The Alfa Bank/Trump Cabal to Destroy HRC’s Candidacy Exposed

Out there in some Domain Name Servers is a domain with the name {mail1.trump-email.com} (without the braces) and if you do a DNS lookup you will find its IP address is 66.216.133.29 which is shown to belong to Cendyn  a company that does e-mail marketing for 30,000 hotel clients.  The actual e-mail operation is outsourced to Listrak, which actually owns and operates the server.  In reality the actual hardware is located in a Data Center in Philadelphia, about a hundred miles from Trump Tower.

In June of 2007 Cendyn began providing its services to The Trump Organization:

Cendyn, the leader in interactive marketing for the hospitality industry,
has been selected as The Trump Organization’s exclusive interactive
marketing agency. Implementation of Cendyn’s products and services will
enhance The Trump Organization’s global online presence which includes
the website http://www.trump.com, along with more than 50 private label
websites for Trump owned properties and investments (real estate, golf
and hotel).

All rather routine, until 5:36 PM, October 31, 2016 when Franklin Foer published an article in Slate Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?   He cites “group of computer scientists” who speculate, based on analysis of ” nearly comprehensive logs of communication between servers”.  One of these scientist, code named Tea Leaves in the article, found “what looked like malware emanating from Russia. The destination domain had Trump in its name, which of course attracted Tea Leaves’ attention.  He and some cyber-security friends concluded:

The irregular pattern of server lookups actually resembled the pattern of human conversation—conversations that began during office hours in New York and continued during office hours in Moscow. It dawned on the researchers that this wasn’t an attack, but a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa Bank.

This may have been what Harry Reid was referencing in his October 30th letter to FBI James Comey:

ReidLetter

Asked what evidence exists of such a connection, Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson cited classified briefings.

“There have been classified briefings on this topic,” Jentleson said. “That is all I can say.”

Shortly after the Slate article, HRC posted, via Twitter (I assume the time stamp represents a different time zone rather than advanced knowledge):
HRCTweet

On November 1st the first debunking of the Slate story started appearing, via major sources (Forbes, NY Times, Snopes) and was followed by blogs of technology reporters and other computer scientists (Errata Security, Verge  , Vox and others) .

Slate followed up on November 2, discounting the arguments against the theory that something nefarious was taking place between the Cendyn server and Alfa bank.  Foer prefaced his response with:

Publication of my article was quickly followed by responses from the Trump campaign and Alfa Bank, both of which offered more detailed accounts of the server activity than they had provided when I’d asked them for comment. My piece also elicited a series of valuable objections and credible alternate theories from technology reporters and other computer scientists. I take these seriously and believe they also deserve public airing and exploration. Several of the critiques of the hypothesis offered by the experts in my piece offer simpler, more benign explanations for the server activity.

The Trump Campaign response:
TrumpReply

In his conclusion he acknowledges that it was reported that the FBI had investigated the server:

As the New York Times reported on Tuesday, after my story published, the FBI looked into the server activity but “ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.”

But he persist in he belief in the nefarious activity:

Or maybe it’s less than innocent, as the computer scientists suggested and still believe. (I’ve checked back with eight of the nine computer scientists and engineers I consulted for my original story, and they all stood by their fundamental analysis. One of them couldn’t be reached.) I concluded my account of these scientists’ search for answers by arguing that the servers and their activity deserved further explanation. Hopefully my story and the debate that has followed will move us closer to a fuller understanding.

 

 

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Democrats on Committee on the Judiciary Failed to Adequately Vet Jeff Sessions

Based on all of the current brouhaha in the mainstream press about the two meetings of Sen. Jeff Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak it is clear that the Democrats on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary failed to adequately vet Sen. Sessions.

In more than 10 hours of testimony [1] [2] and a questionnaire of more than 700 questions [3], they failed to ask the simple question:

“Senator Sessions, what contact have you had with Russian emissaries since President Elect Trump announced his intention to run on June 16th, 2015?”

Instead Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) posed the following written question [4]:

“Several of the President-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?”

To which Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al.) answered without any ambiguity:

“No”

And Sen. Al Franken (D -Mn.) asked, in the hearing:

“CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, ‘Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.’ These documents also allegedly say quote, ‘There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.’

“Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

To which Sen. Sessions answered:

“Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

If he had been a little more explicit and replied:

“Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t, in my role as a surrogate  —  I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

Then the issue of his meetings, in his role as a Republican Senator, with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, at the RNC convention and in his Senate office would be moot.

It is clear that the subject of the reply was “those activities” e.g. “evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the  Russian government in the course of this campaign

Google give “undergoing the specified process” as the definition of “in the course of”

Thus the allegation that Sen. Sessions perjured himself, lied, or mislead congress are patently ridiculous, in my opinion.

$40 M Double Diamond Interchange

A Double Diamond Interchange (DDI) is under construction at the intersection of I-95 & SR-2oo in Yulee, at a cost of $39,980,000, before the normal cost overruns.  Historically 82% of highway projects over $5 M have cost overruns.  FDOT held an open house Thursday (2/23/17).  In promotional information FDOT claims:

This will be a significant improvement in safety, since long left turns crossing traffic lanes to enter or exit the Interstate will be eliminated. Additionally, the DDI promotes added efficiency with only two clearance intervals (the time for traffic signals to change from green to yellow to red) instead of the six or more found in other interchange designs.

The supporting safety information is an analysis of the performance of a DDI at the intersection of I-44 & Route 13 in metropolitan Springfield, Missouri.

Looking at the subject of safety first.  “Lt. Renee Graham, Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations, said the current interchange at I-95 and S.R. 200/A1A “has a high crash rate,” adding that she hopes that the DDI would result in fewer crashes.”

Let me digress for a moment.  As an engineer it was drilled into me to NEVER use the word hope always uses either expect or plan.  Also high crash rateis a subjective term, I would hope NCSO has data.

The report (op cit) cites a prior 5 year (2004 – 2008)  prior accident average of 114 incidents and a post (Aug 2009 – Aug 2010) incident rated of 56, a 46% reduction.  It would be interesting to see a 5 year post analysis (Aug 2009 – Aug 2014) analysis, but evidently no one has done the analysis.

John Stack (vice chair Nassau County Planning and Zoning Board) raised the option of a Flyover Interchange, which he, and I, expect would be a safer alternative, if safety is the major concern.

The efficiency of the DDI is often cited, but the data does not support any significant improvement.

ddi_eff
These results (op cit) are based on a computer model, not measured data.  The total AM traffic volume was 2095 vehicles per hour entering/exiting I-44 and a PM volume of 1890 vehicles per hour.  It would be interesting to see the corresponding data FDOT has for our interchange.  Downtown Springfield vs Nassau County, it should be a significant difference.

There is a 8% improvement in AM total delay and 12% increase in PM total delay.  Likewise AM total stops decreased by 7% and PM total stops increase 11%.  Aggregated the delay time increased 3.5%.  So much for improved efficiency.

 

 

 

Fake News: How the Clickbait Site Create It.

What Happened

On January 31st, after an overnight flight,  Sidd Bikkannavar, an engineer at California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Ca., arrived at the gate, at 5:00 am.  He was changing planes at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.  Since it was his port of arrival in the US he was required to clear customs before boarding his connecting flight at 6:40.  He had just spent two weeks competing in a solar power car race from the tip of Chile to Santiago [1].  The trip was not work related, but he carried his work phone in case the office wanted to contact him.

Sidd is a Global Entry card holder, which allows him expedited Custom and Boarder Protection passage via a kiosk where his passport and finger prints are scanned to verify identity, and a receipt is printed which allows him to exit without further inspections.

kiosk5

But that didn’t happen this time, his receipt had a bold X printed across it.  He presented it to the agent and was promptly taken to a holding area.  After about 40 minutes he was taken to to an interview room.  The agent ignored Sidd’s bags and ask for his cell phone and pin.  Sidd was reluctant, he was carrying his “work” phone.  The agent had provided Sidd with a document titled “Inspection of Electronic Devices” when he first entered the room.  Sidd relented and gave the agent the pin.  He was taken back to the holding area.

After about 30 minutes the agent returned and gave Sidd back his phone, informing him that CBP had run “algorithms” on the device to search for threats. It came up clean, so Bikkannavar was free to go.

Sidd was concerned that his social media had been compromised, so he closed down his accounts.  He eventually reactivated his account and posted details of what happened on Facebook.

siddpost

How It Got Reported

On Feb 12th the online publication The Verge published a story based on the FB post and a phone interview by Loren Grush. The headline “A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone”

Sidd is not  a NASA employee, nor a scientist, he is a software engineer.

The article brought up the fact that it was after the President’s Immigration Executive Order:

“four days after the signing of a sweeping and controversial executive order on travel into the country. The travel ban caused chaos at airports across the United States, as people with visas and green cards found themselves detained, or facing deportation.”

Which had absolutely nothing to do with a US Citizen, with Global Entry returning to US.

They continued:

Seemingly, Bikkannavar’s reentry into the country should not have raised any flags. Not only is he a natural-born US citizen, but he’s also enrolled in Global Entry — a program through CBP that allows individuals who have undergone background checks to have expedited entry into the country. He hasn’t visited the countries listed in the immigration ban and he has worked at JPL — a major center at a US federal agency — for 10 years.

Implying that it must have something to do with previously mentioned EO and his non Anglo-Saxon surname.

They added:

Bikkannavar noted that the entire interaction with CBP was incredibly professional and friendly, and the officers confirmed everything Bikkannavar had said through his Global Entry background checks. CBP did not respond to a request for comment.

The site SecondNexus.com picked up the story, on the 13th,  with the headline “U.S.-BORN SCIENTIST DETAINED, FORCED TO UNLOCK NASA PHONE AT BORDER”
The phone now belongs to NASA not California Institute of Technology.

They finished with:

CBP has not responded to requests for comment. Last, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed complaints against CBP for demanding that Muslim American citizens give up their social media information when they return home from traveling overseas.

Note: The social media questions pre-date the current administration.

Implying that Sidd was stopped because his Indian surname could have been mistaken for Muslim.  The only problem is because of his Global Entry background check they would have known this wasn’t true.  And Global Entry should have preclude confusing his name with any similar name on a watch list.

Then the clickbait site thewrap.com morphed it into “US-Born Muslim Scientist Detained, Forced to Unlock NASA Phone” with no citation on their source that Sidd was of the Muslim faith.  IMHO they jumped to the conclusion from the CAIR reference above.

The Times of India picked up the story today (14th) with the headline; “Indian-origin Nasa scientist detained at US border, phone confiscated”.  Some of their story:

A US-born Nasa scientist of Indian-origin was detained by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) authorities on his return to America from a trip to Chile and pressured into unlocking his phone, amid an anxious debate on how far the Trump administration intends to take the “extreme vetting” that it has promised and whether it would be applied to more recent US-citizens of foreign origin.

With his light skin and long brown locks, Bikkannavar does not look very “foreign” (or “Muslim” as some reports erroneously described him; his last name is from the Hubli-Dharwad region in North Karnataka).

… aside from the profiling it ostensibly involved,…

There is growing concern in liberal civil liberties circles over whether such vetting will also be imposed on US citizens and permanent residents of “foreign origin”, with some commentators arguing that Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” is a thinly-disguised attempt to “Make America White Again.”

What I think Happened

I will go out on a limb and speculate that CBP/Global Entry flagged Sidd’s phone because the number had been picked up by one of the three letter agencies motoring some suspicious number in Chile or pinged on a cell tower in a suspicious location being monitored.

 

 

Metamorphosis of a UK news story into a Trump hate piece.

A progressive friend on FB, who post a lot of “click bait” Trump hating news stories recently posted a story originally on Alternativemediasyndicate.com (AMS) that was posted on FB by FreakOutNation (FON), the “click bait” site on FB in this case.  At the time of this writing FON had 811 likes and 662 shares of the story.  They also have a domain; freakoutnation.com.  Both domains hide behind proxies, WHOISGUARD, INC in the case of FON and Registration Private Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC in the case of AMS.

The headline “Trump Supporter “Kicked Pregnant Muslim Woman In Stomach Killing Unborn Twins” with a graphic picture of an injured woman lying on the ground.

pregnant-muslimah-678x381
Photo from AMS

It turns out that the incident took place in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK vice America as implied by “Trump Supporter”.

An image search on Google and Google UK found no matches, leading me to believe that the photo was never published in any of the UK reports of the incident.  The AMS site has a propensity to use unrelated photos in their stories.  A story on a 2016 pipeline leak featured an image of a 2008 pipeline fire.

The August 6, 2017 incident was widely reported in the UK press (Guardian, Sun, Standard, Huffington Post UK, Metro, Telegraph and others).

The Metro reported under the headline “Man charged over racist attack in which woman lost unborn twins”

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/02/06/man-charged-over-racist-attack-in-which-woman-lost-unborn-twins-6430971/#ixzz4Y6EcdH2z

The Huffington Post, UK edition, ran this headline “Pregnant Woman Loses Baby After ‘Racist’ Attack In Milton Keynes”

Read more: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:t7pbhpZdFuoJ:www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/pregnant-woman-loses-her-baby-after-racist-attack-in-milton-keynes_uk_57d812c1e4b0a32e2f6ce9da+&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Now for the AMS story:

A MAN was charged today charged over a race attack on a pregnant woman who later lost her unborn twin babies.

[Today would be September 13/14, 2017, the date he was arrested and charged.]

David Gallacher, 37, is accused of assaulting the mum-to-be by kicking her in the stomach as she walked close to a mosque.

[All UK reports indicate “The woman was attacked as she returned to her car from a shop at 198 Water Eaton Road”.  The closest Mosque is over a half mile away.]

Gallacher has been bailed to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court
He also allegedly attacked a man who tried to intervene during the incident in Milton Keynes, Bucks., last August.

The unnamed woman, who is a mum-of-four, was forced to flee her home in fear as a result of the assault.

[Not reported in any of the UK sources I looked at published in September, it was reported in February 6 Sun story.]

Her 40-year-old husband also had to give up his job as a taxi driver to stay home and reassure his traumatised wife.

[Not reported in any of the UK sources I looked at published in September, it was reported in February 6 Sun story.]

He also allegedly attacked a man who tried to intervene during the incident in Milton Keynes, Bucks., last August.

Before they were scrubbed, social media pages, including Facebook indicated Gallacher was a “fan” of Donald Trump.

[A little vague in the tie to Trump, “indicated” & “fan” don’t translate as supporter to me.  No screen captures provided.]

[Support – to uphold (a person, cause, policy, etc.) by aid, countenance, one’s vote, etc.; back; second.  How does a homeless man in UK “aid” “countenance” or “vote” for DJT?]

[Report is dated September 13/14 based on today above.  If they were “scrubbed” at that time how did AMS gain access to them before they were scrubbed?]

[A Google UK search for “Trump +”Milton Keynes” +pregnant” produced no results leading me to believe that the FB reference may be false, supported by a search “”david gallacher” “milton keynes” +facebook” which found no results.]

Gallacher was today charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, assault by beating and two counts of racially/religiously aggravated assault.

[A charge of “child destruction” in the death of the twins, has not been filed, it is very difficult to prove in an English court.]

He has also been charged with three counts of assaulting a constable as they arrested a man in a separate incident on September 14 last year.

Gallacher, of no fixed abode, has been bailed to appear at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court on 14 March.

After publishing this article, I found that Snopes.com also published a review of the claim, also finding it a mixture.

Is “Muslim Ban” the Right’s version of the Left’s “Assault Weapon Ban”?

Are they both the bogeyman used to stir up the base?

To continue with this discussion I must first define “assault weapon”.  The definition varies among jurisdictions I will us California’s definition as it is among the strictest.

“assault weapon” shall also mean any of the following:

  1. A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
    1. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
    2. A thumbhole stock.
    3. A folding or telescoping stock.
    4. A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
    5. A flash suppressor.
    6. A forward pistol grip.
  2. A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
  3. A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.
  4. A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:
    1. A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.
    2. (B) A second handgrip.
    3. A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning his or her hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
    4. The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.
  5. A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.
  6. A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:
    1. A folding or telescoping stock.
    2. A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.
  7. A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
  8. Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

SENATE BILL 23 ASSAULT WEAPON CHARACTERISTICS

NB! An assault weapon is NOT an automatic weapon, automatic weapons were banned by the National Firearms Act of 1934.

An I will also propose the following working definition of “Muslim Ban” as implemented by  Executive Order on January 27, 2017 EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES

Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libra, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen)

Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.

entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.

Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.

They are both unsupported by any data.  There is no data showing that legal immigrants (tourists/students/green card holders/asylum seekers/refugees) from the seven countries covered by the ban have been involved in a terror attack.  While there is data supporting attacks by immigrants of other countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Likewise there is no data showing that any of the cosmetic features that define an assault weapon have played any roll in the lethality of any mass shooting.  An argument could be made relative to the 10 round magazine, as larger (15 round) magazines were used in some cases, but they were legal in the local jurisdiction.   It is also a popular misconception that assault weapons are automatic weapon.

“I would be willing to bet that at least 50 [percent] to 60 percent of the people who are calling these things assault weapons and assault rifles really think they’re machine guns, among the media,” he said. “Among the general public, it’s probably up around the 80 [percent]-to-90 percent range.”

Bob Owens, editor of the website Bearing Arms in Washington Times article  http://tinyurl.com/zt5uyu6

One of the earliest mass shooting, the Texas Tower Shooting (1966) killed 16 people and did not involve an assault rifle.  One study of 133 mass shooting between 2009 and 2015 found that 11% involved “assault weapons” but as previously postulated no study I have found purports to attribute the features of a assault weapon added to the lethality.

Refugee Vetting Reviewed

 

The LA Time ran an article where they reviewed the vetting of a refugees, quoting Noah Gottschalk a Washington-based senior humanitarian policy advisor for Oxfam America; “Refugees are more scrutinized than other traveler to the U.S. …”  [I would hope so, it would be interesting to know the reject rate, do 99.9% pass?]

Here are the bullet points of the existing process, with comments:

  • United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, determines, usually [more than 50% of the time?] through an interview :
    • whether an applicant qualifies under international laws for refugee status
      • collects identity documents,
      • biographical information,
      • and biometric data, such as iris scans for Syrians
        [are the iris scan verified with the Syrian government? The iris scan and other biometric data can be used to confirm the id as the process goes forward, but in my view is of limited value in doing background.]
  • Refugee support centers, contracted by the U.S. State Department, compile a refugee’s personal data and background information for the security clearance process and an in-person interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
    [my security clearance verified my employment history, criminal background check, interviewed my references and neighbors, possibly monitored by activities for 24 hours (this may be urban legend), likely ran a credit check … .  This process took 18 – 24 months, with full access to records.  Most if not all of this is impossible for a displaced refugee.]
  • State Department checks the refugee’s name against a “watch list.”
    • Certain refugees might be required to undergo an additional security review, according to the agency’s checklist.
      [Would this process detect an ISIS plant, with a valid, but false Syrian passport and reasonably “legend” to borrow a term from 007 movies.  It would be interesting to know failure rate.]
  • National Counterterrorism Center conducts an inter-agency check on certain applicants, such as males considered to be of combat age and those who are single with no family commitments or ties, to determine if any new “derogatory information” has come up since the initial check that might disqualify the applicant.
    [At this point, the individual is identified by name and any documents they have provided, their fingerprints have been run against our database, which reportedly includes prints collected from the battlefield and raids on terrorist compounds. Also intelligence from electronic intercepts and “sources”.  It would be interesting to see metric of how many hits are found.  Note: the Boston  marathon bombers had “family commitments or ties”]
  • Syrian refugees referred for resettlement in the U.S. face additional screening.
  • Once an applicant is cleared to move forward, Citizenship and Immigration Services officers conduct another in-person interview that includes any family member older than 14.
    [again it would be interesting to see metric of number of rejects.]

    • The officers collect the applicant’s fingerprints and photographs and determine whether the individual qualifies as a refugee.  [what happened to UN biometric data?  Is the system so flawed that this is necessary?]
  • The applicant’s fingerprints are screened by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense before the candidate for resettlement is sent for medical tests to ensure that he or she is free of any communicable diseases “that could pose a public health threat,” according to USCRI.
  • Once the results of the security checks and medical screening have been cleared, the refugee is approved for resettlement.

See Washington Post article Refugees are already vigorously vetted. I know because I vetted them for a first hand review of process, which appears to be a series of interviews, looking for discrepancies.