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Thread: Julian Assange's Arrest and the Repurcusions for Whistle blowers

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    In 2016, he only attacked Clinton and did it in a way to maximise the damage against her. This was a political act to influence the election. And Russia is trying to sow discord in the US. Damaging either party is okay for them. They don't want the conservatives to do well, they want the US to do badly.
    This is important to understand about the Russian strategy. It's not a chess game, it is kicking over sand castles. Everybody's sand castles. They want the beach for themselves and they are counting on their historical toughness to assure that they will survive the global catastrophes they are sponsoring.

    There aren't repercussions for whistleblowers. There are repercussions for accused rapists who jump bail.
    Regardless of Assange's motives, his treatment does have repercussions for genuine whistle blowers, even if it is just spattering them with tar meant for him.
    Last edited by Nicker; 14th Apr 2019 at 14:00.

  2. #27
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Man, man. The American paranoia about the Russians is unbelievable.

    I'm with froghawk. The Russians might not be your friends, but they are also not your enemy. Just like China or any other country that's not in NATO. All the crying about "political influence" is largely exaggerated. The political situation in the USA is one big dirty mess. But it's not because of the Russians. It's because of Americans. Americans should not try to always put the blame on others. They are 100% responsible themselves for their own shitholecountryness.

  3. #28
    El Shagmeister
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Under your fingernails.
    Latin America would like to agree and disagree with you. Kthxbye.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Russia is not just like any other country, they are a country run by an ex-KGB agent and a bunch of oligarchs who have consolidated all power into their hands and have become wealthy beyond imagination as a result. There is barely any media outlet that isn't controlled by the government and any and all remaining independent journalists are not only being repressed and harassed, they are being killed. Same for any meaningful opposition, like Nemtsov who was assassinated just a few years ago right next to Kremlin. And yes, the US is not innocent either, but compared to Russia or China, I would argue that the US is very much the lesser evil.

    Also, just because the US has problems unrelated to Russia, it doesn't therefore mean Russia's geopolitical ambitions or its use of active measures should be ignored.

  5. #30
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Location: Canuckistan GWN
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    The American paranoia about the Russians is unbelievable.
    I'm not an American and it's not paranoia. Putin is throwing monkey wrenches into every functioning and barely functioning democracy on earth. He is shitting in the well. He's not subtle. He's relentless. There is no country too big or too small for him to fuck with. He is lighting fires everywhere. He is pushing NATO the the brink and counting on his vast supply of peasants, gorged on mythos, to survive his depredations, just like every other Tsar did before him.

    Look up, Aleksandr Dugin if you want to understand the gears turning in Putin's head.

  6. #31
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Let's stay focused here. No one is arguing that Russia is in good shape, or is some paragon of human rights.
    Here's the real argument: https://bigthink.com/noam-chomskys-s...07935.amp.html
    And furthermore: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-a8470481.html

  7. #32
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Diplomacy is not a bad thing. The US should absolutely be doing more of that instead of dismantling the State Department. But meeting the Russians in secret to damage your political opponents is a little bit more than just diplomacy, don't you agree? Lord Dampnut's team didn't just try to contact the Russians, they tried to set up a secret backchannel and they lied, lied, lied about everything in connection to Russia.

    And the argument that the US should overlook Russian interference because Israel's lobbying is arguably more impactful is kind of a non-sequitur, isn't it?
    Last edited by Starker; 15th Apr 2019 at 00:13.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    No, it's highly revealing. If you claim to care about intervention but don't say a word about the people actually doing the intervening while being relentlessly focused on another country posting fake stuff on social media, you probably don't actually care about intervention.

    Even Obama stated that this sort of thing is commonplace at this point and there's nothing special about this situation. This is nothing more than a propaganda/distraction machine.

    A friend put it all better than I ever could:
    separating hysteria from reality—>

    Hysteria -Trump needs to stop appeasing Putin

    Reality- “Trump didn’t recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea, announce a troop pullout from Syria, promise to disband NATO, withdraw U.S. troops from Germany or stop the deployment of U.S. anti-missile defenses in Eastern Europe. He didn’t give up his opposition to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany or express regret about his decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine. In fact, he did nothing that could be construed as undermining U.S. interests as traditionally understood. His comments revealed no freebies to Putin or even any sign that the two leaders had attempted to negotiate compromises on the many substantive issues that divide their two countries.” (Citation)

    Trump has actually done the following, essentially continuing Obama’s policies on Russia and even expanding them : (1) shot down and killed Russian nationals in Syria, (2) greatly escalated nuclear tensions with Russia; (3) allowed the sale of arms to Ukraine (a move Obama refused for fear of angering Moscow), (4) established a permanent military presence in Syria with the goal of effecting regime change,(5) forced RT and Sputnik to register as foreign agents, (6) expanded NATO with the addition of Montenegro, (7) assigned Russia hawk Kurt Volker as special representative to Ukraine, (8) shut down the idea of a Russian consulate in San Francisco and (9) thrown out Russian diplomats as part of continued back-and-forth hostile diplomatic exchanges.

    Hysteria - Americans are outraged at the hijacking of our democracy

    Reality -“But outside the self-enclosed vivarium that is the Twitter-cable-news-late-night-show axis, nobody actually cares about the Russia issue. In last month’s Gallup poll, less than 0.5 percent of Americans mentioned “the situation with Russia” as the most important problem facing the country — coming in just behind “Children’s behavior/Way they are raised” and far behind “Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness.”

    Hysteria - Russian cyber activity amounts to Pearl Harbor 2

    Reality - the former CIA head on Russia spoke on this issue. This is what he said : “The CIA’s former chief of Russia operations, Steven L. Hall, said : “If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all.” Hall added that “the United States ‘absolutely’ has carried out such election influence operations historically, and I hope we keep doing it.”

    At the end of his reign, Obama rebuked candidate Trump sharply when the billionaire himself claimed that the presidential election could be hacked. “NO SERIOUS PERSON BELIEVES THIS” were Obama’s exact words.

    It should be pretty obvious that what are mainly talking about in reality is very low level, everyday espionage. As Glenn Greenwald has said looking into NSA practices, the US does much more intrusive and intensive level espionage and fishing to so many countries servers. It’s absolutely ROUTINE.

    Basically, to the extent Trump has “Russian” connections, it’s due to his past business dealings of securing funding from the Russian mafia level kleptocrats. That’s why in part he won’t release his taxes. And of course the kleptocracy was largely created with covert and also explicit US sources, agencies , etc. FFS, hundreds of thousands of foreign NGOs flocked to Russia during the Yeltsin Chubais Chernomyrdin years, when the most egregious looting occurred.

    Hysteria —I can’t believe anyone would not believe “OUR intelligence community !

    Reality -No critically minded person should EVER believe a single word coming out the mouths of “OUR” intelligence community when they try to essentially spew propaganda . Not one single word. The National Intelligence Estimate, initially claimed to be based on input from 17 intelligence agencies, later reduced to selected representatives from three of the agencies (NSA, CIA and FBI), provides no proof for claims of Russian meddling and states quite openly that it is conjecture. Amongst these agencies, one (NSA) is known for illegally spying on Americans and lying about it to congress, the second (CIA) provided fraudulent ‘evidence’ to drag the U.S. into a calamitous war against Iraq where it ran illegal torture camps and the third (FBI) has such a checkered history that is was called ‘Gestapo’ by former U.S. president Harry Truman. Please google COINTELPRO, especially FBI attempts to disrupt and discredit the Civil Rights movement. At the time that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was accusing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of being a communist, the term approximated being an agent of Russia. James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, lied to congress about NSA spying; Trevor Timm in the Columbia (University) Journalism Review explained the many ways former head of the NSA and CIA Michael Hayden has lied to congress and the American people.
    (I already linked said citations on the previous page)
    Last edited by froghawk; 15th Apr 2019 at 00:24.

  9. #34
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Maybe it's because Israel is an ally while Russia is an adversary and what Israel does is not aimed at destabilising the US? If they were found to be hacking into Republican servers and try to create chaos and sow division between Americans to influence US elections, that would be just as bad.

    As for Leonid Bershidsky's take on this that you quoted, Lord Dampnut absolutely did announce a troop pullout from Syria and he has called Nato obsolete and he has said that Crimea belongs to Russia, because they speak Russian there. And there are some things he couldn't do even if he tried. On the other hand, he has loudly complained about Russian sanctions, dragged his feet in enacting them, tried to undo them with some success, he reportedly raged when he learned that the US would be expelling more diplomats than any other country after the UK nerve gas attacks, and the list goes on and on.

    And here's a bit about Montenegro: http://time.com/5341790/donald-trump...ntenegro-nato/

    And there are other things that your friend is highly mistaken about as well. I could go over the whole list that way, but that would take more effort than I really care right now.
    Last edited by Starker; 15th Apr 2019 at 00:59.

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Granted, that post is a couple years out of date now and the situation has evolved since then - not all of those points are still true. The general point still holds true, however.

    You're right that Israel may not be aiming to destabilize the US, but that's because the US funds them and their extensive human rights abuses, which we should not be standing for. My general point here is that the US needs to fix their own egregious behavior before we start calling everyone else out or we have no ground to stand on whatsoever.

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The general point does not hold true, though. Just because the media has the tendency to sensationalise some things doesn't mean that those things should therefore be of no significance whatsoever. And yes, what Russia did was business as usual, they are merely continuing what they have been doing for decades, but that doesn't make it okay or not worth paying attention to.

    Israel is certainly not innocent either, but that's neither here or there. The US may not have the moral high ground, but they absolutely are the lesser evil, as far as I'm concerned. I would vastly prefer a world led by the US than by Russia or China.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    What, and you think there's a real threat that the world is going to be run by Russia because they posted some fake things on the internet?

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Don't be ridiculous. And they did more than post some fake things on the internet. And that's just what we know.

    Also, hacking and espionage may be commonplace, but what's not commonplace is weaponising the results.

    No, the world is not going to be "run by Russia". But Russia (and China) certainly have geopolitical ambitions that rival the US.

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    So then why does it even matter which world you prefer? Why is that even a part of this debate? Why does it matter which country is 'the lesser evil'? The one you live in (I assume) has great power already and is causing massive global harm, whereas the other is completely outside of your control. You should be concerned with what little is under your control before you start fixating on everyone else, otherwise you're nothing more than a thinly veiled imperialist hawk.

    And excuse me - weaponizing the results isn't commonplace? Tell that to all the south american countries where we've installed dictators. Hell, tell that to Russia.
    Last edited by froghawk; 15th Apr 2019 at 01:31.

  15. #40
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    To put it more broadly, the US is a country established on a set of ideals. We hold these truths to be self-evident, democracy over totalitarianism, etc. The US has certainly not lived up to them and has at times actively worked against them, toppling democracies and setting up dictatorships friendly to the US, but I would argue that these ideals serve as a moral compass that has improved the US quite a bit. These are the ideals that civil rights activists have relied on to argue their cause and use as leverage. And these ideals can be used to hold those in power accountable.

    On the other side of the coin, things are much much worse. In Russia or China, the idea that the government is spying on you would not even rise an eyebrow, let alone rise questions of legality. Restricting the internet is a common everyday thing. The police and government officials don't just take bribes, they expect them. Human rights, free press, what are those? Are they tasty?

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Sounds like a whole lot of whataboutism to me.

  17. #42
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It matters when we talk about who sets the tone for others to follow. I think that Western democracies, for all their faults, are better than autocratic forms of governing. It's relevant to why I think a world led by the US would be in a better place and why Russia's attempts to undermine the West and sow postmodern chaos where none of the institutions and ideals matter are a thing to be worried about instead of going, "So what?"

    "But what about Israel? But what about US actions?" sounds more like whataboutism to me.

  18. #43
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Those issues are directly relevant to Assange's leaks - much more so than which country is 'setting the tone' on the global stage. The only reason to have that discussion at all is to engage in US apologism, which I have no patience for.

  19. #44
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It explains why Russia's actions are not merely a harmless commonplace thing. I have not apologised for US. In contrary, I have acknowledged that they do bad things. Saying they are the lesser evil is not to excuse US actions, but to show why Russia's success in things like these matters.

    Also, as long as we are doing the metadebate thing, I would like to point out that the idea that you should first put your house in perfect order before you're allowed to criticise others is a fallacy. For example, someone who is an alcoholic might be uniquely equipped to criticise the alcoholism of others, because they are all the more familiar with the negative sides of it. Similarly, the fact that US (or some other country) engages in illicit things does in no way excuse Russia's actions or make them more valid.

    Furthermore, I have no patience for Russian apologism either.

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    If said person incessantly harped on others' alcoholism without addressing their own, then they're projecting and hypocritical. That's exactly what we're seeing here. It's one thing to point out an issue where you see it - it's another entirely to obsessively fixate on it to the exclusion of your own problems. My argument does not follow said fallacy because there was no point at which I claimed that Russia was innocent - condition 3 was not met. I was claiming irrelevance, not falsehood. But hey, this is the classic modern neoliberal vs. far left debate. It's not going to be settled here. I don't play 'lesser of all evil' games and I'm not about to start.
    Last edited by froghawk; 15th Apr 2019 at 02:11.

  21. #46
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    It's entirely in response to claims that Russia did nothing wrong, though. On the other hand, when the topic is the Russian interference in US elections, then "What about the US interference in Latin America?" only serves to diminish what Russia did, to make it seem more normal. It is not normal. Neither what the US has done in Latin America nor what Russia did in the US.

  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    No, my point is that the US created this situation. You want to talk about 'setting the tone'? We set the tone by making global intervention a regular occurrence. Most importantly, we interfered in Russian elections when we practically installed Yeltsin. There's nothing whatabouty in pointing out that link - we intervened in their elections much more heavily than they intervened in ours, and we did it first. We set that precedent, and we're supposed to be surprised when they do it back, albeit on a milder scale? We strongly helped cultivate the climate in Russia to allow for Putin's rise, as well, but you're right - all of that is just whataboutism. You got me. This is a direct cause and effect situation. Literally no one here claimed that Russia 'did nothing wrong' (yes, I said it was normal, but normal excuses nothing in my book and is not remotely equated with innocence), so ditch the strawman and try responding to the actual argument I've been making since the previous page.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/us...p-1436470.html
    Last edited by froghawk; 15th Apr 2019 at 02:32.

  23. #48
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    You were the one who claimed that Russia just posted some fake things on the internet. You saying that I think Russia is going to run the world by doing it is the strawman.

    Meanwhile, I've been trying to explain why Russia's attempts to undermine Western democracies and values are a bad thing and you call it whataboutism while having brought up "What about Israel's lobbying" and "What about US actions in Latin America?" previously.

    Also, "We got what we deserved" does not mean that Russian interference should not be taken seriously. Neither does "We do it too" or "We did it first".

  24. #49
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Cool, let's just keep repeating ourselves, ignoring context, and completely talking past each other for the rest of eternity. It's lots of fun.

  25. #50
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Sure, let me just say that as someone who was born in the Soviet Union and witnessed the tail end of it, it just baffles me how little regard people have for Western values and how granted people take their freedoms. Your country, the US, may not be the best in the world, but trust me, there are much, much worse alternatives. United States, from my perspective from the other side, very much is the lesser evil.

    The ideals and actions of the US may not always match, but it is those ideals that have set the tone and example so far, not the actions. The idea of a free press for example. When someone uncovers corruption in Russia, it doesn't even make it in the news. In the US, there is at least some accountability for the rich and the powerful, as little as it is. Wikileaks are a huge deal and the press reported them widely. In Russia, when a similar site called the Lubyanskaya Pravda published documents, not only did nobody report on it, the site was taken down in three weeks. There are freedoms that the West simply takes for granted. Did you know there is a law in Russia against insulting the state or state officials or publishing anything state officials deem to to be factually inaccurate (such as corruption allegations) and that people have been put to jail for violating it? Meanwhile, you have comedians savaging presidents to their face and they will not be jailed or killed for it.

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