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Thread: Spies everywhere!

  1. #1
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Spies everywhere!

    What do you think: Did China have a right to seize the US drone?

    I know the US is saying the drone was measuring salinity, temperature and clarity of the water, but the idea that they were spying on Chinese subs is not too far fetch. A nation does have the right to protect themselves against espionage, in my opinion.

    And what about this deal with Russian hackers? It seemed obvious to me that is something we simply should not stand for. Will Trump be willing to stand up to further harassment from Russia? I have my doubts as he seems pro Putin. I feel once Obama is out of office we might be at greater risk to the effects of Russian espionage, as Trump just does not seem to be taking it seriously, and I am not sure enough of the Republicans will be willing to stand up to him.

    I also have to wonder if we are at risk of a third red scare.

    We'll have to see what happens.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  2. #2
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    The US drone was in international waters, and even outside the "nine-dash line" where China is trying to claim most of the South China Sea... So they had no right to take it. In latest news they are returning it to the US, but still, a destabilizing move.

    As far as Russia, I wouldn't worry too much - their military capacity is still greatly diminished, it's been dismantled over the past 26 years. Yes, they are ranked the world's second military power... they have twice the number of tanks as the US, but a quarter of the aircraft, and fewer ships. They have been reducing the size of their military consistently, they have enough internal problems, and if there is some confrontation it is likely to be either over Syria, or close to their territory because they feel threatened somewhat by the US/NATO bases with missiles within reach of their territory. The Ukrainian/Crimean issues were related to that potential threat as well (there were talks about Ukraine joining NATO, placing potential US military bases on the border of Russia - you can think of it as the reverse-equivalent of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis). The latest US bases are in Eastern Europe very close to Russia, and that makes them nervous: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallel...-mixed-reviews.

    As to hacking/cyber attacks, I am more concerned about Chinese state-sponsored cyber-espionage than Russia. Russian attacks have mostly been less organized, with fewer ties to their government, and for financial gain. The Podesta email "hacking" incident was started by a simple phishing attack afaik, there are millions of those bombarding US government institutions daily and clogging mail servers worldwide - it doesn't sound that targeted to me (whatever that's worth). Just for reference, the SG mail server (with fewer than a dozen working email addresses) has received about 4 Million emails in 2016, with 90%+ being spam/phishing/rejected/etc.

    P.S. In case of increased risk, homeland security officials recommend duct tape: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1044820213906360703
    P.P.S. NSA keyphrase: There is no need to track my cellphone, really. That strip club visit with "people of interest" was completely innocent.

  3. #3
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    The difference between China and Russia is that espionage from China makes sense, there is a clear goal with something to gain. Russia on the other hand, seems to be happy with undermining American democracy. It is a difference type of espionage, and when it comes to Russia, the American people seem to be the primary target.
    Last edited by jeremyboycool; 12-17-16 at 08:56 PM.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  4. #4
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Those were phishing attacks.. I am a bit skeptical and think they are being hyped up out of proportion to say that they are "undermining American democracy", or helped Trump win the election. There were a number of attacks aimed at republicans, and non-related parties as well, it could be that we are simply singling out the attacks that fit our narrative. It's hard to tell without more information that we don't have, we're making conclusions based on media headlines.

    The CIA has conducted an investigation, they have reportedly briefed the Congress leadership (but not all members of the House intelligence committees), there are investigations currently underway. I believe the intelligence community is looking into the possibility seriously, and that's what counts.

  5. #5
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    I thought the FBI and the CIA already reached a mutual agreement about Russian's motives for the hacks.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

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    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    There is consensus that there is Russian involvement in the "hacking of the DNC" (email phishing attack, lol)... The evidence that they did it to get Trump elected is circumstantial at best. The CIA has not officially released a conclusive report afaik, it is mostly information leaks summarized by the media, and opinions.

    Here is a report I read by Reuters stating some interesting facts to that effect, that there is no proof of intent:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-us...-idUSKBN14204E

  7. #7
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    That report is about a week old. I know the FBI disagreed with the CIA at first, about it being aimed at helping Donald Trump, but I do believe that they agreed with the CIA about it being an attempt to undermine voter confidence. As I understand it, Putin gave the go ahead to release the hacked information about Clinton.

    http://www.npr.org/2016/12/16/505892...ntial-election

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...=.bda210a43adc
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  8. #8
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    I think helping Trump was mostly consequential; I think it was an effort to weaken people's confidence in US democracy, not just in the US but in the world, (imagine how the US must look electing Trump as president) and it could have also been targeted at hurting Clinton out of some personal vendetta. But this is kind of my point, China is easy to understand, they act rationally, but who really knows what Russia is up to. I consider the unpredictable more dangerous than the predictable.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  9. #9
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Hopefully we'll understand more before Obama leaves office.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

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