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Syria Buys Dell PCs Despite Sanctions

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the do-you-feel-violated dept.

Censorship 72

puddingebola writes with a New York Times article about how mundane PC equipment — not just more esoteric and eyebrow-raising network monitoring equipment from Blue Coat — makes its way to Syria: "Large amounts of computer equipment from Dell have been sold to the Syrian government through a Dubai-based distributor despite strict trade sanctions intended to ban the selling of technology to the regime, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The disclosure of the computer sales is the latest example of how the Syrian government has managed to acquire technology, some of which is used to censor Internet activity and track opponents of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad."

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Wait til they try to get their rebate (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631111)

"Your call is important to us... please stay on the line, and a customer representative will be with you shortly."

Re:Wait til they try to get their rebate (0)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632869)

This is surprising in exactly what way? Computers in Syria have to come from somewhere. And they haven't invented Muslim-computers yet, so yes they do have to come from the West somewhere.

Re:Wait til they try to get their rebate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632927)

Oh my god... oh my god... they might have even bought TVs and refrigerators despite the sanctions.... what we should do now?

We should keep Dell PCs away from their hands... how else they could get a PC?

maybe I'm a little off topic (0)

etash (1907284) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631113)

but after Egypt, I'm not entirely sure another MB dominated country in the ME is a good outcome for the West.

what say you?

Re:maybe I'm a little off topic (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631311)

I think the u.s. administration likes the muslim brotherhood taking over the middle east because they need a bad guy to chase to justify continued wars. There's a lot of muttering here in the u.s. that we should end all of these wars and pull out. But, you can't very well pull out if there's a new big bad villain to fill the old vacuum. It's a common C.I.A. tactic to prop up a known bad guy in place of an old regime, control him for awhile, soak up the hegemony this provides us until they turn on against the u.s. and then use the fact that they turned to instigate a new regime change and say "look he's turning on us for no reason and look at all his warcrimes, let's replace him" even though a lot of the crimes were committed in our name originally. It's kind of a repeating pattern with our foreign policy that is very predictable actually. Also, the cia needs funding that can't come from the tax payers because they draws criticism, questions, oversight, and political reputations/elections on the line. So they have to get their funding for blackops that the common man would not be cool with from illegal trade e.g. drugs, aka Afghanistan opium trade so that they can keep these operations off the books. It's also worth noting that our soldiers over in afghan *want* to burn down the poppy fields because they know how many lives they will ruin, but they're regularly given strict orders to look the other way by their superiors. Ultimately, this is all to defend democracy, capitalism and freedom of course, but a lot of terrible things are done to protect our existence that coincidentally proponents of our semi-utopia would never agree to if they knew the gritty details. It's very similar to how people eat meat and yet if they witnessed just how badly the animals were treated to get them that meat they might not enjoy their meal as much or at all. When I'd point things like this out when I was a child, my father would respond that I should not think about my food, just eat it.

Re:maybe I'm a little off topic (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631433)

but after Egypt, I'm not entirely sure another MB dominated country in the ME is a good outcome for the West.

what say you?

I suspect that the ship has largely sailed on that sort of thing. When you prop up regimes that (while secular and at least semi-docile) provide governance of absolutely dreadful quality, while generally cracking down on civil-society types, that increasingly leaves you with a 'puppet tyrant or religious nutjobs' situation that can be expensive, even impossible, to maintain for the puppet tyrant(y hello there, Iran, we were just talking about you, and I think I see Pakistan heading up the driveway to join us!). It's somewhat similar to all those CIA-backed-Latin-American-Fascists who, once they eventually collapsed, were largely replaced by semi-hostile populist socialists. No shit the locals were looking to change brands after the delightsome performance of their previous government provider.

I'd say that the locals are making a mistake, descending into theocratic insanity tends to put you among the ranks of some really shitty places; but it's not as though secular liberal democracy has been putting on a very impressive show...

Re:maybe I'm a little off topic (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632017)

Your comment on Iran lacks some nuancing context (maybe
the best thing to do is be a little less preoccupied with it, Iran
doesn't only exist as a result of Americans entertaining any
thoughts on it), but other than that -- agreed.

Re:maybe I'm a little off topic (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632149)

I'd say that the locals are making a mistake, descending into theocratic insanity tends to put you among the ranks of some really shitty places; but it's not as though secular liberal democracy has been putting on a very impressive show...

Well one only needs to look at the state of the middle east, africa and a few other regions to note one very interesting thing. There's a lot of countries on the move to hardline religious theocracies in regions that were cool to neutral in most cases. And those countries want one thing, a muslim dominated world and death to the west. Not in that particular order.

And while liberal democracy hasn't been putting on a very impressive show, it's sure better then the brands of kookiness that are springing up now. With any luck, maybe someone with a branch of common sense will stop that, but I doubt it.

Re:maybe I'm a little off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43637745)

It's quite a bit more complicated than that. The "theocracies" you mention are a lot more politically-motivated than you think, and this whole concept that the Muslim world wants "death to the West" is a media-concocted fantasy. It's the US government's foreign policy (not way of life) that people have an issue with.

Do you really think that you can kill 2 million Iraqi children due to sanctions, support the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people, keep all these brutal regimes in power, and people would actually need religion as an excuse to hate you?

Common sense...

Re:maybe I'm a little off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43634451)

I'd say that the locals are making a mistake, descending into theocratic insanity tends to put you among the ranks of some really shitty places; but it's not as though secular liberal democracy has been putting on a very impressive show...

Secular liberal democracy hasn't been tried there. Several of the regimes that fell were secular, but they didn't qualify as liberal democracies.

Alim tsk tsk! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631117)

I knew I should've stayed away from that spooky, foggy graveyard! Now my butt cheeks are covered in graveyard fog and appear to be milky white! Furthermore, I am unable to move a muscle and something is licking all the graveyard fog off of my cheeks by going, "Alim tsk tsk!"

I heard an elevator!

fences fence. (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631131)

where's the news in that?
and what the fuck does this even have to do with Dell? it's more to do with the Dubai based outfit. Dell might have good reasons to drop them as an official reseller now though, but the whole trade sanction can't work if you can sell to countries which don't adhere to the trade sanction, because they'll buy and fence the goods to their customers - that's what retailers do after all.

and an arab businessman shitting his business associates in another country? TELL IT AIN'T SO!!!! /s.

Re:fences fence. (2)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631291)

what the fuck does this even have to do with Dell?

Nothing, directly. Granted, I didn't RTFM because it's behind a paywall, but I haven't seen anything that implies that Dell was even aware of the sale at the time. AFAICT, the only reason they're mentioned is that it was Dell computers that were sold. What I'd like to know is what, if anything, Dell is going to do about it. Are they going to drop the reseller for violating the sanctions, or just try to pretend this never happened?

Re:fences fence. (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631493)

... What I'd like to know is what, if anything, Dell is going to do about it. Are they going to drop the reseller for violating the sanctions, or just try to pretend this never happened?

Are you kidding? In business, a sale's a sale.

Re:fences fence. (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631979)

... What I'd like to know is what, if anything, Dell is going to do about it. Are they going to drop the reseller for violating the sanctions, or just try to pretend this never happened?

Are you kidding? In business, a sale's a sale.

Personally, I consider Dell's pieces of crap and Syria does not benefit by the purchase.

Re:fences fence. (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631467)

Because Dell is the one who figured it out and disclosed the information. So kudos to Dell for figuring this out and reporting it.

Next, I want to know if they are going to drop the reseller. From the article, the resellers knew who they were selling to.

Re:fences fence. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631893)

Because Dell is the one who figured it out and disclosed the information. So kudos to Dell for figuring this out and reporting it.

Next, I want to know if they are going to drop the reseller. From the article, the resellers knew who they were selling to.

But was it illegal for said resellers to sell to Syria?
It may well not be something their country forbids.

If the computers were on consignment from Dell, its one thing, but if they bought them then resold them, there may not be anything anyone can (or should) do. First sale doctrine and all that.

I suspect Syria is under too much pressure fighting off the rebels to be setting up any tracking system these days anyway. /me: reaches for tinfoil hat...
If you don't see the US making any more noise about this issue, its entirely possible these specially *cough* enhanced computers were meant to sneak thru the embargo.

Re:fences fence. (4, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631537)

where's the news in that? and what the fuck does this even have to do with Dell?

If you work for a big US company, you get to take an education course once a year on US export regulations. Along with the courses on sexual harassment and business ethics. Basically, the US government grants a waiver and lets companies do their own export control. This means that a US company does not need to do paperwork and receive an approval from the US government every time it wants to ship a pencil somewhere in the world. And, yes, the company is also responsible for ensuring that any of their goods do not pass through third parties to countries on the restricted list.

Now if the government decides that the company is not abiding by the restrictions, including business by a third party, the government cancels the waiver. This means that the company needs paperwork and approval for anything shipped anywhere by the company. So your company's business grinds to halt. That is why it matters to Dell.

This also applies to US bribery laws. In the US, it is illegal to bribe government officials. In other parts of the world, bribery is business as usual. So US companies used to hire "consultants" when applying for contracts in foreign countries. The "consultant" received a lump sum of money, and could spend it however needed to close a deal. Including bribery. Now, US law applies to this as well. A US company hiring a "consultant" in this way could be charged with bribery for this now.

Re:fences fence. (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631669)

A US company hiring a "consultant" in this way could be charged with bribery for this now.

This has to mean at least one of the following:

  1. The USA is expecting the whole world to suddenly change its ways and to conform to US ways of life (to some of them, but not all - going for all, like getting nuclear tech, is forbidden.)
  2. The USA does not care to win contracts when competition from other countries uses bribes.

On top of that, in a modern politically correct world one could say that it is racist to have such laws because all cultures are equal (no matter what they do.)

Usually the culture of bribery goes pretty deep into the foundation of the society in question because that's how big bosses delegate power and reward lesser bosses. A system of all-powerful bureaucracy cannot be torn down overnight; and if that happens then the society is in serious trouble anyway. Even US government workers take bribes; some are caught, but I suspect many are just more careful.

Re:fences fence. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632561)

You forget that bribery can take many forms depending on the culture. It's common in the Asia for example to have low level bureaucracy with bribes significantly speeding it up.

It's common in North America and Europe to have high level bribery, with services and gifts exchanged at highest echelon of the society to facilitate functionality of legislation.

Essentially this is a question of "where is the power in the bureaucracy". In the countries with our system, the power lies with those who make laws - the rest just implement them. In more traditionally corrupt countries laws are followed only to the extent and leeway can be gained by bribing low level officials.

In a nutshell, bribery exists everywhere. But goal of bribery is achieving goals. And in some systems, it's enough to bribe a low level official, while in others, you need to go to those who make the laws.

Re:fences fence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43634021)

From what I have read bribery is not illegal under USA law in foreign lands. So long as the bribery is consider part of doing normal business and not for excursive rights or to circumvent local law. So Coke can't pay off a foreign goverment to make Pepsi illegal there. It gets really grey on when does a bribery go too far. It's okay to bribe if it's the only way to even get your product fairly tested for compliance. But it's not okay to bribe for it to simply pass testing even if it's what everyone else is doing. Heck, you may have to pay higher bribe for the actually testing because no one has ever had it done before.

Now, I know a person who has had to hire a consult(third party briber if you will) to get building permits approved in the city of Los Angeles for construction that was safety related. Oh, and he was being fined for not having it completed. All the engineering, paper work and soil tests where filed well in advance. But the city sat on the approval even while fining him for not having completed the repair. He made several attempts to contact the city but to no avail. Finally some told him to hire an expediter and once the expediter had talk over a fancy diner the plans where magical approved the next day. I forget but I think some of the fines where even reduced. So I don't think a business could operate in even more corrupt countries without greasing the wheels.

Re:fences fence. (2)

QQBoss (2527196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633287)

Dell was punished for just this (sale to a company who resold to an embargoed country) in the past. I got to watch the videos Dell employees were subjected to (kind of in the 'if you see something, say something' vein) and I wasn't on the business side, I was under the CTO umbrella. I seem to recall the punishment lasted 5 years and was blamed for a significant reduction in growth for those years. While I worked there, some of my interactions with the sales side of the house gave me the chance to watch the due diligence in progress, it seemed in-depth and comprehensive particularly with respect to dealings in the M.E..

If Dell is quickly found to be at fault this time around, it will be interesting to see how it affects the plan to go private. If it takes a while and the plan has already taken place, it could extend the time it takes them to do a new IPO from 3 or 4 years to 8 to never.

Re:fences fence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632449)

Dell/MS should format any windows PC that connects to their network from a sanctioned country.

Re:fences fence. (1)

stooo (2202012) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633319)

> Dell/MS should format any windows PC
Yes, clearly.
I'll just wait for the bug in the geographic resolving :)))

Back to the main topic, yes, the US sanctions are BS, and we (other nations) don't care.

Re:fences fence. (1)

stooo (2202012) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633323)

We don't care, but i should say, some companies even gain a lot, because it rules out US competition...

Re:fences fence. (1)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43634133)

and what the fuck does this even have to do with Dell?

Now this has become news, they can no longer pretend not to know about the final destination which means that they risk being held responsible for any new shipments sent through this intermediary. Which means that they have to find another route so they can act all shocked and surprised again when that one is discovered.

Against US meddling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43638647)

Newsflash for "Americans": Your trade sanctions don't do squat (and you don't produce nothing anyway). Your idiotic quarrels with others are not our problem. Signed: The rest of The World.

Syria is a sovereign country. Just because you like the opposition there, doesn't give you any right to fabricate lies to arm and support terrorism like you did elsewhere. It is the Syrians who decides who rules there and how, not you.

US foreign policy is the no.1 cause of violence in the world today.

He's using it to track Al Qaeda interlopers? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631143)

How dare he!

All I See Is A Login Page (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631145)

Please don't post links to nytimes.com content unless clicking on them results in something meaningful popping up. Thanks!

Re:All I See Is A Login Page (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631203)

I got a NYT article and I don't have an account there. I don't know what caused your request to get a login page. Maybe they start doing that after they realize they are being slashdotted.

Re:All I See Is A Login Page (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631227)

It's based on cookies; you get 10 free articles per month and then it starts throwing up a paywall. You can clear the cookie or visit it in private-browsing mode, though.

Re:All I See Is A Login Page (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631569)

Outwitting Sanctions, Syria Buys Dell PCs By RON NIXON Published: May 3, 2013

WASHINGTON — Large amounts of computer equipment from Dell have been sold to the Syrian government through a Dubai-based distributor despite strict trade sanctions intended to ban the selling of technology to the regime, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

Hamid Khatib/Reuters

A building damaged this week in Syria’s civil war. The government is suspected of using the computers to track opponents.

The disclosure of the computer sales is the latest example of how the Syrian government has managed to acquire technology, some of which is used to censor Internet activity and track opponents of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

According to internal company e-mails, cash transfer statements, sales receipts and shipping documents, the computer equipment was sold by BDL Gulf, which is based in Saudi Arabia and is a large distributor of computer equipment in the Middle East. It is an authorized dealer for Dell in the Middle East and Africa, and is also a reseller for other computer brands, including Samsung and Acer.

BDL sold the equipment to Anas Hasoon Trading, a Damascus-based company with contracts to provide computers to the Syrian government, according to billings records and e-mail exchanges between the companies.

Jess Blackburn, a spokesman for Dell in Round Rock, Tex., confirmed that BDL was an authorized reseller. He said the company was recently made aware of a possible shipment of Dell equipment to Syria by an anonymous source.

“We are investigating an allegation we received recently that BDL was involved in a possible transaction involving Syria,” Mr. Blackburn said in a statement. “Dell requires its resellers to follow U.S. trade requirements, just as Dell does. Resellers of Dell products and services are contractually prohibited from selling or shipping any technology to a customer in a restricted country.”

The United States has barred the sales of most American-made goods to Syria for nearly a decade and has repeatedly tightened sanctions against the government. An executive order by President Obama, dated April 22, 2012, specifically addresses the sale of computer technology to Syria, barring Americans from helping the Iranian and Syrian governments engage in human rights abuses, including monitoring and tracking of dissidents.

United States officials charged with enforcing sanctions against Syria would not comment on the possible violation of export sanction laws but did say that exporting technology to Syria was illegal unless the sale would promote the free flow of information between the Syrian people and the outside world.

Asked about the evidence of shipments to Syria, a manager at BDL said the company had hundreds of customers and did not keep track of their locations.

“We cannot know if they are from Pakistan, Egypt or Morocco; we just sell in Dubai,” said RamaNarayan Singh, who is listed as BDL’s sales manager for the United Arab Emirates, Africa and Iran. “I’m just an employee doing my duty. I don’t know if a company is from Syria.”

But e-mails between Mr. Singh and a representative from Anas Hasoon Trading show that the Syrian company made it clear to him that it was working on behalf of the Assad government. Mr. Singh signed several invoices that listed a Syrian address for the trading company. Mr. Singh said he did not recall the e-mails or the invoices.

The records, which were provided to The Times by an individual who was briefed on the transactions, showed that BDL sold hundreds of laptops, tablets and desktop computers to the Syrian company.

In e-mails sent between Mr. Singh and Yahya Rifai, who was listed as a purchasing manager for the Anas Hasoon Trading company, Mr. Rifai mentioned several times that he was working to buy the computers for the Syrian government.

The companies dealt mainly in cash, records showed, after transfers from Syrian banks to banks in Dubai were rejected because of financial sanctions against the country.

In an e-mail to Mr. Singh dated Sept. 2, 2012, Mr. Rifai wrote about his difficulties in using bank transfers to pay for the computers because of the sanctions.

“Dear Ram, my problem is how to get money from Syria to you? As you know I’m working on tenders deals with the government which required many documents and approvals!!” he wrote.

“Try please do not worry,” Mr. Singh wrote in response. “I will support you whatever best for you.”

Barred by banks from making electronic transfers, Mr. Rifai made several large cash deposits into the bank account of BDL to purchase the computers, the documents show. Asked last month about the purchases, Mr. Rifai responded in an e-mail: “We are Syrian company so we don’t care about the rules America put, its only for American companies not us.”

Last year, the Syrian government made similar purchases of computer equipment from a reseller of Hewlett-Packard. The equipment, according to various news reports, was used to monitor the e-mail and Internet use of opposition forces. Hewlett-Packard said its computers were sold without its knowledge.

In 2011, Internet-blocking devices from Blue Coat Systems, of Sunnyvale, Calif., were shipped to Syria from Dubai. Blue Coat thinks the gear was sold to the Iraqi government.

“It’s a pattern that we’ve seen across the Middle East from governments trying to avoid democratic changes — using proxies to bypass sanctions and buy equipment to stifle dissent and track Internet activity,” said Charles Dunne, a former National Security Council official and director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Freedom House, a Washington nonprofit group that promotes democratic change. “The U.S. government and companies need to do a better job of making sure this equipment does not end up in the hands of governments like the Assad regime.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: May 3, 2013

An earlier version of this article and an accompanying picture erroneously identified Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia as the owner of BDL Gulf. Representatives of Prince Alwaleed said that neither he nor his senior advisers are aware of any connection between the prince and BDL Gulf.

A version of this article appeared in print on May 4, 2013, on page B1 of the New York

Dude, you're getting a Dell! (0)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631155)

Even Syrians need to pay taxes and watch youtube videos featuring cats.

Re:Dude, you're getting a Dell! (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631471)

Even Syrians need to pay taxes and watch youtube videos featuring cats.

More the second than the former, I'm thinking. Hell, flood the world with cheap computers and internet access. If everybody is checking out Lolcats, they'll be too damned busy to shoot anybody. Just make sure the female cats are dressed in a hijab and we should be golden.

Re:Dude, you're getting a Dell! (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631879)

I think you are forgetting the more important element here: porn. If you have access to more and more diverse porn than you could possibly ever watch, it'll be harder to convince you that you should blow yourself up for a religious cause. That, and a little bit of the exposure to outside ideas, but mostly the porn.

Re:Dude, you're getting a Dell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632665)

I don't think 1001virgins.com is even registered as a porn site yet.

Re:Dude, you're getting a Dell! (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633755)

I think you are forgetting the more important element here: porn. If you have access to more and more diverse porn than you could possibly ever watch, it'll be harder to convince you that you should blow yourself up for a religious cause. That, and a little bit of the exposure to outside ideas, but mostly the porn.

Sadly, I believe that both bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers were well-loaded with porn. Didn't help.

I'm a big believer that the more information available to you, the better, but I also know that what a lot of people do when confronted with multiple sources is that they cherry-pick the ones they like and shut out the rest. The most tyrannical censorship of all begins at the eyes and ears.

What?? (2)

Warhawke (1312723) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631225)

This is an outrage! We have set up strict trade sanctions to prevent this exact kind of thing from happening! The circumvention of these sanctions is reckless and might endanger the freedoms of Syrian citizens everywhere. To think that we would simply allow Syria to acquire Dell PCs is unfathomable. We need stronger provisions and enforcement mechanisms to make sure that Dell PCs and the dangers that they present do not wind up in the hands of other innocent countries. We must strengthen the already tough sanctions against Dell!

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43635857)

Woe unto the Syrians. I don't envy their IT staff.

So put BDL on the list ... (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631229)

... of export trade restrictions. Then Dell has to terminate their partnership. That will put the lying Mr. Singh in the spot light.

And lose access to all the oil? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633125)

Putting Dubai on the list will make the entire Arab region stop selling oil to the USA and all of it's allies. Morality is nice, but not if it threatens your cheap gasoline. It will never happen.

Apologies to Syria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631245)

I feel shameful as an American that despite all the measures that the people of Syria have taken to protect their country, we are still managing to violate their sovereignty with evil technology such as Dell PC. Well OK maybe Dell is an improvement over the flying bomb-dropping robots, but those are just the threat we use when we want to force people in other countries to buy Dell equipment.

Slashdot sucks (0)

nonicknameavailable (1495435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631345)

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email moderation@slashdot.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "i will terminate my account" and "leave this place and (optionally, but preferably) your IP number "81.27.6.xxx" and your username "nonicknameavailable".

Re:Slashdot sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632107)

You tried to post a message containing some "magic" keyword(s) that triggered something on /.'s side,
not a big deal. Happens to the best of us and to me a short time ago.

But I hope you were smart enough to not include the 1st three octets of your real IP address.............

What a progressive leader. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631357)

I for one am happy to see that Bashar al-Assad is not such a religious extremist. At least he is willing to buy computers from a Jew.

I thought that _was_ the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631363)

That Syria could only buy Dell equipment? Otherwise, they'd get iMacs.

Ah, Dubai, pillar of morality. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631375)

Shocked, shocked, I tell you, that any business in Dubai would involve itself in such shady tactics:

https://www.google.ca/#hl=en&sugexp=eappswebvhl&gs_rn=12&gs_ri=psy-ab&tok=lAR8_0lfNMQukGSbTTFxZw&cp=12&gs_id=6x&xhr=t&q=Dubai+slave+labour&es_nrs=true&pf=p&biw=994&bih=599&sclient=psy-ab&oq=Dubai+slave+&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.45960087,d.cGE&fp=5a91ee71d795407c

Re:Ah, Dubai, pillar of morality. (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631453)

Anonymous Coward, I'm disappointed in you.

Dubai is a shining paragon of cooperation between east and west! A city where the venerable traditions of enlightened liberalism and individula rights of the middle east can come together with the honesty and fundamental decency of the west's finest financial services providers. Truly, a model for us all.

Re:Ah, Dubai, pillar of morality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43633749)

Canadian faggot.

Why is Syria our problem? (3, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631403)

The same people http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Perl [wikipedia.org] who sold us on the idea that we had to attack Iraq, because otherwise Saddam Hussein would attack us with chemical weapons, always wanted us to attack Syria next.

The Iraq story turned out to be a lie, and we are now worse off in Iraq, with Islamist and secular militias carving up the country and giving a big slice to al Qaeda and its successors. (Not to mention the 3,000 Americans killed, and forget about the 300,000 or so Iraqis who were killed.)

Assad is running a stable, secular dictatorship that violates human rights. The anti-government forces are sectarian Islamists who will violate human rights even worse, massacre people in the other sects, destroy Syria as a functioning country and turn it into feuding fiefdoms like Iraq.

We ignored the same human rights violations when Assad was our puppet and we wanted to send prisoners to Syria for him to torture. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/19/syria-us-ally-human-rights [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Why is Syria our problem? (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631549)

Well, it was a stable dictatorship. That stopped being the case a couple years ago. Now the only way to re-stabalize it will be to kill millions of people.

Re:Why is Syria our problem? (0)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631617)

Well, it was a stable dictatorship. That stopped being the case a couple years ago.

That was about the time we started giving weapons to the opposition, wasn't it?

Re:Why is Syria our problem? (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632361)

The US government doesn't like the opposition much due to their faith being a similar branch of Islam to Iran and due to all the baggage it has with the previous government. Syria was one of the destinations of "extraordinary rendition" and the government worked with the CIA among others on that. So whichever side the US government backs they lose something, and if they stay out they also lose. Stay tuned for a similar "devil you know" dilemma in Algeria in a few years time.

My God. What an ingeneous strategy! (4, Funny)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631691)

Flood Syria's government with Dell's. After a month, when the first 99% break, the entire government will be online with two Indian technical support technicians who will both try and get *them* to take apart their own machines even though they purchased the "premium" support package.

The regime will fall within weeks. My compliments to the CIA operative who suggested this.

Re:My God. What an ingeneous strategy! (2)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year and a half ago | (#43631831)

Make sure they have Windows 8 installed.

Re:My God. What an ingeneous strategy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43634489)

Even better if they had bought those game rigs with the holes in the top of the case for the Intel water cooling fans and radiator. Then we would just need to set off the building fire sprinkler systems.

Re: My God. What an ingeneous strategy! (1)

sky770 (2731643) | about a year and a half ago | (#43639237)

Wait..till they get a Windows update.

Dubai is a free trade zone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43631971)

All multinational corporations involved in trade have shell corps in Dubai. For example, during the 2nd gulf war Haliburton did business with Iraq through a Dubai shell corp. Haliburton has always done business with Iran via the same technique.

Don't worry, folks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632051)

The computers shipped with Windows 8.

This virtually guarantees the rebels will win as the members of the regime beat their heads against the walls trying to get the computers to work with their old, Windows 9x/XP-based software, and getting the combination to work on the new computers. They should surrender by mid-May.

Tempest in a teapot. (2)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632249)

If Syria wants computers that are available on the open market anywhere in the world, they'll get them. Even if every company in Dell's supply chain was 100% committed to upholding the export rules (which, obviously, they aren't), all the Syrians would have to do is set up a company in a non-restricted country to buy them by lying to a distributor about being Syrian owned, then ship them over the border themselves.

Re:Tempest in a teapot. (4, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | about a year and a half ago | (#43632563)

Couldn't the Syrians just buy PCs directly from China?

I briefly worked for Dell. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632471)

I worked selling Dells when I was at community college. Dell has extensive training for employees to avoid selling computer equipment to places like Syria and Iran. I suspect that someone got gamed by a well prepared trickster.

Don't get me wrong. After working for them, I hate Dell but I don't think they're stupid enough to go along with this kind of thing willingly.

Re:I briefly worked for Dell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632633)

oh great some teenager read the dumbshit manual 10 years ago and is now the president of foreign sales

Re:I briefly worked for Dell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43633121)

I've been there for almost 4 years. Its the best job I've ever had. I wake up ready and willing to go to work. The people I work with are (for the most part) great people who actually WANT to do their jobs well and help the customer to the best of their ability. My current manager is one of the best managers I've ever worked for, and the same can be said for the other 2 managers I've had while at Dell.

I've enjoyed it so much that I convinced my wife to switch careers, she has been there for a little over 18 months and loves it.

Yes it is a call center position, yes it is tech support, but I get to see something new every day, and 95% of my customers are a joy to work with (there is nothing like fixing someone's Exchange server or Hyper-V cluster to put them in a good mood.)

That said, please don't call and request a webex session before you even tell me what the problem is...

I will say that Dell provides LOTS of training, both on ethics, export laws, and technical (I just finished up a great class on Exchange 2013 led by a Microsoft trainer who was brought in by Dell.)

Re:I briefly worked for Dell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43633757)

lol call center slug. you and your wife should kill yourselves lest your 50k/year salaries let you buy a bigger trailer

Baton Twung (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43632999)

Baton Twung uh uh uh uh .

Nadive Pwide uh uh uh uh .

[Boston Masturbation Night]

Imagine if... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43633203)

these were iPhones. *ducks*

Oxymoron (1)

dhaen (892570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633559)

Dell; technology

Wasted effort (1)

dhaen (892570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43633565)

If you think you can affect change by selective trading of low tech stuff you are dissolusioned. The Chinese are waiting in the wings for that trade.

The Jewish problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43633673)

Who do you think is behind the war on Syria? Who was behind the war on Libya? Any country that tries to extricate itself from the international JEW banking system will be mercilessly attacked by the Jews' goyim...

http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/6720

"What causes hyper-inflation is uncontrolled speculation. When speculation is coupled with debt (owed to private banking cartels) the result is disaster. On the other hand, when a government issues currency in carefully measured ways, it causes supply and demand to increase together, leaving prices unaffected. Hence there is no inflation, no debt, no unemployment, and no need for income taxes.
Naturally this terrifies the bankers, since it eliminates their powers. It also terrifies Jews, since their control of banking allows them to buy the media, the government, and everything else."

Re:The Jewish problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43633929)

There shall come a day in the not too far future that you will realize that while you were busy dreaming about some nonexistent Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, the Muslims cleverly took advantage of your shut eyes and managed to take over instead. By then of course it will be too late. Why don't you wake up from *your* slumber?

Syria (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43639061)

just made the bigest mistake it could if what they really wanted was any kind of quality PCs...Dells SUCK ASS! They are the cheapest made peices nof shit you can buy, and the least reliable!

I have owned Dell in the past...NEVER AGAIN!!!

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