Colonial Pipeline and the Rolling Pearl Harbors Ahead
by John Kendall Hawkins
Okay, they've been warning us for years, priming the pump as it were, to make us gush fear when the time came. In March 2012, Wired ran a story by Spencer Ackerman about The Internet of Everything, in which CIA Director David "Betray-Us" Petraeus, crowed about a future that included the intelligence community (IC) spying on us all through our appliances (later that year, the Internet would betray his marital affair with his biographer -- like Narcissus caught banging Echo -- there goes a promising Ike-like career.) Hoisted on his own petard, ouch!
And remember former NSA chief General Keith Alexander lying before Congress in 2012, telling them (and us) that the government wasn't indiscriminately spying on American citizens, only to fess up in 2013 and tell us that weakening the Internet was necessary to protect us all? Well, Alexander is now on the Board of Directors at Amazon, a development that had Edward Snowden quip, "It turns out 'Hey Alexa' is short for 'Hey Keith Alexander.'" And speaking of Snowden, shortly after Alexander's fess-up, he was revealing, as a whistleblower, the extent of the NSA's reach already, as notably demonstrated by the power of XKeyScore. Now, he's living in Russia, with his pole-dancing girlfriend (now his wife), on whom he spied for years under another NSA program, LOVEINT. Snowden professes remorse at this practice in his memoir.
Alexander, it turns out, was the architect of the 2010 Stuxnet attack on an Iranian nuclear power site, according to the Wired story above. This is important because, as I suggested at the time, Stuxnet is almost a homophone of Sputnik, which so spooked the Americans back in the '50s that the Pentagon, among other things, cobbled together through ARPA (now DARPA) the preliminary Internet and its lasting protocols, especially Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), the addressing frames for data flow. So, Stuxnet was meant to engage the Russians in more spy vs. spy, cat-and-mouse bullshit. As far as former counterterrorism czar for three presidents Richard Clarke is concerned Stuxnet represents a Sputnik in cyberspace and the pronouncement of a new cold war. But war nonetheless, and it's hotting up. We showed the world how to target supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, a perfect model for later development of ransomware, say.
And then there's been the talk of America being a "cyber Pearl Harbor" event away from our national infrastructure coming down, as worried out loud by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in October 2012. American warriors and worriers have seemed to do everything they can to make certain that our old adversary, Russia (76 years and counting), is continuously antagonized and engaged in counterespionage and counterculture. First, they resisted us with their Communism, and, now that Red is Dead, they intend to show us how oligarchic corruption works. How about that for chutzpah?! Or so our own "elite" seem to say.
In case the Russians weren't getting the sense of our threat to their system and way of life with the introduction of Stuxnet to the Global Theatre, we gave them Boris Yeltsin, just after the Berlin Wall fell and Mickey D's was introduced to Moscow, a besotted dancing bear of a man who drank vodka in the morning and slurred something incoherent into a karaoke mike that got translated by an aide as perestroika and they've been partying ever since. And, still not getting the message, when they brought in ex-KGBer Putin, we, more lately, under Trump, believe it or not, stuxnetted their infrastructure. And, as usual, conservative Americans crowed about it in the Paper of Record.
In a 2019 NYT piece, "U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russiaʼs Power Grid," David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth put it this way:
Since at least 2012, current and former officials say, the United States has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid... But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow.
The American Deep State wanted to let the Russians know that as with Sputnik, when they scared the bejeezus out of American military types, forcing them to invent the Internet as a reaction-formation, we can do offensive stuff, too, as Obama put it during his transition period in 2016.
Well, here we are being attacked on the homefront, blow-backed, we're almost claiming, not seeing it ahead of time -- or, more disturbingly, deeply needing it, as they probably were conflicted when 'thinking through' the use of a Gay Bomb to neutralize the enemy and how the wind might shaft and bring it all back home to the roosters. The Colonial Pipeline hack comes after years and years of warning that more Pearl Harbors are on the way -- hospitals and daycare centers, gas and oil infrastructure, electric grids, electoral voting systems, Twitter tweets, and the Internet itself! We should be stopping to think, and the MSM should be leading the way on that front, but, instead, the MSM leads the charge on the knee-jerk reactionary response to the overwrought threat: The Russkies may not have done Colonial, but they know who did.
Again, it's been years since the Pentagon declared its Internet a war zone -- not long after bin Laden was taken out in Abbottabad in 2011. In an Atlantic piece in July 2011, "Pentagon: The Internet Is Now a War Zone," the American military apparatus explicitly acknowledges that the benign years of the Internet are over: "Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III revealed that 24,000 sensitive Pentagon files were stolen by "foreign intruders" in March , one of the worst cyber assaults in history."
Included in the brief report is a link to more online subterfuge at military contractor Booz Hamilton, where sensitive data had been stolen and, as the piece, nervously acknowledges, the perps seemed to be making fun of the Pentagon and the security state, telling the world that security was virtually non-existent on the network. In a Forbes article, "Anonymous Hackers Breach Booz Allen Hamilton, Dump 90,000 Military Email Addresses," a statement from the hacktivist group #antisec is quoted, addressing BAH's security:
"In [Booz Allen Hamilton's] line of work you'd expect them to sail the seven proxseas with a state-of-the-art battleship, right? Well you may be as surprised as we were when we found their vessel being a puny wooden barge," reads the group's statement posted to the Pirate Bay. "We infiltrated a server on their network that basically had no security measures in place."
Booz Hamilton later became famous for being the contractor Ed Snowden absconded with reams of top-secret data from, including the blueprints of the global panopticon in place.
Lax security seems to be an on-going and largely inexplicable problem. The 2011 Atlantic piece makes reference to a "decade-long" deficit in realizing and controlling the security problem that exists online. The reader would be surprised at how often poor security was responsible for breaches to systems and their goodies. The cybersecurity behemoths FireEye (Mandiant) and CrowdStrike swore and swear that most system breaches are due to spear-phishing clicks and poor password management, even folks with high security. Let's not forget that in 2011 Kevin Mandia told Congress that "9 out of 10" corporate breaches were learned of not from their own expensive IT departments but from the government (see my previous muckraking write-up). And CrowdStrike president Shawn Henry, once told WaPo that he didn't know of a system that hadn't been breached. The ex-FBI exec Henry is colleagues with George Kurtz, president/CEO and co-founder, and formerly of Foundstone.
Let's not forget that Julian "Jesus" Assange broke his teeth on "ethical" hacks of Pentagon servers. More recently, Hillary Clinton got the evil eye from James Comey and admonished for her "extremely careless" handling of confidential information and easy access to it on her home "server." And what's more, the god-awful breach of the SolarWinds software update, which resulted in the planting of malware, was the result of an even god-awfuller password: "solarwinds123." (I liked that so much I've changed my own email password to solarwinds123. Shhh.) Mandia said he discovered this god-awful discovery when he discovered his own dear FireEye had been breached. No word on what SolarWinds customer NSA thought about it all. But I'll bet the Chinese and Russians were guffawing. Solarwinds123? -- arl you done with that dumpring?
(You know, come to think of it, we could use a nice big blast of solar wind right about now. Will you pray with me?)
We'll probably never learn anything resembling the truth about what happened at Colonial Pipeline. CEO Joe Blount is a Deep Stater with pals that go back to the Bush administration; a Unocal guy (CEO, 1995-2005) who saw chaos ensue, when after hired gun Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda mercenaries chased the Russkies out of Dodge, the Taliban took over, and a Trans-Afghan pipeline would have to be deferred until after the locals were softened up and contained by special forces and expensive logistics. At what cost, this longest American war? $2 Trillion. Blount reluctantly settled for being the CEO of the biggest pipeline in America. Oh well, 20 years of American warring didn't get it done in the 'Ghan. Guess we'll go to plan B and discover WMD in Iran. Condi Rice (Unocal investor) has even suggested we might have to go back to GaGhan in the future -- you know, for terrorism, not oil pipelines or rare minerals.
When the evil Colonial Pipeline breach went down, Mandiant had him covered from server-side, while good buds CrowdStrike backed up what the FBI said to the MSM (because they're largely the same entity). First we hear that Colonial would never pay the ransom; then RobinHood DarkSide apologized for the hack (it's not who they are); then we read that Colonial did pay the ransom ($5m); then we read mixed messages on where DarkSide is located and who they'd attack and wouldn't, a CrowdStrike exec hedged; then Mandiant proclaims they discovered and intercepted the data servers DarkSide was to use for siphoning Colonial files not in Mother Russia but in New York!!!; then a message from DarkSide reads, "The following actions will be taken to solve the current issue: You will be given decryption tools for all the companies that haven't paid yet." So, had Colonial waited another several hours, then...Another Bozo Show. We'll never be told anything true; the MSM will settle for proffering Turd Blossoms to the public on behalf of their bottom line.
Get used to the rolling pearlharbors ahead. Keep in mind BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, Iran, China, and South Africa -- four regions that are looking to get out from under the hegemony of the US dollar. Note how much effort we claim these countries put into "hacking" our way of life -- "democracy," "equal opportunity," and "social justice." It's still all about oil and mineral wealth, as it has been since Columbus thought for sure he was in India. (In that sense Colonial Pipeline is aptly named.) And it's looking like Mandiant (FireEye) and CrowdStrike will be Johnny-on-the-spot each time to shore up the official Deep State narrative that the MSM will look us straight in the eye and massage us. Afterall, Mandiant and CrowdStrike derive from the Deep State apparatus.
I hope they don't take down the Wall Street infrastructure next, now that there's talk of a major bubble about to burst. That would be it for our beloved US dollar abroad -- and the middle class at home. That would suck: It would be like Hooverville all over again. We'd have to bomb the Chinese to avoid becoming their debt slaves, and, if we do that, we'd have to bomb the Russians, for the hell of it. (Ellsberg says in Doomsday that if we bomb the Russians then we'd bomb the Chinese -- we'd be bombing Communism, after all, even though neither's really communist anymore; and Giuliani says the Chinese intentionally spread Covid-19, so the Russians probably did, too). Imagine the Chinese importing Americans to be "coolies" on the railroad of their New Silk Road project to Europe. Selfie-taking coolies. It's a Slow Train Coming.
Corrections: I reported that Shawn Henry worked with Kevin Mandia at Foundstone; it was George Kurtz. Henry is a former FBI exec in charge of global counter-terrorism.
Also, I reported that after Colonial is said to have paid DarkSide ransom, the latter donated money to charity. That was a mis-read of a previous donation they made. I don't know if they made a donation this time, but only wonder why, if it'll only be rejected.
(Article changed on May 16, 2021 at 4:41 PM EDT)