Exposing the farcical claims about Russian hacking of the election

Summary: As the hysteria builds about Russia’s “hacking” the presidential election by revealing hidden truths, the factual basis of the story continues to erode. The episode displays the symbiotic farce of American politics and journalism, and their decay. Here’s another summary of the story, and the overwhelming rebuttal evidence.

“Mr. President, if that’s what you want there is only one way to get it. That is to make a personal appearance before Congress and scare the hell out of the country.”

— Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s advice to Truman about starting the Cold War. Truman did so in his famous speech on 12 March 1947. From Put yourself in Marshall’s place by James Warburg (who helped develop WWII’s propaganda programs).

As hysterical “Democrats step up calls that Russian hack was act of war“, investigations by actual journalists destroy the story. Justin Raimondo skillfully debunks these rumors in “Rush to Judgment” at AntiWar.com — “The evidence that the Russians hacked the DNC is collapsing.”

“The allegation – now accepted as incontrovertible fact by the “mainstream” media – that the Russian intelligence services hacked the Democratic National Committee (and John Podesta’s emails) in an effort to help Donald Trump get elected recently suffered a blow from which it may not recover.

Crowdstrike is the cybersecurity company hired by the DNC to determine who hacked their accounts: it took them a single day to determine the identity of the culprits – it was, they said {in June}, two groups of hackers which they named “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear,” affiliated respectively with the GRU, which is Russian military intelligence, and the FSB, the Russian security service. …

“{Note} the FBI’s complete dependence on Crowdstrike’s analysis. Amazingly, the FBI did no independent forensic work on the DNC servers before Crowdstrike got its hot little hands on them: indeed, the DNC denied the FBI access to the servers, and, as far as anyone knows, the FBI never examined them. BuzzFeed quotes an anonymous ‘intelligence official’ as saying ‘Crowdstrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything they have concluded is not accurate.’

“…this false narrative is the entire basis of a campaign launched by the Democrats, hailed by the Trump-hating media, and fully endorsed by the FBI and the CIA, the purpose of which is to “prove” that Trump is “Putin’s puppet,” as Hillary Clinton put it.”

The Crowdstrike report followed the pattern for cyberattacks: fast and confident attribution, with large poorly justified assumptions, ignoring the difficulty of cyber-attribution. They doubled down with further reports in December and in March. Most journalists and Democrats (not always distinct groups) have uncritically embraced these claims. But they quickly fall apart on examination.

As usual, cyber excerpts quickly disputed the story — mostly considered undernews and so ignored by the major news media. Such as Jeffrey Carr in “Fact-Checking That ‘Trump & Putin’ Thing” (July). Journalists at Ars Technica and Epoch Times cited numerous experts who eviscerated the claims.

Russia cyber-bear
By Daniel Marsula/Post-Gazette.

Yaroslav Sherstyuk, who wrote the program that CrowdStrike claims was hacked by Russia’s GRU, said that the CrowdStrike report “delusional”.

The Voice of America’s (VOA) excellent reporting on this has been mostly ignored in journalists’ frenzy to indict Trump. In December VOA did investigated the Crowdstrike reports.

“Pavlo Narozhnyy, a technical adviser to Ukraine’s military, told VOA the app could theoretically have been reverse engineered and hacked, but he stressed that if such hacking had taken place, it would have been spotted. Narozhnyy stated on Facebook that he outfitted Ukraine’s armed forces with nearly 300 tablets that carried the allegedly hacked software, and some of those tablets were sent to units with D-30 howitzers. He told VOA that contacts in the Ukrainian military units that used the app reported no losses of D-30 howitzers, which contradicts large battlefield losses referenced in the CrowdStrike report.

“CrowdStrike told VOA its information on those losses came from what it described as an analysis from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a London-based think tank. “We cited the public, third-party reference source that was quoted,” VOA was told.”

Now the VOA reports additional news debunking that claim by Crowdstrike.

“But the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) told VOA that CrowdStrike erroneously used IISS data as proof of the intrusion. IISS disavowed any connection to the CrowdStrike report. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense also has claimed combat losses and hacking never happened.”

What was Crowdstrike’s source? VOA found the answer. It is not impressive.

“But the source referenced in the CrowdStrike report on its website is not the site of the actual IISS, but an article on The Saker, a site that presents a largely pro-Russian version of events in Syria and Ukraine. The article is an English translation from a post first published by Boris Rozhin, a popular Russian blogger, who covers Russian military operations under the moniker “Colonel Cassad” from Russian-annexed Crimea.

“Rozhin calls his popular blog “the Bullhorn of totalitarian propaganda” and supports pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, Global Voices reported. Global Voices is a volunteer online site of citizen media reporters who advocate for free speech.

Update: Following the big claims comes the retraction

VOA takes a well-deserved victory lap: “Cyber Firm Rewrites Part of Disputed Russian Hacking Report.

“U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.”

Who is making these claims?

James Carden at The Nation follows the trail from these claims back to the usual suspects.

“Crowdstrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer, is Dmitri Alperovitch.  The connection between Alperovitch and the Atlantic Council has gone largely unremarked upon, but it is relevant given that the Atlantic Council — which is funded in part by the US State Department, NATO, the governments of Latvia and Lithuania, the Ukrainian World Congress, and the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk—has been among the loudest voices calling for a new Cold War with Russia. As I pointed out in the pages of The Nation in November, the Atlantic Council has spent the past several years producing some of the most virulent specimens of the new Cold War propaganda.”

Conclusions

“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”
— Ancient wisdom.

Our elites began the Cold War by selling us an exaggerated story about the threat from the Soviet Union, based on an exaggeration of its strength. In 1980 Reagan began phase two of the Cold War by expanding our defense budget, based on the ludicrous Team B report. In 1989 the Soviet empire collapsed; the USSR itself followed in 1991.

The most valuable asset of con artists are their suckers lists, because suckers do not learn from experience. Our gullible acceptance of the Cold War II propaganda suggests that Americans do not learn, making us a gift to our ruling elites.

Trump’s national security team — mostly generals and executives of defense contractors, card-carrying members of the Deep State — are ready to make the money flow. Trump’s $54 billion gift to them in the 2017-18 budget is just the first round. The same Deep State team has been adding fuel to the Democrat’s conspiracy mongering, proving what we already know from reading Trump’s Tweets: he is bewildered by the complexities of the game he stumbled into.

The truth is out there. We can still come to our senses and stop this madness. But I worry that Marx was wrong, and that Cold War II will be a disaster — not a farce.

“Hegel says somewhere that all great historic facts and personages occur twice, so to speak. He forgot to add: ‘Once as tragedy, and again as farce.’”
— Opening line to Karl Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1869).

For More Information

Updates.

  • A detailed debunking of the Russia cybersecurity threat, from the Georgia war to Campaign 2016: “From Russia, with Panic” by Yasha Levine at The Baffler.
  • Note the quiet shift in media focus from finding a Trump-Russia conspiracy to finding illegal surveillance and leaks by US intelligence agencies. See this good summary by Philip Giraldi: “Russiagate’s Unasked Question” at American Conservative, 27 March 2017. He buries the lede. Here is the key text.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Donald Trump, about fake news, about Russia, about cyberattacks, about information and disinformation, and especially these…

  1. Let’s stop the 2-minute hate on Putin & think before we reignite the Cold War.
  2. How the world looks from Russia. It’s a picture the US media don’t show.
  3. Did NATO betray Russia, breaking the deal to stay out of Eastern Europe?
  4. Is Trump a tool of Putin? See the story & the debunking.
  5. Learning from the Cold War to prevent war with Russia today.
  6. Here are the facts so far about the Trump-Russia file.
  7. Deciphering the scandalous rumors about Trump in Russia.

Two good books about Putin’s Russia.

Inside Putin's Russia
2005. Available at Amazon.
The Man Without A Face
(2016). Available at Amazon.

7 thoughts on “Exposing the farcical claims about Russian hacking of the election

  1. “Trump’s $54 billion gift to them in the 1917-18 budget is just the …” I think you mean 2017-18

  2. I’m confused.Trump makes a $54 billion gift to the Deep State (an unlikely gift from a Democrat Congress or a President Clinton), but that same Deep State “has been adding fuel to the Democrats conspiracy monitoring.” What is going on?

    1. Daniel,

      That’s the point of the Deep State. It’s doings are largely invisible. The plans of those running it are unknown to us.

      This is a commonplace of history. We have the illusion of transparency because historians write with a God-like view of the past — implying that they would have a similar view if only they were alive back then. Journalists and political commentators write their confident guesses as if God were their co-author. In fact both the past and present are filled with mysteries.

      For example, think of articles written in 1962. About President Kennedy, about the Missile GAP, about Vietnam, etc. Now we know that they were to an astonish extent fallacious. Kennedy was neither athletic nor a wonderful family man. There was a missile gap in 1960, but it favored us. The stories about Vietnam were mostly b.s. Why do we assume that the stories today are more accurate?

      That’s the key insight of the Deep State.

  3. The quiet shift in media focus from finding a Trump-Russia conspiracy to finding illegal surveillance and leaks by US intelligence agencies.

    See this good summary by Philip Giraldi: “Russiagate’s Unasked Question” at American Conservative, 27 March 2017. He buries the lede. Here is the key text.

    ——–

    “The issue of Russiagate itself appears to be receding as it becomes clearer that there is little or no danger of exposing any Manchurian candidate-type collusion, even though inquiries will undoubtedly drag on into the summer. Last week, President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Even former CIA acting director Michael Morell, an ardent Hillary Clinton supporter who once described Donald Trump as an “unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” has now recanted and conceded that, “On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all.”

    “Regarding the FBI investigation itself, someone in the White House had to authorize such a highly sensitive initiative as it is difficult to conceive that the Bureau would undertake such a task on its own without any political cover. Comey, for his part, failed to provide a roadmap and refused to either confirm or deny whether the White House knew or authorized the investigation of the Trump associates—just as he would neither confirm nor deny whether President Obama had received a copy of the transcript of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations. Indeed, the FBI Director spent most of his time refusing to confirm or deny anything.

    “Comey’s words are significant. One should recall that he is both a lawyer and the head of a federal police agency that has been under fire. He said, regarding Trump tweets claiming that former President Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower, that “I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI,” adding that “no individual”—not even a president—can unilaterally order a wiretap. NSA Director Mike Rogers also testified that “I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity.” Comey would not state whether or not an investigation of intelligence community leaks to the media, most notably the Flynn phone calls, were being investigated.

    “The comments “I have seen nothing” and “I have no information” are not the same as saying something did not occur. And we now have confirmed that there was, in fact, an investigation starting well before the election. As interviewing Trump associates or their alleged Russian contacts during an electoral campaign was presumably not an option, any investigation into whether Trump’s team had been colluding with the Russians would involve electronic surveillance of communications into and out of the campaign committee offices in Trump Tower.”

Leave a Reply