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A New Conspiracy Theory

For serious discussion of politics, political news, policy, political theory and economics and events happening round the world
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Post by Gná » Tue May 09, 2017 11:54 pm

Voter fraud in the 2016 US election in Wisconsin?

These tweets suggest that there is a link between a type of voting machine (AVC Edge Touchscreen) and a rise in votes for Trump. Enough to swing the state to Trump's side.



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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Thu May 11, 2017 6:02 pm

It's evidently a known and older problem. This is from 2014: Wisconsin’s Dramatic Vote Swings Raise Election Integrity Concerns. Snippet:
Gilbert states, “Wisconsin has had two political faces since the 2008 election. It has been a blue state for president and a red state for governor. Obama won his two presidential races here by an average of more than 10 points; Walker won his two races for governor by an average of almost seven points.”

Are Wisconsinites really so wishy-washy or schizophrenic as to swing back and forth every two years between the extremely diverse platforms and ideals of Obama and Walker, as recent election results might indicate? It seems unlikely, and such counter-intuitive electoral swings can also be red flags for election fraud.


Election experts state that it is generally less difficult to rig elections on a local or state level than on a national level. Election Analyst Richard Charnin explains, “A small group of hackers can more easily rig a gubernatorial election in one state than a more complicated effort in a presidential election, which would require rigging key electoral vote states and non-competitive states to beef up the popular vote.”
What about a large group of hackers then?

ETA: I quipped too soon:
Taking a closer look, LaFayette is one of 41 primarily rural counties that employ a GAB-approved voting system of old-fashioned, hand-counted paper ballots and HAVA-compliant touch-screen voting machines in at least some of their municipalities. Many of these counties are located in the western part of Wisconsin, which has traditionally been a Democratic Party stronghold.

Most of the touch-screen machines used in these counties are the AVC EDGE II models provided by the notorious Command Central “Election Management Company,” which operates from a strip mall in central Minnesota and controls the programming and maintenance of over 3,000 voting machines in approximately 46 districts in the State of Wisconsin.
Say what now?
For Scott Walker’s 2012 recall election (and for all presidential and gubernatorial elections in the past 8 years), a very high percentage of votes in these counties were cast on the AVC Edge II touch-screen voting machines without any tangible, verifiable paper trails. Clerks’ reports from LaFayette County show that 66% of the votes were cast on touch-screen machines, 14.3% of the votes were cast on opscan machines, and 19.6% were cast on paper ballots. Some counties in this area had close to 90% of the votes cast on touch-screen machines.

Election integrity advocate and statistician Denny Bartels analyzed the recall election results and discovered that of the 41 touch-screen and HCPB counties, 21 saw the Walker vote share increase by at least 3%.

Using the totals before GAB certification, Mr. Bartels said the average increase for Walker was 3.3% per county. The 21 counties with the big increases for Walker were Barron, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Crawford, Forest, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Pepin, Price, Rusk, Shawano, Trempealeau, Washburn and Waupaca. Mr. Bartels said while he had not actually calculated the odds of this happening by chance, such odds would be astronomical.
Ya' think? :eek:
But as long as state election laws allow voting machine technology to be considered “proprietary information” and forbid the public to examine it and there is no actual and verifiable paper trail, we cannot know if our votes are being recorded or counted accurately.

Added to this is the lack of any mechanism or process for investigating fraud, even when evidence of it surfaces. This lack seems to be based on the assumption that fraud doesn’t happen, or the misguided idea that if fraud were investigated it would shake people’s faith in the electoral system. Even extremely suspicious outcomes are not investigated, and in fact, cannot be investigated under current law. (e.g., in Waukesha, where sliced and duct-taped ballot bags were found at the Supreme Court recount, and Clerk Kathy Nicholaus used “special programming software” that counted more votes than voters.)
Again, this was from 2014. And if I'm reading it correctly, it means that all that is required to alter Wisconsin voting is one hacker and to do it, they have to just go after one person's computer:
BW: So as far as you know, you don’t know how anyone could create corruptible programming that would not show up until Election Day.

CC: Hasn’t happened and we have 46 counties as customers in Wisconsin and 3,000 pieces of equipment out there.

I asked if these machines force a straight party ticket. But unless a voter knows how to back out and re-enter the choices to force a split ticket as he explains below, how would they know?:

BW: Voters have to vote straight ticket. There is a way to overwrite having to vote straight ticket by selecting the first choice, then unselecting it, and then selecting the second choice. Even if voting Republican and the second choice is a Democrat, it will register a split ticket.

CC: Yes It check-marks the office in a straight party, however you can go in and deselect names if you wanted to change your vote(s).

But perhaps the most disturbing answer Storbeck gave was to the question of who programs the computer pacs that tabulate the votes.

CC: My step-mother is Sue Wahl and she does the programming.
That article is from 2012! Note the following in particular (my bold):
Who is Command Central? Listed only as a P.O. box number on Storbeck’s card, on further investigation, Command Central’ s office can be found in Marketplace strip mall, 110 2nd Street South, Suite 300, in Waite Park, a suburb of St. Cloud, MN. They also are listed as doing business from suite 219 at this address. Coincidentally, Michelle Bachman’s campaign office is also located at this address, right down the hall in Suite 232.
And who is Sue Wahl-Storbeck and should we trust her with our voting machines?

In 2007, Sue Wahl-Storbeck filed suit against a former employer and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for disqualifying her from receiving unemployment benefits because she had been fired. The company, ACS Enterprise Solutions, claims that in 2005, Wahl-Storbeck refused to take the annual ethics exam that was required for employment with ACS. She claimed the organization was so dysfunctional that it was “hypocritical” to take the test. She lost both her original case and the appeal. “Because each refusal to take the ethics exam was intentional conduct that displayed clearly Storbeck’s refusal to comply with ACS’s reasonable request, her actions do not constitute a single incident under Minn. Stat. § 268.095, subd. 6(a). Accordingly, the ULJ properly determined that Storbeck is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits because she was discharged for employment misconduct.”

This is the woman who has control over the programming of 3,000 voting machines in 46 districts in the State of Wisconsin.
H.R. Fuckinstuff!
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Thu May 11, 2017 6:51 pm

Now we now why Bachman was a Trump '"adviser." In this light, read this from earlier in the election: Trump Adviser Michele Bachmann Warns That ‘This Is The Last Election’. Snippets:
“I don’t want to be melodramatic but I do want to be truthful,” the evangelical Christian said in an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Brody File.” “I believe without a shadow of a doubt this is the last election. This is it. This is the last election.”

Bachmann, who advises Donald Trump on religious issues and foreign policy, explained that demographic change in the United States posed a disadvantage to Republican candidates since the country’s growing share of minority voters were more inclined to vote for Democrats.

“It’s a math problem of demographics and a changing United States,” she said. “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who lives in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in to the country, this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it.”
The GOP acknowledged this changing demographic landscape in the so-called “autopsy” report published by the Republican National Committee after Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election. The report found that Republicans needed to do a better job appealing to black, Latino and female voters if they wanted to ensure future electoral victories.
Irony or did Trump know something they didn't?

ETA: Jesus! Scratch any surface on this and it just gets deeper and deeper...
So who is Command Central? You probably don’t have the nerve to ask if Waukesha County County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, who “found” enough votes for incumbent Supreme Court Justice David “Strangler” Prosser defeat challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg by about 7,000 votes, is connected.

Command Central is one of Wisconsin’s leading vendors of voting machines and election supplies. They are distributors for Dominion Voting Systems, a privately-owned electronic voting equipment company. Founded in Canada in 2002, Dominion is now based in Denver, CO, since their acquisitions of Premier Election Solutions, from Election Systems & Software (ES&S), and Sequoia Voting Systems.

Command Central deals directly with Wisconsin county and municipal clerks and is closely involved in their selection of voting machines, ballots, and other election supplies. Command Central does all the maintenance on the voting machines and provides tech support throughout the year, with a special “hot line” should clerks need help with glitches, etc., on election day.

In June 2011, the Wisconsin County Clerks Association held their annual summer conference in Ladysmith. Seventy-five county clerks from across the state came together to, among other things, “assist the legislators in developing sound legislation that affects county clerks and county government by providing accurate and useful information.” WCCA Legislation Committee (WCCO Agenda) chair at the time was Kathy Nickolaus.

OK. So the same office listed for the out-of-state company that supplies computerized voting equipment for Wisconsin’s elections shares an office address with a Tea Party Republican. The fact that Kathy Nickolaus is part of the web of deception is another matter.

Sue Wahl-Storbeck, one of the two people operating Command Central, the other being her step-son Aaron Storbeck, is the person responsible for programming 3,000 voting machines in 46 districts in the State of Wisconsin. Wahl-Storbeck’s resume includes a stint at ACS Enterprises, a data processing company out of Texas. I’m not sure what she did at the data processing company but I do know that she was fired for refusing to take the company’s annual ethics exam and when her unemployment was denied, because she refused to take the company’s annual ethics exam, she took it to court and lost. Given the fact that “whoever programs the PROM packs has the ability to inject all the machines with a virus that will flip votes only on Election Day,” I’d like to know that the person programming the machine was both ethical and incorruptible especially since, “with two different PROM packs in play, it’s easy to see how public tests could be flawless and the machines could still flip votes Election Day.”
Emphasis in orginal. So far as I can discover, all of this is still intact and Sue Wahl-Storbeck is still the president of Command Central, etc. Jesus Titty-fucking Christ!
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Post by Arpie » Fri May 12, 2017 6:40 am

It's another recursion, Koy. History is full of them. Let's hope Musk is right and this is all a computer simulation. Otherwise we are totally fucked. I mean, can you believe what has happened and is happening? Way beyond surreal.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Fri May 12, 2017 5:24 pm

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sun May 14, 2017 4:52 pm

Meanwhile, as I argued previously, China continues to end-run the Putin-Trump world dominance gambit and will clearly come out the victor while we just watch it all unfold with our oil derricks in our hands: Behind China’s $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Thu May 18, 2017 12:29 pm

This would be a very strong indicator I was talking about (thanks primarily to Rosenstein evidently getting some payback): Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Is Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Fri May 26, 2017 1:53 pm

Well, look at that: Donald Trump Angled for Soviet Posting in 1980's. Snippets:
Donald Trump, in the mid-1980s, aggressively pursued an official government post to the USSR, according to a Nobel Peace Prize winner with whom Trump interacted at the time.

"He already had Russia mania in 1986, 31 years ago," asserts Bernard Lown, a Boston-area cardiologist known for inventing the defibrillator and sharing the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with a top Soviet physician in recognition of their efforts to promote denuclearization. Lown, now 95 and retired in Newton, Mass., tells The Hollywood Reporter that Trump sought and secured a meeting with him in 1986 to solicit information about Mikhail Gorbachev. (Gorbachev had become the USSR's head of state — and met with Lown — the year before.) During this meeting, Lown says, the fast-rising businessman disclosed that he would be reaching out to then-president Ronald Reagan to try to secure an official post to the USSR in order to negotiate a nuclear disarmament deal on behalf of the United States, a job for which Trump felt he was the only one fit.

"He said to me, 'I hear you met with Gorbachev, and you had a long interview with him, and you're a doctor, so you have a good assessment of who he is,'" Lown recalls. "So I asked, 'Why would you want to know?' And he responded, 'I intend to call my good friend Ronnie,' meaning Reagan, 'to make me a plenipotentiary ambassador for the United States with Gorbachev.' Those are the words he used. And he said he would go to Moscow and he'd sit down with Gorbachev, and then he took his thumb and he hit the desk and he said, 'And within one hour the Cold War would be over!' I sat there dumbfounded. 'Who is this self-inflated individual? Is he sane or what?'"
"I talked to [Trump] extensively about my experience with Gorbachev," Lown recalls. "I talked for about 20 minutes or so, about how I thought Gorbachev behaved, blah, blah, and he sat there, sort of listening. He was fidgeting and I realized he had a short attention span." Lown emphasizes that the whole situation felt strange. "I thought there was another agenda, perhaps, but I didn't know what that was," he says. "I was not sure about his motivation for why he was doing it. But it puts together sort of a continuum that began way back in '86, with his fixation on Russia — the Soviet Union, then." Trump and Lown never spoke again.
It wasn't long after the Trump-Lown meeting in 1986 that Trump made his first trip to the Soviet Union: In July 1987, he traveled to Moscow and met with Gorbachev. "The ostensible subject of their meeting was the possible development of luxury hotels in the Soviet Union by Mr. Trump," The New York Times wrote at the time. "But Mr. Trump's calls for nuclear disarmament were also well-known to the Russians." (Trump told Playboy three years later, "Generally, these guys are much tougher and smarter than our representatives.")

In the fall of 1987, Trump, a registered Republican who had made large contributions to Democrats as well, hinted that he might make a run for the presidency in 1988 — but for which party it wasn't clear. That Sept. 2, he took out a full-page advertisement in three major newspapers criticizing the Reagan Administration's foreign policy under the headline, "There's nothing wrong with America's Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can't cure." Asked why he had done so, his spokesperson said, "There is absolutely no plan to run for mayor, governor or United States senator. He will not comment about the Presidency." A month later, though, he did: ''I'm not running for anything,'' he told The New York Times, while adding, ''I believe that if I did run for President, I'd win.''

Trump went on to give a series of political speeches that fall, some of which, according to the Times, touched on "speeding up nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union." In December 1987, Gorbachev made an historic three-day trip to the U.S. for a summit with Reagan that included a White House state dinner. There, in a receiving line, was Trump, whom Gorbachev had met in Moscow just five months earlier. Trump subsequently recounted their conversation to The Washington Post: "They want to have a great hotel, and they want me to be the one to do it."

Trump didn't run for president in 1988. A Trump hotel never was built in the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. But Trump's interactions with Russia were only just beginning.
Now recall the Guardian piece: Czechoslovakia Spied On Donald Trump and Ivana establishing that Trump had been a person of interest by Soviet intelligence since the 70's and indicating that Ivana was a Soviet asset, if not outright Soviet agent (emphasis mine):
The secret service of communist-era Czechoslovakia spied extensively on Donald Trump, it has emerged, with one informant alleging in 1977 that the future US president-elect “is completely tax-exempt for the next 30 years”.

The Státní bezpečnost or StB – the then communist state’s intelligence agency which dealt with any activity considered dangerous to the state or of western influence – spied on Trump and his Czechoslovak-born wife, Ivana, in the 1970s and 80s when she made regular trips back to visit her father, Miloš Zelníček.

Stamped “top secret” and bearing the code names “Slusovice”, “America” and “Capital”, the files detail the obsession Czech spies had in gathering as much information about the US property tycoon as possible.

Uncovered by Czech television and the German tabloid Bild...Another spy reported in 1977 that Trump’s businesses were “absolutely safe” because they received commissions from the state. The informant added: “Another advantage is the personal relationship [he has] with the American president [presumably Jimmy Carter] and the fact that he is completely tax-exempt for the next 30 years.”

During this year’s election campaign, the New York Times obtained tax records that the paper said showed Trump could have used a $916m loss reported on his 1995 tax return to avoid paying income tax for up to 18 years. Asked about the story during one of the presidential debates, Trump acknowledged that this was accurate.

In 1988 a further informant working under the cover name “Milos” reported that Trump was being put under considerable pressure to run for the US presidency. The Czech authorities should be made aware, he said, that Ivana was under pressure herself to not put a step wrong during visits to Czechoslovakia, or else she risked putting her husband’s potential candidacy in jeopardy.

“Any false step of hers will have incalculable consequences for the position of her husband who intends to run for president in 1996,” Milos wrote. He added that Trump was convinced he could win the presidency.
The StB went so far as to send a spy to the US to monitor Trump, believing that if he was to succeed in becoming US president it could have a significant impact on Czechoslovak-US relations. A note by an StB spy named “Al Jarda” of 10 October 1989 details a visit made to Trump by a delegation from a communist agricultural production cooperative from Slusovice, the village where Ivana Trump’s father lived.

“They were given a welcome by one of the richest men in New York, Mister Donald Trump. He got them to explain to him extensively about the work of the cooperative and its further plans in the field of trade,” Al Jarda wrote. At the end of the visit Trump was invited to visit Slusovice. It is not believed that he ever took them up on the offer.

Details of how the Trumps were to be spied on are also held in the StB’s archives. One order dated 1979 states that the phone calls between Ivana and her father are to be tapped at least once a year and their mail is to be constantly monitored. It is noted that Ivana speaks to her children in Czech even when she is in the US as well as detailing the friends and acquaintances of the Czech branch of her family.

A Czech historian said the fact that Ivana’s father was registered as an “StB confidant” did not mean he worked as an agent for them. “Rather the CSSR authorities forced him to talk to them because of his journeys to the US to see his daughter. If he hadn’t spoken to them he would not have been given permission to fly,” Tomáš Vilímek told Bild.

Donald and Ivana Trump were married in 1977 and divorced in 1992. They have three children.

The StB was dissolved following the collapse of communism in 1990.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat May 27, 2017 12:16 pm

All this time I've been thinking of Trump's business plan (build as a means to cover up bankruptcy "vulture capitalism") as a psychological reaction to his hatred for his abusive father and while I still believe that's at the core, it didn't dawn on me until the other night that it would also be a method to launder money. So, a little digging and I found this from 2016: Dirty Money: Trump and the Kazakh Connection in the Financial Times. Unfortunately, I can't seem to copy and paste from that article, but found it summarized in Fortune. Snippet:
The FT said that three apartments in the Trump SoHo hotel-condominium, which he owned jointly with the real estate companies Bayrock and Sapir Organization LLC, were sold in April 2013 for a total of $3.1 million to shell companies ultimately controlled by Elvira Kudryashova, the daughter of Viktor Khrapunov, a former energy minister and Mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city. That was two years after Khrapunov and other members of his family were charged with fraud and other financial crimes in their homeland. The FT said its reporting was backed by "title deeds, bank records and correspondence."

Lawyers for the city of Almaty told a U.S. court in March that Khrapunov and his family “conspired to systematically loot hundreds of millions of dollars of public assets...and to launder their ill-gotten gains through a complex web of bank accounts and shell companies...particularly in the United States, " according to the FT.
According to the FT, the transactions flowed, indirectly, from Trump's need to embrace different sources of funding for his projects, after a number of bankruptcies left many banks reluctant to lend to him. In return for lending his name to a project built to his standards by Bayrock/Sapir, Trump was supposed to get 18% of its profits. However, the project failed to attract buyers and Bayrock/Sapir's backers ultimately foreclosed on it in 2014.
And here's a five part series that goes into great detail about Trump's various bankruptcies, ties to the mob and ties to Russia: How Donald Trump's Own Words Connect Him to Russia. It's written by the same author who did this piece way back in October of 2016: Donald Trump Is The Kremlin's Man: A Comprehensive Case For Russian Influence in the GOP Campaign

His timeline, however, starts in 1986, yet we know that it goes much earlier. Note also that he takes pains to clarify:
This series will use articles from well-established sources like The New York Times, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Washington Post and many, many others to demonstrate a pattern of President Trump’s behavior that is sympathetic to Kremlin interests while simultaneously downplaying or outright lying about his involvement. There is no original reporting and there will be no “smoking gun” here. As history has shown us, unless a Nixonian-type tape comes out, there likely will not be a “smoking gun” on this issue. Undeniable proof is a difficult thing to ascertain.

This series will not take on the certainty of a mass conspiracy that many Democratic operatives are currently engaging in—who have been writing their own John Grisham novels in order to avoid the unassailable fact that it was theirs and their candidate’s failure which handed the 2016 election to the most unqualified president in our nation’s history. Roughly 100,000 votes in a few states determined this election—enough for Russian meddling to swing it—but the fact that it was that close in the first place had nothing to do with the Kremlin and everything to do with the fact that Hillary Clinton promised more of the same neoliberal policies which have laid waste to middle classes across the Western world, all without providing much of a comprehensive solution for the millions of Americans currently stuck underneath the boot of crony capitalism.

Instead, I will simply highlight a pattern of behavior that all points in one direction: that Donald Trump has a cozier-than-disclosed relationship with people close to Vladimir Putin, and the intelligence community’s assessment that the Russian government aided his election chances has merit based on independent sources, along with the fact that the Kremlin has supported political parties across Europe that they believe to be aligned with their interests. Now, I clearly think that Donald Trump’s camp engaged in some nefarious nonsense with high-level Russians, but I do not know this, and I will do my best to not pretend as if I do. I don’t think there was some intricate conspiracy by the Russians to develop their own Manchurian candidate over the years like many other proponents of this theory assert, as it is far more likely that they were simply opportunist dogs who finally caught the car they have been chasing for a century, and Donald Trump served as an ideal vehicle for this pursuit.

This series will contain five parts. Tomorrow’s feature will focus on Trump’s extensive business dealings with Russian oligarchs with obvious connections to the Kremlin; Wednesday will investigate the disturbing number of high-level Russian officials who have been charged with treason or found dead since the election; Thursday will focus on the FISA court order which was allegedly aimed at people close to Trump before a much more narrow order aimed at two Russian banks was reportedly approved; and Friday will conclude with a unified theory as to how this all came together.
The author does an extremely good job of using Trump's own words to show how he has shilled for Putin in particular. Of note (my emphasis):
September 2013 — Speaking about Vladimir Putin's editorial in the New York Times, he told CNBC “Well I thought it was an amazingly well-written—I was very surprised by it actually—very well written letter if you're from Russia, in terms of representing Russia. I thought he did an amazing job. He brought in so much. And it was tough. And I doubt that President Obama knew it was coming. I think this was a sneak attack and it was a very tough letter. When you read that the second and third time, you see how really tough it was.”

Maria Bartiromo asked Trump “What's the point of it?” and Trump replied “Well I think he wants to become the world leader and right now he's doing that because he's really embarrassing the United States, he's embarrassing the president. At the same time he's throwing a lifeline to the president. He's sort of got him in both ways, he's helping him in one sense, but he's really really badly embarrassing him. And he's making him look like he's the professor and the president is a schoolchild.”
That section in bold is important because it goes beyond mere praise for another country's politician. Trump is picturing (or shilling) Putin as a "world leader" at a time when the inevitability of a global identity has already begun. Trump is, in effect, campaigning for Putin to become our first global President, essentially. Something that the Exxon/BP deal could easily lead to, considering it would mean Russia surpasses Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil distributor/reserves. Keep in mind that Russia discovered that around 2012. Tillerson, btw, received the Russian Medal of Friendship in 2013.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat May 27, 2017 3:08 pm

Kushner Proposed Secret Channel to Kremlin. Here's the thing, though. There clearly already were "secret channels" so what was Kushner actually doing? I'm growing more and more convinced that everything we are seeing now is an attempt to cover up the deeper connections that have been cultivated for over thirty years now.

Trump's ties to Russia didn't just start with this election.
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Post by lpetrich » Sat May 27, 2017 4:40 pm

Seems like Vladimir Putin and his friends have succeeded where their predecessors had failed during the Cold War -- getting a lot of influence over US politicians.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat May 27, 2017 5:41 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]Seems like Vladimir Putin and his friends have succeeded where their predecessors had failed during the Cold War -- getting a lot of influence over US politicians.[/quote]

Well, it doesn't take a super genius to figure out how Trump in particular would be such an easy target for someone like Putin. Then it was just a matter of "beta-testing" Trump's forays into politics with an emphasis on timing.

When I was in college (84-88) I did the whole cliche American student backpacking through Europe thing. One of the places I went to was East Germany (I speak German), back when it still was East Germany of course. I remember in particular going to a bookstore and looking at a US history book, only from Soviet perspective. The thing that struck me the most was that it wasn't full of lies as I expected it to be; quite the contrary. It was all true, it just was selectively true.

For example, it focused on America's oppression of blacks, marking a distinct unbroken timeline from slavery to the civil war to the sixties/seventies and "current" showing in detail how white America still had not embraced black America in spite of the hypocrisy of its laws and "freedom" and the like. Basically, the perspective was "they say one thing, but they do another."

It was also notable to me (a naive white boy from Eugene, Oregon via St Louis, barely 18 at the time) in that it showed absolutely no prejudice against blacks; again, quite the contrary. I got the impression that Russians felt kindred to American blacks and believed they were much like the oppressed workers of the 1917s on the verge of revolution from their aristorcratic overlords.

I mention that only because it was the first time in my life where I gestalted another culture's perspective (indeed, that there could be another culture's perspective) and that such a world view showed deep insight into our own culture that I had never before even thought of. I always hated the prejudice I saw in my St. Louis friends, but I thought I understood it. They weren't bad people; just ignorant is all. Then seeing the Russian perspective (in an East German bookstore) and how systemic the racism and how it was carefully cultivated by the ruling (white) elite, well, it completely flipped everything around. It may have been ignorance in my friends, but it was calculated manipulation of that ignorance by the ruling institutions that kept it alive and kicking in every generation in spite of all of the supposed "progress" that seemed to be happening on the surface.

Point being, that such an outside insight--I believe--would have naturally been triggered upon seeing how Americans responded to their first black President. And seeing how the same did not exactly embrace Putin, it's not a wonder that he decided it was time to "activate" an asset (Trump) that Soviet intelligence had been using for decades and evidently grooming for politics as well.

LONG way of saying, the timing was right to put into place everything the Soviets (yes, I use that term deliberately) had learned and cultivated over decades of patient study and understanding. And, again, that one phrase from Trump says it all: "I think he wants to become the world leader." Not "a" world leader; the world leader. And that's something that must have been in place decades ago as well.

Putin plays the long con. So he found himself a short-con wannabe in Trump. And now all of the planets aligned--starting with the discovery of the arctic oil, thanks to climate change, which Putin must surely see as more evidence of his "destiny"--so he let slip the dogs of war. It's pretty straightforward, but it is something like a John Grisham novel. That doesn't make it untrue. We know it's true. What we don't know (yet) is the extent and the timeline, but with all of the evidence already presented (I doubt I've even scratched the surface in my third hand cultivation attempt here), it's a fact that Trump has been specifically, consistently and deliberately targeted by Soviet intelligence for over forty years.

You don't waste that much time and effort and resources. He has very clearly been used (knowingly used) by various Russian interests--all tied to Putin at the very least--for decades. And its extent--based on nothing more than what I've been able to piece together itt--is huge, but until now, just business. Corrupt, felonious business involving hundreds of millions of dollars in money-laundering schemes and the like, but now its treason.

Whether he ever gets charged with it is irrelevant to the fact that he's committed it.

ETA: Technically, we have to be in a state of war for the crime of treason to be applicable. What he did was treasonous, but technically not treason.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sat May 27, 2017 9:36 pm

Fascinating read by the same author above (from Paste): Is Edward Snowden a Russian Agent?
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Post by Abominable Intelligence » Sun May 28, 2017 3:08 am

Your Snowden link 404's.

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Post by plebian » Sun May 28, 2017 3:51 am

[quote=""Koyaanisqatsi""]Fascinating read by the same author above (from Paste): Is Edward Snowden a Russian Agent?[/quote]
Try this

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sun May 28, 2017 1:14 pm

Koyaanisqatsi;672176 wrote:Fascinating read by the same author above (from Paste): Is Edward Snowden a Russian Agent?
Try this[/QUOTE]

That's it, thanks.
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Post by plebian » Sun May 28, 2017 3:03 pm

It's an interesting read. I think it's important not to draw conclusions from it but it's definitely food for thought.

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Post by ruby sparks » Sun May 28, 2017 3:36 pm


Regarding the seeing one's own country from the perspective of another......yes I agree, there is often/always much to be learned that one is not told at home. This is true of any country, but perhaps especially true of 'western superpowers' and 'ex-western superpowers' such as Britain, where what one learns can often be unpalatable.

I am not entirely sure about Russian ethnic/racial tolerance though. On the whole, I think it's very poor indeed. When you don't have many blacks, you can perhaps afford to appear ok about that one. Even though the USA is far far from perfect, I think I'd rather be in a disadvantaged minority there than in Russia or former USSR states, where football supporters apparently still throw bananas onto the pitch when foreign teams field black players and the local authorities appear reluctant to tackle it head on unless threatened with sanctions by the international governing body.

Regarding your general conspiracy theory here....definitely one of your better ones, imho. I'm not sure exactly how much there is in it, but I would not be surprised by almost anything.
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Sun May 28, 2017 7:17 pm

Ruby, keep in mind that was in 1987. And, of course, it may simply have been a feint within a feint within a feint to borrow from Herbert. The point, however, was that it was the first time I had seen another country's "propaganda" against my own within that other country. Iow, I got to see propaganda against my country evidently intended not for my eyes to try and convince me of something contrary to my beliefs/teachings; but rather to convince Soviets of the evil of the West.

I had expected it to be easily dismissible lies and ludicrously transparent aggrandizement and instead it was a very detailed and accurate description of class warfare, basically and the gross hypocrisy of a country proclaiming to be the "land of the free" when in fact it was the land of the oppressed. I subsequently learned, of course, that the best propaganda avoids outright lies and stays as close to the truth as possible (artfully utilizing omission rather than outright fiction), but again the point was such insight would be a powerful tool if it could be "false flagged," so to speak and somehow smuggled into the US and disseminated to US classrooms as if it were written by US historians. At least that was part of the gestalt I had in that bookstore; thinking what a devastating weapon that history book--intended for Soviets as a means to be indoctrinated against America/Americans--would have been if they could have snuck into every public school in America and switched out our own propaganda "history" textbooks with the one I was reading.

Well, in this election, social media provided such a flag and that's why it was so effective (from Sanders on through to the bitter end of the general and likely for a considerable time prior to it all).
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Wed May 31, 2017 6:04 pm

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:12 pm

Well, if this is legit then I can think of no better evidence--absent a straight up confession by Trump or Putin or the like--proving everything I've been arguing itt. Putin denies having compromising information on Trump:
A dossier of unverified information published during the presidential transition alleged that Russia had sought to compile compromising information on Trump.

"Well, this is just another load of nonsense. Where would we get this information from? Why, did we have some special relationship with him? We didn't have any relationship at all," the Russian president said.

Putin said he never met with Trump during the latter's visits to Moscow, adding that a lot of Americans and companies come to Russia and saying the country doesn't gather information on them.
We know that Soviet intelligence (I'm using that term as a catch-all, but I think it applies) has been--at the very least--tracking Trump since the 1970s. Putin is artfully dodging the question by latching on to the "compromising" part of the question (though, to be fair, that's Kelly's fault for making that part of the question to begin with). However, Putin betrays himself by going too far in the denial by stating "we didn't have any relationship at all." The fact that Trump had been tracked by Soviet intelligence for the past four decades is a matter of public record thanks to the Guardian piece, so if Putin were being at all honest he would have copped to that fact and then said something to the effect of, "But that ended in the nineties when the wall came down" or the like.

He's too intelligent not to consider decades of direct surveillance (to the point of sending an agent to America no less) a form of "relationship" and/or gathering information and he certainly would have been apprised of any such operations if not while he was actively serving in the KGB, certainly once he became President. Trump was clearly considered a prime target for conversion as far back as the eighties at the very least and directly so up into the nineties as the bits of information we have from the StB alone establish.

As anyone who was at all aware during the time of the wall coming down, there was a very brief moment of "hey, this is great, we can all be friends now" which ended rather abruptly about two years in when it became clear Russia's power vacuum had been filled by a mafia-like kleptocracy and the Cold War ways of the KBG/FSB in particular had taken back control culminating in Putin's reign to begin with, so it's not like they would just throw away any such information/asset like Trump.

At best he'd be put on "hold" as it were, but certainly not forgotten or abandoned. Or if so, once Putin took charge and revamped the FSB in the KGB's image, all of that would have started up anew as all of the evidence we have seen so far definitely points to (pre election, no less).
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Post by Ajay0 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:35 pm

Putin himself is probably in power for such a long time due to electoral frauds, which had been highlighted by Russian intellectuals. There is no freedom for the media as well, and a lot of censoring takes place for news critical of Putin.

Russia is more of a pseudo-democracy and virtual dictatorship under Putin who is probably using his kgb time to good personal effect over here, to remove dissenters and opposition clandestinely and using high profile propaganda to impress his macho image in Russia.

There is a very high probability that Putin could have influenced the elections in the U.S., in Trumps favour, and he also has the resources to pull it off.

And a grateful ( or blackmailed) Trump is now reversing the hard stand America had taken on Russia over Crimea.
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Post by Gná » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:38 am

‘This is huge’: National-security experts were floored by the leaked NSA document on Russia’s election hack

A leaked NSA document which found that hackers connected to Russian military intelligence tried to breach US voting systems days before the 2016 election has national-security experts and former intelligence officials reeling.

Russian military intelligence, according to the document, launched an attack on at least one US voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to at least 100 local election officials shortly before the election.

In addition to being the strongest indication so far that Russia interfered in the US election, the document also indicates that Russian hackers may have “penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood,” The Intercept, which first published the document, reported.
Wall of text is the reason I haven't copied everything.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.nl/nsa-leak ... =true&r=US

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Post by Gná » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:53 am

Ok, this is a lot of text as well but it is extremely relevant.


RUSSIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.

While the document provides a rare window into the NSA’s understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive.


The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood. It states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document:

Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.

This NSA summary judgment is sharply at odds with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial last week that Russia had interfered in foreign elections: “We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so.” Putin, who had previously issued blanket denials that any such Russian meddling occurred, for the first time floated the possibility that freelance Russian hackers with “patriotic leanings” may have been responsible. The NSA report, on the contrary, displays no doubt that the cyber assault was carried out by the GRU.

The NSA analysis does not draw conclusions about whether the interference had any effect on the election’s outcome and concedes that much remains unknown about the extent of the hackers’ accomplishments. However, the report raises the possibility that Russian hacking may have breached at least some elements of the voting system, with disconcertingly uncertain results.

The NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were both contacted for this article. Officials requested that we not publish or report on the top secret document and declined to comment on it. When informed that we intended to go ahead with this story, the NSA requested a number of redactions. The Intercept agreed to some of the redaction requests after determining that the disclosure of that material was not clearly in the public interest.

The report adds significant new detail to the picture that emerged from the unclassified intelligence assessment about Russian election meddling released by the Obama administration in January. The January assessment presented the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions but omitted many specifics, citing concerns about disclosing sensitive sources and methods. The assessment concluded with high confidence that the Kremlin ordered an extensive, multi-pronged propaganda effort “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

That review did not attempt to assess what effect the Russian efforts had on the election, despite the fact that “Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.” According to the Department of Homeland Security, the assessment reported reassuringly, “the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.”

The NSA has now learned, however, that Russian government hackers, part of a team with a “cyber espionage mandate specifically directed at U.S. and foreign elections,” focused on parts of the system directly connected to the voter registration process, including a private sector manufacturer of devices that maintain and verify the voter rolls. Some of the company’s devices are advertised as having wireless internet and Bluetooth connectivity, which could have provided an ideal staging point for further malicious actions.


Attached to the secret NSA report is an overview chart detailing the Russian government’s spear-phishing operation, apparently missing a second page that was not provided to The Intercept. Graphic: NSA

The Spear-Phishing Attack

As described by the classified NSA report, the Russian plan was simple: pose as an e-voting vendor and trick local government employees into opening Microsoft Word documents invisibly tainted with potent malware that could give hackers full control over the infected computers.

But in order to dupe the local officials, the hackers needed access to an election software vendor’s internal systems to put together a convincing disguise. So on August 24, 2016, the Russian hackers sent spoofed emails purporting to be from Google to employees of an unnamed U.S. election software company, according to the NSA report. Although the document does not directly identify the company in question, it contains references to a product made by VR Systems, a Florida-based vendor of electronic voting services and equipment whose products are used in eight states.

The spear-phishing email contained a link directing the employees to a malicious, faux-Google website that would request their login credentials and then hand them over to the hackers. The NSA identified seven “potential victims” at the company. While malicious emails targeting three of the potential victims were rejected by an email server, at least one of the employee accounts was likely compromised, the agency concluded. The NSA notes in its report that it is “unknown whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised all the intended victims, and what potential data from the victim could have been exfiltrated.”

VR Systems declined to respond to a request for comment on the specific hacking operation outlined in the NSA document. Chief Operating Officer Ben Martin replied by email to The Intercept’s request for comment with the following statement:

Phishing and spear-phishing are not uncommon in our industry. We regularly participate in cyber alliances with state officials and members of the law enforcement community in an effort to address these types of threats. We have policies and procedures in effect to protect our customers and our company.

Although the NSA report indicates that VR Systems was targeted only with login-stealing trickery, rather than computer-controlling malware, this isn’t necessarily a reassuring sign. Jake Williams, founder of computer security firm Rendition Infosec and formerly of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations hacking team, said stolen logins can be even more dangerous than an infected computer. “I’ll take credentials most days over malware,” he said, since an employee’s login information can be used to penetrate “corporate VPNs, email, or cloud services,” allowing access to internal corporate data. The risk is particularly heightened given how common it is to use the same password for multiple services. Phishing, as the name implies, doesn’t require everyone to take the bait in order to be a success — though Williams stressed that hackers “never want just one” set of stolen credentials.


A detail from a top-secret NSA report on a Russian military intelligence operation targeting the U.S. election infrastructure. Image: NSA

In any event, the hackers apparently got what they needed. Two months later, on October 27, they set up an “operational” Gmail account designed to appear as if it belonged to an employee at VR Systems, and used documents obtained from the previous operation to launch a second spear-phishing operation “targeting U.S. local government organizations.” These emails contained a Microsoft Word document that had been “trojanized” so that when it was opened it would send out a beacon to the “malicious infrastructure” set up by the hackers.

The NSA assessed that this phase of the spear-fishing operation was likely launched on either October 31 or November 1 and sent spear-fishing emails to 122 email addresses “associated with named local government organizations,” probably to officials “involved in the management of voter registration systems.” The emails contained Microsoft Word attachments purporting to be benign documentation for VR Systems’ EViD voter database product line, but which were in reality maliciously embedded with automated software commands that are triggered instantly and invisibly when the user opens the document. These particular weaponized files used PowerShell, a Microsoft scripting language designed for system administrators and installed by default on Windows computers, allowing vast control over a system’s settings and functions. If opened, the files “very likely” would have instructed the infected computer to begin downloading in the background a second package of malware from a remote server also controlled by the hackers, which the secret report says could have provided attackers with “persistent access” to the computer or the ability to “survey the victims for items of interest.” Essentially, the weaponized Word document quietly unlocks and opens a target’s back door, allowing virtually any cocktail of malware to be subsequently delivered automatically.

According to Williams, if this type of attack were successful, the perpetrator would possess “unlimited” capacity for siphoning away items of interest. “Once the user opens up that email [attachment],” Williams explained, “the attacker has all the same capabilities that the user does.” Vikram Thakur, a senior research manager at Symantec’s Security Response Team, told The Intercept that in cases like this the “quantity of exfiltrated data is only limited by the controls put in place by network administrators.” Data theft of this variety is typically encrypted, meaning anyone observing an infected network wouldn’t be able to see what exactly was being removed but should certainly be able to tell something was afoot, Williams added. Overall, the method is one of “medium sophistication,” Williams said, one that “practically any hacker can pull off.”

The NSA, however, is uncertain about the results of the attack, according to the report. “It is unknown,” the NSA notes, “whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed by the cyber actor.”

The FBI would not comment about whether it is pursuing a criminal investigation into the cyber attack on VR Systems.

At a December press conference, President Obama said that he told Russian President Vladimir Putin in September not to hack the U.S. election infrastructure. “What I was concerned about in particular was making sure [the DNC hack] wasn’t compounded by potential hacking that could hamper vote counting, affect the actual election process itself,” Obama said. “So in early September, when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn’t. And in fact we did not see further tampering of the election process.”

Yet the NSA has now found that the tampering continued. “The fact that this is occurring in October is troubling,” said one senior law enforcement official with significant cyber expertise. “In August 2016 warnings went out from the FBI and DHS to those agencies. This was not a surprise. This was not hard to defend against. But you needed a commitment of budget and attention.”

The NSA document briefly describes two other election-related Russian hacking operations. In one, Russian military hackers created an email account pretending to be another U.S. election company, referred to in the document as U.S. company 2, from which they sent fake test emails offering “election-related products and services.” The agency was unable to determine whether there was any targeting using this account.

In a third Russian operation, the same group of hackers sent test emails to addresses at the American Samoa Election Office, presumably to determine whether those accounts existed before launching another phishing attack. It is unclear what the effort achieved, but the NSA assessed that the Russians appeared intent on “mimicking a legitimate absentee ballot-related service provider.” The report does not indicate why the Russians targeted the tiny Pacific islands, a U.S. territory with no electoral votes to contribute to the election.


HOMEWORTH, OH - NOVEMBER 08: A voter at the Homeworth Fire Depacasts her ballot on an open table in at the Homeworth Fire Department on November 8, 2016 in Homeworth, Ohio. This year, roughly 200 million Americans have registered to vote in this years general election. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images) A voter casts her ballot on Nov. 8, 2016 in Ohio. Photo: Ty Wright/Getty Images
An Alluring Target

Getting attention and a budget commitment to election security requires solving a political riddle. “The problem we have is that voting security doesn’t matter until something happens, and then after something happens, there’s a group of people who don’t want the security, because whatever happened, happened in their favor,” said Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity expert at Harvard’s Berkman Center who has written frequently about the security vulnerabilities of U.S. election systems. “That makes it a very hard security problem, unlike your bank account.”

Schneier said the attack, as described by the NSA, is standard hacking procedure. “Credential-stealing, spear-phishing — this is how it’s done,” he said. “Once you get a beachhead, then you try to figure out how to go elsewhere.”

All of this means that it is critical to understand just how integral VR Systems is to our election system, and what exactly the implications of this breach are for the integrity of the result.

VR Systems doesn’t sell the actual touchscreen machines used to cast a vote, but rather the software and devices that verify and catalogue who’s permitted to vote when they show up on Election Day or for early voting. Companies like VR are “very important” because “a functioning registration system is central to American elections,” explained Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law. Vendors like VR are also particularly sensitive, according to Norden, because local election offices “are often unlikely to have many or even any IT staff,” meaning “a vendor like this will also provide most of the IT assistance, including the work related to programming and cyber security”—not the kind of people you want unwittingly compromised by a hostile nation state.

According to its website, VR Systems has contracts in eight states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Pamela Smith, president of election integrity watchdog Verified Voting, agreed that even if VR Systems doesn’t facilitate the actual casting of votes, it could make an alluring target for anyone hoping to disrupt the vote.

“If someone has access to a state voter database, they can take malicious action by modifying or removing information,” she said. “This could affect whether someone has the ability to cast a regular ballot, or be required to cast a ‘provisional’ ballot — which would mean it has to be checked for their eligibility before it is included in the vote, and it may mean the voter has to jump through certain hoops such as proving their information to the election official before their eligibility is affirmed.”

Mark Graff, a digital security consultant and former chief cybersecurity officer at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, described such a hypothetical tactic as “effectively a denial of service attack” against would-be voters. But a more worrying prospect, according to Graff, is that hackers would target a company like VR Systems to get closer to the actual tabulation of the vote. An attempt to directly break into or alter the actual voting machines would be more conspicuous and considerably riskier than compromising an adjacent, less visible part of the voting system, like voter registration databases, in the hope that one is networked to the other. Sure enough, VR Systems advertises the fact that its EViD computer polling station equipment line is connected to the internet, and that on Election Day “a voter’s voting history is transmitted immediately to the county database” on a continuous basis. A computer attack can thus spread quickly and invisibly through networked components of a system like germs through a handshake.

According to Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society and an electronic voting expert, one of the main concerns in the scenario described by the NSA document is the likelihood that the officials setting up the electronic poll books are the same people doing the pre-programming of the voting machines. The actual voting machines aren’t going to be networked to something like VR Systems’ EViD, but they do receive manual updates and configuration from people at the local or state level who could be responsible for both. If those were the people targeted by the GRU malware, the implications are troubling.

“Usually at the county level there’s going to be some company that does the pre-election programming of the voting machines,” Halderman told The Intercept. “I would worry about whether an attacker who could compromise the poll book vendor might be able to use software updates that the vendor distributes to also infect the election management system that programs the voting machines themselves,” he added. “Once you do that, you can cause the voting machine to create fraudulent counts.”

According to Schneier, a major prize in breaching VR Systems would be the ability to gather enough information to effectively execute spoof attacks against election officials themselves. Coming with the imprimatur of the election board’s main contractor, a fake email looks that much more authentic.


A detail from a top-secret NSA report on a Russian military intelligence operation targeting the U.S. election infrastructure. Image: NSA

Such a breach could also serve as its own base from which to launch disruptions. One U.S. intelligence official conceded that the Russian operation outlined by the NSA — targeting voter registration software — could potentially have disrupted voting in the locations where VR Systems’ products were being used. And a compromised election poll book system can do more than cause chaos on Election Day, said Halderman. “You could even do that preferentially in areas for voters that are likely to vote for a certain candidate and thereby have a partisan effect.”

Using this method to target a U.S. presidential election, the Russian approach faces a challenge in the decentralized federal election system, where processes differ not merely state to state but often county to county. And meanwhile, the Electoral College makes it difficult to predict where efforts should be concentrated.

“Hacking an election is hard, not because of technology — that’s surprisingly easy — but it’s hard to know what’s going to be effective,” said Schneier. “If you look at the last few elections, 2000 was decided in Florida, 2004 in Ohio, the most recent election in a couple counties in Michigan and Pennsylvania, so deciding exactly where to hack is really hard to know.”

But the system’s decentralization is also a vulnerability. There is no strong central government oversight of the election process or the acquisition of voting hardware or software. Likewise, voter registration, maintenance of voter rolls, and vote counting lack any effective national oversight. There is no single authority with the responsibility for safeguarding elections. Christian Hilland, a spokesperson for the FEC, told The Intercept that “the Federal Election Commission does not have jurisdiction over voting matters as well as software and hardware in connection with casting votes. You may want to check with the Election Assistance Commission.”

Checking with the EAC is also less than confidence inspiring. The commission was created in 2002 as the congressional reaction to the vote-counting debacle of 2000. The EAC notes online that it “is charged with serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems,” but it is a backwater commission with no real authority. Click on the link about certifying voting systems and it leads you to a dead page.

If there were a central U.S. election authority, it might have launched an investigation into what happened in Durham, North Carolina, on Election Day. The registration system malfunctioned at a number of polling locations, causing chaos and long lines, which triggered election officials to switch to paper ballots and extend voting later into the evening.

Durham’s voter rolls were run by VR Systems — the same firm that was compromised by the Russian hack, according to the NSA document.

Local officials said that a hack was not the cause of the disruption. “The N.C. State Board of Elections did not experience any suspicious activity during the 2016 election outside of what this agency experiences at other times. Any potential risks or vulnerabilities are being monitored, and this agency works with the Department of Homeland Security and the N.C. Department of Information Technology to help mitigate any potential risks,” said Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson for the North Carolina board of elections.

George McCue, deputy director of the Durham County board of elections, also said that VR Systems’ software was not the issue. “There was some investigation there, essentially no evidence came out of it indicating there was any problem with the product,” he said. “It appears to be user errors at different points in the process, between the setup of the computers and the poll workers using them.”

All of this taken together ratchets up the stakes of the ongoing investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, which promises to soak up more national attention this week as fired FBI Director James Comey appears before Congress to testify. If collusion can ultimately be demonstrated — a big if at this point — then the assistance on Russia’s part went beyond allegedly hacking email to serve a propaganda campaign, and bled into an attack on U.S. election infrastructure itself.

Whatever the investigation into the Trump campaign concludes, however, it pales in comparison to the threat posed to the legitimacy of U.S. elections if the infrastructure itself can’t be secured. The NSA conclusion “demonstrates that countries are looking at specific tactics for election manipulation, and we need to be vigilant in defense,” said Schneier. “Elections do two things: one choose the winner, and two, they convince the loser. To the extent the elections are vulnerable to hacking, we risk the legitimacy of the voting process, even if there is no actual hacking at the time.”

Throughout history, the transfer of power has been the moment of greatest weakness for societies, leading to untold bloodshed. The peaceful transfer of power is one of the greatest innovations of democracy.

“It’s not just that [an election] has to be fair, it has to be demonstrably fair, so that the loser says, ‘Yep, I lost fair and square.’ If you can’t do that, you’re screwed,” said Schneier. “They’ll tear themselves apart if they’re convinced it’s not accurate.”
Source: https://theintercept.com/2017/06/05/top ... -election/

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:19 pm

I just woke up to that news as well. Here is the original Intercept article: Top Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election.

It describes exactly the kind of targeting I noted earlier with regard to the vote tallying system and although it notes that they did not think any actual vote tallying was corrupted in the system they investigated, that misses the larger picture (as I believe so many other such news stories have done so far). While that is an obvious concern, it could also be a red herring on two levels; (1) is that this is not the vote tallying system they corrupted, but misdirection from the one they did (i.e., the one in Wisconsin/Bachman etc) and (2) what they were really after is personal information on local registered voters in order to target them for an email/social media barrage.

Changing vote tallies would be the ideal approach (and I'm not saying they did not try and/or succeed in other counties, such as the one I posted about); but it is fraught with obvious problems. Were it not for Jill Stein, for example (who should also be considered a person of interest in all of this, but perhaps a later day for that), there would not have been a recount, but they couldn't know that (unless that was part of the plan somehow--and that explains why they invited her to dinner with Flynn and Putin etal). That seems overly complicated, but not outside the realm.

Regardless, the point most journalists seem to be missing in all of this assumption that it was about changing vote tallies is that a targeted misinformation/propaganda attack through voter email/social media could be just as effective and much harder for anyone to trace. We know how isolating the internet is and how social media in particular is just an "echo chamber," so by filling that chamber with targeted echoes--reinforced by the Trump campaign as we saw--well, that could easily account for a .02% vote differential in swing states.

It's important too to understand something about these kinds of strategies; they aren't perfect and there is no guarantee they will work. That doesn't mean, however, that they aren't attempted. We know, for example, that they did in fact attempt to meddle in and influence the election. Whether it worked and that's "the reason" Trump is in the WH is immaterial to the fact that it was attempted and Trump encouraged it and his actions are therefore impeachable.

ETA: I just saw that Gna posted what looks like the entire Intercept article. Just a note; the mods will likely remove your post as it violates copyright rules here. You are only allowed to quote a certain amount of an outside source. Just fyi.
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