The Russiagate Hoax – Cutting to the Chase

I have written a rather comprehensive debunking of the "Russia interfered in our election” narrative that has obsessed the MSM for most of a year. Since its first posting, I have been updating it; its expanded form is available here: https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/whats-left-of-russiagate-are-we-down-to...
I don’t pretend to be an investigative journalist – rather, what I have done is to assemble the findings of respected journalists, intelligence experts, and cyberanalysts who have examined the interference narrative with a critical eye. The links are the best part of my essay, and I refer you to them if you want verification for the views I express below.

What I would like to do here is present, in summary form, my own best guess as to what actually happened, in light of the evidence and analyses I cite. Other interpretations are possible, but most of these have a Rube Goldberg-type complexity and illogic that render them quite dubious. Whereas this interpretation fits the known evidence rather straightforwardly:

Seth Rich was the source for the DNC emails which Wikileaks published; Assange has been silently screaming this for months, both through statements and tweets, while strenuously denying that the Russian government played any role in this regard. How Seth obtained these emails, and how he conveyed them to Wikileaks, remain to be determined. If the FBI inside source which Sy Hersh discussed in his taped conversation with Ed Butowski is accurate, Seth provided them by drop box, giving Wikileaks the password. There is a recent claim that Seth had had a raucous argument with Donna Brazile regarding DNC unfairness to Bernie; this concern may have motivated Seth’s leaking, though he may also have sought payment for his risky efforts.

On June 12th of last year, Wikileaks announced that it would soon be releasing material pertinent to Hillary’s campaign. Whether the DNC knew at this time that Seth was the source is unclear. What is clear is that DNC officials, who had previously been informed that their server had been hacked, quickly decided to convince our intelligence agencies, the press, and the public that Russian hackers, acting at the behest of the Russian government, were the source of the damaging material to be released – in that way, focusing attention on the evil machinations of the Russians, slamming Wikileaks, and detracting attention from the content of the released material.

On June 14th, the DNC, in conjunction with the Crowdstrike cybersecurity firm that they had hired, announced that its servers had been hacked, and that a file on Trump opposition research had been taken. An entity dubbed “Guccifer 2.0” popped up online a day later, claiming to be the source for the soon-to-be-released Wikileaks DNC material, and obligingly posting a file on Trump opposition research, as well as several other files. Forensic analyses have indicated that the posted documents had had their metadata intentionally altered to leave “Russian fingerprints”. Moreover, this alteration had occurred on a computer whose MS Office had been registered to the former technical director for Joe Biden, Warren Flood; hence, this computer presumably had been used in the past by Joe Biden’s staff.

On July 5th, Guccifer 2.0 downloaded from the DNC server a number of additional documents, some of which – all of them relatively innocuous - he subsequently posted on his own website. Forensic analysis of this download indicated that it occurred locally, most likely via USB port, and that it took place on the East Coast.

An overview suggests that the Guccifer 2.0 persona was created by people with inside connections to the DNC – on the East Coast, with direct access both to the DNC server and to a computer that had been used by Joe Biden staffers. The evident intent of this charade was to trick our intelligence agencies into concluding that Guccifer 2.0 was the Wikileaks source and was acting at the behest of the Russian government. The fact that he released Trump opposition material a day after the DNC proclaimed that it had been taken by hackers strongly suggests collusion between top people in the DNC and the people concocting Guccifer 2.0. As Adam Carter notes, it is not at all clear how the DNC/Crowdstrike could have known that this particular file had been taken. Carter suspects that principals at Crowdstrike played a key role in creating Guccifer 2.0, as they would have had the expertise required to pull off such a scam. (Whether Imran Awan possesses such skill is not clear.)

Five days later (July 10th), Seth Rich was murdered, most likely by hitmen. The DNC might have known by this point that Seth was the leaker to Wikileaks – and that he therefore would have been in a position to completely destroy the Russian interference hoax if he had chosen to do so.

Crowdstrike, whose founders are known to despise the Russian government, rapidly concluded that the DNC server had been hacked by Russians affiliated with Russian intelligence. According to experts who have examined this claim, the logic behind this conclusion is unconvincing and puerile. Moreover, Crowdstrike's previous effort to implicate Russian intelligence in a hack had been shown to be bogus. Nonetheless, the FBI chose to accept the Crowdstrike conclusions, even though they had never been able to examine the DNC servers themselves because the DNC had refused to turn them over, and the FBI had failed to subpoena them.

If Hersh’s source inside the FBI is to be believed, the FBI has known for over a year that Seth Rich was a Wikileaks source, and has kept this knowledge secret. The FBI states that they have not participated in the investigation of Seth’s murder – thereby tacitly implying, without saying so directly, that they have not examined his computer. Given that Assange, who presumably has direct knowledge on the issue, has hinted as strongly as possible that Seth was one of his sources, the FBI would be severely derelict if indeed it has not examined Seth computer(s).

The Obama administration was soon fully on board with the “Russia interfered” narrative, which initially shielded Hillary from the full import of the Wikileaks revelations, and, after the election, provided Hillary’s campaign with an excuse for its failure while enabling an ancillary “Trump colluded in the interference” narrative that could be employed to disable the Trump presidency. Despite Hillary’s concocted claim about “17 intelligence agencies” verifying the Russian interference story, the Obama administration made sure that the standard appropriate process for our intelligence agencies to provide a balanced evaluation – a National Intelligence Assessment, entailing participation by a number of agencies and including any dissenting judgements – was NOT FOLLOWED. Rather, the histrionic Russophobes James Clapper and John Brennan were allowed to hand-pick a group of a couple dozen intelligence personnel from just 3 agencies. The declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) which they drafted, free of any dissents, accused the Russian government of a conscious campaign to support the candidacy of Trump by hacking several key political websites and providing their contents to Wikileaks and other outlets. Guccifer 2.0 was specifically cited as a Wikileaks source.

Critics immediately noted that the declassified ICA provided no hard evidence whatever to document its claims, and that over half its length was devoted to a criticism of the RT television network as a supposed propaganda outlet. In particular, no insight was provided as to how the authors of the report had concluded that the hacked documents had been transferred to Wikileaks. The conclusions of this report evidently fit seamlessly into a broader strategy of demonizing Russia, the intent being to insure that our military-industrial complex and NATO continue to receive an outrageous level of funding, and that the warped policy agendas of the neo-cons are satisfied.

Our MSM immediately embraced the conclusions of the ICA as Gospel truth, frequently referring to “our 17 intelligence agencies” as the source for this report. They completely ignored the fact that the “assessments” of this report are in effect just “best guesses”, that the preamble of the report pointed out that “assessments” should not necessarily be equated to “facts”, and that the NSA – which, as William Binney notes, should have been able to obtain definitive proof for any actual hacking that had occurred – expressed only “moderate confidence” in the conclusions. This sycophantic credulity is particularly inexcusable in the context of the previous “Saddam’s WMDs” hoax which they likewise had swallowed uncritically, resulting in an illegal war with utterly catastrophic consequences.

The initial claims of Russian interference were soon embellished by media reports claiming that, according to anonymous intelligence sources, the Russian government had attempted to hack into the voter registration files of 21 states, had conducted hacking operations intended to interfere in German and French elections, and had hacked into the Qatari state news agency to plant a fake news story. The veracity of each of these unsourced claims has been called into question, and in some cases disproved, by cyberanalysts, intelligence experts, and journalists. The conclusions of the NSA document leaked by Reality Winner have likewise been shown to be purely speculative. Claims that Russian bots and paid trolls assaulted our social media in the months prior to the election are poorly documented, and, in any case, rather comical.

Following the election, the Russian interference narrative was echoed unceasingly by the Democratic establishment, as this was the necessary concomitant of the “Trump collusion” claims that they were using to slam and cripple Trump – in the hopes of eventually impeaching him. (It presumably would have been hard for Trump to collude in Russian election interference if in fact there had been no Russian interference.) Hysterical attacks on Russia accelerated to the point that some pols referred to the “Russian interference” as “an act of war”. This New McCarthyism ultimately led to our Congress placing severe new sanctions on Russia which also harm our European allies, and which these allies decry as illegal. In other words, we are punishing Russia for a crime they almost certainly did not commit, alienating key allies in the process, and amping up a Second Cold War, with all the expense and severe danger which this may entail.

All because the DNC and its associates concocted an overt fraud to protect and excuse Hillary, and to use as a cudgel over Trump – a fraud that was readily lapped up and sold to the public by hand-picked Russophobes in our intelligence community, and by a MSM that cares far less about truth than about access and ratings.

We need to determine who created the Guccifer 2.0 hoax, and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. The “intelligence agents” who concluded “with high confidence” that Guccifer 2.0 was a Wikileaks source need to be fired or demoted. If the FBI has known all along that Seth was a Wikileaks source, those who shielded the public from this crucial information need to be unmasked. The “journalists” who have been credulously spreading the “Russia interfered” narrative 24/7 for most of a year, without making the least effort to question the veracity of these assertions, should be recognized by the public as the willing tools of lying warmongers that they are, and their future work studiously ignored. The sanctions recently implemented on Russia should be lifted, and the politicians who played the most egregious role in hyping the Russian interference narrative and pushing the sanctions should be repudiated at the polls when they come up for re-election. (I confess, however, that I will not hold my breath waiting for any of these things to happen.)

And let’s do our best to find out who murdered Seth Rich, and why. The DNC and its media acolytes have been heaping hysterical abuse on anyone who entertains the possibility that Seth may have been a Wikileaks source, or who undertakes to investigate his murder. Donna Brazile and Seth’s brother Aaron have done their best to impede the investigative efforts of Rod Wheeler. There is reason to suspect that the DC police have backed off the investigation of the murder, accepting the very dubious view that Seth’s murder was just a “botched robbery”. And why did Democratic operatives feel it necessary to supply the Rich family with a "crisis consultant" after Assange mentioned Seth - when they couldn't be bothered to offer an award for apprehension of Seth's murderer? This behavior is highly suspicious – if Seth was indeed the victim of random street violence, what would the DNC have to fear from further investigation? Let’s get to the bottom of this!

Published originally at Reddit/Way of the Bern

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Comments

Arrow's picture

for the comprehensive update Veganmark.
The metadata timestamps are conclusive. 22.7 MB(ytes) a second and Eastern time zone prove it.
Thanks for this and don't be a stranger here. Post any time.

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25 users have voted.

"They think they have a good union but really they don't. They're basically slaves!"
Futurama - The Slurm Factory

clarity, coverage, and assertiveness.

The most important point you have made for me is this:

Given that Assange, who presumably has direct knowledge on the issue, has hinted as strongly as possible that Seth was one of his sources, the FBI would be severely derelict if indeed it has not examined Seth computer(s).

Great point. And I say this as someone who doesn't think it is a given that Seth Rich was a leaker to Wikileaks. I continue to believe he was more likely murdered because of his possible connection to the exit polling lawsuit filed just after his death. I believe that because I think election tampering is a much more serious crime than defrauding Bernie Sanders' donors, though both are serious crimes.

Assange's statements were thus:

http://www.wnd.com/2017/05/dead-dnc-staffer-had-contact-with-wikileaks/

… “Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts to give us material, at often very significant risks,” Assange said.

Assange continued: “… If you understand what happened in that situation with Seth Rich, I think it is a concerning situation… More importantly, a variety of WikiLeaks sources are concerned when that kind of thing happens.

So what I read in this statement is that Assange's sources knew Seth Rich was possibly murdered because of his knowledge of information damaging to the DNC, not necessarily because he had leaked such information to Wikileaks or anyone else.

Either way, however, you're absolutely right to point out that when Assange publicly stated that he and his sources were concerned, the FBI should have investigated Seth Rich's murder because it now connected to Wikileaks, which the federal government proclaims is a menace to national security, or so we're led to believe.

http://www.mockingbirdpaper.com/content/local-activist-files-suit-access...

Local activist files suit for access to exit polling data, Dead witness blocks path to truth
Author: Gerry Bello...

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20 users have voted.

I'd love to use your essays to help pierce the fog my hillbot friends are so reluctant to give up.

I wonder who you consider to be your audience. I also have right wing friends who would be more amenable to the information you provide, but there is sometimes a 'wincing moment's where I know they'll turn off.

I love your essays, and find them mostly, but not completely free of left right bias. I will share them more broadly if you can achieve more complete objectivity. And I agree with you that your links are crucial to credibility for the doubters, but you underestimate your talent for bringing what might seem to be disparate information into a cohesive whole.

Yours are the essays I've been waiting for! Mucho kudos, vegan.Mark!

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Wink's picture

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. All about building progressive media. (-1.9) On Twitter @winkradio.

Pluto's Republic's picture

...of this dark conspiracy. You did a great job. Finally, conscientious scientists, technologists, intelligence professionals, and academics are stepping forward — along with courageous writers and publishers — to present the only facts and data that exist about this black op. Again and again we have been lied into destructive wars. Many of these lies persist, like the Syrian chemical weapon attack; most are forbidden topics in the public square. Some lies are so large and intricate, and all encompassing, we cannot see them.

The “journalists” who have been credulously spreading the “Russia interfered” narrative 24/7 for most of a year, without making the least effort to question the veracity of these assertions, should be recognized by the public as the willing tools of lying warmongers that they are, and their future work studiously ignored.

The spineless corruption of many American journalists and intellectuals was the worst blow of all. Never have we needed to be more vigilant — yet they were instantly blinded and bamboozled; their thinking cowardly and uncritical. They need to remove themselves from society, but let us remember their names and gather the details of their surrender into a published compendium. We cannot let this happen again to this country or its people. We are in peril.

Let us pledge to vote out of office everyone voted for the dangerous and unconstitutional sanctions Bill, which serves as an act of war against Russia. We have the numbers and the creativity to drain this swamp ourselves. Let the American People make history.

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ovals49's picture

can be profoundly disturbing. For this reason very few will seek out information that disrupts their world view, or readily accept it when that information presents itself. I have observed my own tendency to quickly, sometimes frantically, try to assimilate discordant new information into the somewhat coherent matrix of assumptions that I have built and which I live with. And to be honest, I rarely if ever seek out or welcome these threats to my world view. They find me.

I am as resistant to change as any of my Hillbot friends, even if I happen to be a bit more curious and willing to try on new ideas. I enjoy puzzles, assembling bits and pieces of shape and color, but will not always enjoy the picture that begins to emerge. That said, I have no interest in admiring a puzzle that arrives fully assembled. It is the process that I find so irresistible and engaging, the gaps in the larger picture, the pieces yet to be connected, the whole still incomplete. The questions that remain are as important as those that seem to fit and will bring more people to a reexamination of their own particular world view than a completed work.

Simply linking the Nation article on my FB page yesterday was very interesting, to put it mildly. The question killers came out in force, desperately trying to shore up their belief system. The unstated implications in the VIPS report were just too disturbing for some to even consider. I can understand this resistance well, having observed it in my own behaviors. I feel for their angst but hope that something good might yet come out of that discomfort.

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"Humanity is just an evolutionary cul de sac."
George Carlin

Fionnsboy's picture

@ovals49 @ovals49 Lucky you! I have almost 1000 'friends' on Facebook (some of whom I have no idea where they came from....) and I too linked to the Nation article, along with a little introduction explaining who the VIPS are, and what the implications of this are: in short that one of the DNC 'hacks' was a deliberate attempt by either the DNC itself, CrowdStrike, or 'establishment officials'from our own government to create the illusion that Russia was behind this, thus playing defense and offense at the same time: defense, deflecting attention away from the damning content of the emails; and offense, accusing Trump and his campaign of collusion with the Russians, thus ensuring that his one good idea (detente with Moscow) would be nipped in the bud by the Deep State (of which of course HER is a member in good standing). There was not one comment, not one like or dislike, to my post. If I post pictures of my two dogs (who admittedly are cuter than the law should allow) I get 100 likes/comments. I would estimate that at least 90% of my 'friends' are Dems, probably more like 95%. "There is danger," sayeth the old Persian maxim, "in taking the cub from the she-lion, and danger in taking an illusion from a person." But we all MUST continue to disseminate this crucial information, since the MSM is of course ignoring it.

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Semper ubi sub ubi

@ovals49
The ability to "assimilate discordant new information into the somewhat coherent matrix of assumptions" is a valuable talent, when trying to navigate the treacherous waters of the information age. The information age in particular, and perhaps modernity in general.

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native

truthout or The Nation?

Meticulous work.

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Whether the DNC emails were leaked or stolen doesn't matter all that much. It's not much of a defense to say that, yes we we're up to no good but we would have gotten away with it except for someone else's misbehavior.

On the more general issue, I'm sure that the Russians are probably covertly influencing public opinion —along with any other group with the motive and means. There's nothing new about that as there have long been well-heeled PR firms getting rich off from representng foreign countries, companies and fat cats.

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SpamNunn's picture

@MinuteMan C'est vrai

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It's just my opinion. It can't hurt you

And Qatar Government, it should be noted, have all cleared Russia of interference and hacking claims. Further undermining the credibility of those other claims made against Russia.

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dervish's picture

@jim p

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@dervish Here are some links, and interesting google results.

German intelligence 'finds no evidence of Putin disinformation campaign'
http://www.dw.com/en/german-intelligence-finds-no-evidence-of-putin-disi...

The Latest: France says no trace of Russian hacking Macron
https://www.apnews.com/fc570e4b400f4c7db3b0d739e9dc5d4d

Two interesting points for me. The French said the attacks were so generic that anybody could have done them. Podesta's email was compromised over thee most generic and common attacks of phishing. Yet, phishing has been attributed as uniquely a Russian technique.

In doing the google searches, along with the few assertions of no proof, there were many NYTimes articles claiming definitive proof of Russian hacking into French and German elections by US government officials. The head of the NSA said roughly about 2-3 months before French absolving the Russians that they had definite and incontrovertible proof of Russian hacking, and they were passing on the information to the French. It is obvious to me the the NSA head was lying through his proverbial teeth. And yet, not one major outlet bothered to investigate the discrepancies in claims.

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dervish's picture

@MrWebster every time we see them, as so many out there actually believe this crap. Assembling a collection of debunking links is useful. Thanks!

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

@MrWebster
About 1930s Stalin society that contain what Pravda printed. There are articles and letters to the editor denouncing corruption and injustice in the Party and the workplace, discussion of laws that might be enacted, etc. Lots of sports coverage. Apart from the heavy-handed praise of super workers and Stalin himself Pravda is indistinguishable from, say the Washington Post or CNN, insofar as their promotion of the Ruler's interests.

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@jim p From Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Pilger

In an address at Columbia University on 14 April 2006, he said:

During the Cold War, a group of Russian journalists toured the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by their hosts for their impressions. 'I have to tell you,' said their spokesman, 'that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV, that all the opinions on all the vital issues were by and large, the same. To get that result in our country, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here, you don't have that. What's the secret? How do you do it?'

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Deja's picture

@MrWebster
From Wikileaks:

. . . information on internal party dynamics and rising leaders; efforts to influence and implement political decisions; support from local government officials, government elites or business elites; views of the United States; efforts to reach out to other countries, including Germany, U.K., Libya, Israel, Palestine, Syria & Cote d'Ivoire; as well as information about party and candidate funding.

The CIA espionage orders published today are classified and restricted to U.S. eyes only ("NOFORN") due to "Friends-on-Friends sensitivities". The orders state that the collected information is to "support" the activities of the CIA, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)'s E.U section, and the U.S. State Department's Intelligence and Research Branch.

The CIA operation ran for ten months from 21 Nov 2011 to 29 Sep 2012, crossing the April-May 2012 French presidential election and several months into the formation of the new government

CIA espionage orders for the 2012 French presidential election

Me thinks the Deep State doth project too much.

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

@dervish
Germany: http://original.antiwar.com/mcgovern/2017/02/16/german-intel-clears-russ...

The ultimate source is the story straight from the BND, published in Sueddeutsche Zeitun, but I don't have that link. Nor read German enough to find it.

France: https://www.apnews.com/fc570e4b400f4c7db3b0d739e9dc5d4d
"In an interview in his office Thursday [June 1 2017 story] with The Associated Press, Guillaume Poupard [French cyber security head] said the Macron campaign hack “was so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone.”

Qatar, June 28: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/qatar-denies-being-hacked-by-russia-accuses-...

"In an interview with CBS News, Al Thani [foreign minister] said that the FBI had completed its probe of the cyber incursion, informing Qatar that it had concluded that Russia was not behind the hack."

It took quite a while to find non-Russian sources for this, although the German story is from a site that Google suppresses (Heil Google!)

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dervish's picture

@jim p of those who keep these lies alive.

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5 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

Alligator Ed's picture

There is reason to suspect that the DC police have backed off the investigation of the murder, accepting the very dubious view that Seth’s murder was just a “botched robbery”. And why did Democratic operatives feel it necessary to supply the Rich family with a "crisis consultant" after Assange mentioned Seth - when they couldn't be bothered to offer an award for apprehension of Seth's murderer? This behavior is highly suspicious – if Seth was indeed the victim of random street violence, what would the DNC have to fear from further investigation? Let’s get to the bottom of this!

The mayor of DC, Mildred Bowser told the DC police, not to be confused with the Capitol Police, to "back off".

The points listed in the quote are precisely those published here at c99. Why is Deplorable Donna Brazile so interested in a "botched robbery"? The Seth Rich case is only a few months away from being dumped into the Cold Case files, most of which never again see the light of day.

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