up?

it takes wikileaks reporting to expose mugabe by "triggering" him to act out his true (insane) nature, for the world to observe how inappropriate a leader he really is.

Oh, yes yes, no one realized that before... jackass.

This isn't about the world and what they think of Mugabe. This is about Mugabe's actions as a dictator within his nation. The man can now, quite legitimately, demonstrate that those people fighting for reform in Zimbabwe were, in fact, *supportive* of sanctions that have hurt the Zimbabwean people. Are those sanctions ultimately necessary? Sadly, yes. But now those reformers look like tools of the west, and Mugabe can use that to attack the voices of reform as traitors. That helps no one but Mugabe.

In short, you're a naive, apologist twat. Grow up. The world is a lot more complex than it might appear from your mom's basement.

Re:wrong way round (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704316)

Are those sanctions ultimately necessary? Sadly, yes.

Oh really? They didn't work in Iraq and decades of sanctions haven't worked in Cuba.

Maybe it should be up to the people to decide. If the country's best hope for democracy was himself willing to lie to his own constituency and essentially sacrifice them for his greater good, maybe he wasn't all that much of a reformer to begin with.

Re:wrong way round (0)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704378)

Maybe it should be up to the people to decide. If the country's best hope for democracy was himself willing to lie to his own constituency and essentially sacrifice them for his greater good, maybe he wasn't all that much of a reformer to begin with.

That certainly worked well for the Nazis, the Taliban, countless African dictatorships, Tibet, North Korea... Yes, turning a blind eye, this is a good plan I'm sure.

Re:wrong way round (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704500)

Sorry, I don't understand your point.. You appear to be equating "turning a blind eye" to requiring that democratic reformers adhere to basic principles of democracy. I don't see the connection.

Re:wrong way round (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704342)

WikiLeaks leaked private communications between a force for reform in Zimbabwe and western nations. Those communications may have irreparably damaged efforts at reform by giving Mugabe and his thugs material to discredit reformers.

You seriously think that a crazed psychopath like Mugabe needs actual, real facts to discredit his opponents?

In any case, what would you think if a politician in your country was conspiring with foreign governments to block trade with your country in order to gain political power? I think I'd be a bit pissed at them, myself.

Re:wrong way round (1, Informative)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704540)

WikiLeaks leaked private communications between a force for reform in Zimbabwe and western nations. Those communications may have irreparably damaged efforts at reform by giving Mugabe and his thugs material to discredit reformers.

You seriously think that a crazed psychopath like Mugabe needs actual, real facts to discredit his opponents?

In any case, what would you think if a politician in your country was conspiring with foreign governments to block trade with your country in order to gain political power? I think I'd be a bit pissed at them, myself.

Are you completely insane or just someone with a reading comprehension problem? Mugabe could be as crazy as he liked but the leaked documents made him aware of what someone in the government was doing. He was not psychic you fool. Wikileaks has jeopardized the reform movement in that country.

Re:wrong way round (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704356)

Regrettably, other countries have the right to exist and to do things their way - meaning, in a way not pleasing to the United States. Saying that someone has a right to do whatever they want but only if its something you want them to do isn't much of a right.

Either Mugabe is a rightful head of state and should be respected as such, or we should 'honestly' and openly invade. Or declare Zimbabwe to be a vassal state of the US over the (presumed) will of its people. Sure, this is an easy case to point to, but when it comes to other people's rights to be different, its worth observing these things in extremis as well as when its easy (similar to the ACLU defending the KKK's right to proclaim their opposition to others' civil liberties).

Re:wrong way round (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704392)

Regrettably, other countries have the right to exist and to do things their way - meaning, in a way not pleasing to the United States. Saying that someone has a right to do whatever they want but only if its something you want them to do isn't much of a right.

Either Mugabe is a rightful head of state and should be respected as such, or we should 'honestly' and openly invade. Or declare Zimbabwe to be a vassal state of the US over the (presumed) will of its people. Sure, this is an easy case to point to, but when it comes to other people's rights to be different, its worth observing these things in extremis as well as when its easy (similar to the ACLU defending the KKK's right to proclaim their opposition to others' civil liberties).

And in fact, to turn it around, let's say that the Speaker of the House was found to be taking direction from, say, Saudi Arabia. Even if it was designed to result in free oil for everyone for life, wouldn't you, as a citizen, want to know about it? Assuming you're from the US, of course. That's no different than always assuming that what's right for one strong country must therefore be right for other, weaker countries.

Re:wrong way round (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704472)

Regrettably, other countries have the right to exist and to do things their way - meaning, in a way not pleasing to the United States.

Jesus Christ, "not pleasing to the United States"? What the fuck is wrong with you? Mugabe's contemporaries are Stalin, Mao, and Hitler. He's not some poor misunderstood soul that the US is out to get. The man is a butcher and a madman.

Either Mugabe is a rightful head of state and should be respected as such, or we should 'honestly' and openly invade.

So those are the only two options. To acknowledge the dictator, or roll in with the military.

Genius.

You should be running American foreign policy with an attitude like that.

Re:wrong way round (2, Insightful)

NEW22 (137070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704362)

Dude, don't be such a dick.

If you don't understand, basically I mean: You disagree with somebody about something. Rather than just make your point, you go on with the "...jackass" "You're a naive, apologist twat. Grow up." Infer the poster live's in him mom's basement, and that's so pathetic, etc. Basically, you just acted like a dick. You showed no respect or manners.

Please don't. It makes the world suck more for no good reason.

Re:wrong way round (-1, Troll)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704444)

The original post was *highly* inflammatory. I responded in kind. If you don't like it, you don't have to read what I write.

Re:wrong way round (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704398)

Calling people a twat and telling them to grow up proves the immaturity of any argument you're trying to make. If the people of that country are pissed off by the actions of their leaders then blaming the people who told them about those actions is the same as shooting the messenger. When you decide to get past the name calling and other third grade behaviors then perhaps your arguments will be taken seriously, until then you come off as an angry, ill-informed and immature loud mouth.

Re:wrong way round (1)

godless dave (844089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704436)

If you really think the US is a force for reform in Zimbabwe or anywhere else then you need to send me some of what you are smoking.

Re:wrong way round (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704482)

Seriously, you apologists baffle me. Why can't you just admit that wikileaks, to put it succinctly, fucked up?

Because I don't think they have?

I don't have this simplistic idea of that democracy automatically fixes everything and must be installed everywhere by any means possible. Democracy is awesome, but people must actually want it. Otherwise, well, just look at Iraq to see how well that goes.

Besides, isn't this democracy in action? Tsvangirai adopted a position that his country considers very unpopular. The people seem to be responding by kicking his ass. Democracy!

Tell me, what would you think if it turned out that Bush or Obama (or whoever you prefer) got elected due to a deal like that? Are you really okay with your side winning by using any dirty tricks and subterfuge available to it?

Re:wrong way round (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704330)

No kidding...according to you, only thanks to wikileaks, the world knows mugabe is a nightmare?

Can't you see how much you're kidding yourself? If by exposing all secrets you destroy those in perilous situations that need to have some cover?

How cool would it be if during WII every US or British secret was outed? Think the Nazis would have appreciated that? Think things are completely different now?

Thanks Ass-age

Re:wrong way round (1)

Zot Quixote (548930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704360)

Look, I understand the ideal you're going for, but the world isn't cookie cutter perfect. Are you really going to adhere to your ideals when real lives are at stake?

In addition, I'm concerned with the fragile peace in Iraq. It may be inevitable that Iraq will descend into civil war, but the cables probably don't help matters.

Yes but it goes deeper .. (2)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704532)

These charges [guardian.co.uk] are mostly just to distract the media from Mugabe's involvment with blood diamonds [upi.com] , but it's not obviously working. [guardian.co.uk]

We've also got lovely summaries of Mugabe's criminality by U.S. ambassadors [wordpress.com] .

Btw, the 'sanctions' being discussed don't hurt people beyond Mugabe's immediate circle.

Re:wrong way round (4, Interesting)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704546)

it takes wikileaks reporting to expose mugabe by "triggering" him to act out his true (insane) nature, for the world to observe how inappropriate a leader he really is.

To further that argument, remember that when we uncovered abuse of tortures at Gitmo, we were told that there were terrorists who would now know what kind of interrogation techniques we use and would train their operatives to resist those techniques. We were told that we needed to keep our interrogation processes secret in the name of national security. And to some extent, there's some truth in that - if terrorists want to be arrested and made into martyrs, it helps to know how your captors will deal with you.

I don't know how I feel about this particular incident. I think there's a lot in the latest batch of WL releases that the public deserve to know, while a lot of it is just backroom chatter and face-saving things said behind doors that could've just been let there alone. But I absolutely hate this argument that we can't uncover the truth about things because TEH BAD PEOPLE will use that information against us.

Number one, the bad people will always find something that they can use to fuel their propaganda. You're not going to stop the bad people by keeping these things secret. Number two, if you give people a freedom, then some people will use it for bad purposes. You give people the right to bear arms, then some people are going to get shot. Some people will say that if you ban guns, then only the criminals will have guns, and I sympathize with that argument. I would say that if we don't have information getting out to people about how their governments are functioning, then only the government itself will know how it is functioning.

I want to quote a paragraph from TFA here: Zimbabwe's Mugabe-appointed attorney general announced he was investigating the Prime Minister on treason charges based exclusively on the contents of the leaked cable. While it's unlikely Tsvangirai could be convicted on the contents of the cable alone, the political damage has already been done. The cable provides Mugabe the opportunity to portray Tsvangirai as an agent of foreign governments working against the people of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, it could provide Mugabe with the pretense to abandon the coalition government that allowed Tsvangirai to become prime minister in 2009.

What that paragraph says to me is - Mugabe is still in control, and if Wikileaks hadn't exposed this bit of dirt on one of his rivals, then it still would have happened for the first bit of negative information he could uncover. On top of that, the author of the post isn't talking about a loss of support for the prime minister that's already happened - he's predicting everything that's going to happen in the future, so there's no direct guarantee that the whole coalition government is about to collapse. It's terrible that Zimbabwe could be back in trouble again - not new trouble, just the trouble that was already there and was simmering quietly - but I still find blaming Wikileaks for this trouble to be the equivalent of blaming a pebble for the avalanche.

Public vs. Private Policy (1)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704102)

Someone made a comment on a previous story about how this is "diplomacy". But how can a democracy work if the officials involved are all lying to the people? We need to work towards a government that doesn't lie to it's own citizens for fear of embarrassment and/or losing power. It is unfortunate that an evil person is taking advantage of a liar, but blame the specific politicians/liars involved, not Wikileaks!

Re:Public vs. Private Policy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704192)

Someone made a comment on a previous story about how this is "diplomacy". But how can a democracy work if the officials involved are all lying to the people? We need to work towards a government that doesn't lie to it's own citizens for fear of embarrassment and/or losing power. It is unfortunate that an evil person is taking advantage of a liar, but blame the specific politicians/liars involved, not Wikileaks!

There's a difference between lying and not disclosing. (And yes, there's also a difference between "not disclosing" and "lying through omission.")

It's unbelievably naive to assume that you can always be open and honest in your dealings and expect to survive. Unfortunately, it's the democratic nations that are vulnerable to untimely disclosures...the totalitarian regimes don't care.

Re:They're mixing up the terms (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704284)

I don't see how they've managed to call this undemocratic - nothing undemocratic has been done yet. Even though your or I might dislike Mugabe, him gaining popular support is part of the democratic process. It's the exact point of democracy. I am surprised at how they manage to label this as undemocratic when just as bad smear campaigns make the local television stations in the US.

What happened was Anti-American. Not Anti-Democracy. People need to stop using Freedom, Democracy, Liberty, and other similar terms as synonyms for America. Mugabe would be a fool to scrap the democratic process if he had popular support of the people, and any under-handed rigging for the next elections he might set up could be just as possible in the States as anywhere else.

It's funny, as AG he brings up charges against the Prime Minister which might have been, in fact, not in the interest of the Zimbabwe people (knowing how the US likes to exploit developing nations and all that).

However, worse crimes are done by US Officials and the judicial system does nearly nothing about it. I wonder which state is actually more democratic right now.

Re:They're mixing up the terms (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704428)

What happened was Anti-American. Not Anti-Democracy. People need to stop using Freedom, Democracy, Liberty, and other similar terms as synonyms for America.

Well said, sir. And I believe correct on both counts.

Re:Public vs. Private Policy (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704442)

Your faulty assumption is that every nation we deal with is a democracy.

Zimbabwe is officially a democracy, and reformers were working towards making that more of a reality. Unfortunately, that goal is now set back quite a bit.

Ellsberg actually redacted diplomatic cables (2, Insightful)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704116)

While Ellsberg supports Assange and what they are trying to do, in actuality he redacted many names and even entire sections of diplomatic reports that assessed the allies of the US who were secretly supporting the Vietnam war, like Poland.

He felt he wasn't doing the world any favors by exposing the murky dealings and backroom pacts that make the globe spin, and may delay his goal of a swift end to the Vietnam war.

Assange has no goal, and that is part of his problem. His treatise is to make the world more open, as if the very nature of classified conversations and secret deals between nations offends him, so he is to bring a giant flashlight to things regardless of what happens.

He has some very large bombshells to drop, such as I believe he has documents which tie Bank Of America to the Feds knowing that CDOs had no accountability, and that most mortage notes didn't have legal basis, and then of course TARP money - much of which is unaccounted for despite being taxpayer money. But like his bombshells that showed US helecopters attacking what may or may not have been journalists in the street, it did nothing. Nothing has changed despite Manning smuggling that video from the Apache gunning those guys down, including wasting their van that had children in it. I don't think it altered the US Army's engagement policy one iota.

Despite all these findings he has, nothing will change and his duress which may cause him to continue to reveal all kinds of things without edit, he simply WILL cause collateral damage. The question is, is it worth it? To see how the bankers and the financiers and the heads of state control the world and the wealth in the world? Will it REALLY help democracy and display capitalism's flaws? Haven't we known that since Marx?

I hope Assange or his followers continues, but does do more selective editing. the truth is not always its' own reward, as we are now seeing.

Re:Ellsberg actually redacted diplomatic cables (5, Interesting)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704224)

While Ellsberg supports Assange and what they are trying to do, in actuality he redacted many names and even entire sections of diplomatic reports that assessed the allies of the US who were secretly supporting the Vietnam war, like Poland.

Assange (or whoever at his organization) also redacts names from the majority of Wikileaks releases, generally except where the names are of public figures.

The question is, is it worth it? To see how the bankers and the financiers and the heads of state control the world and the wealth in the world? Will it REALLY help democracy and display capitalism's flaws? Haven't we known that since Marx?

This is the most cynical, hopeless thing I have ever heard. It's essentially an admittance of defeat. You're saying, we may as well let the government and the corporations operate in secret, because we know that exposing their crimes won't do any good anyway. And the sad thing is, you might be right.

Re:Ellsberg actually redacted diplomatic cables (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704240)

assessed the allies of the US who were secretly supporting the Vietnam war, like Poland.

Poland was our ally and secretly supported us in the Vietnam War (1965-1975)? Wait, what?

Re:Ellsberg actually redacted diplomatic cables (2)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704254)

Didn't the Anonymous attacks get more publicity after Wikileaks? People are slowly moving over and listening, but a problem is that most for profit media in a state of crisis is state run media. Do you honestly think CNN or Fox News is going to keep a story about soldiers taking out kids or journalists?

When the media brushes serious incidents under the carpet, most of America is dumb enough to do the same. It is unfortunate, really, but eventually, one of these leaks is going to stick.

If you are a political power, maybe you shouldn't be a total douche. If not, places like WikiLeaks will continue to just push out document after document showing it

Re:Ellsberg actually redacted diplomatic cables (1)

godless dave (844089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704408)

Wikileaks also redacts cables.

Vulnerable (1)

Atari400 (1174925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704120)

How many Prime Ministers would not be vulnerable at the ballot box for supporting sanctions against their own country?

WikiLeaks didn't set back democracy in Zimbabwe (5, Insightful)

ConaxConax (1886430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704124)

There will be never be democracy in Zimbabwe with Mugabe in power.

Re:WikiLeaks didn't set back democracy in Zimbabwe (1, Insightful)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704474)

Good thing that cable was leaked then. Now Mugabe can beat back the reformers again.

Sacrifice (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704134)

...it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure.

Yeah, and it's a damn shame that a surgeon hit and killed someone on his way to a life-saving surgery. Just as unfortunate that thousands died in the Revolutionary War so America could become independent.

Bad things can happen during the commission of a good thing. It sucks, but that's life for you.

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704144)

It's too bad this might happen, but it makes sense. If what you want freedom of information this is the consequence. You can't say that you only want the information released that will justify your own morals or political agenda. That's the job of dictators and some governments.

News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704146)

What does this story have to do with news for nerds or affect my rights online in any way?

The fact is that zimbabwe is a basket case ruled by a dying dictator. It's been well known Mugabe was going to take back all the power to himself someway somehow

The face wikileaks came out with this just gives him a convenient excuse now.

I had no idea there was democracy in Zimbabwe (4, Insightful)

kaptink (699820) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704150)

I had no idea there was democracy in Zimbabwe. I was under the impression that Robert Mugabe bullied his way into power and has fixed it so he never leaves? Is this not right?

nope, wrong logic on what morality is (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704152)

do we blame the woman and her short dress for her being raped?

do we blame the parents and their inattentiveness for their child being molested?

of course you should be modest in the wrong places and you should pay attention to your children's whereabouts, but you blame transgressions on transgressors, and the transgressors alone, 100%. this is the only way morality can be read: blame always falls 100% on the criminal, not the victim

if i leave $100 on my front porch, i'm an idiot. but the guy who goes on my front porch, and takes something which is clearly not his and on someone else's property: that's a crime, and he's the criminal. there is a difference between evil and stupid, and you don't blame the victim, no matter how stupid they are. innocence IS stupidity: not understanding the danger of transgressive criminals in the world at large. you blame the criminal, always and completely, or you simply don't understand what morality is. morality is about protecting the victim, not prosecuting them

likewise, you can say that those who support wikileaks are naive, idealistic, and unsophisticated in their hamfisted approach to world affairs and transparency. but they are not evil, and they aren't criminals, they're just dumb and unsophisticated in their reading of how wikileaks will be used by evil men. and so, blaming the naive and foolish for what someone clearly evil like mugabe does is not morality. who deserves the blame for what mugabe does because of wikileaks? answer: mugabe, and only mugabe. he is the criminal, and zimbabweans are the victims, and wikileaks is just a convenient excuse like "well, its her fault, look at her dress" or "where were the parents?"

unfortunately, those who don't understand the difference between weakness and evil, will accept mugabe's lame argument. understand true morality: you don't blame wikileaks for what evil people do. of course it would be nice to have some awareness of evil people and their predictable actions, but evil people, and evil people alone, still shoulder 100% of the blame. that's the only view compatible with morality

Re:nope, wrong logic on what morality is (1, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704260)

do we blame the woman and her short dress for her being raped?
do we blame the parents and their inattentiveness for their child being molested?

BadAnalogyGuy? Is that you?

Do we blame the best friend who tells the stalker where their victim is living? Yes.
Do we blame the reporter for telling the mafia where the witness under protection is? Absolutely.

Wikileaks exposed information actively damaging those fighting for reform in Zimbabwe. Only a blind, idiot apologist would try and excuse those actions. Just say it: Wikileaks fucked up. You can do it.

Re:nope, wrong logic on what morality is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704312)

It's not wikileaks' job to keep things under lock and key.

Further, it is naive of you to think Mugabe needed this information to achieve his aims.

Re:nope, wrong logic on what morality is (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704418)

It's not wikileaks' job to keep things under lock and key.

It's the responsibility of every thinking, breathing adult to act, well... responsibly.

Or, I suppose if you found out the PIN for your friend's bank card, you'd make sure to post it on Facebook for everyone to see?

Further, it is naive of you to think Mugabe needed this information to achieve his aims.

It's moronic of you to believe it hasn't helped. Reality, with it's actual events and consequences, proves you wrong.

Re:nope, wrong logic on what morality is (1)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704450)

It's moronic of you to believe it hasn't helped. Reality, with it's actual events and consequences, proves you wrong.

Well it hasn't. This is akin to you living in the country, me reading a list of what you ate for dinner and watched on TV that night, and Mugabe spinning that as atrocious treason worthy of capital punishment. I may have been a jerk, but Mugabe is the one to blame for these actions.

Blame the transgressors. This shouldn't be some fringe extremist concept.

Re:nope, wrong logic on what morality is (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704530)

Blame the transgressors. This shouldn't be some fringe extremist concept.

If two men stand are standing over another, and the first man hands the gun to the second, and the second pulls the trigger, both are to blame.

Wikileaks has handed Mugabe the gun. To claim they are blameless in this is, frankly, ridiculous.

Honestly, the apologists here are amazing. First, the claim is "well, wikileaks hasn't hurt anyone yet". Now we have a black-and-white example of information released by wikileaks resulting in negative consequences, and suddenly it's "well, really it's not their fault, and anyway, information should be free!"

It's insane. Really.

Re:nope, wrong logic on what morality is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704526)

That is one of the best responses to the situation I have read. It's a pity other people can't see the truth in what you're saying. What's even sadder is that I'm posting AC because I don't want anyone to know I agree with you.

Repercussions (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704162)

Undoubtedly there are lots of things that our governments hide from us which should not be hidden but it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure.

I thought Wikileaks contacted the US government asking for help redacting to avoid potential repercussions such as this, yet received none. Was this the case? I have heard it mentioned on slashdot a few times.

It does unfortunately read as though the wikileak cable could be replaced by another pretence and still have the same effect, as if any excuse was being looked for and wikileaks was the first one that came along.

Re:Repercussions (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704514)

I thought Wikileaks contacted the US government asking for help redacting to avoid potential repercussions such as this

Wouldn't matter if they did. Since the documents are still classified, the US Govt is legally barred from helping WikiLeaks leak them.

On the author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704182)

I'm very suspicious of Christopher R. Albon, the author of the article at the Atlantic.

Albon seems to have ties to the US military, and the web seems to have been scrubbed of anything on him prior to the last few months.

Does anyone have any info on him?

But isn't the cable real? (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704190)

If the cable proves that Tsvangirai is working with foreign governments to subvert Mugabe, shouldn't the people of Zimbabwe know that? It seems like it would be in their interest to know.

Re:But isn't the cable real? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704228)

Do you have any idea who Mugabe is? Subverting Mugabe is very much like subverting Hitler or Stalin: the entire world should give you a frickin medal, and the citizens of the country should pay your retirement.

Re:But isn't the cable real? (4, Insightful)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704386)

It doesn't necessarily mean that what Tsvangirai is doing is illegal or immoral. Mugabe is just misrepresenting information and using it to fuel his own propaganda machine. Wikileaks isn't at fault either; they're not passing judgment on anyone.

It seems like what is happening here is that Tsvangirai is trying to cooperate with 'western' governments, and Mugabe is painting this as an evil action which needs to be stopped.

Fixed that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704200)

Undoubtedly there are lots of things that our governments hide from us which should not be hidden but it's a shame that Tsvangirai couldn't be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of compromising his principles.

FTFY. Like all politicians, he says one thing to one person and the opposite to another. He got burned because he wasn't being honest with everyone.

Not just one unfortunate case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704230)

The poster ended with "Undoubtedly there are lots of things that our governments hide from us which should not be hidden but it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure."

Not to mention probable couple hundred of other really crap things that will be leveraged by those in power due to wikileaks.

If you blow diplomacy out of the water by what is now going to be an ongoing threat that every communication may be made public, you're left with what...so tell me what is better than diplomacy for resolving things?

Re:Not just one unfortunate case... (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704318)

Honesty.

They wouldn't say that with the roles reversed (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704314)

This case:

Tsvangirai (good) hiddenly supports sanctions against his own country to harm his opponent, Mugabe (bad). That scheme comes to light, possibly spelling doom for democracy. Shame on Wikileaks for screwing it up.

Now let's try in reverse:

Mugabe (bad) hiddenly supports sanctions against his own country to harm his opponent, Tsvangirai (good). That scheme comes to light, possibly spelling doom for the tyranny and opening way for glorious democracy. Glory to Wikileaks for uncovering Mugabe's shady deals.

I don't like double standards. Christopher R. Albon seems to be saying that the end justifies the means, and so long that the end is democracy, pretty much anything goes.

IMO, the problem here is not with Wikileaks. It's one of two things:

A. Tsvangirai isn't all that saintly, and not that much better than Mugabe, so he must to resort to underhanded means to defeat his oponent.

B. The people don't really want democracy. They either like Mugabe for some reason, or he convinced them his oponent is worse, or just don't give a damn. Whatever the issue in such a case should they get this democracy it's unlikely to make things all that much better for them, because democracy requires people who care, and parties willing to represent the will of those people. If the people don't care, or all the choices are horrible, it's democracy in name only.

Re:They wouldn't say that with the roles reversed (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704528)

C. The elections are a sham,with a fraud and voter-intimidation running rampant (at least from the stories I heard). People didn't choose Mugabe so much as the elections were manipulated and/or people were threatened into voting for him.

Blissful Ignorance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704402)

Undoubtedly there are lots of things that our governments hide from us which should not be hidden but it's a shame that no one from Wikileaks could be troubled to consider the potential repercussions of this particular exposure.

A philosophy professor in college proposed the following which feels applicable.

Say you go through your life with friends, popularity, and just a genuinely high status among your social circle and peers. However, all those relationships were completely fake, your family (mother perhaps) goes around bribing your various friends/peers to treat you as if you were their best of friends. Would you prefer to live your life with the collection of "fake" relationships or would you rather know the truth and try to have real relationships on your own? That's basically the premise of The Truman Show.

Or to go more sci-fi, should Neo rage out on Morpheus about humanity being enslaved by the machines (because Morpheus breaks him the news), or should Neo rage out on the machines instead?

Do we shoot the messenger because we do not like what he says? Perhaps the next one will only bring us good news.

Democracy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34704464)

Well, the United States directly destroyed democracy in multiple countries - Afghanistan (1992), Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Chile (1973). And we are the good guys. :)

So let's stop talking about democracy like we mean it. We never cared about democracy. We only cared for their resources.

It's Not Wiki Leaks (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34704516)

The truth has a force and direction of its own. It is not Wiki Leaks task to be concerned about the path that information takes nor the consequences of exposures. Almost all information will do harm to some and good to others and the effects can be very,very indirect.

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