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Zimbabwe Professor Arrested and Tortured For Watching Online News Videos 224

An anonymous submitter wrote: "Disturbing reports have come out of Zimbabwe about how a professor who regularly held gatherings to discuss different news topics and social issues, was arrested, charged with treason and tortured for having the audacity to gather the regular group of about 45 people who discuss these things, and showing them some BBC and Al Jazeera news clips about the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia." Quote from the article: "Under dictator Robert Mugabe, watching internet videos in Zimbabwe can be a capital offense, it would seem. The videos included BBC World News and Al-Jazeera clips, which Gwisai had downloaded from Kubatana, a web-based activist group in Zimbabwe."
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Zimbabwe Professor Arrested and Tortured For Watching Online News Videos

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  • by Securityemo ( 1407943 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:14PM (#35320016) Journal
    And not just a faceless human. Seriously, not flamebait. This is why the civilized world should act in force, and not just lamely sit around and ship food and medicine to these hellholes.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Honestly, what can we do?

      If we topple Mugabe, we will be seen the same way the Iraqi's see us, as what we are, an occupying force.

      The people themselves need to be the ones to secure their own freedom.

      • There is no such thing as "The People". If an occupation improves their situation, people will support it. If it worsens it, it will be rejected. I remember reading what a town elder said in "Generation Kill" - "We will build gold statues of president Bush up and down the main street as long as you give us proper sanitation and stay away from our women." Admittedly, that was out in the desert bush and the conditions inside the main cities are of course different, but it is probably representative for the si
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:27PM (#35320156)

          No one likes an occupation.
          No one wants foreigners telling them how to run their nation.

          Would they like us to build them power plants? Sure. Would they want us to give them running water? Of course. Do they want us forming their government for them the way we did in Afghanistan and Iraq? No way in hell.

          • Who cares about cultural identity or national borders when you don't have enough to eat, your children won't receive a proper education, and your life and freedom in any case is at the whim and mercy of whoever has the guns?
        • If an occupation improves their situation, people will support it. If it worsens it, it will be rejected.

          Since it is impossible to tell in advance how something like that would turn out, it is best to leave other countries alone. If that country's people want a change in government, let them fight for it themselves. That way, they will value it and the struggle will strengthen them as a people. If we (the US or any other country in a position to do so) interfere in another country's business, we weaken o

          • Suffering can gain you strength as a person by toughening you, and gives you the ability to understand the reality of it, but all I have seen suffering do to groups of people is weld them together, and I don't really consider that a good thing since it leads to tribalism and nationalism. "Us" vs. "Them" thinking. While I think I don't actually understand what the words even mean, I don't think "social solidarity" is a necessary or even good thing in society.
            • all I have seen suffering do to groups of people is weld them together, and I don't really consider that a good thing since it leads to tribalism and nationalism. "Us" vs. "Them" thinking.

              Yes, suffering on such a scale does tend to bond people together, but I fail to see why you consider tribalism and nationalism to be a bad thing. It gives groups and nations a distinct identity and character. Why should that be needlessly sacrificed?

          • by afxgrin ( 208686 )

            How many civilians do we watch die before foreign nations intervene? 100? 1000? 10000? how about 100,000? Surely when it's over 100,000 murders [] the UN security council would have made some course of action? That's no longer 'interfering', it's stopping an on-going genocide. I would think those people would be forever grateful.

        • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @11:44AM (#35323710)

          This is why it worked in Europe after WW2. The situation could not have been more favorable for the US.

          1) The population was fed up with the war, the Nazis and everything. Even US (hell, for some even USSR) occupation was considered better than that. That situation is still there, and you will notice that (as in your example) many people will welcome the US as a liberation force, even if it means occupation.

          2) The US sent aid. And I don't mean "built some factories". They sent food, they sent medication, they sent clothing. They sent what the people needed to survive and the people LOVED the US for that. You can still, 60 years after, hear people talk very favorably about the US and ignore anything they have done recently, simply because of that.

          3) There was the "evil Russian" right next door. That occupation force (which lasted 'til the 1990s, btw, and some bases still exist) was seen as a safeguard against the aggressors across the border. That's something we lack today.

          4) The US showed that there is keen interest in handing the country back to its people. And here's where the whole thing starts to crumble. Now, the US cannot do that because of the 'terrorists'. And they only exist because they omitted step 2: Win the people, not just the war. After any war is over, there will of course still be sympathizers for the old regime or even a different regime. They are, though, usually the minority. A war against people who despise your government more than their own cannot be won. For reference, see Russia vs. Afghanistan. And the outlook was very favorable at the end of the conquest of Iraq, there was a very strong pro-US sentiment in the country. What the US failed to do was to shower the people with supplies to clearly show them that they are there to aid, help and be the friend of the Iraqis. Building factories ain't going to cut it when around the corner there's the guy from Al Quaida handing out bread.

      • There is a huge difference between Iraq and Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe the opposition party has win most of the recent elections but Mugabe will not give up power. Unlike Iraq where there were a number of violently competing faction vying for power there is already a viable elected replacement government in Zimbabwe. Take a look at the Movement for Democratic Change party. There was supposed to be a run off in the last election but the MDC candidate withdrew citing the probability of his supporters being murder

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Sure, but letting his people get rid of him is better for everyone. We are not the world police, we are not going to make any friends by taking over yet another country.

          • Who cares about "friends"? If no-one steps up and forces justice and freedom, it won't happen. It doesn't matter who gives the order, or who holds the guns. If the situation is as described, the problem becomes even simpler, since it's easy to declare when the occupation will end - when the "good" party is in power, and the government has access to enough force to police the people in the area.
            • There is absolutely NO guarantee that direct military intervention is going to result in something better, either short or long term. There are examples from history when it has worked, but there are many more examples where it has failed. Do the people of Zimbabwe, as a whole, even want our help?

              And frankly, we just can't afford to keep invading and rebuilding every country in the world with a shitty government.

              It would be nice if the European colonial powers took responsibility for their former co
              • It would not require a full fledged invasion to help Zimbabwe. All that would be required one SEAL tam to go in, apprehend Mugabe,present him to The Hague on charges of Crimes against Humanity and neighbouring African peacekeepers to protect the citizens in case the military or Mugabe's tribe gets out of hand.

                The US is not the world police but who will help people under oppressive regimes? I thought that one of the tag lines for the US was "Bastion of Democracy". Zimbabwe was one step from democracy in the

                • All that would be required one SEAL tam to go in, apprehend Mugabe

                  UN and OAS - they have their place, I guess. But when in doubt - send the Marines!

          • by ghmh ( 73679 )

            We are not the world police

            I thought you were? Maybe this is a job for Damon!

      • by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:50PM (#35320318)

        When did our options become limited to invasion or not doing a damn thing? How about we start with some diplomatic action? Or even just public demonstrations? No nation can survive on it's own. And dictators actually do sometimes care about how they look to the outside world - that's why they try to keep stuff like this silent.

        • You're right, of course - but from (my) European view, this has been tried and failed. At least from outside of Brussels, it looks like everything has slid into apathy and a status quo of food shipments and oppressive dictators setting the standards for what constitutes "human rights".
          • Yes...I have noticed much of this myself here in America as well. So much so that I'm quite confident that apathy is the greatest enemy mankind has ever seen.

            But still, it is worth keeping in mind that rights are not something that just happens. They aren't given to you, you have to take them. In a case like this, I would say that means going out and raising awareness, and harassing your government until they do something about it.
            Also, the apathy may seem worse than it is - because people sit there, not do

            • But this isn't a government the way you and I would think about it. If you harassed it, you would be ignored or shot. Or do you mean harassing my own government/citizenry to take action?
              • I mean harassing your own government/citizenry. Harassment of the Zimbabwe government is up to the people living there - and yes, they damn well better be serious about it if they decide to do so. But you do not face such risks. Hell, harass the Zimbabwe government too while you're at it - just don't go there to do it in person.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          How about we start with some diplomatic action? Or even just public demonstrations?

          I thought you were going to advocate something other than "not doing a damn thing". For what it's worth, how the US treats Cuba (prohibiting companies which do business with the regime from doing business in the US) provides some sort of intermediate sanction. Things like no fly zones (how the US treated Iraq prior to the Iraqi invasion) are another. These seem pathologically passive-aggressive to me, but it's a start, I suppose.

      • I think we should put a $250 million price on Mugabe's head, payable upon verification.

        • It would be unpopular in the US, due to fiscal reasons, and internationally, because the Western Europeans and their friends seem to think that killing is evil, No Matter What. These are the same morons that bitched about Saddam Hussein's execution.
          • Don't generalize. I'm Swedish, and I think most people just don't want to think about stuff like that, so they adopt whatever principles that's most convenient to them, and get defensive when they are challenged since they are forced to think about horrible things. Developing an intellectually coherent morality isn't something that comes automatically - and notably, in Swedish society at least, flaunting views like this based on pure emotion is considered something very profane and impolite.
          • Well, in general the people who are opposed to killing are right. They are right from an ethical standpoint but they are also right from a practical standpoint. Killing servers to make the killed a martyr, and thus a rallying point, for the supporters left behind. If you really want to punish a dictator keep him in prison for life where he is treated just like any another criminal.

      • There are more choices than just "do nothing" or "invade with military." What about sanctions, diplomatic and economic pressure targeting Muagabe, arrest warrants from the ICC at the Hague?

        • How have sanctions ever done anything useful? All they do is hurt the residents of his country -- which are literally starving and require food aid programs to survive. Sanctions or not, Mugabe will be living large and laughing loud.

          I'm not advocating military intervention, btw. I don't really see that helping much either.

          Similarly, I don't see how putting trade sanctions on Libya is going to do anything but hurt your average Libyans.
      • Well, it would help if Wikileaks didnt place his only serious competition in jeopardy...

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        How about just kill him and leave?

    • Two words:

      "Blackhawk Down"

      The worst thing to introduce into a country freed from colonial domination would be any force with Caucasian soldiers.

      • by C0R1D4N ( 970153 )
        Then how about a UN force made up of Indians and East Asians? Maybe Brazil could contribute some troops. The wealthier caucasian countries could contribute materials and air/naval assets.
      • These are people, not cretins. You don't think they'd be capable of making that distinction, especially if the positive effects of removing oppression where self-evident?
        • It doesn't matter if they do or not. Consider Fallujah, Iraq. The chief instigators were Al Queda in Iraq, headed by Zarqawi, and miscellaneous foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Iran (yes, even though they're Shiite), Chechnya, etc. How did these bad dudes gain power and force the local inhabitants to work for them? They were willing to do what we weren't. They would torture and kill anyone who worked with coalition forces, such as the Iraqi National Guard headed by LtCol Suleiman (RIP), and they jus
          • What, if anything, would have (could have) made a difference? Or does it seem to you like it truly would have gone to hell no-matter-what?
    • This is why the civilized world should act in force

      The problem is that the 'civilized world' doesn't want to see its children shot and blown up saving some Africans on the other side of the world. My son is only 6 months old and I already sure as hell know I wouldn't want him risking his life 18 years from now in whatever despot nation is the hellhole du jour in 2029...

      • Don't you think that, while "right" probably doesn't factor into it, adults should be able to lay down their lives for a just cause if they choose? Although I agree that 18 is a low age as far as mental maturity goes, and I'm just barely 23.
    • It might have been better if we (The US) hadn't just sat on our hands and let this nut job take power back in 79/80. If I recall correctly it was the UK which effectively handed him power. He ran Zanu PF which was more or less a terrorist group.
    • by Weezul ( 52464 )

      If Zimbabwe rises up, we should position a carrier battle group and prevent Mugabe from using air strikes against protestors, but we should not land troops. It's their war, we cannot give freedom, they must take it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Manning, Assange, everyone in that concentration camp the US has build. All political opponents. Easy to verify also, hence the lack of proof and fair trails. This article seems like selected indignation to be honest. Sure it's bad, but this guy got tortured once... the US does this every day to many hundrerds, if nog thousands of people. At least this guy got to talk the press about it. He actually got a better treatment than the self-proclaimed good-guy of the world gives him. And to be honest... it's no

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      the US does this every day to many hundrerds, if nog thousands of people.

      Citation? Evidence? Anything?

    • lol wut? We're torturing Assange? Yeah, I'm sure Obama is waterboarding the hell out of him... as he sits in a *Swedish prison* for "surprise sex".

      Haloperidol. Look into it before you shoot a congresswoman in front of Safeway.
      • by santax ( 1541065 )
        Because we all know the US has nothing to do with the idiotic impresement of assange. Nor did they call out on tv to kill him.... lol. I can give you some water buddy, but I can't make you drink.
      • Assuming that the AC is "schizoaffective", I've seen people write like that when they're on their meds; apparently they don't just pop you back to normal in many cases. And sometimes a valid point gets lost in the garble. Had an interesting discussion once where the situation slowly slid more and more from programming logic into "symbolic logic", with no discernible snapping point. Fascinating, but horrible.
  • life doesn't always work out as planned.
  • In the same way that Mubarak was overthrown by a bunch of guys hanging out and talking loudly.

  • by a whoabot ( 706122 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:22PM (#35320102)

    Thank god Mugabe and his supporters overthrew those white supremacists so many years ago, and now the people of Zimbabwe can live in freedom and security.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      They would not have had freedom and security if they left the white folks in charge either. So other than non-sequitur what ideas have you got?

      • It's a non-sequitur to point out that the regime which overthrew the last regime while promising a better political/social order has not delivered.

        Okay then...

        I'm sorry I don't have the silver bullet for the country's woes. An initial idea might be the removal of the Mugabe regime. Pointing out the faults of that regime might actually be a start in the removal of it, actually.

  • Mugabe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:27PM (#35320154)

    Even somebody as awful as Mugabe has supporters enough to keep him in power. Same with Hitler. Same with Saddam.

    The trick to being a good dictator is to satisfy a hard-core minority of your supporters so that they will control the majority.

    • The trick to being a good dictator is to satisfy a hard-core minority of your supporters so that they will control the majority.

      You mean the army. Thats pretty much how most of the dictators roll, they wrest control of the army away from any civilian government and the rest is cake. Thats definitely how the North Korean regime stays in power. No matter how big the personality cult, I would be willing to bet that if Kim Jong Il pissed off the wrong general he would be meeting an "unfortunate accident"
  • 30 years ago (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @10:55PM (#35320356)

    Mugabe was the darling of the Left. But you know something? The people of Zimbabwe were safer, freer and better fed under Ian Smith.

    • Re:30 years ago (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Frangible ( 881728 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:22AM (#35320932)
      Yep. Countdown to someone calling you a racist in 5... 4.... anyway, Rhodesia wasn't perfect, but under Mugabe's "enlightened" slaughter of the white man, things went from being Africa's breadbasket as Rhodesia to widespread starvation that aid programs struggle to meet. The murdered whites' land was given to his cronies that didn't know the first thing about farming -- they were soldiers, thugs, and death squads, not agriculturalists.

      Mugabe has been doing this sort of thing for a very, very long time. How it's any surprise to anyone is beyond me.

      Go to Wikipedia and look at Mugabe's list of honorary degrees -- most of which have now been withdrawn -- and the comments people made when awarding them to him. He hasn't changed. The people who laughed at and support his earlier genocide are now just realizing that Mugabe has never been a nice guy, at all.

      I do not support apartheid or white minority rule, but there are better ways to move the country forward than murder of all political opposition and everyone of a certain skin color. Yes, the white minority governments in Africa did this as well, but it was wrong when they did it, and it is wrong now. I don't see how the tragedy that was colonialism in any way justifies his actions.
  • The world community must send a sternly worded letter at once!

  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:54AM (#35321490)
    In Capitalist America watching evening news tortures you!

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis