sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Election Tampering in 2016 (a review)

There is a lot of chatter within the lying, mendacious, puerile, corrupt, smug, elite mainstream media about Russian 'hacking'. It's time to take a look at the facts - where are we now - without the 'blame Trump' rant by shrill, nasty commentators and WAPO reporters.

There’s no standing allegation by U.S. officials that the Russians (or anyone else) “hacked” into our elections system or altered vote counts despite what the mainstream media would have you believe. Their effort is to delegitimize the election of President Trump - and the mainstream media behaves as if they were in the pay of the Russian Government, but I digress.

The FBI and DHS released a brief joint report at the first of the year describing “Russian Malicious Cyber Activity.”  You can read it for yourself or you can read my summary, below. All I'm reporting is what the FBI/DHS reported last December 29.
  • The U.S. believes two hacking groups tied to the Russian government are involved.
  • The U.S. has nicknamed the hacking groups “APT28” or “Fancy Bear,” and “APT29” or “Cozy Bear.” APT stands for “Advanced Persistent Threat.”
  • The U.S. believes the GRU, Russia’s military service, is behind APT28.
  • The U.S. believes the FSB, Russia’s counterintelligence agency headquartered in the building of the former KGB, is behind APT29.
  • The U.S. believes the groups accessed “a political party” by sending emails that tricked users into clicking links that planted malware or directed them to Russian servers.
  • The U.S. believes APT29 entered into “the party’s systems” in summer 2015, and APT28 in spring 2016.
  • The U.S. believes APT28 provided the stolen emails to WikiLeaks, which WikiLeaks denies.
U.S. officials allege that hackers employed by the Russian government, stole internal emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta and provided them to WikiLeaks. (The U.S. joint report cited above doesn’t mention the DNC, Podesta or WikiLeaks by name.) Essentially, the Russians asked Podesta for his e-mail password, which was "password" and he gave it to them. I realize that this sounds all too simple - but Podesta rolls that way.

Podesta Emails on WikiLeaks
DNC Emails on WikiLeaks

U.S. officials have not alleged that anyone falsified the emails provided to WikiLeaks. The Russians just handed over (allegedly) what they found. Since I'm sure they were certain that "you can't make this stuff up", there was no need to.

U.S. intel officials have named the Russian hacking campaign “Grizzly Steppe.” No mention in the report is made of Seth Rich, the Clinton campaign staffer who was murdered under suspicious circumstances outside of his home at night (and not robbed). We also know that Rich was in contact with WikiLeaks. Apparently Team Clinton found that out too... Is Seth Rich comparing notes with Vince Foster in heaven? You be the judge.

There has been no effort on the part of USGOV to date (in open sources), to attach the theft of e-mail to Rich. It doesn't square with the Russian theory. Make what you will of that. WikiLeaks disputes the U.S. assessment blaming Russia for the DNC leaks. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says: “Our source is not the Russian government… We have U.S. intelligence saying that say they know how we got our stuff and when we got it, and us saying we didn’t get it from a state.” Former British ambassador Craig Murray backs up Assange’s version: “I know who leaked them. I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.”

The private cyber firm Crowd Strike had determined in June 2016 that Russian agencies were behind the DNC cyberattacks. That doesn't rule out that Seth Rich also provided information tangentially to the Russians. 

And the mainstream media blames Donald Trump.

Geopolitical Thoughts

How is Turkey like North Korea?

On 21 May, Turkish President Erdogan announced that the state of emergency would continue until the country achieved “welfare and peace.” The state of emergency allows President Erdogan and his cabinet to issue decrees without parliamentary oversight or review by the constitutional court.

Erdogan is instituting a perpetual state of emergency. It would seem to make the constitutional referendum in April unnecessary because Erdogan decides when welfare and peace have been achieved.

The North Korean regime justifies its authoritarian restrictions in a similar manner.

As with North Korea, Turkey will begin rewriting its text books to reflect the "new history".

Meanwhile, in the USA, the progressives are busily trying to rewrite the history of the nation to reflect how they would prefer that it reads. Because university professors (elites) are beyond reproach, they are given a free hand in their interpretations.

China's Browbeaten Neighbors

China is causing some interesting changes in the Asian-Pacific geopolitical landscape as small nations are banding together to stand against the hegemon of Asia.

     Japan and Vietnam

The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers, JS Izumo and JS Sazanami, arrived at Cam Ranh Bay on 20 May. (See map below)

JS Izumo
The destroyers will join other ships, including the US Navy’s high-speed transport ship Fall River, in joint exercises for humanitarian support and disaster responses. 

The commander of the Izumo flotilla, Rear Admiral Yoshihiro Goka, said the port call shows Japan's determination to make further contributions to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. He also said Japan will improve security cooperation with the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This is the first time that the JS Izumo has docked at Cam Ran Bay. It is a "helicopter destroyer" that looks like a pocket aircraft carrier and the largest ship in the Maritime Self-Defense Force. It is Japan’s first show of naval force in Southeast Asia since World War II.

On 1 May, the Izumo task group left Japan on a 100-day voyage to Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean countries. In July, it will join the Indian Navy and the US Navy in this year’s Malabar naval exercises in the Indian Ocean.**

     The Philippines

Foreign Secretary Cayetano walked back President Duterte’s words about Chinese President Xi threatening war over the Spratly Islands. Foreign Secretary Cayetano said the meeting between the two Presidents was frank and friendly and the discussion was largely about preventing conflict, not threatening it.
"The conversation was very frank. There was mutual respect, there was mutual trust," Cayetano told reporters. "The context was not threatening each other, that we will go to war. The context is how do we stabilize the region and how do we prevent conflict." 
He said, "I will not contradict the president's words. I am just telling you ... my interpretation: there was no bullying or pushing around, it was not a threat."
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Philippines was "very clear that we are not giving up our claim of sovereignty and sovereign rights." (sorry, Ernesto, the Spratleys are gone to China - that might not have happened if you'd kept the US as an ally - but that ship has sailed and all of those drilling rights went with it)

Philippine President Duterte was pandering to his audience, the coast guard auxiliary. Many Philippine veterans and Duterte’s political opposition criticize the President for compromising Philippine claims to sovereignty to some of the Spratly Islands. Some have called for his impeachment because of his failure to press Philippine rights, as supported by the findings of the International Arbitral Tribunal.

     Chinese Assertions

In an act of imperialism, China annexed the Spratley Islands,  built man-made islands, laid runways and fortified the islands. Now they 'belong to China' despite (toothless) findings by the UN to the contrary. China will now defend that territory in the South China Sea as if it was mainland China as a matter of law.
We don't know what the Chinese told President Duarte. Chinese President Xi might have said as a statement of law and fact that China will go to war in the sense of use military force to stop a Philippine attempt to drill for oil in the Spratlys. 
Chinese leaders are required by the Anti-Secession Law of March 2005 to prevent by all means, including force, the alienation of any land over which China claims sovereignty. Thus, Taiwan cannot declare itself an independent republic without the certainty of a Chinese invasion attempt. The Uighurs cannot secede from western China without incurring a Chinese ground force invasion. Any attempt by any Spratly Islands claimants to engage in new exploitation of sea and seabed resources without Chinese permission can expect a Chinese sabotage or an attack to prevent it.

NOTES

** A Comparison in fleet size between the UK and Japan. Both are industrialized island nations that depend on trade for their existence.

Japan
4 Helicopter Carriers/DDH
36 Destroyers and Guided Missile Destroyers
17 Attack Submarines

UK
3 Landing ships/Helicopter platforms
19 Destroyers and Frigates
7 Attack Submarines
4 Ballistic Missile Submarines