Author Topic: Episode #721  (Read 2517 times)

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Offline seamas

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2019, 05:06:57 PM »
Funny. For me they could cut 100% of Evan on any show and I would never take notice.

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2019, 09:37:54 PM »
If we were to abolish the CIA we would --as any SANE country would--immediately replace it with a new intelligence gathering agency with different name that does the exact same thing.

Really no different from ICE.

The sane thing to do would be to launch an investigation to flush out the organization of all people who have been involved in torture and other war crimes. If the organization has to be dismantled entirely to accomplish it, then do that. Some of what it does is necessary, keep that, rebuild that, whatever. But don't brush aside torture and various anti-human activities as if they are essential to operating an intelligence agency.

I wasn't fucking "brushing aside" anything.

Fair enough. But that's my response to the SGU's and the general sentiment that the CIA is not something that needs to be taken to task for the crimes that they have been committing and enabling.

Which is interesting, because every time they've talked about it they've stated that the fact that they are working with them in this way doesn't mean that they approve of or condone everything that the CIA has done in the past. Pretty much in exactly those words, each time. I'm not sure how you missed that.
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2019, 02:36:30 AM »
They do that without actually talking about what the the CIA has done, and only to dismiss the criticism that the SGU has been getting. When they're talking about what they were doing with the CIA, the focus on how cool it is to be at the CIA, not the problems with the CIA.

If they would just shut up about the CIA, that would be an improvement. Why do they keep bringing it up if they don't want to talk about the lack of prosecutions, and the possibility that they're shaking hands with people who have personally been involved in acts worse or equally horrible to any individual they have criticized in detail on the show before?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 02:46:29 AM by 2397 »

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2019, 02:44:28 AM »
They do that without actually talking about what the the CIA has done, and only to dismiss the criticism that the SGU has been getting.
They said it the very first time they mentioned it.
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2019, 04:50:29 AM »
They do that without actually talking about what the the CIA has done, and only to dismiss the criticism that the SGU has been getting.
They said it the very first time they mentioned it.

Steve did a preemptive "oops" after the first segment, realizing how giddy they had been about the CIA. And then the next time*, he sounded annoyed that people were complaining. As if that little footnote was all that was needed to deal with the topic of the things that the CIA has done that are less fun.

I don't recall them mentioning the torture program at all. They emphasize "the past", as if there aren't people still working there who were actively involved in torture. This is not ancient history. With all the destruction of evidence and the mandated secrecy, with Obama granting immunities and refusing prosecutions, and Trump bringing back the worst of the worst of the Bush administration, there's nothing to suggest that the government and the agency has done something to root out the torturers in their midst.

The first CIA segment starts in episode 703, after 15:15 (regular feed). Quote 24:13

Quote from: Steven Novella
Now this doesn't mean that the CIA hasn't made mistakes, that they haven't done some shady things over the years. We're getting like the 2018 version, where it does seem like they have learned from these past mistakes, that were things where they stepped over the line.

Then he goes to the topic of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, which happened in 1961. So that is one thing they talked about, but only as a loose reference, not going into why it was a mistake. Was it a mistake because they didn't successfully overthrow Cuba's government, retaking it in the name of American corporations and landowners, or because overthrowing governments that way isn't particularly helpful to their population and democracy? If it's the latter, there are other examples that would be less ambiguous.

And Steve brought it up as if that's all over now.

Quote from his addendum that started 35:16, after Jay talks about having a healthy respect for the CIA, and Cara jokes about wanting to get a job there.

Quote from: Steven Novella
None of this is a political commentary on the history of the CIA, things that they've done in the past. We may have come off sounding a little bit gushing. That's just because the experience was very interesting. But really, we're just trying to understand how they function, and we understand that we're being told what we're being told, right? This is the, as we said upfront, this is just the publicly available information. But none of this should be interpreted in any way as any kind of political statement on the CIA, or things that they've done in the past, or may have done. This is just conveying information.

Which is an attempt at distancing themselves without having to deal with the details. Claiming political neutrality is wanting to have it both ways. Neutrality would be to refuse to work with them because of their desire to be neutral. Which Steve did do with Monsanto.

The worst thing Monsanto ever did they did on behalf of the US government. Which could be more legitimately distanced from the current Monsanto, and now Bayer, because of the corporate changeover in between. The government retains responsibility for the actions of the government at all times. It's the government that should be paying reparations to the victims and their families. The government could arrest and prosecute individuals who worked for Monsanto at the time, if they were willingly and knowingly involved in the government's crimes, and I would be all for that. But none of these crimes have been dealt with, other than a rare patsy here and there, who may be pardoned soon after. More often it's the whistleblowers who get into trouble.

*Episode 705, 01:04:00, is where they give a response to the response. Talking about how they're aware of "the controversy surrounding the history of the CIA, things that they've done, etc.". Again to distance themselves from having to talk about it, not to say which actions they distance themselves from, not acknowledging specific war crimes. Cara says the same as she did in this episode (721), that working with them doesn't mean that they condone everything they've ever done. Steve dismisses that not talking about it is an issue. Calls it silly. Again emphasizing "history".

There's another segment in episode 711, 03:24-10:22, which is just another giddy segment, with no hedging.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2019, 05:18:44 AM by 2397 »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2019, 11:09:02 AM »
There was nothing in international law that made using atomic weapons on Japan a war crime.

The Persian Gulf War and the Iraq war we’re both done under UN authority. Going to was was not a war crime. There was conduct  during the wars that could be.

International law prohibits, and even then prohibited, the intentional targeting of civilian non-combatants. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were intact after extensive conventional bombing of Japan because they were of no military significance. They were selected for genocide by the U.S. government for this reason: Being non-military civilian cities their destruction was intended to terrorize the Japanese people by causing maximum suffering.

On a different line of reasoning, the Nazis were tried and hanged at Nuremberg on the grounds that their actions were so horrific that they should have known they were committing "crimes against humanity." The same applies to the willful cold-blooded killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and the radiation poisoning of many more, and the genetic mutations sure to follow. If the Japanese had done this to us and then we'd won the war, we'd have hanged them as war criminals also.

War itself is not a crime under international law. But many of the tactics used by pretty much all governments in war are crimes under international law. War itself is not a crime. But it is probably not possible to conduct a war without committing war crimes. I really don't think you would argue that because it's not possible to wage war without committing war crimes, that those war crimes should be excused.

War itself is an atrocity.
Daniel
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #36 on: May 10, 2019, 11:19:38 AM »
If the CIA had cleaned up its act, I would be far less critical of the SGU. Steve refers to mistakes of the past, as though the CIA were not still committing atrocities today.

It was suggested upthread that it would be worse if Joe Rogan were advising the CIA. The whole point of a CIA podcast for the general public is publicity to garner public favor for the agency. The more effectively they can do that, the worse it is for the country because it will make it that much harder to hold them to account for their continuing crimes.

The CIA is not stupid: They know that the SGU is respected by people who think critically. People who are more likely to criticize their crimes. If they can influence us to approve of them, that's a big win for them. The CIA is using the SGU to whitewash its image, and the SGU has fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. Talking about how nice the people there are and implying that the crimes are just mistakes of the past which are no longer happening. But they are on-going and the CIA is still a criminal organization. Not an organization that has a few criminals, but an organization that exists to commit atrocities that the administration of the moment believes are politically useful.

And it also gathers and analyzes information. That it does this does not excuse the atrocities it commits on a daily basis.
Daniel
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Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #37 on: May 10, 2019, 12:07:41 PM »

It was suggested upthread that it would be worse if Joe Rogan were advising the CIA.
What would Rogan advise the CIA of? That 7 World Trade Center looked like a demolition job, and Rogan phrases it that way so he can weasel out of it if someone calls him on his bullshit?

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #38 on: May 10, 2019, 12:14:21 PM »
The CIA is not stupid: They know that the SGU is respected by people who think critically. People who are more likely to criticize their crimes. If they can influence us to approve of them, that's a big win for them. The CIA is using the SGU to whitewash its image, and the SGU has fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.
Minor complaint.  I see no reason to think that "critical thinkers" are more likely to criticize the CIA.   Most criticism of the CIA comes from ethical, moral, and ideological principles. There's some limit to how much critical thinking plays in that. 

Offline Billzbub

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #39 on: May 10, 2019, 05:38:14 PM »
Didn't they mention that they signed an NDA with the CIA?  Giving the rogues the benefit of the doubt, I hope they spent some of their time discussing how torture actually doesn't work.  The skeptics in the CIA may actually be trying to get the rogues' help spreading the message of critical thinking to stop their own organization from torturing people.  I could also see how the CIA and the rogues would rather not say that that is what they were doing.

The rogues know our concerns about this.  Based on what you know of the rogues, do you all really jump to the conclusion that they support the CIA torturing people?  Or is it more likely that they are trying to help stop it and they just can't say so?
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #40 on: May 10, 2019, 05:58:22 PM »
What it seems like to me is that they don't get it, that they don't understand why some of us have a major issue with them casually working with the CIA and treating it as nothing but a fun gig.

The non-disclosure is probably just about minor details that pop up in their interviews and the identities of some of the people there. If they're actually talking to the CIA about torture, I don't see any upsides to that being something they're not allowed to pass back to us. If it's not okay to publicly talk about how torture is absolutely indefensible, then it's not defensible to work with the CIA.

Offline azinyk

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2019, 11:18:17 PM »
If a group of skeptics, who are supposed to be experts on the topic of rational thinking, visited the CIA, I'd think that the first thing they'd talk about was the intelligence errors that led to the Iraq war, for instance.  It seems like a gold mine of motivated reasoning and logical fallacies.  I suppose that because the rogues are all American, they've been propagandized pretty thoroughly with the story that the Americans are the "good guys".

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2019, 07:07:21 AM »
It sounds like they were more interested in picking apart false conspiracies of the JFK-assassination sort, and to do the most lighthearted take about people's imaginations, rather in doing independent research of the CIA or to talk about the CIA without the CIA setting the agenda.

Steve implies that they want to convey information, but it's the CIA's information. If they want to be more neutral about it, if their interest is skepticism and what's really real, then they should also bring in some of the serious critics of the CIA, to get a broader perspective.

They have been good at doing this before, talking about airport security, about pseudoscience in bomb detection, about the topic of vaccination where the CIA has played a detrimental role. And they've talked about kids being tortured to death because of pseudoscience. Exorcisms, rebirthing rituals, etc.

Torture as a whole is pseudoscience. There's no justification for it other than to deliberately cause someone severe pain.

If you're going to talk with people who work in the CIA today, then the events that are most relevant to bring up are the most recent ones. If you think that it's all in the past, then talk about it with an independent historian or other researchers, maybe former employees. Instead of, or at least in addition to, talking to current CIA employees.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 07:34:18 AM by 2397 »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2019, 11:23:59 AM »
azinyk and 2397 both hit the nail on the head: The SGU were extremely gullible, which is the exact opposite of skeptical, in their reporting on the CIA. They should have a historian or a critic or a victim of CIA-supported torture on the show. Maybe invite Professor Buzzkill on to talk about the agency. Or Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Or a lawyer from the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Daniel
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Episode #721
« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2019, 01:41:31 PM »
If a group of skeptics, who are supposed to be experts on the topic of rational thinking, visited the CIA, I'd think that the first thing they'd talk about was the intelligence errors that led to the Iraq war, for instance.  It seems like a gold mine of motivated reasoning and logical fallacies.  I suppose that because the rogues are all American, they've been propagandized pretty thoroughly with the story that the Americans are the "good guys".

The CIA is a huge department. They have 20k employees and a $15b budget.

Very few analysts, accountants, statisticians or agents had anything to do with the Iraq war.

That's like complaining to the movie theater usher that you didn't like the dialog in second scene of the movie.
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