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Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the that's-a-long-vacation dept.

Censorship 386

decora writes "American social worker Alan Phillip Gross, who has spent years connecting developing countries to the internet, has been sentenced by a 'Security Court' in Cuba to 15 years in prison. His crime: 'Acts against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State.' The Cuban government also claimed he was trying to 'destroy the Revolution through the use of communication systems out of the control of authorities.'"

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Revolution? Control? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489066)

'destroy the Revolution through the use of communication systems out of the control of authorities.'

And I always thought that a revolution by definition involves total loss of control by authorities...

Re:Revolution? Control? (5, Insightful)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489080)

No, a revolution is a one full turn. It bring new authorities in control.

Re:Revolution? Control? (2)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489326)

Woah. I'd never thought of it like that... kind of like the way that "bringing balance to the force" doesn't mean total victory of the bad guys.

Re:Revolution? Control? (2, Insightful)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489644)

OT, but I always wondered WTF the Jedis were thinking when they came across Anakin. Surely if he's the one meant to bring balance to the force, and the good guys are in total power (the Sith were hiding), that means he'll help the bad guys? (Not a big SW buff though, only saw the films.)

Not news. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489152)

Regimes that have, ideologically, started out as Communist revolutions, like to refer themselves as "revolutionary," much like the West uses the word "democratic": "that is us, never mind the word's meaning or our actions". So, yes, it is possible to have a reactionary Revolution, or a fascist Democracy; note the capitalization.

Re:Revolution? Control? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489230)

They are referring specifically to the theoretical revolution described by Marx.

Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie > Dictatorship of the Proletariat > Stateless Communism

Any "communist" state will be a dictatorship, ostensibly of the proletariat, that theoretically safeguards a revolution in progress. That state's duty is to prevent "counterrevolution" by the bourgeois. This is what they refer to when they say Gross is attempting to "destroy the Revolution".

The Cuban government has, like all communist governments, stalled in the Dictatorship phase, and they are desperately preventing any move forward. Every institution is self-preserving, so the state cannot set into motion the process that would destroy it (the transition into stateless communism). So the state just kind of flops around oppressively until someone puts it out of its misery.

edit: funny coincidence, my captcha was "anarchy"

Re:Revolution? Control? (3, Insightful)

Kilobug (213978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489332)

Dictatorship of the Proletariat is one of the most widely misunderstood expression, used a few times by Marx (and it was a very clumsy wording from him, indeed). What Marx meant by it is a strong government *in the hands of the working class* able to realize fast and profound changes in the society. He didn't mean by it a Stalin-like totalitarian state. He was even clear that for him, "dictatorship of the proletariat", was something like Paris' Commune. Which was the most democratic form of government that existed in modern history in France. In which elected representative could be recalled at any time at the demand of the basis. Which abolished death penalty, and gave right to vote to women, as early as 1870. Even the "army" of the Commune (the National Guard) was democratic, with the officers elected by the guards.

As for the Cuban government, it's not perfect, but it's not a "dictatorship" under the common meaning of the word nowadays. People aren't arrested there for just disagreeing. There is no torture. People aren't kept in jail without trial. There are elections, and if we can discuss their fairness and the weird system they use, it's not the case only in Cuba (hint, 2000 election in the USA). There is no forced labor camps. Police don't open fire on protests.

If you compare Cuba to its neighbors, it has much less human rights violations than for example in Mexico, Peru, Colombia or Chile (which are US allies and recognized as "democracies"). And it has several very positive aspects. One of the best healthcare system of the world (with the same life expectancy as USA despite the blockade, and a lower child death rate), one of the best educative system of the world (lower illiteracy and higher university enrollment rate than in USA).

Cuba isn't perfect, and we should criticize what is broken in the cuban system. But Cuba is not a "tropical gulag", it's not the hell of a country that the mass media tell us it is. Considering its history and the hostility of a nearby superpower, it's quite impressive they managed to get all the good things they have, without much more bad things. Especially when you compare with so many other countries of Latin America.

Re:Revolution? Control? (1, Insightful)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489404)

Yet internet access is grounds for 15 year sentences?

Yup. Just ask McKinnon. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489522)

Yup. Just ask McKinnon. Or Bradley Manning. Or the people in GITMO.

Re:Revolution? Control? (4, Insightful)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489606)

Repeat after me: "RTFA! RTFA! RTFA!"

An American working for a covert U.S. program in Cuba was sentenced Saturday to 15 years in prison...

Alan Gross, 61, worked as a contractor for a USAID program that secretly provided technology like computers and communications equipment to encourage democratic reforms...

...says the Cuban government may now use Mr. Gross as a bargaining chip to gain the release of five accused Cuban spies who were convicted in 2005 of espionage in the U.S.

So, as usual, the summary is misleading. It should say "US and Cuba continue with their old feud... and the words "computer" and "internet" were mentioned on the article somewhere, so it belongs in Slashdot".

Violent revolutions create Dictatorships (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489424)

The problem with communism (Marx/Engels version) is that violent revolution is part of the Communist Manifesto's implementation plan for Communism (read it if you don't believe me).

In most violent revolutions the person willing and capable of exerting the most violence ends up at the top. Most such people do not give up their power once at the top.

That's why communist (and other violent) revolutions tend to end up as dictatorships.

Only a few cases (e.g. the American Revolution) are the exceptions. I'm no expert but I think the American Revolution was quite different when compared to most "communist revolutions". Seems to me that much of each state's structure was maintained rather than overthrown.

Re:Violent revolutions create Dictatorships (2)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489576)

Most communist revolutions are a revolution by the working masses to remove the landed gentry from positions of power and control. The American Revolution was a revolution by the landed gentry - who then put in place a system of government to keep themselves in positions of power and control.

If the revolutions mantra of "No taxation without representation" is true then why are Green Card holders taxed?

Re:Violent revolutions create Dictatorships (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489686)

If the revolutions mantra of "No taxation without representation" is true then why are Green Card holders taxed?

Because they have no other right to be in the country outside that granted to them by the government who also taxes them.

But you have to also remember, the people who started "No taxation without representation" were stating it as citizens, not guests temporarily allowed to work in the country.

Re:Violent revolutions create Dictatorships (2, Funny)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489738)

and yet they still, quite simply, are taxed without having any representation.
Nothing you said justifies that.
it just makes you feel better about it.

Re:Revolution? Control? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489636)

And it has several very positive aspects.

Yeah, the government death-squads have had a lot of practice, so the victims usually only suffer a single shot. /sarc

You, sir, are an idiot. A "useful idiot", to be precise. I've spent time there. It's a hellhole outside of certain areas the Cuban government uses for propaganda purposes. Death squads are a fact of everyday life. People "go missing" in the night, never to be seen or heard from again.

Nobody trusts anyone, as the authorities enthusiastically "encourage" people to report on their neighbors/friends/family. Corruption and outright thievery are rampant. Extreme poverty is the norm. Torture and executions are commonplace.

Despite propaganda to the contrary, healthcare is all but non-existent, and what little there is typically takes many average month's-work's-salary-worth of bribes to even have a shot at any of it.

Before you figuratively open your mouth about living conditions in revolutionary Cuba again and make yourself out to be an even bigger fool than Michael Moore, I strongly suggest you at least go down to southern Florida and talk to some Cuban ex-pats/survivors.

The Cuban government is a cruel and iron-fisted despotic regime replete with all the horrors such regimes have always inflicted upon their victim-citizens. Anyone claiming otherwise is either a "useful idiot" or a complicit propagandist. I'll let you pick which category you belong in.

I swear, some people's clueless kids...

Re:Revolution? Control? (1)

chroma (33185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489730)

You gotta be kidding. You're wrong about just about everything. Read, for instance what Amnesty International has to say:
http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba [amnesty.org]

Re:Revolution? Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489438)

And I always thought that a revolution by definition involves total loss of control by authorities...

No. You're thinking of Sid Meier's Civilization (the video game). Not everything in (real) life happens like it does on the console.

If your government isn't strong enough (3, Funny)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489070)

to withstand criticism, maybe it doesn't deserve to rule.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489094)

If you know the history of Latin America you remember the role of USA agencies (including USAID) in putting military puppet regimes in power. USA agencies in Latin America is not as innocent as some may think. Sadly.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489382)

Yeah no shit, maybe if we worried about our own business and corruption, instead of playing "Hey lets fuck with everybody else!" maybe we wouldn't be in such bad shape.

Hell when you are covering up for private contractors selling 9 year old boys as fuck toys to get better deals on contracts? you have NO STANDING to be preaching to anyone else about freedom and rights, since child trafficking is about as low and sick as it gets.

And I don't care what anyone says Manning is a damned hero for showing what sick bastards we are actively supporting. The sick part is it wasn't even the first time we covered for these fuckers, they were selling 8 year old girls in Kosovo in the 90s. It is pretty much SOP for those bastards and we STILL kept hiring them and covering for them. Makes me ashamed to be an American. How much lower can we sink?

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489550)

Yeah no shit, maybe if we worried about our own business and corruption, instead of playing "Hey lets fuck with everybody else!" maybe we wouldn't be in such bad shape.

Not that I condone the bad actions of the US government. But did you ever stop to think that if the US government had not done some of these things that maybe the country would be in worse shape? As in Soviet States of America worse shape.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (5, Insightful)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489108)

Probably not, no. It's not terribly surprising that this guy was arrested and imprisoned, though - I mean, he was actually being funded by the US to try and undermine the Cuban government. Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?

Remember that the US has a history of attempting assassination attempts against Fidel Castro and has organized (badly) at least one attempt to violently overthrow the government - and they're not exactly doing it out of a desire to spread freedom and democracy... Also remember that the previous US-supported dictator was pretty horrid and screwed over basically the entire Cuban population in favour of the US interests that owned most of Cuba.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (5, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489276)

"Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?"

I can.
Phil Zimmerman (Pretty Good Privacy) was investigated for 3 years because the US Government regarded cryptographic software as a munition, subject to arms trafficking export controls.

And he wasn't even funded by the Soviets or anybody else.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

pep939 (1957678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489368)

I would like to second that by pointing out the crypto-paranoia of the US. Living in Belgium myself, I was very surprised during a stay in New York, when an american friend pointed out to me that I was, in fact, at the risk of going to prison for the contents of my partially encrypted laptop (amongst other stuff).

I find it quite often rather shocking how american laws are almost obsessively restrictive regarding these subjects.

I remember a talk I attended at FOSDEM in Brussels, about reverse engineering of proprietary network protocols [youtube.com] , and the speaker Rob Savoye, who is american, seemed to envy us quite a bit for our relatively permissive laws.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489556)

Phil Zimmerman was investigated for 3 years and the case got dismissed in the end. How does this compare with being sentenced for 15 years in prison???

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489734)

Neither was he funded by a foreign government or operating covertly. The point which you totally missed was probably that when the US government can do that to someone who acts in the open on his own initiative, there's no telling what they can do.
Another example is Julian Assange, where at least two US lawmakers have mentioned the death penalty in the same sentence as his name, with clear implications of what they think.

The reason why there isn't a completely direct analogue situation is that for every foreign spy caught on US ground, there are at least a couple of US spies already caught abroad, so these things end up with mutual extraditions and exchanges.

But make no mistake, unlike Zimmerman and Assange, this guy actually WAS a foreign operative on sovereign territory, and 15 years is a quite light sentence as these things go.
If you go back a few decades, you might remember a couple operating for the Soviet Union who was caught here in the US, and who didn't get off that lightly.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489570)

"Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?"

I can.

This raises the philosophical question: If the US government can't monitor it, can a beowulf cluster of Soviet communication networks imagine *you*?

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489624)

"Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?"

I can. Phil Zimmerman [...] And he wasn't even funded by the Soviets or anybody else.

So you mean you can't?

Cuba has a long history of intervention (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489318)

Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?

I know Cuba is a backwards country, but I didn't suspect the situation was so bad that the government couldn't monitor the internet.

Remember that the US has a history of attempting assassination attempts against Fidel Castro and has organized (badly) at least one attempt to violently overthrow the government

Considering how easily the US invaded two different countries at the same time at the other side of the world, they could take over Cuba in a weekend if they wanted to. The Bay of Pigs rebellion was performed by Cuban citizens, with some support from the CIA but no direct military intervention from the USA.

This is very different from the Cuban invasion of Angola. The Bay of Pigs affair is more similar to the many different interventions that Cuba has performed all over Latin America. Cuba tried for decades to overthrow the governments of almost all countries in Central and South America, so when they complain about CIA actions in Cuba that's the pot calling the kettle black.

- and they're not exactly doing it out of a desire to spread freedom and democracy

I see. So Cuba has oil?

remember that the previous US-supported dictator was pretty horrid and screwed over basically the entire Cuban population in favour of the US interests that owned most of Cuba.

Batista was a corrupt dictator that got money from the US organized crime. To call that "US interests" is quite an exaggeration. it was the Italian mafia operating from the USA that paid Batista to launder their money. That was no more "US interests" than when the Colombian drug cartels used Noriega in Panama to launder their money.

The fact is that the Cuban dictatorship uses the USA as a convenient excuse for keeping their country under their military rule. And the irony of it is that from financing and training agents to overthrow foreign governments to direct military invasion, Cuba has done in many other countries exactly what they accuse the USA of doing.

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (1)

Kilobug (213978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489380)

"They could take over Cuba in a weekend if they wanted to." Like they could in Vietnam ? The USA knows that they can't win a war against Cuba, without having to slaughter most of the cubans. They can't afford it, especially when there is no oil in Cuba to justify it in front of corporate USA.

"The Bay of Pigs rebellion was performed by Cuban citizens, with some support from the CIA but no direct military intervention from the USA." No, it was performed by mercenaries. And it had cover by USA frigates and airforce, if that's not military intervention.

"This is very different from the Cuban invasion of Angola." Cuba didn't invade Angola. Cuba sided with one side of the two belligerents in a civil war in Angola, only because the other side was supported by Apartheid South Africa imperialist forces. The defeat of South Africa in invading Angola, thanks to Cuban effort, was recognized by Nelson Mandela as a major step in the fall of Apartheid.

"The fact is that the Cuban dictatorship uses the USA as a convenient excuse for keeping their country under their military rule." If that was really the case, why wouldn't the USA just stop the blockade ?

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489484)

If that was really the case, why wouldn't the USA just stop the blockade ?

That's a common misconception. The US doesn't have a blockade against Cuba, but an embargo. A blockade would involve the interdiction of Cuba's trade, or other involvement, with other countries around the world (including, in the past, with its Soviet allies). An embargo restricts Americans from trade, or other involvement, with Cuba. Granted, America would be a very conveniently located and generally advantageous trading partner for the Cubans, but they nevertheless are free to interact, and they do, with other countries around the world (subject of course to any similar embargoes imposed by other countries on their own citizens). This is why Cuba has a significant (though perhaps not great) amount of trade with various EU countries, China, Venezuala, etc.

In my opinion, the previous poster is generally correct about this point. Though the embargo certainly is not helping the Cubans, it does not explain their general social or political predicament. A good reason for ending the policy, in fact, is precisely that it does serve as an excuse for the communists running Cuba.

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489490)

The US pretty much could take over Cuba at will. Cuba lacks the population, terrain, supply chain or tactical considerations that allowed Vietnam's guerrilla movement to be so effective. Nobody would be pouring weapons and warm bodies into a Cuban army to fight the US, and the Cuban population isn't scattered in penny packet villages that allow for support and recruiting of opposition forces. The armed population of Cuba is tiny compared to Vietnam (or the united states) as well. Their are less then two thousand privately owned rifles in the whole country.

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489638)

But what does Cuba have that the US wants? Nothing at all. They have oil, but they are not one of the major producers.

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (3, Informative)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489384)

So Cuba has oil?

Sure, 120 million barrels proved reserves at the moment and 51k barrels/day production; estimates of their offshore resources are much higher. CNN: How oil could bring Cuba and the U.S. back together - May. 25, 2010 [cnn.com] . That might provide a convenient casus belli, or lead to greater cooperation. Or maybe things will just waffle along the way they have for the last 50 years.

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489510)

So Cuba has oil?

Sure, 120 million barrels proved reserves at the moment and 51k barrels/day production; estimates of their offshore resources are much higher. CNN: How oil could bring Cuba and the U.S. back together - May. 25, 2010 [cnn.com] . That might provide a convenient casus belli, or lead to greater cooperation. Or maybe things will just waffle along the way they have for the last 50 years.

To put that in perspective, the US consumes nearly 20 million barrels a day.

Re:Cuba has a long history of intervention (2)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489628)

Cuba's consumption is about 200 kb/d, IIRC. The article mentions a USGS estimate of ca. 4 billion barrels reserves, which could translate into them becoming a net exporter if things panned out well enough. The experiences of other OPEC nations and also major producers like Mexico don't necessarily mean this will translate into greater per capita wealth or well-being, of course. Those USGS estimates are often a bit askew of reality, also. But the Gulf of Mexico is a pretty remarkable basin so who knows. Mexico are attempting to move into the deepwater GOM too, and have relaxed regulations on outside participation in their hydrocarbon industries which were in place since 1938; perhaps Cuba will follow suit here.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489432)

Can you imagine what would've happened if someone funded by the Soviet Union tried to set up communications networks in the US that the Government couldn't monitor?

I hope many people groups, countries, individuals and organizations do this. Look what happens in places like Iran, Egypt and Libya when they shut down the internet. A lot of individuals, nonprofit organizations, businesses and eventually some governments stepped in to help the citizens get safe access to the internet. If the US ever cracks down too hard on a free internet, I certainly hope everyone else out there will pitch in to help us citizens out in our time of need too. And I won't give a damn about the motivations, race, country or creed of whomever is helping me to get access to the internet. Once I get access, I'll figure out what to do myself from there.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489466)

WOOSH...

What he mean is that the US gouvement did not deserve to rule because of the Wikileak 'criticism'.

Manning and Crowley criticised the US government (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489154)

Look what happened to them.

Re:Manning and Crowley criticised the US governmen (1, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489302)

Manning and Crowley criticised the US government ... Look what happened to them.

Manning indiscriminately sprewed hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents out the door in a fit of not liking the fact that he'd put himself - an angsty gay man - into a military job that really didn't suit his personality. The problem was that he didn't criticize the government, or use any of the many established mechanisms for pointing out specific acts or policies requiring wider whistleblower-style attention/coverage, and when straight for the personal drama (using the outlet set up by Assaange, who is also all about personal drama). He displayed the exact opposite of thoughtful, principled action. He had a tantrum.

Crowley, who worked in an appointed position at the pleasure of the chief executive, decided to deliberately call his chief executive's policies "stupid" (and more) in a public setting, for the press, and of course lost his job. He worked for the country's diplomatic wing, and showed the inability to be diplomatic and to uphold the policy positions of the person who put him in that job. So of course someone else is now going to have that job. Are you really so morally bankrupt that you can't grasp the distinction between that and being thrown in a Cuban jail for fifteen years for helping people get on the internet? Yeah, I guess you are. I don't know how you even manage to choose which brand of toothpaste to use, considering you have a case of mixed premises that bad.

Re:Manning and Crowley criticised the US governmen (1)

bball99 (232214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489334)

the difference between Manning and Crowley is that one is an enlisted traitor and the other is a passed-over mouthpiece who stepped on his you-know-what

Manning will be in jail for a long, long, long, long time

Crowley will find somewhere to land inside the Belchway with others of his ilk

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489160)

This is exactly the point of Wikileak. Fuck 'em.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489226)

Correction: "If your government isn't strong enough to root out CIA insurgents before they spread american ideas in your country, then maybe it doesn't deserve to rule."

Internet is great and all, but before you start supporting this guy for "spreading internet", make sure you know his motives and associations.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489592)

So what if somebody does a good thing with (questionably) bad intentions.

Re:If your government isn't strong enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489228)

Legitimate governments serve, they do not rule.

Social worker? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489084)

CIA-agent is more accurate. USAID is a CIA-cover.

Bradley Manning (3, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489090)

All counter-revolutionaries are given the harshest treatment. Remember: all their rights respected until [youtube.com] somebody we like gets elected. You can spread your opinion from the rooftops as loudly as you like, as long as it is either (i) pro-government; or (ii) of no consequence to the government. The US government is clever to realise that most speech comes under (ii).

For an example closer to Western home, check out what's happening to Bradley Manning [guardian.co.uk] .

Re:Bradley Manning (4, Insightful)

darojasp (910720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489128)

I find funny that the US demands this guy to be released. By principle, if this guy is released so should be Manning

Re:Bradley Manning (2)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489324)

By principle, if this guy is released so should be Manning

Manning acted out of a juvenile sense of drama, and indiscriminantly stole hundreds of thousands of documents in a fit of pique over "being in a bad place" emotionally. He betrayed his fellow service members and knew that his drama queen routine was going to put many people at great risk so that he could be seen stamping his feet and saddling up to that ego maniac, Assange. How is that the same as setting up communications channels for individuals living under an oppressive totalitarian regime like Cuba's? It's not.

Re:Bradley Manning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489378)

Counterpoint: Manning is one of the greatest American heroes of the last 100 years.

Re:Bradley Manning (1)

darojasp (910720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489386)

What I meant is, if you are a spy and you get caught, you are screwed. It doesn't matter if you are an spy for a corporation a free government or an autocracy. It is just one of the dangers of the business.

Re:Bradley Manning (1, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489388)

Funny, I thought his fellow service members were busy betraying their principles by colluding in the organised rape of children [guardian.co.uk] that Manning helped expose.

Yeah, finding out my country was funding that could quite possibly put me "in a bad place emotionally" and lead to a "fit of pique". Of course, I'd probably call it "righteous anger" and "exposing corruption", but spin it however you will. After all, it's easier to call people "drama queens" and "ego maniacs" than it is to actually believe that your saintly government could be involved in corruption.

Re:Bradley Manning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489540)

You know, if I had an account, I would mod you +funny. Oh wait... you are serious, aren't you?

Why Manning acted the way he did is just speculations. What we know is the facts and results. We discovered that the US military hides information from the public which would have severe impact on the citizens opinion over US military policies. The army knew that the public would disagree so they purposely acted against the interests of the US people. You know how we call that in the rest of the world? Fraud and treason.
I don't really care why Manning did what he did. This information was going to stay burred for decades until the people responsible grow old and/or die, and most importantly, give them years to continue acting behind the people's backs. Objectively speaking, Manning reviewed a very corrupt system acting against the interests of the US and Afghan citizens among others, while the potential damage in revealing them is hardly going to affect more than a tiny minority of those people. Do I care about his reasons? Not really, he did the right thing and that's what matters to me.

How is that the same as setting up communications channels for individuals living under an oppressive totalitarian regime like Cuba's?

They are similar in the sense that both governments try to withhold information about their crimes in order to control their respective citizens. Nobody claimed they are the same.

Re:Bradley Manning (2)

tick-tock-atona (1145909) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489554)

Manning acted out of a juvenile sense of drama, and indiscriminantly stole hundreds of thousands of documents in a fit of pique over "being in a bad place" emotionally. He betrayed his fellow service members and knew that his drama queen routine was going to put many people at great risk so that he could be seen stamping his feet...

Kissinger said much the same of Danel Ellsberg: It’s treasonable! There’s no question it’s actionable. I’m absolutely certain that this violates all sorts of security laws.

How is that the same as setting up communications channels for individuals living under an oppressive totalitarian regime like Cuba's? It's not.

He set up a communication channel with the world because he believed that the information belonged "in the public domain". His actions have been credited [foreignpolicy.com] with helping fuel the revolutions in the middle east - helping individuals living under an oppressive totalitarian regime.

Re:Bradley Manning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489564)

I find funny that the US demands this guy to be released. By principle, if this guy is released so should be Manning

This would be the principle of false equivalency, then.

Unless you're trying to claim this guy joined the Cuban armed forces, took an oath to uphold the supreme law of the land of Cuba, signed a contract agreeing to be held accountable to Cuba's code of military conduct, did classes explaining said code of conduct, and, after being carefully briefed, signed a non-disclosure agreement explicitly promising not to release Cuba's sensitive data. And, don't forget, he would have had to have worked closely with many people in Cuba's military, form close friendships with many of them and have plenty of time to become cognizant of the fact that those buddies could be hurt or killed if he released that information.

And, let's not forget that much of the material he would have to release would be diplomatic material that put in jeopardy Cuba's efforts to avoid going to war.

yeah, right... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489092)

http://inteldaily.com/2011/03/our-man-in-havana/

stupid americans (2, Insightful)

petur (1833384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489104)

Stop trying to be hero's by trying to rebuild countries after destroying them with wars or business blocks.

Re:stupid americans (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489330)

after destroying them

The only people who have destroyed Cuba is the totalitarian communist family that runs it and who jail or kill people for trying to lead a free life or leave the island.

Re:stupid americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489462)

Okay, we will just destroy them and leave them seething in the mess.

Shame, shame, shame (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489110)

Funny thing, this guy entered Cuba on a tourist visa, so I'm not sure what he was doing hooking up dissidents to the Internet and expecting to get away with it.

If the American government had as much outrage against its own military torturing and jailing innocent civilians, or hero's who risked their own lives and well being to help people; like Bradly Manning did in the whistle-blowing case; then people would be more likely to believe the United States, and the integrity of their words.

Shame, shame, shame.

Correction: Jew handing out sat-phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489112)

The actual story is: Jew handing out sat phones to contacts in cuba to assist in the transfer of black market goods into cuba and assist to drug-trafficers to import their wares into the US.

Poor American? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489122)

We have absolutely no idea how innocent or guilty this person is. For all we know he could be a freedom of speech activist or an undercover CIA operative.

I simply refuse to take these stories at face value. Person X that did Y that I can neither confirm nor deny has recieved penalty Z.

Uhm, OK. I'll just read my emails now, if that's OK with you.

What about the prisoners in the US? (4, Informative)

br00tus (528477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489138)

Of course, Americans are thrown into prison [nytimes.com] for allowing people to see foreign satellite channels, but let's not discuss that. Let's have the NASDAQ listed US Geeknet corporation news website Slashdot bash Cuba. Of course, USAID and the CIA have been trying to foment revolution in Cuba for a long time, and the US government has supported the terrorist groups that have been bombing hotels in Cuba. Meanwhile, the US tortures prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, a military base Cuba has asked leave Cuba but the US in its imperialist hubris refuses. Terrorists who bomb civilian airlines like Luis Posada Carilles walk the streets of the US freely, with his only legal problems being minor asylum discrepancies.

Also, how many cable stations in the US is English Al-Jazeera on? Talk about a corporate/government lockdown. Al-Jazeera is banned from the New York Stock Exchange floor as well for whatever reason.

What rank hypocrisy. Five Cubans [freethefive.org] who were concerned with terrorists like Carilles are locked in US jails right now. I'm sure Cuba would be perfectly willing to do a prisoner exchange. The US should free its political and free spech prisoners and stop supporting terrorists like Carilles before its corporations like Geeknet/Slashdot complain about Cuba. How is this USAID spy a spy who should be free, but the Cuban Five should be in prison. Just the arrogant imperial hubris of the US.

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489156)

Mod parent up.

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (1)

i-linux123 (2003962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489210)

Al Jazeera, Russia Today, ... . Hillary Clinton said "We're in a media war, and quite frankly, we're losing it." in the context of the mentioned channels. I have no idea what she meant when all I see during the middle-eastern uprising on these channel's online streams is news and coverage that is aligned and compatible with western views, which I'd like to think are generally good from a humanitarian standpoint. (I live in Europe btw.)

What about Che Guevara? (2)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489342)

Of course, USAID and the CIA have been trying to foment revolution in Cuba for a long time, and the US government has supported the terrorist groups that have been bombing hotels in Cuba

Isn't it ironic that people who claim about US agents are trying to overthrow the Cuban government are the same people who idolize a Cuba government agent that was killed while conducting terrorist actions to overthrow other countries governments?

Re:What about Che Guevara? (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489634)

It's obvious, isn't it?
"We are the good guys, everything we do is good. They are the bad guys, everything they do is wrong"
It applies to both sides.

Cheap propaganda (1)

NightFears (869799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489344)

> foreign satellite channels I wonder why you felt you had to use that euphemism instead of just saying "Hezbollah TV". Maybe because Hezbollah is a world-wide famous terrorist organization? As such, distribution of its materials is prohibited by law, therefore what you support here is violation of law, and apparently you don't want to appear that way, am I correct?

This is the usual hypocrisy of your type of rights activists. You are accusing state authorities of actions that are determined by law authorities and, indeed, by law. There are good laws and bad laws, and it is arguable whether this particular law is any good. But this is not a level of discussion you want to engage in, as you don't care about the laws or logic behind them, all you care about is propaganda. Just to show this, you proceed to make further radical unsubstantiated claims, such as
> US government has supported the terrorist groups that have been bombing hotels in Cuba

Re:Cheap propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489468)

It was against the law to hide Jews in Nazi Germany. Perhaps the law can be wrong?

Re:Cheap propaganda (1)

NightFears (869799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489478)

Next time try reading the whole comment.

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (2)

NightFears (869799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489350)

(fixing formatting)

> foreign satellite channels
I wonder why you felt you had to use that euphemism instead of just saying "Hezbollah TV". Maybe because Hezbollah is a world-wide famous terrorist organization? As such, distribution of its materials is prohibited by law, therefore what you support here is violation of law, and apparently you don't want to appear that way, am I correct?

This is the usual hypocrisy of your type of rights activists. You are accusing state authorities of actions that are determined by law authorities and, indeed, by law. There are good laws and bad laws, and it is arguable whether this particular law is any good. But this is not a level of discussion you want to engage in, as you don't care about the laws or logic behind them, all you care about is propaganda. Just to show this, you proceed to make further radical unsubstantiated claims, such as
> US government has supported the terrorist groups that have been bombing hotels in Cuba

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489362)

The guy went to jail was being paid by Hezbollah to broadcast the station($28K/month). http://ztruth.typepad.com/ztruth/2008/12/new-york-javed-iqbal-pleads-guilty-to-broadcasting-hezbollah-television-in-us.html [typepad.com]

Posada is finally being tried for the airline bombing which, although he is a terrorist, he may not have done. http://venezuela-us.org/2011/01/28/el-paso-diary-day-9-in-the-trial-of-posada-carriles-abascals-testimony-damages-posadas-defense/ [venezuela-us.org]

Even Cuba admits the five cubans are inteligence officers sent to the US to spy, it's just a matter of what they were sent here to spy on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Five [wikipedia.org]

I don't believe this guy should be freed(and he likely won't be freed). He wasn't doing this out of concern for people, he was doing it because he was getting paid by the US. He's a mercenary, but he didn't kill anyone so instead of being executed he's being sent to prison.

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (1)

merlock18 (1533631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489434)

Looks like Mr Iqbal was actually convicted of "providing material support to Hizballah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization." Not just showing their material, as the NYTimes reported. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3773 [militantislammonitor.org]
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/24/AR2006082401461.html [washingtonpost.com]
Apparently he was "supporting" them simply by promoting these broadcasts? Not sure how I feel on this one. If DVRs are questionable, simply because ads can be skipped, as ads are the only support for television broadcasting companies, how much is something like Mr Iqbal is doing, support?

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489594)

I guess in Cuba the US is legally a terrorist organization too.

Re:What about the prisoners in the US? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489682)

Of course, Americans are thrown into prison for allowing people to see foreign satellite channels

Oddly enough, your link only resolved to a full screen ad with no option to skip. Maybe if I trusted nytimes to run javascript or other crap, which I most certainly do not. Maybe you should provide a link to a site that isn't into ads and paywalls. Nytimes is part of the problem, linking there for an issue like that is ridiculous. At minimum they will move the article later to produce 404s (and they will NOT provide a new address.)

Crossed the line (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489162)

The dictators are really crossing the line of what people will tolerate, when attacking the spread of this enlightenment-enabling medium. The world should stand behind our fellow human-beings that are being oppressed from enjoying this freedom that we get to enjoy each day both at home and on our mobile devices.

Just as the churches prosecuted those with ideas to preserve the mentality of the dark-ages, so are the dictators of today in North Korea, Middle-east, Cuba, (In this order), are clinging on to power with preventing the spread of enlightenment.

resentment for people with more rights than me (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489172)

I can't get upset about this. I feel it is bad enough that Americans with Cuban heritage have the right to visit Cuba while my government says that I am forbidden to do so. But this guy isn't Cuban (he's Jewish), yet somehow he get to go to Cuba on a tourist visa. He broke their laws (which really suck but he clearly knew their laws).

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (1)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489216)

But this guy isn't Cuban (he's Jewish)

What has religion got to do with this??? Or has Castro banned Judaism on his island? I'm always unhappy to see people mixing Hebrew, Israeli and Judaism. They are as different as French language, France, and, say, Catholicism.

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489278)

Communism(or actually Marxism) is generally against religion in all its forms.

"Religion is the opium of the people" — Karl Marx

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (1)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489440)

So they are against drugs. Isn't this a good thing?!

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489408)

Because the term "Jew" has been a racial designation far longer than it's been a religious one? Jew => Descendant of Judah.

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489232)

Cuba will give you a tourist visa. Go to Canada or Mexico, get a visa and then go. It will not even stamp your passport as not to get you in trouble.

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (0, Troll)

Loundry (4143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489242)

I can't get upset about this. I feel it is bad enough that Americans with Cuban heritage have the right to visit Cuba while my government says that I am forbidden to do so. But this guy isn't Cuban (he's Jewish), yet somehow he get to go to Cuba on a tourist visa. He broke their laws (which really suck but he clearly knew their laws).

I can't get upset that I don't have the right to financially support a Communist island quasi-gulag, but I can understand why that pisses off "progressives" (those scare quotes are EARNED), so I empathize with you ... just a smidge. At the same time, so what if he "knew their laws"? No one should be punished for an unjust law. I'm sure the people in Cuba's prisons who are there for the horrible crime of criticizing the government would agree with that.

I'm sorry, what was I engaging my brain again? I just need to repeat, "They have Universal Health Care in Cuba!" over and over. War is Peace, Love is Hate. A=!A.

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (2)

Kilobug (213978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489280)

"Quasi-gulag ?" I went to Cuba. I spoke to cuban. I saw how they live. Not in luxury and there are problems, yes. But it's definitely not a "quasi-gulag". The only "gulag" in Cuba is Guantanamo.

"No one should be punished for an unjust law." Indeed. But a law saying an agent from a foreign hostile power can't come to your country to stir unrest, build a covert communication network, and corrupt people to oppose the government, well, it's not that an "unjust" law, and similar laws exist everywhere in the world.

"I'm sure the people in Cuba's prisons who are there for the horrible crime of criticizing the government would agree with that." No one is. There are people in Cuba's prisons for the horrible crime of receiving money or goods from a foreign hostile power to undermine the government. That's completely different. Now we can argue about the fairness of the trial, and some may be innocent of the crime they are accused of. Like there are people innocent in jail in every country. We should criticize it every time we have data on such a case, and we can criticize specific methods used in the court process. There is a lot to criticize on that topic in Cuba. But also in USA, and also in the European Union.

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489428)

But a law saying an agent from a foreign hostile power can't come to your country to stir unrest, build a covert communication network, and corrupt people to oppose the government, well, it's not that an "unjust" law, and similar laws exist everywhere in the world

The main organized crime where I live in Brazil is called the "Red Command" [wikipedia.org] . That name means "red" as in communist, that organization started when common criminals where trained in jail by agents sent from Cuba to overthrow the Brazilian government.

Re:resentment for people with more rights than me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489322)

I can't get upset that I don't have the right to financially support a Communist island quasi-gulag, but I can understand why that pisses off "progressives" (those scare quotes are EARNED), so I empathize with you ... just a smidge. At the same time, so what if he "knew their laws"? No one should be punished for an unjust law.

You've never been to Cuba, have you?

I've spent as much time in Cuba as I have in the US and in many ways find the US to be much closer to authoritarianism. While the US is not quite a police state yet, for every story like this about Cuba (which, btw, is actually about a spy if you bother to look into it) there are literally hundreds of stories about the US.

Yes, Cuba has its issues. But a lot of those issues, and the inability to move beyond them, is because nitwits like yourself simply regurgitate what they've seen on Fox rather than look for themselves.

At least he have been sentenced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489204)

oposite other prisoners on that island.

NuKE Cuba with neutron bombs (-1, Troll)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489208)

Then take the country over and make it a capitalist paradise, just like in the old days.

MOD me down, just like you young folk do, with no idea about history always does.
From positive karma to bad karma in an instant ... NIGGERS !

IF you can program in COBOL or FORTRAN AND IBM 360-370 assember, then I MAY
listen to you.

Re:NuKE Cuba with neutron bombs (1)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489220)

Wow, that karma was really burning a hole in your pocket.

Unfair trials in Cuba (2, Insightful)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489212)

Doubtless the Cubans are merely following the shining example of the kangaroo courts that try 'terrorist' inmates in the concentration camp at Guantanamo. I can't quite recall which democratic power operates that camp though, perhaps it will come back to me...

Re:Unfair trials in Cuba (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489338)

the kangaroo courts that try 'terrorist' inmates

You don't actually know what that phrase means, do you?

Re:Unfair trials in Cuba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489472)

Do you expect to get positive moderation on that comment?

Re:Unfair trials in Cuba (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489572)

From Wiki: "A kangaroo court or kangaroo trial is a colloquial term for a sham legal proceeding or court. The outcome of a trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all."

Sounds right to me.

Internet-spreading ? Or covert agent ? (4, Insightful)

Kilobug (213978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489234)

So, what ? A man employed by an hostile foreign power (a power imposing to a country an illegal blockade since 50 years, and sponsoring terrorism against that country) is arrested because he, secretly and without any permission, is corrupting local persons into subverting the local government. He would be arrested in any country for that.

As for USAID, it's a not a charity, it's a CIA cover entity since long.

If USA were really interested into spreading Internet in Cuba, they would lift the blockade restrictions that forbid Cuba to connecting to the trans-atlantic cable that runs not so long from it. If they were really interested into spreading Internet in Cuba, they would allow Cuba to purchase computers.

But no. They don't want to spread Internet in Cuba. They want to reward the few cubans (and the wikileaks are clear that even the SINA (US "embassy" in Cuba) acknowledge the "opposition" in Cuba is very small and unpopular there) who betray their own country to support the agenda of the nearby imperialist power. That's it. It's plain corruption.

Cuba system is not perfect. It has many flaws. It also have many positive things. We should encourage them to keep what's good and change what is not. But it's not by sending cover agents to corrupt people to oppose their government that it'll happen. And the cover agent who tried to do that is not a freedom-fighter.

And I can understand Cuba being strict with those cover agents, when you see that the Cuban Five were sentenced to much harder penalty, while they weren't at all opposing the US government, but only infiltrating the Miami-based terror groups.

Re:Internet-spreading ? Or covert agent ? (1)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489446)

Providing internet access is corruption of locals?

Re:Internet-spreading ? Or covert agent ? (3, Informative)

Kilobug (213978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489452)

It's not "providing internet access to anyone". That would just require the US to lift the blockade. It's "providing internet access to those who oppose the government". Which is indeed corruption : you oppose the government, you receive goods that other people can't buy (because of the blockade).

Not according to actual Cubans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489590)

Cuba system is not perfect. It has many flaws. It also have many positive things.

Not according to any Cuban I've known (and yes, I have known a few). Ask them, and you'll find nothing but hatred for Castro AND his political system.

Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35489304)

Internet-Spreading American Gets 15-Year Sentence In Cuba = USAian Spy Gets A Trail* And A 15-Year Sentence In Cuba.

*Unlike those people in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Completely biased , /. (2)

TranceThrust (1391831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489458)

The article linked to speaks of 'covert actions' to bring about 'democratic reforms', and the slashdot article speaks of a 'social worker'. Site's losing trustworthiness quickly this way. Sad.

Does that mean... (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35489488)

They are going to make him serve out his sentence in Gitmo? Or is he going to be sentenced to a prison that overlooks the base?
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