March 26, 2021
By Andrew Squibley and Arthur Bushwhacker, Interviewed Jim Crow Back in the Day – Thought He Was a Complete Asshole
“Democracy Dies in Darkness…But at Least It Isn’t Waiting for a Covid Vaccine in Italy”
WASHINGTON (Rueters) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin hackers have successfully – and fraudulently – altered the outcome of an American election, the first known case of such interference, an investigation by Rueters has found.
Military hackers, part of Russia’s vaunted intelligence directorate, the GRU, last October were able to penetrate a highly sensitive computer network operated by the Escambia (FL) County School District near Pensacola and change the outcome of the annual vote for the district’s homecoming queen.
“We feel completely violated by this,” said school district spokesman Howard F. Broward. “We consider the free and fair election of Tate High School’s homecoming queen a sacred responsibility and tradition.
“To think someone or some group was able to change the will of the student body, it’s scary and a warning for election officials all over the United States,” he said.
FBI investigators, on the condition of anonymity, told Rueters the Russians apparently used the personal access of an unwitting assistant principal to hack the district’s internal system and cast fraudulent votes for a student who befriended Putin during a school trip in 2019.
The assistant principal, mother of the Kremlin-elected homecoming queen, Natasha Gorbachev, 17, told investigators she had nothing to do with her daughter’s surprise victory. “She won fair and square,” the mother, Yulya Putinovna, told Rueters. “Unfortunately the school district doesn’t see it that way. Natasha has been expelled.”
Putinovna likely “was duped by Russians who planted malware in her desktop to gain access to the main system,” an FBI agent said. “But it’s clear she was happy with the outcome.”
A lawyer representing mother and daughter told Rueters, “Natasha met Putin in 2019 during a school trip to Moscow. He took a shine to her – and she to him, she called him ‘Uncle Vlad’ – and asked if there was anything he could do to help her high school experience. Maybe he thought she’d like to be homecoming queen. Who wouldn’t?”
The lawyer also told Rueters that Putin entered the Florida teen into a Miss Junior Moscow beauty pageant during the girl’s 2019 school trip. She won in a landslide, investigators later learned.
The Florida investigation began in November when the Escambia County School District reported unauthorized access into hundreds of student accounts. Investigators found evidence of unauthorized access to the system from computers traced back to the GRU in Moscow, Rueters learned. There were 246 votes cast for homecoming queen from that location, agents discovered, more than double the winner’s nearest competitor for the title.
Details of the homecoming election scandal have emerged at the same time U.S. intelligence officials released a lengthy report outlining how Putin and other senior officials in Moscow sought to influence the 2020 presidential election by spreading misleading information about Joe Biden through prominent individuals, some of whom were close to former president Donald Trump.
The declassified document, the first U.S. government report on the matter since November’s election, said that no foreign government attempted to change votes or alter results — supporting U.S. officials’ earlier assessments.
“Except for us,” said the Florida school district’s spokesman. “But maybe one lousy, stolen homecoming queen election doesn’t count in their eyes.”
“Foreign malign influence is an enduring challenge facing our country,” said Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “These efforts by U.S. adversaries seek to exacerbate divisions and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions. We must remain vigilant. If the Russians can fix a homecoming queen election, there’s no telling where their attacks will be directed next.”
Putin has said Russia does not interfere in U.S. domestic affairs and did not seek to help Trump get elected in 2016, as was alleged by the U.S. intelligence community four years ago. But, he added, “I don’t like Biden and I don’t like beauty queens.”
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS MAKES HISTORY: ADDS LABELLE’S DISCO TRIBUTE TO POPULAR SPREAD TO COLLECTION OF STUFF THAT MAKES AMERICA REALLY COOL
An infectious recording about a citrus-flavored jam from New Orleans is now considered one of the “audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time.”
“Lady Orange Marmalade,” Labelle’s 1974 R&B classic, is among the 25 recordings entered into the National Recording Registry.
On Wednesday, the Allen Toussaint-produced track sung by vocal powerhouses Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash joined other modern pop hits by the likes of Kool & the Gang and Janet Jackson, as inductees by the Library of Congress.
“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said.
“We’ve received some sharp criticism about selecting a song about a Mulatto sex worker in New Orleans. But, to set the record straight, this popular tune was never about prostitution. Misunderstood for nearly 50 years, the song was actually titled ‘Lady ORANGE Marmalade’ and celebrated the jam’s unique appeal to men.”
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