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back to article CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to SNATCH SNOWDEN

As the whistleblowing NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet - previously employed in CIA "rendition" flights on which terror suspects disappeared into invisible "black" imprisonment - flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to America, the Register can reveal. …

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Anonymous Coward

Yet there's been no terrorist attacks since before he released his documents. Boston was a month before the documents were released.

So where is all this damage they claim he has caused?

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I'm personally still waiting see all the havoc and terrorist attacks caused by Chelsea Manning's leak.

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Trrrrism is a red herring - as a proved in Iraq this week, where insurgents suddenly took over a city and everyone was surprised. (Was the NSA not listening?)

The real point of surveillance is dissident monitoring, political surveillance, and industrial espionage - just as it has been for more than a century now.

So when world + dog piled out of US-accessible cloud systems and started hardening their communications, and allies starting complaining that their calls were being monitored, the NSA's masters were not pleased.

It's debatable how successful some of these efforts have been, but they've certainly made some kinds of surveillance more difficult.

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Damage

The alleged damage that this sort of thing causes doesn't lead to an immediate terror attack - what it would do is get some intelligence sources killed as their identity gets leaked, it damages diplomatic relations, etc... this damages the infrastructure used by an intelligence service so that its not as effective in the future.

This doesn't translate into "we can directly trace attack X back to the disclosure of this information", you'd never be absolutely certain that you'd have caught it anyway. Plus you'd probably not want to disclose the change in capability if you could prove it.

I personally think that you can choose to argue somewhere on the scale of:

(*) the damage is a good thing as all intelligence services are evil

(*) that its a bad thing which is justified because intelligence is getting too invasive

(*) the damage is a bad thing which isn't justified as security is worth any price.

But I don't think you can argue that it causes no damage at all - after all wasn't the whole point of the disclosure to make some level of impact.

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Anonymous Coward

Was the NSA not listening?

nonono, you got it all WRONG! This is EXACTLY why they need to listen to EVERYTHING. It proves their point (the listening system isn't perfect yet, so they have, despite their best efforts, unfortunately, on this occassion, not managed to intercept the coms), while some undercover supporters of terrorist cause at home try to hinder the development of the perfect system.

So most people see it's pathetic excuse?! Well, do we f... care what people think?! And we will fix what they think - all in due course!

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

"....as a proved in Iraq this week, where insurgents suddenly took over a city and everyone was surprised....." You may have been surprised, but many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout. Red travel warnings to the area have been circulating in the City for weeks, which basically means the insurance cost of sending employees or contractors to that part of the World is the same as Afghanistan, a pretty good indicator of how those 'in the know' expected the current events. The UK's Foreign Office has been advising against any travel to Ramadi and Fallujah (two of the cities seized) for a month. The US's Dept of State issued a warning on March 6th. The Internet has been awash for over a year with articles warning that Maliki, in competition with that other Shia nutcase Sadr, has been pushing the Sunnis into a corner. Do not assume that your ignorance is anything but your own.

The sectarian issues in Iraq have been festering for years, it was only going to be a matter of time before it all kicked off in a new civil war. Maliki thought getting the Yanks out would give him free reign to persecute and oppress the Sunnis, the Sunnis saw it as Obambi abandoning them, so it is any surprise the Sunnis have turned to extremists for protection? Half the Obambi administration wants to punish and/or remove Maliki from power and probably see a Sunni revolt as a 'necessary evil', and the other half are too terrified of more news items showing American body bags coming back from Iraq. The result is a free hand for ISIS and other extremist groups the US successfully pushed put of Iraq as part of the co-operative work done with local Sunnis in the Anbar Awakening.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Spot on, have an upvote.

I seem to recall that when he was caught, Saddam Hussein snarled at his captors, "You fools, do you really think you can run Iraq?"

Looks like he was right after all.

I'm not trying to justify Saddam's brutality, but there are a lot of corpses in Iraq who might still be alive if Dubya and Benito Blair had left him alone. Just sayin', as they say.

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@Flawless101

How about the Arab Spring, whilst not as such a terrorist attack, one of it's causes is the release by Wikileaks of diplomatic cables obtained by Chelsea Manning.

I would consider this to be at least 'havoc', and a 'bad' thing. That said I guess opinions may vary on that one.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Benito Blair Love it....Especially as he'll probably hate it..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TheOtherHobbes

"You may have been surprised, but many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout. "

Many of us predicted this would be the result of the 2003 invasion. The dates of 1919, 1930, and 1958 are some of the previous deja vu moments on the Iraq timeline. Like most of the Sykes-Picot Ottoman Empire re-organisation - most of the new countries created were apparently designed to have internal tribal fracture lines.

There is a recurring theme in the Arab world which goes along the lines: "I will join my brother to fight against my cousin; I will join my cousin to fight against my neighbour; I will join my neighbour to fight against a foreign invader.".

The same with Afghanistan and the two previous ill-fated British expeditions - plus the Russian one.

...but then - Tony Blair regarded history as a subject of no interest. No doubt the Whitehall staff who had studied history had their heads in their hands.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: TheOtherHobbes

Not sure how you get designed-in fracture points when, looking at maps of Africa (fnarr fnarr) and the Middle East, most of the borders seem to be arbitrary straight lines drawn with a ruler.

I'm not saying this was a good thing, but the British colonial administrators of the time in the ME seem to have had more interest in sipping tea on the verandah than ensuring the chunks they divided their colonies into were actually governable.

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Re: Titus Re: @Flawless101

"How about the Arab Spring, whilst not as such a terrorist attack, one of it's causes is the release by Wikileaks of diplomatic cables obtained by Chelsea Manning....." How many times do you guys need to be told that simply repeating a myth (and ignoring all proof to the opposite) does not make it a reality?

The 'Manning started the Arab Spring' meme was started by WESTERN sheeple during his trial and was not heard from the actual Arab states involved. It was desperately thrown up as another apologists' defence for Manning's actions, and then seized on by A$$nut as a means of further stroking his ego (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/assange-claims-credit-for-egypts-revolution/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0). Under scrutiny, the claim is that ten diplomatic cables relating corruption inTunisia released by Wikileaks in November 2010 'stirred up revolution'. The reality is that not only did the cables refer to events from years before, the events were already widely know in Tunisia. It also fails to explain why the 'outraged' Tunisians sat calmly on their hands for over a month before 'spontaneously' rioting. The actual trigger in Tunisia was the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi) in December 2010, more than a month after the cables were released. If anything, it was the clear message from Obambi that he would not support the Arab dictators that actually kick started the individual and unconnected 'revolutions' that people like to think made up one big 'Arab Spring' and SFA to do with Manning or A$$nut.

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Re: gaz Re: TheOtherHobbes

"....the British colonial administrators of the time in the ME...." Oi! It was the Sykes-PICOT agreement, so don't forget to blame the Fwench. And if you want to start on about Africa you also have to include the German, Italian, Belgian and Portugese pencil-wielders as well. The Dutch get a pass in Africa but only because we took away their pencils.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Got to pick you up on the common misconception concerning British interventions in Afghanistan.

The British invasions of Afghanistan in 1839/ 42 and 1878/80 were not the military disasters they are usually portrayed as. Concentrating on the betrayal of Elphinstone or the smashing of a brigade in Maiwand is like only studying WW2 as far as Dunkirk and then declaring the whole British involvement a disastrous defeat.

In 1842 the vengeful British marched back to Kabul, freed the hostages and burned down the Grand Bazaar (and every village that they passed on the way). In 1880 they left after enforcing the treaty of Gandamack which held until after the end of WW1 almost 40 years later.

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@Matt Bryant: many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout

You don't think the invasion was the point at which this was precipitated, rather than when western forces left?

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Remember that all these countries boundaries were created in 1918 in a stitch-up between France and the UK. Those straight lines on the map are a dead giveaway aren't they?

What is happening now is that the Middle East map is being redrawn with the tribal and religious links from the past reimposed, although quite how this will end up I don't know.

It was inevitable that once the regional dictators were changed/removed/challenged that something like this would happen.

May you live in interesting times!

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Re: gaz TheOtherHobbes

Hardly, the Dutch descendants were responsible for Apartheid which in itself added to the pressure building up in the southern part of Africa.

You can't let them off, they're as guilty as all the other colonial powers!

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

<snip>

"I'm not saying this was a good thing, but the British colonial administrators of the time in the ME seem to have had more interest in sipping tea on the verandah than ensuring the chunks they divided their colonies into were actually governable."

Agreed, Sykes Picot, Balfour and all that innit <sic>.

The Irish have a little song about those rum coves and their tiffin.

Captains and the Kings

I remember in September when the final stumps were drawn

And the shouts of crowds now silent when the boisterous cheer had gone

Let us O Lord above us remember simple things

When all are dead who love us, Oh, the captains and the Kings

When all are dead who love us, Oh, the captains and the Kings

We have many goods for export Christian ethics and old port

But our greatest boast is that the Anglo-Saxon is a sport

When the dart's game is finished and the boys their game of rings

And the draughts and chess relinquished, Oh, the captains and the Kings

And the draughts and chess relinquished, Oh, the captains and the Kings

Far away in dear old Cyprus or in Kenya's dusty land

Where all bear the white mans burden in many a strange land

As we look across our shoulder in West-Belfast the school-bell rings

And we sigh for dear old England, and the captains and the Kings

And we sigh for dear old England, and the captains and the Kings

In our dreams we see old Harrow and we hear the crow's loud caw

At the flower show our big marrow take's the prize from Evelyn Waugh

Cups of tea and some dry sherry vintage car's, these simple things

So let's drink up and be merry for the captains and the Kings

So let's drink up and be merry for the captains and the Kings

<snip>

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Re: @Matt Bryant: many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout

"You don't think the invasion was the point at which this was precipitated, rather than when western forces left?"

Saddam kept the lid on it all, the US removed the lid and the pot boiled over. The Shia minority were long repressed by the Sunni (mainly) minority.

Now all of our chickens have come home to roost.

I saw it in the Lebanon and elsewhere, the Arab concept of nation is often subjugated to the concept of religion and / or tribe.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Not sure Benito (or descendants thereof) would be too pleased...

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Boffin

Re: sabroni Re: @Matt Bryant: many others have been waiting for it to happen.....

"You don't think the invasion was the point at which this was precipitated, rather than when western forces left?" The invasion removed Saddam and the Ba'ath party from control but did not create the Sunni-Shia schism. Saddam had papered over the schism by oppression, killing about 80,000 people in each year he was in power. What the Allies did was (naively) believe that the promise of democracy could over-turn the tribal desire for vengeance. The politics of other countries in the area also played a part, Turkey in particular not being keen on the Kurds getting an autonomous state in the North, and Saudi not being keen on Shia Iran getting their feet under the table. Allied efforts, such as the Anbar Awakening, were successful in reducing the sectarian violence, but as soon as the Allies left the sectarian violence ramped back up. So, no, the invasion did not precipitate the problem, it simply exposed the nature of the problem.

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R69

I wonder if you can so confidently argue that the increase in Taliban/Al Qaeda etc activity in the middle east - most notably the ISIS events this week - are not linked to the publication of details of exactly what was being monitored and how??

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

"The result is a free hand for ISIS and other extremist groups the US successfully pushed put of Iraq as part of the co-operative work done with local Sunnis in the Anbar Awakening."

With a bit of help from the Saudis, and a lot of hypocrisy from the west, it's a right old tangle.

About the only people who don't get a say in what happens are, as usual, the ones actually living there (or trying to).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Damage

You've been reading too many spy novels, Thomas.

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Anonymous Coward

This article has to be wrong. Because didn't Obama promise - he PROMISED - to end extraordinary rendition? Didn't Obama promise to end extraordinary rendition? Didn't he?

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Re: Christoph Re: TheOtherHobbes

Sorry but you lost all cred when you linked to that raving loon Craig Murray. His drivel makes Campbell's half-baked theories look like scientific fact.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

"Not sure how you get designed-in fracture points when,"

He was probably thinking of the partitioning of India which arguably was designed to be unstable - and unstable it was (actually it is.)

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Boffin

Re: Levente Zillyboy Re: TheOtherHobbes

"He was probably thinking of the partitioning of India which arguably was designed to be unstable...." The partitioning of India was thanks to the intractability of locals Muslims, especially Muhammad Jinnah, not the British. The British simply wanted out, especially as they were now under the post-War government of Labour's Clement Attlee. Ghandi certainly did not want to partition India, he wanted a single state where all religions could live in equality, but the Muslims feared being the minority under the dominion of the Hindu majority. The British tried to accommodate both sides with the Mountbatten Plan but it left the smaller princely states the choice of which country - India or Pakistan - they wished to join. And that's how the whole Kashmir mess started, when the Maharaja of Kashmir chose to join Kashmir to India against the wishes of his Muslim subjects, leading to the first Indo-Pakistani War in 1947. The big difference was pre-partition India had very distinct states and principalities that made up the overall country, whereas the chunk of the Middle East seized by the Brits from the Ottoman Empire did not, hence the countries of the Mid East were just about all arbitrary European creations.

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Re: Damage

There is also damage to a free society* caused by rampant bugging of everything that can be bugged, and the non-stop analysis of the data. There is also the damage caused to a free society by the neutralisation of democracy.

This damage is inflicted by the security services on the people they profess to be protecting - that is what has to be balanced against any damage done to the security services.

* free society on an international scale also

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TheOtherHobbes

"Got to pick you up on the common misconception concerning British interventions in Afghanistan."

Thanks for the details - my copies of Peter Hopkirk's "The Great Game" series have gone awol.

The common thread in foreign invasions of Afghanistan appears to be that they have all tried to support/install an amenable leader in Kabul - which was not acceptable to all the differing tribes.

The Russians supported a modern system in Kabul - with education and jobs for women. That was then undermined by the systemic corruption - and the violent conservative culture in the rural areas. The West supplied weapons, training, and support to people like Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban - in what was effectively an unnecessary proxy war with Russia. The Great Game mentality was still in play.

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Re: Uffish Re: Damage

"There is also damage to a free society* caused by rampant bugging of everything that can be bugged.....also the damage caused to a free society by the neutralisation of democracy...." So, you can show evidence of this 'damage', right? Maybe you'd like to help YawnGreen with his search for proof of 'harm' and Marsbarbrain with his search for evidence of his claimed 'chilling of liberty'. It should keep the three of you quiet for quite a while.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Mussolini did invade Abyssinia. However, so far Blair hasn't been shot by partisans and hung up in Milan. One out of two isn't good enough to draw a parallel.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

@ Mike Smith

True, but Saddam would have generated another, different pile of corpses. Sadly, Iraq seems to be benighted.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

"One out of two isn't good enough to draw a parallel."

Mussolini and Blair also announced their policies with the phrase "The Third Way".

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Re: @Flawless101

The Arab Spring. Well, it hasn't worked out all that well for the Egyptians, Tunisians, or Syrians, to mention a few of the more populous countries, and the secondary fallout in places like Nigeria is unpleasant, to understate considerably. Havoc seems a reasonably appropriate description. The number of downvotes seems likely to be mainly a matter of giving the finger to the US.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

I don't see how losing four and a half thousand soldiers and God knows haw many camp followers is anything less than a military disaster. Just because they burnt down the Grand Bazaar in retaliation doesn't make it any less of a disaster.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes Arnaut the less

Why should Milan have all the fun?

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Well guess what, it wasn't only in ME where "all these countries boundaries were created in 1918 in a stitch-up between France and the UK", but also all throughout Eastern (and Central) Europe too. And the only reason those "lines on the map" in EE aren't as straight as their ME counterparts is because most of the times they were pegged to various landmarks (mostly rivers or some cases creeks). But the main philosophy was the same: they did cause the same kind of "tribal cracks" as in ME or Africa (divide et impera). Taking this into consideration it might not be too far-fetched that the EE maps would be redrawn in the same fashion as in the ME (provided it does happen in the ME, for which there's no proof as of this day), especially if the traditional Western European superpowers' power weakens (especially if it'd be coupled with Russia's demise), is it?

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@Titus_Technophobe

??? You consider the Arab Spring a bad thing? That bit where a downtrodden people took control of their own governments and slowly started to move away from repressive dictatorships towards a new culture of their own making? This is bad?

Why? Is it because the culture they wish to make is different from your own? Or because a few have stumbled and fallen? An entire generation learned the value of self-determination and you call it "a bad thing?"

I do not comprehend you.

Anything that moves a society closer to self-determination is a good thing. Even if the road is rough, it's better than dictatorship.

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Re: TheOtherHobbes

Considering that Iraq was not a threat to the the US prior to the illegal invasion and war constructed on the lies of WMD's the US and the UK have nothing to be proud of. GWBush was looking for any excuse for "intervention" because Saddam refused to toe the line by selling his coountry's oil in currencies other than the US$. America needed a war to fill the coffers of its arms manufacturers which are the basis of the economics of the Military Industrial Complex. This war, the same as the war by in Afghanistan, the proxy war in Libya, the destabilisation in Egypt, the funding of known Alquaeda terrorist "freedom fighters" (kindly supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia) in Syria were and are all necessary so tht America could continue to substantiate the lie of the war on terror. The terror exists primarily in the twisted manipulative minds of the US State Department and the Department of Defence ably supported by the CIA, the NSA and various US NGA.s who provide a thin veneer of respectability for US interference. The UK joined at the hip by the spineless UK establisment politicians is no better, all of them both US and UK take their orders eventually from the Zionist banking elite who pull the strings. They continue to look for opportunities for war to add to their ill gotten spols, and have no compunction in sacrificiing young mens lives and spilling blood of civilians in their endless greedy quest for wealth and control. The sheep who vote for these corrupt governments are fed a daily diet of dumbed down garbage on TV through the selective "news" channels and further by dumbed down TV output of celeb media icons. Nothing short of bread and circuses to deflect any thoughtful questioning of the whole rotten to the core established masters. When the election of a parliamentary candidate is determined by the amount of money that the candidate can raise, there is no such thing as "democracy" we live under an international kleptocracy run by crooks, murderers, thieves and low life driven by an on demand consumer society.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott @Titus_Technophobe

??? You consider the Arab Spring a bad thing? ....

Why? Is it because the culture they wish to make is different from your own? Or because a few have stumbled and fallen? An entire generation learned the value of self-determination and you call it "a bad thing?" .

To answer 'why' I think the Arab Spring is a bad thing I would look at the results. Accepting if all these countries end up with a constitution along the lines of "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.- ... etc etc then I will be wrong.

But what I think will happen in most, if not all, of the Arab Spring countries will be brutal civil wars which end up with much the same style of dictatorship as was overthrown in the first place.

There seems to be a prevailing North American belief that if you overthrow the current monarch/regime/dictatorship a country will immediately embrace democracy adopting truth, justice and the American way etc. Yet the reality of what happens in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and a lot of the former USSR just does not bear this belief out.

Historically most of the countries that have ended up democratic have slowly evolved from monarchies in their own good time. The belief that external influences will hasten this evolution just isn't substantiated by the evidence on the ground. Ultimately this belief is probably at best a little bit naive.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott @Titus_Technophobe

Why would these countries develop a constitution similar to the USA's constitution? Why would they want to? They have completely different cultures with completely different ideas of right and wrong...and the USA failed. It was cute, at first, but there's far better examples to choose from.

Egypt has signed a new constitution. It seems sane and rational in the context of the culture that created it. It has had an election with American-levels of apathetic turn out, but an outstandingly clear mandate for the extant candidate. It has a vibrant opposition looking to assert itself and appears to be a fledgling democracy. With issues. With the potential that president what's-his-nuts the military guy won't let go when his term's up...but with a populace that demands a say in their government and is willing to die to ensure they have it.

Other countries are getting there. Some are dividing up. That's also good.

Look, most of Africa and especially the middle east was drawn up by a bunch of Brits who didn't give a rat fuck about the culture of the people living there. They just cared about straight lines on a map.

The thing is...those cultures are very insular, tribal and xenophobic. Think football fans, but who wrap it up in patriotism, nationalism and religion. They don't think of "nations" in the same way westerners do, with borders being so very, deeply important and the concept of national sovereignty overriding the individual's duty to their tribe.

These people are going to either shatter their nations into smaller, more easily governed ones broken along tribal lines, or they are going to break into a federal system with individual territories having large amounts of autonomy, and probably their own seat of government. Either way, they are going to create a nation where the historic groups are all represented and largely self governing...and that's what they need today.

What they absolutely don't need is some one-size-fits-all ruler imposing their will on everyone. This is why Egypt went berzerk when their duly elected post-spring president broke his promises and started getting religious on everyone's behind: because he has to be able to represent more than just the interests of the "tribe" to which he belongs.

Here then, we may well see a better form of government emerge from this chaos. One that grow beyond the tribalism that afflicts their nations...and which has ground the US itself to a partisan standstill.

So, sirrah, I submit that you are wrong. The Arab Spring was a great thing. Not because it was the first step in these nations becoming more like us...but because it was the first step in these nations stepping out from our shadows and becoming something entirely unlike us.

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Re: DrKnob Re: TheOtherHobbes

".....the lies of WMD's...." Go learn something (http://www.iraqwatch.org/wmd/).

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Re: Potty Re: @Trevor_Pott @Titus_Technophobe

Ignoring the childish digs at 'Imperial' Britian and the US, I would have to say I agree that a lot of the borders will have to be redrawn. You get an upvote for that. Does that mean you agree with the idea that Iraq will have to be broken up into at least three countries (Kurdish, Sunni and Shia)? Apart from the obvious question of how do you share the oil wealth, what about the minor Iraqi religions such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastians, all of which pre-date Islam, do they get their own chunk, and if so where? Are their 'cultures' less important? To them, Islam was the invader, the imperial oppressors.

And you get an upvote for the idea of respecting other cultures, though it seems you're more intent on bad mouthing Western culture than anything else. Anyway, what about Iraqi people that want to leave Islam, are you going to force the Muslims (both Sunni and Shia) to accept what they call 'apostasy', a crime their 'culture' insists is punishable by death? Where do the apostates then go? Maybe their 'culture' isn't so wonderful after all.

Maybe you can now realise what the 'Imperialist' Brits realised long ago - the Middle East is complex, and if it was easy it would have been fixed long, long ago. The only powers that have managed to maintain anything like peace in the region have been imperialist (ranging from the Assyrians through the Ottoman Turks, the Brits and French and the Hashemite Arabs) or dictatorial (Assad, Hussein, Sadat, Mubarak, etc.). Just blaming everything on 'Imperialism' is a cop out.

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Re: @Titus_Technophobe

Oh, you mean the "revolution" among people, according to whom clerics===government, was a good thing? You think that in such countries a "new culture" or especially "self-determination" will win and people will live happily ever after? Ever heard of Iran (which prior to their "self-determined" theocracy was called Persia) BTW?

On one thing I agree with you though. Yes, they probably WILL make new culture and those WILL surely be different from "my own". However such "new cultures" are mostly called "dictatorships", "autocracies", "despotism" etc. (or "theocracies" at best) where I come from.

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Re: @Titus_Technophobe

I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and a Christian one...and, quite frankly, I see a few of the western nations sliding way too close towards "theocracy". Australia, for example. Or the Batshit Bananas Party Republicans in the states.

Maybe some of these middle eastern nations will slip back into dictatorships. I seriously doubt they all will. At least one of them did elect a cleric as president, then had a revolution to evict him when he couldn't look beyond his own religion.

Things aren't so simple as you pain them. Brown people aren't "primitives" that need our "guidance". They're human beings, not all that different from you or I, with hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs. Some are similar, many are different.

By what right do you call yours better, and where is your evidence? Has your society solved all problems? Is it without corruption, without oppression, "-ism"s, dramatic wealth disparity, rampant unemployment and so forth?

When I look at the countries that went through the Arab Spring I see nations where the people have learned the value of their own freedom and are prepared to keep fighting for it to the bitter end. And yes, they'll fight you and your nation too if you think for a half a second you're going to waltz in there and tell them what to do.

it's their nation, and they're going to run it how they like. And that's the whole goddamned point.

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Re: @Titus_Technophobe

I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and a Christian one...

Like you I don’t say any real difference between either a Christian or Muslim theocracy. That said I would state that they are both a very poor form of government. In particular people who lose out being, women, unbelievers and other neighboring smaller countries with a different religion.

Maybe some of these middle eastern nations will slip back into dictatorships. I seriously doubt they all will. At least one of them did elect a cleric as president,then had a revolution to evict him when he couldn't look beyond his own religion.

This was the basis of my original point, fingers crossed that most of these countries don’t just either end where they started or worse. I would still hold by original point most of these countries will end up with a civil war and another dictator.

If you are referring to Egypt in your last point above you could clarify that the elected ‘president’ was effectively booted out by the military, and the government has been described by some as a military junta.

Things aren't so simple as you pain them. Brown people aren't "primitives" that need our "guidance". They're human beings, not all that different from you or I, with hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs. Some are similar, many are different.

The implied racism in this comment isn't justified by my comments. From this end I am speculating that you are just ‘projecting’ your own subconscious.

By what right do you call yours better, and where is your evidence? Has your society solved all problems? Is it without corruption, without oppression, "-ism"s, dramatic wealth disparity, rampant unemployment and so forth?

Whilst it is certainly true that the western societies haven’t solved all the problems. I have traveled to a number of places that have made much less progress, have you?

When I look at the countries that went through the Arab Spring I see nations where the people have learned the value of their own freedom and are prepared to keep fighting for it to the bitter end. And yes, they'll fight you and your nation too if you think for a half a second you're going to waltz in there and tell them what to do.

it's their nation, and they're going to run it how they like. And that's the whole goddamned point.

Fingers crossed this happens. But the evidence in the news suggests otherwise.

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Re: @Titus_Technophobe

"If you are referring to Egypt in your last point above you could clarify that the elected ‘president’ was effectively booted out by the military, and the government has been described by some as a military junta."

And yet, after the election the junta-like activities seem to have ceased. They were imposing martial law after kicking out that cleric. They were suppressing dissent. Unless I'm terribly mistaken, a lot of that has eased up and they are slowly opening up, within reason, given that the religious whackos are still blowing things up periodically.

"Whilst it is certainly true that the western societies haven’t solved all the problems. I have traveled to a number of places that have made much less progress, have you?"

Yes, and I've traveled to places that have made more. Your point? Western civilization isn't "better".

"Fingers crossed this happens. But the evidence in the news suggests otherwise."

What evidence? Your own innate pessimism? Or your irrational belief that if reovlutions don't result in paradise after the first [short timeframe] they're a failure?

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Re: @Titus_Technophobe

Yes, and I've traveled to places that have made more. Your point? Western civilization isn't "better".

Western civilization isn't better ... but it is better than a lot of other places. I am now curious as to where you have traveled that is better?

What evidence?

The on-going revolution in Syria and the formation of what appears to be a very brutal caliphate across into Iraq.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott

I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and a Christian one...and, quite frankly, I see a few of the western nations sliding way too close towards "theocracy". Australia, for example. Or the Batshit Bananas Party Republicans in the states.

Me neither. But if you compare the western countries that slid "way too close towards theocracy" to the ones from the ME (Egypt and Turkey being especially notorious examples), there's a striking difference in the mechanism that stopped theocracy from happening: in the West it were the elections (or the Supreme Court at some of the more extreme lunacies), while in the Middle East it was the army. In this latter case I have this feeling that they didn't have any other options left (with a cleric/pack of clerics seizing the opportunity and trying to create a dictatorship much in the way Hitler did after being legitimately elected as Germany's chancellor).

Things aren't so simple as you pain them. Brown people aren't "primitives" that need our "guidance". They're human beings, not all that different from you or I, with hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs. Some are similar, many are different.

I think that this doesn't have anything to do with race at all (in fact I'm more inclined towards religion as the main reason, but that's a different story). Your comment is even beyond the point which I tried to make i.e. the western democracies pretty much have only two options to choose from: either they support a local strongman (who isn't a complete nutjob and can be reasoned with, even if he's a tad bit bloodthirsty at times) who'll turn the country in question into a dictatorship OR they support the local cleric (imam, ayatollah, whatever you name it) who'll turn the country in question into a theocracy or more likely a theocratic dictatorship (and in addition is completely nuts, paranoid, spreads hate propaganda against the West, and cannot be reasoned with at all). Deep inside I really hope that history will prove me wrong, but at the moment no third option seems to be viable.

I hope that Egypt is a tad bit different in this story (since the army turned out to be the smartest part of the government), but it's different in more ways than one: first of all it's the most populous Arabic country, and second (mostly thanks to tourism) it has a very broad SME sector (which is almost unheard of in other Arabic countries). Since these SMEs live pretty much only off of foreign tourists, they surely won't take a cut in their business lightly (which'd happen if theocracy would win over in Egypt and the number of tourists visiting the country would sharply drop). This lessens the likelihood of wannabe despots doing anything stupid. However these same conditions don't apply to the rest of the Arabic world, so I really can't keep my fingers crossed in their case.

By what right do you call yours better, and where is your evidence? Has your society solved all problems? Is it without corruption, without oppression, "-ism"s, dramatic wealth disparity, rampant unemployment and so forth?

The country I come from is a post-Communist Eastern European country full of people who are feeling nostalgic about Communism and are cynical pessimists too who are just unable to think in terms of the free market at all. Thus yes, my country has all the problems common to EE including corruption, cases of oppression here and there, cronyism, unemployment, lack of education etc. However at least I'm confident that nobody would sincerely wish for a theocracy (like many Muslims do) nor any form of dictatorship here. Like I said, in the Muslim world, clerical and worldly leaders are one and the same thing ("western inventions" such as separation of church and state just don't exist there and the general populace seems to reject the notion as well), regardless of the "hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs" they have. And this just isn't gonna change no matter how much "humanitarian bombarding" or "fights for freedom/democracy" (all done by one of the factions against the other ones with the help of the West, especially US) will try to advance the cause (and naturally make things even worse). Intelligence services probably know this already (or at least should) so now they're probably trying to side with the least despicable (and ideally also most powerful) faction (after they gather enough intelligence in such mess of course).

it's their nation, and they're going to run it how they like. And that's the whole goddamned point.

Yeah, but with nowadays the world being as small as it is, they're pretty much "close neighbors" (at least to me). And IDK about you, but I just won't be too happy if whatever monsterregime they create will spend all its spare time (and maybe even resources) to spread anti-western hate propaganda day and night (and possibly also think up ingenious ways of wreaking havoc in Europe too). The precedent is there already: Gaddafi, but also Iran (even though if the latter was only involved in hate propaganda/political trolling so far, since they still need someone to buy their oil).

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