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Is Russia REALLY Behind the DNC Hack?

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Julian Assange and Joran Jermas aka "Israel Shamir," his Holocaust-denier associate

Julian Assange and Joran Jermas aka “Israel Shamir,” his Holocaust-denier associate

Lee Harvey Oswald: Ersatz Communist

Lee Harvey Oswald: Ersatz Communist

COMMENT: Some cyber-security experts view the “Russian intelligence” hacking of DNC computers as suspiciously transparent. Noting that the hacker seems to have left information available pointing to a Russian culprit, some have asked if a serious, professional intelligence service would do something like that.

It reminds us of the Lee Harvey Oswald doubles who were traveling all around and taking actions that would point to, and incriminate Oswald as the supposed assassin who killed President Kennedy. Recall that one of the nicknames we have assigned Snowden is “The Obverse Oswald.”

We wonder if “Team Snowden” might have something to do with this? Julian Assange has been quite open about wanting to damage Hillary Clinton’s chances to win the Presidency.

Both Snowden and Julian Assange are ultra-right wingers and big fans of Ron Paul, who expresses sentiments similar to those voiced by the Trumpenkampfverbande. The hack seems likely to propel Hillary more in the direction of the New Cold War than she is already inclined to navigate, if she wins.

WikiLeaks’ operations for Russia and Scandinavia are overseen by Assange’s Holocaust denying close aide Joran Jermas (aka “Israel Shamir”) and his son Johannes Wahlstrom, a bird of the same political feather. It was Jermas/Shamir who arranged for WikiLeaks to be hosted on the Pirate Bay server, financed by Swedish fascist Carl Lundstrom.

Snowden, of course, is in Russia right now, working for a computer firm. Does he have anything to do with this? Recall it was Snowden’s journey to Russia, courtesy of Sarah Harrison and WikiLeaks, that put the final nail in the coffin of the “reboot with Russia” undertaken by Obama’s State Department under Hillary Clinton.

Pierre Omidyar, who’s First Look Media were the recipient of Snowden’s NSA files and which employs Nazi fellow-traveler Glenn Greenwald, helped finance the Ukraine coup.

In a future program and/or post, we will look at “corporate Germany’s” dissatisfaction with the sanctions on Russia. They are costing German firms a great deal of money. Bear in mind that the Bormann capital network controls corporate Germany. The situation of German firms and Russia must also be evaluated against traditional German “Ostpolitik,” which is covered at length in Germany Plots with the Kremlin available for download for free on this website.

We mention this, because Trump’s comments about Putin, Russia and NATO have led most observers to assume he is a “Kremlin stooge.” We suspect he may actually be under the control of the Bormann capital network and his expressed attitudes toward Russia reflect corporate Germany’s dissatisfaction with the US-led sanctions.

UPDATE: A former German hacktivist has weighed in, casting further doubt on Russian authorship of the hack.

“Russia Wanted to Be Caught, Says Company Waging War on the DNC Hackers” by Patrick Tucker; Defense One; 7/28/2016.

. . . . But security expert Jeff Carr thought the smoke off this smoking-gun was a bit too thick. In his minority report, he asks: what kind of spy ring tags their stolen docs before releasing them under a cover?

“Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor,” he wrote.

“If you were to reduce the very high level of cybercrime, states wouldn’t be able to carry out these attacks. They would lose this plausible deniability and it would become a more straightforward attack. I think they want to make it difficult for leaders to have the kind of unambiguous statement that drives policy in a democracy,” Porter said. “They want to make it hard to respond. But they probably don’t mind getting caught, in the sense that they want to send a message.” . . . .

Crowdstrike president Shawn Henry is dubious. “I don’t know what kind of foreign intelligence service conducting a covert operation wants to be found,” he said on Thursday, but added that CrowdStrike picked up the DNC hack within 48 hours and that it “wasn’t difficult.” . . . .

Discussion

6 comments for “Is Russia REALLY Behind the DNC Hack?”

  1. Wired has a piece on the ongoing vulnerabilities in the US’s electronic voting machines that makes a rather important point in the context of the suspicions that Russia is playing a pro-Trump role in the US elections by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails: While the article asserts that the odds of Russia hacking the US election is quite low given the potential blowback even if you assume the Kremlin is behind the DNC email hack, even if there is no hacking of the voting machines in the upcoming election the very fact that some machines can be hacked basically gives someone like Donald Trump and excuse to challenge and try to invalidate the election results should he lose.

    The article goes on to point out that the number of states with machines vulnerable to hacking isn’t as many of is often assumed, but there are still key swing states like Pennsylvania that remain vulnerable. So whether or not electronic voting machine hacking becomes a real issue with the integrity of the 2016 election, the existing vulnerabilities are still large enough to easily become a real threat to the perception of the integrity of the election, which is almost as bad:

    Wired

    America’s Electronic Voting Machines Are Scarily Easy Targets

    Brian Barrett

    08.02.16 9:57 am

    This week, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump openly speculated that this election would be “rigged.” Last month, Russia decided to take an active role in our election. There’s no basis for questioning the results of a vote that’s still months away. But the interference and aspersions do merit a fresh look at the woeful state of our outdated, insecure electronic voting machines.

    We’ve previously discussed the sad state of electronic voting machines in America, but it’s worth a closer look as we approach election day itself, and within the context of increased cyber-hostilities between the US and Russia. Besides, by now states have had plenty of warning since a damning report by the Brennan Center for Justice about our voting machine vulnerabilities came out last September. Surely matters must have improved since then.

    Well, not exactly. In fact, not really at all.

    Rise of the Machines

    Most people remember the vote-counting debacle of the 2000 election, the dangling chads that resulted in the Supreme Court breaking a Bush-Gore deadlock. What people may not remember is the resulting Help America Vote Act (HAVA), passed in 2002, which among other objectives worked to phase out the use of the punchcard voting systems that had caused millions of ballots to be tossed.

    In many cases, those dated machines were replaced with electronic voting systems. The intentions were pure. The consequences were a technological train wreck.

    The extent of vulnerability isn’t just hypothetical; late last summer, Virginia decertified thousands of insecure WinVote machines. As one security researcher described it, “anyone within a half mile could have modified every vote, undetected” without “any technical expertise.” The vendor had gone out of business years prior.

    The WinVote systems are an extreme case, but not an isolated one. Other voting machine models have potentially vulnerable wireless components; Virginia’s just the only one where a test proved how bad the situation was.

    The worst part about the current state of voting machines is that they don’t even require outside interference to undo an election. “They’re all computers. They run on tens of thousands of lines of code,” says Norden. “It’s impossible to have a perfectly secure, perfectly reliable computer.”

    That’s true, but in fairness, most computers aren’t quite this imperfect, either.

    A Good Kind of Audit

    So electronic voting machines aren’t ideal. The good news is, it’s entirely possible to mitigate any potential harm they might cause, either by malice or mistake.

    First, it’s important to realize that electronic voting machines aren’t as commonplace as one might assume. Three-quarters of the country will vote on a paper ballot this fall, says Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, a group that promotes best practices at the polls. Only five states—Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and New Jersey—use “direct recording electronic” (DRE) machines exclusively. But lots of other states use electronic machines in some capacity. Verified Voting also has a handy map of who votes using what equipment, which lets you drill down both to specific counties and machine brands, so you can see what’s in use at your polling station.

    More than half of the states conduct post-election auditing, by checking vote totals against paper records, to ensure that the votes are accurate. Both Smith and Norden agree that this sort of auditing is the single best way to guarantee confidence in election results, as does MIT computer scientist Ronald Rivest, who has written extensively [PDF] on voting machine issues.

    The problem is that not every state does post-election audits. And even some that require them by law, namely Pennsylvania and Kentucky, don’t actually use voter-verifiable paper trails, meaning they have no way to complete an audit. And progress toward more and better auditing is slow; Maryland just put an auditable system in place this year, Smith says, and will pilot it during the fall election. Over a dozen states still have no audit procedure at all.

    The problem with putting these auditing systems in place is the same one keeping more reliable voting machines from the booths in the first place: a lack of money and political will. There’s new voting equipment out there that’s much more secure than the machines states purchased in bulk a decade or more ago, but only a handful of states and municipalities—Rhode Island, DC, and parts of Wisconsin among them—have upgraded in the past year.

    “The money’s not there right now,” says Norden. “We interviewed election officials who told us what they were hearing from their state legislators and others who would be funding this type of equipment, and they say come back to us after there’s some kind of crisis.”

    Which, if they wait long enough, is exactly what they’re going to get.

    Rigging the Vote

    For what it’s worth, electronic voting machines have been this hackable in previous elections as well, and there’s no indication—even in Virginia—that there’s ever been any interference.

    This year feels different though, in no small measure because of Russia’s alleged responsibility for the DNC hack. If Putin would go so far as release those emails, would he pursue a direct assault on our vulnerable voting machines as well?

    The short answer? Nyet.

    “Putin’s not very nice, but he’s not stupid,” says Ryan Maness, a visiting fellow at Northeastern University who specializes in international cyber conflict and Russian foreign policy. “If they were going to mess with the voting machines and the vote-counting software, they wouldn’t have done the DNC hack.”

    Maness argues that the DNC hack and subsequent email release has put a spotlight on Russia. The blowback from such direct interference in a United States election would be too severe. Besides, Maness says, Putin’s main objective was likely to embarrass Hillary Clinton, rather than elevate Trump. And he’s certainly achieved that much already.

    But even if Maness is wrong, the even better news is that the three states that will likely decide the election—Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—have voting machines that are in relatively good shape. Florida has an audit requirement in place, while Ohio not only conducts audits, Smith says, it has an “automatic recount provision,” where close races trigger a manual recount without requiring a candidate to request one. “Pennsylvania is of the most concern” among those three, says Smith, “based on the fact they have so many paperless DREs in use.” Even there, though, election officials will actively deploy paper ballots in the event that those machines fail.

    Still, unlikelihood that Russia would tamper with our voting machines hasn’t lifted the sense of unease around the election. When Donald Trump suggests the election might be “rigged,” he’s referring to a host of potential disruptions, from the times and dates of scheduled debates to whatever else he might bend to his narrative. In November, should he lose, he’ll find the voting machines to be an easy target.

    That suspicion is the real danger of electronic voting systems, and especially of those that can’t be easily or effectively audited. If you can’t guarantee that there was no tampering—which not every state can—it might not matter if any actually took place. In the wrong hands, the doubt itself is damaging enough.

    “Still, unlikelihood that Russia would tamper with our voting machines hasn’t lifted the sense of unease around the election. When Donald Trump suggests the election might be “rigged,” he’s referring to a host of potential disruptions, from the times and dates of scheduled debates to whatever else he might bend to his narrative. In November, should he lose, he’ll find the voting machines to be an easy target.

    Keep in mind that all of this could have been avoided if state legislators weren’t holding out for a crisis first:


    The problem with putting these auditing systems in place is the same one keeping more reliable voting machines from the booths in the first place: a lack of money and political will. There’s new voting equipment out there that’s much more secure than the machines states purchased in bulk a decade or more ago, but only a handful of states and municipalities—Rhode Island, DC, and parts of Wisconsin among them—have upgraded in the past year.

    “The money’s not there right now,” says Norden. “We interviewed election officials who told us what they were hearing from their state legislators and others who would be funding this type of equipment, and they say come back to us after there’s some kind of crisis.”

    Which, if they wait long enough, is exactly what they’re going to get.

    Also keep in mind that the current nightmare situation is actually the result of a response to a crisis: the 2000 Florida recount. So waiting for a crisis and panicking might not be the best approach.

    Oh, and don’t forget that the GOP has an almost complete stranglehold on state governments.
    So it’s pretty clear that this situation is going to linger until there’s a crisis. Real or perceived. And perhaps that’s one possible positive outcome if Trump loses and immediately charges that electronic voting machines did him in: maybe Trump will create the crisis required to finally get rid of the garbage machines and implement systems with meaningful safeguards. Or course, that assumes that Trump doesn’t lose and immediate challenge the election with an armed insurrection or something:

    Talking Points Memo Livewire

    Trump: ‘I’m Afraid’ The General Election’s ‘Gonna Be Rigged’

    By Katherine Krueger
    Published August 1, 2016, 4:35 PM EDT

    At a Monday campaign event in Columbus, Ohio, Donald Trump teed up for a potential challenge to the integrity of the fall general election, an escalation of his rhetoric about the “rigged” primary system.

    “I’m afraid the election’s gonna be rigged, I have to be honest,” Trump told the crowd.

    While Trump has often questioned the integrity of the primary contests in both parties, his newest remarks seemed to begin laying groundwork for him to contest the Nov. 8 election results.

    It was a line of attack that longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone pushed on a podcast with Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos that was posted online Friday. Stone suggested voter fraud is “widespread” and said if Hillary Clinton wins a state like Florida after polls show Trump in the lead, the election would be “illegitimate.”

    “If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government,” Stone said. He also promised a “bloodbath” if the Democrats attempt to “steal” the election.

    “”If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government,” Stone said. He also promised a “bloodbath” if the Democrats attempt to “steal” the election.

    Keep in mind that Roger Stone was explicitly talking about the risk of Diebold voting machines in the interview before he promised a “bloodbath” if the Democrats attempt to “steal” the election and actually concluded that Diebold machines likely helped George W. Bush steal the 2004 election from John Kerry and Karl Rove tried to steal the 2012 electronically but Obama paid the hackers more:

    Breitbart

    Roger Stone on The Milo Show: How Trump Can Fight Voter Fraud

    by Charlie Nash
    29 Jul 2016

    Republican strategist, lobbyist, and Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone joined Breitbart‘s Milo Yiannopoulos on the latest episode of the Milo Yiannopoulos Show to discuss voter fraud and how Trump has the ability to beat it.

    “I think your audience knows, I think we all know, that in this day and age, a computer can do anything. These voter machines are essentially a computer. Who is to say they could not be rigged?” asked Stone on the topic of voter fraud.

    “Of course they can. Now, you ask me why the Republicans don’t do it, but sadly I think they do,” Stone said. “That’s why I briefly had to leave the Republican Party and become a Libertarian.”

    “I have no doubt that after the last election, when Karl Rove, who was George Bush’s campaign manager and a Romney partisan, insisted that ‘no no, your numbers have to be wrong,’ he said on Fox, ‘Romney definitely carried Ohio,’ and the reason he was so certain is because it was bought and paid for,” he claimed. “He knew the fix was supposed to be in. Therefore I can only conclude that sometimes things don’t stay bought, and perhaps Obama came in with a better offer.”

    “Yeah, the elections are rigged for one entity or another. So, who are the perpetrators? The perpetrators are the people who manufacture and sell these machines. The most common electronic voting machine, which is really just a computer, is a company called Diebold,” Stone replied.

    “Diebold’s top executives and owners of the company are major donors to the Bush’s. Is this a major factor on how George W. Bush quite improbably beat John Kerry? An election that all truths on paper, Kerry should’ve won, and Bush should have lost,” questioned Stone.

    “I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly,” Stone said. “He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’”

    “If you can’t have an honest election, nothing else counts,” he continued. “I think he’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be a rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. The government will be shut down if they attempt to steal this and swear Hillary in. No, we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it.”

    “So, I mean the dream here, the ultimate ideal is that he wins by such a significant margin nationally that this is unnecessary,” Yiannopoulos concluded. “But it’s interesting to hear you say this, and it’s funny also, because Trump will go there. He will go to the places other politicians wont, and he’s probably the only person to run for president within the last fifty years who would dare to do this, and might even get away with it. It’s remarkable isn’t it how he’s just sort of re-injected reality into politics”.

    “I think we have widespread voter fraud, but the first thing that Trump needs to do is begin talking about it constantly…He needs to say for example, today would be a perfect example: ‘I am leading in Florida. The polls all show it. If I lose Florida, we will know that there’s voter fraud. If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.’

    That’s Roger Stone’s advice to Trump: Talk about electronic voting machine fraud constantly, and when he’s leading in a poll in a state like Florida use that moment to declare that is he does lose that state it’s due to electronic voting machine fraud which means “we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government.”

    Yep, Trump can’t lose using this strategy. At least not in the minds of his supporters. If he wins, it’s because he’s a winner (and not because Wikileaks hackers or the Kremlin ‘assisted’ him), and if he loses it’s because Hillary stole the election and the government is no longer legitimate. Given all that, if you’re an enemy of the United States, not only do you want to hack the election, you also want to do it blatantly, frame some other group (since hackers can often do that), and ensure they caught in the act.

    So let’s hope all those remaining vulnerable machines will get fixed before the next election. Also, let’s hope there’s a next election. Threats a bloodbaths sort of complicate those kinds of hope.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 2, 2016, 6:12 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    Keep an eye peeled for hacking attributed to Russia, but actually done by–who knows?

    The “Russia hacked the DNC” doesn’t pass the sniffs test, as discussed in the post to which you commented.

    With Eddie the Friendly Spook in Russia and working with computers and the fascists at WikiLeaks manifesting precisely what David Golumbia discussed, it is going to be interesting, to say the least.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | August 2, 2016, 9:33 pm
  3. @Dave: The Council on Foreign Relation’s blog has an interesting piece by Dr. Sandro Gaycken, a Berlin-based former ‘hacktivist’ who now advises NATO and the German government on cyber-security matters, that makes the case that the evidence implicating Russia was very much the type of evidence a talented team could spoof. He also notes that some of the tools used in the hack were the same used last year when Angela Merkel’s computer was hacked and used to infect other computers at the Bundestag. That hack was also blamed on Russian hackers. But, again, as the article below points out, when the evidence for who is responsible is highly spoofable, confidently assigning blame is almost too easy:

    Council on Foreign Relations Blog

    Blaming Russia For the DNC Hack Is Almost Too Easy

    by Guest Blogger
    August 1, 2016

    Dr. Sandro Gaycken is the Director of the Digital Society Institute, a former hacktivist, and a strategic advisor to NATO, some German DAX-companies and the German government on cyber matters.

    The hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) definitely looks Russian. The evidence is compelling. The tools used in the incident appeared in previous cases of alleged Russian espionage, some of which appeared in the German Bundestag hack. The attackers, dubbed Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, have been known for years and have long been rumored to have a Russian connection. Other indicators such as IP addresses, language and location settings in the documents’ metadata and code compilation point to Russia. The Kremlin is also known to practice influence operations, and a leak before the Democrats’ convention fits that profile as does laundering the information through a third party like Wikileaks. Finally, the cui bono makes sense as well; Russia may favor Donald Trump given his Putin-friendly statements and his views on NATO.

    Altogether, it looks like a clean-cut case. But before accusing a nuclear power like Russia of interfering in a U.S. election, these arguments should be thoroughly and skeptically scrutinized.

    A critical look exposes the significant flaws in the attribution. First, all of the technical evidence can be spoofed. Although some argue that spoofing the mound of uncovered evidence is too much work, it can easily be done by a small team of good attackers in three or four days. Second, the tools used by Cozy Bear appeared on the black market when they were first discovered years ago and have been recycled and used against many other targets, including against German industry. The reuse and fine-tuning of existing malware happens all the time. Third, the language, location settings, and compilation metadata can easily be altered by changing basic settings on the attacker’s computer in five minutes without the need of special knowledge. None of technical evidence is convincing. It would only be convincing if the attackers used entirely novel, unique, and sophisticated tools with unmistakable indicators pointing to Russia supported by human intelligence, not by malware analysis.

    The DNC attackers also had very poor, almost comical, operational security (OPSEC). State actors tend to have a quality assurance review when developing cyberattack tools to minimize the risk of discovery and leaving obvious crumbs behind. Russian intelligence services are especially good. They are highly capable, tactically and strategically agile, and rational. They ensure that offensive tools are tailored and proportionate to the signal they want to send, the possibility of disclosure and public perception, and the odds of escalation. The shoddy OPSEC just doesn’t fit what we know about Russian intelligence.

    The claim that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian false flag operation may not hold up either. If Russia wanted to cover up the fact it had hacked the DNC, why create a pseudonym that could only attract more attention and publish emails? Dumping a trove of documents all at once is less valuable than cherry picking the most damaging information and strategically leaking it in a crafted and targeted fashion, as the FSB, SVR or GRU have probably done in the past. Also, leaking to Wikileaks isn’t hard. They have a submission form.

    Given these arguments, blaming Russia is not a slam dunk. Why would a country with some of the best intelligence services in the world commit a whole series of really stupid mistakes in a highly sensitive operation? Why pick a target that has a strong chance of leading to escalatory activity when Russia is known to prefer incremental actions over drastic ones? Why go through the trouble of a false flag when doing nothing would have been arguably better? Lastly, how does Russia benefit from publicly backing Donald Trump given that Republicans have been skeptical of improving relations?

    The evidence and information in the public domain strongly suggests Russia was behind the DNC hack, even though Russian intelligence services would have had the choice of not making it so clear cut given what we know about their tools, tactics, procedures, and thinking.

    The DNC hack leads to at least four “what if” questions, each with its own significant policy consequences. First, if Russia had poor operational security and misjudged its target, it needs to be educated about the sensitivity of certain targets in its favorite adversary countries to avoid a repeat of this disaster. Second, if Russia deliberately hacked the DNC to leak confidential information, it would represent a strategic escalation on behalf of the Kremlin and the world would need to prepare for difficult times ahead. Third, if the breach and leak were perpetrated by a bunch of random activists using the pseudonym “Guccifer 2.0“, it would be the first instance of non-state actors succeeding in creating a global incident with severe strategic implications, demanding more control of such entities and a much better design of escalatory processes among nations. Finally, it is entirely possible that this was a false flag operation by an unknown third party to escalate tensions between nuclear superpowers. If this is the case, this party has to be uncovered.

    “The DNC hack leads to at least four “what if” questions, each with its own significant policy consequences. First, if Russia had poor operational security and misjudged its target, it needs to be educated about the sensitivity of certain targets in its favorite adversary countries to avoid a repeat of this disaster. Second, if Russia deliberately hacked the DNC to leak confidential information, it would represent a strategic escalation on behalf of the Kremlin and the world would need to prepare for difficult times ahead. Third, if the breach and leak were perpetrated by a bunch of random activists using the pseudonym “Guccifer 2.0“, it would be the first instance of non-state actors succeeding in creating a global incident with severe strategic implications, demanding more control of such entities and a much better design of escalatory processes among nations. Finally, it is entirely possible that this was a false flag operation by an unknown third party to escalate tensions between nuclear superpowers. If this is the case, this party has to be uncovered.

    That last point seems pretty critical because if this really was carried about by an unknown third party designed to ratchet up tensions between the world’s two leading nuclear powers at a time when tensions are already ratcheted up, that’s sort of an attack on life on Earth and arguably a lot serious than if Russia was behind it. While it would be a serious and rather insane move on the Kremlin’s part if it meddled in this manner in a US presidential election, that’s probably a lot less scary than unknown third party actors with sophisticated hacking skills who are intent on ratcheting up tensions between nuclear powers. Because there’s no reason to assume they’ll stop here. For all we know spoof hacks designed to pit the US and Russia against each other, or maybe the India and Pakistan or any other pair of nuclear armed adversaries, could be emerging as the New Normal.

    Let’s also keep in mind that, whether or not the Kremlin was behind the DNC hack, the precedent of state-sanctioned hacking to meddle in a foreign election has effectively been set and that means not only is it possible that the US could retaliate in kind and release some embarrassing info on Putin but there’s also nothing stopping a unknown third party from spoofing a US attack and taking this situation to another level. We could literally have a single unknown third party fight both sides of the same spoofed cyberwar. Or maybe other previously uninvolved unknown third parties could join in on the fun. That’s the opaque nature of the modern digital landscape.

    Yikes.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2016, 5:24 pm
  4. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_57a2575ee4b04414d1f365b1

    “Meanwhile, he [Assange] has attracted support from powerful anti-U.S. actors in his battle with Swedish authorities. Two right-wing political parties in Europe that are skeptical of Washington . . . the far-right National Front in France and the pro-Brexit U.K. Independence Party, have called for their countries to grant Assange asylum so he can avoid questioning by Sweden.”

    Posted by Sterling Snuff | August 3, 2016, 7:37 pm
  5. Check out what appears to be Julian Assange’s latest attempt to get Donald Trump elected: While Assange refused to answer who the source was for the DNC email hack during a TV interview, he did very strongly hint that the source was Seth Rich, a recently murdered young DNC staffer, although he also left enough wiggle room to deny what he just strongly suggested. Also, Wikileaks just offered $20,000 for anyone with information on Rich’s murder. The Force The Trump is strong with this one:

    Slate

    WikiLeaks Is Fanning a Conspiracy Theory That Hillary Murdered a DNC Staffer

    By Jeremy Stahl
    Aug. 9 2016 6:35 PM

    Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks organization appear to be actively encouraging a conspiracy theory that a Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered for nefarious political purposes, perhaps by Hillary Clinton.

    Seth Rich was killed last month in Washington, D.C., in an early morning shooting that police have speculated was a failed robbery. Because Rich did voter outreach for the DNC and because we live in a ridiculous world, conspiracy theorists have glommed on to a fantastical story that Rich was an FBI informant meeting with purported agents who were actually a hit team sent by Hillary Clinton. There is of course absolutely zero evidence for this and Snopes has issued a comprehensive debunking of the premise (Rich is only 27 and has only worked at the DNC since 2014 so is unlikely to be in possession of information that might take down Clinton, he was on the phone with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting and she hasn’t reported any FBI meeting, there have been a string of robberies in the area, an FBI rendezvous at 4 a.m. only happens in movies, the whole thing is batshit crazy, etc.).

    The fact that the idea is so absurd, though, has not stopped Assange from suggesting that Rich was murdered for nefarious political purposes either because he was an informant for the FBI or because he may have been a source in last month’s WikiLeaks release of thousands of DNC emails. In an interview on Tuesday that was picked up by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, Assange seemed to lend credence to the idea that Rich had been retaliated against.

    “WikiLeaks never sits on material. Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks,” Assange said in an interview with the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur. “There’s a 27-year-old who works for the DNC who was shot in the back, murdered, just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons as he was walking down the streets in Washington.”

    When Assange was questioned as to what the hell he was talking about, he said, “I’m suggesting that our sources take risks and they are—they become concerned to see things occurring like that.”

    The implication here is that either Assange’s sources are fearful that Rich might have been a whistleblower to the FBI or someone else and was taken out by Clinton or others—as the conspiracy theory suggests—or that he was a whistleblower for Assange’s group and was murdered because of that.

    When the interviewer asked Assange if he was implying that Rich was a WikiLeaks source, he said, “We don’t comment on who our sources are.”

    On Tuesday, WikiLeaks sent out a tweet offering a $20,000 reward for information about Rich’s murder:

    ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016

    “We are investigating to understand what happened in that situation with Seth Rich,” Assange told the Dutch network. “I think it is a concerning situation. There’s not a conclusion yet, we wouldn’t be willing to state a conclusion, but we are concerned about it and more importantly a variety of Wikileaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens.”

    “When the interviewer asked Assange if he was implying that Rich was a WikiLeaks source, he said, “We don’t comment on who our sources are.””

    Yes, Wikileaks never comments on who its sources are. Of course, that comment came right after a string of statements by Assange that strongly suggested that Seth Rich was indeed the Wikileaks source. So, either Wikileaks has some real evidence that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC email hack or Assange is basically trying to confuse investigators and smear a dead DNC staffer in order to get Donald Trump elected president. Because he cares about the world.

    Beyond the many questions this latest stunt raises about the relationship between the Trump campaign and Assange, you also have to wonder if Wikileaks has any intention of turning over their evidence that Rich was their source to investigators. Because if he really was Wikileak’s source that would be a hugely important piece of information for investigators. So unless we learn that Wikileaks turns over evidence that Rich was the source it’s going to be really hard to take this claim seriously. After all, it’s not like Wikileaks would be protecting Rich’s identity at this point after that interview.

    Note that Rich’s family is dismissing Assange’s suggestion and is asking that it not be taken seriously. But, hey, if this is real and Wikileaks really does have evidence that Rich was their source that would indeed be quite a twist. Of course, if that evidence doesn’t emerge that would also be a twist, albeit merely the latest twist in Julian Assange’s long weird path to becoming Donald Trump’s lead hacker.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 10, 2016, 5:11 pm
  6. @Pterrafractyl–

    Oh, so it was Seth Rich, not Russia?

    I’m confused. Of course, Assange is a VERY credible source, as is Roger Stone.

    We aren’t being taken for a ride, are we?

    Posted by Dave Emory | August 10, 2016, 5:53 pm

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