The WikiLeaks E-Mails. The Russians Didn’t Do It.
I come from a port city in New Brunswick, Canada, founded by penniless refugees who landed there following the American Revolutionary War. They were the Loyalists, who decided to sacrifice all to remain true to the British crown.
Many residents today are descendants of the original settlers. There was only one famous man among them, the esteemed patriot Benedict Arnold, who arrived later from the UK. Things did not go well for Arnold. He welshed on his debts, his esteem evaporated, and the residents ran the deadbeat out of the town.
The city remembers its founders with a holiday each year but beyond that the descendants of the Loyalists as the rule are no more than faces in the crowd.
There are exceptions: my Grade 8 teacher for example. She was no face in any crowd. This was mid-1950s. Every now and then she would get wound up, and just as if she had been transported back in time and at that very moment had come on land from the ship, would begin to tee off on the Americans. These tirades were worth coming to school for.
Her main points were two. American culture is flawed and inferior. And the Americans will never learn how to run a country properly.
We kids never understood what she was talking about when it came to “culture.” All the movies, music, and sports, except for hockey, came out of America. You eliminate American “culture,” and what you were left with was what Quebec singer Gilles Vigneault sang about a few years later. “Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver.” (My country is not a country, it’s the winter.) Of course in Quebec, American culture loses a lot in translation, but every Canadian, at that time at least, knew what he meant.
Occasionally as time went on my teacher would began to appear like an oracle. Everyone would have to agree with her. In the late 60s Americans began burning down their cities one after the other and meanwhile scores of young men, draft-dodgers, were swarming over the border to get away from there.
Today is another such period. They elect a new president Donald Trump and instead of moving on, the rival Democratic party comes up with a cock ‘n’ bull story that he colluded with the Russians, who tipped the election. They stampeded Congress into two committee investigations and now they have graduated to a special prosecutor or counsel. The odds that the Russians meddled in the election are probably are about the same that unicorns meddled in the election. But then again don’t bet against unicorns simply because no one knows much about them.
I’ve done a book on this subject. Here I’ll focus on one aspect — who supplied e-mails in two cases to WikiLeaks, the whistleblower group run by Julian Assange? Those were from the Democratic National Committee and then from John Podesta, campaign manager of Hillary Clinton, the losing candidate. The DNC put out the hoax that Russians did it in their case and that was later applied to Podesta too, automatically.
Let’s start with the Podesta Gmail e-mails. The Keystone Kops could have solved this case in a half a day. It would have taken them a week to crack the DNC case because this was a hack and the hacker used an alias and meanwhile his whistleblower, the guy who delivered the goods to WikiLeaks, was murdered. As for the originators of the hoax of Kremlin involvement, that would have required the Keystone Kops to do a background check of the principals who invented it and that would meant end of hoax.
By contrast if James Comey had remained head of the FBI, the investigation would have dragged on for four years when they would have ended at a dead end after going around in circles all that time.
The Podesta breach — it wasn’t a hack — involved stealing personal data, that is, user name and password. The Podesta people said this occurred in March 2016. The e-mails, did not begin to appear on WikiLeaks until Oct. 7.
That sort of breach did not happen in a vacuum. During that spring, account details from 272-million e-mail accounts from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Mail.ru e-mail users were stolen. The MailOnline reported that the account details were being sold in Russia. These were lawless private groups and individuals trying to make a fast ruble, not the Kremlin. But this demonstrates that doing this stuff was as easy as picking apples off trees if no one was guarding the trees.
Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and former rector of the University of Dundee, close associate of Assange, informed the MailOnline that he scooped up the Podesta e-mails in September in a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University in Washington from disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters. This article was published Dec. 16. All you needed to do was verify that Murray was at American University that month.
Murray was chairman for the annual awards ceremony of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity Intelligence, a group dedicated to honoring whistleblowers, to put this in broad strokes. Members include many former intelligence agents. This event was held at American University Sept. 25. Murray was seen there by hundreds of people, many of whom are former intelligence agents.
WikiLeaks possessed these e-mails from Sept. 25 or whenever Murray got back to the UK until they published them Oct. 7. All Comey had to do when the MailOnline article appeared Dec. 16 was send someone to interview Murray — Scotland Yard could have done it — and this was case closed.
Yet on March 20 Comey was testifying under oath to the House intelligence committee that the Podesta e-mails were stolen by Russian intelligence and supplied by “cutouts” — a word employed in espionage circles referring to intermediaries. This goes beyond even stupidity and incompetence; it’s criminal negligence.
Here’s what Murray said in his blog. He’s blaming the CIA for perpetuating the myth of Russian involvement, but the FBI is the investigator in the e-mail cases, as of July 25, and the CIA is just an echo chamber.
Craig Murray: “I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story — blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of e-mails showing Clinton’s corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also.
“A little simple logic demolishes the CIA’s claims. The CIA claim they ‘know the individuals’ involved.’ Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilize a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions against Russian individuals? Plainly it stinks. The anonymous source claims of ‘We know who it was, it was the Russians’ are beneath contempt.
“As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks — there is a major difference between the two. And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton Foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.
“The continued ability of the mainstream media to claim the leaks lost Clinton the election because of ‘Russia.” while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal, is Kafkaesque.”
Let’s go to the originators of the hoax of Kremlin meddling in the election. Officials discovered that DNC servers had been hacked. They hired a company named CrowdStrike to investigate the hack. Based on their findings, the DNC announced definitively June 14 that Russian intelligence did it without giving technical details, through the auspices of two groups known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.
“Bear” in this business refers to Russians and “panda” refers to Chinese.
These e-mails would start to appear in WikiLeaks July 22. No one spelled it out that the Kremlin did the hack on behalf of Trump, but the mass media (MSM), hostile to Trump from start to finish, jumped to that conclusion and ran with it. Until Hillary lost the election, these hacks were not looked upon as a big deal because she was regarded as a shoo-in by all the pundits with her chances of winning ranging to 71 to 98 per cent with Trump having no pathway to reach the magic 270 electoral votes. Comey asked Obama in July if he wanted him to go public with the suspected Kremlin meddling and Obama, who was responsible for the integrity of the election, told him it was not necessary. That was the time to expel 35 diplomats to nip this in the bud and strip Trump of his purported advantage. The Democrats didn’t go crazy with “Russian meddling” until Trump won as if he could not done it fair and square.
The two founders of Crowd Strike are George Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch.
Kurtz has a history of hoaxing. In 2013 he attributed a major hack to a Chinese group called Hurricane Panda. There is no such group.
Alperovitch is a crony of Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, a major funder of the agenda of anti-Russian Ukrainians. Pinchuk plays all sides against the middle and when Trump won the election he invited Newt Gringrich to be the speaker at the annual meeting of his foundation. On the other hand he is reputed to rate as the largest individual donor to the Clinton Foundation. The hoax of the Kremlin hack would be what you would expect from Alperovitch, killing two birds with one stone, besmirching Putin, the enemy of the Ukraine, at the same time as helping Hillary, the enemy of Trump.
At one point CrowdStrike overplayed their hand. They claimed that Russian intelligence using the same methods as they had employed in the DNC hack had knocked out 80 per cent of the Ukraine’s howitzers. Donna Brazile, the interim DNC chairman, was quick to tweet, “Cybersecurity firm finds a link between DNC hack and Ukrainian artillery.” The source of this revelation turned out to be a Russian blogger who calls himself the “Bullhorn of Totalitarian Propaganda.” This hoax was swiftly exposed; the Ukrainian defence ministry declaring that nothing of this sort ever happened.
The FBI, if it had done a background check on these two birds, would have seen very quickly that their Kremlin hacking assertions was a scam. They would found this out as well had they been permitted to examine the DNC servers. When the FBI requested this, CrowdStrike told them to get lost. Legally the FBI could not force the DNC to comply due to privacy considerations. Comey then just swallowed whatever guff CrowdStrike was handing him, including whatever the Bullhorn of Totalitarian Propaganda was contributing, and added his imprimatur.
Meanwhile someone in the FBI began to fidget. They apparently decided that they needed in order to give the FBI some credibility to produce a live Russian body admitting that in the service of the Kremlin he had grabbed the Democratic e-mails for WikiLeaks.
(The source is Newsweek and like so many sources they use the word “hack” also as applying to the Podesta breach. That was a simple swipe of account data whereas “hacking” is intruding into software. Because of the confusion in terminology and in the dates it is not clear if they mean to be talking about the Podesta breach or the DNC hack or both.)
A Russian Yevgeniy Nikulin, 29 was arrested in the Czech Republic at the request of the US on suspicion of hacking the servers of major sites LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Formspring between 2012 and 2013. He denies everything, claiming he is just a used car salesman who knows nothing about computers.
According to Newsweek the FBI approached him on Oct.5 with a deal. He would admit that he “hacked” Podesta on behalf of the Kremlin and in return he would be given US citizenship, cash, an apartment in the US, and a clean state. Nikulin says they told him that he had to say that he did it for Trump.
He turned them down but they came back with the same offer at least twice more, the last time in February. Meanwhile because of the publicity Nikulin’s presence in Prague became known to authorities in Moscow and they put in their extradition request. He is wanted there for stealing $3,450 from an on-line money transfer system. At is looks now he is not going anywhere soon.
Let’s get to real life. Who did the actual DNC hack and who was his whistleblower, that is, the courier who delivered the e-mails to WikiLeaks? And what was their motive?
The hacker goes by the name of Guccifer 2.0. He is not to be confused with another Guccifer, a Russian or a Romanian, now in prison. This guy does everything he can to cover his tracks and remain in the dark so he won’t go to prison. By the lilt of his language and his knowledge of US politics, he appears to be an American. He did it for Bernie. The last access to the DNC servers was May 21.
His courier was Seth Rich who delivered the e-mails to WikiLeaks via Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American documentary filmmaker and director of WikiLeaks, who was living in London at the time. Rich also did it for Bernie. Rich was murdered July 10 in Washington.
Guccifer 2.0 said when the Russian hoax surfaced in June and CrowdStrike made it appear that it was oh so very complex to hack the DNC requiring the skills of the most expert technicians in Russian intelligence, he replied in a blog, “I’m very pleased the company appreciated my skills so highly. But it was easy, very easy.”
He sent a speech to a cybersecurity conference in London Sept. 13 delivered through a representative. Forbes Magazine examined tweets from him and was satisfied that this was from the authentic Guccifer 2.0. Here’s part of it.
Guccifer 2.0: “How I hacked the DNC???”
“Now you know this is a wrong question. Who made it possible, that I hacked into the DNC? This is the question. And I suppose, you already know the answer. This is NGP VAN Company that operates the DNC network. And this is its CEO Stu Trevelyan who is really responsible for the breach.
“Their software is full of holes. And you knew about it even before I came on stage.
“You may remember Josh Uretsky, the national data director for Sander’s presidential campaign. He was fired in December, 2015 after improperly accessing proprietary data in the DNC system. As it was agreed, he was intentionally searching for voter information belonging to other campaigns.
“However, he is not to blame. The real reason voter in-formation became available for non-authorized users was NGP VAN’s raw software which had holes and errors in the code. And this is the same reason I managed to get access to the DNC network. Vulnerabilities in the NGP VAN software installed on its server which they have plenty of. Shit! Yeah?
“This scheme shows how NGP VAN is incorporated in the DNC infrastructure. It’s for detailed examination, if you are interested. And here are a couple of NGP VAN’s documents from their network. If you are interested in their internal documents, you can have them via the link on the screen. The password is usual. It’s also on the screen. You may also ask the conference producers for them later.”
“We need to shake the situation, to make our voices sound. Yeah, I know if they find me I’m doomed to live like Assange, Snowden, Manning, or Lazar. In exile or in prison.
“But it’s worth it for they are the heroes, heroes of new era.”
Marcel Lazar is the original Guccifer.
After Rich was murdered, Assange posted a $20,000 reward. He did not name him as his source because he would not violate his principle of revealing sources, but the reward speaks for itself.
Guccifer 2.0 messaged actress Robbin Young “Seth (Rich) was my whistleblower.”
The FBI, which ignored Murray as well as MacFadyen when he was alive, who could have established the source of both batches of WikiLeaks e-mails exploding the Russian hoax, did summon Robbin Young for questioning, as if she knew something.
Seth Rich by all accounts was a quiet, loyal Democratic staffer plainly driven by an active social conscience, and was about to be hired by the Hillary campaign before his murder. But if he were a subversive, his only chance of succeeding was to adhere to the innocuous image that everyone saw, not draw attention to himself. His record wasn’t without flaws. He was the guy that recommended the hiring of Uretsky, the Bernie activist who would be fired after a few months on the job.
His father Joel Rich said this upon his death.
Joel Rich: “He liked pandas and his mother had sent him a little stuffed panda that got named Bamboo.”
“‘At the DNC, they would hide the panda – it would be in someone’s office, and in a filing cabinet.”
It is reasonable to conclude, although not confirmed, that Seth Rich’s blog was called Pandas4Bernie. If so it would show Rich’s subversive dimension, someone who would be ready, willing, and able to conspire to deliver the DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks to strike a blow for Bernie against the party establishment.
His last entry is entitled “Won’t Back Down” illustrated by a dove and a clenched fist. Here are excerpts.
Pandas4Bernie: I didn’t vote for Bernie because he’s a cute old man.
I voted for a set of demands.
For public health care, free college tuition, a social safety net.
An end to war and empire, police murder and mass incarceration,
For jobs and worker protections,
For dignity for immigrants,
For clean water for our communities,
For someone who can use the government
To mobilize our people to respond to the existential threat of climate change.
I voted for Bernie to build a movement for political and economic justice. …
We can stop Trump without swearing our fealty to the one who betrayed us.
We’re taking this to the convention.
We are not backing down.
Kim Dotcom, the New Zealand whistleblower, has now added his voice to the evidence that Rich supplied the DNC e-mails to Wikeleaks.
Kim Dotcom: “I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.
“I know this because in late 2014 a person contacted me about helping me to start a branch of the Internet Party in the United States. He called himself Panda. I now know that Panda was Seth Rich.
Panda advised me that he was working on voter analytics tools and other technologies that the Internet Party may find helpful.
“I communicated with Panda on a number of topics including corruption and the influence of corporate money in politics.
“He wanted to change that from the inside.”
Malia Zimmerman, an investigative reporter for Fox News, is the source of the name of Rich’s contact, MacFadyen, in Assange’s organization. She got it from an FBI agent. They knew McFadyen name’s within three days, that’s July 13. Comey opened the official FBI investigation into the hacks July 25. He immediately began chasing after mythical Russians or unicorns. What happened to Rich’s laptop that Zimmerman’s source said the FBI had in their possession immediately after the murder? The FBI disavows any suggestion that they ever had it.
Rich was gunned down a 4:19 a.m. in Washington outside his home, two minutes after he clicked off talking to his girlfriend on the phone, by two gunman who shot him in the back. For reasons I discuss in my book, there is no question but that this was a political assassination done by pros.
The book is called “Did Russians Hijack The Trump Train? Do Pigs Fly?” I’ve now added a chapter on the Seth Rich murder and will update it as there are developments in the investigation, assuming that someone somewhere someday somehow actually decides to open an investigation.