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Thread: Brexit Begins

  1. #961
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Why no-deal fantasy of mine? I've said all along I want a deal.

    The drop after the Brexit vote was entirely regular.

    Nothing has blown up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  2. #962
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Nothing has blown up.
    Yet.
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

  3. #963
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    Yet.
    Possibly.

    In Hazir's imaginary world it already has though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  4. #964
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Possibly.

    In Hazir's imaginary world it already has though.
    Your representative has already said that he's not going to deliver. So hardly my fantasy if I state the deal isn't going to happen. We will not be talking about it till March 2018. Which leaves us 6 months for agreement. With the present uk government we could not make a deal about the question what color the sky is in six months..

    Then again, maybe you have set your hopes on a Corbyn government.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  5. #965
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Your representative has already said that he's not going to deliver.
    Source?
    We will not be talking about it till March 2018.
    Source?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  6. #966
    So it's all over the news today that May has accused Russia of meddling in elections and weaponising information through fake news and fake pictures.

    I don't believe that Brexit ever would have happened without their fake social media accounts, untruths and fear-mongering.

    I just feel sorry for the millions that were duped into it.

  7. #967
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    I highly doubt it made any difference if it even happened gogo. I'm highly political but still the only things I saw on Facebook were either from my real life friends or sponsored posts paid for by the official campaigns. I didn't see anything that could be Russian etc

    That seems to be a bigger issue on Twitter which I don't use, but neither do most other people lurk on Twitter discussing politics. The idea millions were duped is absurd.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  8. #968
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Interesting subject-by-subject analysis on the state of negotiations and where they are likely to end up by Open Europe: http://brexitcentral.com/close-brexit-deal/
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  9. #969
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    I didn't see anything that could be Russian etc
    Yeah, they are pretty sneaky. They don't actually tell you they are a fake Russian accounts. They are easy to spot though e.g.

    "THE EU IS UN-DEMOCRATIC. JUST LEAVE NOW"
    "WE WANT OUR SOVEREIGNTY BACK"
    "THE SIMPLE FACT IS THAT THE COUNTRY IS FULL. TAKE BACK CONTROL"
    "ISLAM IS THE RELIGION OF PEACE? YEAH RIGHT"
    "TURKEY IS JOINING THE EU. WE SHOULD BE SCARED"
    "WE HAVE OPEN BORDERS AND CAN'T CONTROL THEM. LEAVE NOW TO TAKE BACK CONTROL"
    "WE GIVE EU BUREAUCRATS £350M A WEEK AND GET NOTHING BACK. LEAVE NOW AND INVEST IN THE NHS"
    "DONALD TUSK IS EVIL"
    "BRING BACK THE SPIRIT OF DUNKIRK!"

    Same lines over and over and over again. Very clever, consistent messages targeted at both the already established Anti-EU and the undecided e.g. the old and uneducated (generally speaking).

    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    The idea millions were duped is absurd.
    Couldn't disagree more. I think that statement shows just how naive you are.

    I admire your positivity; I really do; but you've got your head in the sand if you don't think the likes of Russia and the tax avoiding elite employed very clever and underhand tactics to ensure this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity wasn't seized upon.

    What annoys me so much is that, for me, life has been good whilst we've been in the EU. My standard of living is excellent. I see the country prosper year after year (on trend). I see a largely united, multi cultural society in which my children can thrive in. I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to put all that at risk - and I know you're smart enough to admit that there's big risk attached to all this, and don't bother trying to tell me otherwise. Ultimately I'm convinced that my family and I will see no benefits whatsoever of Brexit. Instead, my children will grow up in a period of stagnation whilst the government, instead of focusing their time and effort in things that really matter - go up their own arseholes trying to do all the stuff the EU used to with us.

    But who really benefits? Russia and the tax dodgers.

  10. #970
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogobongopop View Post
    Yeah, they are pretty sneaky. They don't actually tell you they are a fake Russian accounts. They are easy to spot though e.g.

    "THE EU IS UN-DEMOCRATIC. JUST LEAVE NOW"
    "WE WANT OUR SOVEREIGNTY BACK"
    "THE SIMPLE FACT IS THAT THE COUNTRY IS FULL. TAKE BACK CONTROL"
    "ISLAM IS THE RELIGION OF PEACE? YEAH RIGHT"
    "TURKEY IS JOINING THE EU. WE SHOULD BE SCARED"
    "WE HAVE OPEN BORDERS AND CAN'T CONTROL THEM. LEAVE NOW TO TAKE BACK CONTROL"
    "WE GIVE EU BUREAUCRATS £350M A WEEK AND GET NOTHING BACK. LEAVE NOW AND INVEST IN THE NHS"
    "DONALD TUSK IS EVIL"
    "BRING BACK THE SPIRIT OF DUNKIRK!"
    How much of that did you see on Facebook, I didn't. Except for the "sovereignty" or "£350mn a week" ones etc with a Vote Leave logo on them which were done in the UK. I saw a couple of anti-immigration Leave.EU ones too but again those were organised in the UK. The one I saw most of those was Remain ones again from the official campaign presumably because based on my age, education and other profile considerations I would have demographically been expected to lean Remain (as I originally did at the start of the campaign).
    Same lines over and over and over again. Very clever, consistent messages targeted at both the already established Anti-EU and the undecided e.g. the old and uneducated (generally speaking).
    Where were you seeing these? Facebook shows me my friends posts and sponsored posts, it doesn't show random crappy ones like that unless you look for them so where were you and "millions duped" seeing them from?
    Couldn't disagree more. I think that statement shows just how naive you are.

    I admire your positivity; I really do; but you've got your head in the sand if you don't think the likes of Russia and the tax avoiding elite employed very clever and underhand tactics to ensure this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity wasn't seized upon.
    Provide some actual evidence please.

    What annoys me so much is that, for me, life has been good whilst we've been in the EU. My standard of living is excellent. I see the country prosper year after year (on trend). I see a largely united, multi cultural society in which my children can thrive in. I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to put all that at risk - and I know you're smart enough to admit that there's big risk attached to all this, and don't bother trying to tell me otherwise. Ultimately I'm convinced that my family and I will see no benefits whatsoever of Brexit. Instead, my children will grow up in a period of stagnation whilst the government, instead of focusing their time and effort in things that really matter - go up their own arseholes trying to do all the stuff the EU used to with us.

    But who really benefits? Russia and the tax dodgers.
    Of course there's risk at being like nations like Norway and Switzerland in being outside the EU but with a deal with it. Or there's risks at being like the nation I grew up in (Australia) completely outside and forming its own deals and allowing a higher level of immigration than we do inside the EU which I'd be perfectly content with.

    One issue for me is that I grew up in Australia and I see no good reason why Aussie friends should be discriminated against compared to people who happen to be born thousands of miles away but still on our continent. Can you give me a good reason?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  11. #971
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    How much of that did you see on Facebook, I didn't. Except for the "sovereignty" or "£350mn a week" ones etc with a Vote Leave logo on them which were done in the UK. I saw a couple of anti-immigration Leave.EU ones too but again those were organised in the UK. The one I saw most of those was Remain ones again from the official campaign presumably because based on my age, education and other profile considerations I would have demographically been expected to lean Remain (as I originally did at the start of the campaign).
    Where were you seeing these? Facebook shows me my friends posts and sponsored posts, it doesn't show random crappy ones like that unless you look for them so where were you and "millions duped" seeing them from?
    Strangely, I saw lots. This is purely anecdotal but it looks like you and I had very different experiences with what we heard and read across social media and comments on news sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Provide some actual evidence please.
    It's a conspiracy theory. I already admitted that earlier in the thread. I'm not ashamed to admit it! I'd love to be wrong as it worries the darn heck out of me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    One issue for me is that I grew up in Australia and I see no good reason why Aussie friends should be discriminated against compared to people who happen to be born thousands of miles away but still on our continent. Can you give me a good reason?
    Maybe because there's questionable value in forming a close trading relationship with them? The logistics are horrible.

    Perhaps lots of clever people performed a cost vs benefit analysis and determined that it just isn't a priority at the moment. Pretty simple really.

    Do you genuinely think the EU are actively discriminating against the Aussies? How interesting!
    Last edited by gogobongopop; 11-14-2017 at 04:15 PM.

  12. #972
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    The walls are coming down.
    All we need is one to fail, one to break, one to take it all away.
    What if we crumble, what if we fall? Where's the flame that torch the soul?
    Truth, when spoken, dies down to nothing.

  13. #973
    What a complete and total cluster fuck this all is. The whole thing is a sham that has to be reversed.

    Putin must be loving every minute.

  14. #974
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    I didn't have time to read the entire article, but skimming it looks like this particular bit of news is not conclusive. I've seen different news outlets spinning it either way.

    I've also seen other evidence of Russian Brexit related Facebook activity, but I also don't have time to go and find it again at the moment, not assess it for BS/not-BS.

    Anyway, I'm comfortable making the prediction that when all the evidence is in it will turn out that Russia did, in fact, attempt to interfere in the Brexit vote. They did it to every other fucker, why should Brexit be special?

    And I don't think it legitimately can be reversed.

    No votes were changed or tampered with, and anyone who was affected by any Russian propaganda did so because they were, of their own free will, a dumbass. You know, they still went into the booth and ticked the leave box of their own volition and you can't prove that they wouldn't have done so anyway.

    Plus, think about the precedent it would set if we changed election results because Russian hoods brought some facebook ads, and how destabilising - and delegitimising - it would be for our democracy.
    The walls are coming down.
    All we need is one to fail, one to break, one to take it all away.
    What if we crumble, what if we fall? Where's the flame that torch the soul?
    Truth, when spoken, dies down to nothing.

  15. #975
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gogobongopop View Post
    Strangely, I saw lots. This is purely anecdotal but it looks like you and I had very different experiences with what we heard and read across social media and comments on news sites.
    I don't read comments on news sites and I don't know anybody who isn't set in their views that does. I highly doubt anyone would swing their vote let alone millions swing their vote due to comments on news sites. Comments on news sites have always attracted the most extreme weirdos.
    Maybe because there's questionable value in forming a close trading relationship with them? The logistics are horrible.
    Why in the 21st century when the bulk of our trade and expertise for which logistics matter less than ever. There's a reason that a large proportion of our goods are manufactured in the far east and its not that they're closer logistically.
    Perhaps lots of clever people performed a cost vs benefit analysis and determined that it just isn't a priority at the moment. Pretty simple really.
    Did you for even one second stop to think that other people have done the same and considered it to be a priority? Like myself?
    Do you genuinely think the EU are actively discriminating against the Aussies? How interesting!
    Yes absolutely. An unskilled, uneducation Romanian who doesn't speak English can get on a coach or plane to travel to the UK and start living and working here without a visa. Whereas a highly educated Australian like a teacher has to jump through all sorts of hoops and needs to get a visa. How is that fair or reasonable?

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...-keep-fighting
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  16. #976
    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Tried to meddle and successfully "duped" "millions" are two very different things!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

  17. #977
    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    I don't read comments on news sites and I don't know anybody who isn't set in their views that does. I highly doubt anyone would swing their vote let alone millions swing their vote due to comments on news sites. Comments on news sites have always attracted the most extreme weirdos.
    If you didn't read those comments then I'm not sure how you can draw any conclusions about the impact they had.


    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Did you for even one second stop to think that other people have done the same and considered it to be a priority? Like myself?
    Yes I have, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Yes absolutely. An unskilled, uneducation Romanian who doesn't speak English can get on a coach or plane to travel to the UK and start living and working here without a visa. Whereas a highly educated Australian like a teacher has to jump through all sorts of hoops and needs to get a visa. How is that fair or reasonable?

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...-keep-fighting
    Firstly, EU law grants us significantly more power to restrict freedom of movement within the EU, and deport people, if we chose to. Our Governments however choose not to enforce those rules because a.) we're hopeless at tracking migration and b.) it's been proven that immigration has a positive impact on the economy.

    Secondly, how will leaving the EU reduce the number of hoops an Aussie has to go through to enter the country? Why can't we just reduce those hoops now? And are those hoops really a bad thing? Genuine questions as I thought they were 2 completely separate systems.

    Thirdly, how is any of that discrimination?

  18. #978
    Quote Originally Posted by gogobongopop View Post
    If you didn't read those comments then I'm not sure how you can draw any conclusions about the impact they had.
    This has been covered in previous threads. Rand is incapable of understanding how easy it is to influence the ignorant, easily duped or fence sitters with "fake news." There is no discussion here, citing research and sources does not work. Its on a level similar to Lewk's "gut feeling" arguments.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  19. #979
    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    He's not the only one, you're never going to convince me to care what random internet pseudonyms say on places like Reddit or commentary pages for news articles either. Hell, I don't care what Khend says half the time and I've been interacting directly with him for over a decade. I'm supposed to care more about unknown internet trolls or moronic radicals?
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  20. #980
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    I dunno if you guys noticed, but the political life of a country is no longer conducted exclusively on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal or the letters page of the Times of London, so maybe you should care.
    The walls are coming down.
    All we need is one to fail, one to break, one to take it all away.
    What if we crumble, what if we fall? Where's the flame that torch the soul?
    Truth, when spoken, dies down to nothing.

  21. #981
    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    I dunno if you guys noticed, but the political life of a country is no longer conducted exclusively on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal or the letters page of the Times of London, so maybe you should care.
    If that's the arena for democracy in these times than we're better off letting them burn the whole system down and building something new that has a prayer of functioning long-term. You're telling us that our political directions are being influenced and determined by the internet equivalent of scrawls on a bathroom stall wall.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

  22. #982
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    You are incorrect. Most of these involve targeting real Facebook accounts, which are not generally anonymous or pseudonymous, as well as Twitter accounts, which are more likely to be the equivalent of anonymous bathroom wall commenters but also far fewer in comparison to Facebook users. As was clarified in the previous discussion on this topic, the majority of these public discussions don't take place on the comments sections of the various news websites but, rather, on Facebook, which has become one of the most important sources of news or other information for many people, as well as an important influence on opinion within various tribes. If you wish to dismiss something as irrelevant then at least make sure you know what it is you're dismissing.
    Last edited by Aimless; 11-15-2017 at 02:43 PM.
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  23. #983
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleFuzzy View Post
    He's not the only one, you're never going to convince me to care what random internet pseudonyms say on places like Reddit or commentary pages for news articles either. Hell, I don't care what Khend says half the time and I've been interacting directly with him for over a decade. I'm supposed to care more about unknown internet trolls or moronic radicals?
    Not everyone is as smart as you though. A huge mass of people were completely on the fence during this referendum. Confused and ignorant about the topic, they would have been influenced by what others said. Perhaps even to the point where they just went with the pack (as is often human nature), which in today's world is most vocal on Facebook, Twitter and news sites.

    It's propaganda in the modern world.

    I see it right now on the BBC website. The top comments on any BBC article related to Brexit negotiations are consistent in their message: "GIVE THEM NOTHING. WALK AWAY. THEY ARE THE ENEMY".

    Somebody is trying to promote that message now. It's sinister.

  24. #984
    Centuries spent perfecting the art of advertising and the best argument presented against it so far is "nah man, that shit don't work"
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  25. #985
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
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    Read.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/st...lection-215826

    What Hillary Knew About Putin's Propaganda Machine
    Russian disinformation around Ukraine set the stage for the Kremlin’s election meddling here. Clinton saw it coming, but couldn't stop it.

    I was a magazine guy.

    After eight years as managing editor of Time, I left at the end of 2013 to become under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. It’s a fancy title, but that job is one of the few in Washington that’s tailored for someone with a media background like me. After I was nominated, some of my colleagues joked that I was now “head of U.S. propaganda,” but I thought of myself instead as the chief marketing officer of brand America. I figured I’d be spending a lot of my time combating America’s negative image in the Muslim world—and I did—but then the Russian annexation of Crimea happened in early 2014. What I saw Russia do online and in social media around this grave violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty was a revelation to me—and nothing short of a trial run for what they did to manipulate our presidential election in 2016. Few Americans realized it back then, but we were already in a global information war with Russia.

    But some did know.

    On a Saturday morning after I’d been in the job for two months—about four weeks after Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded Crimea—I got a call from the State Department operations center saying they had the secretary on the line. Only it wasn’t Secretary John Kerry, my boss, but former Secretary Hillary Clinton. I had known, liked and admired Clinton for a long time, and I assumed she was calling belatedly to say congratulations. I was wrong. After a perfunctory hello, she launched right into it: We’re losing the information war with Russia. She urged me to stand up a much stronger and more robust messaging machine to compete with the firehose of Russian propaganda and disinformation that was besmirching America’s image and undermining democracy around the world. “They’re using the old techniques of repeating lies over and over but doing so on 21st century platforms,” she said. You need to fact-check what they are saying and expose Russian disinformation in real time, she continued. We need to do much more. I remember how she ended the call: “The State Department is still issuing press releases while Putin is rewriting history.”

    She was right.

    But it was still new to me. Even though I had been in media all my life, it wasn’t until after Crimea that I saw the power and effectiveness of Russian propaganda and disinformation. In the information war, as one U.S. three-star told me, “The Russians have the big battalions.”

    It all began with reports of “little green men” — at least that’s how TV news described the masked men in unmarked uniforms who skulked into Crimea in March 2014.

    In fact, they were “Spetsnaz,” Russian special operations forces. At the time, Putin vehemently denied they were Russian troops. He claimed they were patriotic local militias defending the rights of ethnic Russians in Crimea.

    This, of course, was an unblinking lie. Within days, Putin had illegally annexed a piece of Ukraine into the Russian federation and copped to the fact that they were indeed Russian soldiers. The White House condemned the violation of Crimea’s sovereignty and began the process of imposing sanctions on Russia. At the time, I thought that at the very least we should marshal social media against this historic trespass. Some folks made fun of what they called #hashtag diplomacy, but heck, it was something. I started tweeting against Putin and Russia’s actions and urged everyone in the State Department with a social media account to do the same—"The unshakeable principle guiding events must be that the people of #Ukraine determine their own future."

    Not exactly fire-breathing words. At the same time, we started a small social media group called the Ukraine Task Force to rebut Russian lies in real time. And then a funny thing happened: I started getting dozens and then hundreds of tweets calling me a fascist propagandist and a hypocrite and much, much worse. And almost all of them had terrible spelling and worse grammar. In addition, there were tweets from scantily clad young women who, in syntactically challenged English mixed with Cyrillic, inquired about my political views and breathlessly told me theirs. I received screeds about Russian babies being kidnapped in Crimea, unrepentant Nazis who were behind the protests in downtown Kiev, and how the CIA had created the AIDS virus.

    When I published a diplomatic note on the State Department site accusing Russia of an “intense campaign of disinformation” and referred to Russia Today as “a propaganda bullhorn,” I was attacked on-air by RT and in an editorial by its editor-in-chief accusing me of cramming dozens of falsehoods into a few hundred words. (You can always tell what the Russians are doing because they accuse you of doing the same thing.) I had never watched RT before, and soon discovered that it was an often entertaining mélange of fact and fiction depicting a toxic America riven by corruption and racism featuring experts without expertise spinning wild conspiracy stories. RT stories suggested it was the democratic right of the people of Crimea to be part of Russia and that the U.S. had fomented the color revolutions in Ukraine and the Russian periphery.

    I hate to tell you, President Trump, but RT was calling American media fake news long before you did.

    All of this was eye-opening and a bit bewildering, and now seems sadly familiar to Americans who saw a similar pattern of information warfare during the 2016 election.

    But this is not new for the Russians. The annexation of Crimea, the soft invasion of eastern Ukraine and the social media tsunami around these events are all part of a long-term KGB military strategy known as “active measures”—a bland term for the weaponization of information to achieve strategic goals. The idea goes back to Soviet days, but the modern tools of social media have made it far easier and more effective. After all, you don’t have to pay spies to plant false stories in American newspapers anymore—you can do it yourself from a troll farm in St. Petersburg. In short, “active measures” seeks to create a world of “alternative facts.”

    But the goal of “active measures” is even grander than influencing an election: It uses disinformation, propaganda and cyberware to weaken the West, foment division in NATO and undermine America’s image around the world. The social media that accompanied Crimea wasn’t so much to support Russia’s point of view, but to sow doubt about anyone understanding what was happening. Russian digital disinformation is post-modern: It’s less the propagation of lies than the idea that there is no truth. Ultimately, “active measures” seeks to undermine the very concept of empirical facts.

    Last week, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Clint Watts, a former FBI officer who is an expert on Russian disinformation, said that what Russia did on social media in 2014 around Ukraine was a “dry run” for the 2016 election. He called it “capabilities development.” And it was. They seeded false stories about a 3-year-old ethnic Russian boy crucified by the Ukrainian military, about how Ukrainian bakeries were refusing to sell bread to Russian speakers, and how the new Ukrainian government was going to cancel the May 9 World War II commemoration and stage a gay pride parade instead. These efforts presaged the internet ecosystem of 2016: Disinformation is launched on Twitter; it is then covered by Russian outlets like RT and Sputnik; those stories are loaded up on YouTube and are then pushed out to sympathetic Facebook communities. At the time, our most senior NATO commander, U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove, told me this was “an information blitzkrieg unlike anything in the history of information warfare.” In military terms, Russia was preparing the information battlefield for 2016.

    The hundreds of Russian ads recently revealed on Facebook and Google are also examples of “active measures.” The ads, ranging from ones that seem to support Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers to ads saying “The South will rise again” to the headline, “Satan: If I win Clinton Wins!,” fit into the Russian goal of sowing confusion and doubt. The Russians like “frozen conflicts”—a term that applies to territorial disputes like eastern Ukraine or Transnistria in Moldova, but could easily describe the stalemate in Congress, the polarization of American politics, or the debate about Russian “collusion.” It’s these divisions the ads are meant to exploit. Yes, there are plenty that were pro-Trump, but in the early stages of the campaign, the ads were more focused on creating controversy and division than on supporting any one candidate. And that’s the idea—to reveal an America riven by different and irreconcilable points of view, to show modern democracy as a dysfunctional mess. What Russian would want to live in such a society?

    While the delivery system for disinformation is very 21st century, the way Russia uses it hearkens back to Soviet WWII artillery strategy: Shoot fast, aim everywhere and don’t stint on the ammunition. The Russians have an army of botnets and sock puppets and honey pots. They use troll factories to create thousands and thousands of tweets, which cleverly mix political news with apolitical posts about fashion and sports. They exploit all the laws of online social science: Multiple sources are more persuasive than a single one; emotionally resonant content is passed on more frequently; and repetition leads to familiarity which leads to acceptance. I was impressed with how quickly the Russian propaganda machine was on top of the news—but, of course, it takes less time to make up a fact than to check one. And they use our own bias for “objectivity” against us: They know American media will dutifully report Russian fictions, however far-fetched, and try to balance them with accurate reporting.

    Putin has been the impresario of this information war. In 1991, when the Berlin Wall fell, there was a KGB operative in East Germany who saw that the great Soviet Union, which had spent trillions of rubles on tanks and missiles, had fallen without firing a shot. He realized that American soft power—he has even used the term—had trumped Soviet hard power. When he became president of Russia in 1999, the first thing Putin did was take over the state television network. He had learned the lesson.

    When I interviewed Putin in 2006 for Time, he said the greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the unraveling of the Soviet Union. His unstated goal is to put Humpty Dumpty back together again by uniting the Russian diaspora, keeping his neighbors unstable, and undermining the appeal of the U.S. and the idea of democracy itself. Russian investment in media of all kinds—from television stations in the periphery, to reality TV to VKontakte, a sort of Russian Facebook—is a giant loss-leader and is meant to topple what he once called the “Anglo-Saxon monopoly” of media. The autocrat’s strategy is always to have an enemy, and Putin’s enemy is always the U.S.

    I wish I could say that we figured out what to do about Russian disinformation and that we had seen what Russia would do in the 2016 election. We didn’t and I didn’t. But the writing was on the screen. The Ukraine Task Force became the Russia Information Group, where we supported credible counter-Russian voices in the region. We pretty much stopped creating content ourselves. After all, the State Department isn’t exactly a media company, and the Russians were crushing us on volume. We had been working with the big tech companies, Facebook, Google, Apple, on countering ISIS’ content online, but they just weren’t as interested or as knowledgeable about Russian disinformation. It wasn’t yet on their radar as a problem in the U.S. But in 2016, with the rise of “fake news,” wild conspiracy stories, botnets and paid ads on social media, we saw the Putin playbook in action here in the U.S.

    Before I left the State Department, we had transformed the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications—a small entity created by Secretary Clinton to counter Al Qaeda and then ISIS messaging (she was ahead of that one, too)—into the Global Engagement Center, a larger group whose ultimate goal was to combat disinformation around the world, with a special focus on Russia. Earlier this year, in the Defense Authorization Act, Congress expanded the GEC’s mission to counter state and non-state propaganda aimed at undermining national security and told the Defense Department to transfer up to $80 million to this new entity. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has asked for some but not all of the money from the Pentagon, but it’s hard to imagine this State Department using any of those funds to counter Russian propaganda.

    Particularly when the head of the American government seems so often to rely on their talking points.
    The walls are coming down.
    All we need is one to fail, one to break, one to take it all away.
    What if we crumble, what if we fall? Where's the flame that torch the soul?
    Truth, when spoken, dies down to nothing.

  26. #986
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    So... will govt. be able to present the totally already completed Brexit reports to Parliament in time before it's ruled to be in contempt? Also, will the Brexit mutineers be hanged or will they be drawn and quartered?
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  27. #987
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    And I don't think it legitimately can be reversed.

    No votes were changed or tampered with, and anyone who was affected by any Russian propaganda did so because they were, of their own free will, a dumbass. You know, they still went into the booth and ticked the leave box of their own volition and you can't prove that they wouldn't have done so anyway.

    Plus, think about the precedent it would set if we changed election results because Russian hoods brought some facebook ads, and how destabilising - and delegitimising - it would be for our democracy.
    Yeah, it probably can't be reversed based on Russian meddling and propaganda alone - however, I believe it can if there's enough public and political support. Article 50 can be revoked, after all.

    We could really do with the Lib Dems stepping up and taking a harder line now. It's not as if they've got much to lose.

  28. #988
    It's OK - we'll still get freedom of movement!

    Providing you're a banker: https://www.ft.com/content/9e637940-...8-7a9fb7d6163e


  29. #989
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    Davis's promises and statements have become increasingly less credible and increasingly less connected to the real world. Without agreement on major issues this proposal will never be realized, and, if it were realized, it would be a fairly insignificant success. This is just another example of govt. negotiating with itself, or, in this case, with London.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  30. #990
    Local talking head LittleFuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    You are incorrect. Most of these involve targeting real Facebook accounts, which are not generally anonymous or pseudonymous,
    Except that's exactly what they are. On hook-up apps and sites, we call it "catfishing." I don't know if the same term is used for Facebook but I suspect it is. Steely just provided an article detailing examples of that kind of thing. They aren't real Facebook accounts, anymore than the spammers that have been leaking through here have been real TWF posters.
    Last night as I lay in bed, looking up at the stars, I thought, “Where the hell is my ceiling?"

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