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Syrians Using Donkeys Instead of DSL After Gov't Shuts Down Internet 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the any-way-you-can dept.
abhatt writes "Rebelling Syrians are using all possible alternate methods to pass information to the world amidst a total blackout on the internet by the Government. Believe it or not, Donkeys are a part of the revolution now. From the article: 'To get the news out, activists have been smuggling videos to Jordan through the desert and across a nearly 80-kilometer border Jordan shares with Syria. Some risk approaching the border with Jordanian cellphones to report to the outside world and send clips. It's a dangerous task because the Syrian and Jordanian armies traditionally have the area under heavy surveillance to prevent the smuggling of drugs and weapons into the kingdom or further to the Gulf states.'"
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Syrians Using Donkeys Instead of DSL After Gov't Shuts Down Internet

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  • by countertrolling (1585477) * on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:12PM (#36134676) Journal

    When does the invasion start? Has the UN already drawn up the paperwork?

    Okay.. two questions.. Sue me..

    • Hey, Operation Make Lazy Westerners Think That Pushing A Few Bits Is Contributing To Freedom comes first.

      Your Twitter account needs you!

    • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:28PM (#36134778) Journal

      When does the invasion start? Has the UN already drawn up the paperwork?

      Never. Somehow, the politicians of the world have somehow convinced the public that it's A-OK to bomb Libyan troops and hardware for attacking civilians, but it's totally NOT OK to bomb the Syrian troops and hardware, even though they are doing exactly the same things as Libyan troops.

      And all the while, the world public opinion is completely fine with North Korean regime's massive torture and murder in concentration camps, of their own civilian population [singularityhub.com].

      "Double standards" doesn't even begin to describe the hypocrisy. We do live in a hugely fucked up world.

      • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:33PM (#36134814)

        And all the while, the world public opinion is completely fine with North Korean regime's massive torture and murder in concentration camps, of their own civilian population [singularityhub.com].

        World opinion isn't completely fine with it, however world opinion recognises that using force to free the prisoners will probably result in a vastly greater loss of innocent life than pursuing a course of brinkmanship and slow embargoes with NK.

      • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:34PM (#36134824)

        And if the UN attacks North Korea, the batshit insane leader will start lobbing nukes.

        Unfortunately the world is a little more complex than you'd make out. Yes, leaders of both places are evil. The consequences for attacking one can be vastly different than that for another. It sucks, but that's reality.

        • by Khashishi (775369)

          Can someone point me to a credible report which documents Kim Jong Il's mental health?

          • by Tacvek (948259) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @07:57PM (#36136222) Journal

            The most likely case is that he is sane, although sheltered from some of the harsh realities of civilian life. He also most likely does not actually have absolute control, and at times, especially when ill, decisions have been made by other people, and may be inconsistent with the decision he actually makes.

            The government is also excessively secretive about him, helping to fuel rumors and conspiracy theories. The end result could easily be the appearance of insanity, despite being perfectly sane.

            Really only somebody who has had extended interaction directly with him, could have much hope of knowing for sure.

      • by he-sk (103163) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:40PM (#36134874)

        Welcome to the world of politics. The West intervened in Libya because Gaddafi somehow [1] managed to alienate everybody (who counts) in the world. He had no friends left. OTOH, Syria is allied with Iran. And while China isn't exactly a friend of North Korea, they'd still object to Western intervention so close to home (as they did 60 years ago).

        It has nothing to do with double standards or hypocrisy. It's all about choosing the battles you can win and avoiding those you'll lose, so you can fight another time.

        [1] Which was quite a feat, if you think about it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dunbal (464142) *

          It's all about choosing the battles you can win

          Please explain Afghanistan...

          • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @05:39PM (#36135544)

            When the US invaded we could have won. However, Bush wasn't willing to expend the resources and troops necessary to make it happen instead siphoning them off for that stupid crusade in Iraq. The US was winning until the government took its eye off the ball and allowed the insurgents to regain their footing.

            You don't win wars based upon strategy, you win them on logistics, and here in the US we pretty much gave it away by stretching ourselves too thing based purely upon arrogance.

            • by dkf (304284)

              You don't win wars based upon strategy, you win them on logistics

              Sure you win wars based on strategy! It just happens that "get the logistics right" is a great part of any working strategy. (It's not the only part though; it's quite possible to have good logistics and still lose if you're a dumbass in other ways.)

          • by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @07:09PM (#36136008)

            Please explain Afghanistan...

            What is it you don't understand?

            After the 9/11 attacks, the US issued an ultimatum to the Taliban government - hand over Bin Laden, or else.
            The Taliban refused, so the US assisted the Northern Alliance and others in the country to overthrow the Taliban government by providing Special Forces and air support. The Taliban withdrew and began a low level guerilla insurgency while Al Qaeda eventually fled. When the US invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam's government, Al Qaeda rallied and funneled their forces to fight in Iraq. Events in Iraq began to come unhinged after some spectacular attacks by Al Qaeda and other Sunni groups. The US revamped its counter-insurgency doctrine and strategy, and began turning around Iraq. By 2007-2008, the insurgency in Iraq was being crushed, and Al Qaeda began to flee Iraq, with many returning to Afghanistan and Pakistan. At this point, the war in Afghanistan began heating up again. Pakistan too began to see a significant increase in terrorism and insurgencies in the tribal areas that aren't under direct government control. By 2009 the US was ready to start drawing down in Iraq and prepared to reinforce Afghanistan. Pakistan started to move against the Taliban in Pakistan to reduce the threat they posed. By 2010, the US was rapidly drawing down in Iraq, significantly reinforcing Afghanistan, and Pakistan was engaging in significant campaigns in the tribal areas again Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In 2011, the US got Bin Laden while the Taliban spring offensive has been floundering. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have both been resorting more and more to outright conventional criminal activity over the last five years, including aligning with drug gangs, and that is undermining their appeal as pure Islamic extremists. Progress is training the Afghani police and army have been slow due to poor pay, illiteracy, and corruption, but the situation is improving. The Afghan government, is a challenge as well. The customs of the Afghan people do them few favors, but giving them a chance to rebuild their society and reestablish traditional social controls will help.

            It generally take 10-20 years to defeat an insurgency. Everyone paying attention at the beginning of the various insurgencies, or for that matter 9/11, knew that this would a problem that was going to last at least 10-20 years, and more likely close to 50. Statements to that effect were made many times.

            Although there is still a long, hard fight ahead in Afghanistan, the key to the war may in fact turn out to be the victory in Iraq. Al Qaeda expended considerable resources and men in Iraq, rendering them vulnerable to detection, capture, or killing. Many financial arrangements were discovered and neutralized. And, perhaps most importantly, Al Qaeda lost enormous amounts of support after Arabs and Muslims began to turn away from them after seeing the wanton way in which they killed fellow Muslims and Arabs. That turn almost certainly wouldn't have happened if the war had remained in Afghanistan, which is remote from Arab & Muslim lands and minds. If Iraq continues on its current path to becoming a prosperous, peaceful Arab Muslim democracy, things are far worse for Al Qaeda.

          • Land war ... Asia ... something something
        • Welcome to the world of politics. The West intervened in Libya because Gaddafi somehow [1] managed to alienate everybody (who counts) in the world. He had no friends left. OTOH, Syria is allied with Iran. And while China isn't exactly a friend of North Korea, they'd still object to Western intervention so close to home (as they did 60 years ago).

          It has nothing to do with double standards or hypocrisy. It's all about choosing the battles you can win and avoiding those you'll lose, so you can fight another time.

          Even though nobody reads this thread anymore, I want to go on record: what you said is true, but just because Syria has powerful allies, as does North Korea, the powers that be, or whoever represents a sizeable chunk of world opinion, should at least state that the only reason we do jack shit about the people killed in Syria and the hundreds of thousands (millions?) starved and hundreds of thousands imprisoned, tortured and murdered in concentration camps in NK, is because of the allies and means that those

          • by he-sk (103163)

            But the West has condemned what's happening in Syria. And at least here in Germany it's still on the evening news every other day. Compare that to Bahrain were the West really has been mostly silent.

            NK is even more isolated than Libya. It's lucky (?) to be in what China considers its sphere of influence, but they are not allies, not by a long shot.

      • It became ok to bomb Libya when a replacement was found that would honor all the weapons contracts.. And the cost/benefit ratio doesn't yet justify invading Korea.. It's not about hypocrisy.. It's about the money.. I do see a strategic/economic interest in Syria though for keeping Iraq (and thus Iran) under control, and basically destabilizing the region for the benefit of our real 'friend'.. and opening up the land route to Europe for Afghanistan's heroin (See Iran/contra for a related scenario) The opium

      • by andydread (758754) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @04:12PM (#36135052)

        Not exactly the same thing. The Syrian army just started using tanks THIS WEEK. They have not razed entire cities to the ground with rocket trucks and Jet aircraft like Colonel Qaddafi has done There is no call from the Syrian people for a NO-FLY-ZONE because they are not getting bombed to oblivion like Qaddafi was doing to his people. So no its not the same thing not even close.

        Also there is not infinite resourses to go after every dictator that turns small arms and light armor at their people. I don't see North Koreans calling for a NO-FLY-ZONE over N-Korea. Nor are they threating to raze entire cities to the ground.

        The dynamics of each and every situation in each country are totally different. There is not a one size fit all approach that will work for every single situation.

        • Americans had always had a special place in their hearts for Gaddafi. They will jump at the opportunity if Gaddafi so much as sneeze on his civillians. So, please, spare us the propaganda and claims of high moral ground. The thing about being the world policeman is that you have to at least try to appear to be fair. Civil wars are the worst kind of wars because the rebels are usually indistinguishable from civillians and are often the same people.

          • Apparently, you are unaware that military involvement in Libya occurred because the French and the Germans felt it was the thing to do. In all probability, the reason for this was the relatively close proximity of Libya to southern Europe combined with the fact that Libya has oil. Additionally, for a very narrow window it appeared that Ghaddafi was about to be defeated by the rebels if they were only given a little bit of help. Unfortunately, neither France nor Germany had sufficient military assets to deli
            • by andydread (758754)
              If Obama had acted unilaterally rather than getting the broad coalition and UN backing BEFORE going in then we would own this whole thing and you would be hammering him for how much this cost and is driving up the deficit because he failed to get a broad coalition.
              • Personally, I think U.S. involvement in this was a mistake. My real problem with Obama's actions on this was his commitment of U.S. forces without even consulting Congress. This from a man who said, "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
            • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

              You mean France and the United Kingdom. Germany is staying out of this, Italy only jumped in later because France and the UK pushed them.

          • by andydread (758754)
            While you have a point. I think its more than just he Americans. Not very many people in the world like Gaddafi. France and Britain were the main ones pushing for an NO-FLY-ZONE. Even the Arab League were pushing for action and Arab nations are participating also.
      • Could this really be about oil? Or does the powers that be just hate Kadaffi? I don't see how it could be about oil as the west was already getting the oil.
      • "Double standards" doesn't even begin to describe the hypocrisy. We do live in a hugely fucked up world.

        What double standard? Libya has oil, Syria and N.Korea do not.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      Not soon, and no. Because:

      1. Libya is a large country with a small population that can be effectively policed through targeted strikes and a no-fly zone to prevent delivery of supplies to the eastern half of the country.

      2. Libyan rebels asked for a help, and the Arab league agreed that it was in everyones best interest.

      Syria is too dense to enforce things in a similar way. Additionally, I have yet to hear of Syrians requesting western assistance to deal with their oppressors (although I could just not be

  • OK... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:17PM (#36134702)

    What ass thought up that idea? C'mon. Don't be stubborn, just tell us.

  • But higher latency. Must not be that great to play Counter Strike over donkey-net.

    • I believe it was in the UK that they determined that Pigeons had better bandwidth than some rural internet connections.

      • MMM you can get micro SD cards at 32 GB per day

        Assuming a pidgion can carry a micro SD card and can make one flight each way a day. 32*8/24/60/60 = 2.96 megabits per second. That already compares favourablly to longer ADSL lines.

        Use a few more pigeons, make them do more flights in a day or tape more than one microsd card to them and you can quite easilly get bandwidths better than most adsl lines.

        OFC the latency sucks

    • by hedwards (940851)

      You know, donkeynet used to be something completely different...

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        You know, donkeynet used to be something completely different...

        Yeah, but the percentage of shit content is slightly lower is this new version.

  • When I read the headline, this old story came to mind:
    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Best_of_2006_0x3a__The_Virtudyne_Saga.aspx [thedailywtf.com]

    I was actually a bit disappointed to find that the donkeys were just for smuggling videos :/

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I was actually a bit disappointed to find that the donkeys were just for smuggling videos :/

      Yeah what they should do is get a hundred or so of them, then shave some of them to represent 0, leave unshaved ones to represent 1, and have someone with binoculars on the other side of the border transpose the data from donkeybinary to computer binary.

  • I have to wonder how much of the source of all these protest is the internet. I don't mean twitter or facebook or any of those, but the ability of people in the Middle East to see the western quality of life and freedom for themselves, talk one to one with western people, look around themselves and realise...

    ...man, this is crap. Where is my freedom? Why am I wading knee-deep in camel dung while the high priests are living it up? Where's my decent education, where's my non corrupt police force, why

    • Freedom of speech is overrated. Why do you think that Westerners have a monopoly on knowing that powerful people are generally both corrupt and living a life of comparative luxury? It's not as if the side of my family living under dictatorship could not see the nice cars and the big palace that the leaders drove into and out of every day.

      Also, Western quality of life - Anglo-Saxon in particular - is overrated. We have a negligible sense of family, community and loyalty. But the grass is always greener on th

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        But the grass is always greener on the other side,

        But it's not. Americans almost universally believe the USA to be the best country on the planet. Where do Americans want to move to? Because, I'd hazard a guess that the percent of Americans living in some place nearly equal, like the UK as permanent residents, vs the percent of UK people living in the US as permanent residents is different by an order of magnitude or more.

        I don't think there are good numbers on that, but people just don't leave the US. Why? Well, it would seem that Americans don't se

        • Well, yes they do [mapsofworld.com], though net migration is inward, as in many richer nations.

          But the US advertises itself to the whole world as the "other side", while no-one really advertises the same to the US. The US is the place to go if you're poor enough to make a good wage slave or clever enough to make a killing, with a visa lottery system to scoop up the former (you won't find e.g. a British citizen allowed to enter on the lottery scheme).

    • Re:The internet (Score:4, Interesting)

      by migla (1099771) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:37PM (#36134848)

      More than Internet revolutions, all these revolutions are Al Jazeera revolutions.

      Just good old fashioned journalism now available (much more so than internet connectivity) in the region.

      Or so I've heard.

      • Was Al Jazeera previously forbidden in the Middle East? My own experience in developing countries is that internet cafes have a much higher rate of usage than in developed countries. Trying to understand this phenomenon is fascinating.

    • by hitmark (640295)

      My impression is that tradition and respect for the opinion of elders holds a much higher standing outside of Europe and North America (tho some parts of USA makes me wonder).

      Point is that "freedoms" can be had without going full rebellion. Consider how in Iran teens get around limits of gender interaction via short range data transmissions using their bluetooth enabled mobile phones. Or how TV is supposedly outlawed in Saudi-Arabia, tho any family with means have a sat dish somewhere on the property.

      The pr

  • Bandwidth (Score:5, Funny)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:31PM (#36134792)
    After all, never underestimate the bandwidth of a series of donkey carts loaded with tapes...
  • mandatory (Score:2, Informative)

    by superwiz (655733)
    Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of back up tapes moving at 60 mph.
  • by lightyear4 (852813) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:33PM (#36134818) Homepage
    Now RFC1149 [ietf.org] for 'IP over avian carriers' needs an addendum. IETF go!
    • Now RFC1149 [ietf.org] for 'IP over avian carriers' needs an addendum. IETF go!

      I disagree. We should all get on board with a ready backup plan based on RFC4838 [ietf.org]. Every town should have an implementation of Delay-tolerant Networking [wikipedia.org], just in case...

      NASA has already began testing an implementation of RFC1149 for use in space. [nasa.gov]

      Our local DTN could use shortwave radio, and/or CB with repeaters, etc.

      Alas, I fear we will only begin to build the network after it is needed... On a related note: I want the right to bear technology lumped in with the right to bear arms if my strong encryp

      • DTN is fine and dandy, but it doesn't address the issue of what medium you are using to transmit the network. Any implementation of RFC1149 should include an implementation of RFC4838 as a matter of course, because the RTT is high. But since the operating-training for RFC1149 is so specialized, (as shown here: avian carriers would be ideal in this situation, but are being avoided because of the training and setup costs) it makes sense to expand the techniques to related mediums. Hopefully then a suitable

        • by ppanon (16583)

          But since the operating-training for RFC1149 is so specialized, (as shown here: avian carriers would be ideal in this situation, but are being avoided because of the training and setup costs

          I think there's also a serious concern over MITM attacks because falconry is popular in the Middle East [lmgtfy.com]

  • How much data is 'carried' via this 'Hoof-Net'?
  • MPAA (Score:5, Funny)

    by ebs16 (1069862) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:38PM (#36134854)
    I thought eMule was shut down!
  • Imagine (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    a cluster of jackasses on the Information Superhighway. Shouldn't be too hard for anyone that ever sat an open channel on IRC.

    Oh wait,,,

    • a cluster of jackasses on the Information Superhighway. Shouldn't be too hard for anyone that ever sat an open channel on IRC.

      Yes, but in this case the asses are carrying the messages rather than creating them.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @03:46PM (#36134916) Journal
    My friend owns a company in Chennai, India that does some kind of very heavy video processing/analysis for a major sports league. He ends up collecting hard disks full of video-data fro the ISP's undersea-fiber optic link office and transporting them on a motrocycle across town. He estimates the bandwidth of the motrocycle works out to some 1 DVD per second!
    • Considering the cost of last mile bandwidth in India, I wouldnt be surprised

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Yeah, but the latency sucks.

    • Or the cost.

      100% Agreed. My parents live in a rural area and they recently (2 weeks ago) got OTA High-speed internet with the first couple months free. They *LOVE* the speed (easy to get photos of the grandkids, youtube, etc.) however I had to warn them that there is a cap and if you hit it you will pay through the nose for it. So if they want movies, music, etc to tell me (the one with high speed cable internet and no cap), they just have to ask me and I'll download it, burn it to DVD and drive it out th
  • ASD - Analogue Subscriber Donkey*.

    The next generation of internet communication (after your oppressive government shuts down other internet access lines).

    *Speed depends on the Donkey, quality of road and driver. Government checkpoints may cause packet loss.

  • Hey, not such a bad idea [wikipedia.org].

    (TFA says "Cut off from the World Wide Web", not from the Internet)

  • great. now fucking Bashir knows to kill evey donkey on the border and to kill anyone close to the border. thanks alot journalism!

  • Do not under estimate the bandwidth and low cost of physically moving any kind of storage media.

    Except for carrier pidgeons, they literally drop packets.
    • Except for carrier pidgeons, they literally drop packets.

      I don't know what you call it, but what lands on my car after being dropped by pigeons isn't called 'packets' here

  • by sribe (304414) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @04:18PM (#36135098)

    Donkey Subscriber Line

  • by sourcerror (1718066) on Sunday May 15, 2011 @04:32PM (#36135186)

    If the internet is for porn, I don't even dare to think about what happened to these poor animals.

  • to "mule in the middle" attacks
  • Whoa! For a second there, I thought [liveleak.com], uh... well, oh, nevermind.

  • The Virtudyne Digital Donkey [thedailywtf.com] finally comes of age.
  • There once was a poor man who lead a donkey every day across the border from one kingdom to another. The border guards suspected that he was smuggling something, so each day as the man passed the border they carefully searched the man and the donkey's saddlebags. But they didn't find anything.

    After a while the man starts to wear more expensive clothing and buys a large house. The border guards redouble their efforts to inspect the man and his donkey closely because they now are certain the man is smuggling

  • by Scoldog (875927)
    The Digitial Donkey Lives!

    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Best_of_2006_0x3a__The_Virtudyne_Saga.aspx [thedailywtf.com]

    (down the bottom of the page)
  • nuf sed

  • by thygrrr (765730) on Monday May 16, 2011 @05:25AM (#36138480)

    Wouldn't it be nerdishly awesome to tunnel eDonkey2k using those donkeys? Just sayin'... :)

    Required: One mp3 file, 2000 donkeys, and a tunnel across the border.

  • Never underestimate the bandwidth of a donkey loaded with disks.

    • I was going to go with:

      Never underestimate the bandwidth of an ass load of backup tapes.

      But you've beat me to it, well played good sir.

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