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Comment Re:As if America has a great track record either? (Score 1) 459 459

That's an odd remark. The US actually accepted Iran's help in Afghanistan(assembling the alliance with the north) in 2001, but then proceeded by ignoring the gesture and declaring Iran part of the axis of evil. They also accepted Iran's help in Bosnia in the nineties, sending arms, and followed up by ignoring the gesture. That's the actual pattern.

Comment Re:It isn't about the geopolitics (Score 1) 459 459

It is about geopolitics. The whole trumped up nuclear dossier was about geopolitics, not about nukes. The US and its allies has tried to break Iran for 35 years and now it has elevated Iran to a legitimate state, against the will of its regional allies.The US can claim it's not about geopolitics, but that's a sales argument.

Comment Re:Nukes a waste for Iran anyway (Score 1) 459 459

Iran always saw benefit in the capability to build nukes, but not in nukes themselves. The capability means strength, and if you look at their neighbors, they can use strength. In that respect a nuclear system under credible IAEA control is in their benefit , because scaremongering about an iranian program can have the same proliferating effect as actually working on them. Now that proliferating effect must not be very strong considering more than 20 years of doomsday propaganda, The civilian nuclear program was just that, civilian, but the side effect was some degree of nuclear weapons capability, and that was welcome.It is also legitimate.

But despite all the show, the real concerns of some neighbors aren't nukes, it's Iranian strength. And Iran just got a lot more strength. Not all the neighbors seem to be too much bothered by that, but some oil monarchies are, as well as Israel.For reasons that are rarely spelled out.

Comment Re:Government keeps an eye on political organisati (Score 4, Interesting) 112 112

I don't mean to be overly critical about the western human rights record but that's not the reason,
that AI or HRW are not very critical. Internally western countries are better off, that's not the issue.
As soon as you check the criticism that should be made, AI and HRW come off as pretty weak. If you count the allies in the western camp it's already disastrous. If you count the external actions of the western camp. also a disaster.

Another poster mentions the drone war. It's a good example because nobody in the west is bothered much by that. To us it feels like a minor issue, a necessary evil and not much of a big deal anyway. So neither is Amnesty bothered. You should check the legality. You should check polls in the arab world about them. You should check the effectiveness(I think 2%) and the strategic effect of them, it's pretty much putting out fire with gasoline.

One reason you think western actions are alright is because you rely on western sources for your judgement. There's a good variety of western sources in principle, but all those that rise to the top are mediocre. You almost need to go to cantankerous antisocial radicals to get a decent view. There's this kind of cascading effect where people right at the source are already being very measured in order not to be dismissed. And then every level it goes through more filtering occurs. So a watered down report may be published by AI, but then they don't make too much noise about it, and then the press filter it again.

At the moment there's Yemen. Not particularly an AI/HRW issue but at least it gives a good idea of what I think :)
It's pretty much a one sided invasion with a complete cutoff of all resources: 90% of the food has to be imported through the ports so you've got instant famine. What do we hear at the end of the line? Some kind of proxy war between Saudis and Iran, which is two lies in a few words. Iran is hardly involved and it's not a proxy war at all. Just the Saudis attacking because of some peace agreement they didn't like.
So in principle all human rights organisations should be yelling bloody murder.
Instead this kind of reaction is considered a radical opinion that doesn't fall in the range of reasonable /publishable opinions.

Comment Re:Government keeps an eye on political organisati (Score 4, Interesting) 112 112

Overwhelming majority of Amnesty's work serves western powers rather than the other way round. Which explains why things can happen like someone in the US state department taking over the lead in Amnesty US (Suzanne Nossel).
They're very weak in their criticism of western targets.

Comment Re:pardon my french, but "duh" (Score 1) 288 288

I suppose, it's important to acknowledge that there's a solid negative aspect to every change. But you're juggling with a lot of factors and it may happen you have to trade off that value a lot of the time. And it may happen that in the end all your decisions are the same than if you'd just completely ignored the change aspect. But in practice a bunch of small changes will be delayed or omitted because they don't add enough value.

I think the bulk of the compromises are often elsewhere: investing a lot in new features and too little in stabilizing and improving what exists.

Comment Re:pardon my french, but "duh" (Score 1) 288 288

It's often a good policy with GUI to say 'change is bad'.
Change in itself is bad, so you better have a very good reason so that the improvements of new interface make the change worthwhile.
This does mean a lot of changes have to wait or are abandoned altogether, and it means existing shortcomings are deliberately left in the program.
It's a balancing act. Is this improvement important enough for people to go through a process of adaptation to it?

Then again, I would not call fixes 'change'. If a fix doesn't change the intended logic of GUI, if it doesn't cause the program to behave different from expectation, then it's just a fix.

Comment Re:Iran is not trying to save money (Score 1) 409 409

Don't get me wrong. The mullahs are no saints. The Iranian regime is tyrannical and brutal.

You're sure you're not trying to hard to be reasonable and balanced?

The Iranian regime does not look all that tyrannical to me if you compare to the neighborhood, but then I also think they never had a nuclear weapons program, so that may be a bit too much to swallow for reasonable people, especially if you take in account the rough neighborhood they're in.

Comment Two layers of propaganda (Score 2, Interesting) 157 157

It's useful to keep in mind there's two layers to the Snowden-betrayal array of claims.
- There's the claims that he did damage.
- there's the underlaying claim that this proves that he did wrong.

In fact whenever a whistleblower comes out, there will be some damage in some areas. The same applies to journalism. Whenever you expose wrongdoings or questionable practices from those in charge it can be argued this helps the enemy, even if only by tarring the image of the government. But I think the main point is, it should be considered an acceptable cost of transparency of governance. Transparency has been embedded in the US constitution 200 years ago for a reason. Mostly, those accusing Snowden don't understand that reason, or see no reason to bother with it. Transparency means that to some extent the governing still represent the governed(although you need to close the feedbackloop to really achieve that).

So yes, I think the claims that Snowden damaged the US foreign policy are wildly out of proportion, but I also think that as long as some precautions were taken to limit damage done, then it's acceptable. That should be the general attitude towards whistleblowers: that some damage due to disclosures is acceptable, worth it.

A man is known by the company he organizes. -- Ambrose Bierce

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