21 Comments

> "The aid bill provides $95.25 billion in aid to Israel, Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific countries, and about $60 billion in aid to Ukraine."

-- It's 95M in total 60M of which is directed for Ukraine-related needs.

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Apr 29Liked by Sarcastosaurus

Another update:

The Ukrainian government thought of banning Telegram (created and owned by an ex-Russian businessman) since 2022, but that was not possible to do because Telegram hosts in the cloud and thus is indistinguishable from many web sites. When Russians attempted to block it several years ago, they blocked a third part of their own Internet but Telegram was still functional.

This year there were more talks of forcing Telegram to filter its content as the Ukrainian government did not like the uncensored information exchange during the war. It seems that they contacted Apple and it forced Telegram to apply censorship by threatening it with removing Telegram from the Apple store.

As the result, all the Telegram chatbots where people from the occupied Ukraine reported positions of Russian vehicles and troops for GUR and SBU to strike were deleted - obviously as reporting positions of troops violates Ukrainian laws and Telegram is now forced to obey them.

https://kyivindependent.com/sbu-hur-chatbots-disappear/

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Apr 29Liked by Sarcastosaurus

So, this retaliation means that actually Telegram is helping Russia. Probably they were collecting information from Ukrainian accounts even before.

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This probably means that they don't have money to pay human moderators, thus they had to run a script and ban anything that looks unlawful.

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Apr 29·edited Apr 29

On the subject of TG, some of the biggest channels became locally unavailable to me in France since last October. Yes I mean Palestinians channels, including but not only "officials" ones, + Hezb affiliated.

So even if the channels or TG itself cannot be banned, it can be censured.

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I have no doubt that Telegram is under FSB control. No one in Russia can exist without the Russian secret service. Also www.vk.com , www.mail.ru , and so on are under control. It is clear that Russia try to make the same, but under the Russian government's control.

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Apr 29·edited Apr 29

For what sake then do GUR and SBU keep those Telegram chats where people report positions of Russian vehicles? That must lead the reporters directly into the hands of FSB. Is GUR that indifferent about the fate of its informers?

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Even the messages which were deleted in Telegram in the Russian secret service hands. Many POVs which were liberated said that the FSB officers have all your correspondence.

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Those are not secret channels from what I can understand, so FSB can follow anyway who is reporting where.

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I believe the messages to chatbots are not visible to other users. However, I did not need to check that in person.

On the other hand, user data is often hidden - other participants of the chat see only a nickname. If FSB had access to the internals of Telegram, they would know real phone numbers and IP addresses (location) of all its users.

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In my opinion, all online sources can be followed in one way or another, including this channel. And not even illegal. They have means and GDPR is a hoax. I am aware and I take the risks (and limit the applications). The question here is if the Russian Telegram owners will act against the Russian government in this war or they do what asked (unoficially). It's one thing to oppose to the government in peace times and another in war times.

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There is one owner (kinda Russian Zuckerberg) who fled the country a while ago. Even if he responds to individual requests, like the one about the recent shooting in the theater, he did not seem to have given them full access. Of course, they can try to poison him with Novichok, but they were unable to block Telegram without blocking the whole Internet.

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The frog is starting to boil --I hope!!! Glory to Ukraine.

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Apr 29·edited Apr 29

Don, thanks for the update

"Czech-led initiatives raised €240 million averaging €21 per donor." let me correct this not per donor but would average per CZ citizen if money were collected only by czech, but not ;-)

Also want to mention other NGO https://www.postbellum.cz/international/ i donate regularly (+ regular donation to Pople in need)

I do believe that other countries NGOs are active as well (Poland, Baltic states...), but dont have deep knowledge

P.S. here in CZ we accomodated aprox. 500k UA refugees (e.g. 5% of total CZ population - all without any refugee camps), kids are integrated into education system, adults started to work and so far it seems there will be cummulative net possitive in comparison of cost since 2022 vs. taxation income this year

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It would be interesting to view a consolidated site that recorded all the donations provided from across the world. But we know that so many people donate so much because Ukraine says that 5% of their military is funded by donations from Ukraine and the rest of the world.

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It's amazing how fast things change with technology. WWII was interesting in that (the war started wist some nations still flying biplane and it ended with jets), but this is so far beyond it. I knew a UA Artillery officer whose roommate and friend from the academy was the developer of the gunnery app that Ukraine used for it's artillery. Pretty much idiot proof, but he designed it so anyone with basic knowledge can compute accurate firing data. Very interesting how it was designed and it worked really well. And that was nearly 10 years ago now.

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Thank you again.

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Apr 30·edited Apr 30

It's worth noting those GDP numbers are misleading- as Tom has pointed out, a lot of the western economy is moving dollars or euros from one column to another without producing anything at all (eg: most of the finance industry). And a whole lot of producing intellectual property too. Service sector is also far, far larger than back then.

So more accurate comparison would be the percentage of the *manufacturing* sector that is devoted to defense spending now vs the total GDP numbers from WW2.

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That Czech campaign to build FPV drones https://www.dronynemesis.cz/en is interesting also because they use commercial 3D print farms and do not rely on volunteers, so the production is faster with less administrative overhead.

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Thanks for these reports Don

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