Edward Snowden and the Right.

Discussion in 'Whitehall - The SB Politics Forum!' started by smarino, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    Ahahahahaha the NSA's big ass data center which runs its big ass ELINT operations is fucking huge.


    It requires sixty-five megawatts of power 24/7/365. Given its construction date, it fits with the idea that this is PRISM-related.

    Now, I'm going to ask you why you think a program that takes sixty-five megawatts of power to effectively run (approximately the same amount of power something like 65,000 high-end gaming PCs require) is going to fit on a fucking flash drive. A program which has no reason to be space-optimized because, FYI, it's running on a custom-built server farm that has enough hard drive space that you could probably put the library of congress on it and still it'd only be 10% full.

    "But they might be able to read the metadatas!" you say. Holy shit, I can look at email metadata.

    Beijing can and very easily could have barred HK's extradition. That is their prerogative under the "one nation, two systems" laws which govern HK-Chinese mainland interactions. Something that relates to geopolitics like this they could very easily have unilaterally barred, then told America to suck it the fuck up because how many Chinese asylees flee to America to whine about Chinese violations of human rights? Oh, yeah, and all that American bitching about Chinese hackers when they did it 15 years ago, way before Chinese hackers even were a thing. "Shut up and go eat a dick" would have been very easy to say, and unless America thinks Snowden is so important that it's worth risking a total breakdown of relations over (FYI: He isn't) and/or a cold war (FYI: He still isn't) they'd have no choice but to, well, shut up and eat a dick.

    There's a reason people arrested for spying are generally never arrested when they stay in the country they're spying for. Because frankly they aren't important.
  2. Ralson

    Ralson Horrible Cat

    I'm saying the situation is different, and more dangerous, despite their actions being similar, because it's 2013 instead of 1971. Ellsberg seems to think so. Snowden certainly thought so. Why must he wager his life against it, even if he's wrong? What would staying here accomplish? What would it prove?
    I'm not arguing that what he did was the same. My point was that going to jail doesn't make you a martyr in the eyes of the US. They just assume you must've done something bad, despite being thrown in jail for no especially good reason.

    I think if he stayed here, the only difference would be "He fled, therefore he must be evil" changing into "He's in jail, therefore he must be evil."

    Even if you're right and incarceration was unlikely: Why is he morally obligated to risk it?
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  3. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    Wow. Normally when I see tinfoil hat conspiracy theories they don't get nearly this crazy. This is Lyndon LaRouche-tier nuttiness.

    You think that Snowden is part of a hidden conspiracy of Joker-style militant anarchists, the US is run by a conspiracy which seeks to turn it into a surveillance state that makes 1984 look free, and apparently you're the only sane man who can see this.

    This is the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories.
  4. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

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  5. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    Because people actually really hate whistle-blowers. Don't get me wrong, they claim to like them. But what they actually like is the untouchable giant being brought down. The guy who betrayed his company or government? Man fuck him, he should be shot. This goes for every sort of whistle-blower. No matter how legitimate their points are, the smallest impropriety gets them cut down and called traitors or villains or whatever the fuck.

    Ref: Chinadaily's gigantic smugularity over Snowden. (Chinadaily is not exactly a pro-whistle-blower news agency).

    Ref: Blue Wall of Silence

    Etc etc.
  6. lloyd007

    lloyd007 Hunting the 35 Foot Twinkie

    Strawman much? Seriously, point out in the thread where I've said anything at all that makes Snowden out to be part of a group rather than one guy at most who is doing whatever on his own volition.

    And as for the PRISM program itself / themselves. I don't know how big it actually is and neither do you. It's pretty damn stupid or deliberately disingenuous to say that a guy who has four laptops at least of data has nothing at all of major value.

    If Snowden has intel of major value and he has sold it to the Chinese it will be interesting to see what your reaction will be when Beijing rolls out it's shiny new 'Civil Liberties Oppress O'Matic.'
  7. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    I'm pretty sure the NSA would love the Chinese to use PRISM to spy on themselves. I mean it seems like it has a pretty huge possibility for the NSA to use it to spy on the Chinese.

    Also if he wanted to sell secrets to China or Russia why would he have gone to the newspapers, thus revealing himself? That doesn't make a lot of sense at all.

    On the whole "should Snowden have fled?" thing, I don't see a problem with him fleeing. The important thing is the information he revealed, not the man himself. He could be doctor doom if his information is accurate and the US government would still have large questions to answer.

    There's zero reason to risk jail just to prove some obscure point about how you still actually believe in America (cryingbaldeaglecryingbaldeaglecryingbaldeaglecryingbaldeaglecryingbaldeaglecryingbaldeaglecryingbaldeagle)

    Edit: Even US civilian prison is so horrible that I don't believe anyone has a moral duty to subject themselves too it. I mean the current US prison system is basically a rape camp. Certainly given the cruel treatment that US prisoners endure there can be no morale duty to turn oneself over to such a system.)
  8. Acatalepsy

    Acatalepsy Marginal Existential Risk

    Er, it would potentially either (a) prove his point if something does happen and (b) undercut any claim by the NSA or other 'security' fanatics that this was done for any reason other than the public having a right to know. The fact that (b) is even an issue is an unfortunate aspect of the media environment...but it's a real aspect of the media environment, and staying here would accomplish something significant.

    I don't think that every whistleblower needs to be Ghandi - Snowden did the right thing, I think. But it sure helps your side if your whistleblower is Ghandi.
  9. Ralson

    Ralson Horrible Cat

    Did people assume the Rosenbergs were altruistic because they stayed in the US? How about Bradley Manning?

    Like, I guess Lloyd wouldn't have said treason if he hadn't run?

    Oh would you look at that.
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  10. lloyd007

    lloyd007 Hunting the 35 Foot Twinkie

    Bradley Manning =/= Edward Snowden. Their actions are different. If Edward Snowden had done exactly what he did and then turned himself in just like Ellsburg or gone on the talk show circuit and dared the government to arrest him then I would not strongly suspect him of treason. His publicized actions in and of themselves are not treasonous, my suspicion is based on where he's been with what he's carrying, going to China and Russia with at least 4 laptops of secret US data and then telling everyone "Here I am, in a nation that is very much not friendly to the USA with all these juicy secrets... oops you almost missed me! Now I'm in the capital city of another nation that is not at all friendly to the USA with all my juicy secrets!"

    No, there's no proof yet that the Chinese or Russians have any of the data Snowden is carrying with him or if the data he carries is substantial or abstract... Hell, maybe the Chinese and Russians decided to pass on doing anything at all to try and obtain the information even though Snowden was physically present in their respective nations and subject to their jurisdiction and has made his exact location known at many times in this affair... That Snowden had no other motive than what he's stated for the record and that his stated fear of the USA is completely and absolutely justified because the USA has demonstrated its villainy while China and Russia are pure as the driven snow, completely altruistic and would never even think of doing something improper because that would be WRONG!... :rolleyes:

    Compare that to Bradley Manning, who released mulititudes of documents that named names of informants and other individuals who had helped the USA despite being in areas where Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or etc. could reach out and kill them and their families in horrific ways as examples to others what happens to people who collaborate with the USA.

    I know it takes a little bit of nuance, but I'm sure even your one track mind can spot the difference eventually.
  11. Nuts!

    Nuts! is

    We have pills for this sort of thing, man. Please get yourself a prescription or ten.
  12. lloyd007

    lloyd007 Hunting the 35 Foot Twinkie

    I just love when people strawman me... or think I'm crazy or stupid because I don't trust a person's stated motives when their actions don't really fit their narrative. :rolleyes:

    Seriously, Snowden got 4 laptops worth of US top secret data and went to China, where he stayed for weeks.

    Do you trust Snowden not to try to sell that info to the Chinese?
    Do you trust China... whose cyberattacks on the USA were in the news not long ago... not to try to obtain that information?

    Now he's in Moscow...

    Do you trust Snowden not to try to sell the info he has to Russia?
    Do you trust Russia... whose President is Vladimir Putin... not to try to obtain that information?
  13. Nuts!

    Nuts! is

    When you doubt someone's actions, it helps to, y'know, provide concrete proof. Failing that, a reasonable narrative ("X does Y because Z") is helpful.

    You instead claimed:
    ...which came from a disputed and doubtful source, along with MJ12 pointing out the hilarity of bringing the entire custom-made PRISM architecture on a couple laptops.

    Besides which, this still doesn't make sense given your claim that Snowden went to Moscow to sell off US intel agency secrets. He could do that from Hong Kong, no problem. Hell, he could probably do it from at the freaking NSA - he worked in a remote off-site facility, with enough access and lack of oversight to make a case officer drool, and yet he goes on the run to meet in-person to sell stuff? This entire narrative makes no sense, because Snowden was emplaced in about the best possible position ever to work as a mole - yet he jumps ship and makes a big public reveal, spoiling some of the value of the information he's hypothetically trying to sell. Your whole claim of "Snowden is a committed traitor" falls apart the moment you pick at the edges.
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  14. lloyd007

    lloyd007 Hunting the 35 Foot Twinkie

    My source is ABC and the Guardian... how is the Guardian a disputed and doubtful source? The only dispute is that Ralson said it was a thumb drive... something HE hasn't backed up because I called him on it.

    And unless MJ12 Commando is an NSA employee he doesn't have any better idea of the size of the programs than I do. But we're not talking about the Captain America formula where only one person can ever make it, we're talking about computer programs and schematics. The Chinese are far from stupid and could probably build a pretty capable analogue of PRISM if given X gigabytes of the most important schematics and programming even if Snowden couldn't fit everything.

    But he's in Hong Kong and Moscow... Places where the USA can't tell anyone to do anything, they can ask, and Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin can tell Obama to fuck off. That's the whole point of being in those places.

    I can prove that Snowden has in his posession top secret US info and has been physically present in two countries whose agendas and diplomacy have been hostile to the USA in the very area that Snowden's information is most relevant...

    Are the dots REALLY that hard to connect!? Or are you just being intellectually dishonest because you feel your argument will fall apart if you admit that Snowden is probably a traitor?

    You and the rest seem to take Snowden at his word AND believe that the Chinese and Russians are pure altruists now when they haven't been in the past.
  15. Nuts!

    Nuts! is

    We're talking about a computer 'program' so advanced and complicated that it requires its own state-of-the-art server farm to run. This is not something that you can easily pick up and move, not by a long shot. You talk about "key algorithms," but what's the freaking point?

    PRISM is not Captain America super-serum. It's a technically complicated project, where the really difficult part is in constructing a giant and hilariously expensive complex to run the whole thing. (not to mention the taps on American telecom companies) This is not like taking a sample of some super-secret bio lab to make the next Incredible Hulk; the hard part is the basic engineering and scraping together the funding, not the programming itself. My aunt works at Google; believe me, data mining is a problem you can solve relatively easily by throwing money and trained engineers at issues until they go away. (and they do)

    Sooo...the Chinese can spy more effectively on their own citizens.

    So he couldn't send this while he was isolated and working directly within the system. No, instead he had to go full-on whistleblower and visit Chinese soil in person, because the Cold War never happened and the Chinese are clearly far too incompetent to run a spy ring on US soil.

    If Snowden was selling US secrets, then why didn't he do so while in his old job? With access like he had, he could literally pick and choose what buyers would want to grab. Even more importantly, why has the US government not made the claim that Snowden is selling secrets? The people with every reason to want Snowden discredited, and the resources to track his past and current transactions...haven't tried to claim this.

    Finally, if Snowden was selling secrets, then the worst thing he could have done would have been to make those secrets public. Whistleblowing put a giant bullseye on his back, and Snowden had to know it, so if he was interested in selling stuff then why do that? He could harm the US and become comfortably wealthy by traveling to China with whatever he could grab, sell his data anonymously, then retire knowing that he'd done what he wanted to do. Instead, he makes a big public spectacle and runs to a country that'll tell the US to fuck off; why make the spectacle in the first place? After all, if he was actually interested in the public spectacle for some reason, then selling secrets after he'd gone public would be stupidly counterproductive, as it destroys his rationale and public image. (because there's no way that a transaction like that wouldn't go public)

    Let's repeat the "correlation does not equal causation" graph, just for kicks:

    There, much better! Your proof is "Snowden has US secrets" and "Snowden has been in countries which don't like the US." Trying to form a detailed hypothesis from two data points is...yeah, let's just not go there.

    Let me remind you, just for the record: If Snowden was a committed and die-hard traitor to the USA, then the most dangerous thing he could've done would have been to remain at his post. If Snowden was really selling computer schematics like you claim, then he could've done the exact same goddamn thing from the comfort of his own post office with the joy and wonder of Fedex accepting cash payments and an assumed name.

    You base your claim on the fact that Snowden ran to countries which don't like the US, and that he has US intel agency secrets in his possession. The first is perfectly explainable by Snowden's factually justifiable fear of American government retribution, and the second claim (that Snowden took US secrets to sell them) is undermined by Snowden choosing to make said secrets public. Beyond that, there's been no proof provided that Snowden has negotiated or sold US secrets, even by the government that would stand to gain by making these things public. Snowden was obviously under US surveillance in both Hong Kong and Moscow; the idea that he would be traveling to these places to sell US secrets, and that the US would not publicize him being a traitor, is laughable. Finding a target is hard; tracking a target with ELINT, HUMINT, and IMINT once you've found him is easy. (and again, the US intel bureaucracy stands to gain by publicly discrediting Snowden as a sellout)

    Your proof that Snowden is selling US secrets is...that he's gone to countries which don't like the US, and that an IT guy has IT equipment. Are the dots REALLY that hard to not connect? Or are you just intellectually dishonest because you feel your arguments would fall apart if you admit that you don't have evidence of Snowden being a traitor?
  16. TheMaster

    TheMaster The Person

    I just have no idea if he's a bad dude or not, but I have an inkling of sense that he could be just what our nation needed.
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  17. lloyd007

    lloyd007 Hunting the 35 Foot Twinkie

    No, really, lets... because it's a straight line. Snowden lands in Moscow, he hands his computers to Russian Intelligence, they copy the data and give them back to Snowden because the guy is comedy gold to Putin. It really is that fucking simple. I have no evidence that this happened, but you seem to think this chain of events is unpossible or at least very improbable because...?

    I never made the claim Snowden was turned by another country and was acting as a spy for the Chinese or Russians or whoever. If he was he would have been more damaging remaining at his post. Instead I'd say he probably acted on his own and if he turned stuff over to the Chinese and Russians that is a pure windfall for them. So no conspiracy theory, just some guy landing in Hong Kong and calling people up with a nice deal.

    I freely state that I have no evidence that Snowden has handed anything over to the Russians or Chinese... My argument is that I suspect he is a rogue who acted on his own and that it's really not hard to imagine him turning over what he collected to both the Chinese and Russians, whatever it was.

    You seem to think that scenario is impossible. You also seem to think that it is impossible that the intel Snowden has couldn't be incredibly damaging to the USA in a way that goes beyond reputation.

    Edit: And what's this business about Snowden not being charged with espionage? He's totally been charged with espionage. He's also going from Moscow to Havana possibly (if he doesn't just stay in Moscow.) So... yeah... the US government has publicized that it thinks he isn't just a whistle blower, but a traitor.
  18. Yog


    Ehh, about this. You are wrong. The resources that a program needs to run effectively do not correspond to the program's "weight" at all. I can (and did) program (physics modeling) codes that required tens of hours of computation on a good machine to run and weighed less then one megabyte. I know of codes that require clusters to run effectively (ad utilize cluster architectures for parallel programming) than weigh less than ten megabytes.

    Programs aren't that "big" in general. Databases of what to look for (key words, trained neural nets that recognize the patterns in scanned messages, etc) may (and likely are) huge. But the program itself (the thing that directs the search, generates the neural net, etc) may be quite small.
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  19. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    Ignoring the monkey, I think you're wrong. Snowden's behavior has actually helped him a lot because it's kept the story on the news cycle.

    If he'd just made stuff public and then been arrested that'd have been the end of the story. Those who would be convinced would be convinced, and those not convinced would be not convinced.

    However him running from one country to another, apparently moments ahead of US authorities makes things a lot more interesting. The Newspapers can report on that for ages. It's a cool story.

    Snowden may not have meant to be an excellent publicist but he is one.
  20. ACOG

    ACOG Soon to be Science Hero

    So what if snowden is selling the secrets, but they have glaring holes in it to act as backdoors?
    And this whole thing is actually an intelligence coup?
  21. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    Another real question is if a guy like Snowden can get clearance as a contractor what less scrupulous people can? Not only is this a Humint fiasco, but it's also shows some pretty dangerous potential corruption.
  22. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect What is Project Zohar?

    What if the US government was infinitely competent

    And literally powered by magic
  23. firefossil

    firefossil I have charts. Lots of charts.

    Its called graphene these days.
  24. ACOG

    ACOG Soon to be Science Hero

    What if they act stupid specifically so that no one tries to be truly smart and make the world dangerous?
    I mean we just had some one try to make a mobile xray generator, now what would people make to take on even a mildly competent government?
  25. You know John Kerry making threats, is not a good idea to gain Russian assistance in that case.