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Old 2019-03-14, 15:29   #100
kladner
 
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Default “Lights Out!” Did Trump and His Neocons Recycle Bush-Era Plan to Knock Out Venezuela’s Power Grid?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51258.htm
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March 11, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - For nearly four days, much of Venezuela has been without power, bringing the country’s embattled economy to a near standstill. Though power is now returning, the outage saw U.S. officials and politicians blame the Venezuelan government for the crisis while officials in Caracas accused the U.S. of conducting “sabotage” and launching cyberattacks that targeted its civilian power grid as well as of employing saboteurs within Venezuela.

Although many mainstream media outlets have echoed the official U.S. government response, some journalists have strayed from the pack. One notable example is Kalev Leetaru, who wrote at Forbes that “the United States remotely interfering with its [Venezuela’s] power grid is actually quite realistic.”

Leetaru also noted that “timing such an outage to occur at a moment of societal upheaval in a way that delegitimizes the current government, exactly as a government-in-waiting has presented itself as a ready alternative, is actually one of the tactics” he had previously explored in a 2015 article detailing U.S. government hybrid warfare tactics “to weaken an adversary prior to conventional invasion or to forcibly and deniably effect a transition in a foreign government.”

In addition to Leetaru’s claims, others have asserted U.S. government involvement after U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is deeply involved in Trump’s Venezuela policy, appeared to have prior knowledge that the blackouts would occur when he tweeted about them only three minutes after they had begun.

While several journalists have pointed out that the probability that the Trump administration was responsible for the blackout is highly likely, few — if any — pointed out that the U.S. has long had highly developed plans involving the use of cyberattacks to attack critical power-grid infrastructure in countries targeted for regime change by Washington.
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Old 2019-03-14, 15:34   #101
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Default More from Max Blumenthal, on the ground in Venezuela

Ernst already linked this.
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/03/11/u...est/#more-3290

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2019-03-14 at 15:44 Reason: already posted link
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Old 2019-03-15, 13:36   #102
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Fascinating. One of those links documents the fact that they were already having trouble with the hydro plant nine years ago -- at that time, because the river was running low.

We also know the grid hasn't been run or maintained at all well for years. Given that, you don't need any nefarious plot to bring down the grid.

My question isn't "Why now?" My question is, "Why not sooner?" I guess the folks closest to the electrons have been pretty ingenious at improvising to keep things cobbled together, until they just couldn't.

So far, no actual statement even of what went kerflooey, or what went kerflooey first. If a major line went out, it could have caused a cascading of other failures.

The possibilities are many. Fire or shorts to ground could have taken out a major transmission line. A turbine could have failed, for any of a number of possible reasons. A transformer could have failed.

Maduro & Co. haven't come forward to say what went wrong, just "whatever it was, it's sabotage."

In the absence of facts, Green's Law of Debate rules the day: When you don't know what you're talking about, anything is possible.
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Old 2019-03-15, 18:50   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
We also know the grid hasn't been run or maintained at all well for years. Given that, you don't need any nefarious plot to bring down the grid.
Indeed. Correlation does not /always/ mean causation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
So far, no actual statement even of what went kerflooey, or what went kerflooey first. If a major line went out, it could have caused a cascading of other failures.

The possibilities are many. Fire or shorts to ground could have taken out a major transmission line. A turbine could have failed, for any of a number of possible reasons. A transformer could have failed.
Again, indeed. Few who have not worked in the space appreciate just how difficult (and fragile) power Generation, Transmission and Distribution (GTD) is.

Three phases of sine waves, offset by 120 degrees, with ***lots*** of potential energy. Short any one of them to ground, or to each other, and it will be a really bad day...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
Maduro & Co. haven't come forward to say what went wrong, just "whatever it was, it's sabotage."
Perhaps it was sabotage. Perhaps not.

Just about anyone with a chainsaw, or even an axe, can cause major problems.

In the cyber domain, if the electrical utilities' SCADA network is in any way exposed to the Internet, the saboteurs don't even need to be in the same country.

And even if said SCADA network is "air gapped", there is still the possibility of introducing an attack agent by way of something as simple as a spear-fished employee's USB drive.

At the end of the day, we don't know what really happened. As usual, the people in power (no joke intended) will blame others, while the people affected will suffer....
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Old 2019-03-15, 21:21   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
<snip>
In the cyber domain, if the electrical utilities' SCADA network is in any way exposed to the Internet, the saboteurs don't even need to be in the same country.

And even if said SCADA network is "air gapped", there is still the possibility of introducing an attack agent by way of something as simple as a spear-fished employee's USB drive.
Indeed. I already mentioned that, here. It seems the system isn't connected to the Internet. If malware is introduced unwittingly, it could be programmed to activate at a specific time after that, or when specific operating conditions occur, but it couldn't be triggered remotely to activate in response to external events "in real time." If a saboteur introduced malware wittingly, there would be more options with timing the activation.

Quote:
At the end of the day, we don't know what really happened. As usual, the people in power (no joke intended) will blame others, while the people affected will suffer....
We do know the grid went down, and has stayed down. We do know that reliance on one source for most of the country's power will hamper efforts at recovery.

[EDIT:] Oh, and we also know, the grid hasn't been maintained or managed at all well, for years to decades. And that there had been spotty blackouts occurring with increasing frequency before the big one hit. [/edit]

I haven't heard whether the authorities in Venezuela have tried to organize efforts to make sure as much stuff as possible is switched off when they try to bring the grid back up again. I'm no expert on these things, but I'm pretty sure that, when you try to bring an electrical grid back to life, too many things trying to draw too much power all at once will kill it all over again...

Last fiddled with by Dr Sardonicus on 2019-03-15 at 21:52 Reason: Forgot something...
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Old 2019-03-24, 23:11   #105
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Matt Taibbi has published a few chapter-excerpts from his forthcoming book, Hate Inc.:

o 16 Years Later, How the Press That Sold the Iraq War Got Away With It: In an excerpt from his new book, Matt Taibbi looks back at how the media built new lies to cover their early ones.

o It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD: The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2019-03-24 at 23:11
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Old 2019-03-29, 00:01   #106
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o Pathological Deceit: The NYT Inverts Reality on Venezuela's Cuban Doctors | FAIR

o Mueller's Sideshow Closes -- But it has Served its Purpose | OffGuardian: Every step of the way Mueller has been an exercise in narrative control, and every step of the way it has worked. And it is still working now.

o Russia and the Democrats | Rob Urie, Counterpunch

o Despite report findings, almost half of Americans think Trump colluded with Russia: Reuters/Ipsos poll | Reuters: Propaganda works. And note the bit in the above OffGuardian piece about the nifty trick of conflating the nebulous and legally meaningless concept of "collusion" with "conspiracy".
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Old 2019-03-29, 13:02   #107
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Default The Russians are coming! Oh, wait, they're already there...

Russia acknowledges presence of troops in Venezuela
Quote:
Russia has troops on the ground in Venezuela, officials from both countries have confirmed publicly for the first time, saying the deployment was provided for military consultations and was not linked to the "possibility of military operations".

"Military experts are there; they are tasked with the practical implementation of provisions of military-technical cooperation agreements," a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said in a televised briefing.
<snip>
A Kremlin spokesman denied Russia was meddling in Venezuela’s affairs, saying that the US "should follow our example and allow Venezuelans to decide their own fate".
If we "follow their example" and send in our military, WWIII will be underway in a trice
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Old 2019-03-29, 16:35   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
Russia acknowledges presence of troops in VenezuelaIf we "follow their example" and send in our military, WWIII will be underway in a trice
The US sending troops would be just a tiny bit different. There are agreements between Russia and Venezuela.
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Old 2019-03-30, 03:25   #109
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LOL, in Dr. S's world it doesn't matter whether the foreign forces are there at the express invitation of the legitimate government of the country or not - troops is troops, y'all! All foreign militaries have the same visitation rights, as long as they promise to behave themselves and receive the proper vaccinations, and even the latter can be waived with a doctor's note conveying the soldier's parents' concern about the undisputable evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 US electionsthe connection between vaccines and autism.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2019-03-30 at 03:27
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Old 2019-03-30, 21:50   #110
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The Rob Urie piece I linked to above, "Russia and the Democrats", is so spot-on that it deserves to be quoted in full for posterity:
Quote:
Two years ago authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign that within 24 hours of her 2016 electoral loss, Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staff decided to blame the loss on Russian interference. Given the apparent source of the charge in opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign, the move seemed both desperate and pathetic— a thread for Clinton’s true believers to hang onto, an effort to keep campaign contributions rolling in and a ploy to cleave liberals from the left through red-baiting.

For perspective, from the time leading up to the 2016 election through today, I chose to live amongst poor and working-class people of color, with occasional forays into the rural working and middle classes and the urban bourgeois. What became apparent early on is that the audience for the Russian interference story was the urban and suburban bourgeois who had seen their lots by-and-large restored by Barack Obama’s bank bailouts and who had no knowledge of, or interaction with, the 90% of the country that is living, by degree, hand-to-mouth.

What this implies is that the received wisdom amongst bourgeois Democrats— the bosses, bank managers, academics, realtors and administrative class, looks to be what it is: a combination of class loathing that their ‘lessors’ didn’t perceive the munificent blessing of their electoral choice; mass delusion on the part of self-styled ‘high-information voters’ about who really controls American ‘democracy;’ and studied ignorance of the consequences of the last half-century of bi-partisan neoliberal governance.

As I wrote in early 2018:

“Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.”

The Clinton campaign’s decision to blame her electoral loss on Russian interference demonstrates why she was, and still is, unqualified to hold elected office. In the first, the U.S. – Russian rivalry is backed-up by hair-trigger nuclear arsenals that could end the world in a matter of minutes. Inciting tensions based on self-serving lies is stunningly reckless. In the second, the claim demonstrates utter contempt for her most loyal followers by feeding them purposely misleading explanations of the loss. And most damagingly for political opponents of Donald Trump, these actions give credence to the insurgent status of his retro-Republicanism against liberal and left defenders of the political establishment.

Most damaging to the burgeoning left in the U.S. is the deeply ugly character assassination of poor and working-class voters carried out by the urban bourgeois, many from the self-described radical left. People I know and like, but with whom I disagree politically but am working hard to convert, have spent the last three years being derided as traitorous, marginally literate hicks too stupid to know they are pawns of the Kremlin. The irony, if you care to call it that, is that they knew the Russian interference story was cynical bullshit all along while the graduate degree crowd was following every twist and turn as if it were true knowledge.

The Democratic Party ‘leadership’ that pursued this story is as stupid as it is corrupt. The purpose of Russia-gate was apparently to keep the Party faithful, faithful. But as was demonstrated in 2016, the faithful alone can’t win an election. This leadership turned what could have been an effective ‘give ‘em enough rope’ strategy against arrogant jackass Trump back on itself. The establishment-left had been in the process of giving self-described socialists someone to vote for in 2020. Too-clever-by-half liberal twaddle about ‘post-truth’ now has liberals— universally conflated with the left, perceived as both idiots and liars. And rightly so.

Democrats who spent the last three years making less than plausible (and politically retrograde) accusations against Mr. Trump likely still don’t understand their current position. Their call for an exhaustive investigation carried out by people they trust was honored. While the investigation was underway, the mainstream press put one ludicrous fantasy after another forward as news. This while a host of real issues affecting real people’s lives were studiously ignored. As incredulous as I am that it could be done, liberal Democrats have made corrupt oligarch Trump appear to be righteously aggrieved. Who says these people have no talent?

The New York Times and Washington Post have been publishing politically motivated ‘fake news’ in support of establishment interests since their inceptions. Their service to powerful interests is why they are still around. The FBI, CIA and NSA have been putting out politically motivated bullshit since their respective inceptions. They exist to serve the rich and powerful against all comers. To claim these as bastions of integrity was always a tough sell. To continue to claim it is the stuff from which revolutions are made. In this case, right-wing revolutions.

While the urban bourgeois have long been dismissive of the ‘burn it down’ contingent of Trump voters, they seem incapable of seeing their own roles as defenders of the establishment as corrupt and ultimately, politically suicidal. I voted for a woman for president and a black man for vice president in 2016. But they weren’t Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she is a corrupt, neoliberal, militaristic piece of shit. Ironically, or not, most of Trump voters I’ve spoken with know more about the Democrats’ actual record than the highly educated urban bourgeois pontificating on NPR or in the New York Times.

A quick bet is that the 2020 presidential election is now Donald Trump’s to lose. Lying sacks of shit like James Clapper and John Brennan will tie their lots to whomever will fund their adventures in mal-governance as the world burns and species become extinct. The tragedy here is that there are real issues in need of resolution. The Democrats’ three-year adventure in red-baiting served to legitimate a financial-military-industrial complex that apparently intends to end the planet as it makes as many people miserable in the process as is possible. Congratulations assholes.
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