The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPhilip Giraldi Archive
Iran Seeks to Confuse the United States?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Those who have been waiting for the elusive October Surprise that will upset the apple cart on election day are admittedly running out of time. The media’s unwillingness to even consider that the antics of Hunter Biden just might constitute an embarrassment of major proportions or even something worse has done much to kill that story. And the old tried and true expedient of starting a little war somewhere is also proving to be a false hope as no one appears ready to provoke the righteously wrathful Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by ponying up a casus belli. Maybe there is still time for a false flag operation, but even that would require more prior planning than the White House appears capable of.

There is, however, one area that might just be exploitable to create a crisis, though it much depends on whether a tired public is willing to go one more round over the issue of “foreign election interference.” And yes, the Russians are presumed to be involved, on this occasion, as they always are, joined by the ever-vengeful Iranians.

On Wednesday Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe held a news conference at which he laid out details of the most recent dastardly plot against American democracy. He described how Iran and Russia both obtained American voter registration data, apparently through publicly accessible databases and through purchases of email lists. Though no actual votes have been altered, they are using that information “to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.” Ratcliffe elaborated how “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine…confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe focused mostly on Iran, saying that it had been identified as the source of what he described as a claimed 1,500 “spoofed emails” routed through Estonia that “seek to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.” Iran was also blamed for other material, to include a video encouraging the casting of illegal ballots both domestically and overseas. Additional intelligence suggests that Iran is planning to take more steps to influence the election in the coming days, though what those measures could possibly be was not revealed.

Other government sources elaborated, indicating that Iranian intelligence has been credited with the sending of the email messages going out to Democratic voters in four states, including hotly disputed Pennsylvania and Florida. The emails falsely claimed to be from the alleged far-right group Proud Boys which has been much in the news. Their message was that “we will come after you” if the recipients fail to vote for Donald Trump.

It doesn’t take much to realize that threatening messages relating to voting for Trump allegedly coming from a source described as “racist” would undoubtedly motivate most registered Democratic voters to do the opposite, but that seems to have escaped the analysts of the Directorate of National Intelligence. And one must also ask why Tehran would want the re-election of a president who has been unremittingly hostile, including imposing crippling sanctions, withdrawing from a beneficial nuclear agreement, and assassinating a leading Revolutionary Guards general. Even U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer appears to have figured that one out, saying “It was clear to me that the intent of Iran in this case and Russia in many more cases is to basically undermine confidence in our elections. This action I do not believe was aimed… at discrediting President Trump.”

The anti-Trump New York Times has, of course, another, more sinister interpretation, suggesting that “…it may also play into President Trump’s hands. For weeks, he has argued, without evidence, that the vote on Nov. 3 will be ‘rigged,’ that mail-in ballots will lead to widespread fraud and that the only way he can be defeated is if his opponents cheat. Now, on the eve of the final debate, he has evidence of foreign influence campaigns designed to hurt his re-election chances, even if they did not affect the voting infrastructure.”

The Times also notes a broader conspiracy by the dreadful Persians, explaining how “Iran has tinkered at the edges of American election interference since 2012, but always as a minor actor. Last year, it stepped up its game, private cybersecurity firms have warned. They have caught Iranian operatives occasionally impersonating politicians and journalists around the world, often to spread narratives that are aimed at denigrating Israel or Saudi Arabia, its two major adversaries in the Middle East.” Again, however, the article provides no explanation of what Iran could possibly hope to gain from the minimal “tinkering” it might be able to engage in an American election in which billions of dollars will be spent by Democrats and Republicans who are viciously attacking each other without any outside help.

Ratcliffe had less to say about Russia but U.S. media coverage of the story included a referral to a recent account of how the U.S. military’s Cyber Command helped take down a network developed by Russian hackers called TrickBot that had been used in ransomware attacks directed against companies as well as cities and towns across the United States. It also reported how “In recent days, another Russian hacking group called Energetic Bear, often linked to the F.S.B. — one of the successors to the Soviet Union’s K.G.B. — appears to have focused its attention on gaining access to state and local government networks. That has caught the attention of federal investigators because, until now, the group had largely targeted energy firms, including public utilities.”

There was, however, no evidence that either hacking group was being directed against voter systems, so Russia’s inclusion in the front-page Times story headlined “Iran and Russia Seek to Influence Election in Final Days, U.S. Officials Warn” has to be considered questionable editorial judgment. Perhaps scaremongering would be a better description. In any event, the story itself is much ado about nothing. Iran’s sending out 1,500 emails if that actually occurred, would have zero impact. Likewise, the claimed existence of alleged Russian hacking groups that have done nothing directed against voters or balloting systems with only a few days left until the election would appear to be an electoral tactic rather than exposure of any genuine threat. One might even describe it as a bit of deliberate disinformation.

(Republished from American Herald Tribune by permission of author or representative)
Hide 27 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Realist says:

    Iran Seeks to Confuse the United States?

    That hardly ranks as a Herculean task…any five year old could do it.

    This is an insult to Iran…only the incredibly dumb bastards in the US intelligence agencies could come up with such stupidity.

  2. RVBlake says:

    Them foreign actors have succeeded…My confidence in American democracy is at subterranean levels.

  3. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s all so mind-boggling to have people who’ve been to ivy league schools and who hold high level government jobs spout such drivel. They think the mass of Americans are gullible idiots and perhaps they’re right. Billions spent on our intelligence agencies and yet we’re just putty in the hands of various foreign countries? Since hostility towards Iran has been a staple of US policy since the Shah was overthrown it probably matters little to them who wins. Same for the Russians; they have a peer military and could care less. Fake issue, fake news but from the government itself.
    The US has a long history of election interference in other countries, overthrowing governments, sponsoring civil unrest, financing armed mercenaries, bombing, invading, sanctioning, etc. Has any other country in all of world history done more along these lines than the US?

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  4. anon[177] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s clear what’s going on here. The CIA regime has a legitimacy crisis. They’re trying to get it under control with their oldest trick: attributing impermissible ideas to foreign enemies. Gina went out and dug up Tailgunner Joe’s stiff liver. That’s what you smell when she skulks by.

    Nobody votes but brainwashed dupes. There are fewer and fewer of those. We all know elections are not just rigged, they’re engineered for fail-safe futility. To get what we want we have to knock over this regime. To attack Americans who know this, Gina’s civil/military command structure will call them foreign agents.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
  5. ‘Though no actual votes have been altered, they are using that information “to influence the presidential election as it enters its final two weeks.” ‘

    Jeepers. They’d do that?

    One bit of unintentional comedy on this theme came shortly after a previous upsurge in professed concern about this nonsense.

    Mike Pompeo was asked about what we’d do if it looked like Labour under Jeremy Corbyn might win an election in Britain. He said that we’d have to do what we could to influence the election.

    • Replies: @Ultrafart the Brave
  6. The spoofed Proud Boys emails were linked to a server in Saudi Arabia, according to the FBI. The three countries that have been directly involved in U.S. election interference have all been rewarded, they are the U.K. with the Steel Dossier, Israel with AIPAC and JStreet, and Saudi Arabia with private contractors hacking. Like potatoes, the intelligence officers claiming that Iran and Russia are attempting to interfere with U.S. elections, they are deeply rooted underground and have eyes, but do not have brains, and are completely in the dark about the reality that the rest of us are subjected to.

    I can guarantee that if Iran and or Russia were interfering in U.S. elections, Trump and Biden would not be our candidates. Those countries have not disclosed this to me, but that is just common sense, which Barr claims that he has, but he does not even know what common sense is, because if he did, he would not be acting the way that he does. Both candidates have antagonized both countries.

    Andrea Iravani

    • Replies: @showmethereal
    , @Jmaie
  7. @anonymous

    Since hostility towards Iran has been a staple of US policy since the Shah was overthrown…

    Oh, I think it was before that. While the Shah had been whispering in the background for some time, Israel’s bitch became outright hostile after this:

  8. A123 says:

    Iranian is Inept & Confused

    Iran lied and the #NeverTrump acolytes of the Lincoln Project repeated it. It is unclear what Ayatollah’s brain dead cultists were trying for. What they succeeded at is, helping Trump.

    Everyone sees the TRUTH. Sociopath Khameni and his regime are failing, so he keeps trying to provoke a war. Fortunately, the Iranian military is so incompetent he cannot start one.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @paranoid goy
  9. @Realist

    This is an insult to Iran…only the incredibly dumb bastards in the US intelligence agencies could come up with such stupidity.

    Or, with no disrespect intended, as the venerable Dr. Paul Craig Roberts might say, only “dumbshit Americans” would be stupid enough to swallow it.

    • Agree: Realist
  10. @Colin Wright

    Mike Pompeo was asked about what we’d do if it looked like Labour under Jeremy Corbyn might win an election in Britain. He said that we’d have to do what we could to influence the election.

    You nailed it dude.

    One ever-present feature of aggressive American foreign policy and propaganda is the tactic of projection – accusing innocent adversaries of the very same crimes routinely perpetrated by the American government.

    Satan is reputed to be the Father of Lies. The Ayatollah got it right.

  11. @Realist

    In other words – they just recycle what they themselves have been doing in other nations elections for decades – and say “hey look at Iran…. And Russia… And China… And North Korea..” whoever else is the flavor of the month.

    • Agree: Realist
  12. @No Friend Of The Devil

    Not disputing you – but where the server is linked to doesn’t mean much. Top hackers can spoof that also. In fact it is a serious worry in those circles because someone can fake an attack and spoof where it came from – which could lead to war based on false assumptions.

    • Replies: @Donald A Thomson
  13. Those dastardly Iranians tried to “confuse” the United States (population 300+ million) by sending out a few thousand spam emails. They succeeded! We are utterly confused about why they would do that! CLEVER BASTARDS!!

    • LOL: mark green
  14. Yes, because those 1,500 emails are far more effective than several hundred million blocked retweets, likes, and shares.

  15. Hillbob says:

    These hapless american assholes have been so ass fucked, that they do not know their ass from a hole in the ground

  16. anon[694] • Disclaimer says:

    The vote-tinkering charges are ridiculous, of course but they’re best regarded as random chaff. CIA really badly needs to divert attention from the Biden family’s racketeering. Hunter Biden’s laptops and the open-source corroborating information make up the most meticulously documented open-and-shut corruption case we’ve ever seen. FBI could not begin to do investigative work of this quality. With this evidence any competent investigator can prove both trading in influence and abuse of function. If DoJ manages to ignore this, the USG will be discredited for a generation. This is macro-scale corruption of neocolonial third-world scope. Seeing this in Africa, IBRD guys would shake their heads and write off a country for the next hundred years. That is what the USG is in for.

    The quality of this evidence may be the My Little Pony of truth at the bottom of CIA’s Augean bullshit stables. It seems quite possible that this evidence is the fruit of a Russian/Chinese investigation in support of their CTOC and CAC treaty commitments. Both countries bear duties in conventional international law to stop corruption and transnational organized crime. The SCO commited to uphold the supreme law of the land in the US: the CTOC, the CAC, and the FCPA.

    Biden is no ordinary crook. His crimes are made possible by US state coercive interference which he formulated in his official capacity. His corruption is the proceeds of foreign intervention in Ukraine and great power confrontation with China, breaches of “sanctified absolute rule of law” that give rise to erga omnes responsibility. Every country in the world has standing to hold the US government responsible. This case links US commercial exploitation to US use and threat of force. It shows what Francis Boyle means when he says the US government is a criminal enterprise. This is an historic ICJ case wrapped up in shiny paper with a perfect bow. It would make Nicaragua v. United States of America look like traffic court.

    PCR gives a good precis of the facts,

    The outside world is enforcing the law on our criminal government. So whose side are you on? The question answers itself. We’ve got to hope the outside world can root out the CIA crime ring that’s got its hooks in us.

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
  17. macilrae says:

    Apart from the fact that no country on earth interferes more in the elections of other countries than does the United States; apart from the fact that, not only does it ‘interfere’ in the elections but it actually installs heads of state to its own taste and, of course, topples by force other heads with whom it (or Israel, more often) is displeased (well, so long as they aren’t too big).

    Apart from all this, then, let’s think back to the Cold War when the Soviet Union was the Arch Enemy – Arch Enemies are presumed to be up to any and all conceivable dirty tricks so that, back then, it was automatically assumed that they would do all they could to destabilize us and, naturally, election interference would obviously be one such way.

    But the USA is mighty and strong (none stronger): all needful safeguards were in place to circumvent such skulduggery! You would never expect the USA to go around whining that those nasty Russians/Iranians had messed with your elections, now would you?

    So, then, since Russia Iran and China are clearly to blame for everything that goes wrong in the USA – as is only fitting for Arch Enemies, what is all this wailing about interference now eh?

    With the present emphasis and profligate spending on national defense aren’t there safeguards in place to circumvent this sort of thing?

  18. TruNews reports that someone seems to be interfering with the physical wellbeing of American leaders.

    Mitch McConnell – Oct 15
    Look Ma, clean hands

    Mitch McConnell – Oct 20
    Hands & Lip battered, black & blue

    Was Mitch attempting a do-it-yourself Pelosi botox treatment?

    Rand Paul and Harry Reid have also sustained mysterious injuries. Reid has been pictured with his left eye, then his right eye badly battered.

    So did Chief Justice John Roberts — about 3 weeks before his surprising decision tipped the balance in the consequential case concerning disclosure of Trump’s financial records

    • Thanks: mark green
  19. anon[383] • Disclaimer says:

    No, really, bù hǎo, bignose.

    This is how conventional international law works : “caught in a web of living law from which they cannot extricate themselves without large cost, but in which they cannot remain without occasionally yielding to pressure for change.” Some Americans (like John Hargrove) knew this. CIA purged them all. None of the dimbulbs left in DoS have any idea.

  20. anon[276] • Disclaimer says:

    OK OK point taken, this awesome October surprise will go over the head of party dupes. Do knuckedraggers will never know what hit them. So let’s explain it at the see-spot-run run-spot-run level.

    The PRC bought CIA’s man Joe Biden like Hunter shellin’ out for a preteen Ukie fentanyl whore. Then the PRC said, “Ha ha. Look what I did.” It’s ABSCAM, only done by people with three-digit IQs, so it’s way funnier.

  21. @A123

    You really are a disagreeable little troll. I wish I could take that little emoticon you end all comments with, and have it knaw at your colonic polyps.
    But you, too, have the right to opinion, even if you are an obnoxious little Bolshevik cultist.
    By the way, who is on duty today? The style and content of your verbal diarrhoea sometimes border on the profound, but mostly just profane. Your troll team really should sit down and decide on one consistent line of rhetoric, this being all over the place makes “you” come across as seriously psychotic, dissociative, polyphrenic, bat shit crazy.
    But I like the guy that thinks before he speaks, he often contributes usefully. What’s his name? You should allow him his own username.

    • LOL: A123
  22. Jmaie says:
    @No Friend Of The Devil

    I can guarantee that if Iran and or Russia were interfering in U.S. elections, Trump and Biden would not be our candidates.

    That we are now having to decide between Trump and Biden would seem to be the strongest evidence of successful meddling…

    Therefore by the pug dog theory of simplistic pseudo-journalism, you must in fact be a foreign operative but I’m not sure for whom you might be working? Iran is too obvious given your surname and Andrea is more Greek than either Persian or Russian. Could also be an adopted name, possibly Italian, and of course many Iranians in the US came via Italy since they can generally pass as locals once learning the language. But of course you could also be a US agent working a false flag operation. Or could be you’ve intentionally let the curtain slip and it’s actually a false false flag operation which would be even stronger evidence of actual foreign meddling….

    I shall dig up a few confidential sources to verify my imaginings and offer my services to the NYT. Story to follow once I’ve had a bit more coffee and decided which version will appeal more to their readership. Thank you for the inspiration, whomever you really are – it’s obvious that Andrea Iravani cannot be a real person – you have no Wikipedia page.


  23. ‘That we are now having to decide between Trump and Biden would seem to be the strongest evidence of successful meddling…but I’m not sure for whom you might be working? ‘

    Who do both of them earnestly and without reservation support?

    • Replies: @Jmaie
  24. @showmethereal

    Only if the people investigating were ignorant or stupid or liars as everybody knows that the source can be attributed to somebody else. In the case of the Yanks, I think liars as the USA has plenty of intelligent experts. “We lie, we cheat, we steal” was an honest boast. [email protected]

  25. Jmaie says:
    @Colin Wright

    Who do both of them earnestly and without reservation support?

    I am amazed that anyone could take my little attempt at humor seriously…

  26. anon[425] • Disclaimer says:

    Ha. The SCO took out the real head of state, so it doesn’t matter who gets the presidential puppet ruler job

    Gina stuffed her staff with loyalists and fellow torture cowards to keep us from putting her in the glass booth for CIA crimes against humanity. Hope I meet her on a ferry so I can give her the ol’ McNamara shitplop salute.

  27. @anon

     ol’ McNamara shitplop salute.


Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Philip Giraldi Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.