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309 comments

Good, but... (5, Insightful)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953398)

I think it's a great idea, but how many people will have to translate a document with similar results before it can be trusted?

--
Posted with the Slashdot Firefox extension. [mozilla.org]

They need help! (3, Funny)

NXIL (860839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953473)

Just worked on one, got this: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP first, i must solicit your strictest confidence in this transaction. this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and 'top secret'. i am sure and have confidence of your ability and reliability to prosecute a transaction of this great magnitude involving a pending transaction requiring maxiimum confidence. we are top official of the iraqi government contract review panel who are interested in imporation of goods into our country with funds which are presently trapped in fallujah. in order to commence this business we solicit your assistance to enable us transfer into your account the said trapped funds. the source of this fund is as follows; during the last military regime here in iraq, the government officials set up companies and awarded themselves contracts which were grossly over-invoiced in various ministries. the present civilian government set up a contract review panel and we have identified a lot of inflated contract funds which are presently floating in the central bank of iraq ready for payment, some to halliburton, some to you.

Re:Good, but... (2, Insightful)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953498)

Perhaps if they opened up a WikiIraqi? Let the differences be worked out in edit fights and revert wars. (But don't let any of those congress staffer yahoos in. ;)

Re:Good, but... (2, Insightful)

cfortin (23148) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953520)

I think this is a great idea. Kinda like information triage. When someone finds something that looks tasty, then the military can have someone trusted confirm the translation.

Better Analysis: Deft Ploy by American Government (2, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953642)

This whole story is odd. The American government has an annual budget exceeding $2.0 trillion [cia.gov], yet that same government cannot seem to buy top-notch translators graduating from the academic pentagon: Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, University of Illinois (at Urbana-Champagne), and University of Wisconson (at Madison)?

I call, "BS", on this story.

The American government already knows what those documents state, in the Iraqi language. The purpose of presenting those documents to the public is to slyly hint, to the Iraqi insurgents, that Washington has even more documents and, more importantly, all the detailed information about their whereabouts and their next set of moves. Washington hopes that this threat just might scare the insurgents into leaving Iraq. Basically, Washington is doing psy-ops (psychological warfare) on the Internet.

The situation in Iraq is dire. Lacking sufficient troops to quell the insurgency, Washington just might exit Iraq, leaving it to spiral into civil war. The latest reports talk about Shiite death squads rounding up Sunnis and executing them. Sometimes, American soldiers are caught in the cross fire.

Washington will do everything (including psy-ops) that it can up until 2007 January 1, the start of the next presidential campaign season. After 2007 January 1, Washington will pull the troops out of Iraqi. On this matter, the veto-proof majority of Republicans and Democrats are united, and they will pull the troops out of this mess. The only people who disagree are George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld.

Re:Good, but... (1)

Azreal (147961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953653)

Haven't RTFA, firstly, I'd run the documents through a program that searches for certain words or phrases that are absolutely certain. The words and placements could be used as a type of fingerprinting landmark. Then, I'd run the open source contributions through a filter; eliminating the ones that aren't even close to a match. Next, I'd run the remaining contributions through a comparitive analysis program that would group by similarity. Hopefully this would wittle everything down to manageable number and make it feasible time wise for a real translator to scan through the top groupings. Of course, I'm talking out my ass, but it seems logical anyways.

Re:Good, but... (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953712)

The truck was filled with fish eggs.
Roe was the cargo of the 18-wheeler.
The lorry carried caviar.

Translation is an art. While this is an extreme example, those three sentences could have come from the same Arabic sentence. Yet, the only words they have in common are "the" and "was".

Getting good translations is hard. Comparing them could be just as hard. Though, I have to say, I like the idea of collaborative translations - particularly for small, self-contained, documents.

except... (-1, Flamebait)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953406)

Except they're using this for an imperialist end. The reason open source works is because it's for the betterment of mankind. This "open source" they want is nothing more than a way for the Military to help Chancellor Bush spread his imperialist fingers into the middle east.

Re:except... (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953417)

The fact that they're releasing the documents is somewhat less "imperialist".

Re:except... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953447)

Right. Please enlighten us all on how them releasing it has any affect whatsoever on the informations end use. I hope you have something better than that.

Re:except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953420)

go hug a tree

Re:except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953486)

And you continue sucking your dear dictator's dick. Erm, I meant "president". _

Re:except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953651)

you continue sucking your dear dictator's dick

But then they'd have to fire him for being gay...

Classification? (3, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953414)

What if it turns out that the document is talking about something that the US finds it needs to classify? Too late then...

Re:Classification? (2, Informative)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953425)

What if it turns out that the document is talking about something that the US finds it needs to classify?
From the article:
US intelligence officials say nearly all the documents released have been given at least a cursory reading by Arabic experts. Beth Marple, Negroponte's deputy press secretary, said amateur translators won't find any major surprises, such as proof Hussein hid stockpiles of chemical weapons.

--
Posted with the Slashdot Firefox extension. [mozilla.org]

Re:Classification? (5, Funny)

plumby (179557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953453)

... such as proof Hussein hid stockpiles of chemical weapons.

I think that's a pretty safe bet.

Not really (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953678)

Ermm, the question is whether he had any chemical weapons beyond what is known. The US and/or UK governments have admitted that he probably didn't after all.

Re:Classification? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953496)

Sooo, someone already read em, ummm, why dident they translate them?

Re:Classification? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953540)

Because translation is far more time consuming than a quick read. You don't have to read a whole document to know that it doesn't have classified secrets in it -- you can scan. But you need to read and understand the entire document completely before you can finish translating it.

Re:Classification? (1)

Corbu Mulak (931063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953543)

Time and money. Why pay a guy to translate Arabic to English when you can get a bunch of people on the Internet to do it for free?

Re:Classification? (1)

user24 (854467) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953685)

from tfa: "Users who come across documents they feel are inappropriately released may contact the responsible officers at..."

so now they're relying on users to filter sensetive information for them?

this whole thing is just odd.

Re:Classification? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953442)

> What if it turns out that the document is talking about something that the US
> finds it needs to classify? Too late then...

I'm not sure what you think the US government would stand to gain by attempting to classify enemy information.

Re:Classification? (1)

XdevXnull (905214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953479)

How about "These are the cover names for known CIA operatives in our area..." Like the article says, we'd never end up seeing anything so blatant, but there's definitely motivation to keep enemy repetition of your secret information a secret.

Re:Classification? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953471)

"What if it turns out that the document is talking about something that the US finds it needs to classify?"

I am fairly certain this is just a way for the government to help the translators with proper security clearances concentrate on the classified stuff. More than likely the items posted to the public will be subject to a cursory review to make sure nothing of high importance is released.

No need I can see to classify Saddam's granny's apple pie recipe just 'cause.

     

Re:Classification? (1)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953502)

I think there could be a more sinister reason.

This is an excellent way to disseminate lots of potentially inaccurate or out-of-context information from IRAQ to the rest of the world, without any corroberation on the content.

Pretty cool idea really - let us translate and distribute propoganda ourselves.

Re:Classification? (1)

zmarty (850185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953503)

RTFA. It says that the documents were already skimmed by professional translators. So you won't find anything important.

Open-Source? (4, Insightful)

PocketPick (798123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953415)

I fail to see how the term 'open-source' is applicable to a translation. Is the belief that if a number of people contribute to something, that it's open-source?

Re:Open-Source? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953459)

I think that, like, if you post something on the internet, then it is like, open-source or something.

It's all very complicated.
It involves binary.
Do not question us.

Re:Open-Source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953652)

Open source, as in "you do something and get nothing in return". That's how the govt understood it.

Yes. Open formats would help... (2, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953687)

Yep. If they had the sense to publish the documents on ODF, and encourage ODF responses along with recommending free ODF tools for any citizens who want to help, then they might be a little closer to harnessing the power of an open system.

Here it is (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953416)

"I want to rip the American's throats out and shove it up their asses -- Anonymous Pissed Sunni"

"I want to rip the American's throats out and shove it up their asses -- Saddam"

"I want to rip the American's throats out and shove it up their asses -- Bin Laden"

"I want to rip the American's throats out and shove it up their asses -- Iran"

I think I'm getting the hang of this translation stuff.
       

Re:Here it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953430)

And when the U.S. says "We want to liberate your people", they mean "We want your oil".

You forgot: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953456)

"We thank our American friends and allies for liberating our country -- US DOD "

Re:Here it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953566)

In Soviet Russia, your ass is shoved down your throat!

Whew! That's reassuring! (5, Funny)

woolio (927141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953674)

Whew! You had me scared for a second.

Luckily, your expert usage of English grammer re-assures me.

Apparently they are only upset at one (unnamed) American who has multiple throats, and they wish to shove each of these up the asses of an (unnamed) third party that consists of more than one person. Or it could be that this particular individual's throats also have asses... which makes the action somewhat circular...

Well, I don't have multiple throats, so my neck must be out of danger... But my ass might be the target of their threat.

Re:Here it is (1)

prichardson (603676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953691)

(oop.ismad.com) If relativism were true, then truth would be relative so relativism's truth would be relative...

Just because some things are absolute doesn't mean everything is absolute. Just because some things are relative doesn't mean everything is relative.

For example, it is an absolute truth that the desk in front of me exists. This is universally verifiable by anyone who wants to make the trek to my residence. It is a relative truth that Coca-Cola tastes good. Some people like it; some people don't.

Your sig implies that these are mutually exclusive and is not even very clever about it.

Odd (3, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953423)

Why don't they put the NSA's crack team on ti, they seem to be good at this sort of thing. Or they couls hire translators? Maybe they are just trying to ferret out people who show too much interest in these documents?

Re:Odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953501)

The NSA is occupied illegally spying on Americans. Anyone who assists in this translation is enabling the commission felonies.

Re:Odd (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953537)

Uh, you do know the difference between decryption and translation? No, I guess you don't.

Re:Odd (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953563)

The NSA has hundreds, if not thousands, of linguists on staff. At one level of abstraction, there is little difference between translation, encryption, or decryption, or any other recursive function on information. Nevermind the practical fact that the NSA would have to understand any decrypted foreign documents before presenting intelligence reports.

And here's where we put the Ark of the Covenant... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953426)

Nothing to see here, move along... this piece of document is just a grocery list and does not hint at any secret treasure caches in the very least. Oh, and on an unrelated note, I won't be available for translation in the next couple of weeks, as I'm planning to visit my, uh, family in Iraq.

See you, suckers!

Not so fast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953451)

Family in Iraq? Good luck visiting them now that you're on the no-fly list.

Re:And here's where we put the Ark of the Covenant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953452)

I won't be available for translation in the next couple of weeks, as I'm planning to visit my, uh, family in Iraq.

You misspelled Guantanamo. And years, too.

Easier Solution (5, Funny)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953427)

Why don't they just make English the official language in Iraq?

That would solve all these translation problems.

I mean, as long as we are building nations, we might as well give them a decent language. The romans did it.. ...Yes, this is sarcasm...

Of course! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953434)

It's the "I'm too cheap to do it myself" open-source movement.

are we changing the definition? (3, Funny)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953444)

So "open source" is now anything that's a free/community project?

Do the Amish then have "open source" barn raisings?

Re:are we changing the definition? (4, Funny)

Quixote (154172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953570)

Do the Amish then have "open source" barn raisings?
... until it is raised; then it becomes closed source.

Re:are we changing the definition? (4, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953627)

So "open source" is now anything that's a free/community project?

Coincidentally, the use of the phrase "open source" in the intelligence community actually predates its use regarding software, using it to refer to intelligence gathered from publically-available sources. From wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_intellige nce [wikipedia.org]

Open source intelligence or "OSINT" refers to an intelligence gathering discipline based on analyzing information collected from open sources, i.e. information available to the general public. These sources include newspapers, the internet, books, phone books, scientific journals, radio broadcasts, television, and others. The term OSINT is unrelated to the term open source as that term is used in the computer software community to refer to programs whose source code is publicly available (and modifiable). OSINT should also not be generally confused with OSIF (Open Source Information) on which OSINT is based. OSIF is any information that is publicly available; OSINT is analytically-tailored OSIF designed to answer a specific tasking or to support decision-making.

Re:are we changing the definition? (1)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953630)

Well, that's the progaganda, -- but what on earth kind of "community" would want to have anything to do with this? What "community", anywhere, is dedicated to donating free labour to Hallibu^H^H^H^H^H^H^HGeorge Bush? Everyone loses. It's not as if anyone's going to get kickbacks for this.

Ironic, because (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953446)

If they'd followed the same principle with the intelligence that before the war they claimed they had, and after the war they claimed was "bad intelligence" (whoops!)-- I mean, if they'd just published the "Saddam has WMDs" intelligence on the internet and asked "hey, can anyone fact check this?"-- we wouldn't be in a war needing random volunteers to translate Iraqi documents in the first place.

Of course it would also help if they were a bit smarter with their hiring policies to begin with. [cbsnews.com]

Re:Ironic, because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953509)

Um... they did exactly that. Colin Powell went to the UN and the world to present the evidence against Iraq. George W. Bush made speeches before the American people with the intel that Iraq had failed to comply with disarmament obligations.

It's nice to see the back-tracking of you people. Even the Democrats and the French had seen the evidence and agreed with it. It was wrong in hindsight, get over it. Don't act like you were duped or lied to.

Re:Ironic, because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953564)

Sorry, corrected:

George W. Bush made speeches before the American people with the lies that Iraq had failed to comply with disarmament obligations.

Re:Ironic, because (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953590)

If you think Bush lied about Iraq's WMDs, here are some other "lies" you also shouldn't forget:

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -- From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

"This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." -- From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others

"Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities" -- From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter on July 18, 2002

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." -- Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002

"What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad's regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." -- Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

"I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons...I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out." -- Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"Saddam Hussein's regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"The debate over Iraq is not about politics. It is about national security. It should be clear that our national security requires Congress to send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"I share the administration's goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction." -- Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction." -- Bob Graham, December 2002

"Saddam Hussein is not the only deranged dictator who is willing to deprive his people in order to acquire weapons of mass destruction." -- Jim Jeffords, October 8, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -- Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002

"The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation." -- John Kerry, October 9, 2002

"(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. ...And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War." -- John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." -- Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002

"Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States." -- Joe Lieberman, August, 2002

"Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 - 1994, despite Iraq's denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq's claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction." -- Patty Murray, October 9, 2002

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

"Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production." -- Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources -- something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

"Saddam's existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq's enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East." -- John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

"Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration's policy towards Iraq, I don't think there can be any question about Saddam's conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts." -- Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002

Re:Ironic, because (1)

gentlemen_loser (817960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953517)

While I definately see your point - "they" is not really a fair term to use. There are "those" of us here in the US who thinks that the current administration sucks and voted for "the other guy" (read Gore/Kerry) both times.

Work for free? (5, Funny)

Beuno (740018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953455)

Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking about doing, working for free for the US government ...

It's not like these're important docs... (1)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953467)

I'm sure we're going to get a bunch of shopping lists, a letter to a neighbor decrying imperialist nations, and a tawdry tale or two.

John Loftus Transation Services (1)

doublem (118724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953484)

John Loftus translation services [matthewmiller.net] has volunteered hundreds of man hours (no woman hours please, he's a Republican) to ensure a "Fair and Balanced"(tm) translation.

Amazingly enough, every singe document details proof that Saddam had WMD programs in place!

We have the proof! Bush was right! The war is justified!

We always had the proof.

No one ever doubted Saddam had WMD. Clinton was a coward and a Commie for not going to war to kill him. Bush Sr. would have finished it but the French must have chickened out at the last second, leaving us without support we were counting on. That's why we're invading France in 2015...

Re:John Loftus Transation Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953513)

Real news sources, not blogs, please.

erm.. (1, Interesting)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953487)

Maybe it's just me here, but most people in the OSS community seem pretty bright people. Bright people tend to rather dislike the Bush government and would go out of their way to NOT help them.

I mean seriously, what type of people will want to support this government. All they get back in return is the loss of basic human rights and in the future finger pointing. It's a lose-lose situation.

Re:erm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953650)

Well, as a Europian, I have to agree that you can't be very bright to vote for such a government. But, I only see the US's foreign policy. Maybe Bush is brilliant in economy, maybe he lowered the unemployment rate, maybe he's the best president the US ever saw in everything but foreign affairs.

Anyhow, The US's foreign policies have always been a bit imperialistic. Clinton wasn't a saint, father Bush wasn't better. It goes with the superpower package I guess... It's just that this one is giving hypocrisy a whole new meaning. The people of the USA need to question their governments actions more strictly. Get in the streets if they don't listen. Don't do this only because it is pissing the rest of the world off, but because your own people are being targeted and getting killed in the process. They are taking your own freedoms away. No one in the world hates freedom, not even terrorists. But alot of people don't feel groovy about getting bombed or threatened of getting bombed.

Baloney (2, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953727)

You have circular reasoning in your definition of "bright". To you, anyone who agrees with W can't be bright, so no bright people agree with W. You need to get outside your own little circle and see that there are plenty of smart people who disagree with you.

Taxation (0, Flamebait)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953488)

This is properly tantamount to a voluntary tax upon bilinguals. The State is asking these people to spend their time translating for free; the tax is the money these people do not make since they cannot spend this time working.

I think it's indecent, given that the current overall real tax rate on individuals is 50%.

The State should pay for the services it requires. Why is it asking for people to pay more tax, voluntarily?

Re:Taxation (2)

knewter (62953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953523)

"The State should pay for the services it requires. Why is it asking for people to pay more tax, voluntarily?"

Well, for one, if someone opted to translate this, it is guaranteed that the overall cost (including their labor cost) would be less than if the government paid for it, as funding a beauracracy to get a task done is never cheaper than doing the task.

Secondarily, are you just an asshat? Allowing people to choose to help the country they live in can't possibly be a bad thing. Seriously, check at least a little of your cynicism, or you'll keep making stupid statements like this and everyone around you that can think will secretly laugh at your idiocy.

Re:Taxation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953609)

Patriotism/nationalism is just a way to dumb down jor sixpack(as was religion a few hundred years ago) just to make the people left and right, in stead of up.

Re:Taxation (4, Insightful)

horatio (127595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953711)

This is properly tantamount to a voluntary tax upon bilinguals

So, by your reasoning we should suspend activities such as:

- Big Brothers/Big Sisters
- Frats and VFW groups who do highway/litter cleanup
- Museum volunteers
- Reference desk volunteers at the local library
- Volunteers for the Red Cross and other relief orgs who are at least partially funded through tax dollars - but whose volunteers are not paid for their work
- Civics groups who put on things like Shakespeare in the Park
- Volunteer firefighters and EMTs
- College students who pay money to take their springbreak repairing the houses of dirt poor black americans in towns in the south where racism still lurks ominously. That is *double* taxation - not only have I paid to make the trip and buy the building materials, but I also spent weeks of my own time doing it. Why doesn't the gov't step in and pay me me! me!! to help these poverty-stricken people?

Maybe you got your degree from this guy [foxnews.com] so you don't understand that people who are paid by the gov't are paid out of your tax dollars. Very simple math. Gov't hires 10 more people, your taxes go to paying those ten extra people instead of whatever social program you fancy today. Give a little time as a volunteer (to do whatever, not nessecarily translate docs), and you save yourself a few dollars in taxes and get to have a little bit of civic pride. But it seems like you want us to all run around like a bunch of self-centered little dumbasses.

God forbid you should help an old lady cross the street without expecting a check for your "services".

Out of Necessity (0, Flamebait)

Jhat (962227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953493)

If the military would stop discharging Arabic and Farsi translators simply because they were gay, there were would be less of reason to turn to the public to do this work.

Re:Out of Necessity (1)

Klowner (145731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953512)

they're only Farsi until you take away their binoculars.

I'm not sure what this means, but it popped into my head when I read your post, maybe it's some sort of open source translation?

Re:Out of Necessity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953558)

Would help if they didn't get targeted for "collaboration" in Iraq too.

not fun! (3, Insightful)

hogghogg (791053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953519)

I think they are forgetting that (for some deranged part of our society), creating Linux was fun. Will translating orders for toilet paper for the Iraqi National Guard mess hall be fun too? Only if you can write your translation as a perl poem!

Re:not fun! (1)

dajak (662256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953689)

I think they are forgetting that (for some deranged part of our society), creating Linux was fun.

Bilingual people with enough time and interest in Iraq will read them, but there is really no point in putting effort into translating them unless you think they are relevant for the general public, which they obviously aren't according to the US government.

Doing a good translation into a foreign language is more work than just reading stuff, or even writing for that matter. I don't even want to translate my own code comments, slides, papers, or reports, even though I work in different languages for different clients.

Lost in Translation (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953545)

US government publishing some "captured" Iraqi documents. Of course there are many documents that should not be published, like the process for purchasing poison gas from Don Rumsfeld to poison one's politically inconvenient neighbors. Maybe just the receipts and thank-you notes [google.com]. But I expect they won't be publishing many of the documents the US military captured when it raided Ahmed "Castro" Chalabi's office [google.com], before he fled back to his Iranian spy office. Because those Chalabi docs are all covered by Bush's "Executive Secret" status, just like their carbon copies in Cheney's DC file cabinet.

Open Sores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953547)

'nuff said.

Cheap bastards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953567)

If the government wants translation done, then they can damn well pay for it. Do they look for "open source" workers to manufacture weapons free of charge? The fact that they value this translation so little that they aren't willing to pay for it speaks volumes about priorities.

Cheap is bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953683)

"They" would be paying for it with "your" tax dollars. Seems the cheaper it can be done the better. Of course, I kind of doubt they'll get many volunteers, and they may not really want any. It may just be a ploy before giving up or handing over another multi-million dollar contract to some company who the taxpayers had no say in selecting..... But that's a different subject.

Also, pretty brave to announce this kind of project in the first place. It kind of means those documents weren't very thoroughly read before the liberation/de-WMD project got started. (Or maybe the money is just running out.)

They don't seem to be seeking too hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953568)

I went to both links in an attempt to do my patriotic duty by helping with the translation but all I got was an article talking about it and a page with the results of translation. What is a patriot to do?

OS Pure Propaganda (1)

wlvdc (842653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953574)

Pure Progaganda, but is it open source ? It probably means here that they didnt pay for it.

Article reads: It's the same ''open source" principle that drove the successful development of the Internet and of powerful free software like the Linux operating system

Unfortunately we have to wait a few more years until we see the US documents released about their involvement in Iraq. As these are probably managed on a windows based solution, unlikely public release will ever happen.

Not surprised its posted by Zonk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953582)

This is not the same open source principle that created Linux.

It is the same filthy principle by which Microsoft takes the work of others and combines it into the closed source product to suit their own purposes.

isn't this the same government (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953595)

isn't this the same government that is trying to argue that having to get warrants for wiretaps tips our interest in a suspect?

so what then is posting iraqi documents for every iraqi terrorist to read before anyone can translate them going to do?

i say we get rid of everyone running this debacle and start over.

Hello (1)

berenixium (920883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953607)

Or:
'Our translators at The P3nt4g0n are Fucking Retards!'
I know... let's get some translation on the cheap by conning the known world into doing it for us.. and we'll use the word 'Linux' to sound cool in the n3rd communities.

Pull the other one, son, it's got bells on!

Re:Hello (1)

berenixium (920883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953625)

Oh.. and if you're Bilingual... don't you think you should tell your parents soon? I think they should know...

I'm sure they will be very supportive (ha ha)

SIGH, America (1)

szhao (945234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953614)

I think this is a great idea, and all government document should be viewed as this. First, this is not exactly targeting OSS people that design software. We need more projects like this to harness the energies out there. Yes, an universal language is not a bad idea but I don't think you can get everyone to abid by it. Second, even if your a Bush hater, there is no reason not to love your country. Politics is politics, but translating document hardly seems like a partisan view.

Sell my soul to the devil? No, thanks. (2, Interesting)

lixee (863589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953617)

I'm perfectly bilingual but will never do that.
The incentive of open-source is that a lot of people will benefit from your work, and not some greedy individual (Thanks to the GPL). For me, it'd be the same as if Gates started up a contest for who could come up with a better OS and Linus and the other hackers handed their work to him. Gates could have then started making profit out of their work.
I am not American, but I'd guess most open-source enthusiasts out there are better informed than the average Joe and are more likely to be opposing the war in the first place.

Re:Sell my soul to the devil? No, thanks. (1)

ugmoe (776194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953632)

>> I am not American, but I'd guess most open-source enthusiasts out there are better >> informed than the average Joe and are more likely to be opposing the war in the >> first place.

Yeah!

We don't need to translate the documents - we're better informed and know what they say before we even read them!

Over reliance on technology (1)

porkface (562081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953618)

Proper translation for international affairs requires in-depth understanding of culture as well as printed text. Automated translation is nice for basic tasks, but when a low-level government official reads "jihad" and starts telling everyone that someone has declared war, the worst is at hand.

Maybe I'm off base here, but.... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953629)

Maybe I'm off base here, but isn't the government supposed to have large computers for things like the Carnivore project? Aren't they supposed to be capable to tapping into about anything on the Interweb? Why don't they just buy some software from babblefish.com and use it to pinpoint what parts of the Internet they really want to have experts read? To start with, a google for allah, then translate as required would be a good start, key words can be added to the process somewhere along the line... It seems unlikely that there would be more than say, oh... 100,000 arabic websites? Couple of days and its all done.. right?

This seems quite an odd thing to me... unless they are trying to ferret out people in the US and allied countries that are both capable of and willing to translate such information. That sounds like some new kind of profiling to me... well, I could just be paranoid...

slashdot as a weapon (1, Troll)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953634)

From the website:
"You are entering an Official United States Government System, which may be used only for authorized purposes. Unauthorized modification of any information stored on this system may result in criminal prosecution. The Government may monitor and audit the usage of this system, and all persons are hereby notified that use of this system constitutes consent to such monitoring and auditing."

This is just to create logs of the slashdot effect so they can use this to bring down enemy websites.

This is just plain propaganda, they only release documents for which they know the contents. This is just a bunch of crap

"Operation Iraqi Freedom" (0, Flamebait)

100mph (819848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953655)

I can translate the subject: "Operation Iraqi Freedom".

"Operation Iraqi Bloodshed & Expropriation of US Tax Dollars by Military-Industrial Complex"

buzzwords (1)

kuyaedz (921036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953670)

If they are going to use the term 'open source' and recruit people to do this based on that ideal they need to take it all the way. If they GPL the current & future (translated) documents then maybe we've got something here, but otherwise its akin to slave-labor if you ask me.

Frightening propaganda (2, Interesting)

ronocdh (906309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953695)

This is blatant PR on behalf of the military. FTFA:

The US Government has made no determination regarding the authenticity of the documents, validity or factual accuracy of the information contained therein, or the quality of any translations, when available.

Wiki-style scholarship has been criticized sufficiently on /., so I needn't address the flaw in methodology. But the problem is that this is no genuine attempt at intelligence, it's merely a showcase for unflattering (and, as the disclaimer attests, possibly plain false) documents and is meant to promote American nationalism. The very first document on the page is about how the bad-man Qusai Hussein ordered prisoners to be used as human shields during the US invasion. The document is more than two years old! Do you really believe this is an example of the cutting edge of our military's translation endeavor? (Okay, I walked right into the incompetence joke on that one.) Perhaps TFA sums it up best:

Jonathan Singer, weekend editor of the liberal site MyDD.com, was equally dismissive. ''The Hussein documents are not of great interest to me," said Singer, ''for the simple reason that they simply reinforce the notion that the Bush administration cherry picks intelligence to suit their needs."

Document found at a suspected WMD site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953697)

Hi Achmed,

Please buy some more halal meat on the way home tonight. It would be great if you could buy some mustard and tabasco as well. We're having a BBQ tonight.

Thanks,
Abdul

---

This document clearly proves that it was a WMD site. Everyone knows that mustard is the code word for mustard gas, and tabasco is the code word for sarin gas. The "halal meat" indicates that they're going to kidnap some people and then test the gases (aka BBQ) on them them.

Sheer Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14953703)

US government makes up some arabic documents saying "we want to kill Americans".

US government posts these documents to the American public and askes them to translate them

American public translates them and gets shit scared of being killed.

GWB's support and support for the Iraq invasion increases in the US electorate.

Do you really think the US government would post untranslated documents (whos contents is thus unknown) to the Internet? What if one of them laid out the entire covert US spy network within Iraq? Maybe one of them will be a call to arms to insurgents. Maybe one will be a death blow to US public support for being in Iraq.

Spirit of open source? (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953704)

Since when was the spirit of open source based on "We'll do a bunch of work for you for free"?

That's subtly different from why I work on OS projects. I want to do a bunch of work to solve a problem, and then make it so that no one ever has to solve that problem again, because everyone can benefit from my work.

The difference is that (for me, at least), the motivation is to multiply the work accomplished in the world, per unit of manpower I put into the work. Just doing work for free, while perhaps generous, isn't the same.

Let's see if I understand (1)

44BSD (701309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14953716)

You need to translate from Arabic, so you...

1. Fire many of your translators for being gay
2. Wind up with a backlog
3. Ask people you don't know or trust to do the work for free
4. ????
5. Profit!!
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