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U.S. Penalizes Ukraine for Abetting 'Piracy' 671

The Politech mailing list has a note and follow-up on new trade restrictions levied against Ukraine, since they haven't complied with the U.S.'s demand for 'an optical media licensing regime.' John Gilmore's response puts the issue in perspective. Update: 01/03 23:08 GMT by M : The RIAA has a press release about the trade penalties and response to Gilmore.
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U.S. Penalizes Ukraine for Abetting 'Piracy'

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  • Double Standard (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zmokhtar ( 539671 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:30PM (#2780830) Homepage
    I'd like to see the U.S. implement something like this before they go shoving it down other people's throats.

    If don't want something here in America, why should we want it for countries abroad?
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:32PM (#2780852)
    Sayeth Gilmore...

    Next thing we'll have telephone answering machines recording what phone numbers people are calling libraries recording who
    borrowed each book and when.....Internet ads that track and record who saw them...hotel room doors that record every time each person goes in or out...cellphones that report every move we make to the authorities...tollbooths that record every car that goes through them... guards in every airport demanding to see 'our papers' before we are permitted to travel in our own country...

    Hmmm... Caller ID machines,, and Electronic, DB controlled locks at hotels and Post 9-11 'random checks' at airports.

    Gilmore's being sarcastic, isn't he?

    Remember that the U.S. stoped being 'Of the people, for the people a long time ago'. It's been 'Of the corporate interest for the corporate intrest for quite a while... at least since the Vietnam War, (The Johnsons had a significant stake in Bell Helicopter, which profited outrageously from the war) and probably before, but I'm not a good enough history student to tell you how far back.

    I know a 'Sherman Act' would sure as hell never make it out of committee in today's congress.

    Well, when it gets too repressive, now I know where I can go. They speak Russian in the Ukraine, right?
  • by Wire Tap ( 61370 ) <frisina AT atlanticbb DOT net> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:33PM (#2780863)
    Is this just another example of the All Powerful United States flexing its mighty iron fist around smaller countries that have almost no means by which to fight back?

    Or, is this a legitimate action? Why not protect people who work hard to make their intellectual products? Does information really want to be free, and, if it does, should it be? Who is to decide?

    I often find myself torn between these two schools of thought, as I believe that the IP could be integral to the lives of those who do not have the resources to pay for it, but, then again, does that justify the essential theft of such IP? Chairity theft, perhaps?

    It's all very complex. Any opinions? I'd hate it if the US hurt more innocent people, only because of something as seemingly insignificant as IP law.
  • by nochops ( 522181 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:36PM (#2780888)
    And here we (USA) go, getting right back into the swing of things, just like pre 9/11/01.

    I find it fascinating that people like the Bush family can't figure out why America is globally hated.

    "Sorry, you are not allowed to have strong encryption, supercomputers, nuclear weapons, shoes, food, oil, etc. Why? Because we are the USA, and we said so........"

    (...a few years later...)

    "Boo-hoo....I don't understand why these people are so mad at us...I don't understand why they would blow up our landmarks..."
  • by sabinm ( 447146 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:36PM (#2780889) Homepage Journal
    Isn't is ironic that the one tactic that drew the American colonies to revolt against England, America reuses again and again to gain leverage over countries dependent on American trade?

    The only thing that this will cause is Ukraine products being shipped somewhere else. This doesn't sound too good, since the former Soviet Union prevented OPEC from cutting production on oil, thereby giving us low gas prices ($.99 where i live)just one month ago!

    Hope this doesn't mean that my gas prices will go up to subsidise software companies' "right to innovate"
  • by drenehtsral ( 29789 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:37PM (#2780894) Homepage
    Funny that we'll impose terriffs against the Ukraine at the whim of the RIAA to protect the profits of Time Warner, but we won't lift a finger against China in the trade department even when they go around torturing and shooting political dissidents.

    I guess it shows what the U.S. is about, eh?
  • Frightening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkZero ( 516460 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:41PM (#2780917)

    I know some people might say I'm overreacting, but this honestly scares me. Over the course of this week, we've given full trade access to China, despite the fact that it is a communist nation of the worst kind that openly hunts, tortures, and kills people for belonging to a religion that isn't sanctioned by the government or coming anywhere near defying the government's will, and we've punished Ukraine for abetting piracy.

    For Americans, we are now living under a government that cares far more about the profits of groups like the RIAA and MPAA than it does about human lives and our country's base freedoms. This week, it has rewarded one country for cruelty, torture, murder, and oppression, while punishing another for having a potential small effect on industry groups that make large contributions to political campaigns. The DMCA is a stupid and dangerous peace of legislation, and the SSSCA might fully qualify as evil... but these trade decisions belong to a whole new level of sick that nothing else on Slashdot has ever brought up.

    The most powerful government in the world openly caring more about profits than about human lives... welcome to the world of several of the dystopian future sci-fi novels you've read.

  • by GeorgieBoy ( 6120 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:42PM (#2780930) Homepage
    While this may seem like a bully move (the US *is* obviously using its power to its advantage) it's legitimate to go after such things - most people completely disregard the notion of copyrights. It wouldn't be shocking to see people in other nations such as Ukraine not just disregard commericial software licenses, but also open-source licenses like GPL as well. It's potentially a greater issue than just people copying Windows, etc.

    They may be using Ukraine as a sort of gateway to Russia for future pressure, since Russia has just as big a problem with illegal copying of software (I really dislike the term "piracy").

    I don't really agree with what is being proposed here with tracking numbers on media, but I do think steps should be made to try and curb the rampant disregard for software licenses.
  • by RobertAG ( 176761 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:50PM (#2780970)
    "[Summary: In response to the Ukraine government's "failure to enact an
    optical media licensing regime that would preclude the piracy of such
    products," the U.S. government has levied 100 percent tariffs on
    Ukraine exports such as fuel oil, sneakers, paper, and diamonds. --Declan]"

    Do we actually BUY that much stuff from them? It seems most of these exports can find ready markets elsewhere. It seems the loss in trade is greater than any piracy could be. Any comments?
  • Re:Frightening (Score:2, Insightful)

    by okigan ( 534681 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:53PM (#2780989)
    I really do not think things are like that.
    The US goverment (as all other goverments) is a big layzy beast, which does not move until is poked,
    What is REALLY scarry (and frightening as you noted)
    that some organization (RIAA and/or MPAA ???) capable
    influencing the goverment in such great extent
    (and boy as you noted the goverment moved pretty quickly).

    Still I think the frightening part is that organizations got the goverment in their pocket, and
    nobody talks about it !!!

    just my $0.02
  • by the_2nd_coming ( 444906 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:54PM (#2780990) Homepage
    Canada is pretty good when it comes to consumers' rights also.
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:54PM (#2780998) Homepage
    Well using Vulcan logic, we can all see that Slashdot dogma dictates that the needs of the one (that 15 year old who's right it is to download free music/software) outweigh the needs of the many (artists, programmers, and all employees of the music/software industry working hard to make a living by SELLING a product).

    Oh wait, something about that logic looks a little flawed...

  • Seriously (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sulli ( 195030 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:55PM (#2781004) Journal
    John, I love ya, good article, Ukraine is right, BUT:

    Massive loss of privacy != POLICE STATE.

    In police states they throw you in jail for political speech, shoot you randomly, whip you with a rattan cane, cut off your hands, etc, usually in a highly arbitrary fashion. This is NOT what is happening here. Claiming that it is severely weakens your case.

  • Both Ways (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:55PM (#2781007) Journal
    This is sort of like wanting everyone to obey USian laws without the US obeying theirs.

    It becomes a matter of disrespect for national self rule. Also it is a matter of foreign policy being dictated by greed of business interests, morte than anything else.

    I somehow like the old system where there always was a place on the planet that was outside the reach of the grasping hand of your local government. This is starting to go away now. Not yet, but soon.

  • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `'> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @04:56PM (#2781017) Journal
    As long as they don't export them to the US, it's none of our damn business. The Ukraine is a "sovereign nation" and the only laws that apply are their own. If they choose to not implement idiotic IP laws, not only do I say more power to them, but humbly ask if I could apply for citizenship there.

    And as for the accusation that they disregard the GPL, I find this ridiculous. It's only in a country like this, that a corporation like M$ might want to violate the GPL. Some "russian software pirate" loses nothing by pointing a customer toward the source code, or burning it onto a second CD for them (and charging them a fee for costs). You have some serious issues.
  • Re:Frightening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dillon_rinker ( 17944 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:00PM (#2781044) Homepage
    I really do not think things are like that.
    Really? Which part?
    - Totalitarian government in China
    - Human rights abuses in China
    - China recently given MFN trading status
    - Ukraine recently penalized for copying content

    I don't really care how or why any entity behaves the way they do. All that matters are actions. You believe that it is not the intent of any in the US govt to be evil. I believe that too. IT IS IRRELEVANT. Look only at the actions...from actions you can discern true intent rather than marketing messages. The intent of the US govt is exactly as the previous poster stated.
  • by AgTiger ( 458268 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:00PM (#2781045) Homepage
    > There is a similar tracking requirement imposed on CD recorders (by
    > the patent licenses issued by Philips). It requires that each CD
    > burner record on the CD the serial number of the recorder, so that
    > every burned CD-R can be traced back to which individual CD-burner
    > recorded it.

    Now _this_ was news to me. I'd like to see this proven or debunked. Is this software driven, or done by drives' firmware when a burn is started? Is there any way to disable this?

    I don't mind my drive containing an electronic copy of its serial number for the purposes of identifying an individual unit with the manufacturer if I happen to need service.

    I sure as hell mind if my drive is disclosing that information without my knowledge or consent!

    As an example: John Doe works in a government agency, and notices some truly heinous and illegal activities going on with regards of that agency towards citizens of that government. John wants to blow the whistle, but he isn't stupid either. He anonymizes the information as best he can, cites several sources within the agency for the information in question, and writes it to a series of 5 CD-R's that he then sends to major newspaper editors in the hopes that they'll print it. CD-R's are the write-once/read-many diskette of the day, after all, and you don't have to worry about accidental magnetic erasure, so John thought he was being smart.

    The story gets printed, there's a huge public outcry, the agency gets investigated, and this goes all the way to charges being laid and a lot of very powerful people being made _very_ uncomfortable, and quietly swearing to find the mole and give unto him a share of the misery that they are going through.

    Fine, it's fictional, it probably has holes in it, and I've probably not drafted the perfect hypothetical scenario, but the basic gist of it is there.

    There's a lot of cases where accidental disclosure of any information that would allow the source to be accurately identified is a _bad_ thing. Admittedly in some cases it can be a good thing, but I'm leery of making it _too_ easy.

    Is there any way to prevent this little function from working correctly?

    1. Change the electronic serial number of the drive?
    2. Disable the routine that spits out a serial number?
    3. Disable the routine that writes the serial number to the drive?

    Rom microcode disassembly anyone? :-)
  • Let me tell you... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Purple_Walrus ( 457070 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:00PM (#2781047)
    Ukraine has it worse with computers than does Russia. And back in Russia things are really bad with computers. Software piracy is not as big an issue in Ukraine because well... not too many people own computers, and those that do probably own old ones.

    Not saying that piracy isn't wrong but come on! Ukraine? That's just rediculous!
  • by KjetilK ( 186133 ) <> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:06PM (#2781080) Homepage Journal
    Well, imagine being a journalist working in an oppressing regime. Then, you get some information that may open the eyes of the outside world. Arguably, the murder of Stephen Biko and the subsequent release of the details had such an effect.

    Obviously, you have to release the information anonymously, othervice they would kill you.

    Unfortunately, all the paper in the world is marked. The manufacturer has inserted a unique watermark, and they have extensive records of who buys each sheet of paper. If the secret police get their hands on any of the documents you distribute, it will point right back at you. You'll be dead.

    To figure out who the "pirates" are, this is what RIAA et al. wants, even if they don't dare state it up front. They want extensive records of all the CDs, so that when a "pirated" CD is found, it points right back at everyone involved, and they can be nailed for it.

    I think this small label is not going to do much to achieve that goal, but it is really beside the point.

    And so what? Paper is one thing, CDs is an entirely different matter?

    OK, so you get a piece of footage. Compressed down to 650 MB (by Ogg Tarkin... :-) ), you can burn it on CDs and distribute it to have it aired worldwide.

    Unfortunately, because RIAA needs protection from "pirates" you can't do that. You can't do that to free your country from oppression.

    OK, this is a bit far-fetched perhaps, but you never know if this could happen.

  • What can be done? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neoevans ( 179332 ) <neoevans&gmail,com> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:10PM (#2781115) Homepage
    As a Canadian citizen, I am fully used to taking it up the ass (I can see the Troll moderation already).

    No, really. We Canadians are taxed around 55% of our total income. Our own government (my province anyways) allows companies the right to a monopoly in areas like Home/Auto Insurance, Transportation, local Telco etc... and even worse, grants those companies the right to levy citizens, even if those citizens don't use the service provided by the company (eg. Bus tax on Auto-Insurance).

    I've always said that our governemt could not get away with, or even propose, the things they do here in any other country. The people wouldn't stand for it.

    What I want to know, is what Americans do when their government does something that obviously by the replies to this post, the people don't agree with. Do you guys just sit by and bitch about it like us Canadians?

    I've come to accept that nothing I do or say will change the vast scheme of the big-business take over in the world. I'm not rich enough to have a voice. I've written letters, petitioned my local office, even protested, nothing changes.

    So I ask in this case of the world's self-proclaimed big-brother pushing around yet another perfectly content country. What are American Citizens going to do about it?
  • by Stoutlimb ( 143245 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:11PM (#2781121)
    Sadly enough, it is. When I travelled there, it was quite easy to buy a warez copy of Win2K, Office, Autocad, or 3D Studio at a kiosk in any bazaar, for about $5 US a pop.

    But consider that the average wage there is is about $40 US a month. The people of Ukraine can either copy software without permission, in the hopes of keeping the country current enough to get them out of their economic mess, or they can give up on software altogether, because competing with the USA for prices would mean nobody would own software.

    This is not an issue of law, as Ukraine is soverign, it can pass whatever law it wants. This is a question of morals, ethics, and practicality. Will USA copyright holders make more sales in Ukraine if these laws were passed? I don't think so, because Ukrainians can't afford those prices. I say the US should turn a blind eye, and give Ukraine a chance to catch up economically, so that in the future they can afford the full price of commercial software.

    My 2 cents, on a topic I care about.

  • by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:11PM (#2781127) Homepage Journal
    The RIAA knows. From their statement-

    "Today's action by the Rada in rejecting legislation supported by President Kuchma and the world trading community will have dramatic implications on Ukrainian society at every level--economic, political and cultural."

    They say that they "applaud the sanctions with heavy hearts".

    Lives for greed. So that millionaires can become multimillionaires. It makes me ill.

  • by wfrp01 ( 82831 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:14PM (#2781142) Journal
    ...Russia has just as big a problem with illegal copying of software...

    ...steps should be made to try and curb the rampant disregard for software licenses.

    Isn't a bit of a leap to presume that the laws of the United States prevail for the rest of the planet! You are talking about sovereign nations!

    Except that powerful corporate interests defended by the United States would have these countries bend to their will. Who's the 'pirate', 'thief', 'criminal'? Yeah, sure, let's put a little downward economic pressure on the economic might of the Ukraine. Evil, evil, evil, greedy bastards. That's all I can think of to say.

    While the world's exemplar of freedom becomes a police state, and a world police state at that; former police states embrace freedom. Interesting times, indeed.
  • by BCGlorfindel ( 256775 ) <`klassenk' `at' `'> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:16PM (#2781150) Journal
    Before I offend anyone I just want to make clear that this truly is meant as a question and not an accusation.

    Disclaimer stated, are the citizens of a country considered responsable for the country's actions?

    Specifically should these sanctions be considered the fault of the average american who chooses not to prevent their own government from taking such actions?

    I see lots of people complaining about America no longer being for the people, instead for corporations. Does anyone else out there wonder if these same people have done even so much as to write a letter to their representatives making these decisions?

    Just some questions. Any one else have any thoughts?
  • by 2Bits ( 167227 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:16PM (#2781152)
    Well, this kind of things suddenly become a horror to the US /.ers, just because the case has something to do with CDs, copyright, "piracy", RIAA, ... which are things that /.ers care most.

    However, the US government has been using this kind of economic imperialism tactics in almost every domain and industry to bully other countries, big and small (not that everything always works the way the US government want to, though). Unfortunately, a lot of those are not interesting to the typical /.ers.

    Well, get out of the US, talk to the honest people who are trying to do business with the US (which shout out loud on every roof that they are pro-free-trade, human right protector and freedom figther), and you will get really nasty horror stories.

    Maybe next time, you will think twice before electing (or letting the court appoint) a president. Or maybe you will get involved more too. And maybe, some days, the world might be better too.
  • by why-is-it ( 318134 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:18PM (#2781171) Homepage Journal
    since they haven't complied with the U.S.'s demand for 'an optical media licensing regime.'

    I wonder how our USian friends would react to a demand that they create/alter some legislation to suit the needs of some non-US multinational? I guess things like national sovereignty only apply to superpowers, and the industries they represent.

    And why is it that when the it is decided that some sort of multi-lateral standard is required, why is the US standard is the one that almost certainly adopted?
  • by slander ( 50106 ) <> on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:24PM (#2781209) Homepage
    I have found that a simple way of making geekdom understand these ideas is to substitute 'United States' for 'Microsoft' in most Slashdot discussions. US political/econoimic power and the abuse of that power in the world is directly analagous to Microsoft's worst habits.
    If you are inside the system, it will look like freedom to innovate. For those outside, you are the 432.5kg gorilla.
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:27PM (#2781246)
    "Maybe next time, you will think twice before electing (or letting the court appoint) a president. "


    NEXT time?
    think TWICE?

    You're still operating under the delusion that people care enough to vote? That slashdot readers
    vote? That any statistically significant portion of ANY educated group bothers to vote?

    That's just *vote* mind you.

    Never mind that they don't inundate their representatives with hard, well-written correspondence. Let alone joining the party
    or truly participating in the process of representative government.
  • About time. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LazLong ( 757 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:46PM (#2781365) Homepage
    I lived in Kiev, Ukraine for a year (95-96). Piracy of music and software was/is common and not considered unethical by the populace. There are laws against it, but they aren't enforced.

    While I am against market control to the extent that industry is trying with DVD's (region encoding controlling which discs you can play and from where you can purchase them), I do believe that protection of intellectual property is required to provide a more stable environment in which to do business. What is going on in Ukraine, and other countries such as Russia, China and the rest of Asia, is directly damaging to America's interests. We are providing the capital for the software development, and yet others are reaping the rewards, in effect stealing our labor and capital. This is wrong. If we were a rogue state that did not respect international intellectual property conventions/laws I would feel differently. However, we are one of the most strict enforcers of copyright/patent laws, and feel we deserve the same in return. (yeah, I know, our patent office is a joke, but this has nothing to do with enforcement of law). Difficult thing is, countries which do not respect international intellectual property laws tend to have little or no intellectual property themselves, thus it is to their immediate economic benefit to steal, and we can't do anything in return except impose tarrifs on their products.

    I do think Ukraine is being unfairly singled out, and that the main thieves of intellectual property, Russia and China, should have been targeted first. I can only think that this is due to the fact that Ukraine is one of the main recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

    Just to end on a personal note, I do find myself conflicted when it comes to punishing people for pirating Microsoft IP. It is a struggle between my love of country, and hatred of Microsoft's business practices, but in the end, love of country wins out.
  • by Lysander Luddite ( 64349 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:49PM (#2781386)
    How does a citizen prevent the government from doing anything? In a representative democracy about all you can do is vote. That is an extremely inefficient means of voicing dissent, especially in a situation like the US which is basically a one party system subservient to whoever raises the most money for their campaigns.

    One could demonstrate, but given history as well as recent trends, mass movements take a long time to develop and a lot of effort to sustain. Demonstrations reported on TV the past 10 years or so have been portrayed in a very negative light no matter what the cause. Not surprising seeing who controls the media.

    Things in the US and other mature democracies will not change in a significant way short of violent unrest with a clear leader and organized agenda. Even then it is doubtful change would last.

    Baby steps to get the US government responsive to its citizens are:

    1. campaign finance reform to remove the so-called two party system and increase third party viability

    2. a belief that government is actually responsive to the needs and desires of its citizens. The corollary of course being citizens be active in the political process.

    3. a belief that "market forces" are not always the best solution to a problem. You'd think that the events of 9-11 would pound this home, but the response of the government says otherwise.

    None of this wil occur in my lifetime, but it will occur. History is cyclical and repeats itself despite humanity's resistance.
  • by Cinnamon ( 15309 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:51PM (#2781402) Homepage
    There ARE no laws... Just like there's no laws requiring movies, music, and video games to have ratings, or laws against cable stations airing dirty words. The government is here to HELP us, right?
  • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @05:53PM (#2781425) Homepage Journal

    Bullying would be if the US set-up a military trade embargo around a country, however for the US to impose tariffs or to limit trade between THEMSELVES and another country isn't bullying whatsoever. It isn't every countries right to do business with the US, and the US has the right to revoke the ability any time they want. Don't like it? Sell your stuff somewhere else.

    I find your comments about China and India odd: The US is _EASILY_ in the power position with both of those countries (although, as another poster mentioned, what WILL they do without $1.99 tupperware), and they are hardly power houses. Both are so economically disadvantaged anyways that a far more powerful example would be Germany or Italy, or something of that sort (i.e. population!=power).

  • by bOtCartman ( 411519 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:05PM (#2781529)
    Not to mention the US captured a UBoat. Damn Euro trash

    Movies aren't real life. Great Britain captured the U-boat and cracked the enigma code. Ever heard of a guy called Allan Turing?
  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:09PM (#2781556) Journal
    It's a different issue altogether. With China, we don't mind granting full trading rights. If the Chinese government practices human rights abuses against their own citizens, it's their own internal business.

    But if some foreign country's citizens cause a theoretical loss to a U.S. company, then that's an entirely different matter.

  • Whups... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stoutlimb ( 143245 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:16PM (#2781613)
    I just travelled to the USA. I saw first hand a huge amount of blind ignorance and arrogance when it comes to anything beyond your borders. Sad thing is, is that these nice Americans didn't even realize how offensive they are being. I thought to myself "One of these days, they're going to upset some foreign country so bad, that the USA will get a collective punch in the nose right back."

    Whups, that already happened... Very sad, and not excusable. If a kid insults enough jocks at school, he's gonna get beat up. Sad, unexcusable, but there definately are preventative measures that could be taken.

    I hope you learn the correct lessons. Being the toughest kid on the block shouldn't mean it's ok to thoughtlessly offend anyone you care to. Americans do this far more than they understand. It's time to re-learn the age old skill of diplomacy, understanding, and consideration of others.
  • by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:43PM (#2781784)
    I don't want to justify terrorism - and I won't but....

    You might want to take a US History class - truth is most of these regimes we end up dealing with - like Afghanistan were in fact "made in America" - the Taliban and Bin Laden - trained to fight the "evil empire". Iran? Well they were pissed that we helped prop up the sha of iran because the person who was going to replace was a bit too leftist (IE a commie!). I think they still want his assets back. 1969 - Cuba - Fidel Castro and his team overthrow Bastist - why? Because he was a ruthless dictator - why would the cubans vote him in? They didn't - the US put him there. Same with the dictators in South America, Mexico, Indonesia, the Phillipeans - just about every place there is unrest and strife we had our hands in.
  • Re:Whups... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:46PM (#2781800) Homepage
    I saw first hand a huge amount of blind ignorance and arrogance when it comes to anything beyond your borders.

    This is not a uniquely "American" thing by any stretch...

    I recently had someone from the UK (who, as you may recall, used to be in charge of the US) ask me if anything important had happened in the US in 1776....

    Sure, maybe it's referred to differently elsewhere in the world ("The uppity colony uprising?"), but really... "Did anything important happen in Russia in 1918?" "Did anything important happen in Japan in 1945?" "Did anything important happen in Britain in 1066?".....The point isn't 'Gosh, that person in the UK sure was ignorant' - just that not being real aware of what goes on outside of one's own little world is a worldwide phenomenon.

    Realize also that the US is primarily big and powerful due to economic reasons. Quit giving US corporations your money and perhaps this problem will fade...(How many of your governments and other corporations buy their software from US corporations? Or license expensive US patents? Or import US goods?)

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @06:48PM (#2781820) Homepage
    My civil liberties are more important than some Robber Baron's paycheck, period.

    This extends to the soveriegn rights of nations.

    Also, it's at least understandable when the Robber Barons themselves advocate these sorts of police state measures. They are looking out for their own interests. However, it is quite pathetic when a mere peasant such as yourself rises in their defense.

    Quite simply, the Titans don't need you.

    Piracy has always been rampant. Yet despite this, media conglomerates and software publishers continue to thrive. So obviously your first stated article of faith is simply dead wrong.

    Infact, much of Microsoft's current success is due to the tolerance of piracy. They just want to have their cake and eat it too now.
  • by twjordan ( 88132 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:02PM (#2781958)
    I hope our gas prices do go up!!!

    Everytime I fill up for 99 cents it feels like I'm hawking my children's future, the health of the planet, and global political stability, for the momentary convenience of being able to buy an extra pack of fries or a soda or something. Those cheap gas prices aren;t provided to us by the former Soviet nations standing together against OPEC, but a disregard by oil, energy, and auto companies for our lives and the lives of everyone else on the planet.

    If we want the price of gas to be accuratly reflected, how about $5-7 dollars a gallon. That would probably get people into reasonably sized vehicles or better yet, in alternate forms of transportation.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:18PM (#2782064)
    "...but are any of them the world's one and only 'Super Power'?"
    Maybe those European countries aren't superpowers (though Britain managed to control most of the planet at one point) is because they don't have the luxury of a massive amount of natural resources and two oceans to protect them.

    "...America is hated by evil, envious factions,..."
    Dismissing legitimate anger is typical of the flag waving crowd.

    "...President Bush is pounding the stuffing out of one terrorist regime and preparing a giant can of whoop ass for Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and possibly the PLO"
    Nice use of ghetto slang. Also, if it wasn't for the Northern Alliance we'd still be hiding like cowards at 40000 ft dropping bombs. You should get out a map because none of the nations you mention threatens the US, only our economic greed. The PLO by the way is fighting for independence and to regain land stolen from the Palestinian people but I guess you couldn't relate to that.

    "That hatred is bred from resentment of our success and will be eliminated by the products of our success"
    Actually that resentment stems from our lack of respect for sovereign nations, hypocritical foreign policies, and our stationing of troops everywhere. We are successfull in everything except morality.

    "I would like you to walk around my neighborhood in lower Manhattan..."
    So petty threats of violence make you right? Nope, sorry. I don't blame the US for the attack but your making a major mistake if you dismiss the roots of it. You don't blame a woman for being raped but you do question her common sense if she was walking in a notorious area at night half drunk.

    " wasn't a landmark that was attacked, JERK , it was people."
    Actually it was chosen for it's symbolic value as a landmark.

    "Do you think that 3,000+ Americans...deserved to die..."
    Do you think hundereds of Palestinians deserve to die because we want to make Jewish voters happy? Or millions of Cubans live under an embargo to satisfy right wing extremists in Florida? How about the people of Iraq who suffer because we don't have the guts to admit our foreign policy is a failure and breeding hatred in the region? We had no problem justifying the overthrow of the Iranian government (bringing in the Shah), or the Chilean government (bringing in Pinochet), or Guatemala, etc. US morality is relative, not absolute.

    "...turban wearing whack job"
    Didn't leave out that little racist jab out. Good job.

    "...anti-American nonsense..."
    Quick, slap another flag sticker on your truck.
  • by argoff ( 142580 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @07:52PM (#2782280)

    Stop posting lameass "boy this sucks" complaints on Slashdot, and, if you don't like this, complain.

    This attitude is half the problem, it implies that any tenable solution comes via working thru the system - what a crock! The only way people are going to get real results is thru outright civil disobedience of intellectual property law.

    When you just talk, that's all you're going to get back - bullshit. I am so sick and tired of self-proclaimed self-rightous clowns wanting me and others to direct our efforts to something so useless and so beholden to those who want to controll us. They would have Martin Luther King go on letter writing campaigns to klan funded congreeemen instead of gatherings and sit outs. No thank you.

    Anybody who wants some real results will get far better milage by defying copyright laws, putting freenet servers on their systems, and doing the things you like doing for and with "free" (as in freedom) software as much as possible.

  • by clone304 ( 522767 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @08:15PM (#2782417)
    No, actually many countries in the Middle East did so for EXACTLY that reason, IMHO. But the condolences that were sincere, and there were many, were for the loss of human life. Not for our country or it's symbols of greed and military aggression. Most civilized countries were wise enough not to state that distinction out loud, though.

  • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @08:56PM (#2782614) Journal
    Not to nitpick, and I don't necessarily agree with forcing abortions, but if you had a country with a billion people in it that was smaller than the US, Canada, or a half-dozen other countries, you'd want to control population rates too.

    Not only that, but just last year, China forced down a US plane over international waters, KIDNAPPED airmen, and tried to ransom them.

    Well, there is debate as to whether it was intentional or not. Me, I don't know either way. That being said though, the plane did land on Chinese soil and were taken away. Sure, they had little other choice, but if they're in China, they're in China.

    Contrast that to the US, who has, several times, executed foreign nationals without even letting them speak with a consular representative, and whose population and many poilitical figures have mostly decided that the Al-Quaeda members that were attacking the US's values do not deserve those values, which clearly sends the message that 'American freedoms are for Americans only'. If the US really believed in equality for all before the law, there wouldn't even be a debate. I'm surprised they're even considering a trial, it'll be a kangaroo court anyway.

  • by kitts ( 545683 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @09:08PM (#2782656) Homepage
    There's no value in acquiring land anymore -- it's all about solidifying control of access to the important global resources. That's the ultimate power. Don't be surprised when they put the pipeline through Afghanistan.
  • by alleria ( 144919 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @09:46PM (#2782814)
    As a Chinese, I feel obligated to correct some of your statements.

    China, after all, is a country that murdered enough people in the 20th Century to make Hitler look like an amateur.

    I am uncertain what you are referring to, although it could have been the great famines at the time of Mao. It is true that a large number of people died, enough to make Hitler look like a little boy, but to be perfectly fair, from what my (anti-communist) parents who were there during that period) tell me, the famines resulted from a gross mismanagement in funds and use of the country's economic power, rather than an institutionalized system of mass concentration and killing of political dissidents, as was what occured in the U.S.S.R. with Stalin in the Gulags.

    It's a country that forces women to have abortions, that jails religious leaders and condems them to death, that wants to hide it's citizens from the Internet...

    China does not *force* women to have abortions. Instead, it gives significant *economic* incentives to have one child only. For example, there is preferential schooling of the first child, tax breaks and other forms of assistance, and of course, social approval, to name a few things.

    The fact that male children are culturally preferred so much that females are occasionally murdered if they are born is a vestige of an older cultural system, and manifests itself in the grossly unbalanced male:female ratio. However, like I said, the system is vestigial, and is undergoing self-correction. (e.g. attitudes about grandchildren, as begotten through a strictly-male direct descent line, are no longer as exclusive today as they used to be)

    Your statement about religious leaders is dubious. Moreover, realize that sometimes, prosecution is a good thing. *Gasp*. What do you make of evil organizations like $cientology that masquerade as religion to avoid prosecution? In Germany, AFAIK, they have been denied as a religion and actively prosecuted, to excellent effect. Do you know enough about the so-called "religious" leaders and their religions to be certain they are not a sham? (Yes, I'm implying certain things...)

    Not only that, but just last year, China forced down a US plane over international waters, KIDNAPPED airmen, and tried to ransom them.

    That statment is so utterly biased, and so obviously derived from U.S. only sources of news and information, that I'll not even deign to comment upon it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2002 @10:27PM (#2782958)
    I find it fascinating that people such as yourself can only see evil in the United States and our elected leaders.

    It's not evil, it's just a kind of brush-the-bad-points-under-the-carpet mentality that gets dangerous when things do go wrong. A fairly zealous blind patriotism which at times leads to inadequate questioning of what the government is doing. A media that doesn't always do internal investigating properly and rarely looks in any depth at what's going on outside. That kind of thing.

    America hated all around the world? Or is it just you?

    If we're talking actual hatred, there are a few countries that subscribe. Most of the world though prefers to sit back and laugh at the failings. Like Australia might claim to 'hate' England... we don't bear active resentment towards them, we just like taking the piss out of them.

    What I usually find is that the anti-America world is jealous of America.

    Cue patriotic fanfare. Unfortunately that's the kind of attitude that pisses off the other countries with a genuine reason to hate. Most of us pop over occasionally to visit Disneyland and take a few pics, then return to our home countries where we much prefer to live. But some of these other countries are sitting there sticking up their hand occasionally to say "hang on, you're not perfect, and you're screwing us around" only to be told "ah, but we are perfect, and we've never heard of any screwing going on, so stop whining because you're just jealous that we're way better than you". Particularly hard when one of the reasons the US is so much 'better' than them is sometimes due to US interference in one way or another.

    America is just a little over 200 years old and it has eclipsed every country and culture since the dawn of man.

    Questionable... many empires have stretched further and been far more powerful. The US is just the one that's reached the top for the present... other countries were there until recently, and the US will most likely not be there forever. If anything it's a global culture (or perhaps a corporate culture) that is eclipsing everyone else.

    are any of them the world's one and only "Super Power"? Of course not, if they were, they would have never needed America to bail them out at different points in recent history.

    By that logic America is also unable to be the world's one and only Super Power.

    Don't worry, the Bush family understands that America is hated by evil, envious factions,

    They're very good at understanding when things look so black and white.

    that is why the current President Bush is pounding the stuffing out of one terrorist regime and preparing a giant can of whoop ass for Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and possibly the PLO. That hatred is bred from resentment of our success and will be eliminated by the products of our success.

    It will be interesting to see how far it goes - firstly, how much the countries/governments can be blamed for the actions of a few (it took quite a leap of logic to blame the Taliban for these events, but they convinced everyone somehow). Other countries will have more obvious government actions to target.
    But we're back to that hatred thing again -"Nobody could EVER hate us, we're perfect, it's just jealousy". It's the thing that nerds hopefully learn at school - the bullies may or may not pick on them because they are jealous of their brains (more often than not it's more because the nerds act strange and don't fight back), but acting arrogant and telling the bullies that they are jealous will only get you a punch in the nose.

    I think seeing the faces of my fellow grieving neighbors would do your childish heart some good as you look at the giant hole in our skyline. Blaming America for the 9/11 atrocity is the equivalent of saying a woman deserved to raped because of what she wore.

    Geez, doesn't everyone LOVE that example. The problem here is the woman's been doing a little more than looking attractive - she's been getting fairly actively involved with him and making a lot of mistakes. Sure, the guy's still got to go to prison, but she doesn't get to walk away and claim total innocence of the whole thing. It's only a matter of time before she starts coaxing another guy to do it.

    Do you think that 3,000+ Americans and people from 80 different countries deserved to die at the hands of 19 rich, spoiled, Islamic brats lead by a multimillionaire turban wearing whack job?

    No. At the hands of whole nations getting screwed over? No. Not then either. Do the nations deserve to get screwed over at no expense? No. At an expense? No. The point is that nobody deserved to die, but for all the tragedy, the real questions still never got asked. It was easier to call it blind crazy terrorism than dare to consider that there was any kind of reasoning behind it.

    That these well off, well educated middle class men really attacked America because we persecuted them by allowing them to drink alcohol, visit strip clubs and fly first class in our country even though some were here on expired visas.

    Yep. They attacked America because they got beer, sex and pampering. That's persecution for sure. At best you mean because the US allowed things they might consider evil... but if that was the case, the plants wouldn't have indulged themselves. They probably do hate the freedom, but this was conceived well before they arrived let alone indulged in it.

    It wasn't a landmark that was attacked, JERK , it was people.

    It was many people, for the biggest effect. That is a tragedy. The landmark itself was chosen to make a statement beyond "there's lots of people there". That statement has been largely ignored. Not that it's any kind of appropriate way to make a statement. But when a guy punches you as you're walking down the street, as well as arresting him for assault, it's at least worth a moment to wonder what you did to piss him off so much.

    Ah well. It's a nice place, America... wouldn't want to live there though. :)
  • by HKTiger ( 527586 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @10:50PM (#2783024)
    You're equating having the greatest supply of lethal weaponry (ie being the world's only superpower) with being the world's best nation. Don't do that, you'll go blind. Ethics and power aren't necessarily (or even frequently) inextricably linked. Nor are ethics and money, or ethics and corporate success.

    Secondly, there are parts of the world that have very good reason for hatred of corporate America, as well as for US foreign policy, shaped as it is by corporate America. Don't dismiss this as envy, because it ain't. Even some of us in the comfy west, in countries that support the US, and enjoy the same lifestyle made possible by the exploitative values of corporate culture, can see and deplore the viler excesses committed in the name of profit.

    Thirdly, I find it ironic that you claim that all those who hate the US are evil, envious factions, and then immediately go on to list a few areas where the US is currently thrashing the bejeesus out of the locals. Those areas are not threatening the US. Why then should the US want to shaft them, and don't you think some of those locals might understandably feel a trifle piqued that the US is throwing its (very heavy) weight around in a quarrel that's not really its concern? You can talk about justice and all if you like, but there are too many counter-examples, of fights where the US has supported the side that's clearly *unjust*, for that to be credible.

    And no, those people in New York did *not* deserve to die. There's no justification for that atrocity. But they're not the only ones. Others are dying, in equally objectionable circumstances. And I think western governments owe it to everyone to ensure that such a situation doesn't happen again, and one of the most effective ways of doing that is to prevent the circumstances leading to it: that is, by trying to understand *why* those guys were driven to do such a thing (note that understanding does not == justifying). Calling them names does nothing: if the hatred continues, those that follow will just find other ways to achieve the same end.

  • Re:Whups... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mlong ( 160620 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @11:26PM (#2783138)
    I just travelled to the USA. I saw first hand a huge amount of blind ignorance and arrogance when it comes to anything beyond your borders. Sad thing is, is that these nice Americans didn't even realize how offensive they are being. I thought to myself "One of these days, they're going to upset some foreign country so bad, that the USA will get a collective punch in the nose right back."

    Now isn't that interesting how you don't quote a single example of so called ignorance and yet you get modded to 5. And of course I guess if you went to say France and asked someone on the street what the capital of Uganda was, they'd know right?

  • Re:Whups... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JLucien ( 525298 ) on Thursday January 03, 2002 @11:59PM (#2783241)
    As a citizen of the US and the UK, let me enlighten you a little.

    The US is pretty disliked everywhere I've been in Europe. The US is seen as the world's bullyboy. You may not like it, but it's the truth. And before you spout the "You're jealous" crap, no-one envies the amount of homicides the US has, the homeless people begging at every turn (and you think of yourselves as civilised), rampant crime in general, the fact that the country is run by corporations and the alarmingly rapid decrease in the rights of the individual. Nor the arrogance of the type you've so proudly spouted.

    The American government's complete disregard for the source of the problem is amazing all of the European people I know. Do you really think that the people who perpetrated the attacks just woke up one day and thought "Wow, I really hate the US and will bomb the crap out of innocent civilians"?

    Wake up! People have reasons for their actions. They may not be particularly intelligent, or sane, but they *are* reasons, and actions of that magnitude are born of many, many deep-seated reasons. Those people were/are driven beyond our comprehension - those kinds of reasons don't happen overnight. Why do you think they hate the US so much? Have you even thought about it? Or do you just believe what the American media spoon-feeds you - because it sure sounds like you do.

    I admire your patriotism, but don't let it blind you to the way of the rest of the world. The "with us or against us" bullshit is juvenile at best and potentially deadly at worst.

    "The West" now has a big problem, and the US is feeling the brunt because it is the biggest target.

    To put it in a nutshell, pull your head out of your ass and take a look around without your US brand blinders on.
  • i want to act (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nege ( 263655 ) on Friday January 04, 2002 @12:23AM (#2783327) Journal
    In an effort to get off my lazy duff and write correspondance, how can I figure out who voted for this crazy piece of crap? I dont wanna go off on my congressman if he did the right thing and voted no. ya know?
  • Cost of living (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MarsCtrl ( 255543 ) on Friday January 04, 2002 @10:06AM (#2784798) Homepage Journal
    I just returned from spending my Christmas break in Ukraine, and I just think it's unbelievable for the recording industry to claim the amount of losses it does from piracy in Ukraine.

    When a University professor makes $700 a year, do they really expect anyone to pay $200 for a copy of Windows? A single legitimate DVD is roughly equivilent to a month's salary for most people. I'm not sure how you can get $300 million dollars in lost revenue [] when most people can't even afford a computer.

  • by raindog2 ( 91790 ) on Friday January 04, 2002 @10:50AM (#2785033) Homepage
    This is the second step towards the time where developing countries have equal footing with those who depend on the notion of imaginary property. The first step was countries like Brazil legislating mandatory patent licenses for certain drugs so they could produce their own at a far lower cost than the prices American drug companies demanded.

    You can also see it in games like the one China's playing where Linux gets preloaded on PC's and buyers stop at the next shop to pick up a pirated copy of Windows anyway. I'd rather see them keeping Linux, but either way, they're not stuck paying a huge American company a tribute on every locally built PC.

    If the Ukraine gives in, then it'll take a little longer. But I bet we see more of this as high tech moves into Africa and the other former Soviet states. There's not so much of a difference between bleeding edge and last year's gear anymore, except in price.

    How long before the US bombs someone for pirating Windows? How long 'til the major producers of our clothes and VCR's start openly ignoring American patents and copyrights, knowing we're not set up for manufacturing anymore and are screwed without them?

    It's a dangerous game, basing your whole economy on the idea that other countries are too afraid of you to copy your stuff for pennies on the dollar. It only works until they're not afraid of you anymore...

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek