Arizona’s recently re-elected Republican senator John McCain, along with his faithful «drama queen» accomplice South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, recently met with a contingent of Ukrainian troops at a «forward combat zone» in Shyrokyne in eastern Ukraine and publicly questioned president-elect Donald Trump’s plans to defrost America’s chilly relations with Russia. For McCain, his return to his personal war front in Ukraine came three years after he stood with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and fascists on Kiev’s Maidan Square calling for the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovych.
Meanwhile, McCain, Graham, and their neo-conservative allies within the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as press outlets like The Washington Post, have questioned Trump’s ultimate loyalty to the United States. The neocons’ angst arises from their anger over the incoming president wisely doubting the efficacy of Central Intelligence Agency «intelligence» linking Russia to a spate of computer penetrations of U.S. computer systems and networks, including pre-election hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and private email of Hillary Clinton’s top campaign officials.
After President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from Washington, DC and San Francisco and shut down two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York in retaliation for unproven Russian government involvement in the hacking, McCain and his neocon war hawks doubled down by claiming that Russian hacking of U.S. computer systems amounted to an «act of war». Seizing on the neocons’ war frenzy, the CIA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Russian hackers had penetrated the electrical power grid operated by Vermont’s Burlington Electric. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire and CIA cloud computing contractor Jeff Bezos, echoed the grid hacking story as factual.
There was only one problem with the Russian electrical grid hacking headline: it was not true. Burlington Electric revealed that a laptop computer in the possession of a Burlington Electric employee, which allegedly was infected by a malware program linked by the U.S. government to Russian hackers, was never connected to the Vermont electrical grid. The laptop contained a hackers’ software package called Neutrino, which is not linked, in any way, to Russia. An attempt by the «Amazon Post» and the war hawks to pin the Vermont grid story on Russia and link it to the DNC hacking fell flat on its face.
Burlington Electric issued a statement on December 30, 2016, identifying DHS as the «boy who cried wolf» that issued the same «Russian malware» scare to electric utilities across the United States. The statement read, «Last night, U.S. utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks. We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems».
It turned out that Ukraine, the country where McCain, Graham, and Minnesota’s rather myopic Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar were kibitzing with army troops and neo-Nazi armed militia members over the holidays, was the source of the malware hacking program used to hack into DNC computers. The Washington Post was also forced to shamefully retract its grid hacking story. The episode was yet another example of the haste at which the outgoing Obama administration and the neocon toadies in the Republican Party led by McCain were apt to blame any bad news on «the Russians». It was as if the Cold War witch hunter senator Joseph McCarthy had met the Keystone Kops. The situation would have been funny had it not been for the fact that the actions of Obama and the neocons propelled the world closer to cataclysmic warfare with the likes of McCain, Graham, and others beating the war drums.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and DHS amateurishly coined the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC computers with the cover term «Grizzly Steppe», a code phrase that would have been rejected by any legitimate Hollywood movie script writer as being too cartoonish and campy. Moreover, the malware used in the hacking of the Democrats’ computers was an antiquated version of PHP, a program originally designed for personal home pages, hence the abbreviation PHP, but which now stands for «PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor».
The PHP malware was found to be freely distributed by a Ukrainian hacker group as a hackers’ tool. Although the FBI, DHS, and CIA did not bother to investigate whether the Ukrainian hackers were linked to McCain’s and Graham’s friends in the Ukrainian intelligence service, the Ukrainians would have had every reason to initiate a further damaging fracture in relations between the United States and Russia. Furthermore, the Ukrainians could have availed themselves of «network weaving» tools to run their malware through servers in Russia.
In fact, the amateurish FBI/DHS «Grizzly Steppe» report found that the Ukrainian malware, later blamed on the Russians, had passed through the IP [Internet Protocol] addresses of 389 organizations in 61 different countries. None of the 389 malware pass-through IPs, including those of the University of Michigan; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York; Datasource AG in Ingmarso, Sweden; Hunenberg, Switzerland; Kustbandet AB in Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria; Voxility S.R.L. of Bucharest; and Amazon.com – the company owned by none other than Washington Post owner and CIA contractor Mr. Bezos! – were linked to the Russian government. These include the United States, Ukraine, Russia, China, France, Germany, Seychelles, Moldova, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Montenegro, Romania, and Israel. Such a rich global network, which included several TOR anonymous browsing gateways, would have provided more than ample network weaving opportunities to mask the original Ukrainian digital fingerprints on the actual hacking of DNC computers.
The malware program, called P.A.S. version 3.1.7., is contained in a web shell of PHP code. The malware program states that it is «Made in Ukraine» and the date of the program, 2011-2016 is followed by the letters «UA,» the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) two-letter code for Ukraine
In eastern Ukraine, standing alongside a camouflage-festooned chocolate mogul president Petro Poroshenko, McCain and Graham accused Russia of «attacking» the United States, with Graham accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of «hacking our election». Both called for increased sanctions against Russia. However, the sum-total of computer security knowledge of these two Republican fossils would not exceed that possessed by a kindergarten student in Arizona or South Carolina.
Rather than accuse other Americans, including Mr. Trump, of engaging in potentially treasonous activities, perhaps Mr. McCain should recall the charges made by several U.S. prisoners-of-war about his «singing» to his North Vietnamese captors after his plane was shot down over Hanoi in October 1967. McCain, according to some fellow POWs who later spoke out, gladly gave his captors about six months’ worth of U.S. Navy operational plans for the bombing of North Vietnam and Laos. McCain’s psychosis about Russia reportedly could stem from his time at the «Hanoi Hilton» POW prison. McCain was given the Russian KGB code name «Jack Mouse» and, per Chan Chong Duet, the commander of the prison, the downed Navy pilot and son of the U.S. Pacific Forces Commander, Admiral John McCain, Jr., was quite free with the information he passed to North Vietnamese, Cuban, and Soviet officers while being treated for his wounds by Soviet doctors. If McCain wants to question the loyalty of any American, he should look into a mirror. He should also seek out psychiatric assistance.