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28 July 2016

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turcopolier

David Habakkuk

IMO there would not be any long lasting effect on US/Russian relations from a disclosure of Russian government agency. Remember the Merkel phone intercepts affair. OTOH it could be private hackers. pl

Old Microbiologist

David, Very nicely put together.

Colonel, Good point. Especially when viewed in the light that the US was the first country to actively attack another (Iran) with cyber warfare thus opening Pandora's box. The paradox is we claim to hold the moral high ground. The truth is everyone is actively attempting to gather any and all the intel they can all the time. This smacks of disinformation to me. Hopefully, we will get to see the 30,000 emails soon then the fun can really begin.

different clue

SmoothieX12,

This is good to hear. When the "sanction Russia" crowd began embargoing various food-items being sold to Russia, they unintentionally began without realizing it an economic experiment in Protectionism. The food embargo against food going into Russia amounts to a kind of Protectionism for Russian food production within a protectionized and defended Russian market.
If it ends up allowing more monetizable food-as-wealth to be produced withIN Russia, that will allow all sorts of sectors and people to buy and sell more monetizable non-food goods and non-food services FROM withIN Russia TO withIN Russia as well. If that allows Russia to become more all-sectors-in-balance wealthier, that fact would be hard to hide eventually. And various farm-sector advocates in America could seize upon it and point to it as evidence that Protectionism WORKS to allow a country to increase its own net production and enjoyment of overall wealth withIN its own borders. And it might inspire more people to suggest we try it here within America as well. And through the abolition of NAFTA, allow Mexico to revive Protectionism for its agricultural sector as well. It might allow for enough broad-based ground-up revival of economic activity withIN Mexico that some of the millions of NAFTAstinian exiles in America might decide they have a Mexican economy to go back to again. And some of them might go back.

IF! NAFTA can be abolished and Mexico set free to re-protectionize its own agricultural economy. Perhaps if enough Mexican political-economic analysts look at events in Russia and see the ongoing success there, they too might agitate for the abolition of NAFTA and the re-protectionization of farm-country Mexico.

different clue

James,

Is the Trump Team smart enough to ask pointed questions about things like this to Hillary in the context of TV debates?

I respect Trump's shrewdness and cunning, but is he and his team smart enough in a broad sense to "beat Hillary's teeth out of her mouth" with on TV?

different clue

Old Microbiologist,

Is it fair to consider US citizens as delusional? What if they are merely massively and comprehensively disinformed? Is the Trump Campaign smart enough to wage a 6 months campaign of counter-disinformation warfare?
I hope so.

different clue

David Habakkuk,

What if the DNC had/has a disgruntled Secret Snowden among its ranks or staff? Would this person be able to perform a leak and make it look like a hack? Should that even be considered as a possibility?

kao_hsien_chih

That Russia before Putin provides for better explanation of his support than even the 260%. Yes, Russia is still a relatively poor country, but only a decade before, it was a total and complete basketcase and people remember that Putin is responsible for putting things back to a semblance of normalcy.

Jack

OM,

"delusional citizens in the US see our aggression as defensive".

This is what happens when citizens have been propagandized for so long. And folks are inherently lazy. They'll buy into whatever whoever they trust say. Do you recall the majority of Americans believed that Saddam had WMD and was in cahoots with AQ and supported the invasion where we would be treated as liberators?

The first time in the recent past there is any dissonance in public discourse has been with Trump.

Jack

David

The evidence presented so far that the hack is by the Russian government reminds me of the Iraq WMD evidence. Very dodgy. But, the media did its job. Russia has been convicted. My twitter feed is fully convinced since the "experts" have said so.

kao_hsien_chih

In mid-19th century, Russia was extremely friendly to United States, where many remained deeply suspicious of the British Empire. Somehow, by the end of 19th century, United States became peculiarly fond of the British Empire and inexplicably hostile to Russia--Mahan was both an Anglophile and Russophobe, as I understand, and his sentiments shows up in his ideas, or so I've heard. (I imagine SmoothieX12, as an ex Soviet navy man, is far more familiar with this than I ever could). How did that happen?

rkka

Official Brit hatred of Russia got started right after the Napoleonic Wars. About 4 centuries of Brit hatred of France got transferred, lock, stock, and barrel, to Russia, since Russia then became the most powerful land power in the world.

Maritime empires hate, with undying passion, the most powerful land power in the world.

And its a funny thing, the U.S. hatred of Russia dates from the early 1880s, right when the U.S. began laying down a new steel navy to replace the rotting wooden navy built for the Civil War, started with the explicit intention of making the U.S. a global power.

rkka

Because Russia's vital interests are deeply engaged in Ukraine, and Russia will go to war over them. Russia has both present military superiority there, and will escalate conflict there up to and including the employment of tactical nuclear weapons if that is what it will take to win a war with the West over Ukraine.

In other words, arming Ukraine will have no other result for Ukrainians than to pointlessly increase their already considerable suffering.

rkka

"How did that happen?"

In the early 1880s the U.S. government decided to become a global seapower. Hostility towards the world's largest landpower followed, as night follows day.

SmoothieX12

Protectionism WORKS to allow a country to increase its own net production and enjoyment of overall wealth withIN its own borders

Free Trade fundamentalism (which is a first derivative of liberalism) is what killing USA and, I assume, Mexico. Most "academic" so called economists and bankers (monetarists) are clueless but it is them who set the framework of discussion on economy. It is a long discussion but let me put it this way--all their "theories" are crap. As for Russia--she is largely self-sustainable for years now.

alba etie

Imagine
And so does daughter Mika - another useful idiot on Morning Joe.

alba etie

Mac
Google Mother Russia & Near Abroad ...

David Habakkuk

dc,

Your remark gives me food for thought.

If one is interested in a serious investigation, at this stage one should be casting one’s net wide in terms of possibilities.

Nothing in the evidence I have seen – as far as I understand it – establishes that one can rule out the possibility suggested by DebkaFile that the initiators of the leaks were actually in the United States.

And while there could have been a hack from the United States, it is not clear to me whether there is any reason in principle to rule out the possibility that there was no hacking operation at all.

In his ‘Faith-Based Attribution’ piece, Jeffrey Carr talks about the need for what he calls ‘hypothesis testing, a structured methodology.’

In a case like this, the first thing one needs to do is to broaden the range of hypotheses one tests. One then tries to ascertain which of them can easily be eliminated, before going on to see what testable predictions the remainder generate.

It is a major problem, in my view, that if one asks who might have had motives for supplying documents from the DNC networks to WikiLeaks, the more one thinks the longer the list of possible suspects grows.

A very large number of people, in a very diverse range of places, for a very diverse range of reasons, cordially loathe Hillary Clinton.

That ‘Guccifer 2.0’ is covering things up is clear. However, it is not at all clear that one discount both the possibility that he, perhaps with assistance, was responsible for hacking the documents – or, as you suggest might be possible, they were not hacked at all.

One matter to which his self-portrait draws attention is that a significant strand in an international hacking culture has a strongly ‘anarchic’, if not necessarily ‘anarchist’ mindset.

Also suggestive in his account are the visible indications of the kind of ‘high’ people can get if they discover that ‘geekish’ skills mean that they can, as it were, bring the mighty low.

It may be comforting to the ego to fancy oneself as a kind of ‘high-tech’ David wielding one’s ‘sling’ against Goliath.

Meanwhile, to a very substantial body of people of very diverse views, often not in the least ‘anarchic’ or ‘anarchist’ by disposition, in the United States and elsewhere, the Clintons have come to seem a kind of personalised embodiment of a system which has become hopelessly corrupt. (The same goes, in Britain, for the Blairs.)

On top of this we have the very large hacking culture in Russia, with its clear overlaps with and involvement in very sophisticated organised crime.

Many people in Russia are not exactly going to like the Clintons.

But there, and everywhere, while some who dislike them are sympathetic to Putin, others would quite happy to fire off a ‘stone’ which might ‘kill’ Hillary, and ricochet off and at least inflict a glancing blow on the Russian leader.

So, even before we begin talking about who have concrete motives of interest for supplying WikiLeaks with the DNC material, we have a lot of possible suspects.

When it comes to those who have such motives, then certainly the Russian security services are a possibility. Are there people in other security services who might have such an interest? I haven’t really thought it through.

That some of Clinton’s domestic opponents would have such a motive seems reasonably clear.

Having broadened the list of suspects, how far can we narrow it down?

The more I look at the ‘CrowdStrike’ report, the more convinced I am that this contains large lashings of disinformation.

It hardly assuages scepticism, among other things, to learn that the company’s co-founder, the author of the report, was named Foreign Policy Magazine’s ‘Leading Global Thinker’ for 2013. This looks like a ‘Borgist’.

For reasons I have already touched on, I find the scepticism of ‘DebkaFile’ about his account eminently credible.

This does not mean that one can rule out the possibility that the Russian security services were involved in the supplying of the material to WikiLeaks.

But the ‘CrowdStrike’ version looks rather like an account of how a house with a door left open was burgled by a supposedly top-class thief, who managed to climb in through a first-floor window and leave his fingerprints all over the place.

Among the fingerprints, critical ones are supposed to be the ‘metadata’, including the saving of a document by more than one user, with one employing the name and patronimic of Dzerzhinsky, in Cyrillic letters.

To take it as self-evident that this points to the GRU seems to me odd. The idea that a contemporary employee of that organisation would be both so incompetent as to leave such a tell-tale sign, and would leave this particular sign, is not so very plausible.

Provided, as I think is the case, the ‘metadata’ really exist, it seems to me they may well have been a clue which was intended to be found.

Who are the people who would have put in a clue of that kind?

The answer, I suggest, may be quite large subset of our list of possible suspects – conspicuously however not including the Russian security services.

If one was either an individual hacker, or a group of hackers, exposing Hillary for the fun and the thrill of it, or indeed, a range of people exposing her for reasons of interest, one would in all probability want to divert attention from oneself.

What better way to do this than to produce an account which appeared to be intended to refute the ‘CrowdStrike’ allegations, but on closer inspection looked as though it confirmed them?

As it had been evident, from the start, the counter to the WikiLeaks materials would be a ‘Red-baiting’ scare – actually, the only politically feasible response for the Democrats – what better than to encourage them along the path they were going?

Whatever person or persons are actually responsible can then sit back and relax, secure in the confidence that even if they are suspected, the powers that be cannot afford a serious investigation.

If not quite the ‘perfect fix’ – to borrow a term from Le Carré – it might not be that far from it.

David Habakkuk

OMB,

Thanks.

I think whether we are going to see the 30,000 e-mails is a $60,000 question.

From the Thomas Rid article:

‘Russian groups have also targeted Clinton’s wider campaign organisation at least since October 2015. Guccifer 2.0, in an email to The Smoking Gun, even claimed to have “some secret documents from Hillary’s PC she worked with as the Secretary of State.” It is unclear if this assertion is accurate, and indeed it is unclear if all leaked documents are actually sourced from the DNC breach. About three weeks later, on July 5, the FBI’s James Comey assessed that it was “possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.” The DNC intruders are likely to retain or regain some of this access. Moreover, the Guccifer 2.0 account has now been established as venue to distribute leaked documents. More activity, if not escalation, is to be expected.

‘Although so far the actual content of the leaked documents appears not to have been tampered with, manipulation would fit an established pattern of operational behaviour in other contexts, such as troll farms or planting fake media stories. Subtle (or not so subtle) manipulation of content may be in the interest of the adversary in the future. Documents that were leaked by or through an intelligence operation should be handled with great care, and journalists should not simply treat them as reliable sources.’

Whether or not the Russian security services were behind the WikiLeaks disclosures does seem to me, at the moment, imponderable. Likewise, I simply do not know whether people like ‘CrowdStrike’ and Rid genuinely believe they were -- although in the former at least I think there are strong grounds to suspect conscious involvement in a disinformation operation.

What does however seem to me absolutely clear is that a lot of people are running shit-scared about the possibility of further disclosures – and that part of what they are doing is to leave open the possibility of claiming that compromising revelations are due to the ‘doctoring’ of documents.

This could well happen. However, I have a suspicion that what is in the document they fear may be released may be so compromising it does not need much doctoring.

likbez

David,

You have too much trust in MSM reporting.

I doubt that Putin would like to avoid Clinton presidency, as impeachment process might start soon after she assumes the post. Emailgate is stil simmering at the background.

moreover, all major foreign intelligence agencies probably have quite a bit of dirt of her connected with her activities in Clinton Foundation to help to initiate the impeachment process. If Hillary is not suicidal, she need to treat very carefully any nation with powerful intelligence agencies.

Such hacks as DNC usually point to an existence of a disgruntled insider. ‘Guccifer 2.0’ might be just a smoke screen, to deflect the attention. This glorification of capabilities of hackers is a little bit silly. Nothing can be taken for granted is such stories.

Also keep in mind that if any serious intelligence agency would be interested in those emails, they probably would pursue a different route as most of electronic communications are intercepted by NSA in any case. USB drive from an insider for a monetary reward is simpler and much safer bet. You just need to find one disgruntled employee. In any case all this "hacker" games can tremendously benefit from a solid internal information.

kao_hsien_chih

The idea that a GRU agent would want to be associated with Dzerzhinsky seems peculiar to me, unless it is some kind of inside joke. Military intel ppl, as I understand it, hated the Cheka/KGB.

LeaNder

I am not sure what to make of this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitsky_Act

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Browder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Browder#Hermitage_Capital_Management

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Magnitsky

LeaNder

"All that has been proven is that Russia had two groups in the databanks."

Has it?

Thomas

Borg Law for Billionaires.

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