The Gentleman’s Guide to Self-Defense Part 4: Inexpensive Self-Defense Tools

Preface: Also take a look at the BulletProof Shirt and Knife-Resistant Clothing.

 

Here’s a quick round-up of inexpensive but effective self-defense tools …

 

Hoffner Folding Knife

In many “blue” states like mine, it’s illegal to carry switchblades or even assisted-opening knives …

A reader suggested a Hoffner knife. Made by a top firearm and knife trainer to U.S police departments – law enforcement officer Brian Hoffner – the Hoffner folding knife is incredible.

It is legal in my blue state, because it does not have a spring-assisted opening. However, the Hoffer cleverly uses gravity to easily open with one hand. So even with my tendinitis (I injured my wrists lifting way too much at the gym), I can easily open the Hoffner one-handed with a quick flick of my wrist.

Bottom line: Even in my big brotherish anti-self-defense state, I can legally carry a knife with which I can handily protect myself with quick-deploying, one-handed action.

Purpleheart Armoury Hickory Cane

If you’d like to carry a baseball bat around – but don’t want to look so conspicuous – you can carry an elegant, all-hickory cane with a beefy metal handle. This thing is incredibly well-made, solid hickory, and as elegant as they come:

Cane 1 Cane 3

(My pictures don’t do it justice.)

It is built like a tank – one whack on the noggin and the bad guy is going night-nite – and as classy as any cane in the world.

You can leave it in the car, in your bedroom, or take it with you. 

$85 from Purpleheart Armoury.

Nitecore P12GT 1,000 Lumen Flashlight

I conducted hours of research to find a small, portable, tactical flashlight which would actually work to blind an attacker long enough to mount a defense or get away.

It turns out that there are 4 criteria for an effective self-defense flashlight:

(1) It has to be really bright

(2) It has to have a “strobe” mode. Specifically, it is very hard for a thug’s eyes to adjust to a bright strobe than a constant bright light. It is also disorienting af.

(3) It has to be a great “thrower”. That is, it has to shine really far, as opposed to casting a wide arc. Thinking of being able to reach the bad guy’s eyes, and (metaphorically) have the light basically hit the back of their head.

(4) It has to be small enough to easily fit in your pocket.

When I started looking, nothing met all 4 criteria …

But recently, Nitecore released the P12GT, and it passes all 4 tests with flying color.

At 1,000 lumens, this is crazily bright (there are also 3 other settings for normal household uses).

It has a good strobe. And you can program the button on the thumb-end of the flashlight to “remember” the last setting you used. So you can auto-program the main button to go straight to the self-defense strobe setting.

It is a crazy good thrower … the light shines 401 yards. (That’s more than 3 football fields!)

And at only 1 inch in diameter and 5.5 inches at length, it can easily fit in your front or back pocket.

I haven’t received a cent for writing these reviews. I received a test sample of one of the above-described tools … but not the other two. I vouch for all three of them.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Self-Defense: Bulletproof SHIRT

See The Gentleman’s Guide to Self-Defense: Knife-Resistant Clothing.

Everyone knows that guns are great for protecting yourself.

But most people forget that all adversarial contests involve both offense and defense. If you’ve got a gun – but the bad guy gets off the first shot with his gun – you might still get killed.

Moreover, while you might be a quicker draw and better shot than a single bad guy breaking into your house, you might get ambushed by terrorists, gang bangers or other bad guys … and got shot before you even have the time to draw, point and shoot.

That’s why military and law enforcement officers wear body armor.   If you’re playing to win, you need defense as well as offense.

But civilians – especially those of us who work in financial services, legal, accounting or other professional settings – can’t walk around in bulky Kevlar vests.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to be defenseless …

A new company called Bullet Blocker (a subdivision of MJ Safety Solutions) tailors a new generation of Kevlar into everyday clothing.  For example, t-shirts:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Gabriel BBL Ballistic Base Layer Compression Vest

(The t-shirt,  called the Gabriel, is used by some undercover police officers. And Bullet Blocker’s VP told us that American Secret Service agents have purchased the Gabriel.)

Police magazine notes:

[The Gabriel is] essentially a performance T-shirt with NIJ-certified IIIA ballistic panels added to it.

***

As an added bonus, this design also gives the Gabriel a very low profile, making it ideal for undercover applications.

***

I wore my Gabriel for a few days under my normal work T-shirt and it was almost invisible. Bullet Blocker’s claims of heat dissipation and a more secure fit both rang true and I can certainly appreciate the benefits of the Gabriel design in any law enforcement setting.

2-piece suits:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Classic Two Piece Suit

Top coats:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof TopcoatBulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Long Topcoat

Vests:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Dress Vest

Sports coats:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Sportscoat

Leather jackets:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Women's Fitted Leather JacketBulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Lamb Leather JacketBulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Distressed Leather Jacket

Every single clothing garment made by Bullet Blocker meets NIJ IIIA standards that will stop a 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 9mm, .45, hollow point ammunition and more.

Threat level IIIA is the highest level of protection available in soft body armor, and provides the same anti-ballistic protective coverage area as traditional law enforcement body armor vests.

And all of Bullet Blocker’s clothing can be washed, as the Kevlar panels are removable.

It’s made of anti-bacterial, breathable material.  So it doesn’t get funky right away like heavier materials do.

What’s even better, Bullet Blocker’s experienced tailors can satisfy your special requirements. For example, they were requested to make a bulletproof lab coat:

BulletBlocker NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Medical Lab Coat

So they could certainly make you a bulletproof button down shirt, or anything else you might want.

Bespoke and bulletproof!

We tested the Gabriel for comfort.  While it’s technically called a “compression vest”, it’s as comfortable as my normal well-made polo shirts made out of thick cotton.

I hit the gym wearing the Gabriel and worked out like a maniac.  The Gabriel was amazingly cool and breathable for a bulletproof vest.

Bullet Blocker also makes a line of bulletproof briefcases, bags and backpacks.

So now even civilians working can protect ourselves while in professional or casual settings, and help shield ourselves from ambush by terrorists or thugs.

And Bullet Blocker can help protect your kids against school shooters:

 

I haven’t received a cent for writing this review. Bullet Blocker simply provided me a test sample of the Gabriel.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Self-Defense Part 2

Stay tuned for a review of a bullet-proof vest which is as comfortable to wear as a normal polo shirt.
Top self-defense teachers admit that it is very difficult to defend against  a knife attack …
A knife can cut you from many different an…

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The post The Gentleman’s Guide to Self-Defense Part 2 appeared first on aroundworld24.com.

The post The Gentleman’s Guide to Self-Defense Part 2 appeared first on forexnewstoday.net.

Twice As Many Americans Think Confederate Monuments “Should Remain In All Public Spaces” …

A new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll finds finds that twice as many Americans want to keep Confederate monuments in public spaces as want to remove them:

The Aug. 18-21 poll found that 54 percent of adults said Confederate monuments “should remain in all public spaces” while 27 percent said they “should be removed from all public spaces.” Another 19 percent said they “don’t know.”

Postscript: Whatever you think, please don’t fall for the old divide-and-conquer dog-and-pony show.

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Top Institutions and Economists Now Say Globalization Increases Inequality

We’ve all heard that globalization lifts all boats and increases our prosperity …

But mainstream economists and organizations are now starting to say that globalization increases inequality.

The National Bureau of Economic Research – the largest economics research organization in the United States, with many Nobel economists and Chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers as members –  published,  a report in May finding:

Recent globalization trends have increased U.S. inequality by disproportionately raising top incomes.

 

***

 

Rising import competition has adversely affected manufacturing employment, led firms to upgrade their production and caused labor earnings to fall.

NBER explains that globalization allows executives to gain the system to their advantage:

This paper examines the role of globalization in the rapid increase in top incomes. Using a comprehensive data set of thousands of executives at U.S. firms from 1993-2013, we find that exports, along with technology and firm size, have contributed to rising executive compensation. Isolating changes in exports that are unrelated to the executive’s talent and actions, we show that globalization has affected executive pay not only through market channels but also through non-market channels. Furthermore, exogenous export shocks raise executive compensation mostly through bonus payments in poor-governance settings, in line with the hypothesis that globalization has enhanced the executive’s rent capture opportunities. Overall, these results indicate that globalization has played a more central role in the rapid growth of executive compensation and U.S. inequality than previously thought, and that rent capture is an important part of this story.

A World Bank document says globalization “may have led to rising wage inequality”. It  notes:

Recent evidence for the US suggests that adjustment costs for those employed in sectors exposed to import competition from China are much higher than previously thought.

 

***

 

Trade may have contributed to rising inequality in high income economies ….

The World Bank also cites Nobel prize-winning economist Eric Maskin’s view that globalization increases inequality because it increases the mismatch between the skills of different workers.

A report by the International Monetary Fund notes:

High trade and financial flows between countries, partly enabled by technological advances, are commonly cited as driving income inequality …. In advanced economies, the ability of firms to adopt laborsaving technologies and offshoring has been cited as an important driver of the decline in manufacturing and rising skill premium (Feenstra and Hanson 1996, 1999, 2003) ….

 

***

 

Increased financial flows, particularly foreign direct investment (FDI) and portfolio flows have been shown to increase income inequality in both advanced and emerging market economies (Freeman 2010). One potential explanation is the concentration of foreign assets and liabilities in relatively higher skill- and technology-intensive sectors, which pushes up the demand for and wages of higher skilled workers. In addition, FDI could induce skill-specific technological change, be associated with skill-specific wage bargaining, and result in more training for skilled than unskilled workers (Willem te Velde 2003). Moreover, low-skill, outward FDI from advanced economies may in effect be relatively high-skilled, inward FDI in developing economies (Figini and Görg 2011), thus exacerbating the demand for high-skilled workers in recipient countries. Financial deregulation and globalization have also been cited as factors underlying the increase in financial wealth, relative skill intensity, and wages in the finance industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in advanced economies (Phillipon and Reshef 2012; Furceri and Loungani 2013).

The Bank of International Settlements – the “Central Banks’ Central Bank” – also notes  that globalization isn’t all peaches and cream.  The Financial Times explains :

A trio of recent papers by top officials from the Bank for International Settlements goes further, however, arguing that financial globalisation itself makes booms and busts far more frequent and destabilising than they otherwise would be.

McKinsey & Company notes:

Even as globalization has narrowed inequality among countries, it has aggravated income inequality within them.

The Economist points out:

Most economists have been blindsided by the backlash [against globalization]. A few saw it coming. It is worth studying their reasoning ….

 

***

 

Branko Milanovic of the City University of New York believes such costs perpetuate a cycle of globalisation. He argues that periods of global integration and technological progress generate rising inequality ….

Supporters of economic integration underestimated the risks … that big slices of society would feel left behind ….

The New York Times reported:

Were the experts wrong about the benefits of trade for the American economy?

 

***

 

Voters’ anger and frustration, driven in part by relentless globalization and technological change [has made Trump and Sanders popular, and] is already having a big impact on America’s future, shaking a once-solid consensus that freer trade is, necessarily, a good thing.

 

“The economic populism of the presidential campaign has forced the recognition that expanded trade is a double-edged sword,” wrote Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

 

What seems most striking is that the angry working class — dismissed so often as myopic, unable to understand the economic trade-offs presented by trade — appears to have understood what the experts are only belatedly finding to be true: The benefits from trade to the American economy may not always justify its costs.

I

n a recent study, three economists — David Autor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Dorn at the University of Zurich and Gordon Hanson at the University of California, San Diego — raised a profound challenge to all of us brought up to believe that economies quickly recover from trade shocks. In theory, a developed industrial country like the United States adjusts to import competition by moving workers into more advanced industries that can successfully compete in global markets.

 

They examined the experience of American workers after China erupted onto world markets some two decades ago. The presumed adjustment, they concluded, never happened. Or at least hasn’t happened yet. Wages remain low and unemployment high in the most affected local job markets. Nationally, there is no sign of offsetting job gains elsewhere in the economy. What’s more, they found that sagging wages in local labor markets exposed to Chinese competition reduced earnings by $213 per adult per year.

 

In another study they wrote with Daron Acemoglu and Brendan Price from M.I.T., they estimated that rising Chinese imports from 1999 to 2011 cost up to 2.4 million American jobs.

 

“These results should cause us to rethink the short- and medium-run gains from trade,” they argued. “Having failed to anticipate how significant the dislocations from trade might be, it is incumbent on the literature to more convincingly estimate the gains from trade, such that the case for free trade is not based on the sway of theory alone, but on a foundation of evidence that illuminates who gains, who loses, by how much, and under what conditions.”

 

***

 

The case for globalization based on the fact that it helps expand the economic pie by 3 percent becomes much weaker when it also changes the distribution of the slices by 50 percent, Mr. Autor argued.

And Steve Keen – economics professor and Head of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University in London – notes:

Plenty of people will try to convince you that globalization and free trade could benefit everyone, if only the gains were more fairly shared. The only problem with the party, they’ll say, is that the neighbours weren’t invited. We’ll share the benefits more equally now, we promise.

 

Let’s keep the party going. Globalization and Free Trade are good.

 

This belief is shared by almost all politicians in both parties, and it’s an article of faith for the economics profession.

 

***

 

It’s a fallacy based on a fantasy, and it has been ever since David Ricardo dreamed up the idea of “Comparative Advantage and the Gains from Trade” two centuries ago.

 

***

 

[Globalization’s] little shell and pea trick is therefore like most conventional economic theory: it’s neat, plausible, and wrong. It’s the product of armchair thinking by people who never put foot in the factories that their economic theories turned into rust buckets.

So the gains from trade for everyone and for every country that could supposedly be shared more fairly simply aren’t there in the first place. Specialization is a con job—but one that the Washington elite fell for (to its benefit, of course). Rather than making a country better off, specialization makes it worse off, with scrapped machinery that’s no longer useful for anything, and with less ways to invent new industries from which growth actually comes.

 

Excellent real-world research by Harvard University’s “Atlas of Economic Complexity” has found diversity, not specialization, is the “magic ingredient” that actually generates growth. Successful countries have a diversified set of industries, and they grow more rapidly than more specialized economies because they can invent new industries by melding existing ones.

 

***

 

Of course, specialization, and the trade it necessitates, generates plenty of financial services and insurance fees, and plenty of international junkets to negotiate trade deals. The wealthy elite that hangs out in the Washington party benefits, but the country as a whole loses, especially its working class.

Some Big Companies Losing Interest In Globalization

Ironically, the Washington Post noted in 2015 that the giant multinational corporations themselves are losing interest in globalization … and many are starting to bring the factories back home:

Yet despite all this activity and enthusiasm, hardly any of the promised returns from globalization have materialized, and what was until recently a taboo topic inside multinationals — to wit, should we reconsider, even rein in, our global growth strategy? — has become an urgent, if still hushed, discussion.

 

***

 

Given the failures of globalization, virtually every major company is struggling to find the most productive international business model.

 

***

 

Reshoring — or relocating manufacturing operations back to Western factories from emerging nations — is one option. As labor costs escalate in places such as China, Thailand, Brazil and South Africa, companies are finding that making products in, say, the United States that are destined for North American markets is much more cost-efficient. The gains are even more significant when productivity of emerging countries is taken into account.

 

***

 

Moreover, new disruptive manufacturing technologies — such as 3-D printing, which allows on-site production of components and parts at assembly plants — make the idea of locating factories where the assembled products will be sold more practicable.

 

***

 

GE, Whirlpool, Stanley Black & Decker, Peerless and many others have reopened shuttered factories or built new ones in the United States.

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Pulitzer-Prize Winning Reporter: FBI Report Shows It Was Seth Rich – Not Russians – Who Gave DNC Emails to Wikileaks

We’ve noted for many months that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider, not hacked by the Russians.
Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh – who revealed in 1974 that the CIA was spying on Americans, who broke the st…

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NSA Officials and Computer Expert: Forensic Evidence Proves DNC Emails Were LEAKED, Not Hacked

Preface by Washington’s Blog: We asked top NSA whistleblower Bill Binney what he thought about a report claiming that the DNC emails were transferred too quickly to have been accessed by a hacker, and could only have been copied by a DNC leaker. This article is his response.   Background here and here.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?

Executive Summary

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2017, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.

The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.

NOTE: There has been so much conflation of charges about hacking that we wish to make very clear the primary focus of this Memorandum. We focus specifically on the July 5, 2016 alleged Guccifer 2.0 “hack” of the DNC server. In earlier VIPS memoranda we addressed the lack of any evidence connecting the Guccifer 2.0 alleged hacks and WikiLeaks, and we asked President Obama specifically to disclose any evidence that WikiLeaks received DNC data from the Russians [see here and here].

Addressing this point at his last press conference (January 18), he described “the conclusions of the intelligence community” as “not conclusive,” even though the Intelligence Community Assessment of January 6 expressed “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the DNC … to WikiLeaks.”

Obama’s admission came as no surprise to us. It has long been clear to us that the reason the U.S. government lacks conclusive evidence of a transfer of a “Russian hack” to WikiLeaks is because there was no such transfer. Based mostly on the cumulatively unique technical experience of our ex-NSA colleagues, we have been saying for almost a year that the DNC data reached WikiLeaks via a copy/leak by a DNC insider (but almost certainly not the same person who copied DNC data on July 5, 2016).

From the information available, we conclude that the same inside-DNC, copy/leak process was used at two different times, by two different entities, for two distinctly different purposes:

-(1) an inside leak to WikiLeaks before Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2017, that he had DNC documents and planned to publish them (which he did on July 22) – the presumed objective being to expose strong DNC bias toward the Clinton candidacy; and

-(2) a separate leak on July 5, 2016, to pre-emptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish by “showing” it came from a “Russian hack.”

*  *  *

Mr. President:

This is our first VIPS Memorandum for you, but we have a history of letting U.S. Presidents know when we think our former intelligence colleagues have gotten something important wrong, and why. For example, our first such memorandum, a same-day commentary for President George W. Bush on Colin Powell’s U.N. speech on March 5, 2003, warned that the “unintended consequences were likely to be catastrophic,” should the U.S. attack Iraq and “justfy” the war on intelligence that we retired intelligence officers could readily see as fraudulent and driven by a war agenda.

The January 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” by “hand-picked” analysts from the FBI, CIA, and NSA seems to fit into the same agenda-driven category. It is largely based on an “assessment,” not supported by any apparent evidence, that a shadowy entity with the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” hacked the DNC on behalf of Russian intelligence and gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

The recent forensic findings mentioned above have put a huge dent in that assessment and cast serious doubt on the underpinnings of the extraordinarily successful campaign to blame the Russian government for hacking. The pundits and politicians who have led the charge against Russian “meddling” in the U.S. election can be expected to try to cast doubt on the forensic findings, if they ever do bubble up into the mainstream media. But the principles of physics don’t lie; and the technical limitations of today’s Internet are widely understood. We are prepared to answer any substantive challenges on their merits.

You may wish to ask CIA Director Mike Pompeo what he knows about this. Our own lengthy intelligence community experience suggests that it is possible that neither former CIA Director John Brennan, nor the cyber-warriors who worked for him, have been completely candid with their new director regarding how this all went down.

Copied, Not Hacked

As indicated above, the independent forensic work just completed focused on data copied (not hacked) by a shadowy persona named “Guccifer 2.0.” The forensics reflect what seems to have been a desperate effort to “blame the Russians” for publishing highly embarrassing DNC emails three days before the Democratic convention last July. Since the content of the DNC emails reeked of pro-Clinton bias, her campaign saw an overriding need to divert attention from content to provenance – as in, who “hacked” those DNC emails? The campaign was enthusiastically supported by a compliant “mainstream” media; they are still on a roll.

“The Russians” were the ideal culprit. And, after WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, “We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” her campaign had more than a month before the convention to insert its own “forensic facts” and prime the media pump to put the blame on “Russian meddling.” Mrs. Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri has explained how she used golf carts to make the rounds at the convention. She wrote that her “mission was to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.”

Independent cyber-investigators have now completed the kind of forensic work that the intelligence assessment did not do. Oddly, the “hand-picked” intelligence analysts contented themselves with “assessing” this and “assessing” that. In contrast, the investigators dug deep and came up with verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of the alleged Russian hack.

They found that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider. The data was leaked after being doctored with a cut-and-paste job to implicate Russia. We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.

The Time Sequence

June 12, 2016: Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”

June 15, 2016: DNC contractor Crowdstrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: On the same day, “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

We do not think that the June 12 & 15 timing was pure coincidence. Rather, it suggests the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

The Key Event

July 5, 2016: In the early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, someone working in the EDT time zone with a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. That speed is many times faster than what is physically possible with a hack.

It thus appears that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a hack by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a copy of DNC data onto an external storage device. Moreover, the forensics performed on the metadata reveal there was a subsequent synthetic insertion – a cut-and-paste job using a Russian template, with the clear aim of attributing the data to a “Russian hack.” This was all performed in the East Coast time zone.

“Obfuscation & De-obfuscation”

Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled “Vault 7.” WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015.

Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as “news fit to print” and was kept out of the Times.

The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, “did not get the memo” in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.”

The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use “obfuscation,” and that Marble source code includes a “deobfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a “forensic attribution double game” or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

The CIA’s reaction was neuralgic. Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting, “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review.

Putin and the Technology

We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.”

“Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”

Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental. The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times. This is our 50th VIPS Memorandum since the afternoon of Powell’s speech at the UN. Live links to the 49 past memos can be found at https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/.

FOR THE STEERING GROUP, VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY

William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center

Skip Folden, independent analyst, retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US (Associate VIPS)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Michael S. Kearns, Air Force Intelligence Officer (Ret.), Master SERE Resistance to Interrogation Instructor

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, Jr., former NSA Technical Director for the Office of Signals Processing

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Cian Westmoreland, former USAF Radio Frequency Transmission Systems Technician and Unmanned Aircraft Systems whistleblower (Associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

 

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