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New Sanctions To Target Syrian and Iranian Tech Capacity

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the shut-it-down dept.

United States 161

vivIsel writes "This morning, President Obama is set to unveil a new executive order that will allow the U.S. to specifically target sanctions against individuals, companies or countries who use technology to enable human rights abuse. Especially as repressive regimes more effectively monitor their dissidents online (rather than simply blocking access), the sanctions focus on companies that help them do that."

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161 comments

TSA (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39771745)

Now if only they'd use that on the TSA

Re:TSA (5, Funny)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#39772035)

you mean the USA

Re:TSA (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#39772145)

Although I guess they are strongly convergent and will be synonymous ina year or two. The United Security Agency, sounds good yes.

Australia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39774015)

Australia is an english speaking country known for such last I checked we weren't doing this.

Pot, kettle (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39771781)

So when do the sanctions roll out against ourselves? I'd say "repressive regime" that "monitors dissidents" applies directly to the US, no?

Re:Pot, kettle (2, Informative)

evanism (600676) | about 2 years ago | (#39771837)

Bingo. The USA is the bad guys in too many peoples eyes. Time for a little self reflection.

Re:Pot, kettle (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#39772041)

So, do you oppose the sanctions on the grounds that they're hypocritical, then? Or are you just happy that you can point out the hypocrisy?

Re:Pot, kettle (2, Insightful)

evanism (600676) | about 2 years ago | (#39772611)

Sorry, i dont understand your points. Are you suggesting that mearly commenting on a chat board implies freedom? Or are you suggesting that the NSA has ONLY harvested this information and added my dissidence to its profile on me, and not used it against me YET, is a form of freedom?

Freedom is freedom FROM government, not freedom OF government.

Critisism of ones government does not imply freedom, nor necessarily its ability to act against you... Yet.

The worm is turning in the USA. Facism is half a goosestep away, my friend.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

w.hamra1987 (1193987) | about 2 years ago | (#39772813)

it's not democracy, or republic, and far away from fascism yet. i prefer to call it "elected dictatorship". you elect a group of people to rule you dictatorially for few years, while ensuring whoever succeeds them, will have the same agenda.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#39773025)

What you described IS a republic.. which is exactly what the US is. Here's the dictionary definition [reference.com] :

1. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

In other words, we all vote people into office, then those people do whatever the hell they want as our representatives.

If you don't like the morons in office, then why do you (we) keep putting them into office?

Re:Pot, kettle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773171)

If you don't like the morons in office, then why do you (we) keep putting them into office?

Probably because A) anytime someone runs for office on the platform of challenging the status quo, the powers that be immediately assault them by calling them 'crazy,' and B) the ignorant masses eat such marginalizations up like high-fructose corn syrup.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#39773319)

A) "the powers that be" are the people of the US. Those are the people that benefit from the current system and refuse to change it. Why do you think social security is such a mess?

B) people "eat it up" because they agree with it. The people who call social security reformers 'crazy'? They're social security recipients (and no one else.. because only those who receive social security care enough about it to say anything.)

Politicians lie.. and people on their side think it's ok because it will advance their goals, and they vote for them. So we all get to see more liars in congress. Stop pretending that these people come from out of nowhere... they are Americans.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#39773299)

I didn't MAKE a point. I asked a question with the hope of clarity. Do you oppose the idea of imposing sanctions just because the entity doing the imposition is hypocritical?

That's different than well, anything that you responded to at all. Do you think I'm defending the current and past actions of the U.S. government vis a vis its own citizens' rights? I don't get it.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773923)

It's beyond hypocrisy, it's laughable, sad, and scary.

Laughable because with these sanctions Americans do nothing but shoot themselves in the foot. They're not the only economic powerhouse in the world (are they still a powerhouse even?), and their sanctions have little effect on the targeted countries. Here in Canada, we thank Americans every day for their ever-growing restrictions on foreign visitors. We've seen a huge increase on ESL students who come and pour their money into our economy instead of USA's. Same with tourism: last year an international conference that was traditionally held in New York was moved to Vancouver and attendance nearly doubled... more money coming our way, more exchange of culture, more opportunity to learn and grow.

Sad because these sanctions do nothing more than insulate the Americans further from the world. USA has become the new Soviet Union.

Scary because during the past decade the Americans have become totally convinced that they're the One Special People who must tell the rest of the world what to do and how to behave. Do your thing your way, and let others do their thing their way, and eventually, maybe we can all get along.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#39774253)

Ok, those are all moderately to completely valid criticisms of the United States and its citizens. Didn't answer my question.

Is it an appropriate reason to oppose these sanctions? Hypocrisy is bad, we all know that. That doesn't address the validity/appropriateness of this particular action.

Re:Pot, kettle (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | about 2 years ago | (#39772345)

Bingo. The USA is the bad guys in too many peoples eyes. Time for a little self reflection.

Says the guy openly criticizing the USA with absolutely no fear for his safety or the safety of his family as a result.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#39772455)

He is not saying that openly unless his slashdot handle is his real name.

Say this stuff in an airport and see if they let you on a plane.

Score:5, Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39774241)

Says the guy openly criticizing the USA with absolutely no fear for his safety or the safety of his family as a result.

So the tyranny that occurs in the US is invalid, simply because it isn't quite as blatant as that in Iran?

Re:Pot, kettle (2)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#39774499)

Says the guy willfully ignorant of the fact that the U.S. has had innocent people kidnapped, tortured, [salon.com] or killed: [cnn.com]

The prime minister of Canada apologized Friday to Maher Arar and agreed to give $9 million in compensation to the Canadian Arab, who was spirited by U.S. agents to Syria and tortured there after being falsely named as a terrorism suspect.

Arar, 36, a former computer engineer who was detained while changing planes at a New York airport in 2002 and imprisoned in a Syrian dungeon for 10 months, said after the announcement that he âoefeels proud as a Canadianâ

Or subjecting alleged whistleblowers to psychological torture [guardian.co.uk] while letting actual torturers skate.

Or singling out [salon.com] a documentary filmmaker for dozens of searches and seizures. A filmmaker accused of no crime, which means the harassment is purely political intimidation.

Re:Pot, kettle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39774679)

Says the guy openly criticizing the USA with absolutely no fear for his safety or the safety of his family as a result.

Just because 'he' has no fear doesn't mean 'they' aren't out to get him. Apparently you don't remember reading about the McCarthy era, the Alien and Sedition Act or the fact that U.S. citizens have been held incommunicado and in secret, just because some perhaps-well-intentioned intelligence worker decided they might be linked to accused terrorists.

Good try though...

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39772691)

In the 1990s sanctions against Iraq caused 1 million people to starve to death (the Secretary of State acknowledged that stat to be true, but she said it was necessary), and led to 9/11. Now we are going to starve another million Syrians and Iranians. Knocking off innocent people is a perfect way to provoke anger & spark a war.

Re:Pot, kettle (2, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#39773513)

In the 1990s sanctions against Iraq caused 1 million people to starve to death

No, Saddam Hussein caused every single one of those people to starve to death. Not least by diverting the aid meant for them, but in general by never honoring the commitments he made when he was being pushed back from his invasion of Kuwait. His regime was sanctioned because of its conduct. His people were offered food and other support, but he prevented that from being used well or at all. His continued actions in that regard were part of what motivated his final ouster from power, as eventually even the deliberately obtuse UN couldn't pretend that he wasn't starving his own people.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39773615)

Well actually a 1/2 million. And they were a secondary cause of 9/11, the primary cause was our support for the Saudi government against their internal rebels.

And this is about computer technology sanctions against Western / US companies not food sanctions against opposed countries.

Re:Pot, kettle (-1, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#39773085)

From Glen Greenwald's latest:

Yesterday, Democracy Now had an extraordinary program devoted to America's Surveillance State. The show had three guests, each of whose treatment by the U.S. Government reflects how invasive, dangerous and out-of-control America's Surveillance State has become:

William Binney: he worked at the NSA for almost 40 years, and resigned in October, 2001, in protest of the NSA's turn to domestic spying. Binney immediately went to the House Intelligence Committee to warn them of the illegal spying the NSA was doing, and that resulted in nothing. In July, 2007 - while then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was testifying before the Senate about Bush's warrantless NSA spying program - Binney's home was invaded by a dozen FBI agents, who pointed guns at him, in an obvious effort to intimidate him out of telling the Senate the falsehoods and omissions in Gonzales' testimony about NSA domestic spying (another NSA whistleblower, Thomas Drake, had his home searched several months later, and was subsequently prosecuted by the Obama DOJ - unsuccessfully - for his whistleblowing).

Jacob Appelbaum: an Internet security expert and hacker, he is currently at the University of Washington and engaged in some of the world's most important work in the fight for Internet freedom. He's a key member of the Tor Project, which is devoted to enabling people around the world to use the Internet with complete anonymity: so as to thwart government surveillance and to prevent nation-based Internet censorship. In 2010, he was also identified as a spokesman for WikiLeaks. Rolling Stone dubbed him "The Most Dangerous Man in Cyberspace," writing: "In a sense, he's a bizarro version of Mark Zuckerberg: If Facebook's ambition is to âmake the world more open and connected,' Appelbaum has dedicated his life to fighting for anonymity and privacy. . . . 'I don't want to live in a world where everyone is watched all the time,' he says. âI want to be left alone as much as possible. I don't want a data trail to tell a story that isn't true'."

For the last two years, Appelbaum has been repeatedly detained and harassed at American airports upon his return to the country, including having his laptops and cellphone seized - all without a search warrant, of course - and never returned. The U.S. Government has issued secret orders to Internet providers demanding they provide information about his email communications and social networking activities. He's never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime.

Laura Poitras: she is the filmmaker about whom I wrote two weeks ago. After producing an Oscar-nominated film on the American occupation of Iraq, followed by a documentary about U.S. treatment of Islamic radicals in Yemen, she has been detained, searched, and interrogated every time she has returned to the U.S. She, too, has had her laptop and cell phone seized without a search warrant, and her reporters' notes repeatedly copied. This harassment has intensified as she works on her latest film about America's Surveillance State and the war on whistleblowers, which includes - among other things - interviews with NSA whistleblowers such as Binney and Drake.

So just look at what happens to people in the U.S. if they challenge government actions in any meaningful way - if they engage in any meaningful dissent. We love to tell ourselves that there are robust political freedoms and a thriving free political press in the U.S. because you're allowed to have an MSNBC show or blog in order to proclaim every day how awesome and magnanimous the President of the United States is and how terrible his GOP political adversaries are - how brave, cutting and edgy! - or to go on Fox News and do the opposite. But people who are engaged in actual dissent, outside the tiny and narrow permissible boundaries of pom-pom waving for one of the two political parties - those who are focused on the truly significant acts which the government and its owners are doing in secret - are subjected to this type of intimidation, threats, surveillance, and climate of fear, all without a whiff of illegal conduct (as even The New York Timesâ most celebrated investigative reporter, James Risen, will tell you).

http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/ [salon.com]

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39773705)

James Risen published highly classified materials. He is not under criminal threat for anything other than failure to obey a court order to reveal sources. One can argue how strongly or not strongly the government should protect journalists who assist espionage, balancing national security against the public's write to know. That is far far different than not having a free society.

Similarly with wikileaks spokespeople. The USA does absolutely nothing to people who are outside the mainstream. You can read communist newspapers to kinist newspapers and they can publish freely. What you are talking about is going beyond dissent as a matter of opinion and instead and taking action to undermine the effectiveness of the government in carrying out actions. Yes that's going to get looked at more harshly.

Re:Pot, kettle (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#39774559)

Revealing the extra-constitutional and criminal actions of the Government is merit. If laws are established to protect the abrogation of law, there is no rule-of-law at all.

Re:Pot, kettle (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39774779)

Of course laws exist to protect abrogation of law. There would far less crime if the police just shot all suspects but the law prevents that even though it leads to greater abrogation of law.

   

Re:Pot, kettle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773259)

Seriously. A very simple example: punishing people for their (intercepted) SMS or Twitter messages is using technology to abuse people's human right to free speech.

Obama's a smart guy and this is pretty obvious stuff. I see this as another example that he isn't calling the shots half the time.

People who live in glass houses ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39771803)

shouldn't have abusive Homeland Security.

Hypocritical (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39771807)

All those other countries that do that nasty stuff. When the US does it, it's different.

Re:Hypocritical (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39772871)

We're doing it for the right reasons, and they are doing it for the wrong reasons. See, when we do it, it is to catch people who do not support our government or who might try to start a revolution, or to track and arrest people who do things the government declares to be immoral. When they do it, it is to stay in power and promote state sponsored religion.

The difference is as clear as day.

Physician, heal thyself (5, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39771811)

Is this the same administration that has been falling all over itself giving retroactive immunity [wikipedia.org] to telcos and other companies violating the civil rights of American citizens?

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39771841)

You don't even need to go "retroactive". They are doing it now.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | about 2 years ago | (#39771973)

I get what you (and a bunch of ACs or one really bored AC apparently) are saying, but I think the argument is going to be a hard sell when you're forced to recognize the categorical difference between the technocratic repression of a modern megastate and the repression of shelling cities where resistance is detected.

That said, there's another powerful argument as to our hypocrisy, which is the double standard we hold our allies to versus these states we sanction.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772171)

Just playing devil's advocate here:

What would the US government's response be if a small (or a significant) portion of the population resisted/rebelled against the government?

Well, the Whiskey Rebellion [wikipedia.org] was put down with violence. If you say that that doesn't count because the US is democratic, well, especially early on, the US was not very democratic, and that was a feature, not a bug. In fact, it was sort of like Syria, or Iran today, with elections, but also with features designed to perpetuate an existing ruling establishment.

Second, take the Civil War, put down with hundreds of thousands of deaths, and then probable war crimes [wikipedia.org] . Is Syria's war not a war between two factions in the same country, i.e., a civil war? Would Washington have taken kindly to London helping the Confederate States of America [wikipedia.org] ?

Finally, take the Occupy Wall Street movement, also put down violently. If Egypt had cleared out Tahrir Square claiming "health code violations", most international media would have laughed. But, in New York, it was done with a straight face.

The message just seems to it's OK if we do it, bad if they do it.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (2)

omfgnosis (963606) | about 2 years ago | (#39772447)

What would the US government's response be if a small (or a significant) portion of the population resisted/rebelled against the government?

Depends what form the resistance takes. There's a fairly large portion of the population actively resisting US policy of one kind or another, and there's a small bug significant portion of the population preparing for revolution of one kind or another. Since these are mostly impotent threats to the status quo, they're largely ignored, but with some repression to remind the resisters what the state is capable of.

Well, the Whiskey Rebellion [wikipedia.org] was put down with violence. If you say that that doesn't count because the US is democratic, well, especially early on, the US was not very democratic, and that was a feature, not a bug. [snip]

Second, take the Civil War, put down with hundreds of thousands of deaths, and then probable war crimes [wikipedia.org].

You'll note that in neither of these cases was the US a "modern megastate" which employed "technocratic repression". The US is a different beast today than it was then. I'm not saying that the US isn't capable of the kind of brutality that was employed in its history (and it certainly engages in that sort of behavior abroad), but that it's not actively engaged in that sort of brutality today. It does a disservice to the argument against hypocrisy to blur these lines.

Finally, take the Occupy Wall Street movement, also put down violently.

In some cases yes. And while a lot of that repression was awful, I still don't think it rises to the level of shelling cities which house resistance.

If Egypt had cleared out Tahrir Square claiming "health code violations", most international media would have laughed. But, in New York, it was done with a straight face.

Right. This is what I'm talking about. We have to form a better argument, because the argument that the US is like Syria isn't going to pass the laugh test. The US is certainly hypocritical here, and brutal in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean we can be lazy with our arguments.

The message just seems to it's OK if we do it, bad if they do it.

No. My point is that if we want to undermine the spirit of hypocrisy in US foreign policy, we need to be really fucking clear about the connections we draw.

We have a much more powerful argument in saying that:

1. While the US is internally much less brutal today than it has been in the past, and than Syria is today, it always reserves the opportunity to drop the other boot, and it will if rebellion rises to the level it has in any segment of the Arab Spring.

2. While the US has often championed human rights when convenient, it has ignored them at best and fostered brutal regimes at worst, also when convenient. We should be asking questions about, for instance, Bahrain right now.

3. We know the difference between shelling cities and domestic wiretapping.

One more point of correction...

Is Syria's war not a war between two factions in the same country, i.e., a civil war?

I don't think any of the parties have described it as such. The Syrian state describes the rebellion as outside meddling in internal affairs—essentially an attempted coup. The rebels largely describe themselves as seeking regime change and democratic reform. It isn't a war at all. It's a revolution. They have some similar characteristics, but it's dangerous to say that they're the same thing.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39772973)

I still don't think it rises to the level of shelling cities which house resistance.

Too many rich Americans in cities. Now, a small farming commune is another story...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waco_siege [wikipedia.org]

I guess that is totally different from the situation in Syria though. After all, the Branch Davidians were religious extremists.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

omfgnosis (963606) | about 2 years ago | (#39773121)

I don't understand why the replies I'm getting seem to treat me like I think the US gov't is all sunshine and daisies. Yes, it is brutal. It is far, far more brutal than any odd dictatorship. All the more reason for us to sharpen our arguments.

Waco is a good example of what happens when the state perceives a genuine threat, even just out of pure paranoia. That is an example of "it always reserves the opportunity to drop the other boot". But it's also an outlier in terms of typical internal US behavior.

I can't stress this enough: my point isn't that the US is "better" in some way than Syria, but rather that it is better at repression, especially in that it tends to be better able to rationalize repression as it occurs. The US knows better than to shell its cities (and wealth is certainly one of the reasons, but public perception is another).

I want civil libertarians and humanitarians and everyone else motivated to criticize the US hypocrisy here to be intellectually thorough. Failure to do so only accomplishes a mental circle jerk—no one else is going to listen.

Do we know the difference between shelling cities and domestic wiretapping, or don't we?

You'll note that until I raised objections to the reasoning that domestic wiretapping is equivalent to Syrian repression, that reasoning was the only one on offer. The discussion of the Whiskey Rebellion, the Union's brutality in the US Civil War, and Waco... those are much more convincing.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39773779)

Waco was an example of a group that had shot 4 federal agents trying to administer a court order and then refused to surrender. You don't have the right to violently resist police enforcement. You comply and after the fact sue if there were civil rights violations.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39774213)

And in the case of Ruby Ridge?

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39774449)

He was surrounded for 12 days and told to surrender to federal officers who had a valid court order.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#39774631)

I don't understand why the replies I'm getting seem to treat me like I think the US gov't is all sunshine and daisies.

Maybe because you're being overly literal. The point of making analogies other comparisons isn't to say two things are identical, but to, you know, compare them where they are comparable.

In other words, you are sounding the like sort of person who hears a comparison between the wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam and proceed to spend your time complaining that there is no draft, jungle, or communist army to deal with and little time talking about spending blood and treasure to prop up an unpopular, extremely corrupt [nytimes.com] government with no clear mission or way out of the occupation.

And yeah, having people kidnapped and tortured [salon.com] or assasinated by executive fiat [salon.com] are exactly the sort of activities that corrupt dictatorships like Syria engage in. We should know - the victim in the above "kidnapped and torture" link was flown to.....Syria to be tortured.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

omfgnosis (963606) | about 2 years ago | (#39774787)

Maybe because you're being overly literal. The point of making analogies other comparisons isn't to say two things are identical, but to, you know, compare them where they are comparable.

You think distinguishing between shelling cities and listening to phone calls is "overly literal"? They're not fucking comparable. They're certainly two repressive acts, but they are fundamentally different in terms of brutality.

In other words, you are sounding the like sort of person who hears a comparison between the wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam and proceed to spend your time complaining that there is no draft, jungle, or communist army to deal with and little time talking about spending blood and treasure to prop up an unpopular, extremely corrupt [nytimes.com] government with no clear mission or way out of the occupation.

Well, I don't know how you've drawn that conclusion. My argument is more akin to saying that the argument that the war in Afghanistan is like the war in Vietnam would be better served if we discuss real similarities—"spending blood and treasure to prop up an unpopular, extremely corrupt government with no clear mission or way out of the occupation"—rather than discussing extremely dissimilar things—an example might be comparing the use of drones to say the use of napalm. Both are awful and reprehensible and should be opposed—just as shelling cities and domestic wiretapping are both awful and reprehensible and should be opposed—but they're just fundamentally different, and by implying equivalence we undermine our intellectual and moral authority and lose the argument.

I want to win the argument against US malfeasance, not to defend the US government.

And yeah, having people kidnapped and tortured [salon.com] or assasinated by executive fiat [salon.com] are exactly the sort of activities that corrupt dictatorships like Syria engage in. We should know - the victim in the above "kidnapped and torture" link was flown to.....Syria to be tortured.

And this is a much better argument! You honestly don't see the difference between the argument you're making and the ones I responded to? You honestly believe that domestic wiretapping is as powerful an argument demonstrating US hypocrisy regarding Syria?

All I want is for people who are ostensibly on my side to stop squandering their moral and intellectual advantage.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#39772489)

Finally, take the Occupy Wall Street movement, also put down violently.

In what world do you get your news? How can you possibly compare the scale of violence that occurred in Tahrir Square to the removal of protestors in any of the Occupy camps?

It's actually a shame, because your post was making some decent (if IMHO flawed) points up to this point, and then you go and completely blow your credibility.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#39773031)

How can you possibly compare the scale of violence that occurred in Tahrir Square to the removal of protestors in any of the Occupy camps?

Easily. Cracked skulls, bleeding heads, mass arrests, use of mounted police, tear gas, macing peaceful protesters (even ones sitting down) in the face with pepper spray....

So, on what world do you get your news?

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#39773215)

You have no sense of scale.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

whereissue (2522564) | about 2 years ago | (#39774609)

What's scale got to do with right and wrong? The fact of something being less harmful that that which is far worse, doesn't lessen the fact that it's harmful.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#39774883)

The fact of something being less harmful that that which is far worse, doesn't lessen the fact that it's harmful.

So, to your moral compass, the actions of a single cop (or even group of cops) working for a single local government represents the same thing as a state system of coordinated violence directed by an unelected despot?

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

whereissue (2522564) | about 2 years ago | (#39775151)

Through the divine powers of conflation, you are correct. The existence of an unelected despot is an abusive cop's best defense? Buh?

Two entirely unrelated things can be very, very, wrong and still remain unrelated. They need not be equally wrong for both to be wrong.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#39775367)

You've got willful denialism. Thousands of peaceful protesters arrested, police brutality, cracked skulls, mounted police (both motorcycles and horses), mass use of tear gas and pepper spray....

It's all there man, whether or not you choose to ignore it.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 2 years ago | (#39773713)

Second, take the Civil War, put down with hundreds of thousands of deaths, and then probable war crimes [wikipedia.org]. Is Syria's war not a war between two factions in the same country, i.e., a civil war? Would Washington have taken kindly to London helping the Confederate States of America [wikipedia.org]?

Nice moral equivalency shenanigans, there. The US South was defending the indefensible, and the Baathis regime in Syria is defending the indefensible. Your attempt to flip things around backwards is (or should be understood to be, if you're paying attention) embarassingly lacking in a moral compass and any sort of intellectual integrity.

Finally, take the Occupy Wall Street movement, also put down violently.

Oh, please. They were completely indulged at every turn, and completely abused their fellow citizens' patience as they squatted on public property that was not theirs to exclusively own. Their sense of entitlement to exclusive use of the commons, and their deliberate provocations in an attempt to gin up the appearance of rough handling by city governments was completely transparent and predictably juvenile. Yes, health code violations. You know ... because of the disease, filth, rats, defecation, and all of the other nice stuff that was put up with for far too many weeks in the name of not hurting the feelings of a bunch of trust fund hipsters and professional protesters, union shills, etc.

The message just seems to it's OK if we do it, bad if they do it.

No, the message just seems to be: it's bad when Syria machine-guns protesters who don't want to live under a totalitarian tyrant, and it's bad when the people who live the US abuse their fellow citizens' good will by making a mockery of their freedom to assemble, even when they're cut slack on their squatting that no other group should expect or is ever given.

Not to trouble you with the facts or anything. You just carry on thinking that having Baathis snipers shoot you down in the street is the same as getting a two-day warning that the department of parks is going to spend a day hosing your crap off the sidewalk you've been sitting on for three months, after which time you can still march right back in and once again stand there and beat drums while tweeting on your smart phone about where to find a restaurant that will tolerate your use of their bathroom even though you refuse to patronize their business because, you know, businesses are Evil.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39773759)

Your analogy of the whisky rebellion is fair.

I had friends at Tahrir square. After they were arrested they were sent to jail for extended periods of time. At occupy they were mainly out within 24 hours with minor fines. In Syria the police are clearing the square with thousands of deaths. In the USA were are upset someone got hit and hospitalized and a few people got hit with tear gas.

We have problems but they are orders of magnitude different. And as an aside, London did assist the Confederate States of America and no we don't like it.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772011)

the link you provided says that's Bush. Derp.

Re:Physician, heal thyself (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 2 years ago | (#39772357)

Sometimes the government will order others to do things on its behalf, and sometimes, these things may fall on its ass. No one will listen to the government if there's a chance that they can get sued for following orders, so the government can do things such as limit liabilities or to assume the liabilities resulting from these actions. If the government wants to spy, it has to have the telcos comply so the government will provide retroactive immunity. If the government wants airplanes made, it wouldn't do if the pilots can sue the fighter jet manufacturers if one of these planes are defectively designed and crashes, so the government will render those companies immune. Lastly, and most saliently, if the government wants companies to manufacture vaccines on its behalf, it has to render those companies immune to lawsuits from those suffering from side effects. That's why the government assumes the liability for the vaccines even though they're made by private companies.

Abuses, eh? (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#39771913)

"a new executive order that will allow the U.S. to specifically target sanctions against individuals, companies or countries who use technology to enable human rights abuse"

Good, start directly with yourselves, US Gov't. You're one of the worst offenders on this fucking planet.

Re:Abuses, eh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772209)

"a new executive order that will allow the U.S. to specifically target sanctions against individuals, companies or countries who use technology to enable human rights abuse"

Good, start directly with yourselves, US Gov't. You're one of the worst offenders on this fucking planet.

This kind of ignorance is what keeps mass-murder from happening across the world. Does the US government have its share of problems? Heck yeah. Is it reasonable to compare it to what is going on in Iran and Syria? Far from it.

The next time civilians get gunned down systematically by our government on a daily basis you can bring up this point. Until then, leave politics at home and allow us to save lives.

Re:Abuses, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772421)

What about Iraq and Afghanistan?

Oh yes, I forgot what US does is by definition good and death of millions of people due to sanctions and illegal wars cannot count as mass murder. To hell with international law.

Both Iran and Syria have a long way to go to match US in crime. Now that's saying something...

Re:Abuses, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773535)

Evidence of "civilians ... gunned down systematically by our government on a daily basis" please. Give you a hint, it was Iran's rent-a-terrorists in Iraq, and the Taliban doing that in Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively. We've burried lots of American soldiers rather than let them shoot back. Our ROE are so restrictive that we probably can't establish a credible presence there. On the other hand, when the Taliban kills half of the people in the vilage, they establish credibility.

Re:Abuses, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772531)

That will never-ever-ever happen, because you don't need to gun down en-mass if one or two is enough to get the rest in-line.
The water is already being tested, and no outrage is heard:
http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/aclu-lens-american-citizen-anwar-al-aulaqi-killed-without-judicial-process

Re:Abuses, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39774111)

There are always more new lives to save. We need to aid them in finishing themselves off. Give the suicidal a gun and let them end it. Such is the easiest way to win a war.

Governing By Executive Order (4, Insightful)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#39771949)

It is far more dangerous that we are seeing an increase in executive order being the rule of law than the content of those orders whether justifiable or not. What little influence we have as voters is nullified by this side-stepping of congress and our system of government, however flawed it may be.

Re:Governing By Executive Order (0)

craznar (710808) | about 2 years ago | (#39772099)

The US doesn't currently have a system of government, so anything useful that can come from this complete breakdown of government ... seems good to me.

Re:Governing By Executive Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772115)

Well we can have a president that gets something done by exec order or nothing getting done. Neither is a great option and in the meantime the income inequality, which I think is biggest problem, continues to grow.

Re:Governing By Executive Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772583)

What little influence we have as voters is nullified by this side-stepping of congress

Congress has the tools to reign in presidential power, they just never bother because they power without responsibility.

Re:Governing By Executive Order (0)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39773829)

There are laws we are a signatory to passed by the congress tying us heavily to international human rights. This isn't side-stepping congress it is implementing the black letter laws passed by congress for the United states. This is precisely how our system is supposed to work congress passes laws and the executive implements regulations in tune with those laws.

Re:Governing By Executive Order (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39774957)

We'll know they're serious when the President repeals the National State of Emergency [wikipedia.org] that we have been in since September 2001. It has to be renewed every year and it has been renewed every year. The SoE grants the Executive Branch several hundred additional powers reserved for a state of emergency.

Which companies? (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#39771953)

Is that the U.S. or European company that manufactures the products? Oh, no. They don't sell to customers in embargoed countries! Hold on a sec. I see a large order of "corporate internet filtering" products for shipment to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain that needs attention. Amazing how much tech stuff those guys use!

Where was I? Oh, yes. Those nasty gray-market distributors. You know, the shell companies incorporated a couple of months ago? Yeah. Those guys are ruining it for everyone!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a large order of CALEA equipment for delivery to U.S. telecom firms to ship out. Between that and the systems on order by the U.K. and China the bonuses should be fat again this quarter!

Start at home first? (3, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#39771965)

They should start with the good old USA.
The NSA is currently building a huge data center to capture email, phone, sms, etc. data.
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/23/more_secrets_on_growing_state_surveillance [democracynow.org]
This includes an interview with hacker Jacob Appelbaum, who has volunteered for WikiLeaks and now works with Tor Project and others.

Re:Start at home first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772119)

The NSA is currently building a huge data center to capture email, phone, sms, etc. data.

Yes, USA is definitely monitoring its political enemies...sorry, terrorists.

And Europe is doing it too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_data_retention

Under the directive, telecom companies must retain the data necessary for identifying the source (sender), destination (recipient), date, time and duration, type, equipment and, for mobile telephony, the location of the equipment. This applies to e-mail as well as phone calls and text messages. This information must be available to be handed over to national police on a case-by-case basis.

Yes, location. They even retain the GPS location of your mobile phone when you didn't answer the call. Great fancy way for the government to track people! Just give them a ring from an anonymous number.

Sweden is in the lead http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_traffic_database (Guess why Europe brings a big Facebook datacenter to Sweden)
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/041811-eu-data-retention-law-blasted.html

Orwell was a time traveller.

In Hypocrisy We Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772063)

Following on the heels of the article about how we've lost our trust in society, the timing of this article couldn't have been better. I know my confidence level just got another little chip taken out of it.

what's new? (4, Informative)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#39772087)

Since WWII the US Government has sanctioned entire economies and betold woes on those who would deal with them.

What, you want a list?

(note: this is by no means exhaustive. Just the ones that actually made the news. Source: own research)

China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Belgian Congo 1964
Guatemala 1964
Dominican Republic 1965-66
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Lebanon 1982-84
Grenada 1983-84
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1981-92
Nicaragua 1981-90
Iran 1987-88
Libya 1989
Panama 1989-90
Iraq 1991
Kuwait 1991
Somalia 1992-94
Bosnia 1995
Iran 1998
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia - Serbia 1999
Afghanistan 2001
Libya 2011

Re:what's new? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#39774723)

Iran is already on the list, so it doesn't count. However, Syria appears to be a newcomer to the club, so make sure you get em a jacket!

US too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772089)

I hope the US is not going to be hypocritical on this point ... after all, they're doing it too.

I'm sure the Europeans who are having all of their personal information handed to Amerika when they fly within Europe would be happier, not to mention all of the US citizens whose email correspondence is being tracked by the NSA.

Sorry Amerika, but you've developed a bad case of "do what I say, not what I do", which means you're losing your moral high ground to say such things.

And, cue all of the "but Amerika is the best, how dare you" posts.

Get it over with already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772167)

This build up over the last year is taking to long, just start Vietnam II already.

beating the drum for war against Iran (4, Insightful)

Medievalist (16032) | about 2 years ago | (#39772193)

We're already sanctioning Iran because they will take Euros or Yen for oil.

This is another straw for the camel; the American public is tired of invading Middle Eastern countries to keep the price of Texas oil high, so we need them to attack us.

Blood is already in the water, the sharks are circling.

Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (5, Insightful)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 2 years ago | (#39772195)

Can we start with HP?

In Palestine, HP is deeply involved with the Israeli occupation. HP develops and profits from population-control systems that assist the Israeli government in the restriction of Palestinian movement, ethnic-based discrimination and segregation, and human rights violations.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/703/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1232244 [democracyinaction.org]
-----------------

"Through its subsidiary EDS Israel, HP is the prime contractor of the Basel system, an automated biometric access control system installed and maintained by HP in checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

Another control mechanism HP is involved in is Israel's ID card system, which reflects and reinforces its political and economic asymmetries and tiered citizenship structure. HP will manufacture biometric ID cards for the citizens and residents of Israel (Jewish and Palestinians) for the Israeli Ministry of Interior. In addition, HP also provides services and technologies to the Israeli army.

Furthermore, two of HP's technological services providers in Israel are Matrix and its subsidiary, Tact Testware, which are located in the illegal West Bank settlement of Modi'in Illit. HP is also taking part in the "Smart city" project in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel, providing a storage system for the settlement's municipality."

Re:Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#39772415)

Not gonna happen.

Nor will we go after the Saudis, these are the folks our government likes. In the case of Israel they even have their own senator Joe Lieberman. I am sure the Saudis have a couple too.

Re:Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772621)

occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

You down with oPt? YA YOU KNOW ME! Who's down with oPt? EVERY LAST LADY!

Seriously though, fuck anyone who thinks Palestine is/was a country. Also fuck anyone who defend a group of nomads that have elected a well known international terrorist organization as their "government".

For the record, Judea actually was a country, on maps. The Jews established and ruled over Judea. The Romans killing and enslavement of the Jews paved the road for another never-was-a-country: Persia.

In summary: fuck "palestinians", fuck "persians", and fuck everyone else that beats around the "Israel is illegitimate" bush.

Re:Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772889)

Fuck you too contard.

And I don't consider Israel illegitimate, but your statements of 'a group of nomads' shows you to be an idiot.

Israel/Palestine (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772815)

Americans will never see the Palestinians as victims.

Never.

The reason is simple too. They aren't. They have played the role of terrorist for so long now Americans find it difficult to separate the words Palestinian and terrorist. To be honest, the Palestinians have never given the world any reason to separate the two words either. No reasonable person believes that they want to be anything more than terrorists. If it walks, quacks and shits like a duck ... it's a duck.

Re:Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772915)

Oh, cry me a river. First you complained that border controls were too slow so they added biometric controls to speed things up. Now you're crying that there are biometric controls.

PS: The "occupied territories" are neither Palestinian nor occupied, but don't let facts get in the way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGYxLWUKwWo

Re:Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#39773875)

Palestine is a terrible example. The US directly sells arms to assist in Israeli actions, and those actions have broad support in congress and moderate support in the population at large.

Re:Hewlett-Packard - Israel/Palestine (1)

eisonlyme (1877576) | about 2 years ago | (#39774089)

This is what came to my mind, as well as other companies involved in the US that have developed and deployed such systems.
I am not sure of the companies and can't be assed right now doing the research but if someone else wants to chime in with a list I would love to read it.

lol (1)

Galestar (1473827) | about 2 years ago | (#39772201)

Especially as repressive regimes more effectively monitor their dissidents online (rather than simply blocking access), the sanctions focus on companies that help them do that."

So then US gov, what you're saying is you should place sanctions on yourself and the companies that aid you?

Double Standards everywhere I'm afraid... (4, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39772551)

When the Saudi, Bahraini or Qatari governments buy "mass-surveillance technology" by the million-load, that lets them spy on all of their citizens, its perfectly "OK". After all, the Saudis provide the U.S. with cheap oil, Bahrain is another important oil-producer, and the Qataris provide military bases from which the U.S. can launch convenient wars against "rogue states" like Iraq. But when Iran & Syria do the exact same thing - buying snooping gear from the free market to keep their population in check - they are suddenly "evil", and "decisive sanctions" have to be imposed on them, and the companies. ------ Obama, either be fair and impose those sanctions on ALL surveillance tech vendors and ALL of their middle eastern clients (and perhaps the U.S. too?), or give your Nobel Peace Prize back, and let someone take office who isn't such a "double standards wielding" hypocrit. ------- The best solution to all of this would be to ban the creation, marketing and selling of mass-surveillance systems across the entire world. But where is the leader-class that could pull this off? Nowhere. The politicians who currently lead the "free world" seem to be far too fascinated by being able to "listen to" and "track" everybody within their state borders, to ever think about abolishing this practice in the first place.

US should be first on the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772683)

i) Indefinite detention without trial.
ii) Wars of aggression.
iii) Murder of anyone without due process.
iv) Total Information Awareness program
etc, etc

blah blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39772775)

hyperbole, look it up.

Facts. Look them up. (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 2 years ago | (#39772943)

Everything the parent AC listed has actually happened. So stop blabbering on about hyperbole and start catching up on your Greenwald: [salon.com]

Practices once denounced by the U.S. as the hallmark of tyranny are now so normalized they barely register notice

Each year, the U.S. State Department, as required by law, issues a "Human Rights Report" which details abuses by other countries. To call it an exercise in hypocrisy is to understate the case: it is almost impossible to find any tyrannical power denounced by the State Department which the U.S. Government (and its closest allies) do not regularly exercise itself. Indeed, it's often impossible to imagine how the authors of these reports can refrain from cackling mischievously over the glaring ironies of what they are denouncing (my all-time favorite example is discussed in the update here).

In 2010, the State Department included a long section on the oppressive detention practices of China. The "principal human rights problems" of the tyrannical Chinese government include "a lack of due process in judicial proceedings" and "the use of administrative detention." Indeed, "arbitrary arrest and detention remained serious problems. The law grants police broad administrative detention powers and the ability to detain individuals for extended periods without formal arrest or criminal charges." Can one even find the words to condemn these Chinese monsters?

*cough* Patriot Act *cough* NDAA *cough* assassinations w/o trials *cough* massive NSA spy center under construction right now

Re:Facts. Look them up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773241)

think you could've summed it up with Gitmo, but good enough.

Kettle and Pot (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 2 years ago | (#39772753)

This seems somewhat hypocritical, unless this legislation can also be used against the US Government and companies like the RIAA.

I just have this odd feeling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773495)

That none of the "entities" targeted will be in any way related to the tech companies that help politicians get elected.

Will Obama target his own regime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39773599)

Total hypocrisy, as usual, from the corrupt banana republic of the United States.

Sancations are useless (1)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 2 years ago | (#39773653)

Sanctions? I thought that was political speak for "shame on you". They don't do anything real.

Can anyone name an international issue or conflict that was resolved by sanctions?

Re:Sancations are useless (3, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | about 2 years ago | (#39774119)

Can anyone name an international issue or conflict that was resolved by sanctions?

Any day now, Fidel Castro will see the light!

Aaaaaaaany day now.

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