Voices from Russia

Monday, 22 August 2016

22 August 2016. Pogo Redux… “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us”… DON’T Enable the Duopoly

00 putin national review cover 110816_1

Look at this cover… it’s proof that the “conservatives” and Chilly Hilly are on the same page. Do you truly want to vote for that? I’d say this, “The USA has thousands of victims from drone strikes in the Third World. Did VVP do the same?” Yes… did VVP do likewise? He did NOT… ergo, American conservatives lie on that… so, what else are they lying about?

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I saw this on FB:

By any reasonable definition, Democrats are now the more conservative of America’s two parties. They are more interested than Republicans are in conserving America’s international relationships, cultural norms, and political and economic institutions as they are.

Here is the article referenced.

Let’s keep it simple… the Democrats and Republicans are simply two sides of the same rotten Neoliberal coin. The worst of the lot are those who label themselves “liberal” and “conservative” (“progressives” aren’t far behind, though). It’s now at the point where there isn’t a tuppence-worth of difference between Rod Dreher and Hillary Clinton. NONE. Have a care with “conservatives”… they’re either liars or dupes. Look at the National Review cover… they’re ready to endorse Hillary. As for “Libertarians”, they’re nothing but anarchists in three-piece suits. They want to empower the rich and powerful, in hopes that some of the scraps may fall their way. The present American political apparat is broken. I have no bloody idea what shall replace it in the end. The country runs by itself… but that can’t persist. Power DOES abhor a vacuüm. Either the oligarchs or the people will win. Clinton, Trump, and Johnson are the candidates of the oligarchs. Stein is the candidate of the people. Yes… there are nutters amongst her backers… but one can put up with that far more easily than oppression from the One Percent. There’s no perfect faction or candidate.

Your vote does count. Vote for Stein…

BMD

Saturday, 20 August 2016

20 August 2016. Have a Care With Self-Described “Greens”

00 cat dr jill 200816

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I intend to vote for Jill Stein in November. I believe that she’s the best out of the four major candidates on offer. However, most “Greens” set my teeth on edge. I find them pedantic, conformist, and intolerant of anyone with any misgivings about their movement. I ran an experiment… to be frank, I expected that those who call themselves “liberals” and “progressives” would be less than appreciative of any criticism of their movement (even criticism without negativity). To say that my expectations were correct is an understatement. I shall speak frankly… too many Greens march in lockstep… all too many are conformists (not to the Corporate Model, to be sure, but still conformists).

One of the major lacks in the Green Platform is that it’s clear that there’s been little (if any) input from white working-class people. I believe that most white working-class people reject Greens because of their stridency. Also, for “Liberals” and “Progressives”, we’re to blame for everything that’s happened to their “minority mascots”. Mind you, I intend to vote for Stein… objectively, she’s the best candidate. However, I remember a Green throwing water on me when I used to smoke (I was outdoors)… I remember their smarmy and self-serving outburst. I fear that Dr Jill may lose this November because her followers are too often pigheaded, judgemental, and intolerant. This is what I see from my vantage point…

I’d like to see a change… but there won’t be one until Jill Stein engages ALL of us as equals (and not as objects)… just sayin’…

BMD

“Weapons Better Than Stuxnet”: NSA Spies Get Hacked

00 computer keyboard 200816

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Someone hacked the US National Security Agency, considered the world’s most advanced electronic espionage and surveillance group. An anonymous group of hackers calling itself the Shadow Brokers said that it breached the networks of the world’s most advanced spying agency, the NSA. On Monday, the hacker group claimed that it extracted software used by the NSA to hack computers and networks belonging to governments and corporations, including Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc. The Shadow Brokers released a bit of the captured data (some 300 MB) on the web to prove their claim. Security experts analysed the files and agreed that the software is authentic. Curiously, the hackers put the rest of the software on an online auction, aiming to collect 1 billion USD (63.9 billion Roubles. 6.62 billion Renminbi. 67.14 billion INR. 1.286 billion CAD. 1.312 billion AUD. 883 million Euros. 765 million UK Pounds) in bitcoins. They claim that the package has software “weapons better than Stuxnet”, a malicious worm that caused significant damage to computer networks serving the Iranian nuclear programme. When the online auction raises one million bitcoins (some 568 million USD (36.3 billion Roubles. 3.76 billion Renminbi. 38.14 billion INR. 730 million CAD. 745 million AUD. 502 million Euros. 435 million UK Pounds)), the group says that it’d release another chunk of software to the public free of charge. The group claims that it successfully hacked the NSA’s Equation Group division. Moscow-based software security group Kaspersky Lab first announced the Equation Group’s existence in 2015. Kaspersky called the Equation Group the most sophisticated cyber-attack group in the world, and “the most advanced… we have seen”. Whistleblower Edward Snowden provided documents that allowed the Intercept to confirm that the Equation Group has connections with the NSA.

The malware package is part of the NSA’s involvement in violating vulnerabilities in computer systems, which first became public in 2014, when President Barack Obama signed an order that government agencies must disclose discovered vulnerabilities to developers. However, according to Wired, this order had a major loophole, in that one can keep secret and exploit vulnerabilities that have “a clear national security or law enforcement” significance. This led to creating a massive arsenal of attack software, now in hands of unknown hackers. NSA-veteran-turned-whistleblower William Binney told Sputnik’s Loud & Clear that the Agency “has a tendency not to fix things”, as once they report a vulnerability, “this window is closed for them and they can’t see through it”. Binney thought that this particular attack was likely an inside job. He stated that the NSA network isn’t physically part of the internet, so someone inside the NSA, “another Snowden-type person”, must have compromised the software and handled it over to the Shadow Brokers. If that isn’t the case, and if the internal network was, in fact, breached from the outside, “the implications are much, much greater in terms of compromising information and data than simply [someone] draining their exploitation software”. Binney also underscored the clear and present danger that, should the offensive software fall into hands of foreign specialists, it could be reverse-engineered, updated, and used for attacks even after they patch the exposed vulnerabilities. Binney believes that Iran is already studying Stuxnet, seeking to reverse engineer and upgrade it, to use it in its own interests.

Edward Snowden suggested that Russia is behind Shadow Brokers, tweeting, “Circumstantial evidence and conventional wisdom indicates Russian responsibility”. James A Lewis, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, added to his comments, suggesting that the NSA dump is “some Russian mind game”. Snowden observed:

The NSA leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this [NSA] malware server. That could have significant foreign policy consequences. Particularly, if any of those operations targeted US allies.

Thus, a simple hack balloons from being a cyber-security issue to, possibly, becoming a full-scale foreign policy crisis.

20 August 2016

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/us/20160820/1044450599/nsa-hacked-shadow-brokers-malware.html

No, Ambassador McFaul: Putin Didn’t Order Me to Fall in Love with Donald Trump

00 Russian caricature of Michael McFaul. 06.12

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Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul penned a scathing piece in the Washington Post accusing the Kremlin of intervening in the American election, based solely on the evidence of a harsh article regarding Clinton published by Sputnik News. Boy, was he wrong! My name is Bill Moran. A native Arizonan, I’ve worked on dozens of Democratic Party campaigns, and am more recently a proud writer for Sputnik’s Washington DC bureau. It seems that as of Thursday morning that I’m a source of controversy between the USA and Russia… something that I never quite could’ve imagined… for writing an article that was critical of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with a stinging headline, and a harsh hashtag.

So, what is this controversy all about? This weekend I published a piece with the headline, Secret File Confirms Trump Claim… Obama and Hillary “Founded ISIS” to Oust Assad. I also tweeted out this story from our platform with the hashtag #CrookedHillary. Guilty as charged. On Wednesday night, McFaul took to the Washington Post to opine that the article was part of a Kremlin-led conspiracy to subvert the American election, referring to the person running the Sputnik Twitter account (that particular day being me) as a “Russian official”, before warning (threatening) that we “might want to think about what we plan to do” if Clinton becomes president.

I feel it is necessary to pause, here, before having a substantive argument about the article’s merits and purpose within the public discourse, to address the severity of the accusation levelled against me and Sputnik’s staff (not by name until now), and its disturbing implications on freedom of speech, dissent, and American democracy… implications that I hope that Mr McFaul, other public proponents of the Hillary campaign, and the cadre of Russian critics consider. Pursuant to 18 US Code Chapter 115, I’d be writing this article to you from prison, if not awaiting a death sentence, if I were writing content ordered down to me by the Kremlin with a view towards subverting the American election. Instead, I’m writing this piece from my favourite coffeeshop in downtown DC. I’m not a Russian official. Our staff members aren’t Russian officials. We aren’t Kremlin controlled. We don’t speak with Vladimir Putin over our morning coffee.

Mr McFaul worked side-by-side with the former Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, and his routine accusations that Trump supporters are siding with Putin leaves me to imagine that he’s a Clinton insider if not a direct campaign surrogate. That such a public official would suggest reprisals against those with differing viewpoints in the event that she wins is disturbing. Our outlet doesn’t endorse or support any particular US presidential candidate, but rather reports news and views for the day in as diligent a manner as we possibly can. This is clear in our very harsh headlines on Trump, which Mr McFaul failed to review before making his attack.

On Friday morning, in fact, the Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo issued a completely different view, calling our coverage “uncharacteristically balanced”, but arguing that, because we report generally negative stories on both candidates, our real target is American democracy itself. It may surprise Messrs McFaul and Nimmo to learn that, in my previous work on political campaigns, I actually helped fundraise for Hillary Clinton… the candidate whose inner circle is now labelling my colleagues and I as foreign saboteurs. It’s not my fault nor Sputnik’s fault that Secretary Clinton’s campaign has devolved into one predicated upon fear and conspiracy, where the two primary lines are “the Russians did it” and that she isn’t Trump.

Donald Trump has the lowest approval rating since presidential polling began. Until recently, Clinton had the second lowest approval rating since presidential polling began. Their numbers are worse than even Barry Goldwater and George Wallace, in fact. The fact that more than 50 percent of the country dislikes both presidential candidates isn’t a Kremlin conspiracy. Would it be appropriate for us to present to our readers an alternate universe à la MSNBC, which defended Clinton’s trustworthiness by saying she only perjured herself three times? Why have both presidential candidates received less than fawning coverage from our outlet? They haven’t done anything to warrant positive coverage. My colleagues, also Americans, like so many others in this country, wish they would. Let’s return to the substance of the article to which Mr McFaul took exception. We wrote this piece because it was newsworthy… it informed our readers and forced them to think. The provocative headline of the story came from a statement by Trump that’s a bit of a stretch (notice the air quotes on the title), but which highlighted a major policy decision made by this administration that wasn’t properly scrutinised by the mainstream media. In the article, for those who actually read it, I refer to the 2012 DNI report that correctly calculated that Obama’s policy in Syria would lead to the development of a Salafist entity controlling territory and that this outcome was “wanted”. Hence, the title.

Today, the Obama Administration grapples with a similar debate over whether to continue to support the “moderate rebels” in Syria, despite the fact that they’ve now melded with al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda affiliate until they rebranded), under the banner of the Army of Conquest in Syria. We don’t pretend that these decisions exist in a vacuüm with a clear right and wrong answer upon which no two intelligent people differ, but this is a matter worthy of public discourse. What about that hashtag? Why would I use #CrookedHillary? I mean, I could’ve put #Imwithher, but I wasn’t trying to be ironic. When you feature a hashtag at the end of a sentence, its purpose is for cataloguing. Some people, usually non-millennials, use hashtags as text to convey a particular opinion. I wasn’t doing that. I also used #NeverTrump in a separate article. However, Mr McFaul lazily cherry-picked, and then labelled (maybe unwittingly) Sputnik’s American writers traitors to this country. Personally, I expect an apology for that.

20 August 2016

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/analysis/20160820/1044451585/McFaul-Putin-Trump.html

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