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Trump shits all over the troops again


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1 minute ago, StassneyHorn said:

Which members of the IC are good guys and which ones are bad guys? Can we have a thread on that

Not like this is particularly new turf.  The only novel concept involved is the way that they political alignments have evolve.d 

 

 

Powell_UN_Iraq_presentation,_alleged_Mob

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1 hour ago, Anastasis said:

Not like this is particularly new turf.  The only novel concept involved is the way that they political alignments have evolve.d 

 

 

Powell_UN_Iraq_presentation,_alleged_Mob

Nah.  Liberals are still against the Patriot Act, unlawful surveillance, and the growth of the police state.  They are also against Russian state interference in our elections, and against our population in general.

Your constant misdirection continues to be transparent.  You approve of Russian interference and because of that you try to steer conversation toward your red herring.   Everyone on the Mueller thread agrees that the FBI overstepped, but unlike you, they actually want to get to the bottom of Russian interference.  You want to avoid criticizing or discussing Russia at all.

I will say that I once thought you actually had some type of "true belief" regarding the IC and surveillance.  But now, we have a whole thread on Bill Barr, current head of most of the IC you claim to hate.   He happens to also use his power in more unlawful ways than anyone in decades.  You don't even offer a peep of discontent with him.  In fact, on the Bill Barr thread, you have posted only 2 sets of comments.  The first a complaint about the thread name being changed, and the second a complaint about Nadler.  

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9 hours ago, FondrenRoad said:

Your constant misdirection continues to be transparent. 

That's pretty funny.  Glad you were able to work that in right before the "But Mueller Thread" and the "But Bill Barr Thread".  I posted a NBC news article relevant to the bounty allegations, and then correct a factual error regarding NSA confidence the assessment. Misdirection!

9 hours ago, FondrenRoad said:

Everyone on the Mueller thread agrees that the FBI overstepped

You yourself were among the gaggle loudly pushing back on my arguments that the probable cause justification for surveillance was crucially and inappropriately founded on unverified politically motivated oppo research from a foreign spook. I am glad that you have apparently come around to recognizing that my arguments on that issue were in fact correct.

11 hours ago, FondrenRoad said:

You approve of Russian interference and because of that you try to steer conversation toward your red herring...You want to avoid criticizing or discussing Russia at all. 

Speaking of red herrings. I've previously shared my thoughts on what kind of broad measures we should take to mitigate the potential impacts of Russian influence attempts on the Mueller thread a number of times, typically because people like you were accusing me being disloyal to my country because we see the issues involved from different perspectives. If you want to discuss that further, happy to do so on that thread. Or you can just keep following me around unrelated threads with your But Russia, But Mueller, But Bill Barr misdirections.  

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This is not accurate. NSA said that they did not have supporting evidence aligned to the assessment of the CIA.  NYT reported this, WSJ as well.  There is a pattern of course of the CIA going much further than the NSA in their assessments. One relies on actual signals intelligence, the other relatively soft assessments subject to disinformation (waterboarded anyone recently my friend?). 
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/03/us/politics/memo-russian-bounties.html
But other parts of the intelligence community ‚ÄĒ including the National Security Agency, which favors electronic surveillance intelligence ‚ÄĒ said they did not have information to support that conclusion at the same level, therefore expressing lower confidence in the conclusion, according to the two officials. A third official familiar with the memo did not describe the precise confidence levels, but also said the C.I.A.‚Äôs was higher than other agencies.
 Also, from WSJ: https://www.wsj.com/articles/nsa-differed-from-cia-others-on-russia-bounty-intelligence-11593534220
The National Security Agency strongly dissented from other intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia paid bounties for the killing of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, according to people familiar with the matter.
 

Listen, I may poke at you from time to time but I actually respect you and so I read the articles you linked. It took a while to respond due to chaos of virtual schooling.

In the first NYT article you cited. The CIA made a conclusion based on their intelligence which included interrogations, and they tracked money transfers. NSA, wanted actual surveillance from those meetings which is an impossible standard after the fact, and not always possible. Thank you for correcting me on that Wiki source.

I do not understand what you consider/define as a soft assessment nor why that is weaker. Sure a smoking gun and video of the murder that is holding up their passport and reciting their name, address, and ss# is wonderful, but wire transfers, meetings, and interrogations would give credence to investigating further. Their conclusion this is real but at a unknown level seems reasonable. I am guessing the CIA looked into alternative reasons for the evidence and interrogation testimony they received.

The NSA dissented from the CIA and others. Did the NSA have access to the same intelligence that the other agencies had? This is a real question, I know very little about intelligence communities (obvious, as I am here- har har har). The only operative I know I am years and hundreds of miles removed from.
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22 minutes ago, Nivek said:

Listen, I may poke at you from time to time but I actually respect you and so I read the articles you linked. It took a while to respond due to chaos of virtual schooling.

I appreciate that and share the sentiment.  And am on the same page regarding the chaos of virtual schooling.

24 minutes ago, Nivek said:

I do not understand what you consider/define as a soft assessment nor why that is weaker. Sure a smoking gun and video of the murder that is holding up their passport and reciting their name, address, and ss# is wonderful, but wire transfers, meetings, and interrogations would give credence to investigating further. Their conclusion this is real but at a unknown level seems reasonable. I am guessing the CIA looked into alternative reasons for the evidence and interrogation testimony they received.

It seems fairly intuitive to me that information collected in the course of interrogation of a human source is less reliable compared to other types of information.  Interrogations of prisoners in particular seems like a relatively softer piece of evidence compared to, for example, clandestine capture of electronic communications between Russians, or Russians the the Taliban.  I threw waterboarding out there as an extreme example, but the same dynamic in terms of asymmetrical power and potential for coercive influence are present with interrogation of a prisoner. I don't think it is too far of a stretch to assign different "levels of evidence" to these different types of data. I would also acknowledge that in certain situations, human intelligence fills gaps that signals intelligence cannot, and vice versa. And assessments supported by multiple intelligence streams would of course be stronger than assessments supported by a single stream.

One thing that I noticed in the NBC article that I did not see in the NYT reporting, for example, is that the term "bounty" was never used in the interrogation. Now maybe some other terms were used that captures the concept of incentive payments based on the number of dead Americans, but the application of the term "bounty" appears to be one of interpretation by a CIA analysts and not a term that the informant used. May simply be a amtter of semantics, but that wrinkle was never made clear in the NYT reporting. If they didn't describe it as a "bounty", how exactly did they describe the payments and in what context of questioning? Kinda of important considerations in my opinion. We of course will never be given access to the raw intelligence, but the military commanders have access to all the intelligence streams on the matter, and their consensus appears to be that the information does not make the "final connection" and they are continuing to look for that connection. Wire transfers of money and meetings are circumstantial pieces of information that don't necessarily relate to a bounty program.  I don't think that any body has any doubt that Russia is providing funding, arms, and other support to the Taliban.  That's not the charge, the charge is that "bounty" payments were being made to target Americans.

Charging that Russia was paying bounties on American heads is a serious charge. It's an act of war that would require a response. We've been through the ringer with IC failings, specifically as it related to bad human intelligence and anonymous intelligence sources pushing narrative via the NYT, with Iraq. I think that a position of skepticism is generally warranted.  

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7 minutes ago, GRHorn said:

 

Just gonna fast track that Nobel Peace Prize to Trump

Well, that's just not quite what happened.  What a difference a word can make.  "Declares"

Quote

SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in restated a call Wednesday for the declaration of an end to the Korean War, saying it would pave the way for complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula, as he took part in the annual United Nations General Assembly session via video links.

He requested the international community's support so that the Koreas can advance into an era of reconciliation and prosperity through the end-of-war declaration.

Quote

It is not the first time that Moon, widely known for his Korea peace initiative, has proposed the end-of-war declaration on the global stage. He emphasized the urgency of declaring a formal end to the war during his 2018 address at the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Quote

Reiterating the offer of declaring a formal end to the Korean War at the U.N. event, Moon stopped short of providing details, including whether a related U.N. resolution is necessary and if China would get involved in any declaration.

Pyongyang has been unresponsive to Moon's earlier overtures that the two Koreas cooperate in the coronavirus response and health care sector.

 

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On 9/18/2020 at 1:39 PM, Anastasis said:

I appreciate that and share the sentiment.  And am on the same page regarding the chaos of virtual schooling.

It seems fairly intuitive to me that information collected in the course of interrogation of a human source is less reliable compared to other types of information.  Interrogations of prisoners in particular seems like a relatively softer piece of evidence compared to, for example, clandestine capture of electronic communications between Russians, or Russians the the Taliban.  I threw waterboarding out there as an extreme example, but the same dynamic in terms of asymmetrical power and potential for coercive influence are present with interrogation of a prisoner. I don't think it is too far of a stretch to assign different "levels of evidence" to these different types of data. I would also acknowledge that in certain situations, human intelligence fills gaps that signals intelligence cannot, and vice versa. And assessments supported by multiple intelligence streams would of course be stronger than assessments supported by a single stream.

One thing that I noticed in the NBC article that I did not see in the NYT reporting, for example, is that the term "bounty" was never used in the interrogation. Now maybe some other terms were used that captures the concept of incentive payments based on the number of dead Americans, but the application of the term "bounty" appears to be one of interpretation by a CIA analysts and not a term that the informant used. May simply be a amtter of semantics, but that wrinkle was never made clear in the NYT reporting. If they didn't describe it as a "bounty", how exactly did they describe the payments and in what context of questioning? Kinda of important considerations in my opinion. We of course will never be given access to the raw intelligence, but the military commanders have access to all the intelligence streams on the matter, and their consensus appears to be that the information does not make the "final connection" and they are continuing to look for that connection. Wire transfers of money and meetings are circumstantial pieces of information that don't necessarily relate to a bounty program.  I don't think that any body has any doubt that Russia is providing funding, arms, and other support to the Taliban.  That's not the charge, the charge is that "bounty" payments were being made to target Americans.

Charging that Russia was paying bounties on American heads is a serious charge. It's an act of war that would require a response. We've been through the ringer with IC failings, specifically as it related to bad human intelligence and anonymous intelligence sources pushing narrative via the NYT, with Iraq. I think that a position of skepticism is generally warranted.  

I tend to agree, I also believe (possibly naively) that the CIA already does this when looking at information.   Overall, I tend to agree, I just wanted to make sure we were working from the same definition for the sake of clarity.    Which begets your second point about the bounty or reward system.   It could be semantical, but that is assumed on my part, and could be wrong.  I have to put faith in the journalists here, which I do not think is misplaced seeing how they are doing their best to be as exact as possible.   

As to the implications.  We have engaged in a strategy of appeasement (airliners, Wagner Group attacking our base in Syria, refusing to enact sanctions) with Russia.  I doubt we would be wiling to go to war even over a few bounties being paid.  It is in our interest to find this is not true (or even report it as not being true) as it could impact our current policy of appeasement and shift it to action (which is what our current leadership prefers).

Ultimately, I think we are mostly on the same page here.  I see very little though that will push this administration from a policy of appeasement to one of action (even if that is limited to political and economic actions as opposed to outright war) should the report be true and far reaching within the Russian leadership.  

 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 month later...

 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/us-intel-walks-back-claim-russians-put-bounties-on-american-troops

U.S. Intel Walks Back Claim Russians Put Bounties on American Troops

It was a¬†blockbuster story¬†about Russia‚Äôs return to the imperial ‚ÄúGreat Game‚ÄĚ in Afghanistan. The Kremlin had spread money around the longtime central Asian battlefield for militants to kill remaining U.S. forces. It sparked a massive outcry from Democrats and their #resistance amplifiers about the treasonous Russian puppet in the White House whose admiration for Vladimir Putin had endangered American troops.

But on Thursday, the Biden administration announced that U.S. intelligence only had ‚Äúlow to moderate‚ÄĚ confidence in the story after all. Translated from the jargon of spyworld, that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven‚ÄĒand possibly untrue.

‚ÄúThe United States intelligence community assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks U.S. and coalition personnel in Afghanistan in 2019 and perhaps earlier,‚ÄĚ a senior administration official said.

...

According to the officials on Thursday‚Äôs call, the reporting about the alleged ‚Äúbounties‚ÄĚ came from ‚Äúdetainee reporting‚ÄĚ ‚Äď raising the specter that someone told their U.S.-aligned Afghan jailers what they thought was necessary to get out of a cage. Specifically, the official cited ‚Äúinformation and evidence of connections to criminal agents in Afghanistan and elements of the Russian government‚ÄĚ as sources for the intelligence community‚Äôs assessment.

Without additional corroboration, such reporting is notoriously unreliable. Detainee reporting from a man known as Ibn Shaikh al-Libi, extracted from torture, infamously and bogusly fueled a Bush administration claim, used to invade Iraq, about Saddam Hussein training al-Qaeda to make poison gas.

...

As well, there seemed to be no ‚Äúcausative link‚ÄĚ to any actual U.S. deaths, in the judgment of Gen. Frank McKenzie, the senior U.S. general for the Middle East and South Asia. Former U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers¬†told The Daily Beast last summer¬†that they viewed the bounties account skeptically. One retired diplomat suspected, ‚Äúsomeone leaked this to slow down the troop withdrawal.‚ÄĚ

Rarely discussed was the main reason to believe the story: the CIA actually did fund Afghan guerillas to kill Russian forces during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan of the 1980s.

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Kudos to the Biden Administration for being open and forthright about this.  Kudos to all servicemen and women who deployed to that shithole.  

Fuck Russia.  Fuck Afghanistan.  Let 'em kill each other there this time without us, Charlie Wilson, or Philip Seymour Hoffman! 

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26 minutes ago, Lobo said:

Kudos to the Biden Administration for being open and forthright about this.  Kudos to all servicemen and women who deployed to that shithole.  

Fuck Russia.  Fuck Afghanistan.  Let 'em kill each other there this time without us, Charlie Wilson, or Philip Seymour Hoffman! 

We did a mock diplomacy exercise in my South Asian Politics GOV class at UT in '86 or '87 or so. I was part of team Russia, and we were giddy over getting the Americans to commit ground troops to Afghanistan while we left the region altogether. Funnest class I had during the three semesters I was a GOV major.

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That class was still around when I did a brief stint at UT.  I kinda wanted to take it since several relatives of mine served during Vietnam, and we were fresh off the downfall of the Soviet Union at that time.  Now I wish I had taken it.  I wonder if it's still around or it got cancelled.  

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19 hours ago, Lobo said:

That class was still around when I did a brief stint at UT.  I kinda wanted to take it since several relatives of mine served during Vietnam, and we were fresh off the downfall of the Soviet Union at that time.  Now I wish I had taken it.  I wonder if it's still around or it got cancelled.  

Does UT allow class audits? A number of unis used to allow that if the instructor of record gave permission--no testing or grade, etc but allowed to sit in and contribute. Due to space considerations, most had to do away with it, but with online due to pandemic, I wonder if it's possible again.

In Madison they had some arrangement for senior citizens where they could take classes as a senior guest auditor for free or reduced prices.

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There are a ton of class lectures available online that could serve the same purpose.  It would not be in real time and obviously you can't contribute, but you can still get the full lecture.  A lot of them also provide the course assignments so if you really wanted to get your dork game on you could attempt / complete them as well.

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13 minutes ago, Fudge Nuggets said:

dork game

J/K, but in an America that is fighting a battle against ignorance and low critical thinking skills, we have got to have a discussion about maligning learning for learning's sake.

 

Seriously--as a parent, I have run into this for real (not directed at you--just opining here) and it was frustrating. My children were/are involved in both academics and athletics/extracurricular activities in HS and I sit there and listen at school functions where butthurt parents complain about class rank because "those students do nothing but study all the time, they have no social life." Which, as someone who spends (not so much lately due to COVID) a fair time on campus, is false. Those students have friends who share their interest, which happens to be learning among other things. Which, strangely enough, is excellent preparation for doing well in school and entering college. There are way more opportunities to earn a place at a university than there are on a D-1 athletic team, but you sure wouldn't know it listening to the parents. I love sports, I believe athletics and other extracurricular activities bring value and intangibles to students, but come on people--have some perspective here.

 

Going back to the online lectures, I agree. I have really enjoyed seeking out topics of interest and learning new things when I've carved out time to do so. The main difficulty for many folks is realizing that a YouTube video by a self-described epidemiologist who is really a plumber is not quite how to go about it. I've certainly fallen into that trap myself and is why I've asked on here before about 'is so and so a respectable source?' because one doesn't always know in certain areas, especially slightly obscure ones,  who is a crank. 

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^^^^^^^^^^^

parent bitching about class rank for their little angel belongs in the "That guy/ gal" thread.

Total fucking beating.

 

Oh...and kids can absolutely do those other activities and have high academic achievement.  The parents bitching about it are generally enablers...

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1 hour ago, Mrs Whiggins said:

J/K, but in an America that is fighting a battle against ignorance and low critical thinking skills, we have got to have a discussion about maligning learning for learning's sake.

 

Seriously--as a parent, I have run into this for real (not directed at you--just opining here) and it was frustrating. My children were/are involved in both academics and athletics/extracurricular activities in HS and I sit there and listen at school functions where butthurt parents complain about class rank because "those students do nothing but study all the time, they have no social life." Which, as someone who spends (not so much lately due to COVID) a fair time on campus, is false. Those students have friends who share their interest, which happens to be learning among other things. Which, strangely enough, is excellent preparation for doing well in school and entering college. There are way more opportunities to earn a place at a university than there are on a D-1 athletic team, but you sure wouldn't know it listening to the parents. I love sports, I believe athletics and other extracurricular activities bring value and intangibles to students, but come on people--have some perspective here.

 

Going back to the online lectures, I agree. I have really enjoyed seeking out topics of interest and learning new things when I've carved out time to do so. The main difficulty for many folks is realizing that a YouTube video by a self-described epidemiologist who is really a plumber is not quite how to go about it. I've certainly fallen into that trap myself and is why I've asked on here before about 'is so and so a respectable source?' because one doesn't always know in certain areas, especially slightly obscure ones,  who is a crank. 

Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend YouTube videos for this unless the video is from a legit university account. Universities such as Stanford, MIT, etc have plenty of courses available online available to everyone. 

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1 minute ago, Fudge Nuggets said:

Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend YouTube videos for this unless the video is from a legit university account. Universities such as Stanford, MIT, etc have plenty of courses available online available to everyone. 

I've actually learned quite a bit from .gov accounts. Even the former Administration didn't completely gut some of the great and useful information they have catalogued on a variety of topics. It isn't a lecture per se, so it doesn't have the nuance, but I'm glad it's available.

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2 hours ago, Mrs Whiggins said:

Does UT allow class audits? A number of unis used to allow that if the instructor of record gave permission--no testing or grade, etc but allowed to sit in and contribute. Due to space considerations, most had to do away with it, but with online due to pandemic, I wonder if it's possible again.

In Madison they had some arrangement for senior citizens where they could take classes as a senior guest auditor for free or reduced prices.

 

I was on staff at UT from the late 80s through the 90s. During that time, I audited a number of courses over the years, including small (~20 students) conversational spanish classes, and ginormous lectures.  I usually audited one per long session. I would just go see the professor and ask. I don't think I was ever turned down. As far as the other students knew, I was just an older than average student.

 

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