Russiagate jumps yet another shark
Washington struck back against Russia twice today for things that either aren't crimes, or are things we are responsible for.
Let's start with the biggest one.
Thirteen Russians have been criminally charged for interfering in the 2016 US election to help Donald Trump, the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, announced on Friday...
A 37-page indictment alleged that the Russians’ operations “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J Trump ... and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” his Democratic opponent.
Uh, is that even a crime?
And if it is, what does that say about our empire?
Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, said at a press conference in Washington: “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge.” Rosenstein added that the charges did not mean the Russian activity had an effect on the outcome of the election.
So then why are we even bothering? Why is this even a thing?
The U.S. actively rigged the 1996 Russian election, not to mention beaming propaganda at them for 60 years that "promoted discord" in Russia. Both of those efforts were a Hell of a lot more effective. Shouldn't they be indicting our government?
“This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet,” said Rosenstein.
No shit Sherlock!?!
He alleged that the Russians had “worked to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” adding: “We must not allow them to succeed.”
The charges state that from as far back as 2014, the defendants conspired together to defraud the US by “impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of government” through interference with the American political and electoral processes.
This is such a vague and political statement that it could be taken straight out of COINTELPRO.
I find this second move more interesting.
Russia will be made to pay for its acts of cyber aggression on the international stage, Rob Joyce, special assistant to the president and White House cybersecurity coordinator, told CNBC on Friday.
The act in question was the malware attack known as NotPetya that wiped out billions of dollars as it spread across 64 countries in July 2017. The White House, for the first time Thursday, directly blamed Russia's military for the attack.
"We're going to work on the international stage to impose consequences. Russia has to understand that they have to behave responsibly on the international stage," Joyce said at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. "So we're going to see levers the U.S. government can do to impose those costs."
First of all, proof?
Nope. No proof.
Secondly, and here's the interesting part, consider where the NotPetya virus came from.
The Shadow Brokers is once again trying to sell yet more stolen NSA cyber-weapons, raising the asking price in the process. And the gang has threatened to out one of the US spy agency's ex-operatives that it claims hacked Chinese targets.
..."Another global cyber attack is fitting end for first month of theshadowbrokers dump service," it said. "There is much theshadowbrokers can be saying about this but what is point and having not already being said?"
That's referring to this week's Petya/NotPetya outbreak and last month's WannaCry drama: both of these strains of malware used NSA exploits from the Shadow Brokers' April leak to attack Windows PCs around the world. The group, which is thought to be linked to Russian intelligence, claims the cyber-weapons it is now flogging off were nicked from the Equation Group, which is understood to be a moniker for an NSA hacking team.
If you were serious about stopping the virus attacks, you would do something about the NSA.
Obviously that isn't the agenda.
Also, why the big deal about this one virus attack? Do they have any idea just how common cyber attacks are?
A total 87% of local government organisations have experienced a phishing attack in the past 12 months, closely followed by 76% who have experienced a malware, virus or Trojan attack, according to research into threats and opportunities across local government by Malwarebytes.
Cyberattacks are a big deal, but they are done almost entirely by criminals...and our government.