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Old 1st May 2019, 11:34 PM   #81
dann
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
For the same reason that Google is doing its utmost to prevent PrisonPlanet articles from coming up in casual searches about world events: they are known disinformation outlets, and Google, like social media platforms, have been taken to task in the years since Trump's election for allowing purveyors of disinformation to manipulate search result rankings and steer public discourse.

I have no idea what PrisonPlanet is, but I noticed that I never ever encountered RT articles until I started expanding my googling to beyond page 20 - and that was before the white supremacists were banned on different platforms. Breitbar, yes; RT, never!

Quote:
Reading the articles again, it seems to me the people "making the conspiracy theories in this case" are all in the University of Tromso.

Yes, that's the trick, isn't it?! Find somebody telling incredible stories, don't follow up on it, don't do the legwork, but present it as the truth and blow it completely out of proportions. 'We didn't make up this hypothesis, the Norwegians did. We are just innocently reporting what they say. That is what we do with the ultrasonic weapons, the microwave weapons, so don't blame us, we're just reporting.'
That is what made R. Douglas Fields's article in Undark so great: At the Root of the Cuban Embassy Mystery: Bad Science Journalism
Journalists covering the supposed sonic attack have abandoned fundamental principles of sourcing, verification, and fact-based reporting.

That the newspapers and broadcasting corporations were much more interested in stories about microwave weapons than they were in listening to R. Douglas Fields was no big surprise ...

Quote:
Sigh. If you insist. Let's take a quote from the NRK article you linked:

This quote has a "Russian military expert", talking to a Russian TV network, saying that Russia very much does have a cetacean-training program which teaches them to protect ports, including "killing unidentified divers and attaching mines to foreign ships". The only thing he seems to take issue with is the idea that the whale had an espionage function (which is just one of the hypothetical possibilities I mentioned, not a positive claim made by the scientists in Tromso).

So here is a Russian expert, acknowledging directly to Russian media that the whale quite possibly might be part of a Russian Navy program because such a program does exist and has trained animals to perform various functions, including some which even you couldn't credibly deny qualify for them for the term "weaponized". As far as I'm concerned, this article, that you posted, fully undermines every one of your objections thus far.

And here we have you believing every single word told by a Russian military expert - at least, for as long as it seems to suit your purpose! I wouldn't believe him when he says that such a program exists because that's part of the disinformation of all armies in the world: Make the enemy believe that you have something that you don't have and pretend that you don't have the stuff that you actually do have. That was probably the only purpose of the men-talking-to-goats project in the USA: Make the enemy think that you're on to something, thus making him waste his time and resources on outlandish stuff that serves no practical purpose at all.
As one of the experts says in one of the articles - I don't remember which one - Nations with the resources to do so have all experimented with weaponized animals, but nowadays they've been replaced by drones, which are much more effective.

Quote:
It is not; the credibility of your source is fairly important.

Yes, but the credibility of your source gives you reason to suspect it only. It doesn't replace the efforts that you should make to consider if it may be true or not, or which parts may be true and which parts not. That is the effort that you should have put into the stories from your many 'credible' U.S. American sources about the alleged attacks on the CIA agents in Havana!

Quote:
Yes, perhaps I misspoke. You are certainly allowed to stamp your foot and cite RT if you want to, because I'm not the boss of you. There's no law against it or anything. However, it is a simple matter of fact that RT is as credible as PrisonPlanet or Brietbart, and there's nothing wrong with my pointing this out either.

You still don't seem to understand that I'm not at all concerned about what I'm allowed to say. You can stamp your foot as much as you like, I don't care. And again: When I was looking for news about the 'Havana syndrome', Breitbart articles appeared quite often. If they've been relegated to beyond page 20 nowadays, it's a new thing. Articles from the enemy were always there.
And your willingness to believe every absurd accusation against that enemy speaks volumes about your ideas of credibility!


And won't you please comment on "Property St. Petersburg"?! That's not the way I would have marked one of my trained killers if I were a general. Colbert got that one right!
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 1st May 2019, 11:55 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
No, on whales they're called flippers.

Hans
Not the ones on their back.

Especially if it is the dorsal fin on a Fin Whale
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Old 2nd May 2019, 12:04 AM   #83
Checkmite
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
And here we have you believing every single word told by a Russian military expert - at least, for as long as it seems to suit your purpose!
Where in my post did I indicate I believed every single word he said? All I said about it was thus:

Quote:
As far as I'm concerned, this article, that you posted, fully undermines every one of your objections thus far.
However it does seem that we are faced with two possibilities:

Either your quoted Russian source was lying, and therefore it must be totally disregarded as incredible; or, your quoted Russian source was telling the truth, and all of your objections have been debunked by your own quoted source. Which is it? I suppose the implications are the same either way...although it is admittedly rather hilarious to watch you, having just vigorously attempted to defend RT's worthiness as a source against my charges of being a disinformation outlet, now resorting to attacking the credibility of the interviewed Russian expert by appealing to the fact that Russians frequently engage in disinformation campaigns. I guess that's what you call "ironic".

If we want to be objective, what the Russian source told Russian TV, matches what the Norwegian defense analyst quoted in the same article, John Berg, says about Russian cetacean programs:

Quote:
– Hvis russerne bruker det mye i dag, er det fordi de er teknologisk på etterskudd. Når det gjelder slik teknologi, regner man ofte med at de ligger 10-15 år bak USA, sier Berg.

Han er sikker på at hvithvalen som dukket opp i Finnmark kommer fra russisk side.

– Det er veldig sannsynlig at det er den russiske marinen. Det ser veldig primitivt ut med en stropp som har blitt for trang. Det kan tyde på at den har vært på frifot en stund. Det ser ikke så veldig imponerende ut, sier han.
To wit, it's well known that Russia, and particularly the Russian military, tends to be very outdated in its methods, and that is reflected here.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
And won't you please comment on "Property St. Petersburg"?! That's not the way I would have marked one of my trained killers if I were a general.
Since you asked nicely. The phrase was actually reported to be Equipment St. Petersburg, and it was not used to mark the whale, it was used to mark the harness. My impression was that it was a manufacturing mark from the company that produced the harness.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 03:52 AM   #84
Childlike Empress
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To underscore Checkmite's points: Whales, Crickets, And Other Fearsome Russian Doomsday Weapons

Originally Posted by Caitlin Johnstone
Headlines were blaring the word “Russian” again the other day because the mass media narrative managers found yet another reason for westerners to feel terrified of the icy potato patch that we’d barely ever thought about prior to 2016. I’d like to talk about the Kremlin’s latest horrifying horrific addition to its fearsome doomsday artillery, and recap a few of the other incredibly frightening and terrifying tactics that those strange Cyrillic-scribbling demons of the East are employing to undermine truth, justice, and the American way. Just to make sure we’re all good and scared like we’re supposed to be.

Gather the kids, clutch your pearls and sign off on hundreds of billions of dollars of extra military spending, my patriotic brethren! Here are five super scary ways the Red Menace is trying to destroy you and everything you hold dear: [...]
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Old 3rd May 2019, 05:22 AM   #85
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Yeah, Russia is novichokful of good intentions.
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You added nothing to that conversation, Barbara.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 06:58 AM   #86
dann
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post

Quote:
Is it perhaps possible that Russian media have begun mocking the west a lot more because westerners have made themselves much easier to make fun of? Could it perhaps be the fact that western mass media have been doing absolutely insane things like constantly selling us the idea that the Kremlin could be lurking behind anything in our world, even really innocuous-looking things like puppy dogs, Pokémon and whales? Could we perhaps be finding ourselves at the butt end of jokes now because in 2016 our society went bat ****, pants-on-head, screaming-at-passing-motor-vehicles insane?

Yes, it definitely is possible!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 3rd May 2019, 07:02 AM   #87
dann
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Denmark and Norway are in there again, I can see:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 3rd May 2019, 07:20 AM   #88
dann
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Maybe just a weird coincidence, but ...
Clearwater Marine Aquarium, St. Petersburg, Florida
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 3rd May 2019, 08:15 AM   #89
dann
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Where in my post did I indicate I believed every single word he said? All I said about it was thus:

However it does seem that we are faced with two possibilities:

Either your quoted Russian source was lying, and therefore it must be totally disregarded as incredible; or, your quoted Russian source was telling the truth, and all of your objections have been debunked by your own quoted source. Which is it? I suppose the implications are the same either way...although it is admittedly rather hilarious to watch you, having just vigorously attempted to defend RT's worthiness as a source against my charges of being a disinformation outlet, now resorting to attacking the credibility of the interviewed Russian expert by appealing to the fact that Russians frequently engage in disinformation campaigns. I guess that's what you call "ironic".

My "source" to what exactly?! I posted the links to articles where Russians say what they think of the story, and one of them says that it's possible that the beluga whale came from a navy facility in Russia. He doesn't say with any certainty that it does, so he could have been lying, he could have been telling the truth, I don't know, but he also could have been doing both, which is an option that you don't seem to consider with your silly "Which is it?" question.
How the hell would I know?! I'm not a Russian military expert.
And then there's the accusation that I've "vigorously attempted to defend RT's worthiness as a source against my charges of being a disinformation," but you seem to confuse the two of us: You accuse RT's "worthiness as a source" in all matters Russia, and I say that in matters concerning Russia, I find it worth reading what they have to say. I've never stated that RT is a 'worthy' source! About what?! I've said that I have no reason to be in denial about the existence of RT as a source. But I'll consider the information they may contribute on a case-to-case basis - unlike you, who would like to ban them from existence without presenting a single argument against any of the articles and videos I've presented you with.
I quoted the article for the same reason I linked to the RT Youtube video with the crickets and the tinfoil hat: The Russians are obviously having a field they with this! They're having fun. And to them it seems to be an occasion for making jokes about the willingness of the western media to believe any stupid idea that somebody comes up with as long as its about the nefarious purposes of Russia.
You yourself don't even seem to consider that the many 'if's in your posts ought to make you consider if you have anything other than the usual U.S. American paranoia, which was also what got you going in the Cuban cricket case.
I enjoy the Russian jokes! I always suspected that they might have a sense of humor, but you don't see many Russian comedies in my part of the world, and I don't think that you do in yours either. But I have no idea whatsoever where the beluga whale came from, who trained it and for what purpose. And neither do you!!!

Quote:
If we want to be objective, what the Russian source told Russian TV, matches what the Norwegian defense analyst quoted in the same article, John Berg, says about Russian cetacean programs:

So the Norwegian expert says that "Han er sikker på at hvithvalen som dukket opp i Finnmark kommer fra russisk side," i.e. he is certain (!) that the beluga whale comes from Russia. And he says that "Det er veldig sannsynlig at det er den russiske marinen" i.e. that it's very likely that the Russian Navy is behind this. Does he tell us why? Does he tell us what he bases his certainty on? Or why exactly he finds it likely that it's from the Russian Navy? Not as far as I recall, so he seems to be somebody who doesn't really know a thing, but has a lot of hypotheses. (And once again, the whole thing reminds me of the Cuban crickets!)

Quote:
To wit, it's well known that Russia, and particularly the Russian military, tends to be very outdated in its methods, and that is reflected here.

And yet you're so bloody scared of their allegedly weaponized pets. In the Havana-syndrome thread, very early on, I pointed out that Cuba is not exactly considered to be at the forefront of hightech weaponry, but there, too, you were more than willing to believe in ultrasonic hightech attacks ... until you and the FBI gave up on that idea.

Quote:
Since you asked nicely. The phrase was actually reported to be Equipment St. Petersburg, and it was not used to mark the whale, it was used to mark the harness. My impression was that it was a manufacturing mark from the company that produced the harness.

I think that one of the Russians gave you that impression, so you'd better watch out. You might be the victim of super sophisticated Russian manipulation techniques!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 3rd May 2019, 10:18 AM   #90
Checkmite
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[quote=dann;12683823]My "source" to what exactly?! I posted the links to articles where Russians say what they think of the story, and one of them says that it's possible that the beluga whale came from a navy facility in Russia. He doesn't say with any certainty that it does, so he could have been lying, he could have been telling the truth, I don't know, but he also could have been doing both, which is an option that you don't seem to consider with your silly "Which is it?" question.

No, I do consider it - it's part of the first option. If the quoted person is lying about some things and not others, the whole of their testimony must be rejected unless it is corroborated by another party that isn't suspect, because you have no other reliable way of separating the truth from the fiction.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
And then there's the accusation that I've "vigorously attempted to defend RT's worthiness as a source against my charges of being a disinformation," but you seem to confuse the two of us: You accuse RT's "worthiness as a source" in all matters Russia, and I say that in matters concerning Russia, I find it worth reading what they have to say. I've never stated that RT is a 'worthy' source!
....

Originally Posted by dann View Post
I find it worth reading what they have to say.
Originally Posted by dann View Post
I've never stated that RT is a 'worthy' source!
...

Originally Posted by dann View Post
I find it worth reading
Originally Posted by dann View Post
...never stated...'worthy'

...is this some kind of prank? You're having me on, aren't you? Ha ha ha, you silly bean!


Originally Posted by dann View Post
About what?! I've said that I have no reason to be in denial about the existence of RT as a source. But I'll consider the information they may contribute on a case-to-case basis - unlike you, who would like to ban them from existence without presenting a single argument against any of the articles and videos I've presented you with.
No, I even established criteria for considering what RT has to say on a case-by-case basis: as long as the story doesn't involve a claim that puts the Russian government in a negative light, RT is fine.

As for "arguments against" them....against what? The statement by the Russian military expert that "yes, there is a trained cetacean program"?

Originally Posted by dann View Post
I quoted the article for the same reason I linked to the RT Youtube video with the crickets and the tinfoil hat: The Russians are obviously having a field they with this! They're having fun. And to them it seems to be an occasion for making jokes about the willingness of the western media to believe any stupid idea that somebody comes up with as long as its about the nefarious purposes of Russia.
And they had the same "field day" with Skripal's poisoning. And they had the same "field day" with claims that the Russian military was invading the Ukraine and directly supporting separatists there (before that was publicly acknowledged by the Russian government). They had another "field day" over emergent claims that Malaysia flight 17 was shot down over the Ukraine by Russia-backed separatists using a Russia-supplied Buk missile launcher (which was ultimately true), with one of RT's own journalists resigning in protest at being pushed to promote conspiracy theories blaming the Ukrainian government for shooting down the airliner.

RT's spin on this story is very much the same. Nobody in the original article said the whales were being used for "spying". The Russian expert fixates on that possibility only and amplifies it, and then ridicules it, as if laughing off that single possibility effectively rebuts the entire affair. That's how RT tends to work, according to the resigned journalist mentioned above.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
So the Norwegian expert says that "Han er sikker på at hvithvalen som dukket opp i Finnmark kommer fra russisk side," i.e. he is certain (!) that the beluga whale comes from Russia. And he says that "Det er veldig sannsynlig at det er den russiske marinen" i.e. that it's very likely that the Russian Navy is behind this. Does he tell us why? Does he tell us what he bases his certainty on? Or why exactly he finds it likely that it's from the Russian Navy? Not as far as I recall, so he seems to be somebody who doesn't really know a thing, but has a lot of hypotheses.
...hypotheses which are agreed to also by the scientists from the University of Tromso, and by the Russian expert who was quoted from an interview he was giving to a domestic Russian audience. A navy program is acknowledged to exist. It is acknowledged to have used whales. Meanwhile, no scientific whale study program is known to use harnesses of this nature. This is not some kind of claimed superpower or sonic weapon that requires new technology that isn't yet known to exist; this is just putting two and two together and applying Occam's razor. Why you're contorting yourself to present the entire idea as an extraordinary claim is beyond me, except perhaps that you're feeling exorbitantly defensive over your use of RT being questioned and now you're extending that to the entire story.

Also, this story is about a whale that was possibly part of a Russian navy training program. It is not about Cuba, and never will be no matter how hard you want it to be. That business already has its own thread, so do try to remain on topic and stop attempting to derail this thread into a discussion about Cuba.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
I think that one of the Russians gave you that impression, so you'd better watch out.
No, the first Norwegian article I read gave me that impression.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 11:33 AM   #91
dann
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
No, I do consider it - it's part of the first option. If the quoted person is lying about some things and not others, the whole of their testimony must be rejected unless it is corroborated by another party that isn't suspect, because you have no other reliable way of separating the truth from the fiction.

And in this case we have no real way of knowing who's lying about what and who's merely hypothesizing. What seems to be facts are:

1) The whale appeared in Norway, exhibiting playful behaviour and apparently attracted to people. Based on that, there's reason to assume that it's used to be around people.
2) It wouldn't be able to put on the harness itself, so that supports the idea: It must have been in some kind of whale enclosure somewhere before it ended up in the Norwegian harbor.
3) It was pulling at the ropes and nets of fishing boats, so was it trained to do that? Maybe, we can't really tell, and the behavior doesn't exactly support the idea that it would serve some kind of military purpose. Maybe it was trained to pull a rope attached to a bell to be rewarded with fish, I don't know. But at least it seemed to work very well with the fishermen. Somebody must have spent a lot of time and energy training them!
4) Did it exhibit any other behavior that would support the idea that the kind of training it had had, if any, was military in nature? Nothing I've read or heard seems to indicate that.
5) Back to the harness: On the one hand, it seems incredibly stupid to equip a navy-trained animal with a home address. I'm with the Russians on that one! On the other hand, since the harness was allegedly meant to carry a camera, it may have been trained to swim into enemy harbors and, probably unintentionally, create footage of enemy vessels. (I have no idea how you would train an animal to distinguish between enemy vessels or even enemy harbors and friendly ones, but what do I know?)
6) Apparently, nobody has reported the whale missing. That could be because they're spying, and spies would obviously not want to be found out, or they could just have thought that it had died, been eaten by killer whales, whatever.

Quote:
...is this some kind of prank? You're having me on, aren't you? Ha ha ha, you silly bean!

No, it's not a prank. You condemn any and all RT articles or videos in principle. And I say that your attitude is what's Sille. I would let it depend on the specific article, its arguments and documentation. And I would even do so with Breitbart: What do they write? What is the argument they present? What are the facts?
You don't need that because you've already decided whom to believe.

Quote:
No, I even established criteria for considering what RT has to say on a case-by-case basis: as long as the story doesn't involve a claim that puts the Russian government in a negative light, RT is fine.

Does the whale incident put Russia in a bad light? I don't think so but maybe you do ...

Quote:
As for "arguments against" them....against what? The statement by the Russian military expert that "yes, there is a trained cetacean program"?

And you choose to believe them! Just like that! I wouldn't. I would be open to the possibility that this it might be disinformation: They could be pretending to have a "trained cetacean program".

Quote:
And they had the same "field day" with Skripal's poisoning. And they had the same "field day" with claims that the Russian military was invading the Ukraine and directly supporting separatists there (before that was publicly acknowledged by the Russian government). They had another "field day" over emergent claims that Malaysia flight 17 was shot down over the Ukraine by Russia-backed separatists using a Russia-supplied Buk missile launcher (which was ultimately true), with one of RT's own journalists resigning in protest at being pushed to promote conspiracy theories blaming the Ukrainian government for shooting down the airliner.

Yes, they probably did. I can imagine that, but I didn't see it. I guess Google 'protected' me from that. But what is your point in this context?!

Quote:
RT's spin on this story is very much the same. Nobody in the original article said the whales were being used for "spying". The Russian expert fixates on that possibility only and amplifies it, and then ridicules it, as if laughing off that single possibility effectively rebuts the entire affair. That's how RT tends to work, according to the resigned journalist mentioned above.

In the original article? There's only been the one article in wester media before the Russian "fixates" on that possibility?! Come on, you can't actually believe that you've caught the Russians in revealing that they are guilty as hell. Your expertise in the psychology of lying isn't convincing at all. That the harness was meant to carry a camera, i.e. spying, was the thing that the western 'experts' seemed to agree on. If for entertainment, research or spying purposes, I don't know.

Quote:
...hypotheses which are agreed to also by the scientists from the University of Tromso, and by the Russian expert who was quoted from an interview he was giving to a domestic Russian audience. A navy program is acknowledged to exist. It is acknowledged to have used whales. Meanwhile, no scientific whale study program is known to use harnesses of this nature. This is not some kind of claimed superpower or sonic weapon that requires new technology that isn't yet known to exist; this is just putting two and two together and applying Occam's razor. Why you're contorting yourself to present the entire idea as an extraordinary claim is beyond me, except perhaps that you're feeling exorbitantly defensive over your use of RT being questioned and now you're extending that to the entire story.

You seem to be unable to get that I'm not presenting "the entire idea as an extraordinary claim." It wouldn't be extraordinary that Russia had trained animals to act as inadvertent spies. There would be nothing extraordinary about it. But so far, all you've got is a whale that's equipped with a harness that might be used to carry some kind of camera. And like the western media you ignore any other hypothesis. You are completely fixated on this idea and ignore everything that points in other directions.
It's the cricket story all over.

Quote:
Also, this story is about a whale that was possibly part of a Russian navy training program. It is not about Cuba, and never will be no matter how hard you want it to be. That business already has its own thread, so do try to remain on topic and stop attempting to derail this thread into a discussion about Cuba.

That's not a derail. I point out that you're as fixated on your one, favourite hypothesis the same way you were on the ultrasound in the Cuba discussion. And this is also what makes it so easy for RT to poke fund at the western media.

Quote:
No, the first Norwegian article I read gave me that impression.

Yes, "not used to mark the whale but to mark the harness". Yes, indeed! And it wouldn't occur to a devious organization of spies to remove that mark, would it?!
To quote Stephen Colbert:

Quote:
Marine experts got suspicious when this beluga whale was found off Norway wearing a strange camera harness, which was labeled "Equipment of St. Petersburg." That is the finest covert spy craft since James Bond labeled all his shirts "Property of James Bond, a spy. Please return to MI-6.
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It's good to know that there are still a couple of people in the USA with a sense of humor, too.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 3rd May 2019 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 01:44 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Does the whale incident put Russia in a bad light? I don't think so but maybe you do ...
Russia seems to. Do you not recognize the Russian expert's claim that "we are not stupid" to be defensive?

Originally Posted by dann View Post
And you choose to believe them! Just like that! I wouldn't. I would be open to the possibility that this it might be disinformation: They could be pretending to have a "trained cetacean program".
I don't choose to believe them just like that. I choose to believe the claims that are independently corroborated.

The idea that Russia has a cetacean training program was not made up by this one Russian guy in response to this event of the found beluga whale. Nor was it made up by the myriad of independent Norwegian experts that were consulted by the NKR and other Norwegian news outlets for comment.

When the Russian guy said their marine mammal training program "was no secret", that wasn't a lie. Russia's navy marine mammal training has made the news before....multiple times, in Russia. For instance - just one of the many instances - immediately after the "annexation" of Crimea, Russian media did a story about how a bottlenose dolphin training facility in Crimea was being reactivated for naval use:

Quote:
The Akvamarin Sevastopol facility was handed over to Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union and had been training dolphins to swim with special needs children and be used in therapy sessions ever since.

But now that the city, home to Russia's Black Sea fleet, became Russian following Crimea's annexation last week, dolphins and seals will once again receive naval training, an unidentified aquarium employee told RIA Novosti.

The employee said that engineers were working to develop an improved program to help train the dolphins to find sunken objects and enemies underwater using sonar.
That article came out in 2014, five years before the harnessed beluga whale was found in Norway.

In 2017, two years before the beluga whale was found in Norway, Russian outlet TV Zvezda published this article about how the Navy's marine-mammal program was expanding, utilizing not only the Crimean base but an additional sea base in Murmansk. To put this into perspective, see the attached visual aid I have created for you, at the bottom of this post.

Additionally, the article reports they were beginning testing using not only bottlenose dolphins, but now also ring seals, harp seals....and beluga whales. Funnily enough, the article - written two years ago, mind, before anybody found any beluga whales with camera-mount harnesses on them and accused them of being of Russian origin - specifically mentions problems the navy was having trying to develop a camera for attaching to the whales that could reliably transmit a clear picture to an operator's video monitor.

Of course, these animals weren't being trained to go and spy on foreign ports; they were being trained to survey and protect Russian harbors from foreign sabotage attempts and enemy attacks, "immobilizing" or killing enemy divers if necessary. The point of the cameras specifically wasn't to take pictures of enemy shipping, but for inspecting Russia's own underwater infrastructure for explosives or whatnot.

To that end, revisit your objection above:

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Back to the harness: On the one hand, it seems incredibly stupid to equip a navy-trained animal with a home address. I'm with the Russians on that one!
Why would it be "incredibly stupid"? The training program was never secret, and the animals weren't supposed to be used outside of Russia, so who cares what the tag on the harness says?


Originally Posted by dann View Post
In the original article? There's only been the one article in wester media before the Russian "fixates" on that possibility?! Come on, you can't actually believe that you've caught the Russians in revealing that they are guilty as hell.
About the spying? No, I don't believe that the Russian laughing about spying was some kind of protest-too-much self-incrimination, if that's what you're implying; that's not even why I brought it up. The point was, reframing that possibility (espionage) as THE primary claim and laughing it off, was an example of Russian media spin.


Originally Posted by dann View Post
You seem to be unable to get that I'm not presenting "the entire idea as an extraordinary claim." It wouldn't be extraordinary that Russia had trained animals to act as inadvertent spies. There would be nothing extraordinary about it. But so far, all you've got is a whale that's equipped with a harness that might be used to carry some kind of camera. And like the western media you ignore any other hypothesis.
No, I'm not ignoring any other possibility, just emphasizing that this is so likely that the other possibilities are negligible:

1. The whale was found wearing a harness that was tagged as of Russian manufacture
2. The whale was specifically a beluga whale, and domestic Russian news articles years prior to this incident were already reporting that the Russian navy was training beluga whales.
3. There isn't even so much as a sliver of evidence found so far suggesting any other origin for the whale. That all by itself wouldn't mean anything, but combined with the evidence that DOES exist which positively suggests a Russian navy origin, it becomes meaningful.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Yes, "not used to mark the whale but to mark the harness". Yes, indeed! And it wouldn't occur to a devious organization of spies to remove that mark, would it?!
What "spies"? Again, this is why using RT is dangerous: it's spin, and you've fallen for it. RT said "THEY THINK THE WHALES ARE SPIES, LOL!" even though nobody actually said that; so to you now, this situation is always going to be only about "spies", and you will ignore the rational discourse involving other possibilities and repeatedly steer the conversation back toward "LOL SPIES", because like RT, it's much easier for you to just laugh about "OMG SPIES!" and dismiss the entire story via that direction.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 04:43 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Yeah, Russia is novichokful of good intentions.

This is pretty cool tho.

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Old 4th May 2019, 08:30 AM   #94
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News from Norway

You're damned if you do and damned if you don't:

Quote:
– Så at ingen har sagt at de ønsker å hente den tilbake, er nok et tegn på at det kanskje er noen som ikke har lyst på så mye oppmerksomhet rundt dette.
(…)
– Putin har vært direkte involvert i opptrening av hvalene, ifølge de russiske forskerne jeg har hatt kontakt med.
Hvalforsker: - Putin har vært direkte involvert i opptrening af hvaler (NRK, May 3, 2019)
- That nobody has said that they want to get it back is probably a sign that somebody may not want to attract too much attention to this.
(…)
- Putin been directly involved with training the whales, according to the Russian researchers I’ve been in contact with.
Whale researcher: - Putin has been directly involved in training the whales

It is hard to tell exactly what nefarious purpose Putin trained the whale to fulfill, but after it was freed from its harness, it has shown the world that it's able to spin around. I can't see this as being very useful in warfare, but if the water is very clear and the whale is carrying a spy camera, it may be a good way to get at 360 panorama view of the fishing harbour.

People all over the world, including some in Russia, have decided that the whale should be called Hvaldimir (in English: Whaledimir) - in honor of its alleged Russian trainer Putin, apparently:

Folket har talt – hvalen skal hete Hvaldimir (NRK, May 3, 2019)
People have decided – the whale will be called Hvaldimir

Gi din stemme: Hva skal hvalen hete? (NRK, May 2, 2019)
Cast your vote: What is the whale’s name going to be?
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 4th May 2019, 11:05 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
a spy camera,
Quod erat demonstrandum.
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Old 4th May 2019, 01:20 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Whale researcher: - Putin has been directly involved in training the whales

I checked my extensive Putin picture folder but found no evidence. Mostly land animals, but as far as sea creatures go - here he is with dolphins and shaking hands with John Bolton:



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Old 6th May 2019, 03:41 AM   #97
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It was a member of the Free Willy group.
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Old 6th May 2019, 03:53 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Why did they assume it was a Russian plot? When I see whales I suspect the Finns.
Nah. Finland uses its honorary Finns, the 'umble Baltic herring, to spy on the world. What looks like a piece of dill is actually a micro-camera.
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Old 6th May 2019, 03:59 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
It is about time that more whales fight back. The one that sank the USS Essex did (thought to be the real life origin of Moby Dick)!
Essex, not USS Essex. Huge difference.
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Old 6th May 2019, 04:02 AM   #100
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Back in the good old days (ie the cold war) the Russkies allegedly tried to use psychics to communicate with submarines. Bet that worked as well as training kamikaze whales would.
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:01 AM   #101
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News from Norway: Those despicable Russians!

This is almost as good as the Cuban crickets:

Quote:
Trolig heter hvalen Semjon og er brukt til terapi for vanskeligstilte barn i Russland, ifølge Fiskeribladet.
– Hvithvalen i Finnmark har trolig rømt fra et russisk terapianlegg nær den norske grensen, sier Morten Vikeby, tidligere Fiskeribladet-journalist og eks-konsul i Murmansk.
Fiskeribladet skrev om denne hvalen i 2008.
Den russiske «spionhvalen» er trolig en terapihval (NRK.no, May 7, 2019)

My translation:
Quote:
The Russian 'spy whale' is probably a therapy whale
The whale is probably called Semjon and was used for therapy for disadvantaged children in Russia, according to Fiskeribladet (a fishing magazine).
- The Beluga whale in Finnmark probably escaped from a Russian therapy facility near the Norwegian border, says Morten Vikeby, a former journalist at Fiskeribladet and former consul to Murmansk.
Fiskeribladet wrote about this whale in 2008.

Considering Semjon's/Hvaldimir's behaviour in Norway, this seems much more likely. It really didn't seem to be very interested in killing enemy combatants!

I'm pretty sure that RT.com will have more about this new development!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:17 AM   #102
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Don't bother, I'll get them for you:
‘Russian spy whale’ actually may have provided THERAPY to children – report (RT, May 7, 2019)

I also found two Norwegian articles in English:
New theory ties whale to therapy (newsinenglish.no, May 7, 2019)
Russian “spy whale” is probably a therapy choice (Norge Daily, May 7, 2019)


What happened to the rest of the Western media??! Hello?!!!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:32 AM   #103
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Therapy whale? I thought that woman who tried to bring a therapy peacock on a plane was pushing the line, but this I just don't see being allowed. At the very least it will have to be charged for a seat.
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:39 AM   #104
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The harness with camera mount is probably to provide POV video for the therapy participants. After your session you can have a video of your interaction from the whale's point of view.

It would be rather stupid to train a military spy whale this way. The whale is too friendly and seeks any human attention.

Hi, got anything for me to eat? Yes, that's a camera on my back and I'm filming you and do you have any fishy snacks for me? Of course you can remove my camera and you can take the harness too. Got any snacks for me? I can wait here for hours or days for you to bring me snacks. Hi, got anything for me to eat?

Yeah, that is a military weapon for sure.
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:45 AM   #105
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There are news reports saying that this whale continues to hang around tourist boats seeking interaction. A woman accidentally dropped her cellphone overboard and the whale immediately retrieved and returned it.
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:49 AM   #106
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
There are news reports saying that this whale continues to hang around tourist boats seeking interaction. A woman accidentally dropped her cellphone overboard and the whale immediately retrieved and returned it.
A good example of why you should always lock your phone. That whale could have gotten her photos and texts and posted to Facebook as her. Perhaps that's how the Russians made all those fake Facebook election influencing posts. By whale.
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Old 8th May 2019, 01:24 PM   #107
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I think it's time to take a look at the Norwegian expert again. He appears to have been right about one thing: The whale did come from Russia! But ...

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Originally Posted by dann View Post
So the Norwegian expert says that "Han er sikker på at hvithvalen som dukket opp i Finnmark kommer fra russisk side," i.e. he is certain (!) that the beluga whale comes from Russia. And he says that "Det er veldig sannsynlig at det er den russiske marinen" i.e. that it's very likely that the Russian Navy is behind this. Does he tell us why? Does he tell us what he bases his certainty on? Or why exactly he finds it likely that it's from the Russian Navy? Not as far as I recall, so he seems to be somebody who doesn't really know a thing, but has a lot of hypotheses.
...hypotheses which are agreed to also by the scientists from the University of Tromso, and by the Russian expert who was quoted from an interview he was giving to a domestic Russian audience. A navy program is acknowledged to exist. It is acknowledged to have used whales. Meanwhile, no scientific whale study program is known to use harnesses of this nature. This is not some kind of claimed superpower or sonic weapon that requires new technology that isn't yet known to exist; this is just putting two and two together and applying Occam's razor. Why you're contorting yourself to present the entire idea as an extraordinary claim is beyond me, except perhaps that you're feeling exorbitantly defensive over your use of RT being questioned and now you're extending that to the entire story.

At this point, of course, it is much easier to see what was wrong with Occam's razor:
1) An unusually affectionate beluga whale with a harness appears in Norway, not very far from the Russian border.
2) According to alleged experts, the Russian Navy trains sea mammals to be used in warfare for spying or for killing enemy divers.
3) We know absolutely nothing about what else Russia might be using beluga whales for, but we won't let our ignorance bother us or make us think twice.
So the logical conclusion based on our ignorance and supported by a biased ******* in Norway is that the poor animal must have escaped from the Russian Navy, right?!
Riiiiight!!!

Or as NBC put it:
"So could beluga whales be part of a new underwater spy ring? It's very likely we'll never know for sure."

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In your dreams, NBC! I look forward to hearing what (or if) they are going to report about. the 'news' from Fiskeribladet.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 8th May 2019 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 8th May 2019, 02:16 PM   #108
dann
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News about the ’therapy whale’ in Danish: Medie: Russisk 'spionhval' kan i virkeligheden være terapidyr (dr.dk, May 7, 2019)

The story in Fiskeribladet: «Hvaldimir» heter trolig «Semjon», og er en terapihval. Se video når den leker med barn (May 7, 2019)

Also:
Quote:
Da Fiskeribladet skrev om «Semjon» i 2008 var vi på besøk Arctic Circle Padi Dive Centre and Lodge i Karelen, men de bruker ikke hvithval lenger, får Fiskeribladet opplyst. De har derfor ingen kjennskap til om det er deres hvithval som nå er i Norge.
- Hammerfest må bruke hvalen (Fiskeribladet, May 8, 2019)

With Norwegian subtitles:
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 8th May 2019, 02:34 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
2) According to alleged experts, the Russian Navy trains sea mammals to be used in warfare for spying
Again, you refuse to let go of this lie and continue to base all of your dismissal on it.
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Old 8th May 2019, 02:58 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
The harness with camera mount is probably to provide POV video for the therapy participants. After your session you can have a video of your interaction from the whale's point of view.

This article has a different explanation:
Quote:
The reporter compared video footage of the beluga to the therapy whale playing with children and found that they looked identical. “They’re both demonstrating the same habits and quirks.”
But why the camera harness then? Vikeby has an answer for that as well. “The harness is attached because it is used to drag boats with children. The hooks aren’t for camera mounting, they’re for attaching to the bottom of the boat so that the whale can pull the children along. This is why he’s so social; he’s used to being around people and he’s used to ‘working’.”
Russian “Spy” is having a Whale of a Time (ISHLI, May 8, 2019)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 8th May 2019, 03:06 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
There are news reports saying that this whale continues to hang around tourist boats seeking interaction. A woman accidentally dropped her cellphone overboard and the whale immediately retrieved and returned it.

Also from the ISHLI article:

Quote:
Isa Odphal, like many others, had come to see the whale on Monday. She and her friends had headed out via boat from Hammerfest harbor in Norway. It didn’t take long for the beluga to head over to the boat and for the group to start taking pictures and videos. Unfortunately, Isa’s phone dropped into the icy waters of the ocean. Isa feared that her phone was gone forever when the whale did something that nobody expected: it dove after it.

Her friends were quick to capture the moment on video as well. “My phone slipped out of my hands and I remember thinking, ‘damn that sucks. There goes my phone, it’s gone forever. Then the whale suddenly just disappeared under the water. My friends and I were like, ‘is it really going after my phone? No way it’s going after it!’ But it definitely was. After a few moments, it surfaced with my phone its mouth.

Aaaaand we're back!

Quote:
The beluga’s ability to not only locate and find the phone in the frigid waters but the fact that it knew to retrieve and bring it back has definitely increased people’s speculation that the whale is in fact a Russian spy.

So if anybody sees an animal that knows how to retrieve and bring back whatever you drop or throw: Beware! It may be a Russian spy!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 8th May 2019 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 8th May 2019, 03:24 PM   #112
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Is it feasible or possible for Norway to contact Russia and say that "we have your escaped therapy whale... come and get it"?
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Old 8th May 2019, 03:29 PM   #113
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How about just "We have your whale?" The whole "therapy whale" thing is kind of ridiculous; there's no earthly reason the Russians wouldn't just announce that and ask for help getting it to return. It's undoubtedly a military whale, probably for taking pictures of suspect objects or some such. As I've posted a couple of times, the US Navy has been doing that for decades. I bet they've had a few get away, too.
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Old 8th May 2019, 03:37 PM   #114
William Parcher
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
How about just "We have your whale?" The whole "therapy whale" thing is kind of ridiculous; there's no earthly reason the Russians wouldn't just announce that and ask for help getting it to return. It's undoubtedly a military whale, probably for taking pictures of suspect objects or some such. As I've posted a couple of times, the US Navy has been doing that for decades. I bet they've had a few get away, too.
Russia doesn't want it back because it failed the training.

A spy whale is not supposed to be friendly with "enemy" vessels. The enemy can kill the whale or steal the camera or mount their own camera and send the whale back. Hahahaha... wouldn't it be hilarious if spy whale returns to Mother Russia with somebody else's camera doing some spying.

Like a Rocky Squirrel cartoon.
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Old 8th May 2019, 04:07 PM   #115
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I personally find the "therapy whale" explanation better than the military-use one. Although both have evidence supporting them, the therapy-training angle goes more toward explaining the whale's observed behavior with the boats and its tameness around strangers which, earlier when the only information we had involved the military program, had to be set aside as of dubious relevance.
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Old 8th May 2019, 05:07 PM   #116
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If the harness carried a bomb, you'd want the whale to get as close to boats and people as it could before you detonated it.
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Old 8th May 2019, 09:32 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Is it feasible or possible for Norway to contact Russia and say that "we have your escaped therapy whale... come and get it"?

They asked the wrong people:

Quote:
News outlets as well as Norway’s marine institution have reached out to Russian military bases, but so far they’ve remained unanswered.
(ISHLI, May 8, 2019)

I think I read (but I don't remember where) that the therapy facility has stopped using beluga whales so they probably don't want it back. And so far, it seems to be very happy where it is.
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Old 8th May 2019, 09:34 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If the harness carried a bomb, you'd want the whale to get as close to boats and people as it could before you detonated it.

It didn't.
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Old 8th May 2019, 09:38 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
It didn't.
Yes, I know that. I posted the original article, remember? I was responding to the idea that the whale's behaviour suggested that it wasn't military. If you were going to use the whale to carry a bomb to blow up a ship, you'd train it to seek out ships and people, not to avoid them. Do I think that's what this whale was actually trained for? No, I don't. But its apparent friendliness in no way disproves the idea that it had been trained by the military.
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Old 8th May 2019, 09:44 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
How about just "We have your whale?" The whole "therapy whale" thing is kind of ridiculous; there's no earthly reason the Russians wouldn't just announce that and ask for help getting it to return. It's undoubtedly a military whale, probably for taking pictures of suspect objects or some such. As I've posted a couple of times, the US Navy has been doing that for decades. I bet they've had a few get away, too.

"Undoubtedly." So we are in the presence of another expert! You're not very good at doubting your own bias, are you?
Did you notice that the Norwegians came up with "the whole "therapy whale" thing"?
Did you notice that they did so because a Norwegian magazine published an article about the Russian therapy facility in 2008?
Did you watch the footage of beluga whales and Russian children from that facility?
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