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Former Turkish DMOZ Editor Draws 10 Months In Jail 666

Posted by timothy
from the freedom-of-whatnow? dept.
makne writes "H. Ertas, a Turkish editor of the Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.org) has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after being found guilty of editing a category about the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Ertas's lawyer, Suna Coskun, explained that his client had worked as a voluntary editor at the Open Directory Project during his studies at the Euphrat-University and had been responsible for the Kurdish category. At the same time he became interested in Kurds and undertook his own research into the subject. As a voluntary editor, he had sorted the directory submissions but could not be responsible for their content. Therefore there could be no penalty under international law, according to Coskun. His activities could in no way be understood as 'support for a terrorist organisation' and thus Ertas' release was appropriate. The court sentenced Ertas to 10 months in prison and a fine of 416 million Turkish lire ($293). The sentence is not eligible for probation." (Read on for more.)
By email, makne writes "I don't know the editor personally, but the editor was first arrested two years ago, then released on parole until now. Members of the editor community have tried to help him in any way they can, with no apparent success. The editor resigned from the ODP in 2002."

Makne also provided this link to a summary (from the Kurdish point of view) of earlier attempts to stifle Kurdish sites, including a campaign to have DMOZ's then-parent company Netscape remove the Kurdish category from DMOZ.

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Former Turkish DMOZ Editor Draws 10 Months In Jail

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  • Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhart (1261) * <dhart@sftowe[ ]om ['r.c' in gap]> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:21AM (#10935809)

    I believe that organizations like DMOZ should have the ability to quickly react, perhaps in protest, to situations like this one.

    For example, rigorous semantic information attached to every DMOZ record would allow the DMOZ community to suspend or flag all information related to the Turkish government, in protest of the current situation. Such a capability could easily be abused or taken too far, which is why it should be reserved only for situations which have direct effect on the organization (and/or its editors, in the case of DMOZ).

    With enough open (as in speech) organizations touching enough people in the world, both major and minor misbehavior by governments around the would could be brought to light in this way.
  • that stinks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by polished look 2 (662705) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:22AM (#10935815) Journal
    but at least he'll be out (hopefully) in 10 months. Abuses of power are rampant throughout the globe [amnesty.org].
  • by Saven Marek (739395) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:24AM (#10935820)
    This is could be an example of the kind, of political pressure that will make things like say wikipedia less and less of a good thing.

    For example the slashdot article in the last months, where there were misinformous facts inserted. How many of these can pile up over time? If a country is suppressing all knowledge of what it really has done, and tying in information on what it wants to be seen as happening then the slow blend from one information into a misinformation can be complete.

    And these are self referencing things, too, so, you find wikipedia and dmoz links and maybe some other online encyclopedias all combined together with misinformation.

    How will one in the end sort it out?

    The nets biggest online nude anime gallery's [sharkfire.net]
  • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by henleg (835139) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:27AM (#10935830)
    Is it the political information about the kurds that the turkish government wants to remove from DMOZ, or is it about kurds in general? When reading these things, I feel reluctant to have Turkey joining the European Union. They simply have to get better, and it will be very interesting to see if the turkish government can do this before the set deadline.
  • by scrod (136965) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:29AM (#10935836) Homepage
    The Turkish government could not have arrested Ertas if they weren't able to determine who had "inserted" the contraband information, nor would the equivalent of a freenet-based DMOZ be susceptible to coercion of any sort in pursuit of the removal any particular category.
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flacco (324089) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:32AM (#10935843)
    As a Turkish guy I can tell you PKK is a terrorist organisation now known as Kadek. Guilty of killing about ~30k people including children and women.

    what does that have to do with editing public information about PKK? do you really think that's going to do the slightest bit of good?

  • Re:Guys please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ortcutt (711694) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:32AM (#10935844)
    That's not the issue though. Nobody is defending the PKK. The question is whether organizing the categories of links on a web directory make someone a criminal. Putting H. Ertas in prison for 10 months for organizing categories of links on a website isn't right and it doesn't help fight terrorism.
  • Turkey in the EU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhima (46039) <Bhima...Pandava@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:32AM (#10935847) Journal
    And we're thinking of letting Turkey in the EU?
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:40AM (#10935883)
    The problem is the guy was convicted of editing an article about them. Slashdot is a US website and most of us Americans hold free speech as the most important right in maintaining a democracy. For this case it doesn't matter what this group has done. Simply editing a public website with information about them shouldn't be a crime.

    As far as the US acknowleding the PKK as a terrorist organization, that doesn't always mean anything. Our outgoing secretary of education called the nations largest teachers group a "terrorist organization". So you'll understand if I'm a little skeptical of what the US government is saying these days.
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:40AM (#10935885)
    No comment on whether they are or not (I haven't a clue), but that means jack. They said that the African National Congress was a terrorist organization.

    The ANC *did* commit many act of terror, you ignorant sack of dog shit. Something else you seem to have no clue about. What, because they were anti-apartheid they were somehow excused for their murdering ways? Fuck them and fuck your worthless ignorant dumb ass.

    I love how some of you other oxygen wasting shit stains have taken your anti-Americanism to ppathological levels where you'll automatically believe a terrorist organization's version of everything ovver the US gummint's version. The terrorists of this world laugh themselves silly over cockgobbling appeasers like you.

  • Re:Guys please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karma Sucks (127136) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:41AM (#10935887)
    The same TV that's controlled and censored by your government?

    If this is what your government does to a web editor, what do you think they do to their journalists?
  • by karlmiller (470975) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:42AM (#10935892)
    The unfortunate thing is that this kind of action happens all to frequently everyday in countries around the world, where individuals say things that threaten people in power. What's worse is that similar activities are occuring in the United States, which is supposed to be the land that may not occur in.


    Remember, Freedom can't protect itself. [aclu.org]

  • by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:59AM (#10935954) Journal
    Exactly my thoughts...

    I mean, you can argue all you want about PKK being terrorist organisation or not, but this is just the issue of free speech! The guy wasn't sentenced for being a part of bombing or being a part of the plot to bomb anyone. He was sentenced for being editor of site that had public information about some organisation.

    If this isn't fucking censorship and criminal prosecution for exercising free speech, I don't know what is.

    Robert
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by killjoe (766577) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:15AM (#10936018)
    Al quada killed 3000 people on 9/11. In response how many people have we killed? Of course we don't know for sure because neither the press nor the military are interested in telling us the truth but according to the UN we have killed at least 6000 in falujia this week. At least 20,000 dead civillians in iraq so far. Most likely 100,000 human beings in raq so far and I would guess at least that many in afghanistan.

    So go ahead do a head to head count.
  • by slavemowgli (585321) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:20AM (#10936033) Homepage
    Sadly, yes. Let's hope that the prospect of becoming a EU member will convince turkish politicians to stop things like this.
  • by LarsWestergren (9033) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:26AM (#10936053) Homepage Journal
    This sounds like a case for The European Cort of Human Rights [coe.int]. Turkey is very eager to join the EU and recently got promises [bbc.co.uk] that they could at least start talks with the EU about membership. This was after the EU recognized that Turkey had done progress with regards to human rights (they have had a very dark past with regards to womens' rights, minorities rights, police torture of dissidents, forbidding kurds to publish media in their own language etc). The EU have said that they have to do more though, there are still incidents of torture in Turkish prisons for instance, and opression of kurds.

    With the political preassure on the Turkish government, this guy might actually have a chance if enough people raise hell.

    I personally will write letter to the court about this case, and I will also contact Amnesty International in Sweden about this.

    I urge other Slashdot readers to take similar action.
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by henleg (835139) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:31AM (#10936068)
    I am no "America hater", but the actions in South America, for example Chile, makes the USA have blood on their hands. This is not something that the media speak loud about either. (All in the name of the cold war and the fight against communism.) It's quite ironic that the word "communism" is replaced by "terrorism" in our era, don't you think?!
  • Women and children (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animaether (411575) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:48AM (#10936116) Journal
    obligatory "I'll get flamed for this" statement aside...

    What's with the age-old "they killed women and children" stuff ?
    In war and terror, women and children *kill*.
    In war and terror, women and children get killed.

    If I were an Israeli borderguard and a woman strapped with explosives runs towards me, I would... kill them.

    If I were a Sudan military or somesuch and a rebel child points an AK47 at me ready to fire, I would... shoot them in the legs, hopefully, but good chance I'd aim for the chest due to the larger surface area and it'd probably... kill them.

    These particular 'women and children' statements are hollow when put into perspective this way, in my opinion.

    Now you may not share that point of view, or you may point out that these are "innocent women and children". Perhaps or, in the case of terrorist attacks, likely so. But does that mean the men were not innocent ? Does it mean that the loss of their life is somehow not as disturbing/devastating as that of the women and children ?

    Just my thoughts...
  • by RWerp (798951) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:59AM (#10936145)
    If it weren't for Turkish European ambitions, we would see much more of such sentences.
  • MOD PARENT UP!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:16AM (#10936181) Journal
    Those attacked call them terrorists, those attacking call themselves freedom fighters, I just call them guerillia warriors and leave the morality of their cause for the historians.

  • by renoX (11677) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:21AM (#10936192)
    Well except that Turkish is not currently a part of EU, so I'm not sure that the EU court of human rights will/can do anything..
  • by remi2402 (816874) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:22AM (#10936195)
    During WWII, the militia men ("maquisards" for us frenchies) working/killing for the liberation of France were said to be terrorists by the Nazis and the collaborating government. Most of the French people considers them as war heroes.

    So, I agree. "Terrorist" is a very subjective term.

    (Don't get me wrong, I consider them as war heroes, but this was a point my history teacher in HS brought to us, to make us think beyond clear cut facts)

  • Re:Guys please! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:25AM (#10936204)
    While what much of the AC says is stupid and offensive, at least certain members/factions/wings of the ANC could accurately be described as terrorists.

    ""The ANC and its organs as well as the PAC and its armed formations...committed gross violations of human rights in the course of their political activities and armed struggles, for which they are morally and politically accountable," the report says.

    The commission noted it was ANC policy that the loss of civilian life should be avoided, but said operations by its armed wing uMkhonto weSizwe "ended up killing fewer security force members than civilians".

    In the case of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) - a liberation movement which split from the ANC over ideological differences - the report focusses on the activities of its armed wing, Apla, which targeted white civilians and black leaders loyal to the government.
    "
    From BBC [bbc.co.uk]
  • by killjoe (766577) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:28AM (#10936208)
    Why don't you try and form a nazi web site in germany and tell me that you are democratic. Go ahead and make sure you deny the holocaust never happened too. Let's see how long that web site stays up and how long it takes to haul your ass to jail.

    europeans sure are sanctimonius bastards, I guess your shit don't stink huh?
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kahei (466208) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:42AM (#10936235) Homepage

    Well, _I'll_ defend the PKK (I'm neither a turk nor a kurd, though). The kurds in turkey are facing gradual annihilation -- some of them have attempted to fight back, without much success (they are heavily outnumbered and don't have much money). What on earth does the rest of the world expect them to do? Just die extra-quietly so that nobody is bothered?

    The issue of the war on the Kurds is the most important. Followed by the problem of Turks who don't join in the general hate being persecuted or imprisoned. The issue of holding an editor accountable for the links edited, while worrying, is absolutely insignificant by comparison.

  • by Saeger (456549) <`farrellj' `at' `gmail.com'> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:03AM (#10936275) Homepage
    Just for fun, I've compiled a list of misc "terrorist" links myself:

    If jackboot thug out there wants to arrest me for "implicitly supporting" the content of any of these links, feel free to abuse the PATRIOT ACT in order to force slashdot.org to reveal the IP address associated with this post, and in turn my ISP will reveal my name and home address associated with the DHCP lease (because I didn't bother to post through an anonymous proxy(s)). tinfoil_hat_mode off.

    --

  • by entrigant (233266) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:33AM (#10936332)
    There is a distinction both you and the parent post failed to make. The key is in the fact that the farmers were picking off soldiers. Terrorists, imo, are the ones bombing civilian targets.
  • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:53AM (#10936379) Journal
    That's what I thought, but keep in mind that in another EU country you can get arrested for publicly supporting certain political parties. Namely, in Germany it's against the law to be part of certain neo-nazi ideologies and holocaust denial. And in fact, I'm not sure I'm opposed to that eevn though it's certainly a limitation of my right of free speech. But then, what gives me the right to tell the Turkish government which ideologies are "dangerous". I guess that's why this kind of legislation is never a good idea in the first place.

    Since you bring up up germany; do you sincerely beleive that a law designed to stop antisemitic propaganda is just as bad as a law that, say, limits the civil liberties of an ethnic minority like jews (or kurds for that matter).

    Kurds are an ethnic minority, like jews were in nazi germany - a Kurd cannot decide to stop being a kurd, no less than I can stop being a caucasean.

    On another note I fail to see how the german laws you cite are any more stifling to free speech than laws prohibiting libel. Neonazism is tightly coupled to malicious defamation of jews - according to the laws of most countries that constitutes libel. Mentioning neonazism explicitly in the law just serves to simplify libel lawsuits.

    Or do you beleive that libel laws in america are morally equivalent to limiting the civil liberties of an ethnic minority?

  • by M1FCJ (586251) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:59AM (#10936393)
    At least they tried this guy instead of putting him in a jail in a foreign country (like Cuba), denying him even rights to defend himself in a court (albeit, an unjust one).

    If Turkey followed America's example, this guy would have been rotting in a camp in a swamp, somewhere.
    The chances are he will be getting out of there in 3 months. It is still unjust but not the end of the world.

  • Re:EU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RPoet (20693) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:59AM (#10936396) Journal
    Slightly freer than Europe? At least in most European countries, your home cannot be searched or your phone tapped without a court order, and you cannot be imprisoned without a legal process.
  • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:13AM (#10936426) Journal
    Now, that's exactly why I am opposed to any and all kinds of censorship. Whether it is about Nazi, KKK, or someone claiming that Robert R. Wal (that is me) is unwashing sodomite. In the last case I would go to court and he would have to prove his accusations, or pay me damages, but in my opinion people have every right to have their opinions and to publish them.

    Remember, that many despicable crimes of yesterday are normal things today. Like publishing research opposing church doctrine, advocating slavery abolition, homosexual relationships and extramarital sex. And remember, that many yesterday's terrorists are today's war heroes of new nations that fought for their freedom.

    Even when everybody agrees that child abuse, paedophilia is such despicable crime, and there are no chances of it changing in the future (apart from age of consent, legal tests for consent etc), I don't see how anyone would be hurt by someone advocating paedophilia, or disseminating synthetic paedophiliac images.

    Now, the cases like racism, terrorism or similar usually are (almost criminal) stupidity, but people have right to be stupid too. I mean, if stupidity was a crime, then most of the politicians and voting public would end up in jail in an instant ;)

    Robert

    PS Yes, I am libertarian too (among other things). Did libertarian advocacy become a crime in some jurisdiction I frequent?
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:53AM (#10936498)
    No comment on whether they are or not (I haven't a clue), but that means jack. They said that the African National Congress was a terrorist organization.

    Clueless, meet the KGB-funded ANC, their "necklace of death", bomber Nelson and Winnie's "football team". ANC, bomber Nelson, Winnie, meet Clueless.

    The ANC were terrorists, particularly nasty, ruthless and primitively murderous ones even, there's no question about it. Nowadays they're just incompetent and racist politicians, destroying a country.
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andyfaeglasgow (782943) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:08AM (#10936529)
    I think the grand-parent was not explicitly linking the US with the notion of Civilised; rather pointing out that a pair of Civilised eyes would view the actions of the Turkish government in this case as wrong.

    I'm sure that even if the US Government is not Civilised, there are a great deal of Americans that are.
  • Re:Sorry guys (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sholden (12227) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:47AM (#10936618) Homepage
    As an unimportmant note, can I BEG you people not to compare Mandela to PKK/KADEK? I don't remember Mandela ordered black people to burn schools, kill teachers, kill all village only because they participated in election...

    No, he just used car bombs outside civilian bars and attacked a nuclear power plant...
  • Re:Protest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @09:28AM (#10936738) Journal
    No, you can not legislate morality and ethics, only behaviour. Morality and ethics are expressions of a person's internal belief system. Society creates laws to govern the behaviour of those individuals whose sense of morality and ethics are deficient or unacceptable (this is important) as defined by that society.

    Of course that is correct; you can, and should, legislate acting upon ethics and morals that are different from the norms of the rest of society. That is why it's not illegal to agree with al-queda or the neonazis, only to actively support them.

    I interpreted grandparents post differently though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:32AM (#10936928)

    The Islamic Selçuk/Ottoman/Turkish culture was arguably the world's highest culture during times that Euope was wallowing in the filth of its own Dark and Middle Ages.

    The Turkish culture maybe was the world's highest culture while western Europe "was wallowing in the filth of its own Dark and Middle Ages". But they "achieved" that through destroying even more advanced Byzantine, Serbian and Bulgarian cultures.

  • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cherokee158 (701472) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:04AM (#10937045)
    Actually, the German law DOES stifle free speech. I recently did some work for a game company that produces historical wargames. All of the cut scenes featuring archival war footage had to be edited to remove any sign of swastikas. (Keep in mind that the Nazis painted swastikas on EVERYTHING).

    I was forced to remove a promotional trailer for a cartoon about an inept Luftwaffe pilot (fritzthefox.com) from one of their kiosks at a convention because the aircraft in it had swastikas painted on their tails (which they did in real life).

    I found the whole thing ludicrous. I know these laws are meant to prevent the resurgence of one of the worst hate groups that ever existed, but the law is more about fear than it is prevention.

    The fact is, the Nazi party could never rise again. The next evil empire will not be led by a bunch of tatooed skinheads. The next time they start herding people into camps, if will be under a different flag, for different reasons, and everyone will fall in line in the name of patriotism and self-defense.

    Banning a symbol will accomplish nothing, except to wipe away any recorded memory of the last witch hunt.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:05AM (#10937050)
    I think the issue here is that under Turkish law, freedom of speech for anything relating to the Kurds is severely restricted, and hence his defender may have found bringing in international law and human rights as an attempt of pointing out that these Turkish laws shouldn't be relied on by the court.

    There's not that many years ago that you couldn't legally in Turkey even call yourself a Kurd - instead you were expected to call yourself a Turk. Similarly teaching Kurdish language and culture used to be illegal. Government sanctioned assassinations were not uncommon. I personally know at least one Turkish journalist who got asylum in Norway on the basis that he had written about the phlight of the Kurds, and then waited for 7 years to get Norwegian citizenship so that he could go back to Turkey and keep writing (the idea being that Turkey is very concerned about doing anything to people that aren't Turkish citizens - particularly now that they want EU membership).

    Turkey is still an oppressive police state. It systematically oppress a large part of it's people, and not only Kurds but anyone that don't agree with the current system of government (which would include communists and fundamental muslims alike).

    The only potential good part of getting Turkey into the EU is that they'd have to start harmonizing their laws with those of the EU too.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:14AM (#10937092) Homepage Journal
    Correct me if im wrong, ( not knowing the entire story here ) but that is how i take the summary.

    "you write/write/publish about subject xyz, we jail you'
  • Re:Protest (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adoarns (718596) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:38AM (#10937180) Homepage Journal
    I fail to see how the german laws you cite are any more stifling to free speech than laws prohibiting libel.

    Really? Like, honest-to-God you don't? Huh.

    Nazism = libel. Well, I suppose you could make the argument, analogizing from specifici individuals to an entire groupassuming everything national socialism says is anti-semitic propaganda, which like, I guess 0.6 is approx. equal to 1, in some places.

    But: nice machinations, though. Really. Original poster points out that suppression of politically-charged speech happens on a continuum and that some of those countries who would condemn Turkey are only a little bit further on the left of it. That somehow turns into a test of hatred for anti-semitism. And from all these threads you manage a nice, stout strawman, all prickly with delight.

    I call rhetorical shenanigans.
  • by ldspartan (14035) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:39AM (#10937185) Homepage
    Dude, are you nuts? Hicks didn't just support the Taliban by editing articles about them on the internet, he fought with them against US forces. There's something of a difference there.

    Hicks' incarceration is not a free speech issue - at all - it's contentious because he's not an Afghani (sp?) citizen. Either way, he's an enemy combatant, not an editor.

    (N.B. All of what I've said is based off the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org], if it is faulty than my analysis of the situation is likely to be as well.)

    --
    lds
  • by Alan Cox (27532) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @12:13PM (#10937318) Homepage
    There is a big difference between sorting material *about* a group of people or historical events than supporting them. Is a historical compilation of facts about world war II an endorsement of war ? Of course not, but you can be sure such a history would include material from the point of view of the "bad guys" because it is neccesary context.

    Turkey does have some serious human rights problems, and terror problems, and many other problems. As it moves towards the EU we can only hope that it continues to improve on that (eg it abolished the death penalty)

    Not that EU countries all have a great record either. The UK has foreigners imprisoned indefinitely without trial for example.
  • by ACNiel (604673) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @12:16PM (#10937335)
    "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have no need for anonymity."

    Slashdot needs to start posting more of these articles from around the world. The less astute among us will still cling to their lack of sensibilities on this subject, but people must start to realize that people really are persecuted for unpopular opinions (Your terrorist is my freedom fighter).

    The more pervasive we make anonymity and cryptography everywhere, the easier it will be to protect people that need or deserve to be protected.
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @01:25PM (#10937657) Homepage Journal
    Now you may scream at me for that last bit, but I'm affraid it is a simple fact which always sees men in the front line.

    That and the fact that society sees men as expendible.
  • Re:Protest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fuck_this_shit (727749) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @01:49PM (#10937755)
    amending != overthrowing
  • Re:Protest (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:39PM (#10938274) Journal
    The next evil empire will not be led by a bunch of tatooed skinheads.

    Of course not. Dubya isn't a skinhead!

  • Re:Protest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pbox (146337) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:45PM (#10938297) Journal
    As a humanist, I take issue with your narrow minded definition of morality. It is certainly not between me and my God, as there is no God. Morality is a collection of common sense rules that make a society livable for all participants. If you look hard at the Ten commandments (or the Hindu or Buddhist, etc. analog) you will see that these rules are to ease building of a functioning society. The extra fluff of having it cast in stone and carried it by Moses dude is as real as Cinderella.
  • Re:Protest (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:10PM (#10938700)
    The next time they start herding people into camps, if will be under a different flag, for different reasons, and everyone will fall in line in the name of patriotism and self-defense.

    The flag in question is the stars and stripes and the official reason is "terrorism."
  • Re:Protest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller (641174) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @09:36PM (#10939912)
    On another note I fail to see how the german laws you cite are any more stifling to free speech than laws prohibiting libel. Neonazism is tightly coupled to malicious defamation of jews - according to the laws of most countries that constitutes libel. Mentioning neonazism explicitly in the law just serves to simplify libel lawsuits.

    Or do you beleive that libel laws in america are morally equivalent to limiting the civil liberties of an ethnic minority?

    American defamation law does not protect large groups of people. To succesfully sue someone for libel (or slander), you have to defame them personally. Members of very small groups of people can sometimes sue for defamation, but "Jews", "Blacks", and "Honkies" do not have a valid claim when someone says something bad about their respective group.

    This underlines an important distinction between American understandings of free speech and European understandings of it. The American understanding is that you can never limit political expression because of what is expressed. (Not meaning to imply that we have a perfect record or anything.)

    Expressions of racism or hatred are just that, expressions. If you let government decide what expressions are allowable and what are not, then you have something more than a government... you have a Thought Police.

  • by foghorn19 (108432) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:05PM (#10940009)
    what do you have to say about Turkey's oppression of Kurds, and the specific case of the dmoz editor being punished with 10 months prison?

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