Re: 4-Chan and Ebola

1


It is clearly a crime under the laws of any country. I'd like to see someone arrested

On what charges? Sadistic douchebaggery is not an arrestable offense per se.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:00 AM
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Is is possibly akin to screaming fire in a crowded theatre? What crime is that?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:02 AM
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2: Historically, pacifism.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:07 AM
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Well, in the original "Fire in a crowded theater" case, the law in question was the Espionage Act of 1917. But that case was badly judged, even if the metaphor has stuck. Anyway, it wouldn't apply here. The point is just that speech that directly causes physical harm is not protected. I'm certain the lawyers can come up with more precedents.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:10 AM
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What is "speech that directly causes physical harm"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:11 AM
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Yeah, I don't really see that as a deliberate attempt to kill people, so much as a deliberate attempt to be as offensive as possible.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:12 AM
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I see that the Holmes's ruling in the original "shouting fire" case was overturned, and the standard determining whether speech is protected is now whether it createsimminent lawless action. Of course that's just for the US. I'm not even sure what jurisdiction applies here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:13 AM
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I don't see how it directly causes physical harm though. As in, perhaps, it's conspiring to make people more disdainful of populations where Ebola is spreading, therefore neglect foreign aid and many more people die? That starts to feel like the original "objectively pro-Stalinist" charge.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:14 AM
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5: Muad DIB!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:14 AM
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The point is just that speech that directly causes physical harm is not protected.

Leaving aside the question of civil liability / defamation, I'm still not seeing the arrestable offense here (IANAL, obviously). There's no imminent lawlessness. There is no criminal threat. There's no criminal mischief.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:15 AM
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Telling potential ebola victims not to trust aid workers because they are intentionally spreading ebola is not simply offensive. It can get people killed.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:18 AM
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Prank, ugh. This seems to be in line with all the hilarious videos that keep popping up of people doing actually terrifying things to other people and those people reacting (hilariously!) in terror.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:19 AM
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Regardless of whether 4chan is technically illegal, I think all people of goodwill, right up to the president, agree that no due process would be required to send a drone after the little fucks.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:19 AM
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it's conspiring to make people more disdainful of populations where Ebola is spreading, therefore neglect foreign aid and many more people die?

Did you read the link? They are posting things on Nigerian discussion forums telling people not to trust aid workers.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:20 AM
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It can get people killed.

I mean, same for lots of things, you know? "Vaccines cause autism", for instance. "Aw, that gator's tame." "Sure, I've been tested." "Of course you can breathe without your space helmet."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:22 AM
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There's no imminent lawlessness.

Panicking people have already killed aid workers. I don't see how it gets more imminent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:22 AM
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4 et al.: even if you're right that the speech isn't protected, unprotected speech is not automatically criminal. You still need a crime and "doing something that can get people killed" is not, standing alone, a crime. There may well be something that would cover this but I can't think off the top of my head what it would be (though IANACrimL).


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:23 AM
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Did you read the link?

Of course not!

Actually, I missed that part - thought it was that they were saying there were Africans promoting Ebola, rather than foreigners there.

That does cross the line from my POV into "behavior that should be stopped if there's an appropriate legal means," but I still don't know if there is such a means. Could it be defamation of some sort if they're not named? I don't think there's much legally to be done about all the anti-vaxers saying similar things about vaccine purveyors.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:26 AM
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Legal means would be ineffective and, at that, counterproductive.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:27 AM
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As reprehensible as this is, I can't conceive of a way in which laws currently on the books could be used to successfully prosecute this. Even setting aside jurisdictional issues, a prosecutor would have to prove that this "hoax" was created not as satire or any other form of legitimate free speech, but rather with the intention causing tangible harm, and that documented cases of said harm did occur that could be directly linked to this hoax. And since that would probably consist of people who, of their own free will, chose not to seek treatment or otherwise take precautions against ebola because they believed this, well, those people would be dead, so they couldn't testify. So you'd have to have friends and relatives testify that they begged and pleaded the deceased to seek treatment, but they refused because they read about Ebola-chan on the 4chan website itself, not through second- or third-hand sources. Would that be allowable under hearsay rules?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:27 AM
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In general, "imminent" seems hard to argue if you're just throwing bait in text form across an ocean.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:27 AM
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This is the Nairaland thread in question. It's pretty difficult to take seriously. I suspect the few comments that seem to do so are sock puppetry.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:27 AM
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I guess I've always thought of imminent as referring to temporal proximity, not geographical.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:29 AM
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Calling horrible things "pranks" doesn't seem wrong to me, because "pranks" are already pretty horrible. I took a class, for example, from someone who had been in one of the services decades before -- his buddies set off an explosive behind him for a laugh, severely damaging his hearing. Prank, or malicious aggression? (The class, by the way, was music theory, so it fell short of its full effect.)

That said, the stunt in question is at another degree of evil.


Posted by: Vance Maverick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:29 AM
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I add my amateur concurrence to 17 and 20. There are jurisdictions where the behavior might be a prosecutable offense. IIRC the U.K. criminalizes deception that forseeably leads to harm to others. Germany has the crime of Arglistige Täuschung (malicious deceit), which might reasonably apply here.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:35 AM
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I mean, same for lots of things, you know? "Vaccines cause autism", for instance.

Indeed, the anti-vaxxers have caused actual, verifiable harm to individuals and to society as a whole, and I wish there were a way to prosecute them or force them to shut the hell up, but I don't think I want to give government the kind of power it would need in order to do that.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:35 AM
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23: It's more about how clearly one can know/expect that the lawless action will flow from your actions if you don't see the people affected, don't talk to them, don't have any kind of relationship or understanding other than putting shit on message boards.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:37 AM
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I'm probably letting my outrage drive me to make bigger claims than are justified, but I'm going to stick with this a bit anyway.

One disanalogy with the anti-vax case is that the anti-vaxers can plausibly argue that they believe what they are saying. The 4chan user who posted to Nairaland can't make that claim.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:42 AM
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27: I think "wanting" goes along way toward "know and expect."

I'm talking, of course, about Ebola-Chan. The viral goddess of love and Afrocide ... Our shrines and incantations give her strength.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:47 AM
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There's obviously civil liability. There's probably some criminal fraud statute (though IANACrimL) that you could find that would be appropriate -- you have intent to defraud, reliance, and harm -- though most criminal fraud statutes require loss of money or property and gain to the defendant. Undoubtedly seemingly minor details of how the fraud was committed would be relevant to whether or not it's criminal fraud under existing statutes. The distinction in 28 is, in fact, important because it goes to scienter.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:49 AM
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One disanalogy with the anti-vax case is that the anti-vaxers can plausibly argue that they believe what they are saying.

Which only makes them more dangerous. The 4chan idiots will lose interest in Ebola-chan and move on to something else soon, but the anti-vaxers are in it for the long haul.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:49 AM
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Those Nairaland posts are both super super racist and extremely silly. I'm with Apo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:50 AM
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33

Is "scienter" a typo or a legal term I can't find a google?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:51 AM
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34

Shoulda been "axownhet"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:53 AM
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Is "scienter" a typo

"Sphincter". Where's the damn autocorrect when you need it?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:54 AM
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33: Legal term. It's the state of mind required to make something a crime ("mens rea" has a similar meaning). If I knowingly pick up a loaded gun, point it at you, and pull the trigger, and you die, I have committed murder, because I intentionally committed the acts that constitute murder. If I go through exactly the same physical motions, but I thought the gun was a novelty lighter and I was just kidding, you're still dead but I haven't committed a crime, because I didn't have the state of mind required.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 11:59 AM
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I must have typed it wrong into google. Now I see it, but before I was getting a technology company in Sri Lanka.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:01 PM
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36: Or rather, I have committed a different crime, manslaughter or something like that? IANAL but want to confirm my belief that I could be if I put my mind to it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:07 PM
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39


Shorter helpy-chalk: "There oughta be a law!"


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:09 PM
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If I really thought it was a novelty lighter, and didn't mean any harm at all, I haven't done anything wrong. Pointing a novelty lighter at someone and pulling the trigger isn't manslaughter, and that's all I meant to do. (My defense attorney is going to have a difficult time here, admittedly, but if the jury doesn't think it's been established beyond a reasonable doubt that I knew the thing I was picking up was a gun, I'm a free woman.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:10 PM
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I cut and paste carelessly and left the period after it. In case anybody was wondering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:11 PM
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if the jury doesn't think it's been established beyond a reasonable doubt that I knew the thing I was picking up was a gun, I'm a free woman.

Of course, the dispositive fact is that LizardBreath is white.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:18 PM
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before I was getting a technology company in Sri Lanka.

Right, but in absence of the knowledge that that's what you were clicking on, your boss can't accuse you of wasting money on long distance internet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:19 PM
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OK, as a thought experiment, consider the following case (which is not in any way an analogy for the 4chan case):

A law is passed which requires people to sign up for health insurance, and subsidies are provided for those who would not otherwise be able to afford the insurance. Now a certain private company (let's call it "Kitsune-news-chan") decides it doesn't like this law, and it devotes its vast media resources to telling people that this law is the work of socialist devils who only want to steal your liberty, which they know to be false, but they say it anyway. And some people believe their message, and as a result they refuse to sign up for health insurance. Now some of those people subsequently get sick or injured, and they end up dying because they can't afford the treatment they need because they don't have health insurance, because they decided of their own free will not to buy insurance, even though they could afford it, because they listened to Kitsune-news-chan. Now, is Kitsune-news-chan liable for their deaths? Could a civil case be brought against them?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:28 PM
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We all know nothing like that could happen in real life. But if it ever did, it wouldn't be the same as with Ebola. If you choose not to seek treatment for Ebola, especially if you choose to keep wandering around others, you aren't just a person endangering yourself of your own free will.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:33 PM
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The story about the aid workers who were murdered is maximally angry-making. "Let's risk our lives to help combat a deadly disease at great personal risk. Oh look, we've been murdered by superstition instead. How ironic."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:41 PM
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39:

, I tell ya!"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:43 PM
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46: seriously. This whole epidemic is compounded by human cruelty (ie the lack of infrastructure in 2014) and ignorance (ie 46) and 4-chan in ways that are ghastly past what I can wrap my head around.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:45 PM
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44: In a previous thread, I suggested that doctors who say to patients "We don't take Obamacare" are guilty of ethics violations.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:46 PM
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I'm kind of professionally interested here because I don't see any way to describe what 4chan is attempting except "evil" and I doubt very much that anyone outside that subculture would disagree.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:47 PM
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Legally, you can shoot people with bumper stickers reading, "You can have my gun when you can pry it from my dead fingers." It's an invitation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:48 PM
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So, okay, 4-chan, or at least a lot of the people on 4-chan, which isn't entirely monolithic, are dicks, and should try and have a little human empathy, for real. But aside from being insensitive dicks, I don't think there's any particular evidence they've actually made things worse for people in epidemic-stricken areas of Africa. The attacks on doctors and so on are really an independent thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:49 PM
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Also, any car owner in New Hampshire who goes to jail instead of shooting it out with the police until death is a liar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:49 PM
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52: There seems to be a great deal of evidence that the actively tried to make things worse and that, while they didn't cause the initial attacks on doctors, they were very much inspired by them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:51 PM
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I'm not sure what 51 and 53 were prompted by.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:51 PM
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49: Soon you will recognize the folly of procedural liberalism and come around to my view that drones are the answer for this sort of thing, including the scenario in 44.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:52 PM
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And, like, did people look at the Nairaland post? It's stupid! The guy is doing it to get lols out of people on 4chan, he's not actually trying to goad people in Nigeria into anything in any particularly serious way. It's basically horrendous because it is a shitty joke that could backfire horribly, but it's not the vanguard of a grand plan to seed uncertainty and fear. They're being giant assholes to people who really don't deserve it and don't necessarily have the cultural background to pick up that that's what's happening, and it's a horrible thing to do, but they're not, like, supervillains.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:53 PM
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Can we not say "what 4chan does" and "what 4chan is attempting"? You might as well say "It's terrible that the University of Wisconsin conspired to commit those sexual assaults."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:55 PM
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54: they posted a bunch of shit on 4chan and one dude posted some shit on a nigerian forum that was immediately identified as trolling. And now threads on the topic get deleted by moderators.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:56 PM
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57: I don't disagree with that. But I think that sounds like "depraved indifference" or whatever they call it that separates, if somebody dies because of an action, an accident from manslaughter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:57 PM
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Is 4chan actively trying to prove that free speech is bad? I used to be a free speech absolutist, and yet there seems to be a weekly 4chan antic that makes that seem less tenable of a position.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:58 PM
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58, 59: I understand that is isn't all of 4chan. I'm speaking of the people, or person if it is just one guy, doing it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:58 PM
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Also the linked article is itself some ridiculous-ass fear-mongering.

But even if the mods do remove them, Ebola-Chan may have done her damage. Much like the disease itself, now that she's out there, there's no controlling her.

Come on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 12:59 PM
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The nairaland post is stupid, but that doesn't mean it's not convincing to people who read it and don't have the right cultural BS-meters in place. Also please, just one thread where one guy trolled one time? Of course there are more.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:04 PM
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63: yes BUT. Aid workers really are getting murdered. This is just a horrific fire to be throwing fuel on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:05 PM
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61 is perfect.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:06 PM
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65: sure! And if they had successfully or meaningfully thrown fuel on it -- which they have not, by all the evidence, but might still -- that would be much worse than what they've already done which -- let me once again be clear -- is extremely shitty even outside of the danger that somebody could take it seriously.

64.last: my intuition is to doubt that, but who knows.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:08 PM
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I mean holy shit, you want somebody to blame for the aid workers getting murdered, the CIA is a much better place to start than 4chan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:09 PM
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I'm happy to blame the CIA.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:11 PM
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What's the deal with this news story circulating that says that 4chan threatening Emma Watson wasn't actually 4chan but a PR firm trying to stop 4chan? I don't understand how "let's do something exactly like what 4chan would do!" is a good anti-4chan strategy, or why PR firms are against internet trolls, or... anything at all about this, really.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:11 PM
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I'm happy to blame PR firms.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:12 PM
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The guy is doing it to get lols out of people on 4chan, he's not actually trying to goad people in Nigeria into anything in any particularly serious way. It's basically horrendous because it is a shitty joke that could backfire horribly

I'm not sure it can be read as a joke, however shitty, however racist/sadistic the intended audience, without the component of predicted African reaction. Without that, it's just "Look at us make believe there are Ebola worshippers!"


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:13 PM
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Did you see the story that the story that the story that 4chan was theatening emily watson was from a pr firm pretending to be 4chan threatening emily watson was from somebody pretending to be a pr firm pretending to be 4chan threatening emily watson, possibly 4chan?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:13 PM
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I'm kind of with 57. If the links are accurate, Ebola-Chan doesn't look so much like an intentional hoax, as just bullshit trolling. And while bullshit trolling could certainly deceive people for real, in the absence of anything establishing that people actually were deceived about the good faith of medical personnel on the basis of the trolling, I don't think this is a serious issue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:13 PM
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(The important distinction between lols and lulz.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:14 PM
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Ebola-Chan is bullshit trolling. The Nairaland post is something new.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:15 PM
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70: I thought the latest was that it was 4chan pretending to be a PR firm pretending to be 4chan.

So a false false flag operation. Or in other words, it's trolls all the way down.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:15 PM
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72: no, I mean, the dude who posted that posted it specifically because of the frisson inspired by believing it might possibly be taken seriously, despite being idiotic, because haha africans be dumb yo. But it was also intentionally stupid, because if it hadn't been intentionally stupid, the attempt wouldn't have been funny to the people who saw it on 4chan. In the event, it seems like it wasn't particularly funny to the people on 4chan, since they mostly didn't join in, leading the dude to get all huffy that his attempted hilarity lacked support.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:17 PM
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Apparently their "you can recharge your iphone in a microwave" troll actually caught people.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:18 PM
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77.1 meet 73, which said the same thing much more clearly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:18 PM
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||

No prosecution of the cops who shot and John Crawford III in a WalMart.

|>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:20 PM
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Or in other words, it's trolls all the way down.

Great. The much-talked-about Singularity finally arrives, and what do we find?

"My God, it's full of trolls!"


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:21 PM
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Well, whatever it is, thanks to rob h-c's post Facebook has decided this Emma Watson thing is my must-see news of the day.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:21 PM
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Holy fuck. That was just straight-up execution.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:28 PM
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I am really hoping for something from the DOJ. It's just hearbreaking. I do not understand how that was not even negligent homicide. I mean, other than because he's black.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:33 PM
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essear! It's vitally important that you find the people involved in the BICEP2 experiment, and terminate them. I've seen posts all over the Internet from people who now think that the Big Bang has been disproven, all because of the evidence that the BICEP2 results were dust.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:35 PM
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All we are is dust on the lens.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:38 PM
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Who would pay enough attention to be up-to-date on the status of BICEP2 and yet not have enough of a clue to know the Big Bang isn't disproven?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:39 PM
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Motivated creationists?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:40 PM
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Gotta be 4chan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:40 PM
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Dust. Lens. Dude.


Posted by: Opinionated Bill and Ted | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:41 PM
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88: People who've read this article.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:42 PM
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While we all love helpy-chalk, it's worth noting that if he ever gained some degree of power, he'd be an authoritarian nightmare. Something to ponder!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:44 PM
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He's our Tipper.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:46 PM
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Naw, just kidding. We have many contenders for the Tipper Gore of unfogged. I'm not even sure rob makes the top ten.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:47 PM
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Jesus, that Crawford video.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:50 PM
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No kidding. Holy shit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:57 PM
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89: The truly motivated creationists were not bothered by BICEP2, because they have an answer for everything. For example:

This finding indicates that, just as plates accelerated during the Flood and then decelerated, so radioactive decay rates accelerated, apparently in lockstep, and then decelerated. Thus the volcanic rocks that formed earlier as the Pacific plate moved over the "hot spot" yield exaggerated radioactive dates due to quickly ticking radioactive clocks. As the Flood ended, both plate motions and radioactive decay rates slowed. These are not true absolute dates because the "clock" was ticking faster than it does today.

You don't want to play Calvinball with these guys; they're masters of the game.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 1:59 PM
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Yeah, that video is pretty unambiguous. It makes me wonder how that went down at the grand jury hearing.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:02 PM
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The prosecutor clearly didnt want an indictment, right? Rotten to the core.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:03 PM
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98: The constant flood of invigorating gamma radiation is why people lived so much longer before The Flood. But they couldn't Hulk out because they were so dizzy from the tectonic plate whiplash.

On Crawford: Holy shit. That's horrific. Although I don't really understand what's happening at the end--is he shot (dropping the gun), then gets up, and gets shot again? Please tell me I'm not seeing that correctly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:05 PM
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102

At the very least, yeah, although I don't remember him being as open about it as McCulloch has been.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:06 PM
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The DOJ will review the case


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:06 PM
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100 is the only way I can explain it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:06 PM
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Based on the video, it looks like the fatal shots were fired after he dropped the BB gun. WTF?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:07 PM
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Double jeopardy doesn't apply if a grand jury doesn't indict, does it? Can't a different prosecutor try (i.e. after there's a new governor)?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:09 PM
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Meanwhile, white dude traipses around outside a school carrying an assault rifle with impunity. Exercising his 2nd amendment rights, doncha know. Sometimes I despair.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:12 PM
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For whatever reason I can't make the video work on half the places I've seen it posted, but this one makes it look like he was either bending down to put the BB gun on the ground when the police shot him.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:13 PM
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Can't a different prosecutor try (i.e. after there's a new governor)?

Not going to be a new governor for a while.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:14 PM
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There's no statute of limitations on murder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:15 PM
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108: and then gets up and head back towards the gun, and gets shot a few more times? That is a very strange video sequence.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:28 PM
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93: Halford and I can be rival warlords.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:37 PM
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I'm not sure if he ever goes back towards it specifically (that would be odd because, well, he certainly knew it was an unloaded BB gun). He falls behind that row of shelves, and then comes back around. He could easily have been trying to get away from the guy going down the other aisle.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:37 PM
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113: I also thought he was trying to get away from the guy on the left. Am I seeing the video correctly as him being shot when he drops the BB gun (there's a flash, but I don't have sound on), or does that only occur afterwards? Either way, that's absolutely insane and unjustifiable.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:41 PM
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I don't think there is any sound -- it's security camera footage. I can't imagine how that footage could be viewed as justifying the shooting, but of course I'm not a Crawford grand jury.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:44 PM
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I just look at that and think how hopelessly stupid and incompetent it looks -- unless I'm misunderstanding, the cops are running into the store and shooting without the slightest pause to evaluate what's going on. How can that not be insane?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:56 PM
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63 et al. - My friend is a medical anthropologist who has done work with the public health authorities in Sierra Leone, and she has been tirelessly writing about the ways in which what reads (or gets presented) as total backwater ignorance on the part of Africans tends to be pretty understandable reactions to the awful circumstances. I mean, given the antivax stuff, I'm not inclined to believe that Americans would fare very well if a novel plague started killing thousands of people and a bunch of culturally insensitive foreign workers showed up while a government known to lie about things gave a bunch of shifty explanations.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 2:59 PM
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Jesus H. Christ, that Crawford video. I hope the lighthearted prankster who thought it would be funny to call 911 has enough smarts to realize how fucked he is when this gets to a civil trial, since I doubt he has enough of a soul to realize that he's a monster who needs to withdraw from polite society and devote himself to good works.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:12 PM
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The video in 108 purports to be synced up to the dispatch audio from the shooting, though I don't know how reliable that is. If it is accurate then the shots you can hear were fired before Crawford came back around (as he was laying the gun down on the ground). I don't know how many times he was shot but those are the only ones on the audio. (If it's reliable it means they ran in and when they saw him the whole interaction went something like "policeputthegundown" though.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:12 PM
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I didn't realize until now, when I was looking up info on the caller, but a woman also died of heart failure during the panic after the shooting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:21 PM
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So, I guess another plaintiff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:22 PM
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Is this the most depressing thread possible? Can we add to it anything about torturing small children or prison rape?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:23 PM
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Apparently the officers had just attended a training on how to deal with a shooter at large in the community and did just the kind of proactive policing the state wants. It's terrifying.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:30 PM
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The training was at Kent State.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:42 PM
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What is "speech that directly causes physical harm"?
The nam shub of Enki?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 3:44 PM
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123: From what I gather, after Columbine, the strategy and training for dealing with an "active shooter" changed from containment, evaluation, call in the experts, and then action to STOP! IT! QUICK!. The blame rests more on the guy who called 911, IMO.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:08 PM
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Apparently the officers had just attended a training on how to deal with a shooter at large in the community and did just the kind of proactive policing the state wants.

Well, no. Active shooter type responses are reserved for actual active shooter scenarios. To my knowledge the 911 call just claimed a guy was holding a gun and maybe pointed it at someone. No reports of anyone being shot and when they rolled in there were no indicators of an active shooter. That video is pretty godamn bad.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:13 PM
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It's certainly possible that the guy who called 911, and the cops, were unaware that the store sells BB guns.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:14 PM
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127: Shit, there was supposed to be a link in my comment and I didn't do it right and now I'm not sure what article it was from. I was being sarcastic, but the officers' response was being commented on approvingly by some local government asshole and I'm not even sure I remember which since there are plenty.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:16 PM
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126: That's very much how it is now and my department helped push the paradigm in that direction. But I can't see where they would have gotten active shooter out of what I've heard so far. "Guy carrying a gun and pointed it at someone" isn't active shooter. And when they arrived on scene they obviously weren't hearing shots fired, stepping over casualties, seeing people fleeing, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:17 PM
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127: I wonder what was passed from the 911 center to the SWAT command. Did it change from "guy with gun" to something scarier?


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:18 PM
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Actually this, which is not the article I'd read before, makes it sound like only their lawyer is actually claiming their response was appropriate. Clearly the grand jury bought it, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:19 PM
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128: I think it's fairly common knowledge that Wal Mart carries bb guns, airsoft, and even real guns. I mean, I know it and I refuse to shop at Wal Mart.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:20 PM
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It's Dayton. Everybody knows what's in a Walmart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:22 PM
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131: It would have to be something pretty drastic to justify them running in like that. For instance, robbery alarms get accidentally tripped all the time. We specifically roll up and observed the place to look for indicators and try and contact the store to confirm before going in at all. And usually whoever has eyes on the scene first will be giving radio updates like how people are coming and going and it looks like business as usual.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:25 PM
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"observe" gah


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:26 PM
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135: Then it looks like someone panicked, like they did here with the two Asian women delivering newspapers during the hunt for Dorner.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:30 PM
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And so far I've only heard about the one 911 call. That's another thing we look for. Especially if you arrive and nothing looks out of the ordinary. You hear it on the radio all the time, "have we had any more calls on this?".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 4:31 PM
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122: I don't know about torturing children, but I did just hear that the Popples are coming back. I'm not sure if that's depressing or uplifting though. It probably depends on how someone is.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 5:16 PM
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For instance, robbery alarms get accidentally tripped all the time.

I did that not long ago. New office and I didn't know the code or that somebody would turn the alarm on at 6:00. The police didn't even get out of the car.

If I ever rob some place, I'm going to set-off the alarm, walk out front, and wave to the police.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 5:25 PM
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140: That was probably a burglary alarm, not robbery. We don't even come out to those unless the property manager or security company or whatever goes and verifies a broken window or some other indicator that a break in has occurred and then calls us.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 5:35 PM
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True. I wasn't even armed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 5:39 PM
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My brother's a volunteer FF and they call those "activated false alarms."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:05 PM
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125 to 9.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:07 PM
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So there is actually a level at which 4chan moderators will intervene, apparently. Has it happened before?


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:09 PM
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Also, I lost track. Does the CIA own the fake PR firm that 4chan is sockpuppeting, or is 4chan populated by CIA analysts?


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:10 PM
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Nah the 4chan is full of PR flaks who are CIA assets


Posted by: turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:36 PM
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True. I wasn't even armed black.

FTFY.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:52 PM
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So there is actually a level at which 4chan moderators will intervene, apparently. Has it happened before?

Sure, child pornography for example. Many people think that's a joke too.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 6:59 PM
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The weird PR story actually makes more sense to me than the originally version. Obviously Emma Watson would have been one of the very top handful of targets from the beginning. That she wasn't in the original leak can only mean that she didn't have hackable naked photos. So I figured something was fishy about the countdown.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:03 PM
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Many people think that's a joke too.

I'm sure there are far worse versions of this going on, but you could see how 15-year-old boys might not intuit that trading pictures of naked 13-year-old girls was as heinous as generally supposed.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 8:29 PM
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It's not like white cops shooting black people for no reason is a common thing. I mean, is the assumption by some assholes that every black guy is looking for an excuse to off a cop, so that any sudden movement (even to comply with an order) is a "reasonable fear"?
At least the cop in this case was indicted, although we'll see if he's actually convicted by a SC jury.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-24-14 10:14 PM
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cRegardless of whether 4chan is technically illegal, I think all people of goodwill, right up to the president, agree that no due process would be required to send a drone after the little fucks.

Drone strikes on people who are spreading rumours about vaccines being a wicked Western plot? Probably already happening. There's a growing movement among the beards in Pakistan and Nigeria, and probably Afghanistan too, to stop people giving their kids polio vaccines because it's all a genocidal Jewish (or possibly American) plot to sterilise Muslims. They've been killing medical personnel as well.

What is "speech that directly causes physical harm"?

Really loud speech.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:43 AM
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117

Yeah, no kidding. There was a surprisingly-not-awful article in Slate by a bioethicist pointing out that if your 5 year old got a fever in the middle of the night and started crying, your first reaction would not be to back out of the room and call 911 so men in hazmat suits could take them away. As he points out, asking people not to touch or care for their sick relatives is basically asking people not to be human in a pretty fundamental way. Not that there aren't cultural practices (touching the corpse at a funeral) or social factors (really inadequate healthcare) aren't exacerbating the situation, but the fact that people don't trust untrustworthy governments and engage in care of sick relatives is not something weird or "backward" or exotic.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:43 AM
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The link in 117 would do with a quick reminder that suppressio veri is not really much more ethical than suggestio falsi.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:51 AM
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There's a growing movement among the beards in Pakistan and Nigeria, and probably Afghanistan too, to stop people giving their kids polio vaccines because it's all a genocidal Jewish (or possibly American) plot to sterilise Muslims.

It doesn't help that the CIA actually was using polio vaccine distribution as a front for collecting information on bin Laden. Or, rather, on bin Laden, and god knows who else.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:38 AM
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Right. Whoever came up with that cover should absolutely be burning in hell.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:48 AM
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I thought it was Hep B vaccination, and they never actually got the Bin Laden family samples but did get other info from the doctor. Polio vaccine is oral so you're not going to get a blood sample that way. Which, still, making doctors into spies is not the ideal way to improve a country's health infrastructure.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:05 AM
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158 is correct.

Raising the question: does the Guardian have any culpability here for revealing what the CIA did? They must have realised that publishing that article would have endangered the lives of vaccinators in Pakistan, and harmed the success of vaccination programmes - as indeed it has done. ("After the ruse by Dr. Shakil Afridi was revealed by a British newspaper a year ago, angry villagers, especially in the lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border, chased off legitimate vaccinators, accusing them of being spies.")

And the beards had been fighting polio vaccination for years before the CIA stuck its oar in. "polio is the vaccine with a long history of controversy among Muslims in many countries... Rumors about polio vaccine abound: that it is a Western plot to sterilize girls, that it is unclean under Islamic law, that it contains the AIDS virus..."

Particularly note that the Taliban were banning vaccinations in their areas until the drone strikes stopped. Taking your own infant children hostage is a tactic that only really works against certain enemies.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:24 AM
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And, yes, the CIA were total idiots - not for the first time.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:25 AM
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I don't see how the CIA program lets anyone off the hook. A stupid conspiracy theory is a stupid conspiracy theory, even if there's a tiny kernel of truth. The conspiracy theorists can't even get the fucking kind of vaccine right.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:32 AM
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It's a pretty obvious power play - you need to keep the masses dependent on you for temporal as well as spiritual welfare. Much better to have a couple with a crippled child who depend on you for support and comfort, rather than a couple with a healthy child who are thinking "wow, that vaccine really worked! Our daughter didn't end up half-paralysed like poor uncle Omar! Maybe the government can get some things right after all!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:39 AM
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161: What does getting the kind of vaccine right have to do with anything? Are you suggesting that Pakistanis should reasonably be thinking "Sure, Hep B vaccinators might be CIA, but the CIA wouldn't plant _polio_ vaccinators"?

And no, the Guardian isn't culpable for loss of faith in vaccinators. That's all on the people who did use them as spies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:46 AM
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I'm confused about something. Was it a fake vaccine, or a real vaccine? I thought it was a real vaccine, but then 163 doesn't make any sense.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:52 AM
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Spell out exactly what you're asking and why you think it makes a difference?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:56 AM
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Did the program distribute an actual vaccine? If you participated in the program, did you receive a Hep B vaccine?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:57 AM
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164: This article suggests it was the real vaccine, but they weren't administering all three dose:

In March health workers administered the vaccine in a poor neighbourhood on the edge of Abbottabad called Nawa Sher. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in three doses, the second a month after the first. But in April, instead of administering the second dose in Nawa Sher, the doctor returned to Abbottabad and moved the nurses on to Bilal Town, the suburb where Bin Laden lived."

So, real vaccine, fake vaccination drive.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:59 AM
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*doses*


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:00 AM
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The CIA funded a real unofficial hep B vaccination campaign, using real hep B vaccines.

The type of vaccine matters because the point of the CIA campaign was to get DNA samples from the bin Laden family by injecting them with hep B vaccine and keeping the discarded syringes for DNA testing and comparison with the DNA of other bin Laden family members. You can't do that with a polio vaccine because it's delivered orally. So even on their own terms it doesn't make a lot of sense.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:00 AM
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I would assume yes, but I also don't see how that matters. The people vaccinated would have refused to participate is they knew what was going on -- they weren't consensually paid off with a vaccine for giving information, they were tricked under cover of a vaccination program.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:02 AM
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167: Well, if not properly administered, not real vaccine because the recipients didn't receive the benefit of having been vaccinated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:03 AM
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169: Sure, for the specific operation against the bin Laden family, it had to be Hep B. That doesn't make distrusting vaccination programs generally going forward irrational.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:05 AM
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172: Why? Because the CIA is literally going to use a vaccination campaign to sterilize women in Pakistan?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:08 AM
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172: in the context of a general "distrust anyone you don't know" approach, sure. Yes, a vaccine nurse could be a spy. But then so could a shopkeeper or a road mender. Going specifically after polio vaccinations is irrational. And trying to prevent them happening, specifically, is not only irrational but immoral.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:08 AM
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And no, the Guardian isn't culpable for loss of faith in vaccinators. That's all on the people who did use them as spies.

Why? Newspapers have an ethical responsibility not to publish news which, though true, will harm the public good - I'm thinking specifically of the WHO guidelines on reporting suicides, in order to avoid suicide spikes following celebrity suicides.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:11 AM
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173: Who the fuck knows? What's been established is that there's no taboo in the eyes of the Western military/intelligence establishment on posing as health care workers and providing fraudulent health care for military ends. Taboos like that exist and should be respected for a reason.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:12 AM
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173 also to 174: You're supposed to be able to trust health care workers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:13 AM
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They did use a real injectable vaccine- I can't wait for Jenny McCarthy to take up the cause of autistic Pakistani kids.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:14 AM
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That should have been 176 to 174.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:15 AM
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I agree with LB on this. The damage potential from undermining public health efforts is too great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:15 AM
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175: Would you respond the same way to "Reporting my financial fraud will result in loss of faith in the banking system, doing more damage than I'm doing to the individuals I'm defrauding"? I don't think so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:21 AM
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I'm not saying that the CIA was right to do what they did. But if you use that to peddle a conspiracy theory that the CIA is secretly sterilizing women using the polio vaccine, then that's on you. Anyone who dies or is crippled is on your head. Just because the CIA are bad dudes doesn't make the people spreading the conspiracy theory not bad dudes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:22 AM
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Sure, they're also bad dudes. Not a vestige of an argument there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:23 AM
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As an American citizen, I hold a quaint belief that officers of my government should be held to a higher standard than avowed terrorists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:24 AM
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Then we're arguing about nothing. Ah, the Internet.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:25 AM
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184: That quaint belief is all that stands between me and going full Bob.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:26 AM
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It's the CIA. Everyone involved should go to jail.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:28 AM
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185: Well, we're pointing out that the CIA is actively lending credibility to the 'bad dudes' blocking polio vaccinations. And powerfully wishing they hadn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:28 AM
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Would you respond the same way to "Reporting my financial fraud will result in loss of faith in the banking system, doing more damage than I'm doing to the individuals I'm defrauding"? I don't think so.

A lot of fraud and other financial problems don't get reported for exactly this reason. I think that's justified. Especially if ANALOGY BAN I knew that reporting the fraud would almost certainly lead to a bank run and a systemic collapse.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:28 AM
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189 is why I'm hoping for large-scale anti-bank riots.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:30 AM
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186 has me wondering about which Full Commenter identities are the most plausible for various other commenters to take on. Even Stanley might find Full Moby a stretch.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:37 AM
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A study along the lines of the Turing test might be called for. Everyone picks a new one-time user name and comments, variously, as themselves, or as another identity. Points are awarded for guessing which comments are X commenting as themselves (rather than Y as X), and for fooling observers into thinking that your comment as X is actually X.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:48 AM
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Of course 192 would, by causing universal pseud confusion, infuriate LB beyond measure. But the beauty of the plan is that we wouldn't be able to tell.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:55 AM
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If I'm supposed to try for Full Moby, I'm committed to spending more time in bars. It's for science.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:08 AM
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Ah, so you're a Method Moby.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:15 AM
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194: But are you willing to learn SAS? It's considerably more dangerous for your mental health than liquor ever could be.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:17 AM
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I was unwilling to go to lawyer school. Sometimes I regret it because I can't figure out how to sell out now that I'm old.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:21 AM
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I think you already sold out. You have a job with benefits, that isn't scheduled to end soon, right?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:23 AM
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It's scheduled to end June 2015.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:25 AM
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But the beauty of the plan is that we wouldn't be able to tell.

I have faith in my ability to make my reaction apparent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:43 AM
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199: So, you haven't sold out, you've rented out.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:00 AM
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You can't do that with a polio vaccine because it's delivered orally.

You can get DNA from saliva.

On the subject "is diclosing the problem just as bad as causing the problem", this has been hashed out to no end in computer security circles, with the right-thinking person's answer long understood (by me, anyhow) to be "if you don't disclose the problem you make it much easier for sloppy and/or fraudulent people to keep operating in the same problem-causing way". In computer security this generally meant that companies would intentionally not bother to patch major security holes on the assumption that people mostly didn't know about them. If there is, in fact, harm (over and above the harm of people being suspicious of doctors) caused by the CIA running vaccination drives for purposes other than public health (which certainly seems to be the case, what with them not administering the full vaccine) then disclosure, which hopefully makes it a little bit harder for them to do that, at least, seems obviously to have been the right thing. If the only possible harm came from people knowing about it, well, disclosure was still probably the right idea, because the idea that nobody would ever know about it if the Guardian didn't spill the beans is fallacious at best. Better for them to reveal it than, say, an ISIS spokesperson backed by verifiable documentation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:01 AM
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I'd like to pretend that dropping into a thread and posting a long, overserious counter-argument to what could easily be a strawman position taken ages ago in a different subthread is me acting like a different commenter but, c'mon me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:03 AM
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I could see Just Plain Jane going full Natilo.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:08 AM
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Also, both Garbardine Bathyscaphe and Cala could both plausibly go full heebie.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:10 AM
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With the CIA, while I'm willing to entertain the possibility that there just might be a legitimate need for security during some specific ongoing operations, for the most part they have demonstrated that they absolutely cannot be trusted to make the distinctions between what can legitimately be withheld from the public and what must be disclosed so that democracy can function. So I say make it all public. And if that shuts them down, well they should have thought of that before spending decades as lawless lying scum.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:13 AM
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I'm not worried so much about the risk of the CIA being inconvenienced as by the certainty that revealing this particular operation would put innocent people at risk of being murdered by hysterical beards.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:15 AM
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207: how handy for the CIA that it worked out that way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:17 AM
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208: well, not really, because the Guardian went right ahead and revealed it anyway.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:19 AM
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BEARDS ARE DEFINITIONALLY NOT SUBJECT TO HYSTERIA.


Posted by: OPINIONATED VICTORIAN PHYSICIAN | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:19 AM
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209: so maybe next time they'll think twice before implementing the whole "if we plan this operation so that innocent people's lives are put at risk if it's revealed, then people will be less likely to reveal it" thing?

I mean, no, they probably won't, because they're fucking monstrous. I guess we should just all play along.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:22 AM
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I'm not sure how the CIA would ever gather human intelligence if it worried about tainting any given class of people X by giving an agent cover as a member of class X. Like, what about embassy employees or journalists or innocent travelers to North Korea? They're pretty tainted to, no? Is there some bright-line division between health care workers and all these other people?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:50 AM
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211: I seriously doubt that they planned the operation on the assumption that it would be blown but that the media would then decide not to publish it.

212: actually SIS and, I think, CIA have an explicit policy of never using journalistic cover because it would put bona fide journalists in danger. (This isn't purely out of the kindness of their hearts; it's because informal chats with bona fide journalists are a great way to gather intelligence.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:53 AM
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212: I would argue that there is, just in terms of self-interest. Even though it was a Hep vaccine, using the vaccine program as a cover impeded efforts to eradicate polio. Polio has caused far more death and disability than every terrorist that ever lived combined.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:55 AM
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213.2: That doesn't stop foreign governments from arresting journalists as spies all the time, does it?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:01 AM
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Is there some bright-line division between health care workers and all these other people?

Yes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:03 AM
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215: no, but I'd like to think it helps. It's certainly a lot easier to argue that you are just a journalist and not a British spy if you can point to a complete absence of cases where a journalist has turned out to be a British spy. Most of the time, journalists who are murdered by oppressive governments are being murdered because they're journalists, not because they've been accused rightly or otherwise of being spies.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:08 AM
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That doesn't stop foreign governments from arresting journalists as spies all the time, does it?

For a repressive and/or corrupt regime, honest, uncensored journalism is functionally the same as spying. In their worldview, it almost doesn't matter if the journalist is literally in the employ of the CIA or not. Or what 217 said.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:20 AM
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206: ...they should have thought of that before spending decades the entirety of their existence as lawless lying scum.

From what I can tell the CIA has a long history of not caring about the consequences of whatever it feels like doing, so I'm not sure if they even thought it through as far as that. My guess is that the main reason they picked health care workers is that they hadn't exploited that particular cover before (or recently). So even if they had worked up a plausible rationale to do something that could be used to collect DNA most of the alternative covers would have been immediately suspected of being CIA operatives, Given what we see every time documents get declassified (or leaked) it's hard to believe we wouldn't be better off just getting rid of the entire agency and starting over from scratch with a completely different group of people.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:27 AM
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And sometimes, if you're kind of in the middle of nowhere, some local village head will worry, should you turn out to be a spy, they will lose their job and possibly be imprisoned, and then freak out accordingly. It doesn't always work to point out that usually an intelligence program worth its salt doesn't find the most conspicuous person possible and give them a weird and vague and not-easily understood cover.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:34 AM
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217: in the late fifties in Beirut Kim Philby was of course a Russian spy operating under the cover of being an Observer journalist, though how only got that job because the Observer thought he was a British spy ...

As for Ajay's substantial point, I have nothing to say until the next meetup.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:51 PM
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I have nothing to say until the next meetup.

This sounds shifty. Can anyone establish that Nworb is not infiltrating Unfogged on behalf of British Intelligence?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:55 PM
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Other way round.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:07 PM
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I hear that if you ask an intelligence operative if they are one they have to say "yes".


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:08 PM
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Can anyone establish that Nworb is not infiltrating Unfogged on behalf of British Intelligence?

usually an intelligence program worth its salt doesn't find the most conspicuous person possible and give them a weird and vague and not-easily understood cover.

That rules out some of the unfoggedariat, for sure.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 6:37 AM
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Can anyone establish that Nworb is not infiltrating Unfogged on behalf of British Intelligence?

Swedish intelligence, surely.

Which leads me to ask Wikipedia, and be informed that the Swedish CIA/MI6 equivalent is called "MUST". Why was that never mentioned in any of the Mankell books?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 7:21 AM
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Movement between journalism and intelligence or vice versa is hardly unknown, especially for Britons ...

"Then of course, there was Persia. Bunting adored Persia, 'a country where they still make beautiful things by hand'. Isfahan was his favourite city in the world. He loved the courtliness, the hospitality, the pleasure-seeking, the childlike colour and drama of the Persians: after all, they sang to the same qualities in him. He delighted his hosts by having named his children after their heroes and by speaking an antique form of their language that he had learned from reading the tenth-century poet Ferdowsi: 'It was as if someone came along in England speaking a Chaucerian mode.' If there was a place for him anywhere, then surely it was in the wonderfully named Luristan. The tribal Bunting took tea (and much else) with the tribes of Persia. In 1947 and 1948 he assisted our man in Tehran, met and married a Kurdish girl, Sima Alladadian; left the Foreign Office - a sort of sideways move - to become Tehran correspondent for the Times; in 1952 he was finally expelled by the nationalist (and nationalising) Mossadeq government. It was a loss all round, because Bunting seems to have understood and liked the place, and managed to operate in it better than most. A press colleague admitted: 'He told us two years ago what was going to happen in Persia, & the Foreign Office said Pooh! & so did the oil people.' He wasn't easily intimidated either. At the Ritz in Tehran there was a sanctioned demonstration against him that Bunting insisted on joining: 'I walked into the crowd and stood amongst them and shouted DEATH TO MR BUNTING! with the best of them, and nobody took the slightest notice of me.' "

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n01/michael-hofmann/imagine-tintin


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 7:33 AM
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And, the "Ebola = Western plot" movement now has an American academic spokesman.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:13 AM
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228: who will suffer no penalties at all as a result of his staggeringly idiotic action, because ACADEMIC FREEDOM.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:22 AM
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Maybe he's one of the 4chan guys.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:27 AM
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His son lives in Durham, N.C., according to LinkedIn. One of our commentators needs to do something about this.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:28 AM
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Wait, it turns out he's black, so no.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:29 AM
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232 to both 229 and 230.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:30 AM
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He's a professor of plant pathology who is actually from Liberia, which is why the newspaper was open to his wisdom.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:30 AM
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