Kristallnacht 81 Years Later

Tonight is the 81st anniversary of the NAZI pogrom of November 1938 known as Kristallnacht.

I’m not sure 81 years on what there is left to say. Especially that I didn’t say in a post memorializing this day last year and the year before and the year before that and the year before that… Or in the posts I’ve done on the Red Summer or any other number of atrocities.

Perhaps we just need to pay attention because the revanchist, neo-fascist, and neo-nationalist descendants of the NAZIs and the other fascists that set the conditions for and carried out the atrocities on Kristallnacht and the even worse atrocities during the Holocaust proper still need to be combatted. They need to be exposed whenever possible. Dragged out into the sunlight for all to see and, should it come to it, once again physically combatted until they are defeated on the battlefield as they were during WW II.

Just this past week a neo-NAZI was arrested for trying to blow up a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado. A young African American man had to stand his ground in Georgia in the face of a racist attack from a now deceased white man.* And we learned that the President and his racist, white supremacist administration have actually separated an additional 1,500 migrant children from their parents and that number may still be an undercount. I’m sure there are more examples of the revanchist, racist, and fascist throughline that runs from Kristallnacht in 1938 to the President, his administration, his surrogates, his supporters, and the tyrants and dictators that he so idealizes with just a few minutes more searching, but I don’t think I need to belabor the point.

Also, the Auschwitz Memorial is trying to get 750,000 followers by the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in January 2020. So if you’re on Twitter, give them a follow!

Open thread.

* I’m actually surprised it has taken this long for a person of color to have to use force/lethal force to defend him or herself from a white racist’s attack. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the courts, given that Georgia is a stand your ground state, but the person who stood his ground this time is African American. As I’ve written here many times in comments, I expected this to happen. And I expect that once white people realize that the old maxim that “G-d made man, Samuel Colt made all men equal” doesn’t just apply to white people, they’ll freak out. I’m honestly not sure what the nature of that freak out will be. It might be a response similar to that of then Governor Reagan’s to Black Panther’s openly carrying unarmed long guns in the California state capitol building by signing gun control legislation. Or it may be more similar to the Tulsa Race Riot, the Red Summer, and the response to Forest Joe’s slave revolt in the 1820s among others. But if people of color exercise their statutory rights to self defense, and they are both justified in doing so and do so in response to attacks on their persons and property by racist whites, there will be a backlash. And we all need to be prepared for it.

The Gaetz Maneuver or Why Forcing Entry Into a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) Is a Really Bad Idea

While Tamara and John covered Congressman Gaetz’s and his colleagues’ stupidity earlier today, I wanted to focus a little more on just why exactly this wasn’t just a stupid stunt, but was very, very, very bad in terms of Information Security (INFOSEC). It has now been reported that Congressman Gaetz gave the House Minority Leader, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a heads up about what he had planned.

We don’t know if this was done verbally face to face, by text, or by phone call. My guess is either verbally face to face or phone call. But these chuckleheads seem to be enamored of WhatsApp, which is notoriously insecure despite claiming to be a secure method of texting and calling, so they may have used that.

We also now know that this was coordinated with the President.

In this case, because it was reported, we know it was done by face to face communication.

And this is where the Information Security issues really come into play. If you recall from my posts from May 2018 and September 2019 we know from reporting in Wired and Politico that the President calls, texts, and tweets from a pair of unsecured smart phones and that allied, peer competitor, and hostile foreign countries have set up mobile wireless interception devices near the White House to intercept these electronic communications. Congressman Gaetz has publicly bragged of his relationship with the President. Congressman McCarthy’s has been reported on as well, especially involving red and pink Starbursts candies. If you were an allied, partnered, peer competitor, or hostile foreign power and wanted to try to gain access to the President’s communications, one way to do it would be to try to hack either Gaetz’s or McCarthy’s cell phones. Or those of any number of the other 30 Republican members of Congress and their staffers who pulled this stupid stunt today.

These morons, in an attempt to create a spectacle that will take over the news cycle about impeachment so that the majority of the public that isn’t paying close attention at all times just throws its hands up in disgust, didn’t just force entry into the House of Representatives’ Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), they brought their unsecured cell phones with them. Moreover, they then took imagery with those phones – pictures and/or videos – of classified spaces and, potentially, any classified information that had been taken out in advance of the deposition and was in public view for those members of the House, Republicans and Democrats alike, who actually had the need to know to access it today. And then they started texting and tweeting and emailing that out. On unsecured devices and unsecured and non-governmental networks! This required, as was reported, the SCIF to be closed once they finished their pizza, Chick Fil-A, their stunt and finally gave up and left, so it could be swept and resecured before the delayed deposition could finally take place. What Congressman Gaetz, Congressman Scalise who is the #2 Republican in the House/Republican House Caucus, and their 28 or so colleagues did wasn’t just a stupid stunt, it was a major security violation.

How major? Off the top of my head the number of Federal felonies committed by Gaetz and his colleagues is:

  1. Forced entry into a SCIF
  2. Criminal trespass in a SCIF
  3. Bringing unsecured electronic devices into a SCIF
  4. Taking imagery – pictures and video – of classified spaces and materials on unsecured devices
  5. Transmitting imagery – pictures and video – of classified spaces and materials on unsecured devices to unsecured devices through a variety of unsecured platforms (texting, tweeting, emailing, etc)

It has now been reported that Congressman Thompson (D-MS), the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee has asked the House Sergeant of Arms to take action agains Gaetz and his colleagues.

I don’t know what exactly Congressman Thompson has in mind, as he doesn’t specify in his letter, but here’s what should happen at a minimum.

  1. Each of the cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and/or any other electronic devices that these 30 Republican members of the House and their staffers brought with them into the House SCIF need to be confiscated by the House’s Special Security Officer (SSO).
  2. Each of these devices then needs to be forensically checked for any hacking and/or malware and the results of those checks passed to the appropriate counterintelligence officials for follow up.
  3. Each of these devices should, at a minimum, be completely wiped before being returned to their owners. The appropriate action is to actually destroy them.
  4. The staffers who accompanied these House Republicans should have their access immediately terminated, their clearances suspended pending a completed counterintelligence investigation, and they should be suspended from duties and barred from returning to work until that investigation is completed. While I won’t prejudge the outcomes of such an investigation, frankly, they should be terminated and their files flagged at the Defense Security and Counterintelligence Agency (DSCA), which is now in charge of overseeing all clearances, to prevent them from every obtaining a clearance again.
  5. While I doubt it will happen because they are Constitutional Officers of the United States, because they are elected members of the House of Representatives and will claim their actions today are covered under the Speech and Debate Clause, the 30 or so Republican members of the House should also have their access immediately terminated, their clearances suspended pending a completed counterintelligence investigation, and they should be suspended from duties and barred from returning to work until that investigation is completed. Here too their files should be flagged at the Defense Security and Counterintelligence Agency (DSCA) to prevent them from every obtaining a clearance again.

I expect that while Congressman Gaetz and the 29 or so other Republican members of the House that committed multiple felonies with him this morning are unlikely to face any really serious repercussions, that their staffers will not be so lucky. Those men and women, who based on the video being televised all appeared to be in their 20s and 30s, are likely to have their professional lives ruined by this as they don’t have the same protections that members of the House do. Especially, since Congressman Gaetz has already thrown the staffer that accompanied him to the wolves.

Lest Congressman Gaetz get away with that, here’s the picture of him taking video on his unsecured smart phone when he illegally entered the House’s SCIF. Kind of hard to miss the sign!

I would like to think that Speaker Pelosi has had a long, serious talk with Congressman McCarthy about the behavior of his caucus members, what is and is not appropriate behavior, and what will and will not be tolerated going forward. If she is as good as reported and as many of us believe she is, then nuts will be cut over this, even if public examples are not made.

Regardless, if you were a foreign actor – allied, partner, peer competitor, or hostile – and you’ve been trying to collect Signals Intelligence on what the US is doing, what Congressman Gaetz and his Republican colleagues and their staffers did today was unearned profit.

Open thread!

Speaking of Watching the Disinformation Being Made: The Stupid Edition

Absolute morons Jacob “I’m Really Going to Commit a Big Boy Crime Any Day Now” Wohl and his unzipped co-conspirator Jack Burckman, fresh off failing to actually dox the Intelligence Community Whistleblower yesterday and today, have reverted to their usual modus operandi of creating sex scandals out of nothing. Having failed to actually bring down Special Counsel Mueller and Mayor Buttigieg with bogus allegations of sexual assault and impropriety have have announced their latest masterpiece. Behold:

The stupid, it burns!

The Warax asked the important question:

It is important to remember that Jacob Wohl is the twenty-something aspiring career petty criminal who is currently facing actual real felony charges in California state court. He is also the son of one of the President’s key Jewish-American surrogates. I have been authorized on behalf of the Elders and our revered and venerated leader, the Supreme Babka, to apologize on behalf of the rest of the tribe. We are tremendously sorry about the Wohl mess.

And our own Food Goddess had the best take when I texted Burkman’s tweet too her:

If at 72 Elizabeth Warren is having a fling with a young Marine I say more power to her

Is everyone still enjoying this extra special Jewish New Year and Day’s of Awe Infrastructure Week?

Open thread!

The President Has Thoughts! They’re Not Coherent Thoughts, They’re anti-Semitic Thoughts, But They’re Thoughts

Oy vey!

I realize that when the President and his surrogates are called out to explain or respond to this, the answer will be that he’s just retweeting something complimentary that Wayne Allen Root said and/or wrote about him. And that it is part of him counter-punching and punching back at those, especially the Jewish Americans, pushing back against his statements yesterday about loyalty and disloyalty. But the level of sycophancy in Root’s comments about the President and delusion in the President’s repackaging those comments and blasting them out to the world are just astounding.

Here’s some quick background on Root, who is a conspiracist.

Also, on a semi-related matter, if you’re wondering why the President cancelled his Denmark trip, methinks this might have had something to do with it.

Open thread!


Ongoing Active Shooter in Philadelphia!

This appears to have started about 4 hours ago and is still ongoing. It apparently started while Philadelphia Police were trying to serve a warrant.

And that despite taking casualties, the Philadelphia Police Department is trying to end this without further violence.

From Philadelphia Police Department Sergeant Eric Gripp:

Update at 9:47 PM EDT

Open thread!