US State Dept: Don't Censor The Internet! Unless We Order You To, As We Did In Spain…

from the sing-a-song-of-hypocrisy dept

We’ve discussed how the State Department, and Hillary Clinton in particular, have been spending a lot of time talking up the importance of internet freedom, and speaking out against countries that censor the internet. That even resulted in Joe Biden’s unintentionally hilarious explanation of why internet censorship is horrible… while he supports internet censorship at home.

It seems like there’s a real disconnect in our government, however, when the censorship is couched in the word “copyright.” We just wrote about how Spain adopted its SOPA-like law this week, despite widespread public outrage. We had noted that the US State Department was a major force behind the bill, and (no surprise) more news has leaked that there was more of the same behind this new decision to adopt the Sinde Law. It’s been leaked that, just last month, State Department officials threatened the Spanish government that if it didn’t pass the law, there would be repercussions. This was a letter from US ambassador Alan Solomont to the outgoing Spanish government, sent December 12th, in which he talked about “promises” made to the US government:

“The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain… The government of Spain made commitments to the rights owners and to the US government. Spain can not afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue.”

Stunning. Because, in actuality, the commitment the Spanish government has is to its own citizens — who are very much against the bill. The only thing that raises questions about Spain’s “credibility” is caving to US diplomatic pressure to censor the internet.

Meanwhile, if we want to talk “credibility,” the US State Department is increasingly losing its credibility on this issue. How can any diplomat, with a straight face, go public talking about internet freedom and being against censorship, when the State Department demanded Spain pass a law that allows for censoring the internet?

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Comments on “US State Dept: Don't Censor The Internet! Unless We Order You To, As We Did In Spain…”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Stunning. Because, in actuality, the commitment the Spanish government has is to its own citizens — who are very much against the bill.

What a rube. It’s like you live in Mayberry or something Masnick. Governments make commitments to other countries all the time. What do you want a referendum every time? Face it, you mask your sniveling with the contrived injustice to Spanish citizens. Fact is that it is this particular commitment that has your panties in a knot, not your laughable notion of a government’s decision-by-decision accountability to its citizens.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Obviously you’re stung by your low standing in the Annual Techdirt Douchebag Awards and are looking to break out in 2012. I can understand your despair…… being bested by Marcus. But pithy responses have never been your forte. If it’s recognition you (obviously) seek, better to petition Masnick to add a category like “Biggest Loser” or “Coolest Bachelor Pad In His Mom’s Basement”. You’d be a lock.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Obviously you’re stung by your low standing in the Annual Techdirt Douchebag Awards

And obviously you’re stung by not being invited to host them. Someone with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” in douchebaggery shouldn’t even have to ask to be considered. It should be a given.

BTW, Foursquare has just made me mayor of your mom’s basement. I’ve been helping her open up her wi-fi, among other things.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Spain has a choice to make. Pass laws that make it harder for your citizens to loot American intellectual property or deal with the consequences of denying our request. They made a decision that they believed what was in the best interests of their country. Countries leverage their position with other countries all the time. Do you not understand the way the world works, Goober? For people who claim to be so technologically sophisticated, there’s a shocking lack awareness outside of your LARP leagues.

China buys US debt by the bushel basket, not because they think it’s such a dandy investment but because it provides leverage. Every country that can leverages it position to its own advantage. You clowns may be the kings of your fantasy worlds, but you live in the real world. You should try to understand it too.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yeah, so much easier than allowing Spanish citizen to access content legally.

When will you morons learn that legal sanctions don’t matter in the slightest when you block people from legally buying your crap? 15 years of this idiotic argument, and I’m no nearer to being able to legally access a service like Netflix, Hulu or even being allowed to buy some titles that would be freely available to me if not for artificial region coding. But, yeah, you have to destroy freedom of speech to get your profit. Idiot.

“your fantasy worlds”

You are the expert on fantasy worlds, after all. Most AC posts here do seem to fail to address reality. It’s much harder to address the real problems with your business after all, than it is to whine to governments about “piracy”.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:


0/10 – well at least mom thinks your funny… looking. 😀

And if your primitive mind could actually comprehend words other people write, you’d see I was honored to place that high on both lists. When you consider I’ve not been here that long and originally came just to deal with the Copyright Troll lawyers, I think I found a place where I fit in.

But you keep reaching for the stars, maybe someday you will find someplace where people think your brand of “instant troll” just add insults will make you popular.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is a big difference between consulting every citizen and being held accountable to the citizens you represent. You don’t need to ask every single person to understand that what you are supporting is representative of what they feel should or should not happen. Being that you are the king of intellectual dishonesty it may be hard to fathom that some people actually believe their governments should act in their best interests and represent the will of the people, but it’s true.

Having a bad day? Your ad-homs and strawmen are particularly weak this evening?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Pure represenatative democracy is not working. We do need some direct democracy influences. When a LOT of people oppose a law, they should actually be able to stop it, or at the very least put it through a long process of public debate.

Signing it in secret is NOT how democracy should be done.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

If you look at all of the other times the US has meddled in other countries affairs its really hard to find a time they didn’t screw up.

Maybe the new rule of thumb for the rest of the world should be if the US is for it, be against it. Not talking about what the publicly say but all of the closed room antics they go through to keep corporations happy.

Oooh trade sanctions with the US… what is it that we make here again? Once upon a time that might have been a real threat, nowdays… not so much.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Where’s that one guy talking about how boycotting is a violation of people’s free speech, and something only done by Nazis? Oh yeah, that only applies when citizens voluntarily boycott a company he likes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a government forcing its people to boycott the businesses of a country he hates.

Or so he tells me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Machiavelli would be proud

US State used the double entendre ?Spain can not afford to see their credibility questioned on this issue.” That is exactly how you threaten a heavily in debt country (due to Socialists over-promised social benefits ? see also; Greece).

It starts by giving the people what they want until the shit hits the fan and the govt has to step all over the people?s rights to stay ?in control?. History of the world.

Anonymous Coward says:

The U.S. government is just funny.

Feds Want Judge to Force Suspect to Give Up Laptop Password marvelous display of how to uphold the US constitution there and done no less by the US government.

Sir James Dyson: China Stalls IP Reform at Its Own Peril I used to like that guy he spent years living off of his wife work trying to invent something better and he did, now he keep saying that he needs protection. I saw some of his latests products he ripped off everybody else and he claims he needs others to respect his bogus patents?

hmm (profile) says:

What I find funny is

That the US (cash) debt is 15.1 trillion, but the asset debts are around 156 trillion (multiple times the value of the entire planet).

At this point money is the same as IP, just a method of controlling mass populations and hoping they won’t rise up against you………

The big problem however is that the top-end rich people have gathered most of the wealth to themselves by making the vast majority of the population poor, meaning the poor can’t continue to buy things to keep the rich rich.

And whats the point in having billions if its just bits of paper that people start to ignore as they switch to either bartering or localized currencies?

The whole system could be about to reach an interesting feedback loop where the top-rich have 99.99999999% of the GOVERNMENT SACTIONED money, but the overwhelming population doesn’t give a rats ass because it uses another system entirely…..

Violated (profile) says:


Hilary Clinton sure owes us an explanation. All her long discussions on a free, fair, open and uncensored Internet, followed by her SOPA/PIPA concerns, then she is the very head of foreign policy in the State Department that FORCED Spain to do everything she claims she hates.


Fucking politicians would sell their soul to the Devil for a gold coin. I can’t wait for the next time Hilary is taking public questions to highlight the colour of her hypercritical actions. Had she any honour she would condemn this Spanish censorship and quit.

hmm (profile) says:


There’s a saying “misery loves company”.

If the US is becoming (sorry HAS BECOME since Obama is now a de-facto dictator and doesn’t represent the people anymore) a totalitarian state and the dollar is considered worthless, why don’t we take a few other countries down with us.

Side note – how long do you think it is before the current administration “suspends” the electoral system because of “homeland terrorists”…….and simply ‘disappears’ anyone who disagrees?

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