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United States Government Music Security Transportation

US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items" 894

Posted by samzenpus
from the this-one-time-at-customs-camp dept.
McGruber writes "Flute virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui performed on a variety of flutes, each made by himself over years for specific types of ancient and modern performance. Razgui has performed with many U.S. ensembles and is a regular guest with the diverse and enterprising Boston Camerata. Last week, Razgui flew from Morocco to Boston, with stops in Madrid and New York. In New York, he says, a US Customs official opened his luggage and found the 13 flutelike instruments — 11 nays and two kawalas. Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds. 'They said this is an agriculture item,' said Razgui, who was not present when his bag was opened. 'I fly with them in and out all the time and this is the first time there has been a problem. This is my life.' When his baggage arrived in Boston, the instruments were gone. He was instead given a number to call. 'They told me they were destroyed,' he says. 'Nobody talked to me. They said I have to write a letter to the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. This is horrible. I don't know what to do. I've never written letters to people.'"
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US Customs Destroys Virtuoso's Flutes Because They Were "Agricultural Items"

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  • Saw this earlier (Score:1, Insightful)

    by redmid17 (1217076) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:27PM (#45841161)
    Not sure why this is on ./

    The dude does have a very legitimate beef though, considering he's taken these around to probably dozens of countries and crossed several hundred borders with them. He apparently had some "raw" material with him to make new flutes, but that wood typically needs to be completely dry and aged. Either way the carved flutes were likely sealed and shouldn't have been destroyed without a very, very good reason, which I doubt the CBP had.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:29PM (#45841189)
    ...and recognize this for what it is. Fascism.
  • by moosehooey (953907) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:30PM (#45841197)

    He shouldn't have had them in his checked baggage, since it's well known that checked bags often get lost. If something's that important, it should be in your carry-on.

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <[gameboyrmh] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:31PM (#45841205) Journal

    ...that going through US customs could ruin your life. DON'T DO IT.

  • by OFnow (1098151) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:34PM (#45841243)
    Many musical instruments are made of wood. So I guess they are all at risk if the owners come to the US.
  • by thepainguy (1436453) <thepainguy@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:36PM (#45841261) Homepage
    Beware of people whose only marketable skills are their loyalty and their ability to follow rules to the letter.
  • by flightmaker (1844046) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:38PM (#45841279)
    Each and every day that I read /. I become even more relieved than the day before that fate smiled on me by not making me a citizen of the USA, and not giving me any compelling reason to visit.
  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:38PM (#45841281)

    Not sure why this is on ./

    The dude does have a very legitimate beef though, considering he's taken these around to probably dozens of countries and crossed several hundred borders with them. He apparently had some "raw" material with him to make new flutes, but that wood typically needs to be completely dry and aged. Either way the carved flutes were likely sealed and shouldn't have been destroyed without a very, very good reason, which I doubt the CBP had.

    It think because it's about out of control security apparatus, so it's kind of topical?

    I guess they will start siezing wood furniture from Ikea now, since,, you know, wood is an agricultural product.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:40PM (#45841301)

    US no longer stands for "Uncle Sam." Now it's "Uncle Stupid." Leather luggage comes from cowhide, isn't that an agricultural item? Fucking morons in charge.

  • by n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:40PM (#45841309) Homepage Journal

    and I never once have regretted that decision. Wouldn't go to dubai either for similar reasons. Toxic culture. I do feel sorry to anyone living there and do hope you are armed.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:41PM (#45841325)

    Imagine the Gestapo with today's technology. It's coming.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:43PM (#45841341)

    I was going to say it wasn't Fascism. But It is. I was going to say it was just overly complicated rules in-forced by under trained, under paid people who can't understand them while having irreversible consequences. But I realized that pretty much sums up Fascism.

  • by Progman3K (515744) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:49PM (#45841407)

    If somebody with any say at Slashdot is reading this, please do the right thing and get the focus back to where it used to be, on science and technology. There are many, many other places we can go to read and bitch about the day-in, day-out shenanigans of American politics. Slashdot shouldn't be one of them.

    You... I like you

  • by Patent Lover (779809) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:49PM (#45841415)
    Wooden pencils as well. As a side note I was once sent to Ag inspection for mentioning I had some sea salt. Customs people aren't the brightest bulbs on the tree.
  • Very weird story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowwoc2001 (976892) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:52PM (#45841435)

    He should definitely be compensated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @08:52PM (#45841437)

    You're hissy fits are getting annoying.

    And your misuse of the apostrophe is even more annoying.

    If you are going to complain, you'd better make sure your own
    house is in order first, sonny boy.

  • by pauldl63 (636292) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:00PM (#45841499)

    Each and every day that I read /. I become even more relieved than the day before that fate smiled on me by not making me a citizen of the USA, and not giving me any compelling reason to visit.

    My sentiments exactly.

  • Why I Stay Away (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rueger (210566) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:07PM (#45841559) Homepage
    I lived and worked in the US for a few years prior to 9/11, and travelled to many parts of the country. I still have a lot of good friends down there, and surely there are a lot of places that I'd love to visit again.

    The problem is that since I moved back to Canada there have been a seemingly endless series of stories like this. Whether it's Mahar Arar being grabbed and shipped to Syria for torture and imprisonment; Jacob Appelbaum being detailed by US customs with no reason and no explanation; innocent people who are having their laptops and phones seized and copied with no warrant or explanation, or who are quite simply harassed at the border on the whim of any customs agent. - it just seems to be happening more and more each year.

    Being innocent (whatever that means to Homeland Security) is no protection. All it takes is one renta-cop with a bad attitude.

    To my American friends: I am honestly terrified by the thought of crossing your border, and I am not alone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:09PM (#45841579)

    Beware the people with the uncanny ability to seek out and use those types of people.
    They're the dangerous ones.

  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:10PM (#45841581)
    At least if he is battling at the border to keep them and they really are critical to his life/career he can decide to not enter the country and keep them rather than have something so precious destroyed by forest gump with a badge.
  • by khym (117618) * <matt@nFORTRANigh ... m minus language> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:11PM (#45841593)
    Do they strip naked anyone who's wearing natural fiber?
  • by flightmaker (1844046) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:14PM (#45841601)
    Are you a typical USA resident? It would explain a lot.
  • by Almost-Retired (637760) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:17PM (#45841635)

    Yup, and come the revolution they will be first in front of the wall.

    What I don't get is the almost PETA rabidness of some who have posted above blaming this person. Do society a favor and see if you can win a Darwin Award with your inherent stupidity.

    As an artist in my own right, I have no clue how long it took him to find all these reed's, dry, carve and seal them into musical instruments that could then be used to convey the proper sound for a piece of music composed in the time of Herod or before. What I do know is that they will not do that to me for free. There would be a payback that would make the front page.

    This is the same stupidity that has been harassing the Gibson Guitar people for the last decade, but they did know about the import restrictions on Rosewood, and had the permits, but some ass hole didn't get the fucking memo. Repeatedly.

    I face much the same thing when I have to fly because I am a television broadcast engineer, who often has to pack up his tools and go someplace to resuscitate a tv station or their transmitter. I can't take my tools, several thousand dollars worth, with me to the job via anyplace that takes me past a TSA checkpoint, so now the stations who need my talents have to send their corporate airplanes to come and get me and bring me home. Or I have to drive, which could be a 5 or 6 day each way trip to some of the places I have been since I retired 11 years ago. That is bull shit, the finest stuff, which if applied to an Iowa cornfield and matched by 30+ inches of rain, will grow 220 bushels to the acre.

    So when do we take our country back folks? Seriously, I'd like to see it on my watch, but since I'm on my 80th circuit around this star, there might not be much time left for me to watch.

    So sign me "Seething mad at the magnitude of the idiocy, Gene"

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:18PM (#45841643) Homepage

    Many musical instruments are made of wood. So I guess they are all at risk if the owners come to the US.

    Not to mention silk, cotton, and wool. Everybody get naked! All of a sudden I feel like going to the airport could be fun again. :)

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:18PM (#45841653)

    Well then, explain how this article relates to science and technology. What's that? It doesn't? Shut up then.

    If you go through US customs, the tools you use to do your job may not make it with you. Like your phone, laptop, textbooks, thumb drives, or hand made wooden flutes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:20PM (#45841663)

    You're wrong. Slashdot is just for science and technology stories. The "somewhere else" you refer to is the place for irrelevant submissions like this one. So get your ass back to reddit, nancy.

  • by tftp (111690) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:20PM (#45841671) Homepage

    Razgui says he had made all of the instruments using hard-to-find reeds.

    How does one compensate for a dozen of instruments that were hand-made by the player from rare materials? You can't go to the nearest store and rebuy the lost instruments. How long will it even take to make them again? Can the player even do it?

    Worse still, will the Customs destroy a Stradivari violin just because old Antonio neglected to attach a US-approved sticker that lists all used woods and where they were finished?

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:21PM (#45841679)

    Imagine the Gestapo with today's technology. It's coming.

    Imagine, or turn your head and look?

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:22PM (#45841687)

    Wooden pencils as well. As a side note I was once sent to Ag inspection for mentioning I had some sea salt. Customs people aren't the brightest bulbs on the tree.

    In this particular case, you are giving Customs people way too much credit for comparing them to something as bright as any light bulb.

    Rocks more come to mind. You know, like the ones rattling around in the idiots head that could not identify a handmade instrument.

    Why in the hell do we put up with such incompetence? Do we not pay enough into the TSA to not hire utter morons? A man's livelihood was destroyed in a matter of hours. Someone should be held accountable, and NOT be able to stand behind some bullshit policy that prevents terrorists from importing rare wood, or whatever the hell we were attempting to prevent here with total destruction.

  • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:24PM (#45841705) Homepage Journal

    You make much over-use of the "we". You do not speak for me or for the reasons why I come to slashdot. Take your doltish, bigoted views and STFU.

    I read slashdot because I am interested in science and technology, and because I am also interested in anything others with similar interests find interesting. I do not use slashdot as a mirror that would let me pimp and preen in what I already know; I also value its use as a periscope that looks around corners I am unaware of to show me things of interest I would never otherwise see.

    This story has value on slashdot.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:27PM (#45841729)

    /. has for the longest time covered articles about politics, civil rights and stupidities of the government.

    This in my view isn't a story about customs protecting agriculture but rather about a civil servant removing equipment which belonged to someone and without notice or recourse destroying that equipment.

    I guess it's not as fun sounding as the TSA confiscating a laptop and not having due process to get it back, but what's really the difference?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:28PM (#45841743)

    Stuff that matters is part of the slogan so they can post non tech stories sometimes. Seriously, get the fuck over yourself. You do not own /.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:30PM (#45841757)
    They don't need the authority. They just do it and don't tell anybody.
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:31PM (#45841765)

    Funny, last time I went to the states they nearly refused to let me in because of an "Arab" stamp in my passport. Well I did fly Emirates, and I did have a free hotel in Dubai since it was a 9 hour stopover the first time.

    By the way I feel safer travelling through Dubai than the USA. The culture may be toxic but at least it is a local and well known culture. Don't want to end up in jail, don't pretend western laws apply in Dubai.

    The sad thing is the same comment about western laws these days can be applied to the USA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:33PM (#45841785)

    he might be saying that the US is just too far gone for anything else to work.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:36PM (#45841815) Homepage Journal

    ...and recognize this for what it is. Fascism.

    Do you mean "authoritarian police state" or fascism [econlib.org]?

    I know, Sex Pistols and The Young Ones, but say it with me: "Authoritarian Police State". To not call it by its proper name is to give it a pass.

    You have to admit that you live in an police state before you can do something about it.

  • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:39PM (#45841841) Homepage Journal

    Along with the concerns already mentioned, there is also a legitimate concern about the method of destruction. I'm pretty certain that TSA does not keep a yard debris chipper at each customs station. So what are the odds that these primitive artifacts were destroyed by distribution through craigslist sales, curio shops, or to fill somebody's Christmas shopping list?

    This whole thing stinks. It definitely has relevance to slashdot: we are talking about persons with no understanding of a technology being put in positions where they can destroy the artifacts of that technology. Would I have trouble taking my collection of slide rules and 1970 era hand calculators through customs? I guess probably so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @09:53PM (#45841953)

    Sure, makes perfect sense.

    Gestapo: Murder you and everyone you know.
    TSA: Threw some flutes in the garbage.

    Oh those monsters....

  • by mtthwbrnd (1608651) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:04PM (#45842023)
    Surely they do not have the authority to destroy, rather than confiscate, private property? Well, Obomber has probably given them immunity from everything in some executive order somewhere. Travelling these days has been made completely sh1t by the government (aka the companies who make huge profits from the airport security theatre).
  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:05PM (#45842031)
    The relevancy is this: if a musician can't get a set of flutes through Customs without having them ruined, what happens when we travel with our laptops and other techie devices?
  • Re:Why I Stay Away (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:05PM (#45842033)

    Canada has problems just like this. In fact it's so bad a lot of e-commerce companies won't do business there.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110321/00490713569/zappos-gives-up-canada-due-to-customs-problems.shtml [techdirt.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:12PM (#45842089)

    You didn't burn the car, you fumigated the container. Why would you destroy the instruments before checking?

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <[gameboyrmh] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:15PM (#45842107) Journal

    The US is one of few countries that allows border guards to search and seize your electronic devices on a whim, and where extraordinary rendition and torture are legal. It has an extremely minimal set of rights for people passing through borders. It's not just a decent country like any other where terrible mistakes sometimes happen against the rules of the system. According to its laws, in terms of entering and exiting the country it is an unusually bad shithole.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmail . c om> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:16PM (#45842121) Homepage

    Sure, makes perfect sense.

    Gestapo: Murder you and everyone you know.
    TSA: Threw some flutes in the garbage.

    Oh those monsters....

    Sure it does.

    Gestapo: Detain, search and murder anyone who gets in the way, take artworks and musical instruments, including those considered heretical and destroy them as needed(or send them off to their betters for gain).
    TSA: Detain without warrant, search without warrant, take artworks, and musical instruments without remuneration, including those deemed heretical by letter agencies, and dispose of them, or "keep them" as witnessed by the reselling of said items.

    And you forgot the STASI, who: Detained without warrant, searched without warrant, operated a vast intelligence agency that spied on everyone, and did several things already mentioned. Sounds almost like some of the letter agencies in the US doesn't it?

    The difference between the three, is that the TSA doesn't have the "right to shoot someone" without due process. And I'd put that as a "yet" but you can see the trend in some of the flappy headed politicians, especially after the large scale anti-gun pushes. An armed population is a dangerous population to such ideas after all.

  • by jd (1658) <.imipak. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:30PM (#45842189) Homepage Journal

    Rare materials. Well, rare reeds can be harder to find than gold, so let's put a $1000 raw materials price per ounce of reed used.

    Time. Hand craftsmen are incredibly rare. Those skills are expensive. IT can charge $120/hr for skills twice as common. Using that as a guideline, let's say $240/hr for the skills.

    If we assume it takes one year to make a flute, then the combined cost is roughly half a million per flute, so $6.5 million so far. I will assume QA would mean some flutes have to be made again from scratch. Let's assume a 50% rejection rate at the virtuoso level, which doesn't seem unreasonable given you're making the best of the best with uncontrolled materials. This raises the price to $9.75 million.

    But provinence matters. These instruments had established history, the main reason a Strad is worth ten times anything with identical acoustics. We don't have enough history to bump the price up that much, but doubling sounds fair. This gives us $19.5 million.

    I would start by taking the money out of the TSA official's paycheque and bank account, with the remainder seized from TSA funds. If the funds are insufficient, continue to the next department up.

    I would further require the TSA to publish a public apology as a full-page announcement in every newspaper, artisan journal and music journal. Finally, I would require all TSA officials involved in any way with the harassment to serve 250 hours community service.

  • by evil_aaronm (671521) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:31PM (#45842197)
    Did you know if the holes were made before leaving the foreign port, or during the trip? If not, you're just like the knee-jerk agents in this article. Did you check with the owner of the vehicle? If not, why not? That's kind of the point to this article: some faceless bureaucrat, who will never be held responsible, just decided to trash someone's property. Couldn't they have asked the guy about it before assuming the worst and destroying something priceless? Don't you see a problem with that?
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:45PM (#45842273)

    I bought some nice wood carvings into Australia a few years back. Customs noticed. They quarantined the items at the airport and said I'll get them back in a month after they had been fumigated due to what appeared to be signs of worms in the wood. They were couriered to my door 3 weeks later.

    THAT is how things are supposed to work, without the wholesale destruction of property that occurred in this case.

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @11:39PM (#45842627)

    It isn't a case of human rights, illegal searches or ethnic profiling or anything like that.

    As far as I'm concerned this is just another misplaced slashdot article.

    I think that destruction of valuable personal property is sort of a big deal. Why does customs have the right to destroy personal property with no apparent recourse? Or do they?

    It may sound strange, but I absolutely consider the sanctity of personal property as something of a human rights issue. When you destroy or steal someone's valuable property, you are in essence stealing someone's life. In the most abstract sense, this man had to exchange a portion of his life energy in exchange for that property, and by taking it from him, you're also robbing him of his sacrifice. Our lives are the most precious things we have, and if you look at monetary exchanges in terms of people exchanging portions of their lives in exchange for purchasing power, you can understand a little bit as to why personal property is more important that you might have previously thought.

    It's very easy to say that one person's misfortune isn't a big deal when it's not YOUR misfortune. ANY personal loss isn't a big deal in the "big picture", because the world's big picture is pretty damn big. Let us know the next time something bad happens to you, and I hope I'm not nearly as callous as you sound right now.

    The excuse of "but look what could happen if..." could be used to justify nearly any sort of human-rights abuses in the name of safety. We must always balance the issue of the greater societal good with the rights of the individual. In this case, the government clearly overreached its bounds in the name of what are undoubtedly valid concerns over agricultural protection issues. As such, we shouldn't be blaming the individual or shrugging our shoulders, but looking for ways to improve the system.

  • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @11:55PM (#45842713)

    whatever. the flutes were destroyed similar to how the X-ray machine makes iPads evaporate. he should check ebay.

  • by tmosley (996283) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @12:30AM (#45842893)
    As in, it's been thrusting violently in and out of your anus for the last 13 years, and now it is reaching its "crescendo".

    This makes people want to never, ever, EVER travel to the US. The NSA has now made it so that no-one wants to do business, much less purchase technological devices (one of our largest exports) ever, EVER again. Our government is destroying our economy, completely and totally, and on multiple fronts. I don't know that even bureaucrats can be this fucking stupid.
  • Re:Kinda sucks. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@ m i n d l e s s .com> on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:36AM (#45843195) Journal

    What can you do? Require that the owner is informed of a possible problem before any action is taken, and also require them to be present to witness and acknowledge in writing the destruction of any items. The first condition would vastly reduce mistakes, the second takes care of theft disguised as seizure. I know checked baggage doesn't always take the same route as the passenger, but if something is found in an en route search that doesn't pose an immediate threat to the aircraft the luggage item could be tagged (say, a big red sticker) and the matter dealt with at the final destination.

    The problem isn't that customs inspection is pointless, I think it actually does serve a valid purpose, so shutting them down is the wrong solution. The problem is giving civil servants the power to summarily destroy property more or less at whim and without consultation; that's a bug which can be fixed without nuking the entire system.

  • by zakkie (170306) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:58AM (#45843301) Homepage

    Maybe not on its own people (although there are examples of US citizens being killed by drones without any semblance of due process), but Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Yemenis are killed by US drones daily without any judicial process. That it doesn't happen on US soil is, as far as I'm concerned, immaterial.

  • Re:Why I Stay Away (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:14AM (#45843355) Homepage Journal

    The only place where I got a lot of questions was when I went to Canada...Seriously Canada, do you have a lot of people from the US trying to illicitly visit your country or something?

    Yes, to get away from post-911 fascism.

  • So when do we take our country back folks? Seriously, I'd like to see it on my watch, but since I'm on my 80th circuit around this star, there might not be much time left for me to watch.

    What do you expect us to do with our lives that you did not do with yours? It's not like we haven't seen how the Civil Rights movement ran its course, the Privacy Rights movement will probably play out quite similarly. The racists who fought against abolition of slavery raised their children, who would die ~30 years after them and continued the tradition of hate into the 1900's; When those sewn deep with the seeds of hate had died or had a foot in the grave, and the following generation had grown up with the unignorable repression still in place did the Civil Rights movement succeed. You see, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch.

    Now our enemy is not hate, but fear. Fast cars and Fast food kill 400 times more people every year than 9/11, but our government used the event as to manufacture consent for a "War on Terror" instead of a war on the far more dangerous Automobiles, Happy Meals, The Flu, Bathroom Falls, Lightning, etc. Now using the systems built on your watch our governments can fabricate and plant evidence in our homes remotely. They're so scared they even lie to congress to "protect" we the people from even knowing the extent to which their safety net smothers us. They've been proven liars now so no evidence they present can be assumed legitimate, and enemy spies use our data stores as treasure troves, as Snowden demonstrated was far more than feasible -- Yet they will still fear, and demand to protect us. Who do you think taught these scaremongers this fear that they seek such protection? It was your generation got us in the state we're in now. [wikipedia.org] I'm sorry, but the fearful watchers of the world don't get to see things change for the better because they they watched in grateful fear when things were changing for the worse in the name of protection. [wikipedia.org]

    When our children grow up and you & your children are your age, that is when we'll be able to make permanent changes about this: When the ones who have lived with the knowledge and unignorable proof of their despotism grow up and take the reigns. It's not like we haven't seen how these parasitic cold-war spying systems kill their hosts, how the body must become resistant to the euphoric power-high and overdose on the despotic poison the fear drug is laced with. When the state of the system itself becomes more fearful than any pathetic threat. After your generation dies, and the scared little tyrants you raised have become as powerless as you.

    If you my accusation unfair, then you hypocritically ignore how unfair it is to grow up our children in brave homes with little freedom of privacy; They will end the mess you wrought. Your only hope to see the change is that enough of the more technically and politically inclined folk grew up knowing about the ugly Omnivore and its descendants, and about what the counter intelligence programs did to silence civil rights and anti-war movements. Unfortunately we were shunned, ridiculed, name called and bullied as Nerds and Geeks. Our children on the other hand...

  • by demachina (71715) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:37PM (#45847341)

    You seem to miss the point. U.S. indiscriminant killing of civilians is insuring this will be a perpetual war, which I suspect is what a lot of malevolent people in and around Washington D.C. want. This forever war spanning the entire globe gives them a blank check to do just about anything, anywhere, anytime and justify it by saying its necessary to keep American's safe. If the screw up and kill the wrong people they just lie, cover it up, and move on to the next set of executions. They can also spend unlimited quantities of money. After the Soviet Union fell DOD and Intelligence needed a new enemy to justify their enormous budgets. Now that they have one they will milk it forever.

    You can't win a guerrilla war by working off an org chart of your enemy commanders and killing large numbers of civilians as collateral damage as you go after them. The French tried exactly this strategy in Algeria for years. They did take out a lot of boxes on their org charts but the brutality that went with it insured there was always a fresh supply of people who hated the French with a passion and constantly replenished the boxes on the org chart.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with targetting Al Qaeda and Taliban but you need to A) make sure the intelligence and targetting are rock solid and B) do everything possible to limit collateral damage. For example you kill them in vehicles on an open road instead of leveling an entire village full of innocent people.

    Or you send in special operators to snatch and identify them. Unfortunately after 10 years they've realized that secret prisons are really messy from a human rights perspective so they've decided to use summary executions instead which is why they killed an unarmed Bin Laden at point blank range.

    For long periods in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen JSOC opted for high mission rate based on bad intelligence over low mission rate and high quality results. They created whole new generations of Jihadi's as a result of that poor decision.

    The "hiding behind women and children" is a silly propaganda line. You expect them to stand out in the middle of a field and put a bullseye on their chest so the drones can target them cleanly. They are facing an opponent with vast military superiority. They are going to blend in to villages and hide in mountains. Anything else would be shear stupidity and they aren't stupid.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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