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By Ann Diener
Today a 25 year old government contractor, Reality Winner, sits in jail for leaking a memo that she potentially felt was important enough to leak. The saddest part of the story is that the memo shows that there is very little basis for Russian hacking having any impact on the 2016 election, versus the real issues of fraudulent voter purges and potential electronic vote padding, that were both, in all likelihood, domestically done. These two operations quite possibly flipped the election for Trump and are not being examined publicly by any authority from what we are aware as of today. When microtargeting and SCL/Cambridge Analytica are added to what is not being looked at, minor phishing attempts look like guppies in a tank of sharks. Why is our government focused on the guppies versus the sharks?
When analyzed, the contents of the leaked memo that were reported in the Intercept really tell us how little an effect “Russian” hacking had on the election. In reality, the real issues with the election were the millions of voters that were purged with Cross Check. Thinking about possible entry by phishing emails into election officials computers, how much did this really effect the vote count of the election versus millions of voters unknowingly purged, forced to vote provisionally and not having their votes count because after all the voters were purged from the rolls allegedly by Right wing operatives?
Then, add in the votes that were potentially added in at least one state, Wisconsin, where precincts reported a lower than average turn out and had vote counts as high as 100% plus percent in certain precincts, it seems odd that this continues on day in and day out, with the “Russian hacking” versus examining the real fraud of the 2016 election which was really Cross Check voter purges and over-voting that could have been done by electronically adding votes to the vote totals. These two activities were done in all likelihood internally to the US, and potentially conducted by some who are currently tasked with insuring fair elections, namely Kris Kobach, who recently was appointed by Trump to be Vice Chair of the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.”
But, lets examine the leaked document. From the document: “Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors executed cyber espionage operations against a named US Company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions, according to information that became available in April 2017.”
How did they know the perpetrators were Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate employees? Why did it only become available in April 2017? Obviously they are not naming the company, but why was this not reported by the company earlier, if it was significant? How far did the NSA have to go to find any evidence of Russian hacking, obviously it took a long time, while there was literally a documentary about Cross Check and the vote purges that was available before the 2016 election?
More from the document: “The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to create a new email account and launch a voter registration themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations. The spear phishing emails contained a Microsoft Word document trojanized with a Visual Basic script which when opened would spawn a PowerShell instance and beacon out to malicious infrastructure.”
What did they – the alleged Russians – gain from this? How many people actually opened the email or opened the document? Did this really have any impact on the election itself? Think about the number of phishing emails you receive each day, from spoofed banks etc., most people, especially those trained by large corporations, are trained to examine the “From” email address before opening any files associated with an email. Then the email gets marked by the user as a phishing scam and sent to the administrator. How long did this take to be reported by the “US Company” to the NSA? If this phishing scam was so severe, it would have been potentially reported much earlier to the NSA and investigated – the date would have been November 2016 and not April 2017.
“In Octoer 2016 the actors also created a new email address that was potentially used to offer election related products and services presumably to US -based targets.”
How could this actually effect the election? Did they really gain any information? Again the question is how many people actually opened the email and did they gain any information from these campaigns which at worst seem like slightly more than most people receive in their email every day.
“Lastly the actors sent test emails to two non-existent accounts ostensibly associated with absentee balloting, presumably with the purpose of creating those accounts to mimic legitimate services.” Again, here was incompetence, if this is the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, one would think they are very stupid because here the “actors” failed completely. How sophisticated were they? In reality – not that sophisticated if they did not know that the email accounts were non-existent, and again the alleged perpetrators gained nothing from this. Were test emails sent to other accounts and not reported? Still how much impact did any of these incidents have on the election?
Perhaps this is why the story came out today to take the blame away from Russian hacking by making it look unsophisticated, and what few people are looking at is the real election rigging. And what about the contractor herself, was she encouraged to come out with the document, unknowingly to be used as a pawn?
Let us compare what was leaked to what really happened in the 2016 election, that which was in all likelihood done by Americans and potentially those currently in power here.
One only has to read what was previously reported on here at Veterans Today and examine the facts.
Post election, I wrote an extensively researched article on the vote counts vs. the exit polling, Exclusive: Rigged Election? Who’s afraid of a Red Herring?
“There were large discrepancies. In Wisconsin, there was one county, Rock County, with 10,000 missing voters? Did people not show up in such large numbers in this one particular county, where they purged, or were their votes just removed using hacking? You can look at the sheets themselves Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
“With little analysis done about the actual numbers of the election, about the votes themselves, we are all left to wonder. In foreign countries, the very basis for election results is exit polling data, which determines if an election is rigged. Looking at the exit poll data in the states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, what we see is something that would be considered a rigged election in any country that we monitor elections for.”
In this article, Are Trump & Far-Right Politicians a Virtual “Honey Trap” for Russia? I included the facts again in regards to the rigged election. Not one has been brought up publicly.
“Looking at the election itself, there were numerous factors that show the election was actually stolen for Trump including:
Over-voting, meaning more votes on the voting machines than signatures in Wisconsin with cities reporting 95% to over 100% turnout and more votes than voters.
Voters were purged –removed from the voter rolls while still having absentee ballots sent to them. The vote purges involved Cross Check, investigated by Greg Palast as a method of purging voters in multiple states using a database that matched only first and last names to fraudulently purge voters of various ethnic groups, that potentially typically vote Democratic. The system was implemented in 27 states and headed by Kris Kobach, who was Kansas Secretary of State, who shortly after the election was positioned as an adviser to Trump on immigration reform.
Broken scanners were given to poor, Democratic communities in Detroit, Michigan.” ‘It’s not good,’ Detroit Elections Director Daniel Baxter told the Detroit News Tuesday, before the judge halted the recount. He blamed the discrepancies on the city’s decade-old voting machines, saying 87 optical scanners broke on Election Day, the newspaper reported.” These precincts were not eligible for a recount because of the discrepancies, according to Michigan election law.
Voting machine audit functions and safety protocols were turned off in Ohio, despite the fact that, “the FBI has raised fears of fiddling these machines by Russian hackers. Yet, the Republican Secretary of State of Ohio, Jon Husted, is allowing county officials to simply turn off these security functions — with no explanation as to why. The counties, Fitrakis discovered, ‘bought state-of-the-art equipment and turned off the security,’ both the ballot imaging function and the audit application that can detect and record evidence of machine tampering.”
The key question is, so, if the FBI was aware of possible tampering/’hacking’ of the election, and the Department of Justice was made aware of Cross Check, and the FBI was well aware of the mafia ties to Trump, why was he allowed to be fraudulently elected? And why did the Democratic party not fight back? Could sex-blackmail have been involved?
And what about Microtargeting? Here in my article, Microtargeting America to Ignore a Compromised Presidency, The Intelligence Community report is much more detailed in regards to the flow of information on the Russian hacking story than was released NSA document today.
The IC report sites, Russian military intelligence, however when corroborated with a BBC article Trump Russia dossier key claim ‘verified‘, microtargeting is mentioned and this potentially leads to Cambridge Analytica and Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), known as “a private Russian behavioral research and strategic communication company. SCL is known as Cambridge Analytica in the United States,” according to Wikipedia.
From the Intelligence Community report, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, a report including “an analytic assessment drafted and coordinated among The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and The National Security Agency (NSA).”:
“We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”
If indeed Wikileaks served as a vehicle for the Russian hacker(s), the information seems to have been used for much more than was originally disclosed.
According to a source in the BBC article sited above, ” ‘This is a three-headed operation,’ said one former official, setting out the case, based on the intelligence: Firstly, hackers steal damaging emails from senior Democrats. Secondly, the stories based on this hacked information appear on Twitter and Facebook, posted by thousands of automated ‘bots’, then on Russia’s English-language outlets, RT and Sputnik, then right-wing US ‘news’ sites such as Infowars and Breitbart, then Fox and the mainstream media. Thirdly, Russia downloads the online voter rolls.
“The voter rolls are said to fit into this because of ‘microtargeting’. Using email, Facebook and Twitter, political advertising can be tailored very precisely: individual messaging for individual voters.
“ ‘You are stealing the stuff and pushing it back into the US body politic,’ said the former official sited in the BBC report, ‘you know where to target that stuff when you’re pushing it back.’ ”
“This would take co-operation with the Trump campaign, it is claimed.”
This claim is not far fetched at all thinking about who was Trump’s largest campaign backer, Robert Mercer, his company that operated in the background during the election, Cambridge Analytica and the originator of the term, microtargeting, Nigel Oakes founder of Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), that was later spun into Cambridge Analytica.
SCL is now known as “a private Russian behavioral research and strategic communication company. SCL is known as Cambridge Analytica in the United States.”
According to Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix said to Bloomberg’s Sasha Issenburg. “Your behavior is driven by your personality and actually the more you can understand about people’s personality as psychological drivers, the more you can actually start to really tap in to why and how they make their decisions. We call this behavioral microtargeting and this is really our secret sauce, if you like. This is what we’re bringing to America.”
If Cambridge Analytica/SCL was able to gain access the Wikileaks hacked DNC emails and then use its capabilities potentially relating with the illegally obtained voter rosters in Russia, this may be the largest missing piece of data not found in the dossier or in the US Intelligence report.
It would seem improbable that a group so closely aligned with the Trump campaign would have nothing to do with utilizing the information obtained by hackers laundered through Wikileaks, because that is specifically what they clearly state they do, is to obtain information to microtarget people/voters.
Is SCL responsible for the Russian hacking, spoofing the Russian government? The interesting part is that Russia is still passively supporting Trump as Putin said in his most recent interview with Megyn Kelly.
Could Russia know that in reality there is little factual evidence to support Russian government hacking, while there is lots of evidence to support US election fraud that will not be examined because it is domestic and also possibly conducted by non-state actors spoofing the Russian government? With whatever Russia knows, if the US continues to ignore the real issues, it will continue to loose its standing as a democracy and protector of the “free world.”
Perhaps the 25 year old contractor felt it was up to her to save us and out Trump/Russia, the sad part is that there is so much publicly available, that is ignored, which possibly makes those who ignore the facts and data that much more guilty than her.