tptb must be getting desperate

Triple Fake News Day: NK, Syria and the Trump
Moon of Alabama, May 16 2017

It is fake news day. Three stories are making the rounds through the media that are each based on false or widely exaggerated interpretation of claims. NK, Syria and Trump are the targets.

  1. The WSJ asserts with a #fakenews headline, Researchers Identify Clue Connecting Ransomware Assault to Group Tied to North Korea, that bits of computer-code in the recent WannaCry ransom virus are identical with bits of computer code that was allegedly used in a 2014 hack of Sony, which was falsely attributed to NK:

    Neel Mehta, a security researcher at Alphabet Inc’s Google unit, on Monday pointed out similarities between that earlier WannaCry variant and code used in a series of attacks that security specialists have attributed to the Lazarus group.

    The “Lazerus group” (which probably does not exist at all) was attributed to NK state agencies. But six paragraphs later we learn:

    The findings don’t necessarily demonstrate that Lazarus or NK was involved in the WannaCry attack, researchers said. The culprits in the latest attack, who haven’t been identified, could have copied the code in question, for example. … The connection found in the old version lies in software that both programs use to securely connect to other systems over the internet, said Kurt Baumgartner, a Kaspersky Lab researcher.

    Common code is found in nearly all software that sets up an internet connection. The reason for that is quite simple. No longer does anyone ever write such code. There are well-tested examples of such program snippets widely available in open-source software. “Copy and paste” is done faster than re-inventing the wheel. Even worse: the code snippet in question is so trivial that any decent programmer would likely write it the very same way (a call to the Time() function to get a seed value for a following Random() function call). There are only X reasonable ways to add 1 to 1. Two people doing it the same way proves nothing at all. It does not prove that code for two different hacks was written by the same people. It does not provided that this has anything at all to do with NK. It is of zero factual news value.

  2. Back in February, AI, which promotes NATO interventions, issued a shoddy report about alleged killings in Syrian prisons. As we wrote at that time:

    A new AI report claims that the Syrian government hanged between 5,000 and 13,000 prisoners in a military prison in Syria. The evidence for that claim is flimsy, based on hearsay of anonymous people outside of Syria. The numbers themselves are extrapolations that no scientist or court would ever accept. It is tabloid reporting and fiction style writing from its title “Human Slaughterhouse” down to the last paragraph.

    The State Dept now reused that fake report and falsely interprets satellite pics to further slander the Syrian government with Syria is burning bodies to hide proof of mass killings:

    In its latest accusations of Syrian abuses, the State Dept said it believed about 50 detainees each day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus. Many of the bodies are then burned in the crematorium “to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place,” said Stuart Jones, the top Pindo diplomat liar for the Middle East, accusing Assad’s government of sinking “to a new level of depravity. The State Dept released commercial satellite photographs showing what it described as a building in the prison complex that was modified to support the crematorium. The photographs, taken over the course of several years, beginning in 2013, do not prove the building is a crematorium, but show construction consistent with such use.

    If there is a crematorium in the Saydnaya prison, how is it that none of the AI witnesses said so in the recent AI report? These witnesses, AI claims, have been in that prison and observed all kind of details. They claim that any dead were buried in mass graves. A Dutch military expert looks at the commercial satellite pictures and the interpretation State provided and asks:

    Is this a joke @StateDept? Even before 27 Aug ’13 these “vents” were present. See included Terraserver footage (03 april ’13) #Sednaya

    Another professional military reconnaissance specialist expands on that:

    Pictures that allegedly show crematorium of Saidnaya prison, #Damascus #Syria. As much as I hate to get involved into this matter, these images prove nothing at all. This building could be simple boiler/heating room for the prison compound. Unless you visit there is no way to prove anything. Its easy to manipulate with satellite imagery. You just put the right label on thing and there you have it. I can’t confirm what the particular part of prison is nor for what it’s used.

    The State Dept is throwing dirt at the Syrian government in the hope that some of it will stick. This release of nothing will create some headlines in “western” outrage publications. It may be in preparation for a wider war on Syria.

  3. The deep state is out to get Trump impeached. Yesterday a new, well-prepared and coordinated campaign against Trump was launched with anonymous claims to the WaPo in Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador, which were “confirmed” by similar claims from (likely) the same sources to Buzzfeed. The claims may have some grounds in reality but the actual facts, even as described in shrill words, are harmless. WaPo:

    Pres Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former Pindo boxtops, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on Daesh.

    How would “former Pindo boxtops” know what was said in the Oval Office and to what consequences? It takes six paragraphs of such slander to learn what Trump actually disclosed:

    Trump went off script and began describing details of a Daesh terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

    “A terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft” is a well-known AQAP method. If Daesh in Syria has copied that modus operandi it is interesting, but nothing sensational. National Security Advisor McMaster, who was in the room with Trump and Lavrov, is on the record (down in paragraph eight!) denying that any sources or methods were revealed. So Trump gave Lavrov a tip-off with regard to a terrorist threat. If Putin would learn of a potential Daesh attack on a Pindo passenger jet, would you want him to share that secret information with the Pindo government? Of course you would. But Buzzfeed and other anti-Trump organs blow the claims up to high heavens, The Lawfare writers go off their meds:

    If the President gave this information away through carelessness or neglect, he has arguably breached his oath of office.

    Utter bullshit! Trump would have offered such intelligence out of courtesy, as part of his deal-making with the Russian government. Exchange of threat intelligence is regular business, even between parties who otherwise dislike each other. It is in interests of all to do such. That such an exchange happened is not newsworthy, even it touched some details. But publicizing the exchange that can only help the terrorists. As Emptywheel says:

    these very outraged sources are [..] sharing the information that it is so outrageous to share.

    If Trump’s information sharing is outrageous, why did the sources offer that information to the media? Why did WaPo and others publish it?

Trump was elected with the support of the Pentagon. Clinton was supported by the corporate and intelligence sides of the power triangle. Trump won. Now the deep-state, together with the moneyed part of the Demagog party, is out to impeach him. The constant sensationalized dribble of false or irrelevant claims against him prepares the ground for that. The three fake news examples above contain no news at all. The bits exposed in them have no information value. Their only purpose is to influence the readers by exaggerating outlandish claims based on little, if any, real facts of minor importance. This full-throated propagandizing on all channels, without any critical voices challenging the basic facts, is endangering the functioning of democracy (as if there was democracy! – RB). The fourth estate is now just a tool to influence. It can no longer claim to have any inherent value. For the average person one way out of this onslaught is to search for, use and foster alternative and discerning sources of news. The other is to give up.

Trump Responds To WaPo Story
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, May 16 2017

In the aftermath of the WaPo story accusing Trump of improperly sharing highly confidential information with Russia’s foreign minister Peskov during their meeting one week ago (and one day after the firing of James Comey), Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend his Russia comments amid mounting criticism he may either have broken the law or acted inappropriately in divulging secret information.

According to the WaPo and other media, all citing unnamed sources, Trump allegedly revealed “code-word information” related to threats from Daesh in Iraq and Syria that had been provided by a Pindo ‘ally’ in the region, supposedly Israel. One official told the WaPo that the information was so sensitive it had not been provided to other Pindo vassals. On Monday afternoon, McMaster defended Trump’s disclosure, saying:

There is nothing that the President takes more seriously than the security of the Pindo creeple. The story that came out tonight as reported is false.  The president the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed.  And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Sec State, remembered the meeting the same way and have said so.  Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources.

Russia also reacted this morning, with Kremlin spox Dmitry Peskov saying: “We don’t want anything to do with this nonsense,” in response to aquestion on the report that Trump had disclosed sensitive classified information at White House meeting with Lavrov. It is doubtful either of these denials will mute the rising chorus amid the press and Demagogs demanding an official hearing, as well as full disclosure of what was said and whether Trump broke laws when speaking to the Russians. Meanwhile, the infamously fired former acting AG Sally Yates raised the stakes on Tuesday morning when discussing the Trump story, she told CNN: “There’s certainly a criminal statute that was implicated by his conduct,” potentially laying the ground for future impeachment proceedings.

Classified Bombshell Hyperventilation
Mike Shedlock, Mishtalk (Blog), May 16 2017

Some people I would normally expect not to lose their minds following anti-Trump hype did lose their minds. Of course, the standard nutcases one might expect would lose their minds did so as well. The result is has been a steady stream of nonsense all day regarding Trump’s alleged disclosure of highly classified information to Russia. It took a collaboration of six (Jack Goldsmith, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Matthew Kahn, Benjamin Wittes, Elishe Julian) to come up with Bombshell: Initial Thoughts on the WaPo’s Game-Changing Story. The article starts out:

The WaPo this afternoon published a stunning story reporting that Pres Trump disclosed highly-classified information to Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Kislyak during their visit to the Oval Office last week.

After firing off rounds of innuendo from BuzzFeed, the NYT, the WaPo and Reuters, the authors admit:

The President did not ‘leak’ classified information in violation of law. He is allowed to do what he did.

In a very long-winded synopsis, the article discusses six points.

  1. First, this is not a question of “leaking classified information” or breaking a criminal law.
  2. Second, this is not a garden variety breach, and outrage over it is not partisan hypocrisy about protecting classified information.
  3. Third, it is important to understand the nature of sources and methods information in order to fully understand the gravity of the breach.
  4. Fourth, it really matters why Trump disclosed this information to Russian visitors.
  5. Fifth, this may well be a violation of the President’s oath of office.
  6. Sixth, it matters hugely, at least from an atmospheric point of view, that the people in the room were Russian and one of them was Sergey Kislyak of all people.

Point #1 is correct. So is point #4. The rest is conjecture and hype. In regards to point #4, Trump may very well have decided it was in Pindostan’s best interest to cooperate with Russia. If so, I would agree wholeheartedly. In points #2 to #6, the authors spew out hype about what Top Secret means and whether the president violated his oath of office. I like this tidbit:

In general, a Top Secret classification is applied to information the unauthorized disclosure of which could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.

Does anyone believe that? I don’t. Stuff is kept top secret for years to cover up lies, false flag events, support for corrupt regimes, illegal operations, and in general “cover my ass” kind of stuff that would be embarrassing but would constitute no real threat to national security. The NYT joins the BS parade with its take Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russia, in Break With Ally, Officials Say:

The revelation also opens Mr Trump to criticism of a double standard. The president made Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information through her private email server central to his campaign, leading chants of “lock her up” at rallies. But there was never any indication that Mrs Clinton exposed sensitive information from an ally or gave it to an adversary.

There is no “double standard.” The president gets to decide what is classified and what isn’t. Does the NYT presume everyone gets to decide for themselves? What Did Trump Disclose? The answer is “information about a Daesh plot” of some sort. Good grief! After all the above hyperventilation, I have a simple question: Why shouldn’t we disclose to Russia pertinent facts regarding Daesh plots? Do we want to keep this information to ourselves as happened on numerous occasions in Europe? As happened more recently with the NSA developing and using loopholes in Microsoft code? If Pindostan has information on an alleged plot by ISIS we absolutely should disclose that fact to other governments unless we believe they may be involved or compromised. Nancy Pelosi asks ‘What do the Russians have on Donald Trump?’ In another clickbait article, Alan Dershowitz hypes ‘This is the most serious charge ever made against a sitting president’ When you write bullsheet like that, expect to be mocked, not taken serious, at least by any rational person.

Nutting was expected. I replied to Baum. Hopefully, Baum was joking and I failed to catch it. For the record, I disagree withy Trump on NAFTA, free trade in general, the Wall, his immigration order and numerous other things. However, talking with Russia makes sense, warmongering with Russia over Syria doesn’t. Would we be better off if we declassified everything but ongoing criminal and terrorist investigations?

Certainly, we would stop a lot of unwise, unconstitutional, and immoral activities if that was our new policy.

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