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debka loves to do this…

The DNC emails were not hacked by Russian GRU
DEBKAfile, Jul 26 2016

On Jul 25, as the Democratic Party’s convention got underway in Philadelphia, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton found herself struggling to unite the party behind her nomination as the party’s presidential nominee, after the shock release of 20,000 emails through WikiLeaks, which exposed top party officials as campaigning to discredit her rival Bernie Sanders. This breach of objectivity in Clinton’s favor was supported by documents, statistical tables and videos attached to the emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee’s servers. To damp the crisis. party leaders, including Clinton, took two immediate steps that made the situation worse: They sacked the head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the day she was due to open the convention and, second, they called on the FBI to investigate the hacking and find who was responsible for the embarrassing leaks. The culprit was quickly named as Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, by “experts close to the examination,” namely, the information security company CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC, and the FBI. CrowdStrike said it had found two types of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) malware inside the DNC’s servers that were intended to remain undetected for long periods of time, slowly spread inside the servers, and secretly send the data back to the culprits who planted the malware. However, an analysis by DEBKAfile’s intelligence and cyber-defense sources have determined that the hacking was almost certainly not carried out by the GRU’s cyber-warfare branch, contrary to assertions by senior DNC officials who fix the blame on Russian intelligence. Their assertions don’t hold water in the light of four facts:

  1. Russia’s cyber warfare system is still mostly a “black hole” for the West. Although it is highly effective, very little is known about its methods of operation, organizational structures, scale of cooperation with counterparts in other countries, and the tools and resources at its disposal. Had any branch of Russian intelligence been responsible for the hacking the Democrat Party’s servers, no obvious signatures such as the terms “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear” that were discovered, would have been left behind for investigators to find.
  2. Intelligence organizations, including those of Russia, are usually fully focused on seeking security, strategic and economic data. It is hard to see Russian military intelligence, whose resources are stretched, expending time and manpower on digging out the DNC’s views of Bernie Sanders’ religiosity.
  3. Then, too, CrowdStrike’s claim to have cracked the case in two hours is hardly credible. Getting to the bottom of an APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) calls for extra-powerful computers, working in conjunction with the internet service provider (ISP), and consuming weeks, if not months of analysis.
  4. Attributing the hacking attack to the Russians provided Pindostani agencies with a convenient reminder that Edward Snowden still lives safe from prosecution in Russian exile, and that Julian Assange remains in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in Britain.

The true identity of the hacker that sent the cat among the Democratic party pigeons, at the most damaging moment for Hillary Clinton, remains the subject of conjecture for lack of firm proof. The leading suspects may well be one or more of her party opponents. But although the current crisis may be glossed over in the interim to allow the convention and nomination to take its course, the Clinton campaign up until November is more than likely to be bedevilled by fresh e-mails leaked via WikiLeaks or other means that are just as embarrassing.

Notes on the Democrat Convention (excerpt)
Jeffrey St Clair, Counterpunch, Jul 27 2016

The Democrats are working overtime to transform the DNC email episode into a story about Russian hackers, Putin and Trump. One Democrat Party flack called it the most outrageous political break-in since Watergate. Anything to divert attention from the scandalous content of the emails. But there’s little hard evidence that Russians were behind the hack. Cyber-expert Bill Blunden wrote to me this morning:

Note that Julian Assange has said: “We have not disclosed our source, and of course, this is a diversion that’s being pushed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.” Thanks to documents released by Ed Snowden, and other whistle-blowers, it’s part of the public record that intelligence services have invested heavily in tools that are designed to subvert the process of attribution. It would be risky to presume that such activities were limited to the NSA and GCHQ. Likewise classified programs like JTRIG and HACIENDA are conducted with the explicit intention of obscuring the source of cyber-intrusions. Entities from the private sector are also involved in this sort of activity. When dealing with an organization with the requisite skill and resources, successful attribution is highly unlikely. Subtle operational signatures can be mimicked and tell-tale forensic clues can be counterfeited. Welcome to the wilderness of mirrors. Peace, Bill.

stand by for the juvenile global zog shit-storm, aka WW4

War and the Democratic National Convention
Andre Damon, WSWS, Jul 27 2016

The Democrat Party’s 2016 national convention is unfolding as a carefully scripted and staged infomercial in which this right-wing capitalist party, tied at the hip to Wall Street and the Pentagon, postures as some sort of popular representative of the people. Amidst the humanitarian moralizing and sentimental declarations of universal brotherhood, one thing that is absent is any serious discussion of what kind of foreign policy a Clinton administration would pursue. Despite fifteen years of the “war on terror,” the convention’s headline speakers made no mention of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the death of Gaddafi or the White House’s drone assassination program. This silence is all the more extraordinary given the fact that the Obama administration is the first in Pindo history that has been at war throughout two full terms in office. The real decision-makers know, however, that in the background of the 2016 elections are escalating military tensions with Russia and China that raise the danger of world war between nuclear-armed powers. None of the convention’s speakers saw fit to mention the fact that the Obama administration has committed to go to war with Russia if the highly unstable, right-wing governments of Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia launch a provocation against it. There was likewise no mention of the fact that the vice president is meeting this week with Philippine Pres Duterte, who has threatened to suspend the country’s Congress and has personally bragged about murdering 1,700 people, in order to strengthen the anti-China alliance. The absence of any discussion of substantive foreign policy issues is all the more striking given recent warnings of a looming great power conflict from foreign policy journals, military think tanks and high-ranking military officials. This month, ex-DNI Dennis Blair told a congressional hearing that, contrary to current policy, Pindostan should be “willing to use military force” if China seeks to assert its claims to a set of rocks in the South China Sea that are also claimed by the Philippines. Such a conflict, provoked over dubious territorial claims by a Pindo vassal on the opposite side of the world, would have a high likelihood of ending in a nuclear exchange that results in hundreds of millions, or even billions, of deaths. Chinese officials, under no illusions as to what such statements signify, declared in Global Times:

China hopes disputes can be resolved by talks, but it must be prepared for any military confrontation.

In the latest issue of the journal Foreign Affairs the defense-jock wank-sheet foreignaffairs.com, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt state:

There are regions outside the Western Hemisphere that are worth expending Pindosi blood and treasure to defend. In Europe and north-east Asia, the chief concern is the rise of a regional hegemon that would dominate its region, much as the Pindostan dominates the Western Hemisphere.

With regard to Russia, leading generals are calling for an even more maniacal policy than that being proposed against China. Richard Shirreff, NATO’s former Deputy SACEUR, has suggested that a war with Russia could well take place next year in a book bluntly titled 2017: War with Russia: An Urgent Warning from Senior Military Command. Shirreff has developed these points in a strategy paper entitled Arming for Deterrence, released this week by the Pindosi-based Atlantic Council. He declared that Russia has the capacity and possible intention to invade the Pindostan’s Baltic allies vassals “overnight.” To this end, in a plan of Hitlerian madness, he proposes to convert Poland, currently under the grip of an authoritarian right-wing government, into a military spearhead against Russia. Poland must “reserve the right to attack Russian targets” pre-emptively, become a staging ground for nuclear weapons and publish “a potential list of targets” inside Russia. The prospect of a war with Russia after the election is openly being discussed in policy circles, with Irving Kristol’s Jewish “realist” nationalinterest.org declaring in its most recent cover story, entitled “Russia and Pindostan: Destined for Conflict?:

Relations between the two sides have deteriorated to dangerous levels. … If Moscow refuses to oblige, Washington should do whatever is necessary to protect its interests.

In fact, Hillary Clinton is the most open advocate of military intervention to win the Democrat nomination in recent memory. As Mark Landler, author of Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle Over Pindosi Power another Jewish prick, put it earlier this year:

For all their bluster about bombing Da’esh into oblivion, neither Donald J Trump nor Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has demonstrated anywhere near the appetite for military engagement abroad that Hillary Clinton has.

As Sec State, Clinton proved to be a more open advocate of military force than Obama, writes Landler,

On bedrock issues of war and peace, Clinton’s more activist philosophy … collided (with Obama’s) instincts toward restraint.

The fact that Obama, who as the NYT noted in May, “has now been at war longer than Bush 43 or any other POTUS,” is presented as an example of military restraint, is a testament to Clinton’s credentials as a warmonger. In addition to calling for more aggressive military intervention than Obama in Afghanistan and Iraq, Clinton “pressed for Pindostan to funnel arms to the rebels in Syria’s civil war (an idea Obama initially rebuffed before later, half-heartedly, coming around to it).” She privately demanded that Obama set up a no-fly zone in Syria after declarations by the Pindo military/ intelligence apparatus in 2013 that Assad had used chemical weapons, declaring:

If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.

Writing in Irving Kristol’s Jewish “realist” nationalinterest.org, Yale professor David Bromwich observed the growing convergence between the policies of Clinton, her “left” apologists and the neocons who helped launch the invasion of Iraq in 2003, writing:

The past few weeks have cemented an extraordinary alliance to defeat Trump that joins two foreign-policy sects that were never entirely distinct: the neocons who commandeered the Bush-Cheney foreign policy of 2001-2006, and liberal interventionists who supported the Iraq war, the Libya war, an expanded program of drone killings, and military intervention in Syria beyond what the Obama administration has allowed. With a spate of recent articles and op-eds, these people are preparing the ground for Hillary Clinton to assert that the Russian government is in league with the Trump campaign, and that Russia has intervened in the election by releasing hacked DNC emails to embarrass Clinton.

This campaign has been led by the NYT, whose resident Clinton apologist, Paul Krugman, declared Donald Trump to be a “Siberian candidate” and a proxy for Putin, whom Clinton is determined to oppose. This theme was taken up in the form of abbreviated remarks by former Sec State Madeline Albright at the DNC last night. Albright denounced Russia with a ferocity unheard-of since the end of the Cold War. She declared:

My native Czechoslovakia was taken over by Communists! Take it from someone who fled the Iron Curtain! I know what happens when you give the Russians a green light!

The Pindostani ruling class has historically waited to implement long-prepared military escalations until after elections, and the coming year poses enormous dangers. Regardless of who is elected, the struggle against war is the central issue in the building of an independent, socialist movement of the working class in Pindostan and around the world.

anyone who “wants to be an englishman” will have to figure out how to do it without scotland & wales

Corbyn doesn’t speak anti-Jewish, he just IS anti-Jewish.
Gilad Atzmon, Jul 26 2016

jhtuyjt

Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: the following insightful and unusual comment was made by a great friend of mine who prefers to stay anonymous.

Note how every time Corbyn denounces anti-Semitism (as he is required to do, and as he always DOES do) he always adds “and all kinds of racism.” The Jews hate this. What’s with this guy? Does he not understand that anti-semitism is not any ordinary run-of-the-mill racism? Can he not see that anti-Semitism is special? Can he not see that Jews are special? No he cannot. And that is why Corbyn IS anti-Jewish. But he has one immense, insurmountable flaw – he just cannot understand that the Englishman wants to be an Englishman. This just passes him by (strange, since he is the quintessential Englishman)  – and this will be his undoing. Perhaps you (Gilad) have trouble seeing this because you have a limited engagement with Englishness.

zionazi at bay

Millionaire donor in UK court bid to fix Labour leadership election
Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, Jul 25 2016

160725-michael-fosterMichael Foster on the BBC soon after heckling Corbyn in September. (BBC/You Tube)

A millionaire Labour donor is taking the party to court on Tuesday in a bid to remove incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn from the ballot for this summer’s leadership election. Michael Foster is a former showbusiness agent whose clients have included actors Sacha Baron Cohen and Hugh Grant and radio host Chris Evans. Foster is also the man who heckled Corbyn at a Labour Friends of Israel reception last year. Foster screamed in response to Corbyn’s speech at the event, which took place in September soon after Corbyn swept to victory:

Oi! Oi! Say the word ‘Israel!’

A veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, Corbyn had called for the siege of Gaza to be lifted. This so incensed Foster that he stood up on his chair and tried to shout him down. Soon after, he explained to the BBC that what had outraged him was Corbyn’s “talk of Palestine” and “talk of the siege of Gaza.”

Foster ran for parliament in 2015 as a Labour candidate in Cornwall, but failed to win the seat from the ruling Conservative Party. Labour Friends of Israel did not reply to an email asking what Foster’s involvement with the group is, if any. Foster could not be reached for comment. During his campaign in 2015, Foster reportedly harassed a rival candidate at an election debate. In a discussion of a proposed tax on mansions, Loveday Jenkin of Cornish party Mebyon Kernow had pointed out that Foster lives in a $2m house in Cornwall. Foster reportedly responded:

You cunt! If you pick on me again I will destroy you!

Jenkin told the newspaper:

He clearly has an anger management problem, and no understanding of the problems affecting Cornish people.

Foster denied the reports, but admitted to being an “aggressive agent” with a “legendary temper” so intense that he once broke his own finger “while tapping on a table to make a point, so forcefully that the bone snapped.” During his failed 2015 election bid, Foster enlisted celebrity friends, some of whom made videos supporting him.


British TV actor Ross Kemp also recently made a video for “Saving Labour,” a hastily formed group which has been involved in a failed effort to oust Corbyn as leader. The coup was initially launched in June by right-wing Labour MP Margaret Hodge who tabled a motion of no-confidence in Corbyn. It peaked with a string of resignations from Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. These lawmakers then piled massive amounts of pressure on Corbyn to step down. Corbyn refused, citing his overwhelming mandate from Labour Party members and supporters. A leadership challenge was launched, and Corbyn now faces Labour MP Owen Smith as his sole opponent in an election contest which will be decided in September. Were Corbyn to be removed from the ballot by Foster’s legal action, it would leave Smith, a former lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry, as the only candidate in the leadership election, making any democratic vote redundant.

Earlier this month Labour’s national executive decided that party rules stipulate the standing leader automatically goes onto the ballot in the event of a challenge. This means Corbyn does not need the support of 51 Labour MPs or members of the European Parliament, unlike challengers. Foster’s attempt to reverse this decision seems like the last gasp of the failed coup. According to one expert, it is unlikely to succeed. The register of members interests shows that Foster made a $13k donation and a further $13k interest-free loan to Labour MP Liz Kendall last summer, to support her failed bid in last year’s leadership election. Widely perceived as the Blairite continuity candidate, Kendall came last, with a humiliating 4.5% of the vote. Foster also donated another $9k to Kendall in December. Foster has reportedly donated more than $500k to the Labour Party over the years, including about $156k to his local Labour Party in Cornwall, which he reportedly rules with a “firm smack of command.”

the expression “black guy” looks like a euphemism

Dr Dre handcuffed and searched after man accuses him of pulling gun
Feliks Garcia, Indy, Jul 27 2016

Dr Dre was cited after a man accused him of brandishing a firearm during a driveway confrontation outside of the producer’s Malibu home. AP reported that Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, asked the man to move his car that was blocking the entrance to his driveway. The man complied, but reportedly continued to berate Dre as he pulled away from the house. When Dre parked his car, TMZ explained, the man continued to shout obscenities at the rapper, who apparently pulled out his phone to record the motorist. The man allegedly said:

Here we go again, another black guy with a gun.

He then called 911. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the call and searched Dre, leaving him in handcuffs throughout. No gun was recovered at the scene. The motorist still filed a citizen’s arrest for brandishing a firearm, a misdemeanor in California. Dr Dre was not placed under arrest. The district attorney will determine whether or not to proceed with charges against him.

more or less fascinatingly impressed with trivia

Snowden Talks Boollocks for the CIA as per usual
Edward Snowden, Intercept, Jul 26 2016

Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

As my colleague fellow CIA asset Glenn Greenwald told WNYC on Monday, while there may never be conclusive evidence that the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Russian intelligence operatives to extract the trove of embarrassing emails published by WikiLeaks, it would hardly be shocking if that was what happened. Glenn noted:

Governments do spy on each other and do try to influence events in other countries. Certainly the Pindosi government has a very long and successful history of doing exactly that.

Even so, he added, given the ease with which we were misled into war in Iraq by false claims about WMDs and the long history of Russophobia in Pindosi politics. It is vital to cast a sceptical eye over whatever evidence is presented to support the claim, made by Hillary Clinton’s aide Robby Mook, that this is all part of a Russian plot to sabotage the Democrats and help Donald Trump win the election.

The theory gained some traction, particularly among Trump’s detractors, in part because the candidate has seemed obsessed at times with reminding crowds that Putin once said something sort of nice about him (though not, as Trump falsely claims, that he’s “a genius”). Then last week, Trump’s campaign staff watered down a pledge to help Ukraine defend its territory from Russian-backed rebels and the candidate told the NYT he would not necessarily honour the NATO treaty commitment that requires Pindostan military to defend other member states from a direct attack by Russia. Since Trump has refused to release his tax returns, there are also questions about whether or not his businesses might depend to some extent on Russian investors. Trump’s son Donald Jr told a real estate conference in 2008, the WaPo reported last month:

Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

Paul Manafort, who is directing Trump’s campaign and was for years a close adviser of a Putin ally, former President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine, called the theory that Trump’s campaign had ties to the Russian government “absurd.” (On Monday, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News reported that a DNC researcher looking into Manafort’s ties to pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine in May had been warned that her personal Yahoo email account was under attack. The warning from the email service security team read:

We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.

Unhelpfully for Trump, his most senior adviser with knowledge of the world of hacking, retired Lt-Gen (Retd) Michael Flynn, former director of the DIA, told Bloomberg View:

I would not be surprised at all. Both China and Russia have the full capability to do this.

Later on Monday, Trump himself was asked about the hack and commented:

China, Russia, one of our many, many “friends” came in and hacked the hell out of us.

Since very few of us are cyber-security experts, and the Iraq debacle is a reminder of how dangerous it can be to put blind faith in experts whose claims might reinforce our own political positions, there is also the question of who we can trust to provide reliable evidence. One expert in the field, who is well aware of the evidence-gathering capabilities of the Pindostani government, is Edward Snowden. “If Russia hacked the #DNC, they should be condemned for it,” Snowden wrote on Twitter on Monday, with a link to a 2015 report on the Pindostan government’s response to the hacking of Sony Pictures. In that case, he noted, “the FBI presented evidence” for its conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the hacking and subsequent release of internal emails. The FBI is now investigating the breach of the DNC’s network, which officials told the Daily Beast they first made the committee aware of in April.) What’s more, Snowden added, the NSA has tools that should make it possible to trace the source of the hack. Even though the DNI usually opposes making such evidence public, he argued, this is a case in which the agency should do so, if only to discourage future attacks.

Another former insider with knowledge of American and Russian intelligence capabilities, Michael McFaul, the Pindo ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, agreed that it should be possible for Pindostan to present proof if Russia was, in fact, responsible for the attack.

While we wait to see if the NSA will take its most famous former employee’s advice, it is worth reading a thorough review of the evidence produced so far, compiled for Motherboard by Thomas Rid, a professor at King’s College London who has charted the use of hacking for espionage. As Rid explains, the attribution of the DNC hack to Russian intelligence agents was first suggested on Jun 15 by CrowdStrike, the cyber-security firm hired by the Democrats to investigate the possible breach of their system in May. Last month, one of the firm’s founders, Dmitri Alperovitch, explained in a detailed technical analysis of their findings that CrowdStrike discovered “two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May.” The groups, he added, are so familiar to the investigators from previous attacks that they have acquired commonly used nicknames in the security industry. One, “Cozy Bear” or “APT 29,” had been inside the committee’s network for about a year; a second, “Fancy Bear,” also called “APT 28,” breached the system in April.

We’ve had lots of experience with both of these actors attempting to target our customers in the past and know them well. In fact, our team considers them some of the best adversaries out of all the numerous nation-state, criminal and hacktivist/terrorist groups we encounter on a daily basis. Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of “living-off-the-land” techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities including deliberate targeting and “access management” tradecraft. Both groups were constantly going back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels and perform other tasks to try to stay ahead of being detected.

Cozy Bear is the group that “successfully infiltrated the unclassified networks of the White House, State Dept, and Joint Chiefs of Staff” last year, Alperovitch noted. Fancy Bear, he added, has “been linked publicly to intrusions into the German Bundestag and France’s TV5 Monde TV station in Apr 2015.” Readers with a high level of technical competence can parse the clues explained fully in Alperovitch’s blog post, but he also noted a surprising fact: that the two groups thought to be affiliated with rival Russian intelligence agencies appeared unaware of each other’s activities. Alperovitch observed:

We have identified no collaboration between the two actors, or even an awareness of one by the other. Instead, we observed the two Russian espionage groups compromise the same systems and engage separately in the theft of identical credentials.

One day after this initial attribution of the attack to Russian intelligence was made public by CrowdStrike and the DNC, someone using the pseudonym Guccifer 2.0, in reference to the Romanian hacker who famously uncovered Bush 43’s secret career as a painter of selfies, started publishing documents stolen from the committee’s servers on a WordPress blog set up that day, and taunting the security experts on Twitter. Guccifer 2.0, who claims to be a Romanian who dislikes Russians, told my colleague Sam Biddle that he or she had carried out the attack with no help from anyone else, just to expose “all those Illuminati that captured our world.” However, several analysts pointed out that there is evidence in the metadata that copies of the DNC documents posted online by Guccifer 2.0, starting with an opposition research dossier on Trump, appear to have been processed on a computer with Russian language settings. Parsing the documents on Twitter, the blogger Davi Ottenheimer and an information security analyst who writes as @pwnallthethings pointed out that copies of the stolen documents uploaded to WordPress rendered the hacker’s username, Iron Felix, in Cyrillic characters, and gave error messages for links in Russian.

Doubts were also cast over Guccifer 2.0’s identity by his or her apparent lack of fluency in Romanian in an online chat with Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard. Despite Guccifer 2.0’s claims, CrowdStrike’s attribution to the previously known Russian groups was supported by subsequent research last month from two rival network security firms: Fidelis Cybersecurity and Mandiant. Michael Buratowski, a Fidelis senior vice president, explained in a detailed technical analysis:

We performed an independent review of the malware and other data (filenames, file sizes, IP addresses) in order to validate and provide our perspective on the reporting done by CrowdStrike.

The firm’s conclusions supported the attribution to the two well-known Russian groups. Among other factors, Buratowski noted, “the malware samples were conspicuously large” and “contained all or most of their embedded dependencies and functional code.” He argued:

This is a very specific modus operandi less sophisticated actors do not employ.

A Mandiant researcher, Marshall Heilman, told the Washington Post he agreed that the malware and associated servers were consistent with those previously used by the two Russian groups. Another Pindosi cyber-security firm, ThreatConnect, reported on Tuesday that it had uncovered evidence that “Guccifer 2.0 is using the Russia-based Elite VPN service to communicate and leak documents” to reporters. The suspicion that the raid of the DNC servers might have been carried out by Russian intelligence was unsurprising to some experts, as Wired’s Andy Greenberg reported, given that the FBI warned both Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008 that their campaign computer systems had been breached by foreign hackers, most likely from Russia or China. Some observers, like the Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith, who worked for Bush 43, suggested that such attacks might be seen as payback, given that Pindosi intelligence agencies have made aggressive use of hacking, which “almost certainly extends to political organizations in adversary states.”

Marcy Wheeler noted on her blog, according to report on the Snowden documents by Jens Glüsing, Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark for Spiegel, the NSA hacked into “a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican Presidential network,” during that country’s 2012 election campaign, and intercepted 85,489 text messages sent by the ruling party candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto himself, or his associates. What makes the DNC breach new, however, is the fact that close to 20,000 emails and other documents — including personal information and credit card details of donors — were provided to WikiLeaks, which made them public on the eve of this week’s convention. Some of the private email traffic made public, which validated complaints from the Bernie Sanders campaign that the DNC officials favoured Hillary Clinton, helped to reopen wounds from the bruising primary campaign.

The role played by WikiLeaks, and the professed indifference of the group’s founder, Julian Assange, to the source of the hacked documents, caused some journalists to ask if the site had allowed itself to be used as part of a post-modern dirty trick, a sort of Watergate 2.0. One reporter, James Surowiecki of the New Yorker, even mused about how WikiLeaks might have treated documents provided by the Watergate burglars had it been around in 1972 when the Republican operatives broke into the DNC office in that building, precisely to obtain damaging information about the party through theft and surveillance.

Of course, many other reporters have taken the view that the material made public by WikiLeaks is clearly newsworthy, given that it helps expose the inner workings of a largely unaccountable private political party, which plays a central and privileged role in the election of America’s leaders. That is why an array of publications, including The Intercept, quickly started to provide reporting and analysis on what was revealed in the leaked documents. Asked by NBC News on Monday if WikiLeaks might have been used to distribute documents stolen as part of a Russian intelligence operation, Assange insisted there was “no proof of that whatsoever — we have not disclosed our source, and of course this is a diversion that’s being pushed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

Of course, given that a cornerstone of the WikiLeaks promise to sources is that the site was designed to receive material without revealing the identity of the leaker to anyone at the anti-secrecy group, it should be impossible for Assange himself to know that the hacked DNC documents did not come from a Russian intelligence operative or, for that matter, a Republican one. Convinced by the available evidence that the leak was orchestrated by Russian intelligence, Thomas Rid, the security analyst who writes for Motherboard, went so far as to suggest that by publishing these documents, WikiLeaks had become “a legitimate target” for counter-intelligence operations by the five-nation club of Pindostan, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Although WikiLeaks describes the hacked DNC emails as “part one of our new Hillary Leaks series,” Assange himself rejected the charge that he is helping in a partisan attack. “This is a quite a classical release,” he told Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” on Monday, “showing the benefit of producing pristine data sets, presenting them before the public, where there’s equal access to all journalists and to interested members of the public to mine through them and have them in a citable form where they can then be used to prop up certain criticisms or political arguments.” Assange demurred when Goodman asked if he preferred Trump over Clinton — “You’re asking me, do I prefer cholera or gonorrhea?” — but he was more forthright in an interview with Robert Peston of Britain’s ITV on June 12, two days before the DNC hack was first reported.

After telling Peston in that conversation, “We have emails relating to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” Assange was asked if his intention was to help Trump get elected. “Well, I think Trump is a completely unpredictable phenomenon. You can’t predict what he would do in office,” he replied. “From my personal perspective, well, you know, the emails we published show that Hillary Clinton is receiving constant updates about my personal situation; she has pushed for the prosecution of WikiLeaks, which is still in train. So, we do see her as a bit of a problem, for freedom of the press more generally.” On Twitter, WikiLeaks has been more forthright about seeing the DNC emails and those from Clinton’s personal server, which the group copied from the State Dept’s website to make into a searchable database, as material that can be used “to prop up certain criticisms” of the former Sec State.

Some of that criticism, however, has not been well-grounded in fact, leaving the organization open to accusations that, rather than serving as an impartial clearinghouse for leaks, annotated by its readers, like Wikipedia, it has evolved into a platform for analysis by a small circle of insiders. To take one example, on Saturday, a WikiLeaks tweet incorrectly claimed that one email from the leak revealed that Luis Miranda, the DNC communications director, had suggested that Trump might have been right to say that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

Reading the email itself, however, shows something quite different. The complete text of the email chain makes it clear that Miranda was contributing to a thread in which officials worked together to edit a draft of a humorous press release, or “hit,” that mocked Trump for making such an outlandish suggestion. While Miranda did write to his colleagues that Cruz’s father might have been part of an anti-Castro Cuban exile community “with questionable histories,” he also indicated that he approved the final text, which was posted online by the DNC that same day. That text put Trump’s claim about Cruz’s father at the top of a list of examples of “the GOP’s presumptive standard bearer just spouting nonsense he reads on the internet or in the tabloids.”

While such errors in the annotation of the DNC documents look more like sloppiness than an attempt to intentionally mislead readers, the mistakes point to a weakness in the platform’s development: the lack of a robust system for correcting mistakes noted by readers, like the one used by Wikipedia. That problem has also been noted in the way WikiLeaks presented emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server first released by the State Dept. In March, WikiLeaks was criticized by some Twitter followers, including David Kenner, the Middle East editor of Foreign Policy, for the confusing way it presented the text of a draft opinion article sent to Clinton by a friend as if it were the text of an email from her, and one that revealed her secret plan to destroy the Syrian government to help Israel.

In fact, as the State Dept’s website makes clear, that text was sent to Clinton as an attachment to a 2012 email from James Rubin, who served in Bill Clinton’s administration. Reading the email, Rubin attached his draft piece to make it clear that he hoped his essay, which was later published in slightly revised form by Foreign Policy, would convince the Obama administration to help Syrian rebels topple Assad largely to “forestall the biggest danger on the horizon, that Israel launches a surprise attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.” Rubin also made it clear in his email that he did not think Clinton shared his view of the situation at that time. He wrote:

I know you may not agree, but I thought it was better to share this with you first as at least a new way to look at the problem.

Unfortunately, the way WikiLeaks described Rubin’s draft op-ed as one of “Hillary Emails” sowed confusion online and led to outraged blog posts and Russian news reports that mistakenly credited Assange’s group with revealing the text of a bombshell email from Clinton that offered insight into her thinking. Despite concerns that the group’s own annotation of documents related to Clinton might be at times muddled, in his “Democracy Now” interview, Assange defended his decision not to “establish partnerships with the NYT or the WaPo,” as he has done in the past to ensure that leaked documents would come to light not only in raw form but also accompanied by some analysis from political or national security reporters. Working with the editorial staffs of those newspapers on material like this “might be counterproductive,” Assange said, “because they are partisans of one group or another.”

adam szubin’s bollocks

Tehran says no info on AQ members alleged by Adam Szubin to live in Iran
Babak Dehghanpisheh, Reuters, Jul 26 2016

BEIRUT – Iran on Tuesday said it was not aware of the presence of three AQ operatives who the Pindosi Treasury’s Adam Szubin alleged last week to be living in the country. Last Wednesday, Szubin said he was blacklisting a Toad Hall citizen, an Egyptian and an Algerian, all of whom it said were members of AQ living in Iran. Their activities included liaising between the Pakistani Taliban and AQ, and sending funds to AQ fighters in Syria, the Treasury said. Foreign ministry spox said:

The Islamic Republic of Iran has no information about the presence of these people on its own soil.

Szubin’s blacklisting freezes any property of the three men in Pindostan, and bars Pindo sheeple from dealing with them.

once a CIA creep, always a CIA creep

Erdogan Takes Control: A phony coup is today’s Reichstag fire
Philip Giraldi, Unz Review, Jul 26 2016

There has been some utter nonsense coming out about the Turkish coup of last weekend. Some absurdly see the hand of the CIA working together with Fethullah Gulen to bring down the Erdogan government, a hypothesis that greatly exaggerates the capabilities and intentions of both the Agency and Gulen’s “Hizmet” Movement. Other analysts have swallowed hook line and sinker the narrative of heroic resistance against a military takeover being promoted by the government in Ankara. Surprisingly, these assessments come from observers who have previously in other contexts not hesitated to note how governments dissimulate and shape stories to suit their agendas. Today in Turkey we see developing the myth of the proud and devout Anatolian peasants standing up for their Man when confronted by the Turkish elites seeking to bring him down.

I have considerable respect for those who believe that a military coup to overthrow an elected civilian government is always wrong, but Erdogan is no innocent and if anyone is paying attention at all, he or she would note that the Turkish president has done more damage to democracy in Turkey than anyone living. Erdogan is an autocrat who might even better be described as a megalomaniac driven to promote policies that are both self-serving and erratic that rely on incendiary populist appeals to maintain power. He heads an increasingly corrupt regime and has ruthlessly sacrificed his own people to his own ambition, effectively declaring war on the Kurdish minority living in Turkey and secretly dealing with and even supporting terrorists while also ironically opening the door to a new wave of terror within Turkey itself. Erdogan has personally embroiled his country in an incomprehensible and ultimately disastrous fashion in neighbouring Syria. The coup plotters appear to have been appalled by the domestic and international violence unleashed by Erdogan, calling themselves a “peace at home council.”

Erdogan has been jailing journalists for the past three years on charges of treason and has made it a crime to criticize himself. Turkish citizens who demonstrate against his grandiose building projects are called “terrorists” before being arrested, beaten and shot. He has fired judges and policemen who have tried to investigate various crimes connected to his family and key supporters. He has tried assiduously to “reform” the Turkish constitution to place all power in his hands. He has promoted his own particular brand of Islam and has introduced Islamic legislation in violation of the secular constitution. And most recently he has rounded up and arrested 20,000 Turks who have the misfortunate of appearing on his “enemies” list, which clearly was prepared and ready before the coup. Some of those arrested are being tortured to produce confessions implicating others. The Stalinist-style purge list includes a large part of Turkey’s educated elite and is being driven by both class and the rural-urban divide, with Erdogan’s own rock solid support coming from the deeply religious but poorly educated Anatolians who have in the past twenty years moved in large numbers from their farms to the cities. That means that both class and religion cards will be dealt by Erdogan over the next ninety days to enhance his support, creating a potentially explosive mixture as the traditional elite will not go quietly if it is being pushed into irrelevancy. Religiosity will surely become a litmus test to determine political reliability.

Many will get swept up as part of Erdogan’s revenge. For example, a businessman friend of mine from Istanbul has been “detained” during the past week. His crime? He is basically apolitical but a known supporter of a secular opposition party. Turkish democracy is being gutted by Erdogan while Western Europe and Washington look on, clearly nervous about what is developing. Given the immediate and devastating government response to the coup, I feel confident in my belief that the uprising was basically a set-up. Erdogan and his government have been warning for months about the possibility of a coup, so the event itself should surprise no one. It is now certain that there was a military intervention in fact being plotted, apparently supported mostly by Kemalists in the military who advocate a secular state and are alarmed by aspects of Erdogan foreign policy, to include the collaboration with terrorist groups and the hostility towards Russia and Syria. There was also surely an element of concern over the deteriorating Turkish economy with European fear of terrorism wrecking the tourism industry, an issue linked to Ankara’s meddling in Syria and Erdogan’s personal vendetta against the leading Kurdish political party the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Many observers and even government officials when speaking off the record have also been criticizing the Erdogan-driven breakdown in the truce that up until recently prevailed with the domestic Kurdish minority and its armed wing the PKK.

A cowed Turkish parliament has voted three months of emergency powers to Erdogan. He will use that authority to destroy his opposition in parliament and further muzzle both what remains of the independent media as well as the meddlesome foreign journalists reporting from Turkey. The social media are being shut down or censored and both emails and phone calls are being monitored by the formidably effective Turkish Military Intelligence Service (MIT). Demonstrators brave enough to go against Erdogan will be treated as enemies of the state and the once powerful Turkish military will be turned into some version of an Islamic militia with its leaders owing both their positions and loyalty to the president. Hundreds of schools and even universities that Erdogan has linked to Gulen, rightly or wrongly, have been closed and thousands of teachers have been fired. The schools will reopen eventually with a government approved religious curriculum being taught by approved teachers. Erdogan had ten good years as prime minister but then he became convinced of his own political invulnerability and moved over to the dark side. Anyone who rejoices in his surviving a possible military coup should think twice about where he is taking Turkey since it is clear that the president will not let slip a good opportunity to eliminate all his enemies. And the average hard working decent Turk will eventually be the loser as the economy continues to slide and the trappings of a police state become ever more visible. Erdogan is frogmarching his country down a road where there is only darkness at the other end.

the usual graft, corruption, bullshit & hypocrisy of pindo imperialist ripoffs and frauds

Suspecting fraud, Pindostan suspends some Syrian aid programs
Louisa Loveluck, WaPo, Jul 26 2016

While the White House has placed humanitarian aid at the heart of its Syria policy, the government agency charged with disbursing it has frozen more than $200m in contracts, fearing significant fraud. As fighting deepens night­marish conditions across northern Syria, the suspensions have affected the delivery of medicines, food and other life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians since December. An investigation into the suspected fraud was formally announced in April, but details did not emerge until a congressional hearing this month. In Aleppo, a city shattered by violence, leading hospitals were brought to the brink of closure when they were left without financial support. Elsewhere, civilians displaced in baking heat received tarpaulins too small to cover an adult and food kits in which lentils had been replaced with salt. Ann Calvaresi Barr, inspector general of USAID, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this month:

Despite our goodwill, bad characters have taken advantage of the complex situation for personal gain, ultimately denying Syrian people the food, clothing, health care and other aid they urgently need.

The agency has received at least 116 complaints of abuse, and 25 investigations have been opened, some two-thirds of which relate to theft and fraud. Contracts worth $239m have been suspended. At the House committee’s hearing, Thomas Melito, a senior official at the Government Accountability Office, which issued a report this month on improving oversight of Syria aid programs, said he did not believe USAID or the State Dept had “any inkling” of how much money had been lost. The problems underscore a wider dilemma: how to deliver aid in a war zone where most fear to travel. Pindostan is the leading humanitarian donor in Syria, but most of the $5.5b in Pindosi aid has been distributed through the UN and a host of partner organizations. Pindostan closed its embassy in Damascus in 2012. Nancy Lindborg, a former senior official at USAID said:

When you work cross-border and without a consulate, things become very complex, very high risk, and very dangerous.

She likened the challenges of the cross-border operation to aid efforts in Somalia. There, as in Syria, aid workers have been kidnapped and killed for their work. Earlier this month, Jackass Kerry announced nearly $439m in new humanitarian funding wank for Syria and neighbouring countries (sic – RB). USAID said this month that most partner organizations had not assessed the risk of fraud within their operations. The agency said that it is working to rectify this problem and that it has supplied partners with a new handbook on how to spot malpractice. Spokesman Ben Edwards said:

When USAID learned about possible fraud in humanitarian aid for Syrians, we took immediate action to halt several activities in Turkey and to suspend individuals and third-party vendors from receiving Pindosi funding. USAID has learned from this experience and is taking additional measures to protect our assistance, including limiting the amount of relief supplies in any one warehouse, enhancing program monitoring, and ensuring that programs are immediately suspended or terminated in the event of fraud or diversion.

International Medical Corps (IMC), an LA-based charity, said Friday that some of its USAID-funded procurement remained on hold, pending the outcome of the investigation. In southern Turkey, current and former IMC employees said in interviews that a “mafia” of suppliers had conspired to rig bids, accepting substandard goods that did not meet invoiced specifications. IMC said Friday that it had also fired a handful of staff members suspected of involvement in ­“sophisticated fraud schemes.” Spox Rebecca Gustafson said:

We are fully prepared to move swiftly should we find additional staff are involved.

The funding suspension led IMC to cut 800 employees, the organization said, most of them Syrians living in the war zone. A former IMC staffer said:

This should be a wake-up call. Those salaries would have supported about 10 people each. It was like a cartel. You can’t get away with that sort of poor oversight and lack of procedure anymore.

Also under investigation are the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global charity headed by former British foreign secretary David Miliband, and GOAL, an Irish non-profit group that supported dozens of bakeries in north-west Syria. The IRC said Friday in a statement:

(We are working) openly and collaboratively with USAID to investigate this issue. Our Turkey-to-Syria cross-border programs have served more than 2 million people, notwithstanding the scale, risk and obstacles associated with operating within a war-torn environment.

GOAL said Tuesday that it also was cooperating with the investigation and that Pindosi funding for procurement parts of its aid program had been suspended. Although remote programming has brought serious challenges, aid officials say it’s now the only option to serve areas of Syria outside of government control.

no mention of the pentagon echelon which unofficially they hold responsible

Turkey’s proof on Gulen ‘crystal clear’: Turkish PM
Esra Kaymak Avci, Anadolu, Jul 27 2016

WASHINGTON – Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed disappointment Tuesday at the lack of support from the Obama administration regarding Turkey’s request to extradite FETO leader Fetullah Gulen. Yildirim said in an interview with the WSJ:

The evidence is crystal clear. We know the terrorist cult responsible for vicious attacks against us and the Turkish people. We are heartbroken at the way that Pindostan has treated this matter. We simply cannot understand why they can’t just hand over this individual.

Yildirim added that the Pindo-Turkish strategic alliance’s strength must outweigh the procedural matters. The premier also said Turkish investigators’ testimony compiled from the coup plotters must be considered credible. Following the Jul 15 coup attempt in Turkey, where more than 240 people were martyred, Turkey said that Gulen masterminded it and regards him as the head of FETO, or Fetullah Terrorist Organization. Though Turkey sent an official extradition request last week, Pindostan insists that needs to see evidence to send Gulen back to Turkey. Yildirim stressed that Pindostan kept asking for documents but the martyrs, who were bombed from jets and run over by tanks, were already enough as proof. He said:

The evidence is clear. We have testimony by suspected members of the coup that they took orders from this person.

The prime minister said the putsch attempt shook the nation as the 9/11 attacks did Pindostan, and all current ongoing investigations were conducted in accordance with legal and constitutional parameters. Yildirim also denied claims that detainees are being tortured or mistreated. Although Turkey had previously opened court cases against Gulen and his organization before the failed coup, Yildirim says that the government was not “firm enough” in its prosecution. According to Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, intelligence sources showed that Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, was currently planning to escape to a country without an extradition treaty with Turkey. He identified Australia, Canada, Egypt, Mexico and South Africa as countries where Turkey believes Gulen could seek refuge.

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