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> Better Living through Chemistry, Salisbury - what's at Steak? (Stake! Salisbury steak - geddit?
Julian
post Mar 19 2018, 06:33 PM
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Apologies for the headline punnery on what is a pretty serious topic (at least three lives are still in the balance).

So, anyway, as you may know, a Russian ex-double agent and his daughter (who remains a Russian citizen and was visiting from Russia) have been hospital in the UK in critical condition for the last 10 days or so. The first responder, a local policeman, was also hospitalised in a serious condition, though that condition seems to have now stabilised, though he his still an in-patient. The initial reaction was swift, with NBC-suited teams on site within hours.

Rumours circulated that day that some kind of nerve gas had been used, but early reports were vague. Within a few days, however, the official story was that a Soviet-era toxin called Novichok - an order of magnitude more potent than the Sarin gas used in a terror incident in Japan some years back - was responsible, and that the only source could have been Russia. It wasn't clear whether the official Russian state agencies had merely lost possession of a quantity of this substance, or whether they or their agents* had actively deployed it in an assassination attempt.

Conspiracy theorists on both sides have conjectured as to the possible motivation.

At one end, Western commentators have wondered whether Vladimir Putin wished to stage a confrontation with a (still, in our diminished state) powerful enemy to demonstrate his willingness to defend Russian interests (and ability to portray the incident that way) to a Russian domestic audience and build a more impressive victory in yesterday's Russian presidential election. Or whether, as part of a wider Russian campaign of leveraging perceive weak points in Western states (social media, economic inequality, concerns about globalisation and immigration, and many others), Putin is merely sowing dissent and disinformation to keep the attention of his rivals away from his and Russia's wish for greater world influence by whatever means.

At the other end, others (mostly Russians, that I've heard advance the idea) argue that this is a Western false flag operation; that a British government bogged down by Brexit-induced problems of their own making have engineered a confrontation with Russia to distract attention from their own incompetence and untie a divided people behind resistance to an external threat, at the potential cost of a couple of lives, and foreign ones at that.

At the same time, and for some time, the FBI have been attempting to investigate accusations that the Trump campaign used Russian money and a Russian-enabled (or even Russian-led) social media campaign to 'steal' the 2016 Presidential election in the USA, and may still have nefarious links to hostile foreign actors.

And, linked to that (and to Brexit, and - it sometimes seems - to pretty much everything that the liberal Establishment dislikes about modern politics), a tech firm called Cambridge Analytica is in the process of being investigated (by journalists, so far, but if they're right, law enforcement officers won't be far behind) for 'stealing' data from Facebook and using it to manipulate social media in favour of Western electoral campaigns that both paid them and were politically suited to their funders. Link to the story

Questions for debate:

Who do you think caused the Salisbury Novichak attack, and why?

What is behind the Cambridge Analytica story, and why?

Are the two threads linked by the person of Vladimir Putin? Is as much of a Bond villain archetype as he may appear to be?
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Mar 19 2018, 10:42 PM
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It's getting difficult to follow all the different trails and counter-trails.
There seems so much inundation and distraction I'm getting whiplash following even ten percent of the chains.
This is new...I had no idea there was a conspiracy theory that the poisoning was a distraction orchestrated by the UK government.

Who do you think caused the Salisbury Novichak attack, and why?
Wasn't this a defector who worked in Russian intelligence, and his daughter? If so I think it is exactly what it looks like.
The Russians poisoned them much like Alexander Litvinenko...in a manner that indicated they wanted the UK (and world) to know it was them.

What is behind the Cambridge Analytica story, and why?
Well...what I buy and say online are monitored all the time. Many times when I go to a new site I have to answer a poll or some such to read an article. I was always under the impression this was legal as it's all open source and....if I choose to answer, they have my answer. No one is tying me down and making me answer questions.
Now that I have been strong armed into getting a facebook account, I am treated to polls frequently. If I don't want to I don't answer...if I want to, I do.
Corporations are political, and they make use of this information and target us all of the time, attempting to sway our opinions.
It's a global economy so these corporations come from all over the globe.
I can google just about anything right now and it will be monitored and whatever site I go to someone will likely be trying to persuade me to do something or think something.
Trolls are ubiquitous. DO Russian trolls have special Jedi mind tricks or something?
So I'm not really sure what the story is here?
Okay, if they're really stealing (actual stealing, not in quotes) data that is a problem.
But why would they do that? This isn't actual personal information for identity theft, it's open source opinions....unless I'm reading wrong?
They don't have to it is all there for open source taking (or purchasing).
Before Cambridge Analytica was pro-Trump, it was pro-Cruz (the guy whose father Trump claimed killed Kennedy). Until Cruz lost.

Are the two threads linked by the person of Vladimir Putin? Is as much of a Bond villain archetype as he may appear to be?
I don't know. But I do know that just about anyone who has ANY ties to any businesses in Russia will have ties to Putin. I don't think it's possible to do international business with Russia without it having some connection to Putin, somewhere. I guess we're not worried about China anymore? Hey! Maybe this is all China's doing! They're the best of the best counterfeiters.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Mar 19 2018, 11:19 PM
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Trouble
post Mar 20 2018, 08:26 PM
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Who do you think caused the Salisbury Novichok attack, and why?

I have noticed the more time which plays out, the weaker Theresa May's case becomes. Her conduct is telling. For such an authoritarian figure why is she not prosecuting the case through the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons? Doesn't May have a legal duty to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law on behalf of all Britons? And while a small detail, how come the lab Porter Down and OPCW dispute the existence of "novichok"? Why doesn't May just say nerve agent and leave it at that? Wouldn't it be easier than putting words into the scientific community's mouths?

I suspect there is a political dimension that has yet to play itself out.


What is behind the Cambridge Analytica story, and why?

Frankly I am have a hard time incorporating this element into the wider array of questions. The two don't really seem linked all that much.

That is a hard one to answer without more information. I'm working through Channel 4's documentary. To me it just sounds like influence peddling.

Are the two threads linked by the person of Vladimir Putin? Is as much of a Bond villain archetype as he may appear to be?


At this point I will say no. I could be wrong but the evidence surrounding Pablo Miller was far more compelling. (Telegraph behind paywall so secondary links)

QUOTE
“The consultant, who The Telegraph is declining to identify, lived close to Col Skripal and is understood to have known him for some time… The Telegraph understands that Col Skripal moved to Salisbury in 2010 in a spy swap and became close to a security consultant employed by Christopher Steele, who compiled the Trump dossier. The British security consultant, according to a LinkedIn social network account that was removed from the internet in the past few days, is also based in Salisbury. On the same LinkedIn account, the man listed consultancy work with Orbis Business Intelligence, according to reports.”


If true Miller's involvement with Skripal ties Orbis Business Intelligence, a firm under Christopher Steele with the most vocal elements within America who are pushing the Russian narrative.

This post has been edited by Trouble: Mar 20 2018, 08:33 PM
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AuthorMusician
post Mar 25 2018, 12:55 AM
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Who do you think caused the Salisbury Novichak attack, and why?

Looks like Russia to me.

What is behind the Cambridge Analytica story, and why?

The core issue has to do with your data and who owns it, meaning who must give permission before it's used. Giving away your data on Facebook might imply permission, but is that enough or should it be a signed contract? How about your online activity, your online transactions? What exactly are the laws governing data usage, and did anyone break those laws?

Time will tell, but it looks to me that Cambridge Analytica (sounds like high-class porn) will be a great place to be from, unless you're too high up to claim ignorance of wrongdoing.

Are the two threads linked by the person of Vladimir Putin? Is as much of a Bond villain archetype as he may appear to be?

Vlad is glad that we're so terribly bad at security. Like taking a beet from a baby. He's getting away with it because, unlike fiction, reality doesn't have Bond . . . James, Bond. But we have plenty of villains.

Anyway, data security is a great field to get into now, so my thinking goes. Conditions are approaching the intolerable level, meaning that very powerful people are awakening to the fact that their empires are in grave risk of being snatched away by punks in their mothers' basements.

Poor darlings -- the powers, not the punks.


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lo rez
post Apr 2 2018, 03:35 PM
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Steak puns are a medium rarely well done.

(cough)

I'll show myself out.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Apr 2 2018, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE(lo rez @ Apr 2 2018, 10:35 AM) *
Steak puns are a medium rarely well done.

(cough)

I'll show myself out.


LOL
That. Was. Awesome.

Oh Lord...since this isn't casual conversation I now have to post something related to the topic.
There isn't a whole lot to be said.
We've expelled 60 or so diplomats. I agree with this solidarity along with Canada and the EU.
Putin launched "Satan II" and expelled our diplomats in response...which kind of answers the last bit....so over the top it's almost something out of a Bond movie.

The DPRK recently visited China and rumor has it KJU is scheduled to visit Putin as well.
Maybe chess pieces are moving and the ICBM demo was a part. Interesting times.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Apr 2 2018, 09:29 PM
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Curmudgeon
post May 5 2018, 07:37 PM
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Questions for debate:

Are the two threads linked by the person of Vladimir Putin? Is he as much of a Bond villain archetype as he may appear to be?

What the question brings to mind is a scene from Casino Royale in which Bond is asking his tormentor to scratch the other side as well...

The world of spy vs. spy has long been portrayed as a patriotic parody of the phrase, "'Til death do us part." In this "James Bond parody," the arch villain does appear to be "Vlad the Inhaler."

Local educational notes:

QUOTE
]The term "Salisbury steak" has been in use in the United States since 1897. The dish is named after an American physician, James H. Salisbury (1823–1905). The dish is popular in the United States, where it is traditionally served with gravy and mashed potatoes or pasta. ( link )

In Michigan history class (fifty plus years ago) I was taught that a healthy foods movement based in Battle Creek felt that ground foods were easier to digest, leading to Salisbury “steaks,” corn flakes, and other “health foods.” The photo used to illustrate the Wikipedia article linked above leaves me believing that whoever illustrated the article did not read it

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