Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Piracy Politics Your Rights Online

Slovenian Ambassador Regrets Signing ACTA Agreement 149

Posted by timothy
from the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dept.
metacell writes "Slovenia's ambassador to Japan, Helena Drnovek Zorko, writes: 'I signed ACTA out of civic carelessness, because I did not pay enough attention. Quite simply, I did not clearly connect the agreement I had been instructed to sign with the agreement that, according to my own civic conviction, limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slovenian Ambassador Regrets Signing ACTA Agreement

Comments Filter:
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:01PM (#38903863)

    Can't get SOPA/PIPA passed? Just get a diplomat from the USA to sign ACTA and all you need is a 2/3 majority in the Senate with no need for the House or President to sign off. Still a tall burden but there's much fewer Senators you need to purchase versus half the House.

    • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:05PM (#38903887)

      The President has already signed it and is claiming the Senate doesn't need to ratify it because "executive agreement" is all you need.

      Handy theory because you only have to influence one person.

      This is why we need this to come before the Senate so it can be voted down.

      • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:16PM (#38904013) Journal

        The President has already signed it and is claiming the Senate doesn't need to ratify it because "executive agreement" is all you need.

        So, when do we impeach Obama for violating his oath to uphold the Constitution?

        • by spidercoz (947220)
          Couldn't make the case. The NDAA on the other hand...
        • by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:32PM (#38904221) Journal

          About the same time the last 6 presidents were impeached for similar behavior...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by orgelspieler (865795)
            Nah. We only impeach presidents for canoodling the secretary.
            • by Obfuscant (592200)
              No, we impeach them for obstruction of justice and lying under oath. What they lied about isn't relevant.
              • No, we impeach them for obstruction of justice and lying under oath. What they lied about isn't relevant.

                For Bob's sake, man, if that were the only criterion we'd have thrown most of the bums into prison, regardless of party affiliation. "Obstruction of justice and lying under oath" might have been the legal crux of the argument, but that was certainly not what Clinton was being impeached for -- he was impeached for riling too many of the wrong people in Congress (and the people who pull Congress's strings).

                The Chinese talk about the Mandate of Heaven [wikipedia.org], putting religious clothing on the old political argument

            • i thought it was cigardling
        • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:42PM (#38904371)

          The precedent for agreeing to treaties this way goes back to George Washington's neutrality proclamation in 1793. You would have to retroactively impeach EVERY US President first to have a case against Mr. Obama.

          In actual practice due to the way the Constitution is written the only thing the Senate has is a veto power over treaties.

          http://www.press.umich.edu/pdf/9780472116874-ch1.pdf [umich.edu]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Hell, Obama already signed into law the ability for the gov to take you away without a fair trial or even informing anyone of your disappearance.

          Obama signed it saying he would never use it and disagrees with it...

          So why did the dumb fuck sign it?

          This country is corrupt as shit. Fuck America in its mouth. The constitution is worthless.

          Btw a reporter was arrested in congress yesterday.

        • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:52PM (#38904503)

          Because you would be considered an idiot for claiming this was unconstitutional. The executive branch can, and does sign international treaties. It is well within their authority to do so. There are three types of treaties in the U.S.

          Congressional-Executive Agreements
          Solo Executive Agreements
          Treaties

          If the president has signed one without the direct consent of congress, it is considered either a Solo Executive Agreement, or a Congressional Executive agreement. The U.S. also differs from most other nations in that they treat each of the above types of treaties as distinct classes and the treaty is incorporated into federal law, and as such, congress can go in and modify them after the fact, even though other signing nations would consider this a violation of the treaty in question. The Supreme Court can also hold a treaty as unconstitutional and null and void.

          The authority of the president to do this is well known. Congress has attempted over the years to limit this authority with various versions of the Bicker Amendment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bricker_Amendment#Legal_background) but it has never been ratified by enough states.

          • So we may find out that this whole thing wasn't really the U.S. telling everyone else how to act. It was just a few isolated morons within the administration... "don't tase me for destroying your freedoms yo."
          • by rtb61 (674572)

            The catch there is, whilst it is that many countries legalise the ability for governments to sign treaties at no stage what so over does that give governments the ability to sign treaties that over rule their constitutions.

            So in the case of a US President signing a treaty with a foreign government that enacted a law that was against the constitution, that President would be treading dangerously close to treason.

            No treaty ever over rules a countries constitution and it would be illegal to enact that tre

            • by DJRumpy (1345787)

              It would not be treason. You are being overly dramatic. There have been thousands of bills that were later overturned as unconstitutional. Can you cite a single case where the author of the bill was held for treason? Theatrics aside, the treaty would simply be held null and void if it violated the constitution, and that is a matter for the courts to decide. That was why I also stated that the Supreme Court can rule a treaty as unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

        • by Bucky24 (1943328)
          "The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

          http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html [archives.gov]

          Now, I think they might be able to get him on bribery. But "they" could be got for bribery as well, so that's unlikely. Seems like failing to uphold the constitution should be an impeachable offence, but I guess when it was written the
        • by Sloppy (14984)

          I'm not sure that's necessary in this case. If it's just an executive agreement and doesn't need to be ratified, then it's just an executive agreement and doesn't need to be ratified. It's not binding, has no legal power, and thus isn't threatening to constitutional limits.

          All we have to do is keep reminding the executive that it really is merely his handshake deal, and legislated policy need not change to comply with it. If he goes to Congress and says he needs some crazy new laws to comply with the 'tr

          • by metacell (523607)

            You're right, of course, but it puts Congress in a precarious situation. It's embarassing and will hurt the credibility of the USA if the president signs international treaties which the nation then fails to comply with.

        • If Congress doesn't like it, they are most certainly free to create a bill that strips the government of any capacity to enact any policy based on ACTA. No need to impeach. Of course, since a goodly number of member of Congress are probably in full accord, it's little wonder they're not upset at being deprived of the right to rubberstamp this agreement.

        • When he started that war against Libya with congressional approval... oh wait...

      • by russotto (537200)

        This is why we need this to come before the Senate so it can be voted down.

        The Senate will probably acceed to it if it comes up to a vote. What we need is for the executive to try to use it in court without Senate approval and get smacked down.

        • It won't get smacked down in court because of prior precedence for these 'executive agreements'.

          The only way to put an end to it is by a failed Senate ratification vote.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought trade agreements were subject to a degree of scrutiny beyond the mere wave of a diplomats hand? For example NAFTA and FTAA...

  • Hanlon was right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) * on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:03PM (#38903879) Homepage Journal
    Don't attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity
    • by cpghost (719344) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:15PM (#38904001) Homepage
      In this particular case, this ambassador may not have acted out of malice (she's just one little cog in a giant machine and couldn't have prevented it anyway), but the government that ordered her to sign it certainly intended to harm Internet. There's no doubt about this. After all, ACTA has been negotiated for a long time, and those responsible in the governments knew full well all the objections that have been brought against it. So Hanlon wasn't right here: ACTA was born out of malice, not out of stupidity.
      • Re:Hanlon was right (Score:4, Interesting)

        by spidercoz (947220) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:22PM (#38904091) Journal

        ... ACTA was born out of malice, not out of stupidity.

        Correct. But the people agreeing to it are stupid.

      • by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:22PM (#38904093)
        Yeah, that went over really well at Nuremburg, too, ya know.
    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:19PM (#38904045)

      Sometimes stupidity is malice. Like when you're too uniformed, untrained, and unmotivated to do your very important job properly. Not admitting that and stepping down is malice.

      • by ignavus (213578)

        Sometimes stupidity is malice. Like when you're too uniformed, untrained, and unmotivated to do your very important job properly. Not admitting that and stepping down is malice.

        And sometimes malice is malice ... when you are a paranoid government in cahoots with a paranoid entertainment industry who want to stomp on all that Internet freedom, and turn it into a "manageable" broadcast medium, where only the big corporations are free to issue content.

    • Sorry, no.

      Always assume malice. Then when you rule out malice, assume corruption. Then when you rule out corruption, assume greed. Then when you rule out greed, you've spent enough time that by now the malice actually showed up after all.

      Then if you rule all that out twice, you get to consider someone stupid, at which point you get sued for slander/libel.

      • First off, greed and corruption are the same thing - one is the motive for the other.
        Now, if it was all corruption it would be a very simply problem - simply pay more to have it your way.
        After all, the subject is motivated only by greed and self interest, right?

        Malice is fine but.. you can't rally people around malice. Note the lack of "hate clubs" in any society - as opposed to fan clubs.
        Humans are social animals. We like to be the part of the herd we like for what we like to like. And be liked because of

        • Hi there. Nice reply. Here's some notes.

          Let's say corruption is "correlated with greed". I would like to point out the class of greed that operates flawlessly legally, like Chinese labor rates and Foxconn (sp?) hiring *100,000* new workers who are *glad* to go there. As legal as it gets - and the offshoring greed is immense. 100,000 workers is something like 1/2000th of the entire working US population. (Your numbers may vary.)

          Yes you can rally people both around malice, and against malice. K Street in Wash

          • by denzacar (181829)

            See... If I was suspecting malice, I'd go with you puling a couple of ignoratio elenchi on me there.
            But I'm guessing that it is rather the case of you and me having different understanding of the topic of the discussion.
            I.e. You think that we are discussing one facet of the subject, while I am talking about another facet thinking that you are referring to the SAME facet as I am.

            Case in point...

            Let's say corruption is "correlated with greed". I would like to point out the class of greed that operates flawlessly legally, like Chinese labor rates and Foxconn (sp?) hiring *100,000* new workers who are *glad* to go there. As legal as it gets - and the offshoring greed is immense

            Of course greed "operates flawlessly", legally or illegally as a motivator for an individual - but I was talking ab

            • Thank you for the nice long reply. Here's some notes.

              When I said "class of greed that operates flawlessly legally", I meant it to be read:
              class of greed that operates (flawlessly legally),
              and you came up with an answer to the equally interesting
              class of greed that (operates flawlessly) legally,
              so that's a case of 'nice answer to something else'.

              By that phrase I meant about the Executives of corporations clearly demonstrating greed by using loopholes etc, such that they didn't cross the legal

  • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:05PM (#38903899) Journal

    Applies even more to politicians than it does to the average joe.

  • Actions have consequences, maybe if you were qualified to be an adult, let alone someone with government powers, you would know that

    • Wow. There's some bitter people on Slashdot. I guess I should have known that someone admitting to a mistake would get excoriated even more so than someone who just keeps arguing that they were right all along. I guess that explains why people like Newt are actually being voted for - there are more people out there who will swallow someone's story about how they were right all along than who will forgive someone who admits to a mistake.

      • We're bitter because "not all mistakes are created equal". We're bitter because 40-60% of the Slashdot Nerd News site knows more of the content of one of the nastiest treaties ever, than ... wait for it ... an Ambassador.

        Sorry, that's just terr... er ... scary.

  • In other news.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:09PM (#38903945)

    It's easier to ask for forgiveness then permission.

    • Re:In other news.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by jank1887 (815982) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:56PM (#38905489)

      but she had permission. Actually, she had 'instructions' from her government to sign it. And, it's disingenuous that now she's being the one taken to task for putting her name on the paper, when clearly others were responsible for the decision. Yes, she could have stepped down, someone else would have signed it after given other instructions, and we'd be right where we are, lambasting whichever other official put his signature on it. This avoids the source of the problem, and Slashdot is contributing to the confusion, by focusing on the Ambassador.

      FTFA:

      I signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia, following the directive and authorisation of the Slovenian government. ... There has been a demonization of “some sneak”, that is me, who in far-off Tokyo secretly signed something on her own initiative...it is dangerous particularly because it conceals the responsibility of those who had the power to decide, and did in fact decide, that Slovenia would be a signatory of ACTA. This was decided by the Slovenian government and by the parliamentary committee for EU matters, and before that, Slovenia was for quite some time involved in coordinating the agreement. All this was done with too little transparency, judging by the outraged responses that have appeared following the signing. Back then, the Slovenian media did not demonise this decision to the same extent as they now demonise my signature. This I consider very dangerous for the continuous (non-)development of democracy in Slovenia.

      • FTFA:

        I don’t know how many options I had with regard to not signing, but I could have tried. I did not. I missed an opportunity to fight for the right of conscientious objection on the part of us bureaucrats.

        Exactly, she is saying that, had she been more aware of the fact that many Solvenians do not want to be a party to ACTA, she might have been able to find some legal recourse to refuse to sign the agreement.

        It's likely that even had she refused to sign, she would have been subsequently compelled to do so by her superiors in government.

  • What a fucking douchebag!
  • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:14PM (#38903993) Homepage Journal

    Dudes, like... you know... all the cool countries were signing it, and they were like, you know... "Sign it, man! Go ahead! It'll be fun!"

    So, like, I signed it but now I'm like, really sorry and everything, you know? So we're cool, right?

  • Maybe you should have thought about that first BEFORE signing?

    It's so reassuring to know that these thoughtless people rule our world.

  • Light Applause (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:19PM (#38904053) Homepage Journal

    You recognised it was folly. Well done.

    You recognised it a bit late. Not so well done.

    Go void it.

    • Or void *on* it, if you know what I mean.

    • by Xest (935314)

      She doesn't have the power to void the signing, nor did she have the power to decide whether Slovenia should be a signatory.

      She was merely the person who was sent to perform the physical act of signing it, all she is saying is that she wishes in hindsight that she'd have stepped down and joined the unemployment line rather than sign it.

      If she hadn't signed it someone else would have, but good on her for admitting she should have at least stood up and made a point at the time- she's done the next best thing

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:21PM (#38904071)

    I thought the problem of politicians signing stuff before they read it was limited to the US Congress. Looks like it's a global phenomenon. Could you imagine if other people did that?

    Pharmacist: "Yes, those drugs I dispensed killed people. I probably should have read the labels so I didn't give people the wrong dose or pills." (Said while handing a customer Viagra instead of antibiotics.)

    Surgeon: "How was I to know that the patient didn't need a quadruple amputation? I didn't get a chance to read his chart before starting the surgery. Next patient! Pass the hacksaw!"

    Air Traffic Controller: "Sure, a few planes collided in my airspace. It's not like it's my fault. I had no way of knowing that was going to happen when I instructed them to land without reading what was on the tracking computer. Ok, flights 54321, 31415, and 424242. You're all clear to land on runway (rolls dice) 5."

    • by Hadlock (143607) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:26PM (#38904149) Homepage Journal

      I think all legislation should be read aloud by the leading party member of whoever introduced it, and all legislators must be present the entire time before voting on it.

      • by spidercoz (947220) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:36PM (#38904297) Journal

        ...and all legislators must be present the entire time...

        And awake.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No way, they'd all die of caffeine overdose before one bill was done reading.

          Wait.

          On second thought, I like this plan.

          • ...and all legislators must be present the entire time...

            And awake.

            No way, they'd all die of caffeine overdose before one bill was done reading.

            Then some other paid-for schmoe would take their place. No, no, the better option for keeping them awake throughout the reading of the bill is to attach electrodes to their genitals and shock them whenever they nod off.

            It would be more humane than the social fallout we are all having to deal with (worldwide, I might add) from them passing any old bill that comes through without even reading it .

            Hell, I'm a translator, and I'd suffer pretty bad consequences if I tried to breeze through my job without readi

      • by Amouth (879122)

        Personally i think they should only be allowed to sign off one a personal hand written copy of it.

        they would have zero excuse for not knowing the content as they would have had to read it to copy it.

        they would be a lot shorter and easier to understand as they would have to copy it them selves..

        pork would start to disappear because people don't want to have to sit down and copy that too..

      • by Mista2 (1093071)

        It would sure as hell encourage the legislation to be shorter 8)

    • by spidercoz (947220)

      I thought the problem of politicians signing stuff before they read it was limited to the US Congress.

      Why in the world would you think that?

    • Very good analogies.

    • I thought the problem of politicians signing stuff before they read it was limited to the US Congress.

      You Americans think you're so special. Well we have lying, greedy, lazy, corrupt politicians, too!
      Why don't we have a race, Europe vs. USA. The ones with the most vile, disgusting politician (must be elected into office) wins.

      • Sadly, there are times when I think our politicians have a race like that going on. I don't know who's winning but I know the citizens of the countries are the ones who are losing!

  • by golden age villain (1607173) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:24PM (#38904115)
    I signed without reading it, honest... So sorry folks! If only I had known before.
  • by Per Wigren (5315) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:29PM (#38904183) Homepage
    This may actually turn out to be a good thing. If the politicians who are about to sign ACTA in june read it, maybe, just maybe, her letter will make them think twice and at least TRY to understand what the heck it's all about instead of just voting yes out of ignorance.
  • by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:30PM (#38904199) Homepage

    This sort of approach really does get you the best of both worlds: you get to sign the agreement so you get all the backscratching that entails, and you get to publicly decry it, so you get the support of your constituents!

    Politicking 101

  • by erroneus (253617) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:33PM (#38904257) Homepage

    I think we are going to see a LOT more of this. "Oh, I signed it but I didn't know what I was signing... and I wasn't paying any attention to the protests going on outside of my windows either..."

    I'm sorry, but no. I don't buy it. And if it were true, that it was some kind of "honest mistake" then they need to resign from office and forever from public service because they just admitted to not doing their job.

  • We need to download all content and never EVER buy a single copy of entertainment material ever again. This won't end until we are all criminals and stripped of our right to vote or to protest. Meanwhile, we keep buying what they are selling, fueling their politician-buying budgets to buy new laws which are then used against us.

    Of course, stopping now will not do any good... the words "critical mass" come to mind. They are already out of control. Their high profitability doesn't prove their arguments ar

    • by Mista2 (1093071)

      I dont buy their DVDs or watch their TV now, so why would taking EZTV down change that?

  • I love it! Now we just need to communicate his message. "ACTA hurts the children. Won't someone please think of the children!"
  • How does it go again? Easier to apologize than just doing the right thing in the first place?

  • Sure he's sorry about signing it, but he can't un-sign it now that he's been given his pay cheque
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:38PM (#38907319)

    ...so I speak as a citizen of a country that has been part of the EU for 7-8 years, and as a citizen of a country who has just joined the EU (signed the agreement, joining in 2013).

    This is not malice, or stupidity. Slovenia is a new member-state of the EU. And, because of that status, I believe the government is compelled to follow EU instructions without much objection.

    The EU has become a political union, controlled by an EU Commission (which no one elects) and the EU President, who is elected by the Commission. Oh yeah, and the members of the Commission are picked and appointed by the EU President.

    EU uses political and economical (since they control how much each country is allowed to borrow, and in this recession it is important that countries get as much as they can) pressure to have countries to whatever the EU wants. For example, many countries were denied a referendum to see whether the people want to join or not. They had a referendum in the Netherlands and France (I believe) and both those peoples said "NO" to the EU. The EU and the respective governments decided to ignore those referendums. In other countries, like Croatia, there was a referendum, but there was so much disinformation and propaganda going on that it was clear that it would pass. Around 40% of Croatians came out to the referendum. According to our original constitution from 1991/2, to have a referendum count you have to have 70%+ people come out. This, of course, was changed so that referendums like these can pass.

    It is clear that the EU wants this to pass and it did. The only country that hasn't signed it is Poland. But, unfortunately, there will be consequences for Poland because of that. The EU has made it clear (you can read on their website) that they will require every country to have "compatible" laws to the EU's laws, and that if a country doesn't, they will use political and economical means to force them to.

    The Slovenian ambassador takes her orders from the Slovenian government, the Slovenian government takes their orders from the EU Commission. The EU parliament rubber-stamps any decisions of the Commission with little opposition. The Parliament is made up of 754 delegates. Out of those, Nigel Farage (and his cohort) and the Pirate Party will be against ACTA, everyone else will give their support under the watchful eye of the President. 378 people WILL NOT be against ACTA in the Parliament, you can be certain of that. And if the EU signs it, so must every EU country (Poland, too).

    Thank you for reading.

    captcha: faulted

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They had a referendum in the Netherlands and France (I believe) and both those peoples said "NO" to the EU. The EU and the respective governments decided to ignore those referendums.

      The Dutch referendum was about the first iteration of the Lisbon treaty (aka "EU Constitution", and our no was honoured -- in effect, the Dutch "no" meant the treaty was changed favourably for the Dutch. But you're right in the sense that the final treaty was not put forward in a new Dutch referendum.

      From my point of view, the EU cannot afford itself an oppressive treaty like ACTA. Nationalism is on the rise in most countries, and antics like the ACTA treaty are only going to fuel the anti-EU sentiment. Acc

    • by VAElynx (2001046)
      Slovakia didn't sign ACTA either.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:52PM (#38907531) Homepage

    "[ACTA] limits and withholds the freedom of engagement on the largest and most significant network in human history, and thus limits particularly the future of our children."

    Regardless of the path she took to get there, she hit the nail on the head with this statement. A concise, unequivocal, and accurate assessment of the fundamental societal imbalance of ACTA and other recent attempts at centralized inhibition of copyright infringement. Well said.

  • But he signed it anyway.

Swap read error. You lose your mind.

Working...