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From User: Rattle

Current Topic: Society

Hoder sentenced to 19 years prison
Topic: Society 3:22 pm EDT, Sep 28, 2010

Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, 35, was a controversial figure among Iran's blogging community. Writing his blog from Canada, he was initially a critic of Iran's clerical leadership, and in 2006 he visited Israel - Iran's archenemy - saying he wanted to act as a bridge between the two countries' peoples.

But he later became a vocal supporter of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, praising him for standing up to the West and criticizing regime opponents. Derakhshan then visited Iran in 2008 and was arrested. Over the next two years, he was often held without communication with family or lawyers, according to rights groups.

The court sentenced him to 19 1/2 years in prison, the report said, adding that Derakhshan can appeal. It was unclear if he would benefit from time served.

Derakhshan helped ignite blogging in Iran by posting simple instructions online on how to create sites in Farsi in 2001. The flourishing of blogs by Iranians at home and abroad that resulted gave the country's reform movement an online platform that has helped it survive heavy crackdowns at home - though authorities tried to block many, including Derakhshan's.

His later embrace of Ahmadinejad angered many reform bloggers. Before returning to Iran, Derakhshan on his blog dismissed worries he could be arrested for his previous writings.

Rattle writes:

Decius and I sat on a panel with Hoder several years ago. To say some of his positions angered people would be putting it lightly. However, I was still quite dismayed when he was arrested.

19 1/2 years in jail is definitely excessive, but it's way better than the death sentence the prosecution was pushing for. Hopefully the political climate in Iran changes, and he can be freed...

Agree or disagree with Hoder's opinions - the idea that he faced death for expressing them, and that he has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for expressing them, is horrific.

Hoder sentenced to 19 years prison

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War | STRATFOR
Topic: Society 9:27 pm EDT, Jul 28, 2010

The WikiLeaks, from what we have seen so far, detail power, interest and reality as we have known it. They do not reveal a new reality. Much will be made about the shocking truth that has been shown, which, as mentioned above, shocks only those who wish to be shocked. The Afghan war is about an insufficient American and allied force fighting a capable enemy on its home ground and a Pakistan positioning itself for the inevitable outcome. The WikiLeaks contain all the details.

Stratfor strongly implies that the US intentionally "leaked" all this information in order to influence the political debate over the war and help build the case for withdrawl.

At some point, the U.S. Government is going to have to sell the American people on withdrawing from Afghanistan without Bin Lauden and letting the Taliban come back into power. I don't know how they hell are going to accomplish that.

This also raises the question of what the hell is going on with Bradley Manning? Its interesting that Manning appears to be responsible for all the leaks *except* this one, which is the important one.

WikiLeaks and the Afghan War | STRATFOR

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown
Topic: Society 2:43 pm EDT, Apr 22, 2009

On the night of March 8, cruising 22,000 miles above the Earth, U.S. Navy communications satellite FLTSAT-8 suddenly erupted with illicit activity. Jubilant voices and anthems crowded the channel on a junkyard's worth of homemade gear from across vast and silent stretches of the Amazon: Ronaldo, a Brazilian soccer idol, had just scored his first goal with the Corinthians.

It was a party that won't soon be forgotten. Ten days later, Brazilian Federal Police swooped in on 39 suspects in six states in the largest crackdown to date on a growing problem here: illegal hijacking of U.S. military satellite transponders. null

This is so ridiculously and awesomely Gibson-esque. Hordes of low tek from The Sprawl hacking military satellites with homebrew gear and hacker know-how.

Unbelievably Excellent!

The Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown

Radar Online : Inside Cryptome, the website the CIA doesn't want you to see
Topic: Society 1:14 pm EDT, Aug 15, 2007

The closest Young comes to explaining to me why he created Cryptome is this: "I'm a pretty fucking angry guy." He describes it as a public education project. But for every hard data point he offers, there's the ever-present admonishment that secrecy corrupts everything. "We caution people, don't believe anything we publish," he says. "We're totally untrustworthy. We may be a sting operation, we may be working for the Feds. If you trust us, you're stupid." It's like a nihilist art project: Provide your readers with more than 40,000 files of data the government doesn't want you to have, data that exposes the lies of the powerful, and then remind them that you can never, ever know for sure who is lying.

Radar Online : Inside Cryptome, the website the CIA doesn't want you to see

Identity and Migration
Topic: Society 2:07 pm EST, Jan 25, 2007

Francis Fukuyama has the cover story in the current issue of Prospect.

National identity continues to be understood and experienced in ways that sometimes make it a barrier for newcomers who do not share the ethnicity and religious background of the native-born. National identity has always been socially constructed; it revolves around history, symbols, heroes and the stories that a community tells about itself. This sense of attachment to a place and a history should not be rubbed out, but it should be made as open as possible to new citizens.

There are some good observations in here. I want to make an observation about his observations about North America though.

He looks to America as the best example of the culture that is rooted in civics rather than heritage. I agree. However, I think thats one of the primary fault lines in American politics today... Whether America is about principals or people, Constitutional rights, or Judeo Christian heritage. Fukuyama argues that liberal positions in American politics represent a kind of multi-culturalism. In some cases I think he is right, but I don't agree with all of his examples. The right of gay people to get married seems an individual right to me, and not a social or collective right. I do, however, see the anti-immigration and cultural conservativism movements as a kind of pseudo-ethnic nationalism that would create a more closed culture here (which would be, by Fukuyama's argument, more vulnerable to domestic terrorism).

Canada may be the source of modern multiculturalism, but I think its simultaneously a model for the sort of national transformations required in Europe. Canada's english majority transformed their country's identity from one that was primarily tied to the British Empire to one which all of it's citizens can connect with. I think there is something to learn from that.

Identity and Migration

Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007: Sale on Negroponte Move
Topic: Society 12:58 pm EST, Jan  7, 2007

The following quoted material is a post by UPI intelligence corespondent Richard Sale on Ret. Colonel W. Patrick Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis blog. Sale does not reveal any of his sources, so there are questions about its accuracy.

Contrary to the bland stories in The New York Times and Washington Post of Friday, Negroponte did not go voluntarily to State from his job as director of intelligence. In fact, there was tremendous administration pressure to get him out of his current job. The chief cause of the quarrel involved Negroponte's balking at at request from Vice President Cheney to increase domestic collection by the National Security Agency on U.S. citizens.

Well, this is certainly interesting.

Sic Semper Tyrannis 2007: Sale on Negroponte Move

Christopher Soghoian is no longer under investigation
Topic: Society 3:32 pm EST, Nov 28, 2006

The short version of things, is that they've stopped the investigation, due to a lack of evidence of criminal intent on my part. They've given me back my passports, my computers, and I'll be getting the rest of my stuff back shortly. Essentially, I'm a free man - with no charges filed.


Christopher Soghoian is no longer under investigation

Being strong on security...
Topic: Society 9:30 pm EDT, Oct 28, 2006

Rattle writes:

Being strong on security means exposing a problem and addressing it, not covering it up by punishing the messenger.

"The nail that sticks up gets hammered down." It's one of those phrases that embodies a principle that means different things in different situations, to different people. When a person exposes a problem, is the problem the problem, or is the person the problem? I believe that people of knowledge and ability are our greatest assets.

I think this is directly relevant to what we see unfolding before our eyes right now. On one hand, I have massive respect for the law enforcement agencies that tackle security problems. On the other, I fear their potential to be reactionary rather than mindful of purpose.

If we are to achieve real security, we can not simply opt for the path of least resistance. We must tackle problems rather than brush them under the rug, where they still exist, and can be found by others. As many on this system can attest, exposing security problems is like donning a big target; few are happy to see the messenger.

The manor in which information about a vital problem is exposed must be done ethically, but it is important to remember that ethical (or responsible) disclosure is an area that has no clear black and white distinctions. Many of the gray areas are defined by the means of the messenger. Do not lose sight of the big picture.

Being strong on security...

Does Iran have something in store? | Bernard Lewis
Topic: Society 1:03 pm EDT, Aug 10, 2006

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."

In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead--hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.

How then can one confront such an enemy, with such a view of life and death? Some immediate precautions are obviously possible and necessary. In the long term, it would seem that the best, perhaps the only hope is to appeal to those Muslims, Iranians, Arabs and others who do not share these apocalyptic perceptions and aspirations, and feel as much threatened, indeed even more threatened, than we are. There must be many such, probably even a majority in the lands of Islam. Now is the time for them to save their countries, their societies and their religion from the madness of MAD.

The August 22nd meme was going around at Defcon.

Does Iran have something in store? | Bernard Lewis

What Hamas Is Seeking
Topic: Society 11:42 am EST, Jan 31, 2006

In an op-ed in today's Washington Post, Mousa Abu Marzook, a political spokesman for Hamas, explains their victory in the recent elections. Can we take this seriously?

Alleviating the debilitative conditions of occupation, and not an Islamic state, is at the heart of our mandate (with reform and change as its lifeblood).

A new breed of Islamic leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.

We do desire dialogue.

The Post describes the author thusly:

The writer is deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). He has a U.S. doctorate in engineering and was indicted in the United States in 2004 as a co-conspirator on racketeering and money-laundering charges in connection with activities on behalf of Hamas dating to the early 1990s, before the organization was placed on the list of terrorist groups. He was deported to Jordan in 1997.

Note, as well, that "Paradise Now" has been nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

What Hamas Is Seeking

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