Repealing the Patriot Act.

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by The Ghost of Crazy Horse, Dec 18, 2020.

  1. Demiurge

    Demiurge Goodbye and Hello, as always.

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    Oh, speaking of Fancy Bear, it's likely commander had a warrant put out on him by Germany this year for his hack in Germany, which included a gigabyte of data from Angela Merkel's office.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Sergejewitsch_Badin

    As to Facebook, yes, it was used extensively for psyops, but Russia clearly was doing more than just psyops. And of course, the lead scientist for Cambridge Analytica which stole information from Facebook was a 1st generation Russian immigrant that worked directly for the Russian government in St Petersburg (home of the GRU hacking operation) but chose not to include that in his CV. It's also confirmed by the UK's Information Confirmation Office that someone in Russia accessed the Cambridge Analytica Data.
  2. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Okay, I'm gonna get slammed for this (what else is new?) and called a liar by a certain tiny clique, but I finally got to hear all of the le Carré interview that @MikeH92467 linked to a few days ago (for the Limited Attention Span, start at around 35:00):



    It's not what Snowden did, but how he did it.

    Cue the "Who WTF cares what a novelist has to say???? Writers just Make Shit Up [unless they concur with my confirmation bias]!" from @Tererun and the other ignorami.

    Ask me if I care.

    :bigyawn:
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  3. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Very interestink. Da, very interestink.
    Dmitri, what do you think of this 'Probe'? Let's call him Sputnik IV, da?

    (with apologies to @Paladin for the atrocious 'Russian' 'accent' :lol:)
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  4. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    The worst of it is, you can tell an American is in a foreign airport when they take off their shoes at security out of habit :(
    :calli:
  5. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    NZ has Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves. You'd be remiss to keep them in the dark :bailey:
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  6. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 high speed, low drag

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    preaching to the choir. Every American I know would love to hear a security/safety expert explain the logic behind why this is necessary. Dollars-to-donuts it would boil down to "we don't know why, it's just our policy." If memory serves the shoe bombing technique was demonstrated exactly one time, ending in hilarity & failure.
  7. K.

    K. Sober

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    I still don't see how he could have achieved this some other way, at least with reasonable probability. The venues @Demiurge discussed are all discussed by Snowden in detail -- in part, @Demiurge even recounts this. I think the main difference boils down to whether or not you agree that what Snowden did absolutely had to be done -- I think so, and I think Carré does as well, for whatever that's worth. If that is a given, then anyone criticizing the How needs to outline, not the common chain of command, but a real, relevant perspective for change that was open to him.
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  8. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Watch the interview.
  9. K.

    K. Sober

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    Yes, I did, that was my response.
  10. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    We seem to have taken different things away from it.
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  11. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    Exactly. The pertinent part starts at around 35:00.
  12. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Critical thinking v supposition.

    The lack of information is the point here, we don't and can't know, so almost everything beyond the limited facts is speculation and rumour. You're drawing a lot of inferences and making them facts where they fit the story.

    This may sound like me undermining my own case about intimations of knowledge but I'm used to handling highly confidential sensitive information with regard to incidents which make the news. I'm familiar with hearing people in day to day life, on social media, even in message boards, discussing crimes whose perpetrators and their motivations I'm intimately familiar with and staying silent on how far the speculation strays from the truth.

    That by extension means I'm highly skeptical of unfounded rumours based on interpretations of events based on the limited information available to the public. I'm much more inclined to limit the discussion to what we know and acknowledge the limitations of that rather than lend equivalence to hearsay in lieu of facts.

    We know that Mueller was circumspect in this regard, which is one reason I'm inclined to not only give him due regard but also to accept that had there been enough to make more proactive use of the findings he would have encouraged that in the manner of his recommendations.

    His public announcements have all the restraint, careful choice of wording, impartiality and self imposed limits of someone who is a rare thing in the current climate. A thorough and cautious professional acting entirely within his remit without seeking a media circus.

    That witness was far from enough to base further action on at the time. On that basis I'm more than willing to be equally circumspect.

    Your claim that Russian hacking fuelled by Snowden led to Brexit and Trump lacks anything remotely approaching enough evidence to be more than a theory, a stringing together of potentially unconnected dots. In contrast we know Russian activity on social media was extensive and profoundly effective. It was a game changer in how the public can be influenced, but it wasn't AFAWK about cracking into databases.

    I fail to see a sufficiently strong case for linking Snowden to vast sweeping changes in the international political landscape when even the most cursory analysis makes it clear those changes were predictable anyway. They are broader, more deeply embedded in the affected societies and possess a momentum whose roots go far further back than the past decade.

    What is known is that Snowden revealed information about your country spying on mine and whilst that may well be commonplace it puts you and I in opposing camps. You see a traitor to your side, I see someone who aided ours.
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  13. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    In fact, I daresay NZ's at the HED of this fact finding and sharing venture.
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  14. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    I see a patriot who exposed the US citizens to information that their own government was obtaining, much of it private and personal and invasive.

    If there was a traitor in the entire affair, it was the US government betraying US citizens.
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  15. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Either viewpoint is far too simplistic.
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  16. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Of course.

    I'm merely drawing attention to the problem that much of this debate has been framed from a given quite subjective perspective, one which is intrinsically coloured by nationality. Any barometer of attitudes to Snowden's actions really should draw on perspectives from across the various nations impacted.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  17. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    What are your thoughts on le Carré's perspective?
  18. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    Which particular aspects?

    Given my love of his novels I was delighted as an adult to realise just how much of my politics he shares (or possibly shaped), particularly on the Special Relationship, Iran and the measures taken with regard to counter terrorism in the first two decades of this century.

    If you are referring to his criticism of the Guardian patently they would have been unable to protect him in a meaningful way as a confidential source, they would simply not have the resources or expertise to do so. Snowden made a choice to go ahead with the leaks knowing full well he would be treated as culpable on some level.

    By the same token I don't see it as being at all strange that he effectively defected by default.

    No Western power was going to harbour him against the wrath of an embarrassed US establishment and that word "embarrassed" is, for me, the crux of the matter. Much like Moscow the US wants there to be visible retribution for those who have left them with their pants publicly down, but has a reputation to remain as being a part of the so called "Free World". They could not assassinate him in the blatant manner that we have seen Russian defectors killed in recent years, they had far too much invested in being seen as part of the international community. There had to be at least the veneer of judicial process.

    This meant that no allied nation would offer safe haven, no one would see the balance of their interests resting in siding with a lone whistleblower against the US. Likewise no smaller nation could possibly be expected to realistically risk the ire of Washington. So where was he to go?

    It was always going to be one of three places, Russia, China or a US jail where he would be at the mercy not only of the judicial system but other inmates who would relish having such a vulnerable high profile co habitee. China was at the time on marginally better terms with the US and more likely than Russia to make a deal regarding an out of treaty extradition deal, whereas prison was simply never an option.

    The broader topics, however, are where I think Le Carre really resonates for me. The privatisation of public services (all public services, not just intelligence btw) does seem to me to be a minefield of conflicting interests, especially where an individual employee's actions may affect very lucrative relations between contractor and government.

    Likewise the manner in which the threat of terrorism has been used to use as a means to justify a plethora of disproportionate and only obliquely related ends is something we are seeing wide reaching consequences from even now. Iraq, Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, these are just the more obvious examples, the global landscape has been shaped in many ways by the politics of fear and a lot of what was being exposed was exactly the sort of overreach that I would expect libertarians to abhor.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  19. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    When push comes to shove self-proclaimed "Libertarians" will happily turn into iron-fisted statists. There are a few exceptions, but looking at the history of attempts to establish real-life libertopias backs my contention.
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  20. Order2Chaos

    Order2Chaos Ultimate... Immortal Administrator

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    Agreed. The Guardian is British. Y’all don’t have as good press freedom protections (in theory), and that was borne out by MI5(?) destroying the Guardian’s computers.

    I don’t think this is well-established at all. He started out in Hong Kong, which was still extraditing people to the US, though they delayed Snowden’s extradition allowing him to get on a flight to Moscow. He was booked on a Cuban(?) flight to Ecuador from Moscow connecting in Havana when the US canceled his passport, stranding him in Moscow. Which is probably exactly how everyone likes it, except Snowden. It’s easy for the USG to brand him a traitor and spy, Putin has this big symbol of resistance to American hegemony living in Russia regardless of whether Russia actually got the NSA documents (is there any evidence they actually have them? Even if so, I doubt they got them from Snowden, at least not directly; Snowden’s OpSec was too good. Far more likely they stole them from the barely technically-competent Glenn Greenwald), and Cuba and Ecuador don’t have to worry about drawing the US’s ire. Plus it gives the NSA and FBI more ammunition to try to convince Congress to mandate backdoored encryption. Everybody who matters to this story wins, Snowden, truth, and justice categorically excluded.
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  21. spot261

    spot261 I don't want the game to end

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    I know you're being at least slightly tongue in cheek, but you imagine any news outlet could contend with the aggressive predations of the CIA/NSA?

    As for Hong Kong delaying extradition that hardly implies there was an option to prolong his stay indefinitely. He had explored numerous avenues for seeking asylum. Perhaps you're right and Ecuador would have offered him safe haven, although I'd be hesitant of drawing too much from the Assange example, we have no way of knowing.

    Was the cancelling of his passport leaving him in Moscow serendipitous? Was there design to create the scenario you describe? Were the authorities in HK in some manner complicit in this? Did Moscow have a secret underground railroad for ferrying him back from the misdirection of his planned trip? Did Dr Evil have an orbital laser focused on him at all times?

    We can speculate ad absurdum about increasingly unfeasible shenanigans behind the scenes and for once it can all be made to sound at least fitting if not likely.

    I just struggle to imagine him lasting long in many other parts of the world and whether by chance or intent he ended up in a very convenient place which was far preferable in practise to pretty much any other outcome.
  22. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Much of the argument against Snowden, I think, comes from the downside of "too much information". Much like the episode of Voyager in which Seven decides to download all of Voyagers files while she's sleeping and every morning wakes up with a new and even more plausible, yet far fetched conspiracy theory. I'm more a fan of an Occam's Razer" approach. Snowden wanted to let the American people know what their government is doing, then was corralled by that same government in an enemy country so the government could use that to discredit everything Snowden said.
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  23. garamet

    garamet "The whole world is watching."

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    I'll defer to le Carré's sense of puzzlement in light of the information @Demiurge has supplied. There must have been someone in some of the agencies Demi referenced that Snowden believed he could trust. Maybe he assumed he'd go to them and be shut down (or worse) - but to in any way associate himself with Assange? :no:

    Yes, I'm aware now that in his book Snowden claimed he never brought the data to first China and then Russia, but interviews he gave at the time say otherwise (not to mention his travel itinerary).

    And, as le Carré has pointed out throughout his long and illustrious career (and someone who was far more "inside" than he was allowed to say during The Spy Who Came in from the Cold), "the business of spies is to lie."

    Again, what Snowden did may have been with the best of intentions, but how he did it was at best naive. IMO. :shrug:
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  24. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Snowden just needed a goofy lovable bumbling cokehead sidekick to throw under the bus like "The Falcon and The Snowman".
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  25. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    I know this is what I've been saying, and while I can't speak for @spot261, I'm pretty sure he has said the same thing.
  26. Tererun

    Tererun Troll princess and Magical Girl

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    I could have told him that all of those conspiracy theorists who won't wear masks because it is a government effort to take their lives and freedoms were going to turn on him and want him hung because he was a traitor for informing them of the government actually working against their rights.
  27. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 RadioNinja

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    Regarding spying, nothing illustrates the murky nature of spying/intelligence gathering than the Johnathon Pollard case. He was paroled after serving 30 years of a life sentence for selling military secrets to Israel. He went to Israel today for a hero's welcome after Trump allowed a travel ban condition on his parole to lapse.
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  28. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Pollard should have been hanged, not pardoned. Fucker.
  29. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    You'll need to point us to those interviews. There is an extensive record of interviews, documentaries and writings about this and this is the first and only time I've heard the claim that Snowden said that.
  30. Fisherman's Worf

    Fisherman's Worf I am the Seaman, I am the Walrus, Qu-Qu-Qapla'!

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    :yes: Along with the rest of the military. :yes:
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