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French Election Hack: What do we know so far…

More elections. More hacking. The same headlines with slightly different words. This time it’s in France. This time the “victim” is Emmanuel Macron. The “outsider”, “independent” candidate, a man who completely unexpectedly rose to political prominence on the back of nothing more than a career in high-finance and a platform of telling rich people exactly what they wanted to hear.

So what questions does this new hack raise?

Firstly, what do we know?

So far, not much. The information itself may well be meaningless. Like so many leaks, dumps and hacks there is a glut of data…plus it is all in French, so most UK/US based alternate media will have to be patient with translations. Scanning through it is like panning for gold. It will take dedicated internet users months to sift it all…and in the end there may be no nuggets at all, just a bunch of mud.

Perhaps a more interesting question is – “why now?”

The “hack” (as it is being called, historically speaking it is far more likely a “leak”), was first mentioned weeks ago. The Macron campaign jumped on the Clinton bandwagon to denounce “interference” in French democracy. If this data is a result of that hack…why the large delay?

There’s really only three answers for that – either it wasn’t that hack that got this information. It was that hack, but it took weeks to de-encrypt it all. Or…it was deliberately timed. Given that this is the weekend of the election, during the 48 hour period before polling when French law bans campaigning, you have to imagine it was the latter option.

So why during the silent two days?

The mainstream argument is that it gives Macron no time to respond to any of the revelations, and thus does damage to his image without granting him a right of reply.

On the other hand, there is so much data that there will be barely enough time to read any of it before the polls open tomorrow. And, of course, if Macron can’t defend himself then La Pen can’t attack him. This info could have done her a world of good if it had been released prior to the TV debate last week.

There is weight on both sides of that argument.

What has the response been?

It went viral pretty quickly across the usual channels. There were hashtags, it was all over 4chan. The kind of places you’d expect.

The mainstream media haven’t mentioned it much – except to say it happened. The French government sent out letters telling French media not to publish any of the hacked e-mails under threat of prosecution.The reason given?

…in order not to alter the integrity of the vote…”

Yes, the press publishing information that might change voters’ minds undermines the vote’s integrity. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, of course. All that matters is that WE shouldn’t have it, so we have to act like we don’t. Knowing a politicians secrets is bad form, after all.

That’s how far we’ve come, the press are being actively prevented from publishing information that could impact an election because it “might be mixed with false information”. Not IS false information, you understand. So far none of it has been shown to be false at all. No, it just “might” be “mixed with” false information.

It’s important to point out that this government letter forbidding the publishing of hacked information is not a secret. It’s everywhere. They are flaunting it in our faces that the government can call the shots of the press, and the press will happily oblige.

In that way it offers an interesting test – how will the public react to flagrant and undeniable control of the media by the state? Maybe that’s what it was for. Just an elaborate experiment.

What impact will it have?

On the election result? Probably none. It happened very late in the game. Granted, a year of Brexit and Trump have made predicting elections harder than it used to be. But the Macron camp has all the backing it needs to win it at a canter, and all the money they need to fix it…should they have to. Granted, all that was also said about the US election last autumn, but – for all his numerous faults – Macron is nothing like the disaster of a candidate that Clinton was. That is, obviously, not saying much.

The real impact of this may not be felt ’til after the election, when a newly empowered “liberal” President turns his gaze on the “disinformation” and “fake news” that almost “subverted French democracy”.

Macron has already banned RT and Sputnik from covering his campaign, and has accused both outlets of various things…for which he is currently being sued. He may well move to expel them from the country entirely. And that would set a terrible precedent.

The stage is set for an all-out attack on alternate news sources, in the name of protecting liberty, equality and fraternity.

So…who did it then?

Well…the Russians, obviously. I mean, there’s no evidence of that yet, but who else would want Le Pen to win? Except, you know, a few million French people. WikiLeaks have helpfully pointed out that some of the metadata has cyrillic characters. The cyber equivalent of having snow on your boots.

At this point it could have been anyone.

It could be an actual hack carried out by real Le Pen followers in the hope of swinging the election.

It could be an actual hack carried out by fake Le Pen followers in order to make her look bad and swing the vote to Macron.

It could be a completely contrived PR exercise conceived by Macron’s campaign in order to make the French people fear their democracy is under attack, and jump on the “Russian hackers” bandwagon.

It could be a real attack, carried out by GCHQ or the CIA in order to implicate Russia and lend credence to the (frankly absurd) “Russia got Trump elected” meme.

It could simply be a handy media distraction to keep people talking about a non-issue as the peace process in Syria finds some small measure of success.

It could be a planted “fake news” story intended to undermine the image of “alternate media” and allow the government to crackdown on freedom of speech dangerous misinformation.

It could be the work of bored and disillusioned millennial hackers who just want to stir the pot.

It could be some hellish mix of all of the above.

Who the hell even knows anymore.


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12 Comments

  1. JJA says

    Has anyone as yet, done any research into whether or not the Macron leak is fake data or he genuinely does have offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands? Noone seems to be asking that question. As with the Clinton email hack, the content and her behavious were pretty much ignored by the MSM in the rush to condemn the leak itself – and attribute the blame to the MSM fav bogeyman VV Putin.

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  2. Paul Baker says

    Reuters were confidentially saying that the hacking came from a far right group in New York. Nobody in Europe seems to have read that!

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  3. rtj1211 says

    What does hacking Macron’s computer systems do to cause people to vote differently.

    You need to hack electoral roll databases and eliminate reams of Macron supporters (assuming you know who they are) so they do not get cards or whatever to allow them to vote.

    Al this never ending nonsense about Russia hacking elections should lead to elimination from public life. Macron would not play this stunt if he were kicked out of the contest…..

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  4. John says

    Apparently, there is a lot more information available on-line but you need to know where to look and – of course – it is all in French.
    One commentator opined that the level of sophistication involved was relatively low so that accusing state-level actors makes no sense at all.
    It could well end up being a juvenile jape by some teenager in a bedroom – who knows?
    Does anyone care – except for the much wider consequences and ramifications?
    There is always a danger of reading too much into incidents like these.
    The National Assembly elections taking place in 6 weeks time could be the real target of the hacked data.
    A large Front National presence there would mean a much different Macron presidency.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Obfuscation by all and any means is sowing confusion to disrupt or prevent and deny communication from taking place.
    In the outer world of effects this can be enacted or outpictured as officially allowed reality or narrative control that includes and uses ‘controlled opposition’ or rather an illusion of opposition made ‘real’ by limited conflicts or token sacrifice.
    But in yourself these patterns of not knowing who you are – operate under the assertion of continuity of defences against who you fear to be revealed or exposed as. Guilted fear expects attack and attacks first as the best defence. Hence the accusation of the ‘other’ for the very transgression one engages in.

    On the other hand – the bringing of such ‘mind-dissociation’ to light of a simple awareness is to recognize its insanity or futility relative to who you truly are and persisting in it costs the recognition of who you are the being of in exchange for a mind set in conflict resolution that is unresolvable by design – not because life and resources cannot be harnessed or indeed sacrificed to its ’cause’ – but because the conflict is a false oppositional construct of ‘divide and rule out’. It is what is ruled out that has been rendered ‘unconscious’ and defended against. While the attempt to rule over is painful, self-sacrificing worship of self-illusion – that yet holds the lure of the wish to power fuelled by a sense of being denied and deprived or unsupported and abandoned.

    Insane conflict may lead to questioning Everything – rather than escalating conflict through the sacrifice of more energy and attention – which makes the false oppositional conflict of the attempt to control and the fear of losing control. These two are one!

    Now I share this as I found it – and my part is to be found in it – not to ‘tell’ you anything you don’t already know or are in the opening to the knowing of.

    What is the oppositional ‘will’?
    Is it the Promethean claim to light and life ‘stolen’ from the ‘gods’? Or the helpless subjection to torture inflicted?
    Is it the fruit of the tree of the knowing of ‘good AND evil’? As the perception-experience of a guilted struggle of temporary and pained existence?

    Is it not the Enemy or Adversity made war upon? Made certain by the blowback from our own action – as the polarising action-reaction in which the symptoms are used to hide the cause and made war upon – so as to go forth and multiply false cause (conflict symptoms) that invoke power to suppress, deny, redefine or airbrush, or ‘eradicate’ (force-fragment to arise in subtler guises). Such that the auto-immune function operates against ITSELF to destroy ITSELF as the self-judging, self-hating replica of its maker.

    It is simply true of the territory that to realign in willingness for communication, is to meet a lot of fear, hate and shame issues that have been ‘corrected’ only by appeal to magic of blame and its politics of redistribution of negative worth or guilt. This is not what most of us were trained or equipped to bear and find release or true understanding for. Our training is to get rid of the hated or feared and operates as a subconscious reactive self-survival that we may hardly notice – because the mind operates the narrative continuity of saving us from feeling what we feel – or allowing thought to our notice that has been charged with guilt and penalty and hence is denied, hidden, and the hiding denied and hidden. Layers upon layers of displacement and diversion.

    That’s something of what I read from the ‘world’ zeitgeist as it unfolds – because I choose to let it be used to reflect within me what I want to be uncovered in so as to release it – in its own timing. The charge of hidden fear is not trivial or subject to intellectualism – but is something of a negative quantum entanglement. We are part of each other knowingly in truth or unknowingly in war – under rule of which is truth killed and private possession taken from its death. But truth is only as ‘dead’ as is sacrificed to conflict. As if a falsely interpreted reality can be put right by the use of the ‘power’ that made it. Persistence in blind assertion at expense of wholeness of being.
    Where is wholeness of being but where conflict is paused – at least for a moment or more – and depth rises where a surface tension releases by virtue of not being fed. This is not only something one can practice and prove – but something fundamentally called for as a life-discipline if not to feed the destruct of fear mounting upon fear, and hate mounting upon hate.
    One doesn’t vote party or person or ideology, but from a form-based identity or from an energetic responsibility of balance within wholeness. The mind comes in after as the justification – but the core issue is of communication vs evasion and delay of communication under narrative control – allowing that what is up to be addressed includes the imprinting of the mess and maze of human history as lived – not as officially or mentally strait-jacketed. (Though there is also a self-protective element in seeking to hide and escape what could not be borne in its time). Self-love attempting expression in ways that are self-defeating.

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  6. It seems to be a none issue at the moment, even the Guardian has dared to open comments on it and one hour in only one comment has appeared.

    The purpose it serves so late in the day will probably be as a pot boiler to keep the fake Russian Crazy Bear Hacker meme bubbling. A sort of we told you so exercise in mass surveillance justification. Added to that it gives justification for controls on Russian media in Europe, remember the German elections are happening soon.

    Of course, we have been told, Putin got his result in the UK with the BREXIT vote so May and the Tories must, by some twisted logic, be on the same page as the Ruskies.

    Yes it’s all very confusing. But then the reality we are expected to understand it is never straight forward or driven by logic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stephen Sivonda says

    I’d run with the one that says this was done on purpose as a TEST. Done to see if the sheep notice the butcher sharpening their knives.

    Liked by 1 person

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