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Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Sagara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:50 am

Nooska wrote:How come the chancellor of one of the most influential european countries can have a regular cellphone without the IA saying its a problem?
Of course, if all she uses it for is personal calls an nonsecure discussions, fine, but she had better have a secured connection for anything sensitive, or the counter intelligence isn't doing its job.


On that specific point, I'd go so far as saying NO regular phone. Period. I've seen enough so called "smart people" do dumb things to not imagine a chancellor using a non-secure phone "just this once" or to stupidly "spill the beans" during a private conversation.
These people aren't intelligence-trained. They're just as much of a risk as a non-secure phone.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:32 am

Of course people are spying each other, I'd expect no less. But the problem resides on how intrusive they are, and that they use it for things that are not in the interest of national security, but instead as a chip to be used on international trade agreements. At least that was according to Der Spiegel.

That's the reason why Brazil's president is so upset, because they had also tapped into Petrobras, infiltrating their network and tapping their CEO's phone line.

Snake-Aes would probably know more about this, since I don't really read O Globo on a daily basis, or really ever, unless there's a really good article that lands on my lap.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:43 am

Paxen wrote:
Klaudandus wrote:That said, the electronic surveillance is so incredibly easy to defeat, provided you want to put in the effort -- just look at General Van Riper's tactics in the Millenium Challenge 2002, where he defeated the opposing team by using non-electronic means of communication -- The judges of the war game had to rewrite the rules in order to restrict what Van Riper could and could not do in order to defeat him the 2nd time around.


Yikes, that's an awesome/terryfying story. The bit about communications isn't the critical part, though - the important stuff seems to be that carriers can't dodge, can't take a hit (and their defenses can be saturated by low tech attacks) and that attacks are too reliant on electronic signatures to find targets (a carrier can't go dark, a cruise missile site doesn't need an electronic signature). Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002 (And a random angry blog post: http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php ... =35&PAGE=1)


Yep. I know most people overlook the communications part, but not me. It shows what you can do when you don't rely on electronics. Heck, you can openly communicate on a CB radio and still defeat it provided you use something as simple as a Book Cipher. To make things interesting, you could probably have a set rotation of book ciphers. Takes a lot of effort, but without the context, the message is useless to anyone else that is on the wire listening to it.

Electronic encryption right now is meaningless seeing that the standard in use was compromised since its implementation.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:51 am

As bad as the US can be, at least we have yet to see the WH make threats to media venues like Cameron just did.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/o ... an-snowden
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:54 am

Hey Brekkie, I guess this article did't help -- http://www.spiegel.de/international/ger ... 30205.html
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:58 am

Klaudandus wrote:As bad as the US can be, at least we have yet to see the WH make threats to media venues like Cameron just did.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/o ... an-snowden



So much for that... *facedesk*
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... government

The head of the embattled National Security Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing journalists of "selling" his agency's documents and is calling for an end to the steady stream of public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.

"I think it's wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000 – whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these – you know it just doesn't make sense," Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog.

"We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don't know how to do that. That's more of the courts and the policy-makers but, from my perspective, it's wrong to allow this to go on," the NSA director declared.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Shoju » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:39 am

The only thing I have to say about the whole NSA debacle is as follows:

If you are shocked, surprised, blindsided, etc... by the revelations about the NSA in recent history, you should be ashamed of yourself, unless you are over the age of 60, or under the age of 15.

Everyone else should have enough of a working knowledge of the technologically driven society in which we live, to have known that this was possible. And if it's possible, it's happening.

It doesn't make me fearful of the NSA, or the government. WE as a society voted to give them the power to do the things that they do. We did this over, and over, and over, since 9/11. We gave them the right to snoop.

No... That's not right. We didn't give it to them. We demanded it. In the same way you see those silly futurama memes
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But we weren't holding cash. We were holding our freedom. We did this. We created this monstrosity as a knee jerk reaction to the atrocities committed against our populace. If you didn't think that there would be a bleed over into other areas, and a push to stretch those laws / rights of the agency as far as they could, you haven't paid attention to how governments work throughout time.

Now, I'm not endorsing what has gone on. I'm not. And I'm not saying that I'm blameless. I was a knee jerk foaming mouthed fanatic screaming "DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN" right along with everyone else. But slowly, I came to realize just what it was that we were demanding with our incensed patriotic vengeance hunt, and preservation tactics.

And, unfortunately? I think it might be too late to close the box.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Brekkie » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:47 pm

Klaudandus wrote:Hey Brekkie, I guess this article did't help -- http://www.spiegel.de/international/ger ... 30205.html


No, it wasn't helpful, that's for sure.

It's not my place to comment on the substance of the article. A couple reactions to other things though:

-Who the heck is this "novelist and NSA expert" they dug up? Pretty sure he is talking completely out of his ass. If it was some retired intelligence agency professional, either NSA himself, or some other country equivalent that would presumably have inside knowledge on US practices, it would have some modicum of credibility. But I suppose no one like that would ever go on the record to Spiegel anyway, so instead they found some quack British dude to muddy the waters with ridiculous bullshit.

-Allegations that the US Embassy has has super secret squirrel sensors on the roof, along with fake walls and other hollywood nonsense, make no sense because the Embassy was built openly in plain sight in downtown Berlin. Unlike, may I add, the Reichtag Building (German Parliamentary building), which they put a huge sensor-proof tent over while they renovated it.

-For the record, the US and Germany do not have a mutual no-espionage treaty like the US has with Britain and other close allies. Neither does France. France in particular has been a huge hypocrite through this entire thing.

-Nor is Germany such a close ally as to make any potential surveillance surprising. Until very recently half of it was a communist dictatorship. Much of the planning for the 9/11 attacks took place in Germany, with aid from German citizens. An entire camp of Islamist fighters in Syria right now are all self-radicalized Germans (as covered by another recent Der Spiegel article). There are violent terrorist groups in Germany on both the left and the right extremes of the political spectrum. Germany's very lenient immigration laws have made it home to massive numbers of radical Islamists. In German Politics, if the current Grand Coalition goes through, the head of the successor party to the Communists will be the de facto leader of the opposition.

-Cracking down on US intelligence collection would hurt Germany, and the EU in general. For years, the EU has outsourced it's defense to the USA. They have slashed their defense budgets while America's defense spending has increased, knowing that they were protected under the NATO umbrella. In effect, billions and billions of dollars worth of European social programs were subsidized by the existence of excessive American military power.
The same holds true for intelligence services, though to a more variable extent. Germany in particular has been very hesitant to invest sufficiently in domestic intelligence collection post-reunification because of a justifiable sensitivity among German voters towards the concept of a police state (after all, they had to live through two of them). But you can no more have adequate defense without intelligence than you can without airplanes. So many EU countries have become increasingly reliant on just letting US agencies like the CIA and NSA do all the work, and then benefiting from the proceeds via intelligence-sharing agreements. Cancelling these intelligence-sharing agreements hurts Germany more than it hurts the US. The US will still have the CIA and the NSA. The German people would have an anemic and overwhelmed BFV.

-To me, these revelations serve no purpose. They make me feel less and less sympathy for Edward Snowden, and solidify him as almost certainly crossing the line of being a traitor, not a whistleblower. They endanger the passage of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership free-trade agreement, which sacrifices multiple percentage points of win-win annual GDP growth on either side of the pond for no reason.

I believe in the freedom of the press, but I do not believe they have the right to publish classified information that isn't clear examples of illegal activity or cover-ups. The press is ultimately unaccountable, and motivated by skewed incentives due to the pressure to sell papers. Who elected the New York Times? Who elected Der Spiegel or La Monde? Why should their editors sit on a pedestal to decide in their ultimate, unbiased wisdom what information "should" be released to the public and what shouldn't, all without the benefit of any context? If they make the wrong decision, we cannot throw them out of office.

Our lawfully elected government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, and is subject to that continued consent. All the activities of our intelligence agencies were conducted under the oversight of these elected officials. Notably, once they were made public, those elected officials STILL endorsed programs like PRISM. Disagree all you like, that is your right. But you do not have the right to sabotage the instruments of the lawfully elected government just because you personally don't like them.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Brekkie » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:19 pm

Much is being made of the US Embassy's prime location in Berlin, implying that this was somehow a strategic choice to enable surveillance. This is ridiculous. The spot the US Embassy is on, except for the decades of the Cold War when the West German capitol was in Bonn, is the same spot the US Embassy has always stood ever since the days of the Prussians.
The original building there was vacated following the rise of the Nazis and WW2, and was destroyed during the siege of the city.

Not to mention, ALL the major embassies are located there! There is nothing special about the US's spot. The French are directly opposite us (right next to Der Spiegel's office I might add), in a building just as big. The Russians, Italians, and British are a single block away. The Canadians are down the street.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Klaudandus » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:08 pm

Fine. Spy all around, but don't claim you are doing it in the name of security when you're spying on economic targets instead like... Petrobras or the IMF and the World Bank.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/s ... -petrobras
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/ ... EQ20131031

It's like going to the strip club and claiming you go there to have intellectual discussions with the girls.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Brekkie » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:58 pm

Klaudandus wrote:Fine. Spy all around, but don't claim you are doing it in the name of security when you're spying on economic targets instead like... Petrobras or the IMF and the World Bank.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/s ... -petrobras
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/ ... EQ20131031

It's like going to the strip club and claiming you go there to have intellectual discussions with the girls.


I have no comment regarding allegations of spying.

I don't know of anyone who "claims they are doing it in the name of security" only, though. Spying, like ANY exercise of power, is a tool for advancing a nation's interests. So is diplomacy. So is economic policy. So is public relations. So is military action.

Security is one very powerful interest that all nations have, but it is hardly the only one. There is also a lot of crossover between "economic" interests and "security" interests. A strong economy adds to security, and threats to the economy threaten security. A strong security environment makes the economy stronger, and security threats hurt economic activity.
After all, there is a reason we use military assets to protect shipping lanes from pirates, even though the pirates may pose no threat whatsoever to the our soil or our citizens.

Spying on your own people is unquestionably bad, and I don't think you will find many people who will dispute this. But if you think all spying should be eliminated altogether, you run into the unilateral disarmament problem. It is possible, as evidenced by the mutual-no-espionage treaties signed between the "friendly five" English-speaking countries, but requires both an incredibly high level of trust between the countries, a very well aligned set of parallel interests, and dramatically increased costs for violating that trust.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Brekkie » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:15 pm

Essentially, the Europeans have 3 choices:

1) Spend billions to revitalize their anemic domestic intelligence agencies so they are not dependent on America doing all the work and therefore subsidizing their social spending.

2) Reject American intelligence assistance while refusing to spend money on their own domestic agencies, and endure terrorist attacks at home.

3) Tolerate Americans possibly spying on them as well as on terrorists as the price of the service the Americans provide with their taxpayer money.

The first option is unappealing during these economic times when budgets are tight.
The French are probably going for this option though, and using the public outrage to try and level the playing field between US capabilities and their own so they can compete despite having far fewer resources.

The second option is a calculated risk, but one likely to be deemed unacceptable. Successful terrorist attacks anywhere have ripple effects of inspiring further attacks and adding to terrorist organizations' "brand name", which creates home-grown radicals who aspire to be part of the "movement". In short, terrorism is contagious, so it is in NO ONE'S interest globally for one area to be vulnerable, which is a big reason why the US compensated for European weakness in the first place.

The third option could piss off voters, and result in less pro-washington leaders being elected during the next election, but that is probably a safer gamble because voter memories are short. This is probably the option Merkel will take. She is walking a fine balancing act between showing just enough public outrage to appease voters, while maintaining the status quo.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby cdan » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:26 am

Klaudandus wrote:Fine. Spy all around, but don't claim you are doing it in the name of security when you're spying on economic targets instead like... Petrobras or the IMF and the World Bank.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/s ... -petrobras
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/ ... EQ20131031

It's like going to the strip club and claiming you go there to have intellectual discussions with the girls.


I once had to interview a whole range of people as part of a study on violent crime. For one whole section that would be devoted to violence crime with a sexual aspect we spent time talking to a whole range of people, some of whom included strippers at a strip club. I can quite honestly say that I have never been in a strip club other than to have an intellectual discussion with the girls. :)

I also visited two brothels, a jail and a student nurse dorm to talk about the same subject and the scariest place was the dorm...put me off hospitals for life.
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby Skye1013 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:04 am

Tangentially related to politics as it deals with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare.)

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/insuran ... -obamacare
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Re: Politics (formerly Election 2012)

Postby fuzzygeek » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:47 am

In all the debate about health insurance costs, why isn't anyone talking about the actual cost of care itself?

Same thing with the AGW debate. Sure there are things we can (and should) do to reduce human generated carbon emissions, but why aren't we looking at ways to affect the orders-of-magnitude larger amount that occurs naturally?
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