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Out of Egypt Censorship, US Tech Export Under Fire

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the made-your-bed dept.

Censorship 217

AndyAndyAndyAndy writes "After it was exposed that American firm Narus had sold Egypt the Deep Packet Inspection equipment used to spy on and censor its citizens, the US House Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing where Reps. Chris Smith and Bill Keating 'grilled Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg on the sale of this Internet spying technology to an Egyptian Internet provider controlled by the Mubarak regime.' It seems there is now a push for stronger controls and monitoring for technology exports 'that would provide a national strategy to prevent the use of American technology from being used by human rights abusers.'" Several readers have noted that Hosni Mubarak has now stepped down as president of Egypt. Control of the country's affairs has been passed to the high council of its armed forces, which has some journalists and bloggers worried.

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No Time to Worry! (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35178990)

TFS: "that would provide a national strategy to prevent the use of American technology from being used by human rights abusers"

No time to worry, as this is the first time that the controls already in place failed.

CC.

Re:No Time to Worry! (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179146)

The US is the only one allowed to use this tech to abuse human rights [eff.org] , and it really doesn't want to risk losing its lead in technology used for spying on citizens.

Re:No Time to Worry! (2, Interesting)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179718)

Yeah, we've got it so god damn bad here. Why just the other day a bunch of goons in facemasks busted down my door because I said Obama sucks in a phone conversation.

Fucking perspective - get some you drama queen.

Re:No Time to Worry! (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179252)

So is DPI getting added to the ITAR list?

Re:No Time to Worry! (3, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179480)

Wait a minute: "prevent the use... from being used"? So they can use it, but they can't use using it?

Re:No Time to Worry! (4, Interesting)

sortadan (786274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179790)

Deep packet inspection has been around for several (technology) generations. I don't fault the software company for selling it to anyone, if they didn't some other software vendor would have (or the Egyptian authorities would have rolled their own). The demand was there, and it was going to be filled one way or the other. The real problem I see is that the base communication protocols haven't been encrypted, even after many years of evidence that it's needed. 100% of traffic should go over SSL, or something stringer with a distributed authentication scheme, rather than having a centralized authority like Verisign holding all the root keys.

The USG Wants Two Things From You, Narus (5, Funny)

severoon (536737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35178992)

  1. We would like you to stop selling this technology to other countries so they can use it to oppress their citizens.
  2. We would like to see a price list, please.

Re:The USG Wants Two Things From You, Narus (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179054)

1. We would like you to stop selling this technology to other countries so they can use it to oppress their citizens.
2. We would like to see a price list, please.

1. Now that the beta testing is complete, we would like you to stop selling this technology to other countries so they can use it to oppress their citizens.
2. Put whatever you like on the price list, because it's not our money, it's our taxpayers' money.

Re:The USG Wants Two Things From You, Narus (2, Informative)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179698)

Surely you were already aware that the US gov already knows the price list in detail, and is a major customer. That was outed all over the Internet awhile back (including here), complete with pictures taken by an AT&T employee of one of the setups in a "restricted access" room -- if which I snagged a copy, along with the writings of the (ex) employee before they disappeared.
.

We said we didn't want them to have a kill switch too...what hypocrisy.
.

All the actions of our government over the last few years are those of a governement afraid it's own people will rise against it, not one worried about our safety from terrorists, should be clear to almost anyone by now.
.

To the extent they've stopped even a single credible terrorist plot (I haven't noticed they have prevented a single one) all they've managed is to deny me some good clean fun on moving target practice -- it's a total lose-lose.

Re:The USG Wants Two Things From You, Narus (2)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179860)

His name was Mark Klein.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/05/70914 [wired.com]

that was Narus equipment then, as well. The Egyptians saw how good AT&T had gotten at it, and ordered themselves up some of that spy pie.

Stronger controls (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35178996)

It seems there is now a push for stronger controls and monitoring for technology exports 'that would provide a national strategy to prevent the use of American technology from being used by human rights abusers.'"

I can't see that getting through unless the small print includes a special exception for Israel.

Re:Stronger controls (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179828)

Israel abuses animals, not people. No people actually live in Gaza or the West Bank.

Re:Stronger controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35180246)

Israel is a close friend of the usa you can be sure that there wont be any human rights abusers(TM) there, surly a restrictions will only apply to communists(TM), terrorists(TM) and the current axis of evil(TM)*.

*The axis of evil(TM) is subject to change, for an updated member list check the white house announcements of the last 6 months.

How dare they? (1)

RedACE7500 (904963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179026)

Domestic use of DPI still perfectly acceptable.

Re:How dare they? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179428)

Exactly.
And the same congress grilling the State Department will have an Internet "Kill Switch" [switched.com] bill on the agenda soon. Don't expect any consistency in these congressmen's positions when it does.

Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179034)

Opportunity knocks,

Karma hunts you down.

In regards to Mubarak stepping down (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179050)

Do you smell that? That's the smell of the middle eastern dictators and kings collectively shitting their pants.

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179306)

You're an idiot. That's the smell of Muslim Brohood's terror, fuckin moron!

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (-1, Flamebait)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179338)

You're a fear mongering idiot.

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179410)

Really?!

Google for "1979 Iran" and then have an opinion.
I see Egyptian students all around me and by and large, they are pretty messed up when it comes to religion. I stand by my previous opinion: You are idiots!

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179508)

Mark your post.

Put it in your calendar for One year from this date. Two years at the outside.

You've just witnessed the birth of Iran-West. It won't be evident for a year, (Neither was the Iranian revolution, the anniversary of which is today). You like how Gaza is run? You are going to love the new Egypt.

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179754)

It's the latest thing among neo-cons. They think they're junior operatives for spreading FUD about the MB and acting like they're going to turn Egypt into Iran.

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180276)

If you had a clue about middle east politics you'd know that a large part of the people there support a form of sharia law(80% or more). Which in turn means that the MB has strong peripheral support from the public to push for such a thing. Now with this being a defacto coup, there is the possibility that the military would step in before such a thing happened as well, just as it did here. But that remains to be seen.

Welcome to reality, she's a cold mistress. Mubark was a bottom feeder, but he isn't as bad as it can get. Of course Iran is now panicking, and has cut various news feeds of it too.

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180300)

In an obvious point to myself, I should have posted this but I guess it doesn't matter. I'll expect the usual partisan hacks to start trolling now. But you can read some reality right here: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/562840/201102101920/What-Egyptians-Really-Do-Want.htm [investors.com]

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (3, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179458)

Agreed! Why does this news (that Mubarak just stepped down) only get a footnote to a small news story? Surely nerds will think this is big news as well.

Re:In regards to Mubarak stepping down (1)

cfulton (543949) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180144)

I agree. Where is the front page story. Mubarak leaves post. Egypt free!

Not so scared of Army control (5, Interesting)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179052)

Based on how well the Egyptian army has handled itself these past few weeks and how they tried to stay as independent as possible I think it may actually be a GOOD thing that they are taking over for now. Better the army than the Muslim Brotherhood.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179124)

Based on how well the Egyptian army has handled itself these past few weeks and how they tried to stay as independent as possible I think it may actually be a GOOD thing that they are taking over for now. Better the army than the Muslim Brotherhood.

If they're doing so in order to arrange free and fair elections then sure. If the Muslim Brotherhood win the elections though then good luck to them.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179174)

Right exactly. As much as I don't think anybody outside of the middle east wants to see them win the elections there is nothing we or should do if they do win. From what I understand they really aren't that popular. They'll win some seats but not likely a majority.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1, Insightful)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179380)

Mod parent up. The Muslim Brotherhood is being way overhyped by those who want to turn Islam into the next Communism.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179556)

Frankly, nobody really knows a thing about what's going to happen, who will wind up in charge, and whether the current constitution (which was supposed to be a democracy) will remain in place or be scrapped. What I do think people have ignored here is that the underlying cause of revolt is not only the internet and a thirst for freedom, but more importantly a sense of stagnation and gradual loss of power & prestige on the global stage. This is a generalized problem affecting almost all Near East and Middle Eastern countries and we will see more such movements. Instability will continue in such countries until the underlying grievances have been addressed.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179700)

From what I understand they really aren't that popular. They'll win some seats but not likely a majority.

That's not what I'm reading. They would probably win a majority and certainly would achieve a plurality.

Largely better educated that most of the region, you would expect Egypt to be able to look around and see the situation in other Muslim Theocracies. However if the brotherhood comes up with a slate of candidates promising jobs, medical clinics, lower prices, etc all bets are off. These tactics have worked in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, etc.

Within two years, Egypt will become another Muslim Theocracy, and there is not much anyone can do about it. Women will largely disappear from the streets, and the few who dare walk around without a head scarf today will be totally gone.

Much as I wish your enthusiasm for Democracy were true, I think you will be disappointed. As will Egypt. Oh, it will look like a Democracy. For about a year.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179910)

However if the brotherhood comes up with a slate of candidates promising jobs, medical clinics, lower prices, etc all bets are off. These tactics have worked in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, etc

That's because none of the Muslims have made the actual pilgrimage. Sure, a few of the rich ones got together for a vacation to Mecca; that's a far cry different from saying to oneself,"I am going to leave everything behind and walk $that direction without begging/seeking/asking for food/anything until God reveals to me his will."

What is so difficult to understand about differentiating between the will of God vs. the will of a bank account or credit card balance?

*whine* Well how else are you going to get anything?
*whine* Because then I won't have anything!

Do you really think God gives a sh*t about whining?

s/God/Allah --leisure

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179934)

I don't think the military is that radicalized and I doubt that they will sit something like you describe out (I think it is rather obvious that the non-action of the military has played a big role the last few weeks).

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180236)

I don't think the military is that radicalized and I doubt that they will sit something like you describe out (I think it is rather obvious that the non-action of the military has played a big role the last few weeks).

The Iranian military sat out their revolution didn't they? They were even less radicalized. They were swiftly neutralized.

They now are totally cowed by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution [wikipedia.org] . The Shaw was deposed in January of 1979. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards were created in May of the same year. Their initial purpose was to control the Army. They now control the Country, and report not to the Government, but to the Theocracy.

Watch and see if something similar forms in the next 4 months. Everything is in play at this time. One thing is certain, the Army will NOT long retain any real power.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (2)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179296)

How can they win the election when they said they won't present a candidate?

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179312)

There is more to a government than a president. I think when either of us say "winning" an election we are referring not just to the presidency but whatever legislative branch they decide on.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179706)

How can they win the election when they said they won't present a candidate?

And you believed that?

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179158)

The only question is, "Is there really any difference between Mubarak being in control and the military being in control?". Doesn't the military leadership consist of people put there by Mubarak?

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179214)

Well the only problem in a country where there has been the same leader for decades is who exactly wasn't put in their position by him?

Re:Not so scared of Army control (2)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180338)

The military leadership are all war veterans from before Mubarak and are all career professional soldiers.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121185311711502.html [aljazeera.net]

Egypt's military isn't one where the military leadership are there by grace of Mubarak like Iraq's was. Egypt has a professional officer corps along the British system, reinforced by the Soviets and augmented by 30 years of sending folks to War Colleges in the United States.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi is a Nubian too, so for older Egyptians he has that tie to Sadat and he's worked his way up over the decades, not a political appointee.

http://www.mmc.gov.eg/Commanders/general/default.htm [mmc.gov.eg]

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179258)

Generally speaking, no. The military of Egypt has always been a semi-autonomous force in the country mainly concerned with protecting the country itself and not getting caught up in politics. Military control in the interim is a much better alternative than Suleiman (the VP) or anyone from the DNP (all of which were essentially placed there by Mubarak).

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179628)

Thanks for the clarification. It truly was just a question as I don't know anything about the politcal landscape in Egypt at all.

However, from the reports I've been reading, it doesn't appear that the protesters are satisfied with the military control and are demanding democracy, though I don't see how they can expect that to happen instantaniously. Surely someone must be in charge during the interim.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180280)

Yea, the Egyptian military, like that of Turkey, has traditionally been a stabilizing force in the minds of the people.

Most of the protestors trust the Egyptian Army, remember that when the pro-governmnet protests started in Cairo and the people were dying, it was after the Army pulled out of the streets, then when the Army went back in they created a bulwark at times between the reformists and the pro-government factions.

The Egyptian officer corps are going to be Soviet, American or British trained, depending on their age.

I looked up the three big wigs of the new military government according to Al Jazeera, all three have experience in the wars with Israel (a plus for Egyptian politics), two were trained in the Soviet Union, one in the Soviet Union and France, the youngest one in the Soviet Union and the United States (MiG-21s and F-16s).

Egyptian enlisted ranks are all conscripts so their loyalties are to the civilians and Egypt isn't big enough or diverse enough where you can base troops from one area to another with hopes they'll oppress the locals.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (5, Informative)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179190)

Tired of this rhetoric. The Muslim Brotherhood is not as influential player in the region as fox news would have you believe. Nor are they a terrorist group or extremist group bent on anything other then the common goals of the revolutionaries. This just in, Islam is not the new Communism.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179226)

shut your mouth you pinko commy bastard!

Re:Not so scared of Army control (4, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179260)

I'll be honest with you - if they were called the Christian Brotherhood, Jewish Brotherhood or even Buddhist Brotherhood I'd be equally against them taking power. Egypt needs a secular government with a firm separation of church and state. God should have no place in government.

But I do agree that their threat is overrated by the news companies.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179738)

Weren't they actively suppressed by the Egyptian government?

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179844)

To some extent. The biggest thing was that they weren't allowed to have their own political party and honestly I wish the US wouldn't let religious organizations form political parties either.

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179770)

Exactly. I'm not sure what the right thinks they're accomplishing by spreading all this FUD, but it's clear they have an agenda to scare Bubba Joe and Johnny Lee half to death about the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt, then apparently spreading Sharia law somehow to the US (?).

Does anyone know who they really are? (4, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179416)

The Muslim Brotherhood are not fanatics. They are the real equivalent of our Southern Baptists, stuffy old conservative men who want a society centered on religion. They have always condemned violence, and continually speak out against all terrorism. I wouldn't want to see them elected any more than I want our country ruled by Southern Baptists, but they are not radical terrorist Muslims. Oh, you will find some people claiming they are, but those are the same people who would believe a Muslim stamp collecting club was a terrorist organization. You won't find Al Qaeda praising the Muslim Brotherhood, indeed, all radical Muslims condemn it as too moderate.

As I said, i wouldn't want to see them elected, not because they would attack Israel, or turn against us, but they might require women to wear Burkhas and a lot of them seem quite keen on stoning adulterers. Not good, but not suicide bombers, either.

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

Re:Does anyone know who they really are? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179464)

If you look at some of my other posts I basically say the same thing. I never said they were terrorists. I just don't want to see Egypt become a religion run country - no matter what religion. It needs to stay secular.

Re:Does anyone know who they really are? (2)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180140)

I agree it should stay secular. However, that is not for us to decide. It won't be the end of the world if the Egyptians democratically elect a government run by the Muslim Brotherhood. The one thing Egyptians won't stand for at this point is anything that takes their hard-won democracy from them. They might accept or even desire a religious country, but not one that forbids democratic elections. Therefore, while we may comment on what we would like to see in the region, we have no excuse to step in and take control if things look as though they aren't going our way.

I was just using your post as a stepping stone to make my point about the MB, not accusing you of hyperbole about them.

Re:Does anyone know who they really are? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180242)

I agree 100% (and said something similar in another post). We can wish and hope they do the "right" thing in our opinion but it's their country and this revolution is about them making the choices.

Re:Does anyone know who they really are? (2)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179826)

The Muslim equivalent of the Mafia?

"Hey Vito Umar, you'se 'sposed ta git uz a suicide bomber today, wha' happon?"

"Yo, Vinnie Usaed, I called up Fat Faheyed, but da moron had is own phone hooked to da bomb man! It blowed 'im all da way to Allah!"

"Oh Vito, I tol' you Fat Faheyed was a idjit! Why you use 'im mon?"

"I'm so sorry Vinnie, but 'e let me feel up 'is goilfren UNDER her Burka! I had to use him!"

"Dats ok Vito, we'll jus' stone da chick an' yo honor will be restored"

Re:Not so scared of Army control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35180114)

Whoa, not so fast. I have heard rumors, nothing definitive, that some top people in the Egyptian military may also be Muslin!!!!111!! Since these are rumors we probably shouldn't be to hasty to invade, but don't let your guard down yet.(Rumor also has it that there are other countries in the region that let muslins hold power!!!)

Re:Not so scared of Army control (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180274)

You might want to look up who the Muslim Brotherhood is. Nobody said no Muslims in government. It's the name of an opposition group that many, including myself, would be a step backwards for Egypt when it comes to freedom and equality.

A little research goes a long way from making yourself look foolish (even as an AC).

Stock down (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179058)

Narus stock then dipped as expectations of domestic sales tanked.

What about China? (1)

jjb3rd (1138577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179076)

Does this include the annoyingly named, "Great Firewall of China" that U.S. tech companies built?

Re:What about China? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179272)

I don't think it would matter. China's domestic technology companies are more than capable of maintaining and expanding it.

Re:What about China? (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179336)

No because China's human rights are nowhere near as bad as Egypt's. *cough* *cough*

Re:What about China? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179446)

Does this include the annoyingly named, "Great Firewall of China" that U.S. tech companies built?

No, because we have no evidence* of human rights abuses in China.

*Because we refuse to look.

But what about profits? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179082)

If we don't provide technology to be used by human rights abusers, then someone else will! I thought preserving profits was an implicit part of the golden rule. (He who has the gold makes the rules).

That "Worried" Blogger is FUD (5, Informative)

Yeknomaguh (1681980) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179126)

According to my Egyptian friends and from common knowledge of the region, the people in general are not against a military run country in the interim between dictatorship and democracy. It assures stability while also assuring that things are changing. The culture of Egypt is very intertwined with the military, almost every family has at least one person actively serving, so when they chant "The military and the people are one" they aren't being selective as to exactly who in the military they're talking about. The military up to this point was already seen and acted as an unbiased arbitrator not influenced by politics. As has been stated, they are there to protect Egypt and the people of Egypt and will not spill Egyptian blood. They're probably the very best group to hold the country together in the potentially long process of redrafting a constitution and instituting a democratic system.

Re:That "Worried" Blogger is FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179320)

Ties to the US automatically discredits any institution. Didn't you get the memo?

Yawn (1)

jsm18 (1317959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179162)

We don't care when this sort of technology is used on our own citizens. Why would we get bent out of shape when it's used on Egyptians?

Re:Yawn (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179374)

So...if it's used on us, then we should just not give a shit when it's used by foreign countries on their own citizens? WTF kind of logic is this?

Yes we should be upset when it's used on us, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't care when it's used elsewhere.

Government hypocrisy strikes again (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179184)

Any guesses as to whether these congress liars support the USA's foreign aid given backing the same dictator over the past 30 years?

Re:Government hypocrisy strikes again (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179286)

Something neither the anti-obama ranters nor the liberals "get" is that in the long run, America is only there for the Suez Canal, and would support whoever it takes to keep oil flowing through it. When the public gets around to electing someone else, we'll support them too, unless they stop keeping the Canal open again, in which case we take back all their toys.

Re:Government hypocrisy strikes again (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179750)

It is kind of strange that they would get mad a US corporation for helping out someone they've been helping out for decades. I'm sure they would have approved of the sale at the time. I guess they just look at it as a nice excuse to drive more companies out of the states.

Sad but not unexpected (3, Insightful)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179210)

This coming from the government that invented the PATRIOT act, national security letters and directly taps internet backbones. Do members of congress not understand what hypocrisy is or do they just not care?

Re:Sad but not unexpected (2)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179318)

Seriously, that's what I was thinking:

It seems there is now a push for stronger controls and monitoring for technology exports 'that would provide a national strategy to prevent the use of American technology from being used by human rights abusers.'"

Fuck monitoring and controlling exports! I want want a push for stronger controls on and monitoring of human rights abusers here in America. Ever heard of the NSA you hypocritical fuckwit Congress-critters? Or is it okay because they import their equipment from China? So as long as American technology isn't being used to spy on American citizens, it's all fine and dandy? Fucking assholes.

Truth and reconciliation will come in time... (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179232)

For now I think the US will do all it can to support the NEW Egypt. American companies have a rare opportunity to show their goodwill and do more business with Egypt. Most of the top American companies already have headquarters in Egypt, like Google, Microsoft and others.... Restoring good business ties will strengthen democracy. Sounds better than shady deals for military technology meant for terrorizing citizens.

Human rights abusers.. (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179236)

Like the US?

The deeper you dig, the stronger the stench!

Egypt's Military, Inc. (4, Informative)

JThaddeus (531998) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179242)

From http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/02/07/133503696/the-friday-podcast-egypts-military-inc [npr.org] "So far, the Egyptian military has largely sided with the protesters in the streets of Cairo. This is not only because the military supports the people; it's also because the military sells the people lots of stuff."

Re:Egypt's Military, Inc. (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179492)

So, now they are governed by real free market entusiasts?

Now, seriously, the military took the government the day they stood between the people and the government goons, and stopped the violence. Now we'll see if they are really on the people's side.

Re:Egypt's Military, Inc. (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179592)

This is not only because the military supports the people

Egypt has universal conscription for its military. So, the military are the people. Some kid doing his stint is very reluctant to shoot at his parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc.

Actually the reports that I saw on CNN said that the military was distributing, not selling, water and food. And that they built places for the protesters to wash. People who really lost out are the ones in the tourist industry. Planes were flying from where I live empty, and returning with tourists anxious to get out. So the tourist industry folks were out of a job. One interview I saw was a guy who gave camel rides. He complained, "I have to feed my wife and children, and my camels!"

We'll see a parade of pundits on the news in the coming days, all commenting on the question: "Would the military actually have shot at the protesters?" Revolutions are good business for the news channels . . . and pundits.

In Other Tech News: U.S. Exports Democracy With (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179246)

tear gas [propublica.org] .

Cheer!

Yours In Novosbirsk,
Kilgore Trout, C.I.O.

A bit hypocritical to hold hearings about this (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179274)

...given the billions of dollars in military aid and training the USA has offered to Mubarak's regime - the teargas branded "made in USA" was just the obvious part.

Re:A bit hypocritical to hold hearings about this (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179434)

...given the billions of dollars in military aid and training the USA has offered to Mubarak's regime - the teargas branded "made in USA" was just the obvious part.

You mean the military aid and training that went to the Egyptian military who have remained pretty neutral throughout the ordeal? Perhaps Egypt should have purchased weapons from the Russians instead?

Re:A bit hypocritical to hold hearings about this (2, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179632)

Don't take this personally.

But for everyone who is trying to give credit to the United States for giving tens of billions in military equipment to a regime that's been murdering it's own citizens for thirty years, fuck you. It's like giving kudos to the NRA for putting guns in the hands of idiots, and then congratulating them the one time someone uses it for good and simultaneously ignoring the tens of thousands of times it ended in tragedy.

And yes, in fact, there have been a few bloodless revolutions [wikipedia.org] backed by military holding Soviet weapons who have received Soviet training, fucking Perestroika being the first one coming to mind. Not that anyone should be imposing their will on a sovereign nation, but Jesus H. Christ. Pick up a book once in a while.

Re:A bit hypocritical to hold hearings about this (2)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179904)

Whoa there. I'm not giving credit to anyone. If it were up to me the US would exert as much pressure on foreign oppressive regimes just shy of military action. But you said it yourself. Nobody should be imposing their will on a sovereign nation. So does that mean we should just completely ignore relations altogether? The fact of the matter is that Egypt's peace with Israel brings stability to the region. Diplomacy is a delicate thing. And if we had stopped giving aid to Egypt, that wouldn't have stopped Mubarak's rule. Don't make this out like it's completely the US's fault for Mubarak being in power for so long.
Yeah it's hypocritical, but that's no reason to ignore it.

Re:A bit hypocritical to hold hearings about this (2)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180094)

Actually, I think his point was a response to the initial assertion that because we sold weapons to the Egyptian military, we were supporting or even helping to cause oppression.

The fact is that the oppression started before the US or even the Soviets started selling arms to Egypt. Nasser started off having some western equipment, then he became a Soviet client. Sadat continued that and then after the Peace Accords he brought Egypt closer to the US. Mubarak brought Egypt all the way to the US sphere.

In all of that, the oppression was happening because the Egyptian internal situation was the way it was. The US sold arms to Egypt to make the Middle East more stable. It kept Egypt firmly on the side of the US and the US is against its allies attacking its other allies. In the sense of preventing more wars in the Middle East, weapons "Made in the USA" certainly were a lot more effective at keeping Egyptian conscript soldiers alive than Soviet arms or no arms at all.

Sure, its nice to say "we shouldn't sell anything to oppressors at all on principle!" That's just not reality. Perhaps we could have leaned on Mubarak more to be better to his people, but is that really our job any more than it is our job to prop him up internally? He was a partner that kept yet another Arab-Israeli war from breaking out. One of those would have probably ended up killing more people than probably "disappeared" in the entire 30 years of his rule.

In the end, perhaps its not enough to say that "they just would have bought the tear gas from someone else", but at the same time, most of the progress that we have actually made in the Middle East, which includes the ability for the Israelis and Palestinians to even negotiate at all, is based on the Egypt being kept stable, peaceful and Western-aligned. I am nearly certain it saved lives, including many of the people who are now alive to protest, and these protests are properly the business of no one but the Egyptian people themselves.

opposite effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179290)

In the short term, the technology facilitates repression. But if it gives the oppressive government an illusion of control over the citizens, then the citizens simultaneously enjoy greater internet access, and the increased access to information will eventually create a backlash too difficult to suppress.

What about cracking down on Siemens? (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179314)

Re:What about cracking down on Siemens? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179426)

Siemens is a German company.

Re:What about cracking down on Siemens? (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180298)

In case you didn't know, they are a global company with US offices and are subject to US laws and restrictions. http://www.usa.siemens.com/ [siemens.com]

Re:What about cracking down on Siemens? (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180332)

Yes but it is a lot harder for the US Congress to "crack down" on what a German company sells in other countries. I suppose they could kick their US subsidiary out but that would be incredibly unusual.

Wait, oh is see the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179554)

"that would provide a national strategy to prevent the use of American technology from being used by human rights abusers."

They forgot to put "in search of Terrorists" at the end.....

The final question (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179640)

The final question in the grilling by Reps. Chris Smith and Bill Keating to Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg...

"So, how much does this cost and why don't we have it in place here already?"

Military control (2)

ndogg (158021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179680)

Yes, it is a little scary to think that the military might use this opportunity to take control, but I think there are a few reasons we don't need to worry about that.

1. The military is nearly all conscripts. When Mubarak asked the military to push back the protesters, the soldiers instead participated. I'm willing to trust that they are on the side of the people in this case.
2. The US will never stand for the military taking power, and at $1.3 billion per year, I think the military will listen.

For right now, I think we are just going to have to trust that the military is going to help foster Egypt's transition to democracy because there isn't anyone else that has the capability.

Re:Military control (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179792)

Pay attention, the military has been in control for the last 60 years. What are you talking about?

Bloggers? (0)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35179768)

Oh, God, we wouldn't want to worry the *bloggers*, now would we?

duhbull version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35179840)

US; "This is a guy that Mubarak took up on the basis of his supreme competence," says Lang, who first met Suleiman in 1987 while working as the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East and has maintained ties with him. He recalls their first meeting in Cairo, seated opposite one another at a palace conference and dining together every night.
"He is a very humorous guy. A dry, witty sort of person," says Lang. He describes Suleiman as considerate, willing to listen to subordinates, and the most capable man in the current government.

the victims; Vice President in his over 30 years rule, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. When Suleiman was first announced, Al-jazeera commentators were describing him as a “distinguished” and “respected ” man. It turns out, however, that he is distinguished for, among other things, his central role in Egyptian torture and in the US rendition-to-torture program. Further, he is “respected” by US officials for his cooperation with their torture plans, among other initiatives.

Katherine Hawkins, an expert on the US’s rendition-to-torture program, in an email, has sent some critical texts where Suleiman pops up. Thus, Jane Mayer, in The Dark Side, pointed to Suleiman’s role in the rendition program:

Each rendition was authorized at the very top levels of both governments.The long-serving chief of the Egyptian central intelligence agency, Omar Suleiman, negotiated directly with top Agency officials. [Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt] Walker described the Egyptian counterpart, Suleiman, as “very bright, very realistic,” adding that he was cognizant that there was a downside to “some of the negative things that the Egyptians engaged in, of torture and so on. But he was not squeamish, by the way” (pp. 113).

Stephen Grey, in Ghost Plane, his investigative work on the rendition program also points to Suleiman as central in the rendition program:

To negotiate these assurances [that the Egyptians wouldn't "torture" the prisoner delivered for torture] the CIA dealt principally in Egypt through Omar Suleiman, the chief of the Egyptian general intelligence service (EGIS) since 1993. It was he who arranged the meetings with the Egyptian interior ministry. Suleiman, who understood English well, was an urbane and sophisticated man. Others told me that for years Suleiman was America’s chief interlocutor with the Egyptian regime — the main channel to President Hosni Mubarak himself, even on matters far removed from intelligence and security.

Suleiman’s role in the rendition program was also highlighted in a Wikileaks cable:

the context of the close and sustained cooperation between the USG and GOE on counterterrorism, Post believes that the written GOE assurances regarding the return of three Egyptians detained at Guantanamo (reftel) represent the firm commitment of the GOE to adhere to the requested principles. These assurances were passed directly from Egyptian General Intelligence Service (EGIS) Chief Soliman through liaison channels — the most effective communication path on this issue. General Soliman’s word is the GOE’s guarantee, and the GOE’s track record of cooperation on CT issues lends further support to this assessment. End summary.

Suleiman wasn’t just the go-to bureaucrat for when the Americans wanted to arrange a little torture. This “urbane and sophisticated man” apparently enjoyed a little rough stuff himself.

US arms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35180056)

The sale of IT equipment is an issue, but the abundance of US arms sold to the Egyptian government by the US government is not worth addressing? I am a bit confused on the US governments priorities.

so, NOW he's a Dictator that violates human rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35180116)

Lemme guess... he was the best politician in Egypt until the protests started! Kinda sounds like the new Saddam to me! why do people in the Us still beleive in their government?

Closing the barn door ... Hacktivismo warned us (2)

EnergyScholar (801915) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180142)

It's rather silly to discuss legislative limits to technology transfer at this late date. It is already mostly done. The big Western tech companies have already sold what they had to sell to the highest bidders. We were explicitly warned about this. The clearest and most apropos warning of how Western technology companies were selling censorship technology to repressive regimes came from Hacktivismo, years ago. Please see their article Waging Peace on the Internet [hacktivismo.com] (probably not work safe, depending on your workplace), and see whether it exactly describes this story. I especially like the 'pigs at the trough not noticing the bacon being trimmed off their a$$' metaphor.

colin powell, lonesome al gore; comeback scheduled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35180326)

difficult times call for real people, real numbers, house cleaning etc....

What does US do with this software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35180354)

I wonder what exactly does the US companies do with this software? Spy on US citizens? Is it ok to spy on US citizens but not some guys trying to coordinate terrorist activities

License? (1)

unchewable (1021323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35180408)

I thought we were moving away from selling products and going with a licensed model... We can figure out how to disable basic copy-paste and lending of e-books. We should DRM our exports, and switch off functionality in cases of repressive regimes use.
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