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The Internet Censorship

How Burmese Dissidents Crack Censorship 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the monks-and-the-net dept.
s-orbital writes "According to a BBC News article, "Images of saffron-robed monks leading throngs of people along the streets of Rangoon have been seeping out of a country famed for its totalitarian regime and repressive control of information. The pictures, sometimes grainy and the video footage shaky, are captured at great personal risk on mobile phones — but each represents a powerful statement of political dissent." The article goes on to tell the stories of how Burma's bloggers use proxy servers, free hosting services, and other technologies to overcome Burma's "pervasive" filtering of internet access and news."
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How Burmese Dissidents Crack Censorship

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  • In tomorrow's news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:46PM (#20762119)
    How the Burmese military crack dissidents skulls
    • Usenet (Score:2, Insightful)

      I suppose this is why the ISPs in the US and Europe have been pressured into shutting off their Usenet access. Of course systems that ship without Usenet are an active part of the problem.

      With all that is happening in the world, I see a greater need for a distributed, decentralized, asynchronous message service, not less. Of course centralized systems like myspace and facebook are the antithesis and a boon to surveilance and restriction, as are DRM'd communication and broadcasting.

      Control the flow of

  • by Anonymous Coward

    now we know what else we have to add to our filters
    security by obscurity doesnt work right ?

    your friends

    Junta
  • by gvc (167165) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:56PM (#20762191)

    Thanks in part to bloggers, this time the outside world is acutely aware of what is happening on the streets of Rangoon, Mandalay and Pakokku and is hungry for more information.


    Sure, and I'm sure that the Burmese authorities would sooner the word not get out. But the principal role of censorship -- and one for which it is effective notwithstanding a few workarounds -- is to control widespread dissemination of the information within the population.

    Consider China, for example. Sophisticated computer users can find foreign news and commentary. But the masses have successfully been kept in the dark about, say, Tiananmen Square. This ignorance helps shape public opinion and marginalize those few who have access to the information.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Consider USA, for example. Sophisticated citizens can find real news and commentary. But the masses have successfully been kept in the dark about, say, massive fraud during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. This ignorance helps shape public opinion and marginalize those few who care enough to pursue information."

      Fixed.
      • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @11:24PM (#20763625)
        The difference is that most Americans are under the illusion that we still have a free press.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          ``The difference is that most Americans are under the illusion that we still have a free press.''

          Well, I believe so, too. It's just that the news outlets are run by people who often have their own agendas. It is not hard to imagine that, in a political system where everything is either Republican or Democrat, and the Republican policies tend to coincide with the interests of the wealthy and the corporations, the news outlets the masses get their news from (large corprorations run by wealthy people) would be
        • It's not an illusion. America does have a free press. There are a few corner cases where weird laws like DMCA do chill a bit, but there's really no speech about politics that you can't get into or that you'll be punished for. (Ok, here come the replies with counter-examples.. ;-)

          Our biggest problem is just that most of the press just doesn't bother to exercise its freedom, because entertainment is more profitable than news or political discussion. And when some of the press does take advantage of its f

          • Our biggest problem is just that most of the press just doesn't bother to exercise its freedom, because entertainment is more profitable than news or political discussion.

            Well, that's certainly true to a point. I wasn't suggesting that we have actual legislation that destroys the freedom of the press. It's more an effect of having most of the media outlets in very few hands. The heads of media outlets aren't going to wreck their profits by harshly criticizing their sponsors. They also have to be carefu

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:17PM (#20762733)

      Consider China, for example. Sophisticated computer users can find foreign news and commentary. But the masses have successfully been kept in the dark about, say, Tiananmen Square. This ignorance helps shape public opinion and marginalize those few who have access to the information.
      While your general point is valid I do not believe your specific example is correct. As far as I am aware, the events in Tiananmen Square are common knowledge in China; certainly the Chinese people I've talked to know about it. What censorship has done in this case is prevented any great discussion about it, which helps prevent it from shaping opinions to the degree that it otherwise might. Suppressing knowledge of events is really hard, but suppressing their importance is considerably easier.
      • by gvc (167165) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:37PM (#20762855)
        I got this impression from Chinese graduate students I've talked to. They are generally aware that "some anarchists tried to disrupt things" but that's it. Web pages on this subject are specifically targeted by Chinese censors.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I think that fits with what I've heard. What happened is known, the greater background and political context generally is not.
    • The only reason we are hearing about Burma and we didn't hear about places like East Timor is that Burma is *full* of natural gas.
      • "The only reason we are hearing about Burma and we didn't hear about places like East Timor is that Burma is *full* of natural gas." - Say what? [bbc.co.uk]

        The dispute has now been settled, IMHO the 1974 Indonesian invasion of E. Timor was undertaken to boost Indonesian claims to the resources.

        East Timor has not had an effective goverernment for a long time and was recently on the brink of anarchy, the junta in Burma is very effective at what it does - there is no way you can possibly see the two situations as ev
    • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:58PM (#20763435)
      In western countries self-censorship by the media is often just as effective as organised censorship by an oppressive regime. George Orwell wrote about this back in the 1940s in an unpublished preface [iprimus.com.au] to Animal Farm. There are plenty of modern analyses of this though including "Manufacturing Consent" by Chomsky and Herman.

      In some ways media self-censorship is worse than state censorship, since with state censorship the populations often know they are being routinely lied to and are not getting all the facts. In countries with a free media like the US or UK, people have the illusion that they are getting all the facts and are more likely to trust what they are told. It's not always total censorship either. Sometimes the media will give a tiny mention to something that deserves an enormous amount of attention. That way they can always say they covered it when challenged. An example of this is COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org]. You're likely to have to look that up, yet if I said Watergate, which is a story which broke around the same time, you are likely to know all about it.

      Language is important too. For example, if these protesters in Burma were to take up arms, they would be correctly described as insurgents, since the definition of insurgency (in all the major dictionaries) is about trying to overthrow your own government. Insurgency is completely the wrong term (again in all the major dictionaries) for armed groups attacking an occupying force, as in Iraq. With Iraq the media desperately tries to avoid using the term Resistance (despite it being the correct term) because it reminds people of the French resistance, who were clearly the good guys. Another example is the term "Private Security Contractor". Under the Geneva conventions there is no such thing as a Private Security Contractor. There are soldiers, civilians and mercenaries. The technically correct term for these "hired soldiers" is mercenaries, yet the media almost unanimously avoids the term. Talking about Private Security Contractors sounds ok, whereas if the media kept talking about mercenaries, people might not accept their deployment so readily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mode_Locrian (1130249)
      Interestingly, at least some Burmese (generally younger people) are using the internet as a way to further their education (via online correspondence courses in other countries) since it is essentially illegal to go to college in Burma unless you are the child of a member of the military elite. Further, the idea behind this education is that they can hopefully use it to bring about social change in Burma, which need not involve the use of the internet to disseminate information.

      I probably shouldn't go i
  • Free Burma (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:56PM (#20762193)
    Get Involved in the Struggle to Free Burma!
    http://www.freeburma.org/ [freeburma.org]
    • by nick5000 (800669)
      Ouch. That link was bright.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kagura (843695)
      Free Burma? I'll take it!
      ... Hello, China? I think I've got something you might want. That's right. Alllll the tea.
  • Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:59PM (#20762217)
    Who really is being subversive in totalitarian regimes? The people or the government? The people are practitioners of freedom whilst the government employed by these people are being dissident. I say put a rifle in the hands of every able-bodied man and woman in Myanmar and see how things change.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by farkus888 (1103903) *
      a lot more people will get shot.

      I am all for freedom and a well armed public but a sudden change like that might get more people killed than deserve it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
      I say put a rifle in the hands of every able-bodied man and woman in Myanmar and see how things change.

      See...that's the problem. That would take years, and a lot of individual, personal, risk. This would have had to be done 50 years ago to be effective today.
      • by Curtman (556920)

        That would take years, and a lot of individual, personal, risk.

        And complete and total reversal of beliefs. In a predominantly Buddhist society, taking up arms against an oppressor isn't an acceptable way to express dissent.
      • I'm curious, do you feel that the possession of firearms by the citizens of the United States has in any way impeded the erosion of civil rights over the last few years?
    • Re:Who? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by plover (150551) * on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:02PM (#20762639) Homepage Journal

      I say put a rifle in the hands of every able-bodied man and woman in Myanmar and see how things change.

      That's the approach we successfully employed in Afghanistan. We taught the mujaheddin how to resist the Soviet invaders and taught them the principles of insurgency, which they haven't seem to have forgotten yet. And in Iraq, we sold peace-lovin' Saddam Hussein the weapons to defend himself against Persian aggression, which he peacefully used to help the Kurds avoid an uprising, and peacefully used to liberate Kuwait... and now we're rearming the Iraqi police to defend against those same weapons.

      So if at any point you continue to think it is a good idea for us to keep providing arms to other people, just start flipping through your history books or your newspaper. Seriously, I think a U.S. invasion would be better than a weapons deal, simply because we wouldn't leave the weapons behind after the fighting is done.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Adambomb (118938)

        Seriously, I think a U.S. invasion would be better than a weapons deal, simply because we wouldn't leave the weapons behind after the fighting is done.
        Ever seen Lord of War? Seems that munitions being left in a theater of operations was quite common as it would cost more to bring them back and re-inventory it than to simply restock. I have no idea how prevalent this would be, or whether such a cost saving measure would fly in Iraq or Afghanistan.
      • Who said we have to do it? Get Nicolas Cage [imdb.com] to do it!
      • Re:Who? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:49PM (#20763369) Homepage
        It worked for America and establishing independence from the British. However, given what has been going on in the Middle East, our success is an exception rather than the rule.

        The idea sounded great at the time. Why fight the Soviets directly when you can have these civilians do it for you, and re-gain their independence. Besides, fighting the Soviets directly *might* set off a nuclear war between us. The cold war was some scary shit back in the day!

        Giving weapons to these dissidents would be a coin toss. There's no way to know for sure what will/would happen from now. They're rational arguments to be made on both sides (for/against arming civilians). One thing we can (or I hope most of us at least) agree on however, is that the oppression must stop. It would be immoral to turn a blind eye when the world is able to do something about it. Question is, what should we do?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by upside (574799)
        Errmm... Good points right up to the last sentence. The Pentagon cannot account for 14,030 weapons sent to Iraq. [usatoday.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by plover (150551) *
          A couple of points about that. Those 14,030 weapons are among those intentionally delivered to the Iraqi police by the U.S; they do not represent the number of U.S. Army weapons that have gone "missing" or that we would "leave behind" after fighting the war (apart from arming the locals.) 14,030 may sound like a lot of weapons to people like us, (and would be enough to make Nicholas Cage rich), it's probably less than one percent of the weapons the U.S. brought into Iraq for themselves. And while that's
      • by steelfood (895457)
        Seriously, I think a U.S. invasion would be better than a weapons deal, simply because we wouldn't leave the weapons behind after the fighting is done.

        Then groups of them will buy weapons from Russia or China (but mostly Russia and ex-soviet countries), and we'll have Iraq all over again.

        Maybe the US should just leave everyone else alone, until perhaps they start asking for help? We don't see problems with Israel (though helping them has caused us other problems, but that's the price of taking sides in some
      • by greenbird (859670) *

        That's the approach we successfully employed in Afghanistan. We taught the mujaheddin how to resist the Soviet invaders and taught them the principles of insurgency, which they haven't seem to have forgotten yet.

        Hmmm...So I guess "we" (assuming you mean the US) taught them this in the early 19th century. The Afghans were pretty effective at expelling the British in 1839. As a matter of fact they were one of the only aboriginal groups to expel the British from a Colonial occupation until the mid 20th century. A little historical knowledge pretty much shows "we" didn't teach the Afghans anything. At best "we" made them a little more effective by giving a small number some training and equipment.

    • by ross.w (87751)
      Great,

      just see Rwanda, Somalia, Congo, or just about anywhere else in Central Africa for a picture of what happens when you take an unpopular, corrupt and oppressive regime and add weapons.

      Bonus points for describing how access to weapons helps people in Afganistan.
    • So how are things changing there?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by heinzkunz (1002570)
      I say put a rifle in the hands of every able-bodied man and woman in Myanmar and see how things change.

      Your ignorance is staggering. Those people are Buddhist, they won't touch your weapons. I really hope the US stay out of this.
  • no idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hurfy (735314) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:00PM (#20762223)
    I had no idea Burma was so nasty til the news blurb last night featuring those shots. Don't remember if that was a BBC or German news show on PBS. Ok, actually i didnt realize Burma still existed...

    Those are mostly monks because the gov't is scared to bash a bunch of monks protesting. Despite being isolated from most of the world even the most hard handed regime is scared of pictures of monks getting beaten :) Others are liable to get jailed or worse but they seem to get left alone if the crowd is predomiately monks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by archen (447353)
      The monks appear to be acting as a spearhead to dissidence, initially over a small squabble over gas prices it has escalated pretty far - and I believe all the monks wanted was an apology. The monks are perfectly aware at how much they are revered, and people know what while the government can dismiss any regular person as some whack job that deserved to be punished, people know for a FACT that holds no water when the police beat monk down. The monks actively tell people NOT to join them in their march.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ak3ldama (554026)

        From CNN [cnn.com] :

        The agency also reported officials as saying that two other monks had been beaten to death. A protester who was not a monk had died after being shot, it quoted Yangon General Hospital as saying.

        This regime has no respect for life of any sort, just the maintanence of their power. Th UN doesn't care about the nation or people either, just that the protests are allowed. Nothing is mentioned of the fact that the Burmese rulers are totalitarian pigs. The UN just wants the problem to disappear, not fix the problem at the cause.

        "Noting reports of the use of force and of arrests and beatings, the secretary-general calls again on authorities to exercise utmost restraint toward the peaceful demonstrations taking place, as such action can only undermine the prospects for peace, prosperity and stability in Myanmar."

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The UN is not not a coherent entity. So the UN doesn't want anything - its member states do. In this case China is holding up proceedings for tougher action whereas the US is pushing for more action. However given that UN resolutions have no power to bind nations to do its will all that can happen is the issuing of a statement or sanctions (again only if all relevant states actively participate in them). When the UN was set up it was filled with idealistic people and if the UN had real power then something
    • by XchristX (839963)
      I remember some pretty exhaustive news coverage in India about the repressive Burmese junta when I was a kid. Particularly jarring were the military junta's artificial smiley-happy demeanour betraying their desperate attempts to placate the Doordarshan journalists who were asking hard questions regarding the activism of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (they obviously did not have good PR guys unlike their counterparts in Iran/former Iraq), then cutting over to their "official broadcasts" where they calmly did an Orwel
    • Re:no idea (Score:4, Informative)

      by Spasemunki (63473) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @05:28AM (#20765607) Homepage

      Those are mostly monks because the gov't is scared to bash a bunch of monks protesting. Despite being isolated from most of the world even the most hard handed regime is scared of pictures of monks getting beaten :)


      I imagine that they are more worried about what assaulting monks would do within the country, rather than outside. Within Theravada countries- Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, etc.- support for the Buddhist monastic institution is one of the traditional duties of government. As a result, it's also one of the most important ways that you can legitimize your power if you take over in a show of force. If you're taking care of Buddhism- building monasteries, sponsoring the ordination of young men, donating conspicuously to monks and temples- then you're fulfilling the role of a legitimate government. It's more important than making the trains run on time, and certainly more important than supporting human rights that have rarely been offered significant protection by any prior government.

      In Cambodia, the Vietnamese-backed post-Khmer Rouge government started to face questions from locals about its legitimacy. It's response? Import Vietnamese-educated Khmer monks and re-establish the Cambodian sangha. Every government in SE Asia that has stepped away from its traditional role as protector and promoter of Buddhism has eventually reversed their decision in the face of unrest (except the Khmer Rouge, who were batshit insane). After a coup, there's almost always a conspicuous show of piety on the part of the new ruling party in order to help shore up their legitimacy.

      Striking or shedding the blood of a monk- particularly if it's a senior monk, who might be popularly regarded as having achieved enlightenment- is one of the worst crimes imaginable in a Buddhist society. In scriptures, it's put on a level with murdering your own mother and father, or shedding the blood of the Buddha himself. It's certainly possible that Burmese police and grunts might refuse orders to fire on or otherwise attack monks. But just as importantly, ordering the killing of Buddhist monks means that the government is repudiating its duty to protect and promote the Sangha. Even if no pictures ever made it out to the West, knowledge of such attacks would spread inside Burma, and it will kick one of the legs out from under the ruling junta, which, despite previous abuses, has tried to position itself as a protector of Buddhism in order to justify its rule.
  • Misleading title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SnoopJeDi (859765) <snoopjedi@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:01PM (#20762237)
    From TFA:

    The regime stopped focusing on policing its virtual borders after a power struggle which resulted in the ousting of former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt in October 2004, explains Mr Brussels.
    This sounds more like a case of the system breaking down and allowing people to slip through, not really people cracking some sophisticated censorship system.
    • I think once people have any access to the internet it's very difficult to entirely prevent them accessing things they're not supposed to. No matter how good your filtering tech. The way IP works just makes censorship extremely difficult.
      I think that's a big part of the reason repressive politicians, in the West as well as in Burma, are shit scared of it's potential. The internet is genuinely democratic, in its packet routing algorithms at least. This is why we need to fight against the tiered, pay-per-c
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:05PM (#20762273)
    I mean, they reincarnate over time, kinda like Doom on nightmare-difficulty.
    • by iminplaya (723125)
      ...they reincarnate over time...

      Not if their government requires permission [slashdot.org] also
    • I think that just happens because there are a lot of Arch-viles [wikipedia.org] around resurrecting the baddies. So obviously the monks will only be fine as long as the tall, scary, fast-moving entity that brings them back to life is okay, and we all know how bloody hard it is to take those out.
  • Oddly enough... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:10PM (#20762307)
    The Economist [economist.com] and CNN [cnn.com] have crystal clear pictures of the protests and the crackdown. Maybe the Beeb needs to invest in better reporters? Or is this a story on how major outlets are using pictures taken by the public, because they are cheaper and more immediate? In either case, I think the story of the protest and the crackdown are bigger stories than the graininess of the pictures thereof.
  • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@@@trashmail...net> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:27PM (#20762403) Homepage Journal

    The radical Christian blows up others and buildings.

    The radical Muslim blows himself up with others.

    The radical Budhist sets himself on fire, after he makes sure that no living things are around him to get hurt.

    • by dlockamy (597001)
      This is moderated funny..but is it?

      To me it says a lot about the current state of Christianity and Islam....well the fringe but more vocal components of each of the two.

      • by SL Baur (19540)
        Radical people who call themselves Buddhist exist too. A particular sect I had unfortunate experiences in the past with is the Soka Gakkai.

        To add to your list, a Soka Gakkai Buddhist is willing to blow everyone else up, so long as IKEDA Daisaku gets good press from it.
        • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@@@trashmail...net> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @10:00PM (#20763019) Homepage Journal
          I spent 6 years in Japan. I lived in Tohoku, down in Tokyo and Yokohama and did business there. As a Buddhist, I will tell you this, your characterization of Soka Gakkai is uncharitable, wrong, and shallow.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by WED Fan (911325)
          ...and, if I might add, smacks of the young Mormon missionaries that I met while in Japan. The swarmed the streets of Sendai, Koriyama, Morioka without the least idea of who the Japanese really are. Their expression of derision of the Buddhist and Shinto traditions was distasteful, in the least.
          • I think that's pretty typical of missionaries the world over and throughout the whole history of the Christian missionary movements. Western governments have found missionaries quite invaluable in softening up local populations so that they can be put to work stripping their lands of valuable resources.

            Probably the most loathsome form of missionary work is the "Bibles for bread" kind. That's why I wouldn't give the Salvation Army so much as a wooden nickel.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sharkey (16670)
      The radical WOWer climbs the basement stairs to empty his own pee jar.
    • by Conspicuous Coward (938979) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:08PM (#20762689)
      Go to Sri-Lanka sometime, or any other place with a majority Buddhist population. Some of the chief agitators in the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict are Buddhist monks, and the Buddhist clergy there have the same set of backwards social attitudes as clergy anywhere else. The Dali Lama ran close to a fascist regime in Nepal before the Chinese moved in, and instituted an almost fully fascist one.

      There's this this utterly blue-eyed view of Buddhists around that just doesn't tally with the facts.
      Sure Buddhism preaches non-violence and enlightenment, and that's a good thing, but it's followers are as violent and judgmental as anyone else. Christianity preaches love and forgiveness while practicing violence, repression and judgment. I don't know the details of what Islam preaches but I assume it's the same story.

      I have no problem with personal religion, but I don't have much time for churches of any ilk; giving any person the power to speak for God (or indeed the Buddha) is just foolish.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I couldnt agree more. Since Buddhism originated in India, there are innumerable factual and anecdotal accounts (not available in English), of Buddhism being evangelized on Hindus by the threat of the sword, by royal fiat. bribery etc. Emperor Ashoka, one of the key royal figures in Buddhist history, was an atavistic, sadistic, maniacal tyrant before embracing Buddhism in a fit of guilt. But right after doing this, he adopted the same martial tactics in evagelizing Buddhism across the Asian continent, turnin
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Spasemunki (63473)

        The Dali Lama ran close to a fascist regime in Nepal before the Chinese moved in, and instituted an almost fully fascist one.

        Actually, the Dalai Lama was the nominal head of a medieval regime in Tibet. Though regents ruled in his place for most of his life prior to exile.

        Critics are right to point out that Tibet was no land of milk and honey before the Chinese invasion. It also wasn't nearly as brutal and repressive as the Chinese would have you believe- for one thing, there wasn't enough centralization o

    • by stuntpope (19736)
      What about these Buddhists?

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/472155.stm [bbc.co.uk]
  • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@@@trashmail...net> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:29PM (#20762419) Homepage Journal
    Aung San Suu Kyi has said, "Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts. The fear of losing power corrupts."
  • It's for stopping people bashing the bishop instead.

    Sorry, I deserve to burn in hell/be reincarnated as a dung beetle for that one...
  • I'm suprised no-one has asked this question yet.

    Is there anything we can do to help them? Anyone have any ideas?
    • by Miniluv (165290) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:01PM (#20762633) Homepage
      Yes, lobby your government to stop taking a wait and see approach to human rights violations by illegal governments in third world countries. Tell them you won't abide them abandoning legitimate attempts to overthrow said regimes if there isn't oil in the country (see Burma, 1988). Barring that? Give money to groups like Amnesty International and the ICRC who do their best to document human rights abuses by any country they find doing them, even if its an unpleasant truth to have to hear.
      • For three reasons:

        • 1) There is no oil there.
        • 2) We would have to use our own troops.
        • 3) Some of our voters and the companies the own trade with them.
        • In regards to your first point, Burma does in fact have a significant amount of oil and natural gas. This is sold by the Junta to China and probably the main reason for China's reluctance to do anything about the current situation.

          • by yuna49 (905461)
            A commentator on the Diane Rehm show [wamu.org] talked about China's strategic interest in Burma as well as China's desire for Burma's energy and other resources. Having Burma as a client gives landlocked areas in southern China direct access to the Indian Ocean. Apparently the Chinese have been investing substantially in the development of Burma's infrastructure to facilitate this access. A Burmese client also gives China more leverage in Southeast Asia where it hopes to expand its sphere of influence.
        • by NetNed (955141)
          Yea thanks for clearing that up cap'n blame the US. BTW what is "the own trade"? How the hell does that get a five?
      • This might be a repressive and inhumane government, but there is no such thing as an "illegal" government. I think many governments in this case (and in other cases of third world nations) take a wait and see approach because they're the ones who screwed things up in the first place (e.g. western colonialism). It's not always a good idea for them to get involved. If there were any semblance of international human rights law left you might have a point, but as the US has been so exemplary in undermining prac
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Stop shooting heroin. Burma is one of the (if not the) largest producer of Opium in the world. Stop shooting smack if you want to hurt the Burmese Junta.

      Seriously though, the only way to get through to the Burmese leadership is through their (few) trading partners - India, China, and Russia.

      India can hopefully be brought onboard to apply economic sanctions against Burma. Unfortunately the Indian government seems to place more importance on oil & gas resources than on human rights (just days ago they sig
    • by CnlPepper (140772)
      I did actually mean technological solutions to evade the censorship mechanisms. eg proxies, Tor etc...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You can listen once to a treasonous speech, but then the file is no longer accessible. Oh, and you can't get it out of the computer.
  • tpb does its part (Score:2, Interesting)

    by deftcoder (1090261)
    I noticed a link today on http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org] pointing to http://www.freeburma.org/ [freeburma.org] !
  • Call it Burma (Score:5, Informative)

    by spoonboy42 (146048) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:56PM (#20762611)
    Noticing a tag about the name "Myanmar", I thought I'd explain the controversy over the country's name. The official name of Burma was changed to Myanmar by the ruling military junta. Since the pro-democracy movement doesn't recognize the legitimacy of military rule, they and their supporters around the world continue to use the name Burma.
    • Re:Call it Burma (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellie (949898) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:42PM (#20762893)
      Since we're on the topic of names, I might as well add that some countries, like the US and UK, use "Burma", whereas the UN (perhaps for diplomatic reasons) uses "Myanmar". Most refer to the people of the country and the official language as "Burmese". And, for what it's worth, the name of the country actually sounds more like "Myanmar" than "Burma" - apparently the latter was a poor transliteration.
      • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
        ``And, for what it's worth, the name of the country actually sounds more like "Myanmar" than "Burma" - apparently the latter was a poor transliteration.''

        Understandable. The keys are right next to one another.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by okdrdave (1138727)
      I second this. I lived in Thailand for over a year, working in a refugee camp for Karen refugees from Burma (I volunteered for Doctors Without Borders, or MSF for those who know). Most folks who lived on the border of Burma, or who supported those fighting for their rights in Burma, use Burma rather than Myanmar. The only people who use the word Myanmar are those who support the regime, and those ignorant of the country and the struggles going on there. I am more than a little worried about what will ha
    • by Pope (17780)
      So can we get a ruling on "Chinese Taipei" vs. "Taiwan" ? ;) It's funny watching billiards matches broadcast from the UK, the announcers always referring to the former.
  • covered this on the weekend [bbc.co.uk] ...

    The police write down the number plates of cars on certain roads. Informers watch every street corner. E-mail is restricted too - Yahoo and Gmail accounts are often blocked. Well, half blocked. For all the security and the fear, this is not a competently-run country. And it is not China. Hotels and internet cafes use dozens of proxy servers to bypass the government's crude attempts to police the internet.

  • by hwstar (35834) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:52PM (#20762963)
    Just before the real violence occurs. The two ISP's will shut down, all mobile phone basestations will be turned off, Commercial two way, CB, and ham frequencies will be jammed, and smoke generators will be used to obscure viewing by spy satellites.

  • by maz2331 (1104901)
    Air drop a LOT of rifles, ammo, and a few artillery pieces to the oppressed.
    • by hwstar (35834)
      That might make China very unhappy. China has a vested interest in keeping the Junta in place. In fact, it might be viewed as an act of war by China if the G7 does such a thing. China depends upon Burma/Myanmar for access to the Indian ocean, and for raw goods such as timber.

    • by sherriw (794536)
      Buddhist monks are non-violent. You may get some of the citizens using those, but not the monks. In fact, the monks have been urging citizens to stay out of it.
  • There is hope for humanity, after all.

    I just wish the democratically elected government would give in a little on this non-aggression stance they have. There's a time to be all Ghandi and MLK, but it's been over 20 years. Fight BACK.
  • Well I don't see anything wrong with the censoring of crack.
    Crack kills!
  • Burma? (Score:2, Funny)

    by n6kuy (172098)
    Shaving brushes,
    You'll soon see 'em,
    On a shelf
    In a museum.

    Myanmar-Shave.
    • by n6kuy (172098)
      If I had taken more time to find a Burma-Shave poem, I coulda used this one that's more Slashdot-appropriate....

      These signs
      We gladly
      Dedicate
      To men who've had
      No date of late

      Burma-Shave
  • Remember (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:09AM (#20764987) Homepage Journal
    ``The article goes on to tell the stories of how Burma's bloggers use proxy servers, free hosting services, and other technologies''

    Remember this next time someone proposes to take this or some other security/anonimity technology (e.g. cryptography) away from you. These are important instruments of freedom!

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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