Over the course of the last year, the ‘Russian hacking’ narrative has steadily deteriorated into accusations of nebulous Russian “collusion,” before morphing into claims of nefarious ‘Russian trolling.’ During this time, establishment interests have overtly attempted to use accusations of Russian interference to deflect from the DNC email’s revelation that the Democratic Party was caught red-handed in the destruction of the American democratic process. By the end of the year, the investigation into Russian meddling had devolved into an outright retaliatory witch-hunt, and the subversion of Democracy shown by the DNC had gone largely unaddressed.

The DNC emails published by Wikileaks were a flashpoint in two crucial facets of the 2016 Presidential election, and in controversy surrounding the results that continued well into 2017. First, DNC emails showed the Democratic establishment acting in a clearly partisan manner against Bernie Sanders and in favor of Hillary Clinton. The Observer wrote, in their article titled,”Wikileaks Proves Primary Was Rigged: DNC Undermined Democracy,” that: “Instead of treating Sanders with impartiality, the DNC exhibits resentful disdain toward him and the thousands of disenfranchised voters he could have brought into the party.” Quartz described the DNC’s antagonism towards Sanders: “The emails showed, among other things, that supposedly neutral DNC staffers were actively hostile to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.”

Though the American democratic process had shown obvious signs of corrosion prior to the publication of the DNC emails, their release proved a revelation and a vindication for millions of American citizens who felt that the effectiveness of their vote had steadily worn away in previous election cycles. The emails showed the degree to which the democratic process had been stripped of its integrity in a stark, shocking light.

Secondly, the publication of the DNC emails served as the starting point of the constantly evolving Russian hacking narrative, which has changed in the face of evidence within the chrysalis of media salivation from accusations of a “hack” to accusations of “collusion,” and finally, to accusations of mere Russian social media “trolling.” As Michael Tracey points out, even Russian ancestry is now treated as sufficient pretext for suspicion.

As an aside, it seems quite telling that establishment media views Clinton as such a weak candidate that despite the help of a legion of her own social media trolls under the direction of Media Matter’s “batshit crazy” David Brock, she could not surmount $100,000 in Facebook ads (roughly half of which were published after her election loss).

Soon after the DNC email’s initial publication, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Sanders supporters who argued that their donations had been given to the DNC under the pretense of the Democratic party establishment’s impartiality towards primary candidates. As the DNC emails readily showed, this was not the case. Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the suit included Jared and Elizabeth Lee Beck. During the proceedings, DNC defense council Bruce Spiva infamously argued that the party had the right to take donations and then pick a candidate. Spiva said in court:

“But here, where you have a party that’s saying, We’re gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we’re gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have — and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right…”

To put this statement in perspective, it is important to note that is directly contradicts Article 5, Section 4 of the DNC charter which explicitly requires the chair of the DNC to remain impartial during the primary. As US Uncut reported, the charter states:

“In the conduct and management of the affairs and procedures of the Democratic National Committee, particularly as they apply to the preparation and conduct of the Presidential nomination process, the Chairperson shall exercise impartiality and evenhandedness as between the Presidential candidates and campaigns. The Chairperson shall be responsible for ensuring that the national officers and staff of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process.”

The DNC Fraud lawsuit, and the Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case rapidly became the center of a battle for the rule of law. Disobedient Media reported on the statements of Attorneys Jared and Elizabeth Beck as well as their co-counsel, who related that they received alarming calls and threats. The events eventually prompted them to file a motion seeking protection in the case, which cited the deaths of Seth Rich and Shawn Lucas. The Becks have stated repeatedly that both Rich and Lucas would have been witnesses in their suit.

 

The harm alleged in the Beck’s motion for protection was not the last time that threats of violence would erupt in relation to the DNC Fraud lawsuit. After Disobedient Media reported that Wikileaks’ Julian Assange had compiled a number of ‘liberal’ accounts calling for his death, this author noted the account of Evan Ross, a Floridian Democrat. Disobedient Media reported on Ross’s public statement of willingness to personally kill both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Ross’s numerous social media posts showing Ross hugging Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, and members of the press. Later, Disobedient Media reported that former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is named as a defendant in the DNC Fraud suit, soon appeared remarkably affectionate towards Ross at a public event in Florida.

Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz embraces Evan Ross in Florida. Image: Geoff Campbell

The integrity of the Democratic Primary was further called into question after it emerged that the New York City Board of Elections admitted that it broke the law during the primary. Disobedient Media reported that the Department of Justice announced that the NYC Board of Elections broke federal law when it improperly purged nearly 120,000 Democratic Brooklyn voters from the rolls ahead of last April’s presidential primary. New York City Board of elections was reported to have admitted it broke Federal law last year, after “the number of active registered Democrats dropped there by 63,558 voters between November 2015 and April 2016. That translates into a 7 percent drop in registered Democrats in the borough.”

The report added to widespread allegations that the Democratic Party rigged the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton and the defense of such rigging by Bruce Spiva in open court as part of the DNC Fraud lawsuit proceedings. Despite the significance of the admission, legacy press failed to report on its significance, leaving it in a trail of other unreported stories who, when placed together as part of a larger whole, clearly demonstrate that the Democratic Party establishment actively worked against not only Bernie Sanders’ candidacy but the underlying structure of American democracy.

Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile also entered the fray, after publishing a book in which she wrote that the 2016 primary was rigged in favor of Clinton. Her assertion was at least briefly supported on cable news by Democratic party establishment favorite Elizabeth Warren.

This was not the first time that the American democratic process was thrown into question. In 2014 the BBC reported that a Princeton University had found that: “Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.” Effectively, the study indicated that corporate power had effectively usurped the voting rights of the public.

Nothing could have more aptly embodied corporate interference in the democratic process than former Google and Alphabet executive Eric Schmidt. Disobedient Media reported Schmidt’s continuous personal involvement in Clinton’s campaign from as early as 2014. He provided the Clinton camp with suggestions on how to developing the basic structure of her campaign as early as 2014, in addition to the donation of a Google plane for the campaign’s use. Schmidt recently stepped down unexpectedly from his executive position at Alphabet without naming a successor for unknown reasons.

Disobedient Media also reported that while under Schmidt’s leadership, Alphabet financed the cyber-security firm Crowdstrike with over $100 million through the Alphabet subsidiary, CapitalG. That Google’s parent company would finance the same entity whose allegations form the singular basis for claims that Russians hacked the DNC is particularly troubling given Schmidt’s intense involvement in Clinton’s campaign. It raises questions regarding the possibility that Crowdstrike fabricated claims of hacking in order to deflect from the damaging content in the DNC emails. If true, this would be a shockingly reckless attempt to cover up wrongdoing while also falsely implicating a nuclear-armed power.

A recent report by Adam Carter, published with Disobedient Media, fueled controversy surrounding Crowdstrike’s veracity in connection to the DNC servers. Carter’s astute report suggested the possibility that the company had planted malware on DNC servers. He wrote: ” The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were.”

Carter’s analysis lends additional credence to the interpretation that Crowdstrike had acted in an attempt to fabricate evidence of Russian hacking. Carter has previously pointed out the many instances of inconsistencies surrounding Crowdstrike, stating his belief that higher-ups at Crowdstrike may have gone so far as to participate in the creation of the Guccifer 2.0 persona.

This conclusion is supported by the groundbreaking work of the Forensicator, whose analysis of Guccifer2.0’s NGP-VAN  publication – specifically its metadata – indicated that the files had not been hacked from Eastern Europe, and were most likely copied locally. This groundbreaking study added to the conclusion that the Russian hacking narrative as characterized by Crowdstrike and often attributed to Guccifer2.0 acting as a ‘Russian hacker’ was deeply flawed if not an outright fabrication. During 2017, many have concluded that Crowdstrike, who had access to DNC servers, may have copied the data later published by the Guccifer 2.0 persona as part of efforts to preemptively discredit Wikileaks’ publication of the DNC emails.

Image Credit: Crowdstrike.

If such an interpretation were to be proven correct, it would not be the first time that the upper echelon of Crowdstrike would be involved in a fabricated or compromised hacker’s persona. Shawn Henry currently serves as President of Crowdstrike and has formerly held the position of “Executive Assistant Director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Service Branch of the FBI, ” according to press reports. As Adam Carter has pointed out, Henry was thought by some to have been a handler for the hacker known as Sabu. Carter wrote:

“While both Guccifer 2.0 and the FBI’s compromise of Sabu are half a decade apart, there is something that connects both these personas besides the specious hacking claims I’ve seen through. It turns out that, while compromised by the FBI, Sabu’s handler at the time the hacking claims were made is one of the two people I’ve concluded are most likely to be behind Guccifer 2.0. In other words, both of the high-profile, questionable hacking claims that I’ve spotted during the past 6-7 years have had some connection to Shawn Henry. Not only this, I recently discovered a blog entry in which an author was questioning the authenticity of Guccifer 2.0 the day after he appeared; specifically, questioning whether it was a “Pseudohacktivist” managed by Henry. So, it seems, on top of everything else, Henry has a track record for overseeing operations that have involved questionable hacks and high-tech counterintelligence efforts as well as the hacking of numerous foreign organizations.”

As Carter writes in his report, other independent media articles have questioned Henry’s role in compromising the hacker known as Sabu in connection with the creation of the Guccifer 2.0 persona.

Adding to this concerning picture, Disobedient Media reported on the media silence surrounding Wikileaks’ publication of Vault 8 documents. Wikileaks wrote of Vault 8: “This publication will enable investigative journalists, forensic experts and the general public to better identify and understand covert CIA infrastructure components. Source code published in this series contains software designed to run on servers controlled by the CIA.” This publication was extremely significant because it showed that American intelligence agencies had the ability to impersonate a Russian anti-virus company, and had in fact done so. Unsurprisingly, the legacy press was utterly silent on the matter.

 

This author wrote in response to Wikileaks’ publication: “One of the key points that can be drawn from Wikileaks’ release of Vault 8 is that the CIA had the capability to pretend to be Kaspersky Lab, and that in fact they did impersonate them… This  revelation is significant because it directly illustrates the capability of US intelligence agencies to create false attribution. Likewise, the publication of Vault 7’s ‘Marble Framework‘ earlier this year revealed issues of misattribution.”

Furthermore, legacy press and the authorities’ own definition of what constitutes Russian hacking, then collusion, then trolling, has shifted dramatically during the last twelve months, until it has finally devolved into an outright attempt to stamp out any and all dissent in the face of corrupt power structures.

An investigation into the matter spearheaded by Robert Mueller devolved into an outright retaliatory witch-hunt against that appeared especially pointed towards those who posed a threat to Clinton in the 2016 election. Wikileaks supporters and Green party members were thrown onto the “Russian collusion” pyre. Disobedient Media covered the mutation of the ‘Russian collusion’ allegations against Wikileaks supporter, comedian, journalist and human rights activist Randy Credico, as well as former Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein.

In summary, the investigation of Russian collusion has amounted to a witch hunt in retaliation against those who threaten the oligarchic American status quo. It has amounted to a lackluster attempt to gaslight the public in hopes of preventing the realization that the power of their vote has effectively been stripped from them. Dissenters across the political spectrum, as well as those who provide evidence of the breakdown of American democracy, have been systematically punished for speaking out. Disobedient Media reported repeatedly on the increasingly overt censorship of independent voices over the last year.

Russian hacking, censorship, and Democratic party corruption were not the only issues of importance in 2017. Disobedient Media’s William Craddick reported on the important ongoing issues stemming from Chinese state interests enmeshing themselves in US political and media circles. Legacy press has sparsely reported on the problems that could arise from Chinese state influence in American political structures.

Compounding the issue, Disobedient Media reported on the Chinese buy-out of a number of Hollywood entities. The influence the buyout may have in future remains uncertain, but the subject is a key and underreported issue that may become the focus of larger media outlets in future. While establishment press rants hysterically about Russian Facebook ads, they ignore China’s purchase of entire American media structures. Craddick also reported on topics ranging from Saudi ArabiaTurkey, and reddit’s lenience towards a sub-forum that championed an AMA with an Al-Qaeda affiliate.

Meanwhile, Disobedient Media’s Kenneth Whittle provided consistent coverage of the Awan scandal, corruption within the State Department, and James Comey’s improper exoneration of Clinton amidst her emails scandal months before key witnesses were interviewed in the case.

Human Trafficking was also an important issue this year, especially after revelations of alleged sexual assault perpetrated by media figures like Harvey Weinstein. Disobedient Media published numerous articles on the subject, which is often ignored by establishment press.

None of Disobedient Media’s reporting on the issue was more significant than the testimony of human trafficking victim Greg Bucceroni, and the corroboration of important aspects of his allegations by multiple government records. The report confirmed the existence of an East Coast child sex trafficking network previously discussed in a FOIA published by Disobedient Media. Bucceroni’s allegations raised innumerable questions regarding the systemic misuse of philanthropic groups for the purpose of accessing vulnerable children. Disobedient Media also provided coverage of the Silsby scandal, questioned the legitimacy of humanitarian aid groups, and discussed the under-reported human trafficking issues surrounding paramilitary groups including Dyncorp.

Towards the latter half of 2017, this author embarked on a joint project called ‘DecipherYou,’ founded by the Internet Party’s Suzie Dawson.  The DecipherYou live stream events represent a never-before-seen glimpse into Snowden files that have never seen adequate press scrutiny. The project represents a world-first journalism initiative that encourages the public to participate in a real-time research. Disobedient Media recently published an overview of DecipherYou findings, ranging from the revelation of the NSA’s interference with foreign banking institutions to the agency’s self-described responsibility for failed intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq.

As the new year begins, all of us at Disobedient Media would like to thank our readers for their tireless support over the last twelve months. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the numerous sources who have entrusted this outlet with the responsibility of providing an honest and accurate representation of their stories and findings. Disobedient Media looks forward to continuing to cover the stories that legacy press ignores, and to report the truth when establishment media enshrines false narratives as we head into the coming year.

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Co-Founder and Editor in Chief at Disobedient Media.