Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 21, 2018

Microsoft Promotes Russia Scare To Gain Insider Access To Campaign Information

The software behemoth Microsoft Corp wants to gain an insider view on candidates and election campaigns at the federal, state and local level. The Seattle based company now offers a "special cybersecurity protection" to those candidates and campaigns that use its Office 365, Outlock or  Hotmail cloud services. Those who take up the offer will put their emails, internal strategy papers and financial records onto Microsoft owned and administrated servers where Microsoft personal will have a special eye on them.

The company hopes that a large amount of such data will enable it "to collect critical feedback" into developing political dangers and will allow it to "to address the specific needs of eligible organizations". This could, for example, be done by directing or withholding campaign contributions in line with its corporate interests. The acquired material will also be of interest to various national intelligence agencies and might be of value for future political trades.

Microsoft's new data acquisition path for its corporate intelligence has its own marketing campaign. This uses the well established bogeyman of the "Russian threat".

Microsoft engineers scanned the 220 million internet domain names to find a few domains that seem to have some similarities with know product names or known institutional names. The search found my-iri.org, hudsonorg-my-sharepoint.com, senate.group, adfs-senate.services, adfs-senate.email and office365-onedrive.com. These names, Microsoft claims, could potentially be mistaken for the names of known entities and could thus be used for login spoofing or email fishing campaigns.

Microsoft claimed that these domain names were trademark infringements of its office product, as well as of the conservative Hudson Institute, the International Republican Institute and the U.S. Senate. A judge agreed and allowed the company to seize the domain names. They now redirect to Microsoft honeypot servers. Any attempt to access them will be logged.

Its public relation department held a press conference and managed to spin a scare story of a "Russian threat" around the seized domain names. It did not provide any evidence or explanation how the seized domain names might or might not be related to "Russia". Journalists were pointed to a blog post by Microsoft's president which includes some mumble about "Russia" and "elections" they could pick for quotes. After apparently scaring the bejesus out of the stenographing scribes, the company made sure to emphasize the offer that, if taken up, will give its strategic intelligence department valuable internal insights into election campaigns.

Major U.S. news sites swallowed the bait, hook, line and sinker. The Washington Post headlines:

Microsoft says it has found a Russian operation targeting U.S. political institutions

A group affiliated with the Russian government created phony versions of six websites — including some related to public policy and to the U.S. Senate — with the apparent goal of hacking into the computers of people who were tricked into visiting, according to Microsoft, which said Monday night that it discovered and disabled the fake sites. The effort by the notorious APT28 hacking group, which has been publicly linked to a Russian intelligence agency and actively interfered in the 2016 presidential election, underscores the aggressive role Russian operatives are playing ahead of the midterm congressional elections in the United States.
...
Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, which is responsible for the company’s response to email phishing schemes, took the lead role in finding and disabling the sites, and the company is launching an effort to provide expanded cybersecurity protection for campaigns and election agencies that use Microsoft products.
...
Microsoft said Monday that it had found no evidence that the fake sites it recently discovered were used in attacks, but fake sites can carry malware that automatically loads onto the computers of unsuspecting visitors.
...
After discovering the sites recently, Microsoft said, it sought to obtain a court order to transfer the domain names to its own servers, ... The cases have been brought under trademark infringement ...
...
Microsoft did not explicitly blame the Russian intelligence agency for the attack announced Monday but it did cite Russia’s government and named APT28 and its pseudonyms, Strontium and Fancy Bear.

At the end of the piece the Washington Post again points to the Microsoft campaign fleecing offer:

Starting today, Microsoft AccountGuard is open to all current candidates for federal, state and local office in the United States and their campaigns; the campaign organizations of all sitting members of Congress; national and state party committees; technology vendors who primarily serve campaigns and committees; and certain nonprofit organizations and nongovernmental organizations. Microsoft AccountGuard is offered free of charge. Organizations must be using Office 365 to register.

Microsoft AccountGuard has three core offerings:

  • Unified threat detection and notification across accounts

Threat detection and notification will initially be available only for Microsoft services including Office 365, Outlook.com and Hotmail.

  • Security guidance and ongoing education

In-depth live sessions will be modeled after the highly successful, multi-day sessions for both parties’ national campaign committees and their partners which we recently held in Washington, D.C.

  • Early adopter opportunities

In addition to being among the first to deploy the latest technology, this aspect of Microsoft AccountGuard will enable us to collect critical feedback and rapidly evolve security to address the specific needs of eligible organizations.

All internet companies that offer services "free of charge" will use the data they acquire through these services for their own needs. They might use it to sell advertisements, to train 'artificial intelligence' networks they can resell, or to get insight into issues that might effect their bottom line.

There is no free lunch.

Those candidates or campaigns that fall for the evidence free "Russian threat" and take up Microsoft's offer will put their data into the hands of way more dangerous organizations. While Microsoft has its main seat outside of the Surveillance Valley, the Snowdon documents, published in 2013, show that it was and is a major part of it:

  • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;
  • The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;
  • The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;
  • Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;
  • In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;
  • Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport".

In 2016 the partisan FBI leadership used the fairytales in the Steele dossier to get a FISA wiretap on people involved in the campaign of Donald Trump. Had the Trump campaign joined a program similar to Microsoft's new AccountGuard, the FBI would not have needed to take such complicated steps. It would have had direct access to the briefings, calenders and emails shared within the campaign. Such insight potentially would have enabled it to change the outcome of the election.

Posted by b on August 21, 2018 at 09:18 AM | Permalink

Comments

"A group affiliated with the Russian government created phony versions of six websites..."

The very first words quoted are a blatant, deliberate lie.

How does Microsoft claim to know that those Web sites were owned by anyone associated with the Russian government? More to the point, the sites were NOT "phony versions". They were domains in their own right. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Internet knows how the name space works: all clearly distinct domain names are, well, distinct.

Otherwise I would be able to hire lawyers and sue everyone whose domain name includes the strings "welsh" or "tom".

Posted by: Tom Welsh | Aug 21, 2018 9:35:26 AM | 1

The article seems to tell us - incredible though that might be - that a judge gave Microsoft ownership of domain names belonging to the Hudson Institute, the International Republican Institute and the U.S. Senate.

Can that be true?

And if so, can I persuade a judge to give me ownership of, say, the White House domain?

Posted by: Tom Welsh | Aug 21, 2018 9:38:17 AM | 2

I'm far more worried about US elections being hacked by the GOP than Russia. Many deep red states have electronic voting (and no paper trail) systems developed by companies (Diebold, etc) with strong ties to the GOP.

As a professional Programmer, I heartily agree with xkcd's take on electronic voting:

https://xkcd.com/2030/

Posted by: elkern | Aug 21, 2018 10:13:28 AM | 3

@Tom, 1&2 your first post is correct, that, "They were domains in their own right." The article does not indicate that my-iri.org or hudsonorg-my-sharepoint.com were owned by the International Republican Institute or the Hudson Institute respectively. In fact, it implies they were not, but according to b, a judge did confiscate them from their rightful owners and gave them to Microsoft, unless of course the whole story was a fabrication by Microsoft and they owned those domain names from the get-go and never even went to court.

Posted by: anti_republocrat | Aug 21, 2018 10:23:33 AM | 4

<1> (Microsoft has) pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

pre-encryption is "keystroke" something or other.

No matter the encryption, "they" can read whatever you type on your keyboard.

Surely this keystroke technology is not exclusive to Microsoft.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Aug 21, 2018 10:32:02 AM | 5

Thanks for this eye-opening post, b, but I think you mean "emphasize" rather than "empathize".

Posted by: grammar phreak | Aug 21, 2018 10:33:25 AM | 6

Great post b, there's a total PSYOP going on now before the election and the media takes the bait more than usual, still no evidence in these stories!

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 21, 2018 10:35:38 AM | 7

Scapegoating, Transference, rhetorical devices.

Pin whatever they can on Russia.

Pin whatever they can on Assad.

My lawn man told me that he saw horrifying images of children on TV that had been mustard gassed by Assad.

I think he watches Fox news exclusively.

Paranoia runs deep in the heartland.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Aug 21, 2018 10:44:47 AM | 8

Related? Microsoft waging a war on Russia?

Microsoft is no longer Russia’s first choice of technology provider
https://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2016/09/28/microsoft-russia-technology/

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 21, 2018 10:54:20 AM | 9

How do they supposedly link these domains to Russian intelligence? IP Address or what?

Surely they aren't hosting them on known GRU servers, nor will they be registering them in the name of Vladimir Putin.

Posted by: Bob | Aug 21, 2018 11:17:02 AM | 10

HuffingtonPost, followed by the MicroSoft story:

"More Russian Hacking Uncovered Ahead Of Midterms, Now Targeting Conservatives"

Posted by: georgeg | Aug 21, 2018 11:21:53 AM | 11

RT's take on it:

'No evidence', but Russian Fancy Bears are doing it again (p.s. here's our new product) - Microsoft
https://www.rt.com/usa/436493-microsoft-russian-hacking-midterms/

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 21, 2018 11:22:03 AM | 12

thanks b... i was reading the book homo deus:a brief history of tomorrow "a book written by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari, professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem." i came away with a bit of a hate on for the book based on his suggestion towards the end of the book that everyone needs to let computers talk to other computers so that computers can figure out the best way to move forward on any number of issues.. the idea of privacy is not discussed!! the idea that nsa is already a suppository for a shit ton of data collected on people with no order to any of it, is also not talked about...

apparently the artificial intelligence are going to figure it all out, if only we allow access to our every thought and word expressed on our computers with bigger corps like google, microsoft and etc... to me - this is already happening as much as people let it happen...

it is kinda funny how microsoft is pitching this as 'greater security' even without the 24/7 made in the usa, ''boogie man russia'' attached to the idea.. i guess they figure people are more stupid then i realize... huffington post and anyone who reads it would confirm this, lol...

at any rate - i immediately wondered how much that hebrew university prof received from microsoft and google to say what he did towards the end of the book... i guess this is the new product placement way of the future where authors will receive lump sums of money to promote a particular idea in a fairly unassuming vehicle like a book!!

Posted by: james | Aug 21, 2018 11:46:13 AM | 13

Why would anyone buy Office 365 at $60+ a year when you can get the whole 2016 Office Pro package for ever for less than $10 by just googling for it.

Posted by: mdroy | Aug 21, 2018 12:17:20 PM | 14

Re: mdroy

I guess it has some features that would better never be used, plus a company has to pay according to the number of computers that have the software installed, so pricing can be better.

In general, my opinion is that MicroSoft has a major responsibility for "hackability" that allows the existence of viruses, worms etc. There are simple general principles to prevent hackability, but they would contradict MicroSoft approach to software. Operating system should be small, stable, thoroughly debugged and offer tight control of permission to access memory and storage. Then applications and suits of applications access this stable system. If new features are introduced, it happens and applications that you can change daily if you are so inclined.

MicroSoft prefers systems that HAVE to be periodically replaced and thus new features of applications are reflected in the new features of the system. Thus the system is bloated and never thoroughly debugged. Think about cars: after decades of reliability improvements things like a wheel falling off (my late uncle had such accident ca. 1970 in his Volkswagen) are exceedingly rare, and competition between car companies leads to better reliability.

Apple seems to behave like MicroSoft, so one cannot say that the former is UNIQUELY evil.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 21, 2018 1:27:36 PM | 15

it happens and applications -> it happens in applications

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 21, 2018 1:29:29 PM | 16

Microsoft offer to cure maladies of our democracy. O frabjous joy!

The advertising quack who wearies
With tales of countless cures,
His teeth, I’ve enacted,
Shall all be extracted
By terrified amateurs.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 21, 2018 1:33:24 PM | 17

elkern @ 3 said:"I'm far more worried about US elections being hacked by the GOP than Russia".


I'll second that opinion, and by the way there's this;


https://www.newscientist.com/article/2142428-hacking-a-us-electronic-voting-booth-takes-less-than-90-minutes/

Ya' hear all the time about voting fraud, but, never about election fraud.

These "voting" machines are worthless, unless of course, you want to manipulate the vote.
Which, I guess, is why the subject is never discussed by corporate media, or, by the leadership of both parties..Duh!!

Posted by: ben | Aug 21, 2018 1:42:51 PM | 18

Perhaps the Russians should invite the head of Microsoft in Russia to provide definitive proof supporting their allegations. If none is forthcoming, then require Microsoft to register as an agent of a foreign power (with all the restrictions that imposes).

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 21, 2018 1:59:19 PM | 19

Given the target is Russia again as part of an obviously ongoing Hybrid Third World War, I think it worthy to muse upon how Microsoft's move meshes with these two recent essays delving into the darker/deeper aspects of the surface Russophobia (I suggest reading the first then second essay, the second being linked and examined in the first.)

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 21, 2018 2:07:01 PM | 20

I think it worth recalling that every major accusation made by the Outlaw US Empire or one of its vassals since GHW Bush's declaration of the New World Order was made with zero supporting evidence for which several millions of innocents were genocided. Recent polling says 85% of democrats will believe the evidenceless accusations, so we can conclude Microsoft's meddling in the midterm elections by making this accusation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 21, 2018 2:15:05 PM | 21

"The Cloud" always sounded like a jocular warning about the obscure nature of "shared resources" on the www.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 21, 2018 2:20:46 PM | 22

@21 karlof1... cbc here in canada is saying ''microsoft said''... i'm always surprised with cbc radio's willingness to say all sorts of things without any supporting evidence... that we need to hear unsubstantiated info on a regular basis that cbc is disappointing and reflects badly on cbc as i see it..

Posted by: james | Aug 21, 2018 2:49:51 PM | 23

19

This is an excellent idea which should be Putin-proffered post haste.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Aug 21, 2018 2:50:22 PM | 24

This Microsoft crap is Bernays, Goebbels, Rove style propaganda. The MSM is in coordinated full-on bullshirt mode - as ordered.

Rove boasted that he typically wheeled in a cart full of blank note cards in order to intimidate his college debate team opponents.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Aug 21, 2018 2:58:39 PM | 25

Microsoft software is and always has been full of holes. Most likely on purpose and in agreement with the U.S. government, enabling them to more easily, illegally spy on us. A novel but unethical business idea to create the problem and then sell some of us the solution.
If the NSA can't find any Russian tampering except for a few Facebook ads after nearly two years of digging, I doubt very much Mr. Softie has much to tell us.

Posted by: CDWaller | Aug 21, 2018 3:09:19 PM | 26

America has only one year left - which it bought at an exceptionally high fiscal and monetary price - to break Russia, so for the next 300-400 days we are going to witness a rhetorical and accusatorial escalation. It's all or nothing for the West at this point. After $400B (budget deficit difference between $700B this year and $1.1T in FY2019) fiscal stimulus runs out in October 2019, nothing will save the US anymore. It'll be lights out, metaphorically speaking. Once fiscal lever is used up - and monetary one already is - a seemingly endless recession will set in. So, for the next 10-12 months don't be surprised to hear more of completely unhinged lies and threats. Hot air is all that is left in the western arsenal. It's Hail Mary geopolitics.
After stock market peaks sometime in between April and October of next year, all anti-Russian hysteria will die down quickly. US Empire will transition from peripheral instability to the melting core.
Moscow should keep its cool and work on import substitution. Time is undoubtedly on its side.

Posted by: telescope | Aug 21, 2018 4:07:26 PM | 27

Russians hold as much as 1trillion in USD assets outside Russia that were stolen from Russia in the 90's and number far greater if including all of the FSU. The stimulus to the global and US economy was enormous and created asset bubbles until the great collapse in 2008. The current bubble was due to quantitative easing of central banks as the flows from Russia and FSU dried up. Much of this was held in tax havens and then moved to the US after cleaning via shelf companies. Trumps empire was rebuilt with Russian oligarchs/mafia money as real estate was a favorite investment for money launderers

During the Ukranian conflict Putin began an amnesty program asking oligarchs to repatriate these assets by waiving penalties and taxes. He restarted it at the end of last year, hence the need to expand the list of assets to be seized before they fly the coop.

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/putin-tries-to-get-oligarchs-to-send-1-trillion-home-to-russia-as-threat-of-sanctions-looms

Trump may know where a lot of these assets are parked. Perhaps he had been a good informant of the FBI/CIA like his partner Felix Sater

Browder who helped facilitate the looting before he was kicked out of Russia and the Magnitsky Act are all part of the efforts to seize or at least contain as much of the loot as possible and keep it from Russia

Posted by: Pft | Aug 21, 2018 4:17:31 PM | 28

Goebbelsoft

Posted by: librul | Aug 21, 2018 4:19:42 PM | 29

But the Russians do nothing. They bleat and whimper but their gutless response encourages the Americans to think they have them on the run. And, it makes for a very poor impression on other powers, parties and peoples. Similalry, the Chinese - an empty drum makes the loudest noise. The vigour of the U.S. actions seems to have blindsided these two powers who resemble deer caught in headlights.

Posted by: Robert McMaster | Aug 21, 2018 4:24:25 PM | 30

Micro-offal is where it is today, because it knew what lobbyists and lawyers to hire in Washington. If you buy their products - you're supporting them. The same goes for the sewage emitted from Hollywood over cable.

Posted by: xeno | Aug 21, 2018 4:26:59 PM | 31

'MOON: yours is one of the best political sites on the web. casting light on the nonsense spread by both Trump and his deep state opponents. Do not know where you get your info but it usually is VERY accurate. Bet lots of intelligence agencies closely following you.

Posted by: Ragheb | Aug 21, 2018 4:35:57 PM | 32

@30 robert mcmaster.. is is the ignorant masses - in particular americans - who frame it as you do.. if anyone is caught in the headlights it is the usa.. thus all the sanctions, wars, threat of more wars, backing out of agreements with other countries and on and on it goes... that is deer in the headlight action as i see it..

Posted by: james | Aug 21, 2018 5:05:11 PM | 33

Looks like another case of re-branding an existing product to sell to the government as "brand new tech". Microsoft always had extremely detailed user tracking capability (down to the individual keystroke) that was openly accessible to anyone with access to the account and knew the "secret" API calls.

Its existence was blown open by a whistleblower in June this year (in a video by "Anonymous") and subsequently disabled after independent researchers (it is important to note how no established "security experts" showed up to the party - they are all tools in bed with western corporate/government interests) freely made available the "Office365 Magic Unicorn Tool" to access the API. Microsoft is still holding on to the lions share of logged data and selling bits and pieces of it as part of the more expensive Office365 packages, and now, this AccountGuard nonsense.

Why was it kept such a highly guarded secret and left wide open at the same time should come off as obvious.

https://lmgsecurity.com/exposing-the-secret-office-365-forensics-tool/

Posted by: Drive-by Commenting | Aug 21, 2018 5:14:00 PM | 34

Microsoft may live to regret this. They are too deep-pocketed to dabble with a marketing gimmick this way, especially in specifically making the play to US politicians, without exposing themselves to risks of exorbitant future law suites. Law-degreed US politicians are known weasels devoid of morality, and greedy to the tilt. When they failed re-elections, what would hold them back from accusing Microsoft of leaking their dirty laundries, falsely or false-flaggingly, and sue for calamities in the hundreds of millions?

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Aug 21, 2018 5:26:04 PM | 35

After I read the ZeroHedge report on Microsoft claims within minutes I read MoA's article above which showed the usual demented US elites up to their usual dirty tricks.

Thank you MoA.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Aug 21, 2018 5:38:21 PM | 36

Macmaster 30

Both China and Russia must do all they can to hold from full scale war , for their and all humanities sakes .
When last Eurasian interests faced Western aggression it was to be a violent and bloody period indeed.
This is not forgotten in Moscow or Beijing .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Aug 21, 2018 5:47:03 PM | 37

12
@telescope
"After $400B… fiscal stimulus runs out in October 2019, nothing will save the US anymore".

The USA government operates a fiat economy - it creates its own money which is not 'backed' by, say, gold - similarly the UK, Canada, Japan etc (but NOT the countries in the Eurozone). The US, therefore, has potentially an infinite supply of US $. So no technical reason why the US cannot run budget deficits ad infinitum. A fiat economy can ALWAYS meet its financial obligations providing they are specified in its own currency.

So "no endless recession" because that "fiscal lever" is used up.

Posted by: kweladave | Aug 21, 2018 6:01:47 PM | 38

Karlof1 21

Gosh ! Just read the two writings recommended by him to show the historical underpinnings of the present world situation regarding Russian .

If my old History students had set before me such tendentious - falsely contextualized - nonsense concerning Lenin I'd have been critical .
To imply that Lenin wished for or fomented Civil war on Russian territories is nonsense . In the first days of governance the Bolsheviks were forced to confront half a dozen foreign armies ranged from the Polish border to Vladivostok . The historical record is clear on all this !

Posted by: ashley albanese | Aug 21, 2018 6:01:54 PM | 39

karlof1@20

I can't say I have fully absorbed either of your two zeitgeist analysis articles, but thanks for an interesting read! To connect with the Microsoft promotion, Microsoft would then be a minion of the secularized apocalyptic thrust to world domination founded on 'the rock of Enlightenment self-certainty? And paradoxically enough, following in the footsteps of Lenin as far as global conquest is concerned.

I have the feeling, though, that both the Renaissance and the Enlightenment periods are being given a role in support of a theory about Ancients and Latin Judo-Christianity that might be somewhat artificial. Fitting multipolarity in with the former, and Eastern Christianity as well, feels like square pegs in round holes a bit to me. Have to admire the author, though; his reach is far!

On the other hand, if everyone would like to explore Russian Orthodoxy as a technical solution, I'm up for that.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 21, 2018 6:02:46 PM | 40

Sorry, that should have been 'Judeo-Christian', and I did leave off the ' at the end of 'the rock of Enlightenment self-certainty.'

Thanks again for the read!

Posted by: juliania | Aug 21, 2018 6:07:01 PM | 41

Thats's such a strange offer from Microsoft! It will become accountable for any hacking that will occur during the elections.
The real hackers can do their job now. Microsoft will take the blame!

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 21, 2018 6:25:29 PM | 42

ashley albanese @39--

I agree that Jatras is way out of line with his cherry picking and other glaring errors, but those aren't the points-at-issue. What was omitted was Lenin's call for civil wars to erupt everywhere, not just Russia, but Russia was the only place where his admonition came to fruition. The point being raised is that of the Millenarian American Myth and how it corresponds to those previously erected within Western Europe based upon the Judeo-Christian Millenarian Myths and its relationship to the anti-Trump/Russophobia craze being pursued by the Outlaw US Empire's Deep State, of which Microsoft CEO Gates is a prominent member.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 21, 2018 7:29:58 PM | 43

A perfect example of corporate statism, i.e., fascism. Nice little election process you have here. It would be a shame if any happened to it.

Posted by: RenoDino | Aug 21, 2018 7:37:27 PM | 44

juliania @40&41--

I was somewhat surprised that Islam wasn't included as it's a part of the Abrahamic Millenarian Mythos. I don't doubt that a totalitarian system could be built atop American Exceptionalism and its Manifest Destiny. That it shares roots with earlier utopian aspirations must be acknowledged, but was the admonition to Go West Young Man also a directive to form a utopian civilization? E Pluibus Unum might be evoked in support of such an idea, but didn't domestic racism destroy that potential?

The cultural aspect I see as very important moving forward. Here's historian Alfred McCoy's latest assessment of current events in what he sees as a Chinese attempt to usurp global hegemony from the Empire, which has its own shortcomings similar to those of Jatras. There is a gem linked in the 3rd paragraph of that essay to a pdf examining: "There was almost no awareness of what might happen when a fifth of humanity joined the world system as an economic equal for the first time in five centuries."

During the past week, Pepe Escobar's written 4 major articles that can be found at the link that need to be added to the mix. I wonder what Bill Gates thinks of quantum computing?

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 21, 2018 8:01:10 PM | 45

The press release from MS says at one point "...this pattern mirrors the type of activity we saw prior to the 2016 election in the United States and the 2017 election in France." Of course the French found no proof that the Russians hacked their election.

https://apnews.com/fc570e4b400f4c7db3b0d739e9dc5d4d

As for this claim. Wow. MS found a simple phishing operation at best. You know, Putin needs to fire Fancy Bear. They get caught each and every time--they cannot even manage a simple phishing operation.

Posted by: Erelis | Aug 21, 2018 8:49:07 PM | 46

This is actually related:

'Journalist Michael Hastings Was Working On Story About CIA Chief John Brennan At The Time Of His Mysterious Death'

BTW Hatzallah were first on the scene to "help", just like on 9-11...

Posted by: PeacefulProsperity | Aug 21, 2018 10:21:41 PM | 47

Microsoft has reason to get in the good graces of the Pentagon at this time.

Can we see Microsoft's actions today as a salespitch?

https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2018/07/pentagon-accepting-bids-its-controversial-10-billion-war-cloud/150059/


The Defense Department on Thursday officially began accepting proposals for its highly-anticipated Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract. The JEDI contract will be awarded to a single cloud provider—an issue many tech companies rallied against—and will be valued at up to $10 billion over 10 years, according to the final request for proposal. The contract itself will put a commercial company in charge of hosting and distributing mission-critical workloads and classified military secrets to warfighters around the globe in a single war cloud.

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/08/someone-waging-secret-war-undermine-pentagons-huge-cloud-contract/150685/


As some of the biggest U.S. technology companies have lined up to bid on the $10 billion contract to create a massive Pentagon cloud computing network, the behind-the-scenes war to win it has turned ugly.

In the running are Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft.

Winning this contract gives the winner an advantage in winning future related contracts.

Posted by: librul | Aug 21, 2018 11:04:43 PM | 48

@kweladave | Aug 21, 2018 6:01:47 PM | 38

The USA government operates a fiat economy - it creates its own money which is not 'backed' by, say, gold - similarly the UK, Canada, Japan etc (but NOT the countries in the Eurozone). The US, therefore, has potentially an infinite supply of US $. So no technical reason why the US cannot run budget deficits ad infinitum. A fiat economy can ALWAYS meet its financial obligations providing they are specified in its own currency.

If the U.S. can print an infinite number of dollars, why isn't every American a billionaire? Because if every American were a billionaire, a loaf of bread would cost a million dollars: the world can only take a finite quantity of printed money. Even the greediest and dumbest of the one-percenters are dimly aware of the fact, which is why the printing of the currency is limited -- so far.

Posted by: Cyril | Aug 22, 2018 3:56:51 AM | 49

Robert McMaster

But the Russians do nothing. They bleat and whimper but their gutless response encourages the Americans to think they have them on the run.

Indeed - Russians say and do nothing, weird in both cases (beging guilty or not guilty).

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 22, 2018 4:50:33 AM | 50

@Cyril | Aug 22, 2018 3:56:51 AM | 49

"...the world can only take a finite quantity of printed money."

I'm not an economist but to me it seemed a big deal when Ben Burnthebanke took over the Fed from Alan Greenscam and blithely announced that the Fed would no longer be publishing M3 - the total number of dollars in global circulation. No-one else, economists and the like, seemed particularly troubled by it, but how do you know what a dollar is worth if you don't know how many of them there are?

@Erelis | Aug 21, 2018 8:49:07 PM | 46

"You know, Putin needs to fire Fancy Bear. They get caught each and every time--they cannot even manage a simple phishing operation."

He should sack their assassins as well. Let's face it, a cat, two guinea pigs and a random junkie is not much of a return for their Salisbury operation.

Posted by: Ross | Aug 22, 2018 7:01:24 AM | 51

Perhaps the Russians should invite the head of Microsoft in Russia to provide definitive proof supporting their allegations. If none is forthcoming, then require Microsoft to register as an agent of a foreign power (with all the restrictions that imposes).
Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 21, 2018 1:59:19 PM | 19

Wonderful answer, bang on! Handcuff them and deport them as spies!

Posted by: BM | Aug 22, 2018 7:14:28 AM | 52

I missed Microsoft making into the political headlines. It has been a while since their last serious fuck up.

Posted by: Miranda | Aug 22, 2018 8:12:54 AM | 53

The discontinuance of M 3 publication surely facilitated the looting (primarily by the Dept of Defense) of the treasury.

The DOD still publishes what are presumably a portion of its cost outlays (MIC contracts) to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars per day every day.

Can the USA tax its citizenry enough for such a level of spending to be economically viable?

Then consider the recent tax cuts WITH additional Pentagon funding.

Why doesn't this level of spending result in hyper inflation?

How would National Health Care (for example) impose a calamitous fiscal burden when it is evident that the system has supported mega-spending disconnected from (and unsupported by) tax revenues?

Posted by: fastfreddy | Aug 22, 2018 11:30:54 AM | 54

@19 yonatan.. i too would like to see your idea followed thru by russia.. it would be a stop to this silliness, but i fear it would only be one plug in an endless supply of lies and supposition that have been dished out on russia for some time now..

Posted by: james | Aug 22, 2018 11:57:51 AM | 55

james

Yeah if Microsoft went to Russia, then MSM would write stuff like:
"Microsoft fold to Russia"
"Do Microsoft help Russia?"
"Report: Microsoft funded Putin in the 90s".
"Secret photos show Putin and Bill Gates shaking hands"

This witchhunt wont die.

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 22, 2018 12:06:10 PM | 56

@zanon.. it is like getting rid of stupid posters here at moa.. it's an endless and fruitless task... the bullshit never stops essentially.. other alternatives need to be found..

Posted by: james | Aug 22, 2018 12:35:37 PM | 57

13

There's an interesting movie about to drop this fall among teens, saying 'privacy' is like hoop skirts and buggy whips, a meme of a past era, and the rise of Kardashian and Trumpigula is the new 'All Out There', in which all your selfies and your tweets are your 'brand', and they can and will be use that against you, or you can grow rich like a PewDiePie. It's a trade-off.

What b is saying is not conspiracy theory. Our online self is being profiled, our posts and pics are gathered in The Cloud, and anything you say can and will be used against you in their mass terror pogroms. They watch us as nebular flow of Big Data, moving in realtime, like Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.

The far bigger pogrom is the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty, why I keep relentlessly harping on that. 2016 was a two-faced Janusian fraud. The two Uber White $B's Club NY v NYC Mafiya cartel candidates wasn't a 'choice' at all! It was staged. Bernie was a Left Sweeper so Rodham could play Center-Right Forward. Trump played the Libertarian Progressive while Pence was the Right Sweeper. Then it all went off to a secret Electoral College to decide a 'winner'. It's still White $B's.

We were herded into cattle-cars is what I'm saying. Mission Accomplished. Hope and Chains. MAGA. Trump's No Taxes for the Rich means concentration camps for the Poor. His 25% Fed VAT sales tax (pitched as 'tariffs') means hyper-inflation for the Workers! Bust-out. Open your eyes.

So why should we have any real expectation of privacy from this point forward? There is a huge growing -$800B Deficit, and a -$22,000B illegal, onerous, odious Wall Street and War Criminal Debt, and Trump is going to sign -$1,500B Omnibus Debt Bills Two, Three, Four, Five and Six before he leaves office, all while Private Fed Bank skims -$500B in interest-only ... FOREVER ... debt service, and promises to ratchet rates higher twice more this year!

Why is there no outrage that health and human services will disappear, but OMG everyone is just so freaked out about Big Meta-data smurfing, and spilled naked selfies and revealed inner-most thoughts? Nobody cares about your celebrity fan-boy thoughts or what your dick-pics look like! It's C3 psyop meant to terrorize.

We are through as a collective 'us'. We're atomized into Their Cloud now. Controlled Dissent and Fake News keep 'us' vaporized.
This is the Bainist New American Century 'Bust-out' Epoch. Zimbabwe. Venezuela. Refugees. Forget your privacy and Cloud leaks, this is a Global Financial WW3.

E pluribus now get back to work.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 22, 2018 12:35:44 PM | 58

27 38 49

Couple things briefly. USA fiat US$s debt, yes, but Fed Bank must issue debt as Treasuries, and SS and MC Trust Fund accounts are Congress-designated as buyers of last resort. Trump's next -$1,500B Omnibus Debt Bill is coming right out of a -$1,500B senior debt IOU to SS and MC.

October 2019 is also when MC is presumed insolvent, and the Fed Bank ponzi begins to unravel, as interest-only ... FOREVER ... debt service approaches $3/4T a year. I suspect Bernie will make a New Deal fireside chat out of 'Medicare 4 All' in 2020, so the UniParty Congress can shrug their shoulders when it all goes tits-up, and the Wingers can chant their trope: 'other people's money'.

November 14th, right after Republican mid-term landslide as Trump goes free and Wall Street roars, oil sanctions start on Iran. Together with Trump's 25% VAT trade tax, hyperinflation in USA busts out, then all bets are off on RU-CH-EU Silk Road or Iran-RU-EU oil gas pipelines, and October 2019 begins to stretch into an event-horizon.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 22, 2018 2:19:06 PM | 59

The irony: Microsoft keeping your data confidential. I can barely type for laughter, the tears running down my cheeks.
We all know how these tech giants spy on everyone, Apple does it too, but at least there are tools that prevent that pretty well on a Mac (LittleSnitch), but I think they found a way around that, if you block certain connections, they bombard your poor computer with in going requests and it soon sounds like a jet at take off.
If you were not born with paranoia, you will get it later in life.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Aug 22, 2018 2:21:32 PM | 60

james

Unfortunately, the hatred in MSM makes it impossible for this to change. Only a world-war will change these people.

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 22, 2018 3:05:34 PM | 61

@Miranda | Aug 22, 2018 8:12:54 AM | 53

I missed Microsoft making into the political headlines.

MSFT hasn't made the headlines probably because their betrayals are routine these days. Older computer users remember the "NSA key" fiasco in 1999:

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

That may not have been the company's first cooperation with the spooks. In 2014 came news of NSA's complete perversion of the Skype communication app:

"Newly published NSA documents show agency could grab all Skype traffic"
https://clck.ru/EApz4
(This short URL goes to arstechnica.com.)

"Edward Snowden claims Microsoft collaborated with NSA and FBI to allow access to user data"
https://clck.ru/EAq29
(This URL goes to www.independent.co.uk.)

I doubt the company has grown more trustworthy since.


It has been a while since their last serious fuck up.

Probably means MSFT has gotten better at their sneakiness.

Seriously, shun Windows and use Debian Linux.

Posted by: Cyril | Aug 22, 2018 7:15:22 PM | 62

@fastfreddy | Aug 22, 2018 11:30:54 AM | 54

Then consider the recent tax cuts WITH additional Pentagon funding.
Why doesn't this level of spending result in hyper inflation?

Maybe the world is still in shock at being looted by the Empire. (That's what dollar printing is: a looting of the world.) Reaction takes some time, but it will happen.

Posted by: Cyril | Aug 22, 2018 7:27:06 PM | 63

@Cyril | Aug 22, 2018 7:15:22 PM | 62

I wrote: Seriously, shun Windows and use Debian Linux.

I meant on your next computer. Installing Linux on your current machine may not be feasible, but I would seriously recommend a Debian Linux system on your next computer.

Posted by: Cyril | Aug 22, 2018 7:42:10 PM | 64

ubuntu.. that is linux... debian is a word that honours deb and ian murdock - the folks who made debian.. i had to ask a friend if i am on ''debian'' linux, lol.. apparently ubuntu is.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian

Posted by: james | Aug 22, 2018 8:42:06 PM | 65

@james | Aug 22, 2018 8:42:06 PM | 65

ubuntu.. that is linux

Ubuntu is a modification of Debian Linux, yes. I don't know if it has been compromised; if you want the best security, I recommend the original Debian.

Similarly, I would stay clear of Mint. It likes to install Microsoft Skype, and has the same stealth upgrade process as Windows. Avoid.

Posted by: Cyril | Aug 23, 2018 12:38:12 AM | 66

Microsoft Starts Sponsoring Anti-Fake News Browser Extension
https://sputniknews.com/science/201808231067421430-fake-news-extension-microsoft/

Posted by: Zanon | Aug 23, 2018 12:00:45 PM | 67

@66 cyril.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Aug 23, 2018 12:47:45 PM | 68

@cyril - linux choices... good video you might get a kick out of..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zpgQpdy_fI

Posted by: james | Aug 23, 2018 1:59:48 PM | 69

If I were the Russians I would also be interested in what the IRI was up to. Didn't they arrest some IRI members a while back for ... interfering with their political processes? And didn't they force the IRI to register as a foreign agent?

I have Ubuntu running the PC in the living room but I use it for little more than media entertainment - YouTube and other video material.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 24, 2018 12:49:15 PM | 70

@Cyril: Please don't use URL shorteners here. Even though you tell us the host part of the final URL, we still give clck.ru and you various stats by clicking these short links. Please use the < A HREF >< /A > tag to embed long links in your comments: users will be able to see the URL in their browser's status bar and no stats on MoA users will be passed on to third parties.

Posted by: S | Aug 26, 2018 3:19:42 PM | 71

"Those who take up the offer will put their emails, internal strategy papers and financial records onto Microsoft owned and administrated servers where Microsoft personal will have a special eye on them." It harms your credibility when you don't proofread. This was the second sentence in the article. The word you want is "personnel," not "personal."

Posted by: Rich Whitney | Aug 30, 2018 7:17:33 AM | 72

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