Canary in the Coal Mine

Saturday, May 19, 2018


"On complexity vs sophistication: During the cold war, a US company noticed the USSR had stolen the plans for a natural gas pipeline system, but not the software.

In response, the US introduced an integer overflow bug that was uptime dependent, and took something like 6 months to hit. The bug simultaneously cranked up the pumps and closed all the valves in the network.

It was known that the Soviet economy would crash in under a year without the ability to cheaply move natural gas, so they couldn’t test long enough to find this.

A year or so later, the DoD’s seismographs detected the largest non-nuclear explosion in human history.

The main impact wasn’t the explosion or the short-term economic damage. The main impact was that the USSR stopped trusting stolen software, which set them way further back, economically and militarily.

Arguably, that ~one line of code was infinitely more sophisticated than stuxnet."

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Friday, May 18, 2018


"The truth is that domestication makes any animal dumb. You name the species — dogs, cats, cows, horses, sheep, pigs — human selection on “tameness” for thousands of years accumulates a wide array of traits, including floppier ears, shorter snouts, hair color variability and the like, most likely based on more basic inherited alterations in certain stem cell and stress hormone production patterns (see Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World, by Richard Francis, for a great read on all this). Different species show these external traits to different degrees. But the trait that ALL domesticated species demonstrate relative to their wild species is a smaller brain. I’d bet it’s happening with humans, too, but that’s just an observation for another day."

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

4:55PM - Kā Latvija (ne)ķer Krievijas spiegus [o jā]

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018


"Latvians (who also had higher literacy rates than the rest of the populace of the former Russian Empire), made it up to the very top of the communist elite. It was hardly surprising that, by the end of the 1920s, four out of eight of the top chiefs of the secret police (so-called collegium) came from the former Jewish Pale; this is explained by the high educational requirements for such positions."

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Friday, May 11, 2018

8:36PM - Turn your key, sir!

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Monday, May 7, 2018


Russia @UN General Assembly, 2001

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Thursday, May 3, 2018


"One recent Saturday night, two drunk men sitting in a park waved Skinner over. One of the men was trying to console his friend Kenneth, whose girlfriend had kicked him out and taken away his car keys. Suddenly, Kenneth stood up and reached for Skinner, to embrace him. Skinner hugged back.

A few minutes later, Skinner described the scene to an officer-in-training. She was aghast. At the police academy, cops are trained how to position their bodies when interacting with members of the public—one shoulder forward, gun hip always out of reach.

“I know—I lost tactical advantage,” Skinner told her.

“Yeah!” the trainee said.

Skinner smiled. “I’m not looking for tactical,” he said. “I’m looking for strategic.” ♦

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"[T]he Kremlin believes that superiority in information operations will decide the global power struggle. To implement this vision, the Russian armed forces have established information warfare units in each military district. For example, the main target for the Western Military District information warfare unit is NATO and its member states. The purpose of these units is to undermine the adversary´s resistance before a military conflict and to maintain a dominant position once it has begun. It is important to note that the Kremlin doesn’t draw a distinction between peacetime and wartime; the informational confrontation is constant. The capabilities of these units are uneven; one may say they are currently weak. Still, with the determination inherent to the military and with the help of experience from GRU psychological operations, we may witness another wave of disinformation campaigns directed against our defense forces, population, and governments."

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"Putin’s decision-making is almost formulaic. He sees almost every issue as first and foremost an intelligence problem. The intelligence services also happen, not coincidentally, to be the most capable organizations in Russia. Consequently, Putin’s use of them as the principal instruments of state power should come as no surprise.

While Kennan argued for blocking Soviet efforts at expansion, his approach was essentially defensive and reactive in nature. Only when Reagan came to office did the U.S. begin not just to confront, but move to roll-back Soviet power.

That shift in strategy was premised upon two main pillars. The first, and most well known, was a massive build-up in U.S. defenses that the Soviets were ultimately unable to match. The second key element of Reagan’s approach was most notably articulated by the president himself in a 1982 speech in the British House of Commons when he said, “The objective I propose is quite simple, to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of the free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, and to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.”

It was the Reagan’s decision to shift to an offensive strategy of building up our military strength while at the same time working through overt and covert means to support those resisting Moscow’s rule and fostering democratic ideals inside the Evil Empire itself that brought about Soviet defeat in the Cold War.

Reagan understood that the very idea of democracy was anathema to those who ruled the Soviet Union, and that the unleashing of the democratic virus would undermine the legitimacy of Soviet rule. Like tsars and Soviet general secretaries before him, Putin’s main concern is regime stability. Moreover, by virtue of his own actions in repressing internal dissent and mounting intelligence operations intended to denigrate democratic ideals and governments, Putin is indicating to us his understanding that the idea of democracy is his greatest vulnerability. That vulnerability is a weakness we can exploit if we are to force him to alter his behavior.

In short, we can make Putin think more about protecting his power than asserting it. There are, as in all such cases, risks inherent in such a strategy, to include enhanced repression of democratic forces within Russia – though it is hard to see how much difference this would make given that the Russian security services have already falsely branded them as being in league with foreign intelligence services. But the greater risk is to leave Putin unchecked and free to continue inflicting damage on the very ideals that are our greatest strength."

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Monday, April 30, 2018


"Central banks should be tasked with mitigating bubbles before they get out of control, instead of focusing on strengthening economies. [The Fed] doesn’t want to move against bubbles because Congress and business do not like it and show their dislike in unmistakable terms."

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018


"[I]n no other NATO member state are Russian spies caught as often. The Estonian Internal Security Service (Kaitsepolitseiamet – KaPo) is an intelligence service considered one of the best and most resistant to Russian infiltration in the former Eastern Bloc. The Russians themselves admit this, as the Estonian service has for years been one of their most difficult opponents in Europe."

"Estonians do not hush up nor minimize the cases of detained and deported Russian spies. In the annual report on state security (“Aastaraamat”) issued since 1998, the Kaitsepolitsei exposes Russia’s operating methods, naming people and organizations (and showing photos) of those suspected of contacts with Russian intelligence. This detailed report on the operation of the agency was the first publication of its kind in the world. The fact that Estonia has one of the best services in the East is attested to by its effective information warfare; not just in regards to making espionage cases public, but also the severity of justice: spies usually get the maximum penalty."

"Estonian counterintelligence is said to be one of the most effective in NATO, begging the question as to the reasons for his effectiveness. Starting from square one, using extreme vetting as well as the de-Sovietization of the security apparatus certainly helped. [ Pretēji Latvijai, kur drošības dienestus veidoja bijušie VDK darbinieki, piemēram, VDK pretizlūkošanas daļas virsnieks Andris Trautmanis]"

"It is known that Russian diplomats catalogue and detail all the bridges in southern Estonia lying on the east-west line. Their focus is upon structures along the expressway connecting the Russian border with the Baltic Sea and the strategic railway line."

"Diplomatic status is increasingly rare, while more and more often they are illegals operating in the country or agents operating under the cover of being businessmen and journalists. Due to Moscow’s wariness of Estonian counterintelligence, Russian case officers usually meet their informants in third countries."

Tas tā, runājot par "katrai valstij savi risinājumi".

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“In Latvia, we have the best legislation,” said former justice minister Janis Bordans. “The problem is in enforcement. Who is the controller?”

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"[O]ne thing seems clear: Latvia’s role as the “Switzerland of the Baltics,” a business model eagerly cheered by European and American consultants and officials in the early 1990s, seems over."

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Monday, April 23, 2018


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Sunday, April 22, 2018

8:58AM - Latvia, the Appalachia of Europe

Diezgan pesimistisks redzējums

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

9:41PM - Bedlam

"There are two types of internet based attacks. The first is “cyberwar” or the kinetic attacks that cause real world destruction. This is the kind the US has always been fascinated with and excelled at.
The second kind is the more broad “cyberwarfare” which encompasses the political / psychological. The eastern countries (Russia, China, etc) have for a long time always been more deft at political and psychological offensives.

What if cyberkinetic attacks aren’t the best way to kill millions? What if simply enflaming tensions over Facebook, leading to revolutions and more ”Arab Springs” will kill tens of millions more?"

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018


"The $1.4 million was sent to 17 Black in November 2015, via ABLV, a Latvian bank recently closed down due to money laundering violations."

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9:28AM - Cita dēle, tajā pašā kulītē

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

12:37PM - Klimata ietekme uz politiku

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Friday, April 13, 2018

9:33AM - Kaitsepolitsei 2017. gada pārskats (salīdzinājumam ar SAB)

"[C]ounterintelligence in Estonia includes the criminal investigation of people and the right to use force against them. The latter is justified if required in the interests of national security, including for the prevention of crimes against the state.

[..] In our previous Annual Reviews we have described several cases of persons who have been used by Russian special services to obtain information on state or law-enforcement structures and have since been convicted. The trend continued in 2017.

[..] Everyone involved in intelligence against Estonia should realise that, whatever its apparent “romance”, espionage carries serious consequences, and the suggestion by hostile special services that it is practically impossible to be caught by Estonian counterintelligence should not be believed."

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018


"A final political agreement on the Baltic power grids’ synchronization with continental Europe via Poland is expected to be reached by the three Baltic States, Poland, and the European Commission before June of this year. Such an agreement would allow these states to receive part of the necessary funding to complete synchronization from the current multiannual EU budget. It remains unclear whether Latvia will insist on keeping open the Latvian-Russian transmission grid, which requires new investment for upgrades. Another question is whether the EU would agree to allocate additional funds to Latvia for upgrading the Russian-Latvian grid so that it can import electricity produced from the unsafe Belarus and Russian nuclear plants.

The newly constructed power plants in Kaliningrad, a region which is energy self-sufficient and actually sells power to Lithuania, could become political tools for Russia to pressure the European Commission if the Baltics disconnect from BRELL and synchronize with continental Europe – either to compensate Russia for constructing the Kaliningrad plants or to force Europe to buy “cheap” Russian electricity."

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

11:12PM - Satversmes aizsardzības biroja (SAB) 2017.gada darbības pārskats

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"Russia has three motorized rifle brigades, one motorized regiment, and three airborne regiments based within close proximity to the Baltic states, according to open source reporting. Those forces are distributed within mainland Russia as well as Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.

The special operations-heavy makeup of Russian forces within striking range of the Baltics telegraphs a readiness for the type of hybrid warfare assaults Russia conducted in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the report by Harris and Kagan said.

“Russian military leadership, practice, and ad hoc deployment along the Baltic borders all suggest Putin is much more likely to pursue a hybrid approach in the Baltic over a conventional mechanized invasion,” they wrote.

Thus, to launch a conventional invasion of the Baltics, Russian commanders would have to shift mechanized forces from other locations in Russia toward the region, and expose Kaliningrad to a NATO counterattack.

With its constellation of spy satellites and other reconnaissance assets, NATO would notice Russia internally reinforcing its military forces on a scale required to mount a successful land invasion of the Baltics, thereby betraying the element of surprise.

“There are three mechanized divisions near the Ukrainian border compared to just one airborne division near the Baltic, which would not be optimal for large-scale mechanized offensives,” Harris and Kagan wrote.

“The West would be foolish to over-focus on any one form of possible future war with Russia,” Harris and Kagan wrote in their report, adding that the deployment of NATO armor and airpower to build a defensive bulwark against a Russian land invasion of the Baltics may not be an effective deterrent.

Many Western military analysts say that Russia’s war in Ukraine is a case study in Moscow’s contemporary “hybrid warfare” doctrine. Therefore, along that line of thinking, Western military leaders would be wise to study Russian tactics in Ukraine to anticipate how a hypothetical Russian hybrid assault on a Baltic country would play out.

When he was U.S. president, Barack Obama levied punitive economic sanctions against Moscow for its military aggression in Ukraine. Obama also kick-started the U.S. military’s pivot to Eastern Europe.

The Trump administration, however, has taken a tougher stance against Russia in both Ukraine and across Eastern Europe. Notably, it has approved the delivery of American anti-tank weapons to Ukraine and upped the budget for U.S. military operations in Eastern Europe to deter Russia.

The formidable U.S. Javelin anti-tank missiles—set for delivery to Ukraine this year—won’t be enough to tip the balance of power in Ukraine’s favor should Russia invade. Yet, the Javelins will increase the cost in blood and treasure that Russia would suffer in such a war.

More importantly, Trump’s decision to supply Kyiv with lethal weapons underscores both a commitment to Ukraine’s security as well as a commitment to deter Russia in Eastern Europe more broadly.

That’s a message, many believe, that Moscow is sure to consider when plotting its next move.

“Ukraine’s struggle against Russian revanchism is NATO’s,” Clark and Karber wrote. “It’s time the West recognize that.”"

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"Currently, the Baltic states operate Russian-gauge railroad tracks, while other European NATO members utilize a standard European gauge (a single line from Poland to the Lithuanian city of Kaunas is the sole exception). This incompatibility means that trains carrying military equipment and supplies from larger NATO bases in Germany or Poland would have to transfer their cargo to Russian-gauge trains or proceed via ground convoys to their destinations.

Baltic rail infrastructure significantly lags behind other European nation-states. A north-south axis across the three countries is currently nonexistent. Plans to correct this are already in motion in the form of Rail Baltica, the largest EU infrastructure investment project in the Baltic states. Ultimately connecting the capitals of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania via European-gauge track (along with an additional connection to Helsinki via Tallinn), Rail Baltica would allow for a standardized and uninterrupted rail link to the rest of NATO, with freight service up to 120 kilometers per hour. Though broad commitments by the EU and Baltic states have been made, the project is not expected to be completed until 2025.

One potential source of conflict is Kaliningrad, or more specifically, the railway linking Kaliningrad to mainland Russia via Lithuanian territory. Kaliningrad transit was a political issue back in 2003 when Lithuania was preparing to enter EU. Moscow and Vilnius then reached an agreement that would allow Russian citizens to travel to and from Kaliningrad with a “facilitated transit document” instead of a visa. This document is easier to acquire than a visa, as it requires only twenty-four hours’ notice and far less scrutiny.

As a 2015 report from Center for European Policy Analysis argues, this might be a way to transport irregular militias to Lithuanian territory—similar to the “little green men” in Crimea or the Donbass. In August 2014 a Kaliningrad transit train halted midway near Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, and its hydroelectric power station. Seeking to prevent any unauthorized exits, the authorities scrambled to establish a perimeter around the train and to identify and address the causes of the interruption. Although the reason for the train’s halt ultimately turned out to be mechanical, the response to the incident underscores the concern that authorities have held regarding any irregularities.

Russia could also exploit Kaliningrad transit by staging a sabotage or “terrorist” attack on a railway, accusing Lithuania of deliberately failing to deal with the issue, and then pursuing an armed invasion masquerading as a humanitarian mission, thus cutting off Lithuania from Poland. Such scenarios may seem alarmist but are not without precedent: in 2014, the Russian government pushed a convoy of over one hundred trucks (ostensibly carrying humanitarian aid) into eastern Ukraine without Ukrainian or international permission.

In 2015, former CEO of Latvian Railways Ugis Magonis was apprehended by Latvian anti-corruption officials in a too-cliché-for-cinema scene involving a high-speed car chase and half a million euros in a trunk. Magonis was himself close to the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin. (Yakunin was placed on a US blacklist after the 2014 annexation of Crimea, although he avoided EU blacklist due to Latvian lobbying.) Russian Railways has also increased its holdings over the Latvian rail carrier LNT. The deal itself was not transparent and reportedly involved multiple offshore dealings. All these cases indicate that the Baltic railway system may remain vulnerable to Russian influence.

The ability for Russian forces to rapidly airlift men and materiel within its borders (and its “near abroad”), the increasing force projection capabilities of the Russian garrison in Kaliningrad, and the proposed network of prepositioned munitions and weapons stockpiles will require a major review of how NATO intends to execute contingency plans from Tallinn to Varna."

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"[W]ere Russia to use force against the alliance by taking a small portion of land in, for instance, eastern Latvia, EFP forces, which are based far from the Russian border, might arrive too late to engage in combat (especially given that NATO’s decisionmaking process could be quite slow). Consequently, Russia might hope to get away with a military fait accompli.

To ensure the trip wire is pulled in a conflict, NATO should ask Washington to deploy a U.S. Army battalion, split equally among the three EFP deployments in the Baltic states and tasked with continuously patrolling and monitoring borders with Russia. Yet, to maintain alliance unity, NATO should avoid additional large-scale force deployments to the Baltics.

NATO must encourage civilian resilience measures to deny Russia the ability to escalate through nonkinetic operations, perhaps by making resilience-building expenditures count toward NATO members’ 2 percent goal for defense spending.

Allies must counter Russian propaganda and disinformation targeted at Russian minorities in the Baltic states. The alliance should consider a joint NATO/EU fund for financing Russian-language media outlets, journalists, and social media accounts.

NATO members should closely monitor the state of integration and representation of the Russian minorities in the Baltic states, perhaps through a reporting mechanism."

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Monday, April 9, 2018


Kāds ir efektīvākais veids kā mainīt politisko kursu Latvijā? Viss ir ļoti vienkārši. Iestājies partijā ZZS.

Nē, nopietni. Tikai 1,1% (21 tūkstotis cilvēku) iedzīvotāju ir kādas partijas biedri (avots: LSM).

"Zaļo un zemnieku savienībā ietilpstošajā Zemnieku savienībā ir ≈ 1600 biedru, bet Zaļajā partijā — ap 870".

Neliels aritmētisks uzdevums: cik biedru jāpiesaista lielākajām Latvijas partijām, lai īstenotu apvērsumu?

Tā vietā mums ir kaut kādi "PAR", "Latvijas Attīstībai", "Progresīvie", "KPV", "Pēdējā partija" utt.

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"In the 1980s, Karpichkov rose to the rank of major in the KGB; he kept working for Russian intelligence in his home country of Latvia after it gained independence in 1991. He later was a CIA informant and defected to the West with boxes of secret documents."

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Sunday, April 8, 2018


"Correction: A previous version of the story said Leon Trotsky was murdered by an ice pick to the head. He was killed with an ice axe."

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018


"polygenic scores for IQ will further reveal the role of intelligence in determining people’s salaries, their choice of partners, and even the structure of society."

"The discoveries mean we can now read the DNA of a young child and get a notion of how intelligent he or she will be"

"The idea is we’ll have this information everywhere you go, like an RFID tag. Everyone will know who you are, what you are about. "

“A world where people are slotted according to their inborn ability—well, that is Gattaca”

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

12:49PM - vēl viens vecais transhumànists

"what mattered most to him in his “dualism” was providing support for immortality."

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Friday, March 30, 2018


"They’d begun applying tricks on Facebook that had been invented by email spammers, who’d in turn borrowed the tactics of fax spammers in the 1980s and ’90s. New forms of media have always been hijacked by misleading advertising: 19th century American newspapers were funded in part by dishonest patent medicine ads. Within days of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, the makers of Bellingham’s Onguent were placing ads claiming the president had used their product to grow his trendy whiskers."

"But affiliates, he continued, aren’t really to blame. They’re just taking advantage of opportunities created by large corporations in a capitalistic system built around persuading people to buy things they don’t need. Gryn said he daydreams about changing directions and doing something positive for the world. He’s considering investing in sustainable fish farming or going back to school to study mushrooms, like the ones he used to forage for with his grandmother. “Everything I do is futile,” he said, staring out at the ocean, listening to seagulls caw. “No matter how successful a company I build in this space, I am facilitating what I deeply believe is a poorly designed system.”"

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11:26AM - Vilnis over 9000

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018


"World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation. (p.66)"

-Culture is Our Business, Marshall McLuhan (1970)

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Sekojot piemēram, lejupielādēju savu Google arhīvu. Sāku ar savu "Grāmatzīmju" sadaļu. Diemžēl, nekā interesanta. Tajā ir tikai divas saites. Jūsu uzmanībai:

NSA Utah Data Center
The Baby Jesus Museum

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018


... tālāk ... )

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7:41AM - Ko tu vēlies

"Countermeasures could include bolstering efforts to ensure that Kremlin-backed media does not dominate the information space for Russian-speaking Latvians"

[Pray tell, how do you do that?]

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Monday, March 26, 2018


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

9:06PM - Drosmīga sieviete, lieki to gaidīt no mūsu bruņurupučiem un strausiem

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018


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11:30AM - Novichok

"They say that, maybe, some stuff has escaped". Nē, visdrīzāk varētu būt runa par GRU slepenajām krātuvēm Rietumeiropas valstīs.

Kā zināms, tā ir daļa no materiāliem, kurus Mitrohins pie tējas tases J. Alunāna ielā nodeva Britu pārstāvjiem.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018


"Pivacy is often defined as freedom from unauthorized intrusion. But many of the things that feel like privacy violations are “authorized” in some fine print somewhere. (..)

Anyone who holds a vast amount of information about us has power over us. At first, the information age promised to empower individuals with access to previously hidden information.

But now the balance of power is shifting and large institutions — both governments and corporations — are gaining the upper hand in the information wars, by tracking vast quantities of information about mundane aspects of our lives. Now we are learning that people who hold our data can subject us to embarrassment, or drain our pocketbooks, or accuse us of criminal behavior. This knowledge could, in turn, create a culture of fear.

[T]he glory of the digital age has always been profoundly human. Technology allows us to find people who share our inner thoughts, to realize we’re not alone. But technology also allows others to spy on us, causing us to pull back from digital intimacy.

When people ask me why I care about privacy, I always return to the simple thought that I want there to be safe, private spaces (..). I want there to be room in the digital world for letters sealed with hot wax. Must we always be writing postcards that can — and will — be read by anyone along the way?"

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11:54AM - Greatest political yield

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