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Messages - linuxfreakus

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General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 19, 2017, 05:31:46 PM »
They would need to surface (or come relatively near surface at least) maybe once a week-ish  perhaps longer depending on how much battery power is actually used and how many people on board...  but IMO the only really viable detection mechanism they currently have as long as the enemy has some idea where sound monitoring occurs is satellite.... and that isn't really reliable, especially at night despite various infrared possibilities.

In some ways the nukes are actually easier because the reactors are not silent.  But again, it depends on how much they've figured out about where listening stations are, and magnetic resonance too (newer subs use titanium or carbon / polymer).

Last barrier for diesel is refueling... but I think it could likely be disguised somehow.

General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 19, 2017, 11:45:22 AM »
And I'm sure someone will point out that yes even stuff in a landfill *could* make a weapon... but the problem is you'd need so much of it you'd probably never get enough.  Uranium and plutonium can get it done with much less material.... you can probably find uranium in some older landfills, but would have to be in the US or another place that was doing stuff with it in the WW II era and shortly thereafter....

Waste of time anyway since NK has uranium mines already :P

General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 19, 2017, 11:23:57 AM »
You can definitely make a reactor from a landfill.  People throw away lots of things that if collected in large numbers would be enough radioactive material to make a reactor.... granted a lot of it is stuff that has shorter half life and wouldn't last as long... but it would work.  To actually make nuclear weapons you'd need some specific elements that would be harder to find in a landfill.

I don't know about building reactors out of used coffee grounds and old newspapers.  I think it's quite  bit more complex.

True, satellite launched nukes could be hard to stop too since they could drop payload much closer to the target.  That said, I find it hard to believe that they haven't used some of our secret DARPA space tech to have a closer look at those things and cause them to "have an accident" if deemed a threat.  I still think subs are the greater threat.  Despite all the public statements about how easy they would be to track because they are old and diesel, I don't buy it. We've consistently had old diesel subs get through some of the densest and most sophisticated sub monitoring networks during various war games.  I don't think they can track them nearly as well as they claim.  They do have some rather belated underwater drone projects in the works that might help though.

Add into all this, North Korea successfully placed 2 satellites in polar orbit in, one in 2012 and the other in 2016. R. James Woolsey,  former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Peter Vincent Fry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security as well as director of the Nuclear Strategy Forum, both congressional advisory boards, warned:
Both satellites now are in south polar orbits, evading many U.S. missile defense radars and flying over the United States from the south, where our defenses are limited. Both satellites -- if nuclear armed -- could make an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could blackout the U.S. electric grid for months or years, thereby killing millions.
Dealing with those satellites during launch or before they achieved orbit would have been fortunate.  They're obviously a significant threat.

General Comments / Cleveland Killer
« on: April 19, 2017, 09:49:19 AM »
Cleveland Killer Steve Stephens ... story seems pretty strange.  He worked for Beech Brook, kept flashing his badge in some of his videos... his girlfriend who he kept mentioning also worked at Beech Brook for 11 years before joining Murtis Taylor last year.  Beech Brook used to be an adoption/foster agency until they were raided because it turned out the staff was abusing children, Murtis Taylor seems to also be a possibly corrupt adoption/foster agency.

Wondering if maybe the guy he shot was not random because the news stories had statements from his "lover".

Angela Smith, 34... which means they were also "together" when she was 16 and he was 56?  Kinda creepy, and very curious given shady stuff about Beech Brook and Murtis Taylor.... maybe unrelated, but makes me wonder.

Weird that media stories don't seem to mention this seemingly relevant information at all, when it clearly seems like this guy had some sort of vendetta from his videos.  I don't know why he wouldn't have just come out and said more about it on video if there was more to the story though.

General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 18, 2017, 06:25:22 PM »
Not exactly true.  You can make a nuclear reactor out of materials from a landfill.  The money can help pull in highly paid scientists, but it shouldn't take anywhere near 4 billion.... 4 billion could make highly advanced weapons many times more powerful than "simple nukes" but I'll say again, I'm pretty sure that a lot more countries have the capability than are officially acknowledged.
I think anyone with a substantial civilian nuclear industry could make bombs in a relatively short time frame. So I think the official list of countries with nukes is pretty accurate. The list of countries that could have them by the end of next year or the year after is substantially longer. I don't know about delivery systems though. Subs are an obvious short-list, missiles are harder than they look and off-the-shelf bombers big enough to carry a nuke probably have a survivability problem.

Delivery is a clear issue yes.  Subs are currently going to be the cheapest and easiest path, especially if they are slowly moved into position and kept there quietly.  Chances of discovery are pretty low.  Long range ICBM type missiles can work, but they are too easy to detect and shoot down... bombers even more so.

General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 18, 2017, 06:10:31 PM »
Bill Clinton (via his emissary Jimmy Carter) cut a deal with North Korea in 1994.  North Korea promised to halt nuclear development (but never did) and Clinton gave them more than $4 billion in aid.  Essentially, Clinton financed the last part of the puzzle in North Korea's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons.

Not exactly true.  You can make a nuclear reactor out of materials from a landfill.  The money can help pull in highly paid scientists, but it shouldn't take anywhere near 4 billion.... 4 billion could make highly advanced weapons many times more powerful than "simple nukes" but I'll say again, I'm pretty sure that a lot more countries have the capability than are officially acknowledged.  I'm sure NK was glad to get all the free money (I wonder what they gave Bill in return that we don't know about), but it wasn't necessary for the program.  They just needed time.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 18, 2017, 02:43:25 PM »
Right but the problem is that if states are covertly funding and supporting these "non-state actors" are they really "non-state actors".  The distinction is very blurry.

Because that's how you tell the difference (in part) between state and non-state actors.  You can make a peace treaty with a state and hold it to account for its citizens.  Movements, particularly cell based ones, are like herding cats when it comes to moving forward.  You can also hold states accountable for war crimes afterwards.

Good call on the IRA, should have remembered that, though if I recall that was more a reaction to 9/11 than anything else.  Both because US funding dried up completely, and because no one wanted to be associated with the labeling that would have applied to them at the time.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 17, 2017, 05:54:37 PM »

When the government of Japan surrendered, the suicide attacks stopped.  Show me the terrorist organization for which that is true.  Movements are not equal to countries.

I'm not sure I follow.  Why does it matter if Japan stopped after surrender or not, or whether a "terrorist group" would do the same? The IRA declared a ceasefire in 1994, which seems to have stuck so far...

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 17, 2017, 03:00:51 PM »
He makes excellent points, many long the lines of how this discussion has been going, but at the end of the day he's still only going by public photos AFAIK, and its gonna be tough to ever say for sure because at this point its been way too long to trust the scene, and I don't think anyone credible ever went there to investigate (or if they did they didn't make the finding public).

In regards to conflicting 'expert' statements about what actually happened in Syria, here's an article I came across that outlines why we should doubt that Assad was behind the gas attack:

Theodore Postol, Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analyzed the rather thin “evidence” provided by the US government in a letter to former CIA analyst Larry C. Johnson:

“I have reviewed the document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.

“In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4.

“This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment, is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.”

So is this guy correct? I can't say. I also can't say that someone who says the opposite is correct. And this is a problem that I personally can't solve to satisfaction, simply because I don't have the means. However what I do know is that I've not heard one credible explanation of a motive for Assad to do this; the ones I've read sound like James Bond villain logic. And I also know that there is ample motive for parties to blame such an attack on Assad, because they've been pushing for his ouster for many, many years (back to the early 2000's) and I have no doubt that they would have no compunctions about fabricating evidence if it would get that job done.

General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 17, 2017, 11:37:00 AM »
China has backed NK, that is true.  I'm pretty sure they'd be nuclear with or without Clinton though.  Nuclear weapons are not exactly a big secret anymore, the cat is out of the bag and the tests are only for show, everything can be simulated there is no reason to set anything off.  Wouldn't doubt if there are a list of other places too that have decent sized scientific community who have nukes but haven't advertised (Taiwan I'm looking at you).

General Comments / Re: North Korea
« on: April 16, 2017, 12:01:17 PM »
Why are we letting them get away with this *censored*?

Because they don't have vast oil riches or prime location for a pipeline worth trillions.  There are a lot of evil dictators and oppressive regimes around the world.  We tend to focus on the ones who have something we want... Iraq, Afganistan, Somolia, Libya, Syria, etc, etc.

If NK, ever finds a whole bunch of oil and starts pumping it out of the ground that might be the beginning of the end for them.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 16, 2017, 11:32:34 AM »
I didn't read that as defending imperial Japan... I read it as pointing out that "terrorist organizations" can be very hard to distinguish from "governments".  It is likely that ISIS has been heavily supported if not created by the US and our allies.  The idea that there are freedom fighters or moderate rebels and that they aren't actually just shell groups for ISIS is probably a lie.

Remember back when Osama Bin Laden was an "anti-soviet freedom fighter" and his army was "fighting for peace"?

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 15, 2017, 02:19:39 PM »
I would at least feel better if there more evidence than "just trust us"... because those pictures and "analysis" based seemingly only on looking at those pictures are not a lot more than "just trust us".  And unfortunately given the number of false things that have been said by the intelligence community and the government, I can't "just trust them".


So you need what exactly to believe that it was Assad? Pictures? Video? Jesus coming down from Heaven and whispering in your ear?

This is the real world. It's very rare that there is 100 percent proof of anything. But as even your biased person admits, the proof in this case leans towards it being Assad.

He's a hereditary dictator whose family and he himself have been more then willing to massacre civilians. Why is it such a far stretch to allow that he might use chemical weapons to kill women and children and non soldier men instead of bullets or bombs?

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 12, 2017, 11:13:38 PM »
For the doubters, here is the evidence that it was a Sarin attack by Syria, quite a strong case.

Off the top of my head, this looks like armchair analysis... how do they know whether the site was tampered with at all? Did they actually inspect the site? What is the source of these photos?  If they didn't look at them in person its hard to think they could really have done a careful and accurate analysis.  Things look VERY different in a 2D photo than they do in person.... not to mention... do they even know these were from the attack at all and not something else? Has this guy done crater analysis before? It would be super easy to mess this this up, especially if only looking at few random photos.... furthermore a lot of the assumptions in there are predicated on it being sarin, which AFAIK is not reliably established either.

This information may well be "true", but at the end of the day, I just don't know.  It would be too easy to fake this sort of analysis, but there have been many "reports" of Assad using gas besides this latest incident.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 11, 2017, 04:34:14 PM »
LF, the point is that everybody including the Russians, the Syrians, the USA, people on the ground - everybody is reporting that Syrian planes bombed the area.  You seem to be under the impression that there is some ambiguity on this point. 

No... I agree that there was some kind of attack.  Exactly what transpired is much more murky though.  Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something too, I thought you were implying that the Russian account was somehow more reliable. I was mistaken.  My only point was that there is a *relatively* higher chance of the entire thing being faked than with something which reporters and others could easily verify since no US media is in Syria.  I can't think of any reason why the major entities involved would all conspire to lie about it though to the extent of creating something that never even ocurred, so in *absolute* terms the chance is extremely remote.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:15:16 AM »
So now if Russia says something then it must be true?  I'm just saying there isn't a good way to independently verify and US, Russia, China, and others have all been guilty of completely making things up sometimes.  I'm well aware of what Russia said, but it doesn't change the fact that virtually no reliable independent reporting exists inside Syria that I can find.

"kinda feel"?  Russia itself has stated already that it was a Syrian strike.  There's no ambiguity there.  How can you be questioning the veracity of reporting when you aren't even aware of that most basic, accepted facts as claimed by the Russians themselves?

General Comments / Re: Wells Fargo ~5300 member class action upcoming?
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:08:12 AM »
Last time around, Wells Fargo was actually one of the "good actors" in 2008, they were solvent and in a good position financially even after the crisis hit. The only reason they "took a bailout" was so they could use that money to acquire several other banks that had failed during that economic crises. Even with that being done, IIRC, they were one of the first ones to have paid back their bail-out monies as well.

So even as screwed up as those practices were, they had done nothing to endanger that bank at large, at least as of 2009.

Well, just because they didn't require a bailout doesn't mean that still haven't been contributing the the toxic culture in the financial world.  Its almost impossible to find a "good" bank anymore.  They are nearly all crooked.  Quite a few of the predatory and deceptive practices they use are not technically illegal, but they should be.

General Comments / Re: Wells Fargo ~5300 member class action upcoming?
« on: April 11, 2017, 01:07:46 AM »
Sickening.  These people should be in jail. Judging by the continued interest in Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street, the public has certainly not forgotten the role of the bank behemoths in the last financial crisis and the industry's ongoing struggles with the law, it can't go on like this forever, there will literally be torches and pitchforks eventually.

I'm pretty sure the next shoe to drop is gonna be the auto industry though.  Car loans are so predatory its unbelievable.  Its going to blow up eventually.  I hope not with another huge bailout though.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 11, 2017, 12:55:09 AM »
Of course, that's no longer a false flag operation... And you have to wonder how, if Russia supposedly knew that was a chemical depot, why they would have allowed Syrian forces to bomb it... or did their intelligence only go so far as to identify that the building was a rebel weapons depot, but not a chemical weapons depot?

At some point, Occam's razor is going to have to kick in...

Yeah, I guess there has to be an actual attack to count as a false flag, otherwise its just false pretense...  I do kinda feel like there was probably an attack of some kind.  If Russia's story were true, I think the idea is that they knew the rebels were using it to store weapons but they didn't know they were chemicals (and it wasn't actually sarin, it was other stuff).  It is plausible, but no idea which if any of these stories are true and the white hats are kinda fishy too.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 10, 2017, 03:49:59 PM »
Wow... sorting == storing.  I need more coffee.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 10, 2017, 02:01:02 PM »
*IF* this was in fact a false flag or even completely faked, then the reason Sarin gas was included was because it makes it much easier to make the claim that it had to be a state actor since ostensibly there would be no way some "random band of rebels" would get their hands on poison gas weapons
Your false flag hypothetical requires that ISIS/AQ/'the rebels' managed to wait until the Syrian government forces bombed the area before releasing the gas, or alternatively, requires that ISIS/AQ/'the rebels' managed to acquire an airplane capable of carrying bombs and of dropping them on the city of Idlib. Is there another option, because both of those seem exceedingly unlikely?

Maybe... it depends on how many factions knew about the supposed false flag and how confident you are in the ability to control the media narrative.  We assume there was an air strike at the same time... but is there a way to independently verify it... or as russians have suggested, if it was just a depot sorting such chemicals and the resulting cloud from blowing it up was what caused the "gas attack" and they simply used the incident to spin it as something different....  There is just so much that is virtually unknowable at this point.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 09, 2017, 12:51:03 AM »
Loss of command is possible but maybe even more difficult to prove.  It is not clear to me that any "false flag" would have been a suicide mission... wouldn't we be in on it too and just directed the response elsewhere?  Or are you thinking that Russia and others would have seen where the real strike left from using their own surveillance and pointed out that the response didn't even hit the right target (they already have claimed that the response did very little damage and didn't even touch the runways, but no idea if that has been corroborated, I've been too busy to search)?

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 08, 2017, 11:03:37 AM »
Why drive a truck through a crowd if it won't defeat the military?  Terrorism isn't about winning. It's about inflicting fear. Chemical weapons do that.

That analogy doesn't work for me.  Driving a truck through a crowd generally does not lead to missile strikes and international reprisals, just like the beheadings example.  *IF* this was in fact a false flag or even completely faked, then the reason Sarin gas was included was because it makes it much easier to make the claim that it had to be a state actor since ostensibly there would be no way some "random band of rebels" would get their hands on poison gas weapons (even though we heard testimony from CIA director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper that said they [ISIS] can and have used it -- not that these guys haven't been caught lying too).

So yeah... I still don't feel any more confident about knowing anything about this than I did in my first post.  This entire Syria thing is a disastrous mess. I would love nothing more than for us to just stop poking the freakin hornets nest and just stop.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 08, 2017, 10:50:55 AM »
There is no denying that religion is a powerful force for controlling people... but its not the only thing.  It might be a branch of mob psychology along with mass media, and so many other influences.  Plenty of more individual motivations too.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 08, 2017, 09:35:14 AM »
It looks like I was misremembering and it was the Washington Post and other sources (the NYT might or might not have, but that wasn't the source that I quoted at the time).

Yes it was before the war began, it was immediately after Colin Powell made his case to the UN.

Ah, yes the Washington Post... that sounds more likely.  I have even recently seen a few sensible pieces in there from time to time... still coupled with some of the most bizarre "fake news" there is... but they at least throw in a little logic once in a while.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 08, 2017, 03:00:24 AM »
Really?  I don't remember that at all.  Was that an opinion piece or was that part of their main coverage?  Was it before the war began? I remember Judith Miller (Pulitzer prize winner) ranting and raving about huge stockpiles and splashy headlines pretty much calling for Saddam's head on a platter.  NYT was one of the worst offenders I thought.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 07:27:23 PM »
I wouldn't discount all reports when a vast majority of them do not disagree.

I too wonder what "vast majority" is... Like all six of them?  There are six companies controlling 90% of the media in this country.... not sure if it was quite as bad back when Iraq/WMD stuff came out, but I do not recall hearing a whole lot of dissenting opinions about it in the media.  Once it came to the point where it was clear that we were probably going to invade and people started protesting, they kinda covered that a bit, but it was mostly framed as "fringe" or "anti-war", there was no substantive discussion that I ever heard where they meaningfully addressed how obviously questionable the reports were and how other countries hadn't reached the same conclusions.  Talk that I heard on NPR mostly centered around keeping "score" of which people were planning to vote which way, and various repeated claims with undue certainty attached.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 02:11:25 PM »
Assad's position ceased being precarious - in fact nothing less than the US outright publically stating "we are no longer seeking regime change" literally just preceded this attack. So there goes that, really.

I am reminded of another similar case... why did Saddam do this, you suppose?

Wow.  So with the media constantly printing stories about him, and red scare still going full steam ahead despite the fact that Hillary lost you think that Asad had reason to feel safe and secure?  He is no more or less secure than he was... but as long as Russia is going to keep backing him and he holds up his end of the bargain to let Russia make the pipeline favorable to them... then you might be right because I don't know if we're really crazy enough to go to war with Russia.

Regarding Saddam... I seem to remember a little scandal known as Iran-Contra which the CIA had their little hands in.  Once that all blew up and he was on his own, guess how many chemical/biological weapons we found there? (So yeah, since he is currently backed by Russia, while we are backing ISIS, then maybe you've got a small point, but he also should be able to see that Saddam never gained ANY advantage from that stuff, nor was it very effective tactically)

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 02:06:45 PM »
There is a fundamental difference, yes. The story was the government's claim (which was sensational and certainly deserved wide coverage). This is key, and if you look over major media reporting at the time, you will see they did their job and attributed the beliefs to their authors, and (critically) presented photographs and other bits of evidence that were interpreted incorrectly. But the point is - the evidence was there to inspect, and the claims were there "as claims" rather than "as truths".

I'm fundamentally at a loss for how you can think that the media was objective in the run-up to Iraq.  They never pointed out using anything more than footnotes or fine print the sources of the claims... and those sources were nearly always anonymous too except for public speeches, etc.  Any objections were laughed off, or literally CUT off in interviews.  The coverage was a complete joke.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 01:41:38 PM »
Well, what if you really really hate your enemy and want them to fear you? Why do Mexican drug cartels bother to decapitate victims when they could just shoot them dead?

Clearly for the shock value, but Mexican cartels are not in the same precarious position that Asad is in... in fact they enjoy the support of the CIA. But even with that, the international attention would still come if the drug gangs began using nerve gas.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 01:35:43 PM »
Having lived through that, I remember the media showing things like Colin Powell's UN presentation and presenting whatever evidence the government brought forward. I don't remember the media saying definitively "this is true" but merely presenting the government's argument as such. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the media' job?

Is there a difference between blasting government claims virtually unopposed all over the media 24/7 and actually claiming they are true?  And bringing in pundits and "experts" to constantly validate those same claims?

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 01:26:13 PM »
If it was Sarin - it seems unlikely the rebels have access.  I think Assad is quite possibly dumb enough to take unnecessary risks and it is quite possible his military commanders are willing even if he isn't.

Thus I'd put the balance of probabilities slightly in favor of it being true.

I still don't get it.  Why bother? Nerve agents are unreliable and lack of wide area lethality, and dissipate quickly (not to mention short shelf life).  Conventional munitions are easier to get or make, and more effective, and infinitely less likely to provoke the sort of thing that just happened.  What strategic breakthrough could he possibly be hoping to make? Conventional weapons can be as destructive as nuclear weapons.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 01:18:03 PM »
I believe you think that - but I doubt there's anything that rises to the level of "proof of government deception of the public" or it would be everywhere.

Exactly, and therein lies the problem... there is not sufficient proof that they are NOT being deceptive either.  People don't know who to believe.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 01:07:31 PM »
I don't disagree that the market has brought us here, but this state of affairs would be blown up by any evidence (and I do mean any) of the WH/pentagon getting it wrong on anything important.

Define important?  Because there is evidence that a lot of things have been misrepresented about Syria.  I also strongly object to the idea that "market conditions" have brought us to where we are.  The USA is so far from being a free market that its laughable.  The game is rigged and huge corporations hold many many advantages.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 07, 2017, 09:17:36 AM »
I honestly don't understand where this neo liberal idea that looking down on Russia is McCarthyism comes from.

Because it is, and it has nothing to do with neo liberalism.  This is not "looking down on Russia"  it is accusing anyone who isn't following the agenda that the elites want followed of colluding with Russia, which is ridiculous because if you look at the ones doing the accusing they have just as many or more "questionable" ties to Russia themselves.  This is not to say that anyone who talks to a Russian official or does business with some company that directly or indirectly profits from Russia is "bad", just pointing out that it is clearly a political witch hunt not unlike what happened with Joe McCarthy.

The Russian government are arseholes. They kill journalists,  they annex parts of other countries, they have a leader who will rule until he's senile or dead.

Minus the leader for life part (sort of since congress/senate can stay for a very long time) the USA does the same thing.  Haven't killed journalists in quite the same numbers... they prefer to just buy them off here or exercise control via their corporate bosses, either way the effect is similar.

General Comments / Re: Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 06, 2017, 10:25:29 PM »
I am embarrassed by the ease with which state-run media outfits like in Russia and China are given credibility while the work of hard-working journalists from multiple media outfits in a country with free press is casually dismissed.
I'll have none of it. There is no serious reason to have significant doubt about what all the major networks are reporting here - especially with a president that they all openly detest essentially in agreement about the events and the cause. There's basically zero chance the Trump WH and media would be 'colluding' on a thing like this, and zero chance of such a huge story being reported incorrectly without consequences to the reporting bodies.

Its not that I'm giving Russia/China "credibility" its that those version seem also plausible and I *know* we've been lied to about Syria for while now from the US media, consequently, I have trouble swallowing any of it. There really aren't many companies running the US media and we know from various wikileaks and other evidence that the "deep state" (don't really like that name but it is what it is) has been pulling a lot of the strings in MSM for a long time.

I agree that Trump himself probably doesn't want Syria to blow up, but there are other forces at work too.  Ultimately I see the conflict in Syria as essentially a proxy war where the US side wants to build one pipeline, and the Russian side wants to build a different one and there would be lots of oil and huge money involved.  The people "team" Hillary were supporting stood to gain a LOT from an Aramco IPO... potentially the largest IPO in the history of the world.  That IPO seems a bit more murky now that Hillary lost but the big money players are still pushing for it, just like they're still pushing the anti-Russia new mccarthyism stuff.

Since there basically are no reporters actually in Syria (US ones anyway) all we have to go on are these bizarre reports that come from who knows where ... and as far as smaller of international reports, especially arab language reports that may actually be from people who are there, I just don't know who might be real there either.

General Comments / Syria Chemical Attack 2.0
« on: April 06, 2017, 02:33:48 PM »
I hate that I have no freakin clue whether there was an actual chemical attack in Syria or not. The media has been so bad, and I can't find any reliable information one way or the other. Russia and China each have plausible information too besides the US version. The amount of crappy information on Syria we've already been fed doesn't help alleviate my apprehension about believing anything that is reported. Sad that this is what the world has come to.

This is a plea for help...would love to find some reliable reports.  I don't even know where to begin.

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: April 04, 2017, 05:02:39 PM »
I don't know how far this story will go either, and secondly whether or not it was illegal, and thirdly whether anyone would actually "go down" over it are completely different issues.  It takes a LOT for it to get to stage 3.  There is so much grey area in the laws that they can basically do whatever they please as far as I can tell, so aside from public outrage, I don't know what else can come of this unless a whole lot more info is yet to come. Rice sure has changed her story quite a bit as details unfold :P

The part that is unsettling about CNN (in this example) and much of the rest of the MSM is that they *are* taken seriously by a lot of people, and the stuff that gets broadcast/published is often full of wrong information, speculation presented as facts, etc, etc... and the coverage more closely resembles a sporting event than documentary.  We end up with an awful lot of people who believe things that aren't true, or at least do not deserve nearly the level of credibility/certainty that is attached.

This is in most ways, a prematurely reported possible scandal. BBC's Zurcher sums up as follows:

Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice says that while she did request the "unmasking" of some Americans in contact with foreign subjects under government surveillance, she did not do so for "political purposes".
If that's where the story ends, then she was almost certainly legally exercising the broad powers high-level US national security officials have to review reports produced by the intelligence community. There were growing indications that the Russian government was attempting to influence the US presidential election, and a national security adviser would be remiss not to closely inspect any information about possible American involvement.
If, on the other hand, Ms Rice widely disseminated information about US citizens or leaked it to the press, as some Republican critics allege and she adamantly denies, then the picture grows much darker.
The bottom line is that someone, somewhere did reveal details about conversations Michael Flynn, Ms Rice's successor as national security adviser, had with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. That leak, while it revealed that Flynn was being less than truthful with the US public, was illegal.

I think this is a good even handed report. I wouldn't read CNN as anything but entertainment these days, and I would expect news organizations to take their time and do some research for at least 24 hours before blasting a bunch of unconfirmed information.

This is especially true when the original article is written by Eli Lake, who contributes to Daily Beast, Washington Times, and other highly partisan sites.

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: April 04, 2017, 02:26:55 PM »
Yeah, CNN is pretty much instructing people to ignore it.  Chris Cuomo said it was "demonstrably untrue"... they did the same thing with wikileaks in the leadup to the election... told people not to look and just leave the reporting to them.  We know how that worked out.

General Comments / Re: Gorsuch and the nuclear option
« on: April 03, 2017, 02:28:41 PM »
His history on big business/campaign finance related issues as related to the rampant corruption which is currently ruling the USA are showstoppers for me.  Not that it will matter to the people who will vote for him for that reason specifically.  He's pretty much a shoo-in IMO despite all the pretend objections.

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: March 31, 2017, 06:50:08 PM »
So where do they say that they've never seen these particular tool(s) other than from the two groups they're looking at? ... and how do they know the precise hashes? the stuff that ends up on a server isn't always the same stuff that granted you access...   I've not seen any such claims or evidence.  What I've seen are generic explanations of how phishing and malware attacks work, which makes me think thats what happened (if not straight up leaks from insiders)... but not specific evidence or information.

Hiding behind claims of "trying to protect methods and information" are ridiculous.  They already named the groups and if they aren't pulling it out of thin air, those guys know full well what they used to gain access and if they were made, then they already know what tools to not use going forward if they don't want to leave "fingerprints".

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: March 31, 2017, 04:02:06 PM »
IMO, the bottom line is that computer forensics can (if properly planned before there is a problem which seems highly doubtful here) provide a lot of insight into what was accessed and when.... but it is exceedingly difficult to answer questions about who did it (impersonation is not that hard) or most especially why an event took place.

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: March 31, 2017, 02:20:10 PM »
Wow I've been away from this board for too long.  So refreshing to say things and actually have people give thoughtful responses.  Have been getting used to getting flamed on social media :P

you seem to think the PHP code was the only thing used, and concluding the hackers were unsophisticated, what is your basis for that belief?

Sorry, definitely didn't mean to imply that, and even if code is PHP that in no way intrinsically implies it is not sophisticated.  I'm very language agnostic myself, you can write good or bad code in any language.... though for low level stuff, you certainly can get to it easier in C or C++ which have long been my languages of choice.  The reason I conclude that the Hacks were unsophisticated is mainly from public statements and reports which indicate that simple tools were used that are easily obtained and require little experience to use.

It would confirm the content of any logs as far as the from where and when.  Also as I said the logs weren't necessarily compromised.

But what would you expect to find in said logs?  IP addresses?  I've already looked at what they put forward for such evidence, and it looks very contrived.  Unless the ISPs were actively sucking up a lot of data on all these IPs you'd still have no idea about what data was going back and forth or who was behind those IPs.  ISPs don't log that level of detail on a large scale.  It would be outrageously expensive.

Please feel free to quote the report, I didn't notice anything in the report that said or implied what you did.

Which report, the blog post by Counterstrike or the Grizzy Steppe report? My citation was cut and pasted from the blog post.

Because sometimes the hackers have to bring out the more sophisticated tools and leave traces.  They do as much as they can with the tools that aren't specific to themselves, but usually that isn't sufficient to compromise the target to the degree required.  Also hackers are often careless and leave other traces - such as the times that things are carried out and not carried out.  It is also often the case that hackers have hubris and will leave signatures that they figure the investigators will be too dumb to figure out.

Sure, I understand that.  But also, it would be easy to use these same tools to generate false signatures, just like the CIA has been doing as documented in the recent "vault 7" wikileaks stuff.

There are also nondeliberate signatures such as order that commands are carried out; what directories are explored first; etc.  Decisions that don't matter but there is no reason for any two hackers to choose the same order - but the same hacker will tend to stick to whatever order they happen to choose.

Again, all stuff that could easily be replicated using automation tools.  I don't see what this proves.

The logs would provide a signature of what was being done, that a forensic investigator would be able to determine.  That is one of the points of logs...

Logs don't necessarily provide a lot of info unless you've gone to painstaking effort to audit the slightest details on your system.  Based on what I've seen, I don't think the IT folks in charge of this stuff put that much work or effort into security.  I don't think they have a lot to go on there.  Certainly in the case of Hillary's private server, the contractors were so inept that they had to go on reddit asking how to do stuff.  Not as much is known about the setup at the DNC, but considering how easy it was to get in... I'm assuming it was not better.

It is also consistent with exfilitration designed to limit risk of detection.

That doesn't make any sense. They knew or should have known that there was not much in the way of security in place.

They knew or should have known nothing of the sort. There is different security at different layers.  Abnormal traffic is often an ISP level feature, whereas the type of security they compromised is a hosted system.

No, I'm gonna have to disagree.  Abnormal traffic at least in the small amounts it would represent to transfer a relatively small compressed email archive is NOT anything that is a normal ISP feature would flag or stop.  The signal to noise ratio on something that inconsequential would not be worth dealing with.  Yes there could be machine learning algorithms that might flag stuff that isn't normal for a specific connection, but even that stuff makes way more noise than they want to deal with.

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: March 30, 2017, 04:25:06 AM »

With ISP cooperation they could likely do so.  Also depending on the setup they won't necessarily own the whole system.  Things can be set up with seperate logging.  Compromising for copying data can much lower priveleged than compromising to manipulate logging.

Even with ISP cooperation, I don't see how they could make the conclusions they have ostensibly made.

I assume you are talking about the claims by 'Wordfence' about the FBI report on Grizzly Steppe? That was analysis of a single snippet of PHP included in the FBI report.  So comparing the opinion of Wordfence on what the FBI was willing to publicly release in a report as an example piece of code vs the complete forensic examination by counterstrike is idiocy.

No, that was part of the blog post you cited.  But I agree, the grizzly steppe report is a joke. Nothing in it provides useful evidence.

Also a common bit of tradecraft for hacking is to use the least sophisticated and oldest tool that works that is publicaly available because it makes the forensic tracking job more difficult.  If you use a sophisticated piece of code it is far easier to track back to a specific group so you save them for only when you absolutely must use them.  This is also why extremely sophisticated hacking tools have ancient exploits that have been long patched on most systems rather than only using their zero day exploits that are garunteed to work on everything - it gives away far too much information.

If that is the case, then how are they so sure that these publicly available tools are really used only by this group?  Thats exactly what I was getting at.  The supposed hacking in this case was very mundane and unsophisticated. Could have been done by a high school kid... but even if it had been more sophisticated how can just looking at the malware really tell you much when you know that tools exist for "fingerprinting" to make it look like one type of attack or another.

There could be multiple intrustions for a variety of reasons.  The group that is claimed to have done the hack are known to take efforts to update their intrusion to maintain access and avoid detection.

*Could* be.  But also could be that they simply watched the news and wondered what else might be there for the taking.  One could speculate for months!  And many people are!

The data was archived centrally, it was downloaded all at once.


There is no source, it just seems obvious based on the bulk delivery and missing chunks due to the auto-deletion policy.

The fact that it has lots of gaps just goes to show that the leaker or hacker (we still don't definitively know if the source wasn't a person who had access who simply saved them off) did not have prolonged access.

Or that they were trying to avoid detection.  It is common to use slow techniques for exfiltration to reduce risk of detection.

That doesn't make any sense. They knew or should have known that there was not much in the way of security in place. If they were constantly monitoring and sending a few at a time that just leaves *more* chances to be detected and increases the chance that you'll miss out on the big score, and the deletion policy is a much more likely reason... better to just pull the data and have it in your hands to peruse at your leisure.  If they went back and kept taking more, then either they didn't send that stuff to wikileaks or they were not wikileaks source IMO.... and if they were planning to leak it they obviously had to know that the DNC was going to find out there was a leak/hack.

General Comments / Re: Obamacare Repeal and Replacement
« on: March 30, 2017, 12:14:25 AM »
You think it's "complete nonsense" if I have to pay tens of millions of dollars a year to staff and develop a drug I can't sell for 15 or more years after I begin development to consider the opportunity cost?  Private Investment in medical products is in direct competition with other forms of private investment for resources.  Private money will absolutely compare the other things they could invest in over that same period, especially since almost every single one of those other investments provides greater liquidity. 

Would you send me your entire liquid net worth, on the promise that I may have a product to sell in 15 years (or may not)?  Government money moderates some of this impact, but the idea that no one should be in the game unless they can wait 15 years and sink over a billion dollars out of their own pockets into a product they may be able to sell is kind of odd.

Yes, I do not find that doing R&D for stuff that might not earn money for 10 or 15 years is an unwise policy for a company that endeavors to stay in business long term.  Venture capital is all about funding promising things, many of which never pan out, but the ones that do more than make up for the ones that don't.  I maintain that the big drug companies do not need to spend nearly as much as they claim to spend, and in fact, I don't think they really do spend that much on R&D.  They cook the books to make it look that way.

General Comments / Re: Fake News (the fight we needed to have?)
« on: March 29, 2017, 11:46:11 PM »
It is quite common for those who have compromised a system to continue accessing it and continuing to slurp up data until the system has been patched, etc., so they could be 'caught in the act' of accessing the system and stealing more data.

Here is a post by crowdstrike,

Rather than accuse anyone of lying, you might consider that you misheard or misunderstood....  crowdstrike had been responding to instrussions on the DNC network back to 2015...

It doesn't say that.  It says they "identified intrusion" going back that far.  Although it doesn't say how, nor does it say that they were inside the DNC servers and monitoring that far back.  According to their own statements and statements by DNC representatives, they were hired after the leaks came out.  Frankly, there is no way they could know for sure when any previous "intrusions" took place.  Once someone has access to a server, they can take data off or put data on it to make the appearance of anything they like.... perhaps they are looking at logs which have been preserved, but that still doesn't prove a lot....

Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of ‘living-off-the-land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter.

Yet the malware they supposedly used was outdated and poor quality  ::)

They're acting like these intrusions took place over and over in order to steal emails... that simply is not the case.  The data was archived centrally, it was downloaded all at once.  The fact that it has lots of gaps just goes to show that the leaker or hacker (we still don't definitively know if the source wasn't a person who had access who simply saved them off) did not have prolonged access.  The server had a policy in place that deleted items older than 30 days unless they were placed in folders that preserved them, so you see a lot of missing data, but then there are tidbits of older threads that people had placed in folders to avoid having them deleted.

General Comments / Re: Obamacare Repeal and Replacement
« on: March 29, 2017, 04:00:20 PM »
Not to mention, once their dev (or acquisition -- since they get a lot of their stuff from acquisition) pipeline is full and producing things, they are selling things and making money all the time, so their claims about opportunity cost are sort of absurd in that respect too.

General Comments / Re: Obamacare Repeal and Replacement
« on: March 29, 2017, 03:08:17 PM »
But have they gone through the FDA process and brought a drug to market, or are they producing products to sell off to other vendors?

Of course it's an estimate, but it was based on a look at the costs of brining over 100 drugs to market.  Some may dispute the financial costs component, but when you need to raise over a billion dollars in direct expenses it's totally reasonable to include the opportunity costs. 

There is no such thing as objective on these matters, I agree they seem to have an industry focus and that should be considered.  In any event, its way too much to be spent.

In the companies I've been involved with, they are either still iterating, or they have been bought up by large pharma and are being brought to market still... none are actually available outside of special trials.... but the primary barrier in the FDA approvals is the insane amount of *time* it takes.... in most "studies" I've seen they attach huge monetary values to that time.  IMO, that is complete nonsense.  Sure, they could take that money and invest it in real estate or something else, but ultimately, if they are in business to produce pharmaceuticals, they have to realize that if they don't wait it out, they don't get to sell a product later, and just because they feel like they could be making more money if they did stuff differently doesn't make it valid to claim that as part of the development costs.  The actual costs are the people's salaries and various other overhead.

I hear you... I totally get that the dynamics in play which caused slavery to be a central issue are a lot more nuanced, but it does not change the fact that slavery was the core problem IMO.

Most people don't realize that slavery still is legal even today.  The 13th amendment is very wishy-washy.  The whole mexico/illegal immigrant problem is also very inter-related too IMO.  We get tons of what is essentially slave labor from this in certain industries and they absolutely have become dependent on it at this point.  Its not that "americans" wouldn't ever want to do these jobs, its just that they would never accept so little compensation for them and with various other economic conditions the way they are, the economy wouldn't be able to absorb added costs without increased wages or decreased debt or both... which "elites" are also fighting tooth and nail.

General Comments / Re: Obamacare Repeal and Replacement
« on: March 29, 2017, 11:36:26 AM »
The Tufts Center receives unrestricted grants from pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, as well as companies that provide related services to the research-based industry (e.g., contract research, consulting, and technology firms). These grants represent approximately 35% of Tufts CSDD’s operating expenses.

They are not objective, they are funded to a large extent by the drug industry. It is in the pharmaceutical industry’s best interests to have the public believe that it is very expensive to develop a drug. I suspect (although can't prove since they don't release data from the study, nor has it been peer reviewed) that their methodology is deeply flawed.

What I do know is that I have consulted for small biotech startups, and I know what their budgets were.  I have non-disclosure agreements, but I can promise you, they are nowhere near these type of numbers and they are doing great work.

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