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Messages - Cain

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Aneristic Illusions / Re: Cambridge Analytica the true deep state?
« on: March 21, 2018, 08:21:27 pm »
What Cambridge Analytica does is what any competent political analysis firm can do.  The difference is that they have had access to a far larger dataset to crunch through, giving them a comparative advantage in terms of micro-targeting and network analysis.  Up until now, how they have been able to do that has been something of a mystery - of course there is a thriving gray market in large databases with personal information, but precisely how much data they had to hand, and the original sources, was unknown.

Beyond that, they're doing cringey corporate spy shit.  You don't need to be a genius to send a Ukrainian call girl to a politician, you just need investors willing to give cash and look the other way. Most of us could do that with the right bank account.

Strategic Communication Laboratories is a fairly large corporate military and intelligence contractor, who have definitely been using CA datasets along with their own AI tech.  They've done work on terrorist propaganda and messaging, internet censoring (the recently unveiled Home Office program to censor ISIS propaganda was developed by ASD Labs, which has a "revolving door" relationship with SCL in terms of staff) and they are a fairly heavy hitter - not quite on the level of, say, Palantir, but clearly trying to be a competitor.

As such, CA's business in Russia with Lukoil and their involvement in Brexit and Trump is raising eyebrows in certain corners.

The theory on which a lot of this is based is pretty sound and has been around since the 50s, if not earlier (a lot of it was developed by talented amateurs during WWII, naturally).  The difference now is the media and corporate context in which they operate.  It's far easier to get the info, and it's far easier to deploy the info than at any previous time in history.

As for the FB "breach"...yeah, it's not a breach in technical terms, but I'm still happy to see them get dragged over the coals for it.  FB's been doing shady shit and playing a game of "we're not responsible for what people use our platform for, but we'll promote sensationalist bullshit as hard as we can" for far too long now.  And Zuckerberg, wherever he's currently hiding, definitely needs to be taken down a notch.

Yeah, aside from a brief moment during the aftermath of the general election, Corbyn has never been very good at the whole media thing.

Also, there is the fact that as Leader of the Opposition, he's actually not entitled to secret briefings regarding affairs of state.  Whether or not he actually gets them is up to the discretion of the PM and I believe, in this case, he was actually not briefed on whatever was shared at the COBRA Committee meeting.

I mean, we should probably wait for the OPCW's report before we bring out the heavy guns on the issue, just to cover our own backs and make it clear that, unlike Russia, we actually give a shit about international laws and institutions, at least to an extent more than Russia does (and as a subtle reminder that while the UK is leaving the EU, it is still part of a vast range of such bodies and alliances and so isn't simply acting unilaterally).  On the other hand, the possibility of anyone except Russia using a Russian nerve agent to kill an ex-Russian spy who turned traitor seems perishingly small, so I can also see why people feel Corbyn is being unnecessarily nitpicky.

At the very least the UK should be looking to revoke the broadcast licences of RT and Sputnik and pass an equivalent to the Maginstky Act to seize the assets of ill-gotten Russian wealth. And even though Chinese epsionage is more pervasive, Russia needs to be designated the top state security threat by MI5 and MI6, and the NCA needs to place a higher priority on Russian organised crime and money laundering, which is an often used cut-out for FSB active measures overseas.

Apple Talk / Re: Your personal musical anthem to Discordianism
« on: March 19, 2018, 03:13:38 am »
Everyone who doesn't answer "Bearforce 1" is banned.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 17, 2018, 04:01:55 am »
McCabe fired, two days before being eligible for his pension.  Obstensibly for improper contact with the press, but everyone knows it's because he corroborated Comey's claims of improper firing by Trump and Sessions.

McMaster is due to be replaced as well, though apparently he is aware of this and is actively working with Trump to put in place a transition plan for his successor, whether that is Kellogg or the Moustache of Doom John Bolton.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:58:29 pm »
Yeah, but climate change is a Chinese conspiracy, so that's best handled by threatening war with China.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 14, 2018, 04:38:06 pm »
Yup, though apparently the guy in question was known as a Never-Trumper despite being a political appointee (?) so they were looking for an excuse.  In any event, State is now completely gutted.  Most major positions are unfilled.  41 ambassdorships, including to major countries like Germany, still have yet to be filled.  And Pompeo has a hate boner for both North Korea and Iran.

Next stop will be kicking out McMaster at the NSC and replacing him with John Bolton.  This is going to happen, it's only a matter of when.  And then Mattis will be outflanked on North Korea and Iran.  And then, if the negotiations even happen (North Korea has not yet responded to the US), Trump can blithely fuck them up and go on with the military action like he wanted to.

You have a point.  I'd take the social democratic space program ("here's how Bernie can still take the moon hostage") over Elon Musk.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:02:58 pm »
In addition to that, it definitely is dick-waving...but for Russian domestic consumption.  There's a Presidential election coming up, Putin's popularity is slowly but surely decreasing, and no-one in Russia really believes Russia didn't do this.

It shows Putin is still top dog, he can brazenly kill traitors abroad and not suffer consequences.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:01:00 pm »
So, assuming that Putin ordered the hit. Further assuming that he knew a nerve toxin assassination was not going to go unnoticed by whom it may concern. He must have known zombie thatcher was going to get all hardass rhetoric on the subject. What's his next move?

Is this some tzarish dick waving thing? Like "what the fuck you gonna do about it now I have the US President in my back pocket?" or am I missing something?

Strangely enough, the Guardian just posted an article on the strategic logic of why Putin may have ordered this

Russia has already learned from intervening in Syria that there is almost no red line it canít cross there, no war crime so unspeakable that the west wonít quietly let it slide rather than get dragged into another war where all the likely outcomes are bad. It learned from Ukraine that all is not entirely well in Nato, and from dabbling in the US election not only that social media is a gift to information warfare, but also that western democracy isnít completely resolute in defending its integrity; that even a tainted victory might be preferred to defeat. Now itís moved on to testing all the other ties that used to bind, and which could present an obstacle to its ambitions, from the once-special relationship to historical EU alliances. It will surely be watching hawk-like for any sign that Brexit has weakened solidarity between Britain, France and Germany, or that the EU is now more preoccupied with internal than external threats.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 13, 2018, 01:59:17 pm »
According to the latest reports, Tillerson didn't know he was going to be fired.  Interesting.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 13, 2018, 01:23:35 pm »
And...Tillerson is out at the State Department.  Pompeo at the CIA is to take over State, and some horrible Bush-era black site rendition relic is to take over at the CIA.

Tillerson knew he was being fired on Friday, which may be why he made such a forceful statement blaming Russia for the Salisbury nerve agent attack - it was his parting shot at the administration.

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 12, 2018, 07:56:20 pm »
I had a small side bet on it being the risotto at Zizzi's.  I know Salisbury very well, and Zizzi is overrated as fuck.

However, May's statement today confirms that it was a Novichok nerve agent

I am opposed to Space Anarchism for two very important reasons:

1) the probability of The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress comparisons and quotes rises exponentially. We have a duty to the future to not force them to live with Heinlein's insufferability.

2) It's not Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

Aneristic Illusions / Re: General Trump hilarity free-for-all thread
« on: March 11, 2018, 08:20:44 pm »
Getting the components needed for a nerve toxin isn't easy.  In addition to the specific expertise and equipment needed to produce it, you then have to get it into the UK, because there is no way you can import those components without some very heavily scrutinized import licences.

Beyond that, it's a terribly expensive way to kill someone.  A guy with a gun, or a knife, is always a sure bet.  So why do you use a nerve toxin, or polonium or similar? To make it clear it was you, without saying it was you, and to send a message.  That message is you will die horribly and in pain and it will take weeks, and you deserve it for being traitor scum.

As for why this doesn't appear to have killed them, there could be a number of factors.  Dispersal may have caused a lower than lethal payload to be administered.  The spy and his daughter were found relatively quickly, and nerve agents take time to work (they make it so the body cannot produce important enzymes, leading to the eventual breakdown of the body's ability to maintain itself).  Nerve toxins also appear to be hard to use, the Tokyo sarin attacks should have killed hundreds but only managed to kill less than 10 because dispersal lessened the impact of the sarin.  It may also be a new compound, which would explain why they are cagey when it comes to naming what it actually is.

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