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Re: Sputnik-99 launch cancelled by Swatch! (fwd)

Allen Emer wrote:
> Dave,
> Keywords from your post:  Screwed, Cheated, legal case (law suit),owe us,&
> Trust.
> These words could be used by any of the parties involved. Swatch, Russia or
> Amateurs.
> Everyone has their own point of view on the situation and I think rather
> than all of us
> getting quickly hot about it, we should look to see what can be salvaged for
> all parties involved.
> The present description of all three parties is ME/ME.
> What would it take to move this to a Win/Win situation for all involved?

Let's see: A group of French hams spends a lot of time, money and effort
to build three satellites.  They go to great lengths to get those
satellites a ride into space.  They deliver them to the launch authority
in good faith.  The launch authority then apparently guts the circuitry
they built and replaces it with their own or reprograms the French
circuitry so it works for the launch authority's purposes - without even
telling the owners and builders of what they're doing.

That new mission for the satellite turns out to not only be illegal,
but  it also sets a potentially disastrous precedent which could
eventually make the two meter band as polluted with orbiting
broadcasters as the HF bands are with ground based broadcasters.

Swatch, a multi-billion dollar international corporation which
undoubtedly has a stable of high priced lawyers on its payroll
apparently never even checked to see if what they wanted to do was
legal.  I have to believe they never even bothered to check because no
lawyer on earth is incompetent enough to have investigated this deal and
given it the okay.  Instead, Swatch "Just did it", to modify a slogan
from a company whose morals and business practices may have inspired the
Swatch group.

Meanwhile the satellite has apparently been launched anyway.  At this
time, I don't know it's status.  It may be fully operational, in which
case Swatch and the Russians have successfully pulled off their crime
and the announcement at www.swatch.com is a flat lie.  On the other
hand, it may well be floating dead in space without its batteries, in
which case the French hams who paid for it and built it labored entirely
in vain.

Some people have said, "Don't blame Swatch."  Well, why not?  They're
not a bunch of hicks from the sticks getting taken by a city slicker. 
They have lawyers on their staff.  Ham radio operators aren't so scarce
and this is not such a complex issue that they couldn't have found
someone to set them straight on all this.  The people at Swatch are
grownups, they're business people and they're doing this for money. 
They're responsible for their actions, they screwed up royally, they
hurt a lot of people and they have nobody to blame but themselves.  

For them to claim otherwise is like saying, "I bought this satellite
from a guy in an alley and it turned out to be stolen goods and
defective too boot."  No kidding.  Too bad.  You blew it.  "It's not my
fault."  It is too, you whiners!  You butted in to a well managed
program, you were negligent in your planning, you hurt a lot of people
and you got a very well deserved black eye.  It was a lame idea from the
start and everybody involved in it should be fired for sheer
incompetence if not for bad morals.  There were lots of ways you could
have helped everybody and come out with lots of good, legal publicity. 
You could be smelling like a rose right now.  You could be inspiring
thousands or millions of people to make their next watch a Swatch. 
Instead, you made a deal in a back alley, you behaved carelessly, you
hurt a lot of innocent people and all the publicity you got was bad.  I
call that justice!

Some people are blaming the Russians and some of the Russian space
people certainly had a hand in this disaster.  They may have even
instigated it.  But I still blame Swatch because Swatch is a wealthy and
profitable company and everybody involved on their end of this deal is
living comfortably on good incomes and has a bright future.  Russia is
coming apart at the seams, it's economy is so bad it makes the great
depression look like boom times and the Russian space program is broke
and in debt.  I can understand the desperation on their end that would
lead someone to think up a scheme like this and even sympathize with
them.  They're trying to do whatever they can to save the whole Russian
space program, Swatch was looking for some cheap publicity.  The
Russians were desperate, Swatch was very comfortable and well placed to
examine the deal fully before signing on the bottom line.

"Screwed, Cheated, legal case (law suit), owe us, & Trust."  

I feel very comfortable using those words to describe this disaster that
never should have happened.


P.S. The Swatch web site lists these watches as their products: Swatch,
Blancpain, Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Certina, Mido, Hamilton,
Balmain, Calvin Klein, Flik Flak and Lanco.  (I don't think they own all
the Calvin Klein brands, just the watches.)
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