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Censorship Doesn't Just Stifle Speech — It Can Cause Disease To Spread

Soulskill posted 1 year,9 days | from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-so-do-viruses dept.

Censorship 70

Lasrick writes "Maryn McKenna at Wired explores fears of a pandemic of MERS after October's hajj to Saudi Arabia, the annual pilgrimage to Islam's holy sites: 'The reason is MERS: Middle East respiratory syndrome, a disease that has been simmering in the region for months. The virus is new, recorded in humans for the first time in mid-2012. It is dire, having killed more than half of those who contracted it. And it is mysterious, far more so than it should be—because Saudi Arabia, where the majority of cases have clustered, has been tight-lipped about the disease's spread, responding slowly to requests for information and preventing outside researchers from publishing their findings about the syndrome.'"

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Freedom for WHAT CLASS? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660233)

THAT is the question that matters! READ LENIN! Only under COMMUNISM will the working people be finally free!

Re:Freedom for WHAT CLASS? (-1, Troll)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660319)

I was thinking this very thing. When Gorbachev revealed to the world the seriousness of Chernobyl, his prompt response only a day and a half late, endangered a mere few million people, who probably would not have all been saved anyway. Well, I'm sure the next iteration of COMMUNISM will fail less hard.

Re:Freedom for WHAT CLASS? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44661307)

Hehe yeah right AFTER we all get our personal maintenance-free unique flying unicorn pony (or pig if you so prefer, oink ftw).

Re:Freedom for WHAT CLASS? (3, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661697)

Hehe yeah right AFTER we all get our personal maintenance-free unique flying unicorn pony (or pig if you so prefer, oink ftw).

Yeah, that's the point though isn't it? Blind following of any ideology is foolish. Absolutism is the true enemy. Look at the way science works, testing the correct paths by experimentation and proven results, not just baseless theories.

In other words, absolutist notions like "Communism" or pure "Free Market Capitalism" are the personal maintenance-free unique flying unicorn ponies and pigs. Neither Neigh-sayer nor Oinker will admit that perhaps the best way forward could be a far less lofty goal: Simply riding unicorn-pig hybrids safely along the ground instead. Additionally: Magical Bacon!

Re:Freedom for WHAT CLASS? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44661699)

Yeah, that was all the fault of communism...

Impeach Obummer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660431)

Why is the mainstream media not reporting this [gopthedailydose.com] ? Obummer's been caught with his hand in the Muslim Brotherhood's cookie jar.

Re:Impeach Obummer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660511)

Because there's no story? Could that be the reason it's not being reported? Or do you have more facts?

Re:Impeach Obummer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660557)

The only explanations for his actions in the Middle East are total ignorance, or active support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Re:Impeach Obummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660833)

And the evidence is?

Re:Impeach Obummer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44661427)

And the evidence is?

Common sense. Wow you mean a far left guy with a Muslim background who works in gov't just might have sympathise with a bunch of far left Muslims who run a gov't? After making no moves that contradict this theory but making moves that are consistent withit? Wow! That's just ... so ... absurd!

Next thing ya know Microsoft will tell you that Windows is just what you need.

Censorship can stop more than that (1)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660273)

Wasn't there a children's nursery rhyme about the loss of a kingdom for want of a nail?

Seems the concept of lack through fortune or obstruction is well known throughout history.

Re:Censorship can stop more than that (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660749)

Seems the concept of lack through fortune or obstruction is well known throughout history.

Yes, it is pretty silly to think that no one ever noticed before that information and knowledge can be beneficial.

Re:Censorship can stop more than that (1, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661821)

Wasn't there a children's nursery rhyme about the loss of a kingdom for want of a nail?

Ah yes, I remember it well...

Kindly said, "They know not what they do,"
Advised instead, "Rope can not hold this Jew!"
From crossed timbers made spell,
And chosen kingdom fell,
The Immortal's now locked up with Xenu.

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660293)

There. I said it.

Organ Bank. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660351)

Censorship could however get you a nice new kidney from an executed Chinese prisoner.

Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (3, Interesting)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660361)

People think you're saying MRSA, and they tune out. I've seen it happening over and over now. I'm not the only one to notice. It's obvious. If anyone reading this has any power to change what the media uses as a name for this, please, for the love of all that is good, get the name of this disease changed.

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660727)

I don't know what MRSA is, so I'm not really sure how relevant your thinking is outside of your own locality...

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660877)

MRSA [wikipedia.org] is a very nasty form of staph infection that's resistant to most antibiotics. About the only thing that works on it is sulfa, or at least that was true about seven or eight years ago when I had it. (Twice!) I hope that the side effects of the new drugs aren't as bad as sulfa's because it did a really nasty number on my digestion both times, while doing an even nastier number on the MRSA.

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (3, Informative)

deuist (228133) | 1 year,9 days | (#44662487)

Sulfa works for MRSA, as does doxycycline, clindamycin, vancomycin, zyvox, and a few others. It's called MRSA because it's resistant to penicillins, not because it's a "superbug" with magical powers that makes it immune to every antibiotic out there.

Sincerely,
Deuist, MD

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | 1 year,9 days | (#44662565)

Yes. That's why I said "most," not "all."

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660741)

If they renamed in MEESA they'd have an army of torch & pitchfork wielding nerds to wipe it out.

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (4, Interesting)

Quasimodem (719423) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660875)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have confirmed that players, Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes, are being treated for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Perhaps the infection will get a more user-friendly name like Buccaneers' disease, sort of like Legionnaires disease did for legionella pneumophila.

If they don't, they should at least find a way to throw a couple of vowels into the acronym, like SARS. Civilians can't seem to really get behind fearing something, or taking precautions against it, unless they can pronounce the darn name.

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (1)

Opyros (1153335) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661115)

How about "Missus A"?

Some suggestions... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661251)

Saudi Sneeze
Muslim Mucous
Pilgrim Pneumonia

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660993)

Agreed. MERS is the German version of MERP [wikipedia.org] (Middle-Earth Role Playing system), and Middle-Earth is dangerous enough without randomly introducing viral diseases.

Re:Rename the disease and awareness will shoot up (2)

causality (777677) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661469)

People think you're saying MRSA, and they tune out. I've seen it happening over and over now.

Actually listening to what other people are saying and trying to comprehend what they do and (and most importantly) don't mean just isn't a valued part of American culture.

When you were younger, did you ever work an entry-level customer service type of job? Then you know all about it. You see this behavior even in people who are actively seeking and truly do need your advice. I think it's a form of puerile impatience (that ends up costing more time ironically enough). It could also be an attempt to show a false superiority and independence, since it is most often seen in helpless people who are unable to perform even the most basic observation and problem-solving (think Freudian projection).

Rule of Acquisition #23 (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660363)

Nothing is more important than your health, except for your money.

Need any more proof? (1, Troll)

mwvdlee (775178) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660413)

Religion and reality don't mix.

Re:Need any more proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660611)

Curiously, some of the most religious nations of the world also provide some of the strongest protections against censorship. I'm not saying You're wrong. I am saying, however, You might have some deep issues with People holding different views.

Re:Need any more proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660639)

Citation please.

Re:Need any more proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44662263)

Actually not to hard to prove this claim. 84% of the world has a religion of some sort (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/dec/23/84-percent-world-population-has-faith-third-are-ch/) and, based on this information from Reporters Without Borders (http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html), it's going to be mathematically difficult, if not impossible, to argue with any degree of sincerity the position which claims the remaining 16% make up the most influential portions of Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Andorra, Denmark, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Iceland, Estonia, Austria, Jamaica, Switzerland, Ireland, etc., etc., etc.

Re:Need any more proof? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | 1 year,9 days | (#44662577)

Actually not to hard to prove this claim. 84% of the world has a religion of some sort (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/dec/23/84-percent-world-population-has-faith-third-are-ch/) and, based on this information from Reporters Without Borders (http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2013,1054.html), it's going to be mathematically difficult, if not impossible, to argue with any degree of sincerity the position which claims the remaining 16% make up the most influential portions of Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Andorra, Denmark, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Iceland, Estonia, Austria, Jamaica, Switzerland, Ireland, etc., etc., etc.

First establish clearly the claim before trying to provide it. What is a "most religions nation"? Is it the quantity of believers, is it their levels of fundamentalism, or a bit of both?

It's the level of fundamentalism that's likely to be the important factor here. For example, in Ireland the majority express some religious belief, yet it tends to be a rarely tended form of Catholicism. That's probably how a country can be 84% Catholic, while still retaining press freedom and condoms.

Saudi Arabia is near enough 100% Muslim, with Islam being a pretty fundamentalist driven religion. Small wonder they're covering up the deaths of the faithful.

Re:Need any more proof? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | 1 year,9 days | (#44662893)

Actually I suspect the incentive was more economic: If it had widely known that there's a dangerous illness there, there probably had been much fewer pilgrims, bringing much less money into the country.

Re: Need any more proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44663459)

Easy. America is one of the most fundamentalist religious nations on earth, and they'll swear blind that they've got more freedom of speech than anyone else. Of course, they strenuously deny the first point and they're wrong about the second.

Re:Need any more proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660827)

Also war and reality don't mix. Nobody expected the Spanish Flu, thanks to the WW1.

Re:Need any more proof? (4, Informative)

calidoscope (312571) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661071)

The Great Influenza by John M. Barrie goes into great detail how the war time censorship under the Wilson administration resulted in a significantly higher death toll in the US. The so called "Spanish flu" got its name because the Spanish press was not censored, the flu appears to have originated in western Kansas.

Re:Need any more proof? (1)

recrudescence (1383489) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660861)

Religion and reality don't mix.

Am I missing something in your comment?
I don't see the role of religion here, or an insinuation in the article that there is religious motivation behind this.

The story is about the Saudi government wanting to contain outgoing information relating to its handling of an epidemic, and researchers criticising this attitude as dangerous to public health beyond Saudi borders, and drawing links to SARS etc.

Yes, it so happens that this epidemic has been kindled by the fact that there is an influx of people on a religious occasion, but it might as well have been an international proctologist conference as far as I care; I just don't see the religious link to the government's attitude to misinformation that you seem to be implying.

If anything, your comment smells more like a pre-programmed knee-jerk reaction rather than some sort of informed and well-constructed argument against religion. Talk about irony ...

like how mental illness in European royalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660419)

was caused by inbreeding, a little Saudi royalty falling victim to MERS is a consequence of living in a bubble.

The truth will always come out (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660435)

Trying to hide the truth costs something. Usually more than simply not knowing the truth to begin with.
Discovering the truth, such as the cost of air or water pollution or the cost of always fighiting forest fires (seems like the obvious thing to do) can take generations to learn but we're doing it.
Disease is a human concern, not a political or economic concern.
We're figuring that out just as we're now figuring out what to do now that we've 'conquered' the world as a species ;-)

Re:The truth will always come out (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44663717)

It's funny to hear proggies talk about the evils of censorship, then turn around and suggest and implement laws against "hatespeech".

How dire? (4, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660447)

It is dire, having killed more than half of those who contracted it.

That's not a measure of direness by itself. How contractable is it?

(I'll make the obvious joke myself that it's highly contractable, since "MERS" has a lot fewer letters than "Middle East respiratory syndrome")

Re:How dire? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660473)

True - if only five people ever caught it and three of them died, it'd still fit the description but wouldn't be dire at all.

Re:How dire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660573)

It just needs to come into contact with people who have the flu or TBC or some other easy to transmit bug and things will change.

Makes me wonder though, if maybe it has something to do with those things women are forced to wear over their faces. In that case, they'd be forced to supress news of it's existence by default.

Re:How dire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44661077)

Initialism != Contraction

Re:How dire? (1)

shentino (1139071) | 1 year,8 days | (#44665829)

I've never heard of a virus entering into a contract but I'm sure a nasty EULA would do it more damage than it could do you.

Wait A Minute .... Check A Little Deeper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660519)

Go back and look in the scientific and legal literature of the past year. Dig out the whole MERS story.

You will find that it is patent-war, not censorship that has interfered with search for and development of a MERS cure.

If I recall correctly, there has been a conflict between a Dutch Pharma company that filed to own the disease so it can own rights to any cure, and doctors who want public domain research rights for rights to develop a public-domain cure the people dying of the disease will be able to afford. Those who won't sign agreements recognizing the pharma Co. the patent-owner either can't pursue a cure, or pursue under threat of lawsuits by the pharma Co. trolls.

Check out the human world, too: Censorship never slows the spread of word where a disease is concerned, it only adds rumor into the mix, to create confusion.

The current climate of greed for gain and "legal" ownerships of rights is what slows searches for cures.

[citation needed] (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44661019)

...you clueless, conspiracy-mongering chucklefuck.

Sure it does. Consider the 1918 Flu Pandemic (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661221)

Censorship never slows the spread of word where a disease is concerned, it only adds rumor into the mix, to create confusion.

Sure it does. A prime example is the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and president Wilson's reaction to it.

Wilson and his administration saw news of the disease as promoting a public response that would hamper the war effort, and reporting it to be treason. So he had the government suppress the news and spread disinformation. Among the effects:

  - The disease had shown up in one military camp. The commanding officer wanted to quarantine the camp to keep it from spreading throughout the military and the country. But his orders were countermanded from above. Result: Sick and incubating soldiers were shipped all over the country, spreading the disease.

  - Disinformation about the nature of the disease, and how to treat it, was disseminated, using the Public Relations resources of the government, which drowned out more accurate statements from the medical community and others. This amounted to a set of government-created and broadly propagated health frauds, some of which persist today, causing those who believe them to waste money and impair their health. Among them is the theory of "autointoxication": that flu (or other disease) symptoms are the result of toxins produced by intestinal flora (if retained too long) and a resulting illusory need for "regularity" - having daily bowel movements at roughly the same time of day. To this day this theory results in laxative overuse and sometimes addiction, vitamin deficiencies, intestinal irritation, and delays in seeking medical attention when it is needed for a real illness.

So censorship CAN slow, or even suppress, the spread of word where a disease is concerned, bury the truth, and stop appropriate handling of a disease.

era of wild flavor (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44660589)

reminds me of the "era of wild flavor" - respitory symptoms dismissed as minor ailments when they turn out to be new and interesting species jumping viruses ...

Censorship is a disease (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | 1 year,9 days | (#44660673)

It is one that governments are trying to spread in their populations so that they/we become unaware of how they spy on us.

When will we learn? (2)

pla (258480) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661163)

Point 1: I see nowhere in that article where Faisal's Bastards managed to suppress publication of actual information about MERS. It makes the same claim (word for word) as the FP, but substantiates it... Not at all?

Point 2: So - The vast majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia; they count as the #1 contributor to OPEC (how do you like fracking now, bitches?), and... They seem intent on covering up the next pandemic? Someone remind me why we keep playing nice with these worthless misogynist theocratic pieces of dog shit?

Re:When will we learn? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44661437)

Because in spite of it all they're still human beings. you racist asshole.

Re:When will we learn? (1)

pla (258480) | 1 year,9 days | (#44662277)

Because in spite of it all they're still human beings. you racist asshole.

Although that remains open to debate, I didn't ask why we don't turn them into a sheet of glass, moron. And for the record, religion doesn't count as a race, however fucked up it may make its adherents.

I asked why we still play nice with people who clearly behave in a manner that makes them the enemies of the rest of the human race. Not whites, not Christians, but humans. Diseases don't fall for type-II statistical errors such as racism. Diseases like genes that we all, arabs and jews and blacks and whites and hispanics, all share in common.

But by all means, rage against that machine, friend! Piss in the wind while dying of TB because of distrust of Western pharmaceuticals. Blow up our buildings as we try to save us all, and then whine about the unfairness of it when we vaporize your asses from orbit. Send more soiled underwear bombers to take down the Great Satan, so we can have another brief chuckle as you successfully make the world a worse place by stripping the Great Experiment of its freedoms.

Re:When will we learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44663153)

Tell that to jews who consider themselves a nation based on religion you anti-semite.

Re:When will we learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44664429)

We already know Israel is full of Jewish supremacists. Why is one form of racism so much better than another?

Re:When will we learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44662347)

[raging faggotry snipped]

please kill yourself

Re:When will we learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44664989)

Huh? That was clearly not a racist statement that you are attacking. Also, I think it has been quite objectively established that the regime there are a bunch of evil fucks that the rest of humanity would be better off without. Additionally, Wahabism is one of the worst cases of mental illness amongst the entire sickness known as "religion" and I for one think that we need to either lock up all followers in mental institutions or shoot them if that is not an option. Those that pledge for tolerance towards these sickos apparently have no compassion for their victims. I often wonder why is it that some people that would be appalled by the behaviour of their European ancestors in the Middle Ages somehow think we need to tolerate similar behaviour today in other "cultures"?

Re:When will we learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44680365)

Why?

Money.

Preventing publication... (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | 1 year,9 days | (#44661727)

Just out of curiousity, how do the Saudis prevent outside researchers from publishing their research? It would seem that if you are outside Saudi, then their censorship wouldn't apply. I could see how they prevent outsiders from conducting research, but from publishing their research? Seems that something must have been edited out because that doesn't make sense.

Re:Preventing publication... (2)

__Paul__ (1570) | 1 year,9 days | (#44663005)

Yeah, I was wondering that myself. I think they mean "preventing outside researchers from getting in to research the outbreak".

Re:Preventing publication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 days | (#44663369)

Just out of curiousity, how do the Saudis prevent outside researchers from publishing their research?

The Saudis are refusing to provide samples to researchers unless the researchers sign agreements restricting what they can say and do:

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Saudi+paperwork+demands+delay+work+research+find+MERS+source/8495078/story.html [vancouversun.com]

Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44662003)

The article is totally made-up nonsense. The disease has been well studied, loads of papers published, the virus is identified and two vaccines are in trials. Fortunately the disease has a very low person-to-person transmission rate, so while it kills around 50% of patient there have only been 94 cases and 44 deaths.

The means it hasn't made the front pages of Western newspapers, which is hardly proof of censorship, conspiracies or any preventable deaths.

Incorrect stats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44662581)

killed more than half of those who contracted it

... or half of those who were diagnosed with it?

Re:Incorrect stats? (1)

HiThere (15173) | 1 year,8 days | (#44664763)

Bingo!

I don't believe that there's been any real study to determine how many people have it. But of the number of people who have bad enough cases to be admitted to a hospital, and were then diagnosed with MERS, more than half of them died. Without knowing the associated percentages, however, we can't really say more about it than "it's occasionally fatal".

Religion & epidemics (1)

rover42 (2606651) | 1 year,8 days | (#44663301)

There was a medieval cholera epidemic spread by multiple groups of religious pilgrims. It began with Hindu pilgrims bathing in the sacred Ganges at Varanasi & then going home; that spread it over most of northern India. Moslem pilgrims going West for the Hajj then spread it to Persia, Baghdad, Jerusalem, ... Finally, crusaders brought it to Europe. It killed tens or hundreds of thousands in all those places.

The hajj brings big bucks into Mecca (1)

ExRex (47177) | 1 year,8 days | (#44664105)

The hajj is the granddaddy of pilgimages. It wasn't the first, but it was the first of its size and continues to be teh world's largest annual pilgrimage. Would fear of contracting a deadly disease keep pilgrims, and pilgrim riyals, out of the country? Maybe, maybe not, but clearly the Saudi government doesn't want to take that chance.

If this is a spreadable Disease (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | 1 year,8 days | (#44664131)

If this is a spreadable Disease why are Saudis allowed to travel outside of there country to any country? Why are they being allowed to spread the disease?

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44698425)

We already got one disease that kills faggots, now this one kills muslims, the only thing we need now is one that kills liberals and the problems of the world will be solved.

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