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February 02, 2011

Comments

1. Democracy in Gaza led to Hamas and its rockets. Not peace. Gaza appears to be the classic Arab democracy: "One person, one vote, one time".

2. Instability in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt will make Israel less likely to give up land, not more. No Israeli knows exactly how hostile the environment will be in 5 years. And when exactly will Iran have those nuclear tipped missiles?

3. On the idea "...we saw that regimes’ degradation of citizens’ rights, opportunities, and dignity would eventually lead to an explosion..."

Well, there hasn't been hardly any time in the past 1000 years when the Arabs of those countries had any citizens' rights, opportunities, or dignity. It may be more a matter of rising expectations than diminishing conditions.

Maybe the Israelis will give all of the Palestinians a pony, too!

With Mubarak gone, this changes everything!

Gaza appears to be the classic Arab democracy: "One person, one vote, one time".

First of all, for it to be classic, there have to be multiple examples. Which are?

Second, the reason Gaza went the way it did post-election is because the US and Israel sponsored an armed putsch to dislodge Hamas immediately post election. Which is, suffice to say, not exactly a "classical" show of respect for democracy.

Good article, but this one part needs a correction--

"when (not if) Palestinians protest non-violently for their own state or for Israeli citizenship. "

Some of them have been doing that already--non-violent protest, I mean. I don't think too many Palestinians are openly pushing for one man one vote just yet.

As for "one person one vote one time" --that's just a phrase that people of a certain ilk used to say would be true about South Africa after apartheid ended. Interesting to see it pop up here. The usual argument was that there were no African democracies, just dictatorships and so South African blacks should be grateful to be oppressed by white folk. So there is something classic here, a classic sort of argument.

Fred -
You are equating elections to democracy. While there were free elections in the Palestinian Territories, there is no democracy in Gaza. Hamas siezed Gaza by force, rules it as a thugocracy, and the US, Israel, and Egypt are complicit in their keeping 1.5 million people in prison. The status quo there has nothing to do with democratic outcomes or governance. There is no comparison to a million people demonstrating for their rights; those of us who value human rights should be supporting those demonstrators regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or nationality.

John, Palestinians don't need any more ponies. They want more cars that they can drive around freely.


Eric, et al,

A more important point out of all of this for me would be the likelihood of any other government in the Middle East, let's say a democracy, recognizing Israel and working with Israel to solve the problems it has with its neighbors(including creating a Palestinian neighbor).

In a world where every neighbor, to varying degrees, is an enemy, having one that is neutral to helping (Egypt) is a good thing despite any conflicting human rights stances. So we blame Israel for not actively creating another enemy in its backyard? Or the US for not encouraging them to? Or for not witholding military aid?

Who takes the Mubarak moment and says "This is when we take a moment to understand we ALL need to learn to live together"? All of our people yearn for freedom and prosperity that is indelibly linked to peace? Or should we just count on Israel to carry that torch?

I vote for the US AND the government formed in Egypt AND other ME governments to stand together to guarantee Israels security, then create a Palestinian solution.


I suspect that might take a few more dictators swept from power but i might be wrong.

Maybe thats been done, I am not the expert.


Hamas siezed Gaza by force

This, again, after a US-led putsch using Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan in an attempt to topple Hamas violently. Given that precursor, their actions are, if regrettable, more understandable.

http://bit.ly/cwDUz0

PS: Yes, I'm Eric, so that link is safe to click on.

Eric,
that vanity fair article was controversial when it came out, for its facts and research, not its accuracy. You shouldn't cite it as a definitive source.
I was working in the WB at the time. The Dayton program professionalized and trained the Palestinian security forces and made Israeli withdrawals from WB cities possible. Nablus, Jenin, and other cities were ruled by militas before the Dayton program. The Dayton training program wasn't a Bay of Pigs type operation to unseat Hamas militarily. You can blame US policy for a lot of things post Hamas election and post Hamas takeover, but organizing a Dahlan putsch in Gaza is not one of them. Dahlan was corrupt and he tortured Hamas leaders when he was in charge. They held grudges and were waiting for the chance to get rid of him. The acts they committed in Gaza -- executing people in the street and throwing others off of roofs -- were brutal, and understandable, I guess, in a certain way, but not a response to a US plot.

"The Dayton training program wasn't a Bay of Pigs type operation to unseat Hamas militarily. You can blame US policy for a lot of things post Hamas election and post Hamas takeover, but organizing a Dahlan putsch in Gaza is not one of them"

How would you know this, Ben? You don't really say anything that refutes the Vanity Fair article--you just tell us that Dayton "professionalized" the Palestinian security forces. Incidentally, the story about US involvement in the coup was out months before that Vanity Fair article--

link

I vote for the US AND the government formed in Egypt AND other ME governments to stand together to guarantee Israels security, then create a Palestinian solution.

So...you want a bunch of small weak countries to get together and promise to ensure the security of a much more powerful country, which has the full backing of the only superpower in the world? Do you understand how...weird that sounds?

How about if all the countries in the middle east, including Israel, commit to making it a nuclear weapon free zone, complete with an aggressive international inspections regime. Would you support that? Somehow I doubt it.

I mean, if you want a foreign government to do something, then you "voting" for it really isn't enough. People make deals when they make sense. If some future Egyptian government isn't cutting the kind of deals, you like, then your only option is to sweeten the deal. So Marty, what do you think we should do to sweeten the deal so that a future Egyptian government will bow and scrape before Israel like the US does?

The PA is not exactly a defender of free speech either--they are not real friendly towards demonstrators who express solidarity with the Egyptians--

link

And their record on torture is not great--

link

So that "professionalism" needs some work, or maybe this is what the professionalism is supposed to do--suppress dissent.

Ben,

Do you have any response to the linked materail provided by Don?

FWIW, I read about the Gaza operation before and after the VF article from multiple sources and only chose that because it comes up first when using Teh Google.

"Somehow I doubt it."

Wrong.

I don't want any government to bow and scrape, I want all of them (including the US) to understand that being perpetual enemies doesn't encourage the other guy to cut a deal.

I am not on a side here. I don't have an agenda. I just look at it from an outsiders view and see a very strong, militarily, country surrounded by avowed enemies that keep telling it to put down its gun, let us move a little closer, and then we will talk.

In a dark alley, late at night, i am not putting down my gun and letting you get in a little closer when it's the only hope I have of getting out of the alley alive.

If the guy behind me says that he won't hit me if I promise not to shoot him I make that promise right away, then I only have three sides to worry about,until he hits me anyway.

You obviously know more more about how each of these actors thinks than i do, or at least you always say you do, explain to me how keeping me pinned in the alley helps them.

Donald,
I was there and knew some of the people involved with the program. What's described in the article isn't what they were doing and the work that I was doing in Nablus and Jenin (building up women's centers and youth clubs) was increasingly successful because the Dayton program professionalized the PA security services and allowed them to deploy in Area A.

I can't present you with factual proof aside from that, but I'm sure you could go through wikileaked cables and see what was going on if you are inclined.

Ben, that doesn't really respond to anything I've read. You were building women's centers and youth clubs, which seems admirable, so I doubt you'd be kept in the loop if the American government was planning to launch a coup against Hamas. I don't plan coups, so I don't know, but I don't think I'd have told you about it.

Here's the oldest article I found--this predates the coup--

link

I just saw your link, missed it the first time. I don't doubt that Abrams and Welch wanted to do that, but there is a difference between wanting to do something, crowing that you are going to do something, and actually being able to do it. These articles and analyses are conjecture. I just skimmmed them but don't think I missed anywhere a bean counting of weapons provided, plans executed, etc. On the other hand, the Dayton program and security sector reform were briefed to Congress in detail and you can count programs, activities, and outcomes there.

We might just have to disagree on this. I believe the orginal point remains the same: human rights are universal and those of us living in a democracy should be supportive of others who want human rights and to be responsible citizens in their communities, whether that is in Gaza, Tel Aviv, Cairo, etc.

I don't want any government to bow and scrape, I want all of them (including the US) to understand that being perpetual enemies doesn't encourage the other guy to cut a deal.

Why do you assume that all of these countries don't already believe that? I mean seriously: you're writing as if you understand the situation better than people living it.

I am not on a side here. I don't have an agenda. I just look at it from an outsiders view and see a very strong, militarily, country surrounded by avowed enemies that keep telling it to put down its gun, let us move a little closer, and then we will talk.

This is the part where your argument goes off the rails: "surrounded by avowed enemies". The truth is that none of Israel's "enemies" are a real threat to it. That's true even if you pretend that Israel's vast nuclear forces don't exist. Most of Israel's neighbors have no interest in fighting with Israel. Syria has a territorial dispute with Israel, but such disputes are common the world over. Yeah, Israel has rough relations with Lebanon, but Lebanon isn't exactly a military powerhouse.

No one is telling Israel to unilaterally disarm. At most, people are asking to be treated with a consistent standard: either all countries in the middle east should be expected to give up nuclear weapons or none of them should be.

You obviously know more more about how each of these actors thinks than i do, or at least you always say you do, explain to me how keeping me pinned in the alley helps them.

Marty, your analogy makes no sense. Israel is not in any sense "pinned" down. Israel has massive conventional military superiority over its neighbors, it has large nuclear forces (while its neighbors have absolutely none), and it has the backing of the world's only superpower. To describe its situation as "pinned down" is just insane.

Well Turb, if you want to declare a nuclear free zone (your suggestion, not mine, though I don't have a problem with it) then most of what you just wrote isn't true any more.

But, beyond that, I don't agree that being surrounded by countries that don't recognize your right to exist, don't have normal relationships with you, are friends to whatever extent with your biggest security threat is inconsequential because you have nuclear weapons.

You think they might nuke Gaza? or the West Bank? or Syria? or Lebanon? Really?

I don't want to belabor this because i certainly don't have the answer, but it seems to me that a call for support for human rights and a new day in the Middle esat should be broader than just aimed at Israel.

Ben, I don't think anyone claims that Abrams and Welch succeeded--the claim is that they wanted to arm the PA in order to overthrow Hamas. There are two documents in the Palestinian papers that Al Jazeera leaked which show Dayton, Dahlan, and others meeting to discuss in secret the Gaza Strip and Hamas. link

There's nothing at all surprising about it--the US, some Fatah members and the Israeli government meeting in secret to work against Hamas (which was nominally part of that unity Palestinian government at the time). Dayton says in response to someone complaining that the US insisted on Palestinian elections--" Well, I will answer this privately at some time. I can say my government decided it was the right thing. If we were to do it again we would make sure that terror organizations cannot run, and that Fatah would be better." But it very much sounds like Dayton is doing more than just training security forces to be professional.

Anyway, those professional security forces keep torturing people and suppressing dissent. They act very much like thugs.

Well Turb, if you want to declare a nuclear free zone (your suggestion, not mine, though I don't have a problem with it) then most of what you just wrote isn't true any more.

Can you show your work: what did I write that is not true anymore?

But, beyond that, I don't agree that being surrounded by countries that don't recognize your right to exist, don't have normal relationships with you, are friends to whatever extent with your biggest security threat is inconsequential because you have nuclear weapons.

(1) Who cares what other countries think? I mean, if some countries don't care for each other, why is that a problem?

(2) Why are normal relations so vital?

(3) What do you mean when you write that Israel's neighbors are "friends" with Israel's "biggest security threat"? What specific country are you talking about and what is the nature of this "friendship"?

You think they might nuke Gaza? or the West Bank? or Syria? or Lebanon? Really?

I don't understand your question...who is "they"?

If you're asking me if I think Israel would use its nuclear weapons against an Arab country, then yes, I do. Israel had no problem leveling parts of Lebanon in 2006. Generally, countries acquire nuclear forces because they're willing to use them. If you're not willing to use them, then acquiring them is pretty dumb.

I don't want to belabor this because i certainly don't have the answer, but it seems to me that a call for support for human rights and a new day in the Middle esat should be broader than just aimed at Israel.

Platitudes mean nothing. You're avoiding my question: if you think the new Egyptian government is unwilling to act precisely as you prefer, how do you plan to entice them to act as you wish?

"You're avoiding my question: if you think the new Egyptian government is unwilling to act precisely as you prefer, how do you plan to entice them to act as you wish?"

Funny, I thought I was asking you for a suggestion as to how to get multiple Middle East governments to act as "I"* wish in only one respect. In almost every respect, I want the new government to act the way the Egyptian people want it to act.

Since each time this subject comes up you assure me you are the expert, I was wondering how to make those two things be in concert.

*And, btw, what do you wish? I could actually be on your side in that. What do you think is best for Egypt?


As far as platitudes, I was responding to this post which was mostly platitudes about Israel carrying the human rights banner in the face of all odds against, if you don't like the post tell them.

Funny, I thought I was asking you for a suggestion as to how to get multiple Middle East governments to act as "I"* wish in only one respect. In almost every respect, I want the new government to act the way the Egyptian people want it to act.

In general, when you want people to do something they're not doing, I've found that money works pretty well.

*And, btw, what do you wish? I could actually be on your side in that. What do you think is best for Egypt?

Our foreign policy with respect to Egypt is inseparable from our treatment of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian problem. So. I'd cut aid to Israel pretty drastically. I don't see why my wages should be garnished to purchase more weaponry for Israel, a country whose standard of living approaches that of the UK and has a booming economy and the most powerful military in the region. After that, I'd back the Arab peace plan; or maybe I'd push for the Geneva Accords which are somewhat similar. Either way, I'd go and make the case to the Arab world that while I wanted to see a lasting peace, I am not responsible for Israel's actions since I'm no longer bankrolling them.

After doing that, I'd publicly offer a trade with the new Egyptian government: put in place a set of public good governance measures designed to increase transparency and legitimacy and in exchange we'll offer you development assistance. What form that assistance takes depends on what the government asks for. Maybe it is a free trade pact so that American consumers can buy Egyptian cotton or linen without facing trade barriers that make them prohibively expensive. Maybe it is offering lots more student visas so that Egyptian students can come and study in the US. Maybe its funding NGOs to help dig wells or teach in schools or setup cell phone towers in poor rural areas. Maybe it is sending American experts to teach in Cairo. Either way, the government gets graded every year and if it does badly, the development assistance dries up.

I see no downside to Israel openly, unilaterally and loudly standing for democracy throughout the Middle East and extending an open invitation to meet with any democratically elected leader of any country, Muslim or otherwise, in an effort to resolve issues. The absolute worst outcome is that no one responds.

Thanks Turb, I agree with everything you wrote. Other than a detailed understanding of the two plans(I can't compare on the phone) I would support every word.

When I get to my computer I will bookmark this for reference if anyone asks in the future.

One more question? Do you believe Israels behavior changes in this scenario?

There are only two organized forces in Egypt who will be able to provide leadership: the Army and the Muslim Brotherhood. Neither one is a noted backer of democracy. I conclude democracy in Egypt is unlikely. Though I suppose they will continue to have a parliament.

Of the two, the MB is basically jihadi, and the Army is pro-Western.

It may seem pessimistic to limit the choices to a new Iran and a new Mubarak, but that's how I see it.

I think Israel missed a real opportunity here. Instead of wondering out loud that keeping Mubarek in power was in Israel's interest, Israel should have reached out, voicing support for the people and for their desire for democracy. Israel should have pointed out that there is common ground among people throughout the Middle East -- as in wanting safe, happy lives for their citizens, economic prosperity, etc. Anything to diminish the sense of The Other. Supporting the status quo can only antagonize Egyptians (as well as people in other Arab countries) and maintain Israel's boogy-man image. (Yes, I know this is like wishing for glittery unicorns, but it can't hurt to try something different.)

the MB is basically jihadi

Gah. This is just not true. Very, very wrong. They are actually anti-AQ and a very good bulwark to AQ type radicalism.

One more question? Do you believe Israels behavior changes in this scenario?

I honestly don't know; I think there's a 50/50 chance. On the other hand, I don't believe Israel's behavior will change as long as we continue supporting it no matter what.

I'd like to see us get to a point where it doesn't matter what Israel does. Israel can do its own thing and deal with the consequences. And we can do our own thing and not have to worry about Israel.

Marc Lynch is thankfully sounding a little more like his old self than his previous FP piece ("Obama is handling Egypt pretty well").

Govt of Israel has missed the boat, sure that US govt will never stop the unconditional support. They're wrong about that, but not just yet. But ice is melting...

Nell, did you see Pat Leahy's statement, very strong on cutting off aid to Egypt:

http://bit.ly/g9AKiZ

(Again, the above link is from me, so it's safe to post)

Saw it. But nodoubt Frank Wisner, HRC, Obama just view him as Professional Left.

Still welcome, opens door for weeny libs.

Also, to clarify: in my 3:22 pm comment, was referring to unconditional support to Israel. (Of which the $ to Egyptian mil big part, of course.)

Well, there hasn't been hardly any time in the past 1000 years when the Arabs of those countries had any citizens' rights, opportunities, or dignity.

Codswallop. For over half of the second millennium, the Muslim East had far greater tolerance for minority religions, better education and learning, infinitely better sanitation, a more effective and equitable legal system, and overall greater accountability from rulers to ruled than the West, which only started catching up in some areas in the seventeenth century.

Whatever our emotional attitude to Arabs, we have a responsibility not to let it distort our assessment of the historical record.

Eric:

the MB is basically jihadi

Gah. This is just not true. Very, very wrong. They are actually anti-AQ and a very good bulwark to AQ type radicalism.

Eric, is of course entirely correct. Moreover, the history of "the Muslim Brotherhood" is immensely complex, different in different countries, and it's almost as if there are many hundreds, thousands, even, even just in English, of books on this subject, and thousands of monographs, all of which can be read online by anyone interested.

But bumper stickers are always... useful for covering the bumpers of cars.

Or someone could just look at that "Wikipedia" thingie, and then just read History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

And so on.

Marty, just read this: History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (1954–present).

Now, your turn to present cites on MB "jihadi" actions in Eqypt in the past twenty years.

Or, you know, you could read up on this stuff before commenting, and save us all a lot of time. Just a suggestion. Thanks!

Gary,

Since I didn't say anything about about "jihadi" wtf?

Or did you just feel like being an ???

Ugh, Gary, I think you might have mistaken Fred for Marty.

"PS: Yes, I'm Eric, so that link is safe to click on."

You can click all you want, and nothing will ever happen.

This could easily be fixed with a few minutes work. Ditto adding the ability for every to use italics, bold, and son.

Just a few minutes work.

And a lot of links will get clicked. That's how blogging works. Most people don't cut and paste dead links; even in 2001 that was anient technology.

If you want people to click links they have to be clickable.

I can do it in a few minutes.

Marty, my apologies. I did indeed mean to write "Fred."

Use of generic names when there are millions of "Freds" and "Martys" and "Debbies" and "Janes" tend to not be helpful in being memorable handles, because they aren't, by the way. But the error was mine, and I heartily apologize.

Eric:

Nell, did you see Pat Leahy's statement, very strong on cutting off aid to Egypt:

http://bit.ly/g9AKiZ

(Again, the above link is from me, so it's safe to post).

No, I'm afraid it isn't.

First it goes here, to Bloomberg Business Week, and a piece by Julie Hirschfeld Davis entitled "U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Ending Aid Until Mubarak Out."

Why URL shortening is dangerous.

There are many sublinks I won't include, but:

[...] Manipulating visitors

URL shortening is a special kind of URL redirection, which is sometimes used in pranks, phishing, or affiliate hiding. For example, a TinyURL link could redirect to a well-known shock site. Some of these services (such as the now-defunct br.st) have started filtering all shortened links through services like Google Safe Browsing.
[edit] Linking to blacklisted domains

Many sites that accept user submitted content block links to certain domains to cut down on spam. Linking to a URL shortener that redirects to a blacklisted domain allows spammers to bypass this restriction. For this reason, known URL redirection services are often themselves added to spam blacklists.

Problems include:
The convenience offered by URL shortening also introduces potential problems, which have led to criticism of the use of these services.
[edit] International law

Shortened web links typically use foreign country domain names, and are therefore under the jurisdiction of that nation. The nation of Libya, for instance, exercised its control over the .ly domain to shut down vb.ly in October 2010 for violating Libyan pornography laws. This precedent may pose a threat to bit.ly, the most widely used URL shortener, which is also under Libyan jurisdiction. As a general matter, the use of URL shorteners and investment in URL shortening companies may reflect a lack of due diligence.[14]
[edit] Linkrot

Short URLs are subject to linkrot. In case the service stops working, all URLs related to the service will become broken. This problem is emphasized by the concern that many existing URL-shortening services may not have a sustainable business model in the long term, which was highlighted by the statement from tr.im in August 2009 (see above)[9] In Fall 2009, the Internet Archive started the "301 Works" projects, together with twenty (initially) collaborating companies, whose short URLs will be preserved by the project.[9]
[edit] Closure by Internet service provider

URL-shortening sites are sometimes shut down by their hosting Internet service provider (ISP) because of links being used for illicit purposes. For example, upon closing operations, "u.nu" announced[15]:

The last straw came on September 3, 2010, when the server was disconnected without notice by our hosting provider in response to reports of a number of links to child pornography sites. The disconnection of the server caused us serious problems, and to be honest, the level and nature of the abuse has become quite demoralizing. Given the choice between spending time and money to find a different home, or just giving up, the latter won out.

[edit] Other issues

Users may be exposed to privacy issues in that the URL-shortening service is in a position to track a user's behavior across many domains.

Short URLs add an additional layer of complexity, that is, every access requires more requests (at least one more DNS lookup and HTTP request), thereby decreasing overall reliability (as the shortening service may become unavailable), and increasing latency. Another operational limitation of URL-shortening services is that browsers do not resend POST bodies when a redirect is encountered. This can be overcome by making the service a reverse proxy, or by elaborate schemes involving cookies and buffered POST bodies. However, these techniques present both security and scaling challenges, and are therefore not used on extranets or Internet-scale services.[original research?]

A short URL obscures the target address, and as a result it is sometimes used to redirect to an unexpected site. Examples of this are rickrolling, redirecting to scam and affiliate websites, or shock sites and redirecting to malware and XSS attacks. ZoneAlarm has given the warning "TinyURL may be unsafe. This website has been known to distribute spyware." TinyURL has countered this problem by offering an option to present a link when using TinyURL, instead of redirection.[16] In addition, even if the link does not include a preview, the preview may still be accessed by simply prefixing the word "preview" to the front of the URL (Ex: http://tinyurl.com/8kmfp could be retyped as http://preview.tinyurl.com/8kmfp) to see where the link will lead. Not all protocols are shortened. Services such as Protocol Free URL Shortener made a difference in the way protocol- based URLs were being accessed. Protocols including http|https|ftp|ftps|mailto|news|mms|rtmp|rtmpt|e2dk started to be shortened by such services. Opaqueness is also used by spammers, who use such links in spam to bypass URL blacklists. TinyURL, in turn, disables spam-related links from redirecting.[17]

Some URL-shortening services support forwarding of mailto URLs, as an alternative to address munging, to avoid unwanted harvest by web crawlers or bots.
[edit] Blocking

TinyURL is reported to be blocked in Saudi Arabia.[18]

In addition, some websites have responded by blocking short, redirected URLs from being posted:

* In 2006, MySpace banned posting TinyURLs[citation needed]
* Yahoo! Answers blocks postings that contain TinyURLs[citation needed]
* In 2009, the Twitter network replaced TinyURL with Bit.ly as its default shortener of links longer than twenty-six characters[4]
* Panera Bread blocks access to TinyURL within its free Wi-Fi network[19]
* Craigslist does not appear to accept Bit.ly links in its posts.[citation needed]
* Wikipedia does not appear to accept links by any of the common (and less common) URL-shortening services in its articles.[citation needed]
* Facebook blocked TinyURL and Bit.ly links in July 2010 as part of what it called a "temporary spam prevention measure."[citation needed]

Security professionals are also suggesting users to always preview the short URLs before accessing it, especially after the shortener service cli.gs got hacked, exposing millions of users.[20]

See also Bruce Schneier.

Who is Bruce?

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a "security guru," he is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier.

His first bestseller, Applied Cryptography, explained how the arcane science of secret codes actually works, and was described by Wired as "the book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published." His book on computer and network security, Secrets and Lies, was called by Fortune "[a] jewel box of little surprises you can actually use." Beyond Fear tackles the problems of security from the small to the large: personal safety, crime, corporate security, national security. His current book, Schneier on Security, offers insight into everything from the risk of identity theft (vastly overrated) to the long-range security threat of unchecked presidential power and the surprisingly simple way to tamper-proof elections.

Regularly quoted in the media -- and subject of an Internet meme -- he has testified on security before the United States Congress on several occasions and has written articles and op eds for many major publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, Nature, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post.

Schneier also publishes a free monthly newsletter, Crypto-Gram, with over 150,000 readers. In its ten years of regular publication, Crypto-Gram has become one of the most widely read forums for free-wheeling discussions, pointed critiques, and serious debate about security. As head curmudgeon at the table, Schneier explains, debunks, and draws lessons from security stories that make the news.

And someone who has bought me dinner, and I've known him and his wife for decades.

Why URL shortening is dangerous.

[...] Manipulating visitors URL shortening is a special kind of URL redirection, which is sometimes used in pranks, phishing, or affiliate hiding. For example, a TinyURL link could redirect to a well-known shock site. Some of these services (such as the now-defunct br.st) have started filtering all shortened links through services like Google Safe Browsing.

Linking to blacklisted domains Many sites that accept user submitted content block links to certain domains to cut down on spam. Linking to a URL shortener that redirects to a blacklisted domain allows spammers to bypass this restriction. For this reason, known URL redirection services are often themselves added to spam blacklists.

Also:
International law

Shortened web links typically use foreign country domain names, and are therefore under the jurisdiction of that nation. The nation of Libya, for instance, exercised its control over the .ly domain to shut down vb.ly in October 2010 for violating Libyan pornography laws. This precedent may pose a threat to bit.ly, the most widely used URL shortener, which is also under Libyan jurisdiction. As a general matter, the use of URL shorteners and investment in URL shortening companies may reflect a lack of due diligence.[14]
[edit] Linkrot

Short URLs are subject to linkrot. In case the service stops working, all URLs related to the service will become broken. This problem is emphasized by the concern that many existing URL-shortening services may not have a sustainable business model in the long term, which was highlighted by the statement from tr.im in August 2009 (see above)[9] In Fall 2009, the Internet Archive started the "301 Works" projects, together with twenty (initially) collaborating companies, whose short URLs will be preserved by the project.[9]
[edit] Closure by Internet service provider

URL-shortening sites are sometimes shut down by their hosting Internet service provider (ISP) because of links being used for illicit purposes. For example, upon closing operations, "u.nu" announced[15]:

The last straw came on September 3, 2010, when the server was disconnected without notice by our hosting provider in response to reports of a number of links to child pornography sites. The disconnection of the server caused us serious problems, and to be honest, the level and nature of the abuse has become quite demoralizing. Given the choice between spending time and money to find a different home, or just giving up, the latter won out.

Other issues:

Users may be exposed to privacy issues in that the URL-shortening service is in a position to track a user's behavior across many domains.

Short URLs add an additional layer of complexity, that is, every access requires more requests (at least one more DNS lookup and HTTP request), thereby decreasing overall reliability (as the shortening service may become unavailable), and increasing latency. Another operational limitation of URL-shortening services is that browsers do not resend POST bodies when a redirect is encountered. This can be overcome by making the service a reverse proxy, or by elaborate schemes involving cookies and buffered POST bodies. However, these techniques present both security and scaling challenges, and are therefore not used on extranets or Internet-scale services.[original research?]

A short URL obscures the target address, and as a result it is sometimes used to redirect to an unexpected site. Examples of this are rickrolling, redirecting to scam and affiliate websites, or shock sites and redirecting to malware and XSS attacks. ZoneAlarm has given the warning "TinyURL may be unsafe. This website has been known to distribute spyware."

We could solve this in a few minutes.
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We should talk about this, but it takes more than three sentences.

Gary,

The link takes you to a story that quotes Leahy on cutting off aid. Check again.

-EM

Eric, pal, friend, buddy, countryman:

The link takes you to a story that quotes Leahy on cutting off aid. Check again.

Also, I would have deleted several comments here, but I can't, sigh.

However, http://bit.ly/g9AKiZ does go here: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-02-03/u-s-lawmakers-weigh-ending-aid-until-mubarak-out.html

U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Ending Aid Until Mubarak Out
February 03, 2011, 5:04 PM EST

[...]

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Senior members of the U.S. Congress are debating whether to halt foreign aid to Egypt as a way to hasten President Hosni Mubarak’s exit from power amid continuing protests against his three-decade rule.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the panel that controls foreign aid, said he’s prepared to stop all U.S. financial assistance to Egypt -- which topped $1.5 billion last year -- unless Mubarak steps aside immediately and allows a transitional government to take over.

“If he doesn’t leave, there will not be foreign aid; I mean, it’s as simple as that,” Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, told Bloomberg Television in an interview yesterday. U.S. money “will not go to the Mubarak administration,” Leahy said, adding, “that’s a pipeline that can easily be turned off.”

Etc.

I did check some six times now. Which part is wrong? That was what you shortened, it seems to clearly be what you wanted to link to, my URL seems to be write, was that not the story you intended to link? Puzzled.

Should I not have clarified for all where the story went, so they wouldn't have the above problems and dangers I quoted? Or...?

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