The Democratic Party convention and the media are full of the assumption that Russia is the enemy of the United States. What is the basis for that assumption?
- Russian support for the Russian ethnic minority in eastern Ukraine? How does that threaten the United States?
- Russian annexation of the Crimea? Khrushchev arbitrarily transferred that part of Russia to Ukraine during his time as head of the USSR. Khrushchev was a Ukrainian. Russia never accepted the arbitrary transfer of a territory that had been theirs since the 18th Century. How does this annexation threaten the United States?
- Russia does not want to see Syria crushed by the jihadis and acts accordingly? How does that threaten the United States?
- Russia threatens the NATO states in eastern Europe? Tell me how they actually do that. Is it by stationing their forces on their side of the border with these countries? Have the Russians made threatening statements about the NATO states?
- Russia has made threatening and hostile statements directed at the United States? When and where was that?
- Russia does not accept the principle of state sovereignty? Really? The United States is on shaky ground citing that principle. Remember Iraq?
- Russian intelligence may have intercepted and collected the DNC's communications (hacked) as well as HC's stash of illegal e-mails? Possibly true but every country on earth that has the capability does the same kind of thing every single day. That would include the United States.
The Obama Administration is apparently committed to a pre-emptive assertion that Russia is a world class committed enemy of the United States. The Borgist media fully support that.
We should all sober up. pl
Thanks for the straight-forward, clear, brief, convincing summary. I have posted it to my Facebook page and will forward it around as I can.
I would add that, with the exception of Trump (at least at the moment), the Republican party including congressmen and senators etc. is singing the same song.
Colonel, Bravo, couldn’t be said better someone should say this to idiot Morning Joe
“In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Not to mention the financial advantages to the Military-Industrial-Thinktank complex (I’m including NATO in this) and all the politicians that benefit from the lobbying monies from that complex.
Plus there’s the psychological advantage of having some country/countries to blame for the lack of US success, or to distract attention away from US problems that need it.
Russia’s primary offense is that it has dared to have its own national interests.
You left out that Putin has a burning desire to rebuild the Soviet Empire under the Russian Federation banner, doing so by invading and occupying all of the nations that have recently been added to NATO. We know this because he invaded and occupied Crimea and is attemting the same in Ukraine with thousands of heavily armed troops, including armor and heavy artillery.
The Ukraine invasion is completely invisible to our satellites which, far from suggesting that it might not be happening, proves that Russian stealth technology is far ahead of ours, which is cause for even more fear and terror on the Russian front.
I know you are isolated from modern American news, sir, but try to keep up.
Moscow is large enough to be a mommy figure for a small country with an interest in dealing with China which doesn’t want to be swamped by Beijing’s sheer size. Moscow is a threat to U.S. financial and military domination without firing a shot, engaging in a trade war, or leading a diplomatic revolt.
The average American doesn’t care about a loss of hegemony. We naturally want cooperation and hippie peace, love, dope. The Western industries with effective monopolies abroad would see immense profits under threat because the Chinese and Russian competitors would drive prices down in finance, defense, pharmaceuticals, tech, and so forth. So they are turning to the Goering play book to keep the Russians out of the world stage. The professional Risk players in the neoconservatives would see their plans fall apart if the Erdogan-Putin meeting is a positive one.
Also, Putin embarrassed Obama over Syria in 2013 and then was magnanimous. Obama hasn’t forgotten that perceived slight.
We’ve always been at war with Eastasia http://blog.erratasec.com/2016/02/weve-always-been-at-war-with-eastasia.html
Consider the example in the book 1984 regarding the ongoing war between the three superstates of Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia (representing English, Russian, and Chinese empires respectively).
At the start of the book, Oceania is at war with Eurasia. They have always been at war with Eurasia. That’s the political consensus, and all historic documents agree. However, Winston Smith (the protagonist) remembers a time five years ago when Oceania was instead at war with Eastasia. Winston Smith struggles with philosophical idea of “truth”. Which is more true, what everyone knows and what’s in the newspapers, or the memories within his head?
Then Ocean’s allegiance switched back again. On the sixth day of Hate Week, as crowds gathered to denounce Eurasia, the Party switched enemies to Eastasia. In a particularly rousing speech against their enemy, the speaker was handed a slip of paper, and in mid-sentence, without pause, without change in content or tone, he changed the name of the enemy he was speaking against to Eastasia. Eurasia was now their dearest friends. Those holding banners denouncing their enemy were suddenly embarrassed to discover they had unaccountably written the wrong name, and quickly trampled and destroyed them.
“I know you are isolated from modern American news, sir, but try to keep up.” It seems to me that you are overly affected by “modern American news.” Does it bother you that not everyone has been conditioned by neocon memetics?
Tell me how you KNOW that it is Putin’s intention to “rebuild the Soviet Empire? How do you KNOW that? How do you KNOW that it is his intention to invade and occupy all the nations added to NATO? How do you KNOW that? There is no evidence that Russian forces are committed in eastern Ukraine. None. You admit that to be true and cite it as evidence of Russian aggression. I remind you that I do not tolerate ad hominem attacks. pl
I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or you really believe this, but I’ll err on the side of caution and believe it is the former.
If so, its very well done.
“You left out that Putin has a burning desire to rebuild the Soviet Empire under the Russian Federation banner, doing so by invading and occupying all of the nations that have recently been added to NATO”
The worst Russian nightmare is to have those freeloaders back into Russian fold. USSR? Thanks, but no thanks. I know damn well the mood on Russian streets–it is to be left alone, especially by non-Russian entities. Preferably having a very tall fence literally and figuratively. As per “recently added to NATO”. You mean de-populating and economically third world Baltics, or, God forbids, seeing Poland in Russian fold. Sir, you are, obviously, smoking some potent sh.t. Learn the facts on the ground.
Replace “Russia” in the above sentence with “Trump”.
They are both not in the Davos set.
Umm, you’ve been played, Pat.
Bill H is practicing a sardonic irony popular on a lot of sites’ comments sections nowadays. “Million Dollar Bonus” over at zerohedge.com is a master of the art.
The giveaway is Bill’s second paragraph, mocking the lying media presstitutes who claim Russia is “invading Ukraine with hordes of tanks” etc and have never been able to verify their ridiculous claims with even one shred of proof.
With the best of these types of commenters, it’s often hard to tell whether they are really serious or just spoofing. Either way, they generally elicit a lot of heated responses….
I think that on reflection you are right to err on the side of caution. It was indeed well-done — just perhaps need a small ‘tweak’ at the end to eliminate the ambiguity.
Sarcasm? Trolling? I don’t have time for that. I suppose I will have to ban it. Sigh… pl
Now look what you’ve done!
I suggest you use a snark tag – /s – at the end next time.
I read before that Obama was pushing back against this lunacy. Now the HRC-NEOCON camp are in full attack mode. I honestly think I’ll be voting for Trump because I feel he can’t do all of the things that I would hate for him to do. I KNOW that Hillary would get away with murder. I’m quite serious.
I think there is a late – certainly a reservoir – of Kool Aide somewhere in America which US leaders and commentators are imbibing en mass.
Well put. I was also reading about NATO members gearing up to attack Russia.
Moscow is large enough to be
A medium-size European country herself. It is also a very peculiar economic entity. I do, however, have a question on what do you mean by a “mommy for a small country”? No matter how small the country is, in my understanding, it still will have a fair degree of freedom when building trade relations with any entity, even of such mammoth size as China.
I don’t think it was “sarcasm” (or trolling) directed against your post. He was actually agreeing, but chose to express it in this guise.
I agree; if Russia had jettisoned the Central Asian Republics, Armenia, Moldova, and Georgia, she could have avoided the trauma of 1991.
All those places were a net drain on the European parts of USSR.
Of course, now that the USSR is gone and the subsidies are gone with it, many of those places are slowly sinking into the 19-th century era poverty from which the Russian Empire had rescued them earlier.
The American talking point about the Crimea is a laughable piece of High School Debating Team rhetoric.The people in charge know full well the truth about Ukraine’s claim to the Crimea. The thing that hurts is that the whole point of the
“Nuland Putsch” ,and the rise of a western aligned govt., was to provide the crown jewel in Nato’s (read America) crown: Eliminating Russia’s naval base at Sevastopol completing the encirclement of Russia in the west (except for the always vulnerable Kaliningrad).
All the rest about Russia’s alleged expansionism is similar debating team poppycock.
Looking at the history of empire building and aggressive wars, one is well served to think in terms of the 3 legged stool of criminology (for aggressive wars are simply, as Jackson said at Nurnberg, the supreme international crime) and consider means, opportunity, and motive.
We have motive, the Russians do not. The motive in this case is theft, plain and simple. Russia with its small population and vast real estate holdings is already provided with more resources than she knows what to do with. We, on the other hand are not, and have not been since at least the seventies. Russia has its work cut out for it to develop what it owns already and why would they want to conquer populous resource poor neighbor states?
Not only has Putin snatched away the score of the century by re-asserting Russian control over Crimea, but he had since 2000 or so been forestalling the western feeding frenzy on the carcass of the Soviet Union that had Americans creaming their jeans. Re assertion of Russian true sovereignty was his real offense.
What’s so poignant is the long standing western ambition to be able to steal what Russia has. 2 centuries of western aggression against Russia, and all dedicated to theft. Same now, and the drumbeat of warmongering rhetoric now directed at Russia is hilarious in a dangerous way. We really are using the Goering argument to drag our unwilling population towards war.
We live in times where “if it weren’t for over-reaction, there’d be no reaction at all.”
Should be any less concerned about Russian intel / cyber ops / influence (open & otherwise) in our politics than we are of any other nation?
But that is the same reaction that the Democrats currently engage in. Trump’s “Putin does a better job” is sarcasm and trollery. Apparently he wants to compete with SNL. Good showing so far, but may cost him the job he purportedly also covets.
“Median income in Russia increased 260% (in inflation adjusted terms) during the first 10 years that Putin was in power. That is a staggering increase in people’s financial well being. The Economist and its brethren like to dismiss this achievement as being “solely due to the increased price of oil” – but if you look at Canada, its oil production per capita was and is equal to that of Russia yet Canada’s median income only increased 9% during the same time period.”
And Canadas’s median income was of course as low as Russias when Putin came to power? 🙂
Putin is judged by his ability to transform the Russian economy from an exporter of oil, gas and academics to something more sustainable.
Here he has failed until now.
Did this make MSM news? Pseudo news about Russia keeps this sort of thing on the back pages.
Sarcasm aside, the salient aspect of Bill H.’s post is that a significant majority of American public would likely agree that this is exactly Putin’s intention. It’s, in part, from long Cold War conditioning but less explained is why the so called mass, “liberal,” media media buys into it. Neocons and neolibs (r2p crowd) seem pretty united in this. It seems the desire to enlighten other countries by force of arms runs deep in the human soul.
I’m trending in that direction as well. I would have supported Bernie over both of them. I can’t stand the Bern’s over the top socialism but, like Trump, neither would have much of a chance of passing their domestic agendas. The President does have primacy in FP matters and HRC scares the crap out of me. My only hope is perhaps she learned something about limits during her tenure. She is morally compromised and power hungry but not stupid. All the candidates say whatever they believe is required for election and getting the financing required for it.
Two “liberal” IT luminaries today pick up the (totally unproven) assertion that Russia hacked and published via wikileaks the DNC shennigens of preferring Clinton.
The used this to (preemptively) accuse Russia of manipulating the U.S. election via voting computers on November 9.
By November, Russian hackers could target voting machines
Russia and other states could hack the US election by attacking voting machines
This is curious as both are usually much more carefully about attribution of such hacks.
Could this be a “preemptive” attempt to find Russia guilty should the November 9 result come into question?
John Robb warned earlier that such a scenario could lead to civil war
In another thread, it was mentioned that countries have no friends, only interests.
Russia, for all the Borg media grandstanding, seems to only be concerned with Russian related interests. There is no indication of greater plan for global domination. They are upgrading and preparing for a future war, sure. Any country would be smart to prepare accordingly to defend itself (and their interests).
Obama’s USA has been far too hostile to Russia without apparent cause. A Clinton administration would likely swing even further. While Russia has openly declared that it not want a new hot war, they are preparing accordingly because they have no choice but to prepare for the possible future USA being even more hostile.
Yes. Don’t we get what our media and foreign policy elites have been telling us for so long? How can we be so dumb when Crooked Hillary has been telling us that Putin is a “thug” and now the Democrats are also Trumpeting that the Putin’s Russia is interfering in our elections?
I think this is a sign that both Schneier and Doctorow are democrats who fear Trump. Tribal allegiance exerts a very powerful, and irrational, force on the so-called rational mind.
The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, by Drew Westen https://www.amazon.com/Political-Brain-Emotion-Deciding-Nation/dp/1586485733/
Warning, Westen is a Democrat and he basically wrote this book to try and help Democrats win more presidential election, though the research portion in the beginning of the book shows how people in both parties are biased in their interpretation of political events based on their political party allegiance.
When Obama first ran in 2007-2008, Westen had clearly been drinking the glorious pro-Obama koolaid as was evident in some HuffPo articles he wrote at the time. Then a year or two later he wrote some follow up articles whining and complaining about how disappointed he was in Obama not being much different from Bush, etc, etc. Clearly this man was so caught up in his tribal allegiance he couldn’t recognize the very biases his research showed. Btw, he is still a consultant to the Democrats… attempting to be the Frank Luntz of the left.
Col, I value your perspective greatly; this post is very helpful to me thank you
I couldn’t agree with you more.
I remember a presentation by Gorbachov back in early 90s here in US and on C-SPAN, he was saying if you (US) wants to believe that Reagan’ arm race was the reason for USSR’ collapse its fine with us. But for us the real reason was we saw no reason to continue paying for non producing resource less eastern european states. He said (paraphrasing) not only having them under our sphere of influence and security was not making Russia more secure in fact having them and paying for their energy alone with our resources was making us less secure.
Interesting Spiegel piece about some of Breedlove’s email exchanges regarding the Ukraine from two years ago:
The Germans are obviously still sore about it all.
“I KNOW that Hillary would get away with murder. I’m quite serious.”
It has already happened on this watch, see the case of MH-17.
Col, not half bad. Really. Out here the affirmations/inbetweens were read as adds.
Russia became the enemy of United States in early 2000’s after Putin started cracking down on the oligarchs that had taken over Russia’s economy during Yeltsin’s privatization efforts. It is estimated that seven individuals were controlling as much as 50% of Russia’s economy at its peak during the late 90’s:
Many of these oligarch were ethnically Jewish and had strong ties to the American Jewish community. What began as an isolated domestic Russian affair to sort out its own internal economic problems, slowly escalated to conflict with Washington, because many influential voices in the American Jewish community had taken the view that the crackdown on the oligarchs was a modern day anti-Semitic pogrom. Hence, the “Putin is a fascist”, “Russia is evil” meme was born and the grounds for Cold War II was laid.
I think the key point to take away from this experience is that America’s new multicultural character exposes her to a new sets of risks and challenges that did not exists during its first 200 years of existence. We now face a situation where the arrest of a of crooked businessman across the globe could trigger a new cold war, which then could accidentally lead to a nuclear confrontation 15 years down the line. Its mind boggling how quickly all of this happened and without anyone trying to stop it or at the very least call attention to it.
guessing they are setting the scene to invalidate an unfavorable vote count and take it to House of Representatives.
writers could be persuaded they were Doing Good.
Good find. Yes and yes. They never stop manipulating. Now the MSM will finally have to admit that the machines are compromised ONLY when it serves the interests of th few.
Today, all those “freedom-loving” people of former USSR, even including all those scores of West Ukrainians who hate Russian guts and Middle Asian “nationalists” flock to Russia “in pursuit of happiness”. I am not saying that all those people are bad, but the question I do ask sometimes is this: you hated us, you evicted (sometimes with bloodshed) us, Russians, from your places. You got what you asked for, why then, do you come to Russia in millions (I am not exaggerating, in fact, most likely underestimating)? What happened? Of course, we all know what happened.
I’m envisioning a scenario where we have haxxors from half a dozen countries, both political parties, Anonymous, prganized crime, two or three USG intelligence agencies, and a variety of other assorted miscreants all dipping their digits into our voting systems this year.
We’ll probably end up re electing Dewey…
Not likely, will be.
No, it won’t. Trump perfectly outed the DNC, Hillary, and the media in one fell swoop. You’re seeing the same thing you saw in the primaries: Trump winning by a little, and then a lot.
“Heh, let me passive aggressively moan about how Putin hasn’t transformed the country according to MY metrics.”
Can you guys go 36 hours without a terrorist attack over there in Germany? How’s Mutti Merkel’s insane policy working for you?
Tidewater to All,
Some years back I asked the Cossack what she thought about what was going on in the Crimea. Particularly the idea that Crimea was not Russian. She knows that area well. She smiled slightly, shrugged, and countered with her own question: “Get between the people and their datcha?”
I carefully inquired what she meant by what she had just said. It seemed very interesting. She explained that she was using the term “datcha” (dacha) to mean a ‘vacation place’, which would include any vacation place, not just a little cabin in the country, but also a place at the beach, whether owned or rented. She was talking about the whole Russian idea of the two or three week stay by the ocean. The Crimea is one of the few places where Russians can go, and it is probably the best place to go, palm trees and semitropical and the sea is not black, it is blue.
My translation of her rhetorical remark is: “Get between the people and their beach?”
Think about it.
What would happen in the south if people in Tennessee and other mountain regions couldn’t get down to the coast at Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island? Or Atlantic Beach? Or Virginia beach?
What happens if Manhattan cannot get to the Hamptons? D.C. to Rehoboth?
There is something else I have picked up on. This is about how Russians, particularly Russian women, think about health, and particularly the health of their children. The Cossack often talks about the need to get to the beach for the “iodine”, the sea air, the ozone, the Vitamin D, the sun, whatever, and there is nothing frivolous to her about the idea. It is deeper and darker. I suspect that there is a profound belief among Russian woman that in order for a child to get through the Russian winter without dying it is necessary that that child be immunized for the winter by spending two or three weeks in the sunny climate of the littoral of the Black sea. This is an imperative. She has stated that as a fact.
Now this may be considered an Old Russian Wives tale, but again, the issue here would seem to me to be that this is an unexpected angle to the whole Crimean business. Do Russians and Russian women believe in these powers that are held in the climate of the Crimea? If so, you might compare it to how Indians and Pakistanis feel about Kashmir. There is something perhaps a little bit irrational in it, but millions will fight and die for it.
Given that this is one of the Trump FP positions for which he has maintained consistency (against Borg opinion), his recent polling increases despite DNC/Borg attempts to tar him suggests that there may be hope for an American public that is increasingly distrustful of the political class’s message.
Sarcasm at its finest, well done sir 🙂 but it seems you probably still need the /s tag at the end, sigh.
As a Brit, I doubt it. There is something that keeps European politicians in line for the Washington Borg, so every now and then they make some noises to keep the Borg happy but the damage that virtually all countries in Europe suffered from the various wars in the last century will not be easily forgotten. So no, I don’t think NATO’s European members except perhaps Poland are gearing up to attack Russia, they already have enough problems to deal with.
TonyL and BillH
I am not amused. SST is not a place for the sardonic amusement of spoiled, naughty, children. Goodbye. pl
Could I get a reality check? Putting aside for a moment the question of whether releasing e-mails of the DNC revealing what everyone already knew is a sensible way to affect an election three months away, not to mention the blowback from doing it in such a shoddy manner that your involvement is immediately identified (two propositions the mainstream media appears to have unthinkingly accepted), isn’t the best guide to what a country or leader is likely to do how it has behaved in the past? We are told that Russia is committing military aggression in Ukraine (though I’ve seen surprisingly little actual evidence), that Putin wants to reform the USSR (despite any statements by him to this effect), and, according to the Atlantic Council, that Russia is ready to roll into the Baltics and Poland (places that would doubtless greet the Russian tanks with flowers and chocolate, just like the U.S. in Iraq).
What have the Russians actually done? They intervened in a war between South Ossetia and Georgia that was started by the Georgians. The Russian Army could easily have taken Tblisi and snuffed out Georgia as an independent country. It didn’t. Instead, the Russians withdrew back into South Ossetia. The Russians have almost certainly provided assistance to the breakaway “republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk — but have made no attempts (at least as far as I have seen) to destabilize the rest of Ukraine or extend “Novorossiya.” They did take Crimea, but that is truly a special case.
If Putin truly wanted to re-form the Soviet Union, the logical place to start would be Central Asia. Kazakhstan in particular has a large Russia minority as well as lots of oil and gas. The same is true of a lesser extent of Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan is small, and Tajikistan is a basket case. It would be quite easy for the Russians to foment movements in any of those places to throw out the dictators and ask to join the Russian Federation. It would certainly be easier, more profitable, and much less dangerous than Russian tanks rolling into Estonia. Yet Russia has not done this. Doesn’t that say something?
The Atlantic recently published a fairly hysterical article (I probably shouldn’t link to it, but … http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/07/russia-nato-trump-shirreff/492938/) speculating that because Putin hates NATO, Russia will invade the Baltics just to show how feeble NATO is. If you really wanted to expose NATO as a paper tiger, might it not be better to, say, convince the country with the second-largest army in the alliance to leave NATO and align with you? That seems to be exactly what is happening with Turkey, yet all we hear is how Putin is ready to risk nuclear annihilation by invading Ukraine/Latvia/Poland.
Am I missing something here?
The great American art form, surely*, is cinema. At least I think so. Which makes me nervous that teeny bit nervous about being herded as a “Logan’s Run” extra…
* Don’t call me Shirley.
NATO should have made clear that Ukraine would not become part of NATO. Also Putin greatly underestimated the ramifications to western Europe and US relations by moving on Crimea and then kicking the hornets over in Eastern Ukraine. Nothing good has come from these gross miscalculations.
As to Russia and the DNC. Hacking in isn’t the same as publishing out via Assange. All that has been proven is that Russia had two groups in the databanks. I’d assert Assange has his own motives and other sources.
I also speculated a few months ago that Trump might try to meet Putin post convention. He might have been contemplating that but perhaps Hillary’s statements and Assange’s actions have made that less likely or favorable to Trump. Trump is his own worst enemy. Advocating Russian espionage is beyond stupid on his part.
By the way Kerry has been very quiet the last week. Where is he?
Colonel and Committee of Correspondence,
Please help me explain to a friend why arming Ukraine is folly….
It remains to be seen if annexation of Crimea and support for east Ukraine are or were folly. Putin seems to be doing quite well. Kerry is around somewhere trying to figure out how to BS the Russians into doing what he and the other Borgists want. pl
FYI, this article with regard to DNC’ emails, is dead on.
Trump is focused on the election. He intentionally creates outrage knowing full well that the MSM love everything sensational. He got plenty of free media cycles on that one. I don’t think he advocated espionage but instead asked the Russians if they have any of Hillary’s emails that she claims were deleted from her “private” server to allow the media a feeding frenzy over them. I believe he was mocking Hillary and the MSM.
He has used this strategy of creating outrage garnering free publicity from the MSM to win the GOP nomination. And he hardly spent any money on the primary. Hillary and her Super PACs reportedly spent $40 million on attack ads last month, yet Trump is tied or ahead in several recent nationwide polls.
Quote: “Plus there’s the psychological advantage of having some country/countries to blame for the lack of US success, or to distract attention away from US problems that need it.”
Clinton and Obama are busy campaigning that the USA has been completely successful, nothing is going wrong, everyone has jobs, etc.
I dunno who would believe this, but that’s their story and for the time being they are sticking to it. You have never had it so good.
While Russia was being run by FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers, Russians were dying off at the rate of nearly a million/year.
Once the FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers were removed from power, Russia began to recover. The birth rate started to improve immediately, and Russia’s death rate started to decline in 2006. By 2009, the gap between Russia’s births and deaths closed sufficiently that immigration could fill it, and so the Russian population was growing. By 2012, births in the Russian Federation exceeded deaths, for the first time since 1991.
In the mid-2000s, Putin proposed measures to support families having children. Western politicians and demographers poured scorn on the very idea that Russian demographics might improve. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau’s population projections had Russia’s population declining by 500,000/year as recently as 2015. Now Western politicians and demographers are reduced to claiming that “Putin had nuthin’ to do with it!”
Putin inherited a helpless, bankrupt, dying Russia.
Russia now has a future. That’s what Putin did, and he is rightly popular with Russians, Russians who pine for the days of the drunken incompetent comprador buffoon Yeltsin excepted.
I’ve always thought the US inherited the hatred of Russia from the Brits and the Brits hated Russia at least back as far as the Crimean War in 1853. Not saying this as fact and am happy to get updated.
Multiculturalism or varied national origin need not cloud objectivity in policy. Think tankers and policy makers in government should swear an oath of no baggage and historical grudges irrelevant to current interests and be held accountable. Yes, they can bring deeper perspective, but it is really a double edged sword. Who polices for conflict of interest here?
Does appointing a Chinese-origin American as ambassador to China really help? Same with India. How has letting Central/Eastern Europeans to fuel Russophobia as state policy worked out so far?
I’ve always thought of Russia annexing the Crimea on even more simpler terms. Imagine China spends 3-4 billion dollars on NGOs in Mexico City, and then helps to get a pro-China president elected, who then announces he/she will allow China to build a deep water port for the Chinese Navy in Porta Vallerta. Americans would be apoplectic.
I heartily agree with your assessment.
Also,you introduced means and opportunity without expounding. Are they threads worth following?
The ruling ideology of the West is the free movement of capital and people together with the dismantling of sovereign states and replacing them with global institutions and corporate trade pacts. Donald Trump’s “America First” threatens this so he is subject to full throated attacks by the media and the connected. Vladimir Putin stands in the way of the global hegemony and the return of Russia to the 1990s. Thus, the western hybrid war for a Kremlin regime change.
Hillary Clinton is supremely qualified to maintain the status quo. If Donald Trump wins, it has to be due to the perfidious Russians hacking the election; not Globalism’s Losers voting against their exploitation by the insanely wealthy and the enabling technocrats. Meanwhile, the “War of Russian Aggression” heats up, Turkey turns Islamist and the EU splinters due to the war refugees and austerity.
Putin is judged by his ability to transform the Russian economy from an exporter of oil, gas and academics to something more sustainable.
It seems like you are one of those thinkers who thinks that repeating popular BS will create new reality. FYI, Russia now is #1 exporter of grain in the world. If you didn’t catch real news from Russia, Rosatom’s portfolio of contracts exceeds 100 billion USD. Evidently you also missed the fact that Russia is #2 exporter of many #1 weapon systems in the world, some of which are beyond the expertise (industrial and scientific) of Europe (I assume you are from that part of the world). Do you know what it takes and what host of real hi-tech goes into production of a top fighter jet or modern SSK? Russia is an active and a dominant player at the commercial space launch business, in fact whole US Atlas program flies on Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. I will repeat again, learn facts on the ground, which is relatively easy to do in the world of global IT. And finally, Russia will never live as well as US or Canada, for starters–there is a colossal difference in consumer patterns between Russians and North Americans (albeit there are many similarities too) but there is very little doubt that standard of living in Russia grew tremendously and a lot of it has very little to do with gas or oil prices. It has, however, a lot to do with retooling and re-industrialization of the country, which was ongoing since circa 2008. It is a very significant year. Last, but not least–Russia is huge own consumer market (and then some due to markets of former USSR) and that is a key. German MTU followed sanctions, well, guess what–it will never appear again on Russian markets. Thales loved to sell IR matrices to Russia, well, guess what…..you may fill in the blanks.
“Also Putin greatly underestimated the ramifications to western Europe and US relations by moving on Crimea and then kicking the hornets over in Eastern Ukraine. Nothing good has come from these gross miscalculations.”
What the hell are you talking about??! Are you saying that Russia should have just let NATO take over Sevastopol and the rest of the Crimea and rule the Black Sea? And let NATO advance practically unopposed to Rostov by ceding the Donbass? (and BTW, Russia was certainly NOT the party that “kicked over a hornets nest in Eastern Ukraine).
Does the term “vital national interests” have any meaning to you? Or perhaps the latest term, “red lines”? How are defending these vital interests “gross miscalculations”?
So, just what do you suggest Putin/Russia *should* have done in the face of the neocon-staged coup in Kiev?
I am assuming the EU/US semi-sanctions against some exports to Russia are still in place. If I am correct, has the domestic Russian foodgrowing/foodmaking economy been able to grow/make the things that Russia used to get from Europe?
I am thinking of things like salmon for example. I had read that most salmon consumed in Russia was cornfed domestic salmon from the aqua stockyards of Norway. In the absence of that farmed salmon, has Russia been able to catch wild Pacific salmon from around Kamchatka and etc. and reliably ship bunches of it all over Russia?
The fact that Mr. Western could wake up to Obama’s basic Bushness in only one or two years means that Mr. Western had a freer mind than most Obama supporters.
I envision a 6-way game of tug-of-war. Tie six ropes together at one end leaving the other 6 ends free. And each free-rope-end has its own team trying to pull the whole thing and the other 5 teams in that team’s own direction. If 6 or more groups are all trying to hack our election 6 or more different directions, the result may be so visibly egregious as to get a critical tipping-point massload of people to force the electoral system back to Legal Paper Ballots.
I wonder whether anyone on this blog is as big a Russophile as I am. Just as an example, culturally Russia is the birthplace of modern theater, has a literature that is as excellent as any anywhere else, and brought into being much of modern orchestral music. Militarily Russia won WWII. Crimea? If the streets of Crimea were ankle deep in blood today from a counter-revolution or if Russia had had to fire a shot to “annex” Crimea, I would be filled with doubt.
But I have a very severe problem of paranoia. Who here thinks that the entire Western media can relentlessly attack Russia and Vladimir Putin personally (a man of immense popularity in Russia) without some kind of reaction on their part? The only question is what form that reaction will take. Annexing Estonia? Would that Neocons would actually hold their breath for that one.
No, I believe that, as I have said, the counter-attack will come within the borders of the United States using techniques comparable to those used by the U.S. to create failed states: stoke tribal hatreds, etc.
Hack voting machines? God, I wish I thought it couldn’t be done, and such a hack could be made almost completely invisible with just a touch of statistical sophistication. What is true is that it appears that people with Russian names are intensely interested in the pre-election polling process, which after all is the yardstick against which any hack would be judged.
Colonel Lang has accused me of spreading propaganda with these ideas (which, incidentally, I think is a perfectly valid response). But if that is so, it troubles me that I am so troubled by them.
The 260% increase in the Russian median income (an important point–the middle Russian became financial secure under Putin) under Putin’s watch underscores the other point: before Putin, Russia was a total and complete economic wreck. People who saw economic ruin firsthand don’t cavalierly dismiss hard won economic security.
Poles hate Russians; and Zbig casts a long shadow.
There is also that little problem that Porshenko responded to the anti-Maiden, which copied the tactics of Maiden, by declaring them all terrorists and sending in the Army.
In simple terms, because Ukraine as it is now, is “the wrong side”.
You should excuse bth he has to stick to the party line however ludicrous.
I am with you all the way. It, of course, goes much further. There are ongoing US-manufactured destabilization events unfolding all around Russia. Then you have the economic attacks via sanctions and trade which have arguably crippled Russia. On top of that you have these insipid attacks via things like SWIFT bank transfers, IMF, World Bank and idiocy such as attempting to ban the entire Russian Olympic team from the Olympics. Russia senses these attacks on all fronts and was unfortunately caught early being unprepared. During the Soviet Union Russia was 100% self sufficient but as mentioned in other comments under Yeltsin’s “privatization” programs an awful lot of that industry was sold or closed. Now Russia has had to start from scratch replacements for things not available in Russia and yet still has a budget surplus (unlike the US with a near $20 trillion deficit). They have created alternates to SWIFT, VISA/Mastercard, the IMF and even the G8.
The Crimea debacle was a clear attempt to kick Russia out of their base in Sevastopol which was brilliantly countered. However, the cost has been enormous. Little commented on is that Ukraine under US leadership has cut off water, gas, and electricity to the peninsula and blocked all traffic to the mainland. Russia is nearing the completion of the bridge to Crimea from Russia and water/power are already being delivered. This is a huge effort which shows the dedication to their control of Crimea.
Then they have undertaken to directly thwart the anti-Assad US-led coalition in Syria and have hoisted the US on its own petard. It hasn’t been easy nor cheap and all of this has been happening simultaneously. On top of all of this we have buildups on the Russian borders so Putin also has to upgrade his military to counter any potential EU/NATO/US invasion of Russia. The aggression has all been one sided but delusional citizens in the US see our aggression as defensive as bizarre as that is. Outside the US people see US aggression for what it is and are not fooled into believing that we are trying to help anyone except the rich plutocrats. The immigrant invasion of Europe is seen as a US caused problem for these continuous insane wars that never end nor apparently have any actual purpose.
If Clinton takes over for Obama it will only mean continued escalation by the US against any country resisting a unipolar world. There are a lot more than Russia and China resisting US hegemony and that attacks, subtle as they are, continue unabated. If Trump dials that back this can only be a good thing for world peace. The neocons apparently are betting the farm on Hillary. Good, I pray they lose and are cleansed permanently from the US political landscape. Personally, I see a win by Clinton as the end of mankind.
Have always thought Russians and Americans were more like each other than either of us were like Europeans. Both a little crude, crazy, traditionally religious and musical with big countries created from an expanding frontier and thinking big in terms of infrastructure and vehicles. We ought to be natural allies as we were in the nineteenth century in opposition to the British Empire and again in World War 2. Russia, a land power in the heart of the world island in balance with the US, an ocean power on the other side of the planet with mutual respect could create a stable multi-polar world.
With a situation which is changing so rapidly as the present, assessments of Russian ‘intentions’ are very difficult.
However, before making conjectures about what the Russian authorities might do in the future, it is prudent to start by trying to make as accurate assessment as we can of what they have, and have not, done up until now.
If indeed the GRU are responsible for supplying WikiLeaks with the DNC materials, that would represent a very major ‘escalation’ in ‘political warfare’.
At the moment, however, while it is perfectly possible that either they, or the SVR or FSB – whose ‘patch’ this would more normally be – are responsible, the available evidence is a mess.
In relation to ‘Debka File’, the Colonel’s injunction to assess source and content separately applies in spades.
So without simply accepting it, one should also not simply dismiss claims made in a recent piece on their site entitled ‘The DNC e-mails were not hacked by Russian GRU.’
(See http://app.debka.com/n/article/25570/The-DNC-emails-were-not-hacked-by-Russian-GRU .)
‘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.’
What ‘DebkaFile’ point to is a central tension in the claims by ‘CrowdStrike’ and others.
On one hand, according to the conventional wisdom – recycled on SST by ‘herb’ – the hacks into the DNC networks are likely to have required much more than the capabilities of a solitary hacker, but were the product of the kind of sophisticated operation which points to a state agency.
On the other, apparently this very sophisticated operation could be cracked by ‘CrowdStrike’ in two hours – and had left obvious signatures.
A more general claim is made in the ‘DebkaFile’ piece on which people better informed than myself may have a view:
‘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 Democratic 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.”
In exchanges in response to the analysis by ‘TTG’, who clearly has an extensive familiarity with this whole field, ‘herb’ linked to a widely-quoted analysis by Professor Thomas Rits of King’s College, London. A cybersecurity expert to whom I linked, Jeffrey Carr, has now produced a detailed critique of Rits, under the title ‘Can Facts Slow the DNC Breach Runaway Train?’
(See https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr/can-facts-slow-the-dnc-breach-runaway-train-lets-try-14040ac68a55#.97f9cvodc .)
At the end of the piece are links to his two earlier articles, ‘Faith-Based Attribution’ and ‘The DNC Breach and the Hijacking of Common Sense’, which I would most strongly recommend to anyone interested in the problems of attributing responsibility for the hack.
The three pieces by Carr produce, in my view, highly cogent support for the scepticism expressed by ‘DebkaFile’ about the notion that ‘CrowdStrike’ had actually established that either the GRU, or the FSB/SVR, had hacked the DNC servers.
Of course, this does not mean that one can discount the possibility that Russian state authorities had hacked into them. It would seem to me extremely probable that some of them had.
However, the ‘CrowdStrike’ report is smelling to me more and more of an ‘information operation’ aimed at ‘damage limitation’.
A key reason for this is that the report, and discussion of this, obfuscates an absolutely central problem. Even if the company had, within two hours, identified penetration operations by the GRU and the FSB/SVR, this would quite clearly not establish beyond reasonable doubt that the only possible suspect in relation to the handing over of the materials to WikiLeaks was either or both of these agencies.
One could only assert this with confidence, if CrowdStrike could guarantee 1. that they were able to identify all possible successful hackings into the system over the relevant period, and 2. that they could rule out the possibility that successful hacks had been made by people who could have obtained the relevant materials and handed them over to WikiLeaks.
The question of whether they were said anything to the DNC about how they had ruled out these possibilities has barely been discussed in the MSM coverage.
But this also brings us to the question of what ‘Guccifer 2.0’ is attempting to hide. That at the minimum he is not quite what he portrays himself as being is evident.
That said, any one of a multitude of plausible hypotheses about his role – including, incidentally, the possibility that he is actually acting on behalf of Americans who want to see Hillary Clinton exposed – suggests he would be to a greater or lesser extent ‘making smoke’.
What the observations of ‘TTG’ and Sam Peralta suggested was that the self-portrait by ‘Guccifer 2.0’ of himself as a particularly brilliant hacker obscures the actual situation.
When I put their observations to a software engineer acquaintance who is well versed in the technicalities, he strongly agreed, and elaborated on some of the technical issues.
A key problem seems to be that, for a range of reasons, crucial networks go on using old software. Keeping old software secure, in the face of constantly evolving threats, requires relevant expertise and hard work. Commonly it doesn’t get it – and it seems that the DNC servers were a pretty easy target.
But in relation to hacking into such systems, what counts is not sheer brilliance. It is a combination of thorough technical knowledge and sheer persistence and hard graft.
Now it may well be the case that the claims by ‘Guccifer 2.0’ about his own brilliance are simply a case of vainglory. However, it may also be possible that both ‘CrowdStrike’ and he have a disguised common interest in obscuring the fact that the range of people who had the technical competence to hack into the DNC servers was great.
By the same token, the range of people who had a motive to hack into these servers and were in a position to employ people with the relevant technical competence may also have been very considerable.
This has all kinds of implications. For one thing, if the suggestion that the hacking required the capabilities of a state organisation is false, then the obvious way for a state organisation to preserve ‘deniability’ would be to get hold of competent individuals, using systems and approaches which had not been used in previous hacks.
What is not obvious is why such any competent intelligence organisation should leave the kind of easily accessible ‘metadata’ on documents which are supposed to establish that ‘Guccifer 2.0’ is a front for the GRU. It is not clear to me whether the documents in question have been subjected to critical examination by competent – and independent – analysts.
However, if the ‘metadata’ really can be shown to exist, I think the comment by Carr about the use of the name of Dzerzhinsky is to the point:
“OK. Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor.”
In his most recent piece, Carr links to remarks from a 1968 paper by Sherman Kent, founder of the analytical tradition in the CIA, entitled ‘Estimates and Influence.’
(See https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/sherman-kent-and-the-board-of-national-estimates-collected-essays/4estimates.html .)
In it, Kent used the metaphor of ‘pyramid’. Good intelligence assessment starts off with a ‘base’ of reliably ascertainable fact – on the basis of which it may be possible to construct a structure which ends up with a definite ‘apex’, but may not.
The reverse method is to start with a desired ‘apex’ and then attempt to construct a ‘pyramid’ which will support it. As Kent puts it:
“There it floats, a simple assertion screaming for a rationale. This, then, is worked out from the top down. The difficulty of the maneuver comes to a climax when the last stage in the perverse downward deduction must be joined up smoothly and naturally with the reality of the base. This operation requires a very considerable skill, particularly where there is a rich supply of factual base-material. Without an artfully contrived joint, the whole structure can be made to proclaim its bastardy, to the chagrin of its progenitor.”
Of course, one can simply fabricate large elements of the ‘base’.
As the release of ‘hacked’ material seems likely to continue, establishing a reliable ‘base’ on which we can begin to build a structure leading to a credible ‘apex’ seems a matter of some moment.
A key part of it, obviously, is working out what kinds of people might have had a motive.
In relation to Putin, I think one needs to keep in mind both that he may very much want to avoid seeing a new Clinton Presidency – for reasons with which I have every sympathy. Equally, however, there are strong ‘downsides’ in using this kind of means to prevent it, and if they are involved, it will have been through means preserving ‘deniability.’
The ‘metadata’ claims, however, make me think that the suggestion by ‘DebkaFile’ that people should be looking closer to home should be taken seriously.
Perhaps the Russians have a vast trove of collected SIGINT materials and are indifferent to a US reaction to that possession. After all, what can we really do about it? Hack them? not much of a deterrent since we are probably already doing that and they know it. pl
‘NATO should have made clear that Ukraine would not become part of NATO.’
It is clear from the publicly available record that in private conversations NATO officials made clear to their Russian counterparts that the intention was that Ukraine should become part of the Alliance.
It is also clear that the Russians did the equivalent of putting up the kind of ‘Idiot Boards’ that used to be used for senile actors who could not say their lines to make them grasp the likely consequences.
See 2008 telegram ‘Nyet Means Nyet: Russia’s NATO Enlargement Redlines’ sent by the then U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, William J. Burns, back to Washington, which was released by WikiLeaks in 2014, at
“Are you saying that Russia should have just let NATO take over Sevastopol and the rest of the Crimea and rule the Black Sea? And let NATO advance practically unopposed to Rostov by ceding the Donbass? ” None of that was going to happen. One clear indicator was the hostile action toward Ukrainian ships that were in port at anchor adjacent to the Russian fleet. You should not believe your own propaganda. It degrades the conversation
jld shouldn’t you be monitoring The Saker for your daily instructions?
If you mean Putin consolidating power, he has done quite well. But what other paths were closed off; one might be better cooperation in the ME by Russia and the West against Islamic terrorism which will haunt us for years. Also a great missed opportunity overshadowed by a needless conflict in Ukraine which has many fathers but stemmed fundamentally from a grass roots rebellion against a Kremlin-backed thug. Also a great swath of the Russian economy, particularly civilian manufacturing and science and technology, as well as eastern Europe has suffered needlessly through lost opportunity through trade with Russia which will persist for the rest of this decade. And hardening of relations between east and west across a dozen countries that were once quite open to economic and cultural ties linking modern Europe have been restrained by fear of the bear. And we see huge chunks of Asia moving back to a strong man form of government. Nato was about to unwind into irrelevance. That too was a missed opportunity. Enough poor statesmanship to go around – not 1930s bad but close.
In terms of pork and poultry Russia produces 100% of that and, which did surprise me, even exports turkey. Beef–about 80% covered. Most of what Russia consumes in food stuff is home grown or made. Exceptions are some luxury food items and things like well-aged cheeses. Russian food stores can give any best US or European grocery chain a run for their money. Variety is excellent and most of it affordable. Per salmon, as far as I know it is both farm-raised and wild. What are the proportions, I don’t know. I can, however, testify to the fact that, say, in Troitsky supermarket you can buy alive strelyad’ (sturgeon). What Russia lacks, of course, is a good bourbon;-) But you can buy a bottle of Jack pretty much anywhere and it will be about the same price as it is in most US places (with the exception of California where you can buy this stuff cheap). Russians do love good whiskey. Even down to earth, run-of-the-mill convenience grocery chain such as Pyatyorochka sells good whiskey.
It would be a matter of some surprise to me if the Russians did not have a ‘vast trove of collected SIGINT materials.’
As to their view of the anticipated reactions, while I am only guessing, I doubt that ‘indifferent’ is the relevant word.
Particularly as Putin has always known that his country’s position has very major weaknesses, his ‘modus operandi’ has in general been to try to avoid irreparable breaches.
In relation to the Clintons, however, it seems to me highly likely that he and others may very well think that trying to keep doors open with them is a waste of time. I suspect that Putin would very much want to avoid a Hillary presidency, while although Trump is a ‘wild card’, he cannot be worse for them and might quite conceivably be very much better.
So there would then a purely pragmatic question, which is essentially to do with whether the – predictable – ‘Red baiting redux’ response to the discovery of the hacking would work in Hillary’s favour, or not.
As I lack adequate ‘feel’ for American politics, I cannot judge. But my ignorant hunch is that a very great deal of the anti-Trump ‘propaganda’ may backfire, as that of the ‘Remain’ camp did here.
My reservations relate to the fact that I am deeply sceptical as to the accuracy, and also the integrity, of the ‘CrowdStrike’ account.
It stinks of disinformation.
From what I understand, the state of the DNC server was rather akin to that of a house with the door left unlocked. So the kind of operation described by ‘CrowdStrike’ looks rather like of a burglar confronting an open door, who used elaborate methods leaving fingerprints all over the windows.
What I think has been ‘cooked up’ is a bogus story, part of the purpose of which is to obscure the negligent approach to security of the DNC. An ancillary purpose however may be to obscure the fact that a very much larger number of people may have been inside the server.
So I was emphatically not trying to turn the claims which have been made on their head, and suggest that it is unlikely that WikiLeaks have been fed this material by Russian state sources.
What I do think however is that other possibilities need also to be considered.
It would be helpful to be clear as to whether the ‘metadata’ actually exist, or have been forged. The suggestion that the name of Dzherzinsky was used suggests to me that whoever had the idea was not Russian.
Someone with more knowledge of what the organisation that notorious Pole created did to Russian military intelligence, and the consequences that had in 1941, might have chosen a different name.
That is generally true. There are a lot of similarities. And I remember the end of Cold War extremely well, when the relations warmed up and the danger of nuclear exchange faded. In Russia, at that time, this was precisely the idea what you described but, as Pat Buchanan wrote several days ago “The inability to adapt was seen when our Cold War adversary extended a hand in friendship, and the War Party slapped it away.”
Apologies, Colonel. Sometimes sarcasm is not done for amusement but as an expression of disgust. The Borg’s constant drumbeat of fear against Russia does not amuse me in the least, especially when they then use their “superior mode” to criticise their opponent for “promoting fear.”
Actually, there’s another Bill H at Ian Welsh’s place, who isn’t me, although I do comment there as well. Creates confusion at times. I don’t usually indulge in that mode, but did here for some reason. Yes, I should have more clearly identified it as snark, but I thought the content would betray it as such. I know full well that Russia’s ambution of empire is Borgist nonsense.
Yes. I will know better next time. I am properly chastized.
Ah! But unfortunately I have been fired for insubordination:
Give me a break. It’s obvious to anyone that the West is not serious about fighting islamic terrorism. Ever since they got the USSR bogged down in Afghanistan they have been supporting the jihadis. They still think that they can nurture this particular monster and direct it against their enemies, even as the monster turns on them.
You forget that literally the day before the coup in Ukraine, Russia signed up to a peace agreement which would have seen early elections and a peaceful transition of power. The agreement was also signed by some representatives of EU countries. The Russians only took action when that agreement was torn up the very next day and a coup took place. Even then, they took only the bare minimum action short of rolling over completely and handing over Ukraine and Crimea to NATO gift wrapped.
“were not the events in Crimea a replay of the events in Kosovo?” – Not quite. Crimea joined the Russian Federation with barely a shot fired. Kosovo was ripped away from Serbia with much bloodshed.
“None of that was going to happen.”
So tell me, all-knowing one, how you are *absolutely, positively, 100% without-a-doubt CERTAIN* that “None of that was going to happen” ???
If you’re that omniscient, you must be making billions in the stock market!
Lacking your God-like abilities, the leaders of Russia decided to take the actions necessary to protect their country’s vital interests from all possible perceived threats — and they would have been criminally negligent if they had failed to do so. Your “gross miscalculations” allegation implies that they should have simply ignored the possible (highly likely) threat of Ukraine joining NATO, with Sevastopol then becoming a NATO naval base. All I can say to that is, it’s a helluva good thing for whatever country you live in that you’re not in charge of defending its vital interests!
As far as degrading the conversation: you are the proverbial person who has entered a battle of wits unarmed….
“for the sardonic amusement of spoiled, naughty, children.”
I seem to be one of those.
That said, I don’t really grasp the full context of Post Soviet Conflicts:
versus EU “cum” NATO expansions eastward.
On the other hand the latter seems to be driven exactly by what Bill H suggested in his own sardonic way. Nitwit comment. 😉
Another relevant post of which I have just become aware.
In his demolition of the report on ‘Vice News’ by the King’s College, London Professor, Thomas Rid, Jeffrey Carr pointed to the abundant evidence that cybercriminals in Russia have very sophisticated technologies and techniques indeed, and spend enormous resources improving them.
‘Russia’s Ministry of Communication reported that Russian cybercriminals are re-investing 40% of the millions of dollars that they earn each year in improving their technology and techniques as they continue to target the world’s banking system. Kaspersky Lab estimated earnings for one 20 member group at $1 billion over a three year period.
‘A common (and erroneous) rationale for placing the blame of a network breach on a nation state is that independent hacker groups either don’t have the resources or that stolen data doesn’t have financial value. These recent reports by Kaspersky Lab and Russian Ministry of Communication make it clear that money is no object when it comes to these independent groups, and that sophisticated tools and encryption methods are constantly improved upon, just as they would be at any successful commercial enterprise or government agency.’
So much for the ‘conventional wisdom’ recycled by ‘Herb’, according to which only a ‘state sponsored’ hacker could have penetrated the DNC network.
And then, yesterday, ‘Vice News’ produces another report, by one Ben Makuch, entitled ‘Russian freelance hackers may be behind the DNC attack.’
(See https://news.vice.com/article/russian-freelancers-may-be-behind-the-dnc-hack .)
This picks up on the question of sophisticated cybercriminal networks in Russia, and makes a lot of claims about their possible relationships with Russian state agencies.
Certainly, if I was running an investigative television programme, and had a couple of competent researchers (those were the days!), these are angles which I would be exploring.
But one really cannot have it both ways. One can argue that the earlier ‘Vice News’ report is correct, and ‘CrowdStrike’ proved beyond reasonable doubt that the hack which obtained the materials supplied to WikiLeaks could only have come from a Russian state agency.
Alternatively, one can argue, as the new ‘Vice News’ report does, that the hack would have been well within the capabilities of a range of highly sophisticated Russian cybercriminal organisations, and that it is possible that these were collaborating with elements in the Russian security services.
One simply cannot argue both cases at the same time. They contradict each other.
And if you tell me that organisations who are investing millions – or actually, billions – to enable them to loot Western banks undetected could not devise a system of penetrating the DNC servers which was not susceptible of being uncovered by ‘CrowdStrike’ in two hours – what am I expected to say?
Quite clearly, we in ‘Oceania’ have reached the perfection of ‘Ingsoc’.
One doesn’t need the ‘memory hole’ of ‘Room 101’. No – or at least very few – contemporary MSM journalists would even notice a contradiction in what ‘Miniluv’ tells them, even if – as with these ‘Vice News’ reports – it is glaringly apparent.
Now, if a little bird came to me, and told me a story like:
A ‘software engineer’ working for a Russian ‘cybercriminal organisation’ had a drink with an old college mate working for the FSB, and said to him:
‘Look, we’ve got the Ministry of Communications on our backs. As it happens, we set one of our trainees to hack the DNC servers, without being observed, as an exercise, and he turned up a lot of juicy stuff. (He’s not really top class, but with such an easy target …
‘Suppose we just passed all the stuff onto WikiLeaks – you’ll never be traced – and you can tell the Ministry to get off our backs?’
Complete fiction on my part, certainly: but at least, not utterly implausible.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
“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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
“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.
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.
And so does daughter Mika – another useful idiot on Morning Joe.
Google Mother Russia & Near Abroad …
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am not sure what to make of this:
“All that has been proven is that Russia had two groups in the databanks.”
Borg Law for Billionaires.