Monday, March 27, 2017

Meddling in elections

Some Americans are concerned about the possibility that Russia interfered with the 2016 United States elections, although virtually all of these people are liberals or moderates. You can count the Republicans who have shown any concern on your thumbs.

Count RtO among the concerned, but also puzzled. Foreigners observing the liberal concern must be thinking, what hypocrites those Americans are.

In all the reporting I  have seen over months about the electoral interference, I have not seen a single mention of the history of the United States' interference in the elections of other countries.

It began right after World War II, when the U.S. government was alarmed that the Communists, said to be largest parties in France and Italy, would gain power in the early postwar elections. So we meddled outrageously, funneling money to center-right parties and, no doubt, playing other dirty tricks.

The Soviets also were interfering in postwar European elections, and were the first, with their sponsorship of the "Lublin" government-in-exile of Poland in 1944 and, later, arrests of Polish liberals.

Interference in elections for other governments by the United States was subsequently epidemic and went far beyond merely fundng friendly politicians or otherwise putting the thumb on the scales.

The overthrow of the government of Iran and the conspiracy to murder the president of South Vietnam and his family were the most blatant examples, but a list of countris where the United States interfered, more or less openly, in the elections of other countries is a long one. The following list may not be complete:

Great Britain, Egypt, Congo, Southern Rhodesia, China, Philippines, Japan, West Germany, South Korea, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Lebanon, Spain, Portugal.




28 comments:

  1. Well, you can certainly add Brazil to that list, and every other country in South America.

    But Skipper thinks I am a paranoid conspiracionist for ever thinking the USA would engage in social engineering of other countries...

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  2. But Skipper thinks I am a paranoid conspiracionist for ever thinking the USA would engage in social engineering of other countries...

    No, I think you are a conspiratorial fool for making stuff up when the historical record is sufficient all on its own.

    The evidence for the US meddling in other countries internal affairs is abundant -- Harry's list seems pretty accurate.

    I can't help but note though, that every time Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phone, the NYT follows that up with "... without any evidence."

    Which is exactly how much evidence there has been so far about Russian meddling in our election, which progs nonetheless keep banging on about.

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  3. You don't consider the DNC hack meddling?

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  4. [Harry:] You don't consider the DNC hack meddling?

    [Hey Skipper:] Which is exactly how much evidence there has been so far about Russian meddling in our election, which progs nonetheless keep banging on about.

    Words matter.

    How much proof have you seen that the hacking -- requiring no significant skill, given that Podesta is such a technotard -- was Russian, whether inspired, funded, or directed?

    Other than, that is, on account of someone's say-so without any proffered evidence. I understand your attraction, in as much as that is your modus operandi, but the claim about Russian meddling is as evidence free as Trump's claims about Obama wiretapping his phone.

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  5. You need to read the Times more carefully, as it also describes the state of evidence in its Russia stories, and, despite what you are saying, there is some evidence.

    The zeal which the rightwing exhibits in preventing further investigation suggests there is something ubder their rock

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  6. You need to read the Times more carefully, as it also describes the state of evidence in its Russia stories, and, despite what you are saying, there is some evidence.

    I read the NYT daily, and these stories particularly closely. There are many claims evidence exists; no evidence has yet been proffered. No different than what Trump has done: claims of evidence are not evidence.

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  7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-obtained-fisa-warrant-to-monitor-former-trump-adviser-carter-page/2017/04/11/620192ea-1e0e-11e7-ad74-3a742a6e93a7_story.html?tid=pm_pop&utm_term=.b104ca7c85c3

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  8. Skipper,

    ----
    The evidence for the US meddling in other countries internal affairs is abundant -- Harry's list seems pretty accurate.
    -----

    And now the USA has much more powerful tools to carry on with such meddling, you believe it is sitting idle?

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  9. [Harry:] You really suck at links. Really, they aren't that hard.

    The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

    This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.


    First question. How many warrant applications, out of how many total, has the FISA court ever turned down?

    You will not answer the first question, because it rubbishes the second question: How does that constitute any evidence at all that Carter Page was doing anything at all inappropriate?

    When you answer both those questions, which you will not, then here comes the third question: Is the WP more like Pravda than the NYT?

    [Clovis:] And now the USA has much more powerful tools to carry on with such meddling, you believe it is sitting idle?

    You have heard of Wikileaks, I am certain. And about the astonishing amount of highly classified US government info was put out for everyone to see.

    Which means, I am certain, that you will find convincing evidence of these powerful tools being used to meddle in elections.

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  10. Harry, as I read further into the fact-void you and the WP consider journalism, I couldn't help but notice this:

    In March, Trump made unsubstantiated claims about U.S. surveillance of Trump Tower in New York.

    This entire article is a festival of unsubstantiated claims and insinuations.

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  11. Skipper,

    ---
    Which means, I am certain, that you will find convincing evidence of these powerful tools being used to meddle in elections.
    ---

    Yeah, and if you had any memory (why am I arguing with a fish?) you would remember I already did.

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  12. [Clovis:] Yeah, and if you had any memory (why am I arguing with a fish?) you would remember I already did.

    Then don't be a Harry, and provide a link. The only "evidence" I remember you supplying was rubbish.

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  13. Skipper,

    You cite Wikileaks, but you can't find them yourself?

    Meddling in French elections as recently as 2012.

    They do have greater details of meddling in other countries by the CIA, but they are being careful before disclosing the exact targets:

    ---
    Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

    Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States.
    ---

    Pay particular attention to the "ten of thousands" number. If they are ever disclosed, I am willing to bet a good beer that those targets will mostly be political and business elites, in countries posing zero threats to the USA.

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  14. Clovis, is gathering information tantamount to meddling?

    That is all your first link alleges. I take it for granted that all governments are getting as much information as they feel they need about all other governments all the time. The question is whether they then put their hand on the scale. The Obama administration attempted to in the last Israeli election.

    Fat lot of good it did Obama.

    As for the second, the CIA had tools. How did they use them?

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  15. Clovis, Skipper is pleading with you not to look at the man behind the curtain

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  16. Skipper,

    The kind of information being gathered matters - they are no proof of meddling, but strongly indicates the purpose behind gathering it.

    I take it for granted that all govts *would like* to get as much information as they feel they need -- after all, power always wants more power -- but only very few are able to collect it to the level the US does now. And it is highly improbable that, after spending so many billions to be able to collect such information, it is all resting idle in NSA's drawers.

    And you need to be very, very naive about human nature to trust that such power will be only used for the greater good, as the events unfolding in your own country should clearly remind you.

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  17. 'very few are able to collect it to the level the US does now.'

    Not just now. The US has constantly committed acts of war against other countries (such as overflights) which, if anyone tried against it, would be considered war.

    Morality does not consist in that which one can get away with.

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  18. [Harry:] The US has constantly committed acts of war against other countries (such as overflights) which, if anyone tried against it, would be considered war.

    Russia overflies the US dozens of times a day, including military installations.

    Are they acts of war?

    [Clovis:] ... but only very few are able to collect it to the level the US does now.

    Hmmm. Who might that few be?

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  19. Skipper,

    ---
    Russia overflies the US dozens of times a day, including military installations.
    ---
    Do you mean satellites?


    ---
    Hmmm. Who might that few be?
    ---
    The five eyes pack. And Israel.

    Running behind comes Ruskies and Chinese.

    And why that matters at this point of the argument?

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  20. [Clovis:] Do you mean satellites?

    Exactly. When Harry says The US has constantly committed acts of war against other countries (such as overflights) which, if anyone tried against it, would be considered war, he is either blowing it out of his hat, or can't distinguish ends from means.

    It would not be an act of war if Russia flew an unarmed U-2ski over the US, and it wouldn't be an act of war if we shot it down.

    And why that matters at this point of the argument?

    First, because the US's abilities in this area are primarily limited by technology and ingenuity, exactly the same limits as many other countries. I doubt we have a measurable, never mind significant, advantage.

    And then there is this: The kind of information being gathered matters - they are no proof of meddling, but strongly indicates the purpose behind gathering it.

    No: you are imposing an assumption that you haven't bothered to demonstrate, while ignoring the obvious.

    Countries don't like getting surprised. The primary reason for gathering information is to avoid getting caught flat-footed. Almost all of this information is purely observational. No doubt that sometimes the information sought is specific to a person, in the hopes using information to turn someone. The USSR did that routinely.

    But you are left with a problem: many damaging leaks on Trump came to light ... provided by domestic opponents who needed no help from the Russians, and which the Russians couldn't have found in any event.

    Moreover, the DNC's email system was so pathetic, my son could have hacked it. Requiring the Russians — not only without proof, but also without acknowledging how dirt simple it is to embed misdirection in hacks — for a trivial task is yet another assault on Occam's razor: Jon Podesta fell for the kind of simple phishing attack that comes across my email transom fifty times a day, and that I have the sense to filter straight into the trash.

    In the 2008 election, someone hacked Sara Palin's Facebook account, because she was a technotard. The Russians weren't invoked then; there is no reason to invoke them now.

    (OT. Collectivists such as Harry know that they are right because they are at the pinnacle of human intellect, and that their rightness entitles them to tell their inferiors how to live their lives. If they are so damn smart, how the heck is it they keep on doing really stupid stuff: The ACA website rollout was a cluster f*ck of dumpster fires, and Podesta fell for a scam so transparent most grandmothers would have seen right through it.)

    And you need to be very, very naive about human nature to trust that such power will be only used for the greater good, as the events unfolding in your own country should clearly remind you.

    And your superpower must be Leaping to Conclusions, in as much as I never even hinted at such a thing.

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  21. Skipper,

    ---
    First, because the US's abilities in this area are primarily limited by technology and ingenuity, exactly the same limits as many other countries. I doubt we have a measurable, never mind significant, advantage.
    ---
    You can't be serious. Really?

    The fact that your companies dominate most of the market, both in hardware and software, makes it singularly easy for your government to use that to its advantadge. Either by agreed collaboration or forced (judicial and writing of laws) one.

    And that's exactly what happened as shown by Snowden's disclosures.


    ---
    [Clovis] The kind of information being gathered matters - they are no proof of meddling, but strongly indicates the purpose behind gathering it.

    [Skipper] No: you are imposing an assumption that you haven't bothered to demonstrate, while ignoring the obvious.
    ---
    Just because I didn't bother to demonstrate, doesn't mean I am wrong. Maybe I do have further reason to believe so, but I am not willing to share it. Ever thought so?

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  22. [Clovis:] You can't be serious. Really?

    Completely serious. Name one information technology that the US has access that other countries do not.

    Just because I didn't bother to demonstrate, doesn't mean I am wrong. Maybe I do have further reason to believe so, but I am not willing to share it. Ever thought so?

    No, since you haven't given any worthwhile indication that is the case, I don't think so.

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  23. The US placed backdoors in hardware produced by American companies, as well as in software. You deny it configures an advantadge?

    It also developed new methods of hacking never tried or thought possible before. Though you may argue that anyone else could do it too, it would be very disingenious an argument - I mean, I am a physicist and I am not making an atomic bomb just because I am lazy right?

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  24. You deny it configures an advantage?

    No doubt, just as the Chinese obtained an advantage putting backdoors in Cisco routers.

    It also developed new methods of hacking never tried or thought possible before.

    As have the Chinese, Russians, and Israelis.

    In looking at this, I noted that several of the hardware backdoors were developed at universities. That doesn't mean anyone can do it, but it does mean that enough others can that the US doesn't enjoy any particular advantage.

    Just because wikileaks spotlighted the US doesn't mean the US is the only game in town.

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  25. 'It would not be an act of war if Russia flew an unarmed U-2ski over the US, and it wouldn't be an act of war if we shot it down.'

    Really?

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  26. i can think of several occasions when we went to war over less, included 100 years ago.

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  27. i can think of several occasions when we went to war over less, included 100 years ago.

    Pro-tip: what constitutes an act of war doesn't have even the square root of zero to do with what you think.

    Pro-tip 2: casus belli != act of war

    Pro-tip 3: Germans torpedoing our merchant ships constitutes an act of war.

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