This is a post about someone who may
be a criminal mastermind. But before we get to him, we must look at a matter which many of you may consider trivial.
Most of you know that Trump reposted an infantile doctored video in which a kayfabe fight from his wrestling days was transformed into an image of Trump battling CNN personified. This tweet created an instant brouhaha, with people on the left accusing Trump of encouraging violence against journalists. Frankly, the whole "controversy" struck me as overblown.
A CNN writer did some elementary digging
and discovered the online history and Facebook page of the man who conjured up this small bit of After Effects tomfoolery. As it turned out, this individual -- who went by the puerile handle of HanAssholeSolo -- had a habit of making anti-Jewish and racist statements. Han (if I may call him that) apologized for his online commentary, which he claimed was just innocent funnin'. In light of this apology, CNN decided to keep the man's identity hidden.
(I can only presume that Han's personal life might be disrupted in some way if his friends or co-workers learned the truth.)
Naturally, the right accused CNN of blackmail -- a hilarious charge, coming so soon after we learned that Trump had tried to blackmail the "Morning Joe" team. For some reason, rightist Jack Posobiec insists that "Han" is 15 years old. We are not told how Posobiec learned this "fact," which CNN denies. CNN says that Han is middle-aged.
So far, this brouhaha strikes me as a silly business, reminiscent of Gamergate or the Straw Hat Riot
. What can one say about a massive pillow fight in which all participants imagine themselves to be samurai and janissaries? But just as Gamergate had significance beyond itself, this inane battle over Trump's inane tweet offers an important glimpse into the workings of the far right.
From the Southern Poverty Law Center
Andrew Auernheimer, the notorious hacker and Internet troll known as ‘Weev,’ rallied the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer’s troll army for its latest campaign this morning, claiming that CNN was blackmailing a “teen shitposter.”
CNN obliged, on the condition that HanAssholeSolo remove his offending posts and cease his trolling, but that didn’t stop the self-proclaimed “real media” at the Daily Stormer from issuing an ultimatum to every staffer at CNN.
“Just like CNN tracked down this child and used media exposure as a bludgeon against him for posting (truthful and funny) things that they don’t like, we are going to begin tracking down their families as a bludgeon against them for publishing (seditiously fraudulent) things that we don’t like,” wrote Auernheimer. “CNN, this is your one singular chance to walk back this behavior of public blackmail. You have one week to fix this.”
Auernheimer’s list of demands includes the public firing of the KFile team, a denouncement of their alleged threats, a $50,000 college scholarship for HanAssholeSolo, and a public assurance that “he and his family will never be harmed by your organization.”
“We are going to track down your parents. We are going to track down your siblings. We are going to track down your spouses. We are going to track down your children. Because hey, that’s what you guys get to do, right? We’re going to see how you like it when our reporters are hunting down your children,” continued Auernheimer.
Auernheimer instructed CNN employees that do not want to be doxed to quit within the week and denounce the organization’s alleged blackmail.
“We didn’t make these rules – you did – and now we’re going to force you to play by them. Hope you enjoy what is coming, you filthy rat kike bastards. Kill yourselves, kike news fakers. You deserve every single bit of what you are about to get,” concluded Auernheimer.
Within hours, personal information for multiple CNN staffers and their family members -- alongside images and gifs of individuals with CNN superimposed over their faces being shot in the head -- appeared in the comments of the posting.
The incident is a rare moment of unity for the far-right with members of r/theDonald, 4chan, the Daily Stormer, and the alt-lite banding together to attack CNN.
The 4chan message board /pol/, which is dedicated to politically incorrect discussion, dubbed the campaign “Operation:Autism Storm” and posted a four part plan of attack that includes banding together with other far right sites, going after CNN’s advertisers, discrediting everyone at CNN, and forming a legal strategy for HanAssholeSolo should he later be doxed.
We can learn much from this insider's view of how the Trumpists organize.
For one thing, it would appear that the voice of an unabashed white supremacist carries far in Trumpworld. Auernheimer, whose previous website was called "Total Fascism," appears to play a "deniable leadership" role in that universe.
By the way: It seems that the term "meme" now has no meaning beyond "propaganda attack." Inevitably, meme
has become a verb, the phrase "The Left can't meme" having entered the Urban Dictionary
. My response: The left can
, but won't. Intelligent people don't meme; they write essays. Meming is for pathetic trolls who couldn't get laid if they walked into a whorehouse carrying a suitcase full of C-notes.
On the same day the SPLC published this expose of "Weev" and his campaign against CNN, this piece
by Dave Emory came to my attention. I strongly disagree with part of what he says, particularly the blind eye he turns toward Russia. (One of these days, I'll counter with a long piece about Putin and Alexander Dugin.) Nevertheless, that post offers useful information about Andrew Auerenheimer...
Guest at Glenn Greenwald’s party; apparent resident of Ukraine; probable author of the phony documents in the Macron hack
In related news, a group of cybersecurity researchers studying the Macron hack has concluded that the modified documents were doctored by someone associated with The Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website and Andrew “the weev” Auernheimer.
Auerenheimer was a guest at Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras’s party celebrating their receipt of the Polk award.
“ ‘We strongly believe that the fake offshore documents were created by someone with control of the Daily Stormer server,” said Tord Lundström, a computer forensics investigator at Virtualroad.org.’ . . .”
The public face, site publisher of The Daily Stormer is Andrew Anglin. But look who the site is registered to: Andrew Auernheimer (the site architect) who apparently resided in Ukraine as of the start of this year.
According to "Weev"'s Wikipedia page
, Auernheimer had come to the attention of the FBI when -- as a member of the hacker group Goatse Security -- he helped to expose an iPad security flaw and in the process revealed the data of more than 100,000 users. When his home in Arkansas was raided, police found copious amounts of drugs. All drug charges were dropped when he was charged with "one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and one count of fraud." (This show of leniency suggests a behind-the-scenes deal, of the sort that the government has often made with hackers.)
Auernheimer's conviction was vacated in 2014 on technical grounds. After his release, he revealed himself to be a neo-Nazi, proudly displaying his swastika tattoo in an online photograph. On his livejournal blog
, he writes that he has lived in Ukraine for more than a year, as of January 30, 2017.
To be honest, his advice to the Ukrainians has forced all of my former thoughts on Ukraine to go into rewrite. I'll offer but one paragraph:
Develop support amongst the alternative right. Trump's first political support base was far right Internet commentators and reactionary labor movements. It remains his core political base. Oleksandr Muzychko was the only Ukrainian appreciated by the alt-right and he was murdered. Most in the alt-right think he was silenced for his vocal opposition to so many Jews seizing power in Ukraine. Trump's political base wants to see the kind of spirited resistance to Jewish Communists that Muzychko displayed. Ukraine needs to find more men like him and make sure they adequately communicate their ideals to both Ukrainian and American audiences.
I print these words not to invite a discussion of Ukrainian matters or even Trumpian matters but to offer further insight into the way "Weev" thinks.
So. We have a major neo-Nazi Trump supporter with a background in hacking who has been living in Ukraine since late 2015. Question: Is it possible that Auernheimer, with his demonstrated hatred for the current government of his adopted country, might have had any connections to the December 2015 attack on Ukraine's power grid?
The hackers who struck the power centers in Ukraine—the first confirmed hack to take down a power grid—weren't opportunists who just happened upon the networks and launched an attack to test their abilities; according to new details from an extensive investigation into the hack, they were skilled and stealthy strategists who carefully planned their assault over many months, first doing reconnaissance to study the networks and siphon operator credentials, then launching a synchronized assault in a well-choreographed dance.
Ukraine was quick to point the finger at Russia for the assault. Lee shies away from attributing it to any actor but says there are clear delineations between the various phases of the operation that suggest different levels of actors worked on different parts of the assault. This raises the possibility that the attack might have involved collaboration between completely different parties—possibly cybercriminals and nation-state actors.
“This had to be a well-funded, well-trained team. … [B]ut it didn’t have to be a nation-state,” he says. It could have started out with cybercriminals getting initial access to the network, then handing it off to nation-state attackers who did the rest.
Although the exact chronology is difficult to work out, this incident seems to have taken place just as Weev established residency in Ukraine. Perhaps he was invited/imported into that country for the purpose of conducting this attack.
Six months later, Ukrainians were the major victims of a devastating ransomware attacks
Significantly, the majority of infections occurred in Ukraine, due to the main attack vector being a compromised version of an accounting program, ME Doc, used to file taxes in the nation. That has led to many, including the Ukrainian government, suspecting Russian involvement as part of the ongoing cyberwar between the two countries.
Hackers offering to decrypt files for money suggests that the cash motivation may be more significant than thought – but that too could be misdirection.
It is widely thought that Russia was responsible for this ransomware assault. While I would not be surprised to learn that Putin had foreknowledge or that he bore ultimate responsibility, I must point out that Ukraine was not
an epicenter for cyber attacks before Weev showed up. If the man can be responsible for a cyber-attack in France
, why shouldn't
he be considered a suspect in the recent Ukrainian attacks?
I don't know why the Ukrainians have not yet subjected Weev to some "extreme vetting." Suppose a Ukrainian former jailbird with extremist political beliefs and a professed hatred of our government decided to make a home in the United States. How would most Americans feel about such an immigrant?
A final note.
Despite his ugly references to "Jewish communists" and "kike bastards," Weev has claimed to be of part-Jewish descent
. His idolatrous attitude toward Donald Trump was not diminished when Trump gave over many of his duties to son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is Jewish. I am an old dog who will never get used to fascism's new tricks. Nevertheless, we have to understand that modern fascism is not the fascism which America fought in the 1940s. To at least some
extent, the old Nazis-vs-Jews paradigm no longer holds. That paradigm has been replaced with -- well, with something
, though I'm not sure what that "something" is. Both Nazis and Jews may be as unsure as I am.
Indeed, if you read the whole of Auernheimer's blog entry (plus the comments), one of the themes seems to be the split between Old School Nazism and New School Nazism.