Author Topic: Conspiracy Theories  (Read 5109 times)

Baile Brigín 2

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2020, 02:08:35 PM »
I think a large part of this comes down to the internet comment culture. The idea that your opinion has the same weight as an expert in their field needs to stop. By all means question orthadoxy, but the source material is always dogshit, which is where the Moscow led disinformation steps in.

There is a deliberate attempt to end our Western reason led culture and the political system that underpins it.

Isn't this Putin stuff a conspiracy theory of its own?

There you go. I'm just some flute on the Internet. Please apply that filter elsewhere.

GetOverTheBar

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2020, 02:09:56 PM »
Ah, Flat Earthers. There is another conspiracy that I struggle to understand what drives people to believe.


J70

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #47 on: September 15, 2020, 02:16:11 PM »
Like I said, I'm far from an expert on geopolitics, but if Putin can stoke division inside the US, especially if it ends up in someone like Trump in power, it could help diminish the influence of the US, especially in Russia's own neighbourhood. It probably also doesn't hurt Putin himself if things in the US end up tipping over into violence as we've seen happen this summer. He can say that western-style democracy maybe isn't all that its cracked up to be, which again, also might not hurt Russia in those former Soviet states either.

I'm not an expert in geopolitics either which is why I'm trying to approach this from a logical angle. The above theory just seems a bit far-fetched to be credible, in my opinion. It isn't 1980 anymore and a change of US President or a bit of instability or trouble in America will have damn all effect in Russia.

Obama roasted Mitt Romney in 2012 for suggesting otherwise. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/03/20/flashback-obamas-debate-zinger-on-romneys-1980s-foreign-policy/

Presidential debates are all about theatre and "zingers" and are NOT forums for nuanced discussion of policy (wait till next month!). And at the time, Russia was simply not a large factor in US politics, at least in comparison to Al Qaida and the Arab Spring and so on.

You're entitled to your opinion on whether or not this internet disinformation campaign would benefit the Russians.

I find it convincing. Little effort in terms of investment of logistics, personnel and money (especially relative to times past); plenty of upside in terms of sewing discord in the target country, hopefully to one's own benefit.

five points

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2020, 02:21:18 PM »
Again all very far-fetched. Those "rumours" are the kind of stuff that you'd see in the Sunday Sport or the National Enquirer. If that's the level Russia are at, then we've little to worry about.

five points

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2020, 02:27:31 PM »

And at the time, Russia was simply not a large factor in US politics,

It still isn't.

Quote
You're entitled to your opinion on whether or not this internet disinformation campaign would benefit the Russians.

I find it convincing. Little effort in terms of investment of logistics, personnel and money (especially relative to times past); plenty of upside in terms of sewing discord in the target country, hopefully to one's own benefit.

"Hopefully" is hardly convincing.

sid waddell

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #50 on: September 15, 2020, 02:28:33 PM »

But, I don't personally see anything credibility-stretching in the concept of Putin and Russia trying to sow discord in the US and Britain/EU, if it will sway or weaken the influence of those countries internationally.


To what ends though?

The Chinese are awash with money and cutting-edge tech. Russia isn't. It's a dysfunctional and backward kip with a national fondness for corruption and dodgy leadership.

Like I said, I'm far from an expert on geopolitics, but if Putin can stoke division inside the US, especially if it ends up in someone like Trump in power, it could help diminish the influence of the US, especially in Russia's own neighbourhood. It probably also doesn't hurt Putin himself if things in the US end up tipping over into violence as we've seen happen this summer. He can say that western-style democracy maybe isn't all that its cracked up to be, which again, also might not hurt Russia in those former Soviet states either.

What the last six years has shown is the invaluable nature of the post-World War II western order, the EU and NATO, and that without these things, or without these things functioning well, we are in big trouble

Europe is made up of small countries with what on their own are relatively small militaries but together, and particularly in alliance with the US, they are formidable

And this isn't about warmongering or anything like it - it's about keeping the wolf from the door, and Russia is most certainly the proverbial wolf

What really needs to happen is for there to be a concerted intelligence and online security effort to defeat the Russians, and especially to target dirty Russian money, but this at the moment seems miles away, and the gates are currently wide open, not least because Russia is expert at exploiting existing divisions in western societies, and has relentlessly courted the far right in those societies - while libertarian capitalists have long had strategies for how to divide societies in order to implement an anarcho-capitalist agenda - this goes back to the ideology of James Buchanan and the Koch Brothers

Brexit and Trump were projects which Russia promoted heavily to split this western order apart because it has its eye on a policy called Eurasia, which is an alliance of basically fascist or quasi-fascist, effectively mafia states, with pliant, corrupt rulers (like Viktor Orban in Hungary), with Russia at its heart - effectively a new Warsaw Pact but fascist rather than communist

Timothy Snyder's articles about "The Politics of Eternity" versus "The Politics of Inevitability" are well worth reading, and I would highly recommend his book "The Road To Unfreedom"

Peter Pomerantsev and Masha Gessen have also done really good stuff on Russia, I believe Catherine Belton's new book is superb

The "politics of eternity" is basically a fascist, almost 1984-like society in terms of ideology - eternal made up threats, eternal made up enemies, eternal fake moral panics - and just look at how Trump and Johnson, who are politicians of eternity, have taken that ball and run with it

The "politics of inevitability" was the fatal mistake of western societies - the belief in exceptionalism, best exemplified by the belief in American exceptionalism, of unique American virtue, and the wrong belief in an inevitable arc of eternal progress, the infamous "end of history"

The paradox of tolerance is that you cannot be tolerant of intolerance - because intolerance, in the shape of fascism, will portray itself as just one more strand of legitimate political thought - but it isn't - it never is - it wants to destroy democracy

Fascism is an actual eternal threat and history proves that

The politics of eternity exploited and defeated the politics of inevitability, for now at least

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/16/vladimir-putin-russia-politics-of-eternity-timothy-snyder





« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 02:36:06 PM by sid waddell »

sid waddell

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #51 on: September 15, 2020, 02:46:57 PM »
I think a large part of this comes down to the internet comment culture. The idea that your opinion has the same weight as an expert in their field needs to stop. By all means question orthadoxy, but the source material is always dogshit, which is where the Moscow led disinformation steps in.

There is a deliberate attempt to end our Western reason led culture and the political system that underpins it.
It does, but then occasionally the conspiracy mob wheel out somebody who is credentialled but has appalling political opinions

Yer wan Dolores Cahill is an example of this

I think it's obvious to anybody who has followed this that Cahill is overwhelmingly driven by appalling politics rather than any genuine intellectual curiosity, and anything I've heard about her as an academic is extremely negative - she's apparently very lazy, uninterested in students and widely hated at UCD - but credentialled crackpots lend a fake veneer of respectability which can sometimes be hard to combat

This seems to be a particular problem in economics, where corporate interests fund a huge amount of tenured positions and "institutes" which lend an academic veneer to nakedly political projects

J70

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #52 on: September 15, 2020, 02:52:36 PM »

And at the time, Russia was simply not a large factor in US politics,

It still isn't.

Except to the extent that it may be influencing it through disinformation.

Quote
You're entitled to your opinion on whether or not this internet disinformation campaign would benefit the Russians.

I find it convincing. Little effort in terms of investment of logistics, personnel and money (especially relative to times past); plenty of upside in terms of sewing discord in the target country, hopefully to one's own benefit.

"Hopefully" is hardly convincing.

Not when it comes to relatively small investment, especially one that comes with the added benefit of your being able to diminish the risk to yourself through the very confusion you're trying to sew.

And is any political decision, whether foreign or domestic, not "hopeful" in terms of benefit to one's own interests? There are no certainties.

five points

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #53 on: September 15, 2020, 03:06:30 PM »


Not when it comes to relatively small investment, especially one that comes with the added benefit of your being able to diminish the risk to yourself through the very confusion you're trying to sew.

And is any political decision, whether foreign or domestic, not "hopeful" in terms of benefit to one's own interests? There are no certainties.

How, though?

J70

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #54 on: September 15, 2020, 03:07:01 PM »
I think a large part of this comes down to the internet comment culture. The idea that your opinion has the same weight as an expert in their field needs to stop. By all means question orthadoxy, but the source material is always dogshit, which is where the Moscow led disinformation steps in.

There is a deliberate attempt to end our Western reason led culture and the political system that underpins it.
It does, but then occasionally the conspiracy mob wheel out somebody who is credentialled but has appalling political opinions

Yer wan Dolores Cahill is an example of this

I think it's obvious to anybody who has followed this that Cahill is overwhelmingly driven by appalling politics rather than any genuine intellectual curiosity, and anything I've heard about her as an academic is extremely negative - she's apparently very lazy, uninterested in students and widely hated at UCD - but credentialled crackpots lend a fake veneer of respectability which can sometimes be hard to combat

This seems to be a particular problem in economics, where corporate interests fund a huge amount of tenured positions and "institutes" which lend an academic veneer to nakedly political projects

She probably brought a boatload of grant money into UCD and so her political interests, presumably which unveiled themselves later, are indulged.

J70

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #55 on: September 15, 2020, 03:15:10 PM »


Not when it comes to relatively small investment, especially one that comes with the added benefit of your being able to diminish the risk to yourself through the very confusion you're trying to sew.

And is any political decision, whether foreign or domestic, not "hopeful" in terms of benefit to one's own interests? There are no certainties.

How, though?

In the US at least, the right wing is hostile to the idea that Russian disinformation had or has any influence on the dissemination of political information and ideas on social media and thus in the culture and country. When a large part of the country you're targeting has a vested interest in denying the reality of your campaign, then that should limit the risk of retaliation and being held accountable, should it not?

five points

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #56 on: September 15, 2020, 03:20:15 PM »


Not when it comes to relatively small investment, especially one that comes with the added benefit of your being able to diminish the risk to yourself through the very confusion you're trying to sew.

And is any political decision, whether foreign or domestic, not "hopeful" in terms of benefit to one's own interests? There are no certainties.

How, though?

In the US at least, the right wing is hostile to the idea that Russian disinformation had or has any influence on the dissemination of political information and ideas on social media and thus in the culture and country. When a large part of the country you're targeting has a vested interest in denying the reality of your campaign, then that should limit the risk of retaliation and being held accountable, should it not?

That's a circular argument though. And your talk of "the reality" is a bit much when you can't come up with one tangible, concrete motive on Russia's part why it might be happening in the first place. 

Why risk retaliation etc unless there's a major benefit to be had?

J70

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #57 on: September 15, 2020, 03:33:08 PM »


Not when it comes to relatively small investment, especially one that comes with the added benefit of your being able to diminish the risk to yourself through the very confusion you're trying to sew.

And is any political decision, whether foreign or domestic, not "hopeful" in terms of benefit to one's own interests? There are no certainties.

How, though?

In the US at least, the right wing is hostile to the idea that Russian disinformation had or has any influence on the dissemination of political information and ideas on social media and thus in the culture and country. When a large part of the country you're targeting has a vested interest in denying the reality of your campaign, then that should limit the risk of retaliation and being held accountable, should it not?

That's a circular argument though. And your talk of "the reality" is a bit much when you can't come up with one tangible, concrete motive on Russia's part why it might be happening in the first place. 

Why risk retaliation etc unless there's a major benefit to be had?

I posted a link earlier (CNA person) that laid out a much more comprehensive argument on the benefits to Russia than I ever could. If you don't find her points convincing, you're free to respond.

I'm not seeing the circular argument problem.

sid waddell

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #58 on: September 15, 2020, 03:47:30 PM »
Russia is heavily involved in amplifying QAnon

QAnon has incredibly disturbing overtones

The ideology of the Russian regime is eerily similar to Nazism, and the historic background of Russia as a country is eerily similar to pre-World War II Germany

And the ideology of the US right heavily overlapped with it

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in 2014, it used a pretext identical to that of the Nazi invasion of the Sudetenland, yet also used American confederate paraphernalia - it based the flag of the short lived "Novorossiya" project on the confederate flag, the stars 'n' bars

Ideas used to move in a west to east direction, now they move in an east to west direction

https://www.justsecurity.org/72339/qanon-is-a-nazi-cult-rebranded/

Quote
QAnon is a Nazi Cult, Rebranded

by Gregory Stanton
September 9, 2020

A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power.

Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar? It is. The same narrative has been repackaged by QAnon.

I have studied and worked to prevent genocide for forty years. Genocide Watch and the Alliance Against Genocide, the first international anti-genocide coalition, see such hate-filled conspiracy theories as early warning signs of deadly genocidal violence.

The plot, described above, was the conspiracy “revealed” in the most influential anti-Jewish pamphlet of all time. It was called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was written by Russian anti-Jewish propagandists around 1902. It collected myths about a Jewish plot to take over the world that had existed for hundreds of years. Central to its mythology was the Blood Libel, which claimed that Jews kidnapped and slaughtered Christian children and drained their blood to mix in the dough for matzos consumed on Jewish holidays.

....

five points

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Re: Conspiracy Theories
« Reply #59 on: September 15, 2020, 03:56:00 PM »
I'm not seeing the circular argument problem.

The supposition that a target of malpractice mightn't be too bothered about it isn't sufficient motive for a perpetrator to engage in it. There has to be an actual benefit to them, otherwise they wouldn't bother.

I posted a link earlier (CNA person) that laid out a much more comprehensive argument on the benefits to Russia than I ever could. If you don't find her points convincing, you're free to respond.


It's very long. I'll confine myself to a short response.

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Goal #1: Restore Russia to Great Power Status
Bots spreading National Enquirer-style tittle tattle is the polar opposite of what Great Powers do. Anyway the dream or nightmare of Russia being a Great Power died in 1989 if not earlier.

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Goal #2: Preserve Russia’s Sphere of Influence
The US is not within Russia's sphere of influence. It's half a world away from Moscow.

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Goal #3: Protect the Putin Regime
I don't see any credible argument here. Can you?

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Goal #4: Enhance Russia’s Military Effectiveness
Again troll farms and the like are the polar opposite of military effectiveness.

I don't see any clear, tangible benefit to Russia in any of that. If there was something like access to oil, fair enough, but the 4 goals listed are thin gruel.