I don't think it's possible to discount how critical to this point of view our freedoms are. When you have a certain faith in the justice system (one generally corroborated by experience) and in the law, you have one less thing to worry about. We innovate because we not only don't fear wasting $N in materials in addition to our time, we also don't fear being dragged off to prison. Indeed, even if we did fear being dragged off to prison, I can't think of any situation where you could unintentionally get the death sentence for programming. Programming!
Yes, SOPA and PIPA are bad, and yes, we should oppose them. But sometimes it's good to take a step back and look at what “bad” really looks like. And take a minute to think “Wow. We are fighting such minor battles in comparison.” Just a minute. Then it's time to get back in the fight. Because the minor losses slowly, imperceptibly, take you to the major battles.
That's generally true, but not in all cases.
Because I have Crohn's Disease, I've toyed with the idea of creating an app that would let a patient track their symptoms and diet, etc., to figure out what are the factors that cause a flare-up for them; and later upload the history to their doctor. But knowing (a) the regulations in the USA surrounding medical devices (does this count as one? who knows without a lawyer) and (b) the potential for liability for even the stupidest things, I've decided that the potential danger for me is nowhere near worth it.
That said, you're right that we're not 100% free in this sense, even as software developers. We are just more free in this sense than many other hobbies/interests/occupations.
It sells for 100 EUR.
There might be some relation between the price of the app and potential liabilities.
Just reinforces the point, that we have to work hard to keep our freedom.
Or just your guess based on hearsay?
SEC. 204. AMENDMENTS TO SENTENCING GUIDELINES.
(H) ensure reasonable consistency with other relevant directives and Guidelines and Federal statutes; Note: You can't actually define what this means even if you read all relevant legal precedents, because it's allows monkey patching of the law by these guys http://www.ussc.gov/ an independent agency in the judicial branch of
You know what the scary thing is, though? We're headed in a similar direction. NDAA '12 was signed into a law and it essentially gives the government the right to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely. For what crime? If someone is merely "suspected" of sympathizing with or providing any level of support to groups the U.S. designates as terrorist organization or an affiliate or associated force may be imprisoned without charge or trial "until the end of hostilities."
I'm appalled at how much protest and awareness was raised against SOPA, but nothing against the NDAA. But hey, we might have uncontrolled access to the internet while being indefinitely detained...
Thomas Hobbes had precisely this insight back in the mid-1600s.
He then was arrested on a visit to Iran.
Disregarding the ridiculousness of this specific case, it sets a dangerous precedent: anyone who has written open source code that is used by sites, and possible porn sites, could be just as guilty as this guy according to Iranian law.
I think I'll skip Iran on my next vacation for now.
Precedent is irrelevant because Iran is not under the rule of law. Iran can imprison or kill you if that's what they feel like. The exact reason (if they give one) is just a fig leaf, and your confession is likely to be the result of torture.
Legal logic does not apply.
Reminds me also of a certain north american country. Oh, never mind.
Iran does not have a monopoly on mockeries of justice.
You're quite right. From these cases, the only real differences would seem to be 1) basis: terrorism vs. insulting Islam and 2) extremity: different bars for capital punishment.
Yes, the erosions in US justice over the past decade and change are rightly cause for great concern, but they are orders of magnitude from the total absence of the rule of law in Iran.
Remember, prosecutions start with who they want to get, and then try to find some laws they broke. So often the stated charge is something incidental like tax evasion.
They don't give a crap what an average tourist does in his homeland. Repressions are addressed toward their own citizens and foreign journalists/activists because they are a threat to the regime.
Naturally, there are counterarguments, like how visitors provide a view into the outside world, for example.
What part of this news (or the many others about stonings, etc.) do you think is media manipulation? If you don't believe US media, get your facts directly from Iranians, there are ample examples of books and films (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stoning_of_Soraya_M., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_Lolita_in_Tehran, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persepolis_%28comics%29 are popular examples) that can be used for this purpose.
I've never subscribed to the "citizens are actually good, it's the governments who are evil" argument, it just shifts the blame, e.g. "the Nazis did it" by reification: governments are made of people and they, more or less, are populistic, following the majority's wishes. There are many parts of the society in Iran that back the current regime, don't think that everybody's against it.
So, my reply to the grandparent comment would be: read more about the people and regime and if you are convinced, then, yes, do not visit Iran, boycott them by withholding your money.
Persepolis was great, check out other modern Iranian and Iranian/Kurdish productions, there's a bunch of awesome cinema there, to mention the most known ones: About Elly, Separation, Time of drunken horses, No One Knows About Persian Cats, Women without men, and lots of other. If you want to read something lightweight where culture and regime meet, check Lipstick Jihad.
> I've never subscribed to the "citizens are actually good, it's the governments who are evil" argument, it just shifts the blame, e.g. "the Nazis did it" by reification: governments are made of people and they, more or less, are populistic, following the majority's wishes. There are many parts of the society in Iran that back the current regime, don't think that everybody's against it.
(Godwin's Law alert)
No doubt, but such events as nazis comming to power or the islamic revolution are subjects too complex to discuss here in a comment (at least I don't have the intention at the moment).
To clarify: I wasn't referring to how the Islamic Regime came to power (although, as you point out, that would be an interesting and complex topic in itself). I was commenting on the fact that in most cases (except perhaps in extreme cases such as North Korea where governments hold their citizens captive) governments cannot be isolated from what the majority thinks or feels. Many people are uncomfortable by this so advocate the "it's the government that did it" argument.
Using the Nazis as an example was perhaps lazy (although they did get quite a bit of support from the general population, one shouldn't forget, they were voted in, unlike the Islamic regime in Iran). How about other examples: Many Chinese people in the mainland, due to an array of complex nationalistic, historical, and financial reasons back many of the deplorable aspects of China's regime. Same in Saudi Arabia, people turn a blind eye as long as they get their hefty unemployment benefits. Even France's government acknowledged Algerian atrocities very recently, because you know what, the general public still has grandiose ideas about the empire and don't want to hear that sort of thing. Turkey is going through a similar process with its Armenian history.
Another, longer example: I was always told that the animosity between Turkey and Greece was a thing that the governments created, that there existed a "brotherhood of these two peoples on two sides of Aegean". Well, when I traveled to Greece on a couple of occasions, I found the hard way that this was not completely true, people did hold the historical grudges), it wasn't something that he governments made up (same on the Turkish side, too, of course. In fact it was just the reverse: the governments noted this trend and were responding to it in populist ways to get more votes.
I personally always try to remember that politics are not binary in nature, that history is complicated and especially that the volksgeist does not exist.
The accusations are a tool, not a reason.
This case shows exactly how far and what the regime is capable of.
Your government being up in arms about you may not prevent a bad outcome.
Seems like a clear case of a coerced confession -- he confessed to something that isn't even possible. Why isn't the Canadian government going bananas for him? They've got their own damn oil, right?
As I understand it, that's kind of the way things work in Iran. (Note that as a privileged white male, my knowledge of this comes from various podcasts, so my opinion written on a post-it is worth a post-it.)
Is this a risk any Iranian citizen returning from the West faces? To be arrested and have charges fabricated after the arrest? Are there any other cases of this?
“Canada condemns Iran’s reported decision to execute Mr. Malekpour. Sadly, his case is far from the only example of Iran’s utter disregard for human life. The regime in Tehran frequently ignores principles like due process for its citizens domestically, and international human rights obligations generally.”
From that I gather that this is being looked at as "out of our hands" by the Canadian government. Is that right? I know that relations with Iran are murky for many nations, but this is kind of ridiculous.
Iran is not such a bad country. I can know because I've been traveling it for 5 weeks. It's a weird place, with a govt that is not much supported by the educated-youth. But not all that bad as the media try to make us believe.
US has not closed Guatanamo, where they do their own share of trial-less, unfair-trail and/or unreasonable-trial sentence execution (including death penalty). Should we all now boycott the US?
"Porn" is quite clearly just the flag under which this guy is punished for leaving (deserting) his country. Prisoners in Guatanamo similarly have an "official reason" for being there.
Believe me, here in the Netherlands I know some folks with strong sentiments agains the US, and I tell them the same: "The US is not such a bad country". So maybe it is just me :)
The evil done by the U.S. government does not excuse evil in other places.
Regarding Guanatanamo: the way in which the U.S. deals with un-uniformed combatants has been ferociously litigated from within the U.S. by civil rights organizations. Discussion of the matter occurs in public, without fear of reprisal. The detention policies have been condemned in public by high-ranking members of the U.S. government and military. Although we have detained men who are clearly and completely innocent, no detainee has been sentenced to death. Some who have been released have subsequently returned to the battlefield to fight against us once again.
Even if what you say about guantanamo were entirely true, in no way would it excuse the actions of the theocratic regime in Iran which is happy to overtly and unaccountably murder its own citizens for the purpose of propaganda.
> "Should we all now boycott the US?"
There are many reasons to boycott the US. I'm sure you've noticed the froth over SOPA/PIPA recently, for example. Again, the evil present in our government doesn't excuse evil in other places.
> "The US is not such a bad country"
Tell your friends whatever you want; if your reasoning involves excusing the actions of the Iranian government, your advice is worth exactly nothing.
Hm, yet it seems evil done in other places does excuse US evil.
Happily though, there are also a great number of American who disagree, loudly and vehemently.
Denial of due process is an abomination of human rights, regardless of the number of countries committing it.
It's pretty reprehensible that you feel the need to try and derail the topic and apologize for Iran by drawing similarities to the US as if that makes it OK. But hey, thanks for downplaying this dude's impending death!
edit: I'm also not sure that the detention of captured combatants and the execution of a native citizen are quite the same thing
Actually, the "detention of captured combatants" is worse.
Those "combatants" are not soldiers, and a lot of them are innocent (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8472804/... - http://www.amazon.com/Five-Years-My-Life-Guantanamo/dp/02306... and lots of other examples).
Even the guilty ones are held illegally, with no due process, no formal allegations, and against the US and international law.
Furthermore, most of those are not americans, but captured citizens and residents of another country.
The equivalent would be Iranian army guys coming to your house in New York, Montana or whatever, abducting you arbitrarily and holding you indefinitely in some hell hole. For some reason, the US considers it legit to do the same to citizens of other countries.
Now, in this particular case, Iran is in the wrong. But it's not like his status as a programmer or the porn accusation BS are the reason they are executing him. They probably see him as a dissident, or they have some suspicions in him being a spy or something, that they don't reveal.
Which reminds me: which country, based on lies they told regarding the existence of weapons of mass destruction, invaded another country, causing thousands of deaths and massive instability in the area, including unleashing hard core fundamentalist fights?
Suddenly, one guy being executed in Iran seems not that important, doesn't it? Or are tens and hundreds of thousand of deaths OK when US does them, and bad when some foreign government does them?
Moreover, it's disgusting how this kind of stories are played and orchestrated by the media not out of concern about that one guy (if that was the case, the concern would be shared to other guys in the same situation, including in Saudi Arabia and the US itself), but to turn the people to justify some incoming invasion against Iran.
Does the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and hundreds like him justify an attack on the US?
Contribute to some OSS image uploader library
There are questionable cases in US Abu-Jamal is not one of them and none of them are even remotely comparable to a case of a guy contributing to an open source project and getting death penalty for it.
The reason I referred to Adu-Jamal's case is because he's considered worldwide innocent and a victim of targeting. The things stated as facts above, are considered fabricated by the police, e.g: http://homepages.sover.net/~foodsong/mumia1.htm .
There are of course, a lot of other cases, including several people abducted from their countries and homes, taken to Guantanamo without due process, and then released after 5-7 years as innocent without any regard for the harm done to them. Who knows how many more innocent are in prisons like Adu Ghaib or in "co-operating" ally country prisons.
I'm sorry, but if the government of a country is going execute someone for "violating the sanctity of Islam", they are a bad country.
By accepting this behavior, you are just allowing it to continue. I don't accept it and I will always be against a country that treats its citizens this way. More people need to stand up to this bullshit.
"Believe me, here in the Netherlands I know some folks with strong sentiments agains the US, and I tell them the same: "The US is not such a bad country". So maybe it is just me :)"
The US has some problems, but it's still better than 99% of the world in terms of freedom.
Unlike the US, Most of the world has state-controlled media and an Internet Firewall. Hopefully, it never happens here in the US.
Just to remind you America has:
By far the highest incarceration rate of a 'free' country
An abnormally high murder rate
A recent history of torture and incarceration of foreigners without trial
Of course, I do agree that people need to know about and boycott such regimes as much as they can.
I'm sorry, but you must be living in a dream world, where governments just sit back and allow the opposition to overthrow them... You know, it's a little harder to do that when the government in question is extremely rich (oil, gas, ...) and most things are state-owned, than in a country where the government lives off taxes and has to 'borrow' money from private banks!
99%? Most of the world has state-controlled media?
If the Iranian government violates the human rights of its citizens, that makes Iran a "bad country"? Are you being serious?
People can learn more about Iran's denial of education and send messages to UN members here:
Or help support campaigns such as "The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran":
If anyone has any other information on campaigns/activists tackling human rights violations, I would love to hear about them.
Is that really all Canada and other countries can do? Send a very, very angry letter using politically correct wording?
A scene from Yes, Prime Minister might help illustrate the point. Jim Hacker (the Prime Minister) is talking to Sir Humphrey Appleby (Cabinet Secretary) about a nurse caught with a bottle of whiskey in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Kumran, and sentenced to 40 lashes.
Jim: This is very worrying. There's a lot of public sympathy.
Humphrey: I'm sure the Foreign Secretary will advise you.
Jim: He advises me to do nothing.
Humphrey: I'm sure that's good advice.
Jim: Humphrey, we must do something.
Humphrey: The Kumranis are good friends of Britain. They placed a huge defense contract with us, they tell us about the Soviets in Iraq, they even sabotage OPEC agreements for us. We can't afford to upset them.
Jim: I know, but a British national is facing a barbaric punishment for a trivial offense. The Foreign Office is there to protect British nationals.
Humphrey: To protect British interests.
Jim: It's not in her interest to be flogged.
Humphrey: It's not in ours to prevent it.
Jim: This could hurt the government very badly.
Humphrey: Well, I understand that tomorrow the Foreign Secretary will deliver a strong note of protest.
Jim: Why can't he do it now?
Humphrey: We haven't got their agreement yet! We're seeing the ambassador privately now. Once they approve the wording, we hand it over. Then we'll have done all we can.
Jim: Very heartless.
Humphrey: It's safer to be heartless than mindless. History is the triumph of the heartless over the mindless.
For some of the details on the abuse she faced in prison:
Or is it unknown?
It's of no use anyway. In most recent cases where one side was religious and other one wasn't, religious ones were usually bad guys.
Stance on abortions, ID, this abomination. I can't remember them ever backing something good against secular people trying to do something bad.
Communist Germany, USSR, Communist China/Mao, North Korea, Mussolini's Italy, etc.? All of those were or are "religious" governments?
My naive reading of the article indicates that the man in question is a canadian citizen who was arrested when he visited Iran.
(The article says he was a resident of Canada. Residency doesn't usually mean citizenship, right?)
That's one very interesting idea. Offering citizenship and facilitating immigration will slowly brain-drain Iran which will, eventually, cause economic collapse a couple decades from now.
The only downside is that Iran's political environment already shows strong signs of brain drainage.
- Iran sending "moles" to spy Israel or other countries.
- They would become terrorist targets (for being traitors to the regime).
- Some of them, even when they are against the government, are also against Israel. Religion is too much strong there.
And anyway, I think that they can ask for political asylum for their own, while visiting other countries (but I dont know if they are free to travel).
Better double-check. Offer him some bacon.