ISIS HACKER STEALS IDS FOR 1,351 AMERICANS ON ‘KILL LIST’…

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BY TIM JOHNSON

The attack seemed like a garden-variety digital holdup.

A computer intruder, calling himself the “Albanian hacker,” left a message for the administrator of a website for an Illinois internet retailer: Pay two Bitcoins, or about $500 at the time, and the intruder would “remove all bugs on your shop!”

Such demands are typical among underground hackers who infect computers with malicious code and seize control of them, freeing them only after receiving a payment.

But this case was more than a surreptitious digital mugging. The trespasser had ties to the Islamic State Hacking Division, a terrorist cyber unit, and before it was over he’d put together a “kill list” for the Islamic State with the identities of 1,351 U.S. government and military personnel from the 100,000 names, credit card records and Social Security numbers he’d extracted from the host server.

The hacker operated in a gray area where criminal and terror interests blend messily to test malicious computer code, raise funds and identify Western targets, and it raises fresh concerns for U.S. businesses hit by cybercrime and for the government agents tasked with defeating it: If a business tries to make a problem quietly disappear, it may effectively be hindering government efforts to monitor terrorism. The need for collaboration between business and government on internet security has soared, even as distrust has risen between network managers and law enforcement.

FERIZI’S CASE IS NOTABLE BECAUSE HIS HANDIWORK GENERATED ONE OF THE FIRST “KILL LISTS” ISSUED BY THE ISLAMIC STATE.

 

The case of Ardit Ferizi, an ethnic Albanian who was raised in Kosovo, is typical of hackers who “might act on behalf of a group but are also doing it for their own profit, for criminal means,” said John P. Carlin, the assistant attorney general for national security.

Ferizi’s case is also notable because his handiwork generated one of the first “kill lists” issued by the Islamic State designed to generate fear and publicity. FBI agents used the early list of U.S. military and government employees to notify the targeted individuals. More recent lists have included thousands of ordinary civilians and even U.S. Muslims the terrorist group considers apostates.

Ferizi, 21, was extradited from Malaysia last autumn and has been held by U.S. Marshals since then. On June 15, Ferizi signed a plea agreement in Alexandria, Virginia, in which he admitted to providing material support to terrorists and to computer hacking. He also signed a statement of facts outlining details of that support.

It marked one of the federal government’s first successful cyber terrorism cases in which an individual in custody admitted a link to a foreign terrorist organization.

Ferizi’s story is gleaned from federal court records, and an interview he once gave to Infosec Institute, a Chicago-based training center for technology professionals that also does research on hackers.

100,000Number of records Ardit Ferizi is thought to have pirated from computer servers belonging to an internet retailer.

A native of Gjakova in western Kosovo, Ferizi was largely self-trained in computers. By his late teens had formed the Kosova Hacker’s Security, a group with vague pro-Muslim objectives. He adopted the moniker @Th3Dir3ctorY, and claimed that the group had hacked systems in Serbia, Greece, Ukraine, France and the United States, including Microsoft’s Hotmail servers and a research domain operated by IBM.

In early 2015, Ferizi traveled to Malaysia to study and “in part to get better access to bandwidth” to carry out cyberattacks, Carlin said.

His tools? A Dell Latitude laptop, a second MSI laptop and computer application known asDUBrute, which allows a user to seize control of another computer remotely.

Ferizi had already established contact with Junaid Hussain, a Briton who Carlin called “one of the most notorious cyber terrorists in the world.” At the time, Hussain lived in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State. A charismatic hacker of Pakistani descent, Hussain had once run a collective, TeaMpOisoN, and had a club of fanboys.

One day last August, a system administrator at the Illinois company, which is not named in court documents, contacted the FBI about a cyber ransom demand. Appealing to the feds for help was an unusual step.

“Most companies today pay the 500 bucks and go back to business,” Carlin said at a June 28 forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a public policy and research group in Washington.

Cyber ransom demands have exploded, with hackers hitting hundreds of businesses every day, encrypting hard drives and turning over the decryption key only once a payment has been made. The FBI estimates such attacks cost individuals and businesses $209 million in the first quarter of 2016.

“It’s grown extremely fast,” said Dan McNemar, director of intelligence at Binary Defense Systems, a Hudson, Ohio-based company that helps defend clients from cyberattack.

Yet those hit by the ransom attacks often are reluctant to report them.

“Companies do see a lot of risk when they consider coming out into the open about cyber incidents,” said Tristan Reed, a security analyst at Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based global security consultancy. He noted that executives worry about reaction from shareholders and customers, and fear that government agencies won’t keep the information confidential.

Ferizi’s attack, however, was serious. He had placed malware on the company’s server that granted him “unfettered access to information” there, including all customer data, FBI agent Kevin M. Gallagher said in an affidavit.

Ferizi had scolded the company technician for trying to pry his malicious malware off the server, warning him in a message Aug. 19 – “please don’t touch my files!” – and signing off with a gleeful: “Greetings from an Albanian Hacker!”

In a separate message, he demanded two bitcoins, a type of encrypted digital currency, from the company in exchange for deleting his malicious code. He included a hyperlink to a Wikipedia page on bitcoins in case the administrator didn’t know what they were.

But Ferizi already had what he wanted. He’d spent the previous two months gathering and culling information from the company’s servers and passing the data to the Islamic State. According to Ferizi’s signed “statement of facts” in his case, the hacker searched the server for email addresses ending in “.gov” or “.mil,” indications that they belonged to civilian government or military employees.

On Aug. 11, the ISIS cyber army leader, Junaid Hussain, tweeted a link to a 30-page document containing vast details about 1,351 U.S. personnel, calling them “Crusaders” who were conducting a “bombing campaign against the muslims.” He said followers would “strike at your necks in your own lands!”

It was a coup for Hussain, but not one he’d live long to boast about.

A drone strike killed the British Islamic State hacker near Raqqa on Aug. 24. At the time, Hussain is said to have ranked No. 3 on a U.S. list of terror group members to be eliminated.

No direct link is publicly known between the drone attack and his release of the “kill list.”

A member of one private company’s digital intelligence team, who requested anonymity because he was dealing with terrorism, said of the Islamic State: “Their capabilities are 1,000 times what they were four years ago.”

But Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counter-terrorism expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said U.S. government cyber experts are “orders of magnitude better” than Islamic State-linked hackers.

Reed, the Stratfor analyst, said many issues make it difficult for companies to know whether intruders like the “Albanian hacker” are linked to terrorist groups. Determining the provenance of an attack or a digital ransom demand requires difficult forensics.

But since so much of public infrastructure in the United States is owned by the private sector, including electric utilities, the government and private businesses will find themselves needing to work together more often.

“It’s actually critical to collaborate,” Reed said.

SUSPECTED ISTANBUL ATTACK MASTERMIND WAS A “REFUGEE” PROTECTED BY THE EU

Russia tried to extradite ISIS terrorist on two separate occasions

JULY 1, 2016

The suspected mastermind behind the ISIS attack on the Istanbul airport that claimed the lives of 44 people was a “refugee” who was protected by the European Court for Human Rights after Russia tried to have him extradited.

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Chechen national Ahmed Chataev was on a Russian terrorism watchlist since 2003, but received asylum in Austria after he claimed that he was severely tortured and under persecution from Russian authorities.

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Chataev was later arrested in Sweden after Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives and ammunition were found in his car, but he only spent just over a year in prison.

“In 2010, Chataev was arrested in Ukraine with his mobile phone files containing a demolition technique instruction and photos of people killed in a blast,” reports RT.

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“Russia requested his extradition on terrorism-related charges but the European Court for Human Rights ordered Ukraine not to hand him over to Russia with Amnesty International also urging Ukrainian authorities to halt extradition as Chataev “could face an unfair trial and would be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.”

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Russia again tried to extradite Chataev a year later as he was crossing the border between Turkey and Bulgaria, but human rights groups pointed to his refugee status in Austria to block Moscow from getting their man.

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Having evaded capture, Chataev left Georgia for Syria in February 2015 where he joined other ISIS jihadists and subsequently took a leadership role in the Islamic State hierarchy.
This is by no means the first time that ISIS terrorists have exploited Europe’s refugee influx to plot bloody attacks.

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Earlier this month it was revealed that four Syrian refugees, two of whom arrived in Europe via the Balkans last year amidst the migrant influx, had plotted a Paris-style massacre on the streets of Dusseldorf, Germany.

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At least three individuals who posed as “refugees” were also connected to the Paris attacks, including the mastermind behind the plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who brazenly revealed how he exploited the migrant red carpet to plot bloodshed.

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“My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them and leave safely when doing so became necessary,” Abaaoud told Dabiq magazine.

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An Islamic State manifesto released last December brags about how the terror organization has exploited the refugee program to send jihadist sleeper cells to Europe since 2012.

PROPOSED ‘EU ARMY’ HIDDEN FROM BRITISH VOTERS UNTIL AFTER BREXIT

EU army proposal to remain hidden From British voters until day after Brexit vote

Clifford Cunningham – JUNE 23, 2016

As citizens of the United Kingdom prepare to cast their votes in a nationwide referendum to decide whether or not to leave the European Union, a plan detailing the initial framework for the creation of a European Union army are being kept hidden from the public until the day after the vote.

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The Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which envisions the formation of new European military and operational structures, was drafted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

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While the plan clearly lays the framework for a European Union army, details will not be released publicly until the day after the Brexit vote so as not to inflame public opinion in the UK.

Only a small group of EU political and security committee ambassadors, who are required to leave their electronic devices outside a sealed room, can read the proposal; however, they are allowed to take and remove handwritten notes.

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Despite being dismissed by many, including former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat) who referred to the idea as “dangerous fantasy,” numerous high-level officials in the EU have suggested the idea in the past.

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Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and a former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg, is a long-time advocate for the creation of an EU army to combat the perceived threat to Europe from Russia.

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“You would not create a European army to use it immediately,” he said. “But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s Minister of Defense and a close political ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has openly suggested the creation of an EU army is inevitable.
“The European Army is our long-term goal, but first we have to strengthen the European Defence Union,” she said.

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Nigel Farage, the head of UKIP, has blasted European Commission President Juncker for using manufactured crises as an excuse to push the creation of an EU army.
“We ourselves in the European Union provoked the conflict through our territorial expansionism in the Ukraine. We poked the Russian bear with a stick, and unsurprisingly, Putin reacted. But this now is to be used as an opportunity to build a European army… And Mr. Juncker said, we must convey to Russia that we are serious. Who do you think you are kidding, Mr. Juncker?”

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Liam Fox, former Defense Minister under Prime Minister Cameron, has warned these initial plans demonstrate the EU has married itself to the “dangerous fantasy” of a single continental army.

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“Those of us who have always warned about Europe’s defence ambitions have always been told not to worry, but step-by-step that ever closer union is becoming a reality. We cannot afford to be conned in this referendum as we were conned in 1975,” he said.

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Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “This is the way the EU operates. The people were deceived about the aims of the EU in 1975 and they’re being deceived again today…This blows out of the water the Prime Minister’s claim that we’re being excluded from ever closer union. Voters are being hoodwinked once again.”
The prospect of the United Kingdom leaving the EU was a major topic of discussion as the global elite who compromise the Bilderberg Group gathered in Dresden, Germany this week.

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“The Bilderberg Group has been nurturing the EU to life since the 1950s, and now they see their creation under dire threat,” said Charlie Skelton, a reporter for International Business Times covering Bilderberg.

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“For Bilderberg, as for Goldman Sachs, the idea that there might be any kind of push-back against globalisation is a horrific one,” he continued.

DNC DIRT FILE ON HILLARY HACKERS BREACH CLINTON FOUNDATION

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BY

NATO SAYS IT MIGHT NOW HAVE GROUNDS TO ATTACK RUSSIA

NATP announced on June 14th NATO cyberwar is the same status as physical war

Eric Zuesse | Infowars.com – JUNE 16, 2016

On Tuesday, June 14th, NATO announced that if a NATO member country becomes the victim of a cyber attack by persons in a non-NATO country such as Russia or China, then NATO’s Article V “collective defense” provision requires each NATO member country to join that NATO member country if it decides to strike back against the attacking country.

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The preliminary decision for this was made two years ago after Crimea abandoned Ukraine and rejoined Russia, of which it had been a part until involuntarily transferred to Ukraine by the Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. That NATO decision was made in anticipation of Ukraine’s ultimately becoming a NATO member country, which still hasn’t happened. However, only now is NATO declaring cyber war itself to be included as real “war” under the NATO Treaty’s “collective defense” provision.

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NATO is now alleging that because Russian hackers had copied the emails on Hillary Clinton’s home computer, this action of someone in Russia taking advantage of her having privatized her U.S. State Department communications to her unsecured home computer and of such a Russian’s then snooping into the U.S. State Department business that was stored on it, might constitute a Russian attack against the United States of America, and would, if the U.S. President declares it to be a Russian invasion of the U.S., trigger NATO’s mutual-defense clause and so require all NATO nations to join with the U.S. government in going to war against Russia, if the U.S. government so decides.

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NATO had produced in 2013 (prior to the take-over of Ukraine) an informational propaganda video alleging that “cyberattacks” by people in Russia or in China that can compromise U.S. national security, could spark an invasion by NATO, if the U.S. President decides that the cyberattack was a hostile act by the Russian or Chinese government.

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In the video, a British national-security expert notes that this would be an “eminently political decison” for the U.S. President to make, which can be made only by the U.S. President, and which only that person possesses the legal authority to make. NATO, by producing this video, made clear that any NATO-member nation’s leader who can claim that his or her nation has been ‘attacked’ by Russia, possesses the power to initiate a NATO war against Russia. In the current instance, it would be U.S. President Barack Obama.

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However, this video also said that NATO could not automatically accept such a head-of-state’s allegation calling the cyber-attack an invasion, but instead the country that’s being alleged to have perpetrated the attack would have to have claimed, or else been proven, to have carried it out. With the new NATO policy, which was announced on June 14th, in which a cyber-attack qualifies automatically as constituting “war” just like any traditional attack, such a claim or proof of the target-nation’s guilt might no longer be necessary. But this has been left vague in the published news reports about it.

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In the context of the June 14th NATO announcement that cyberwar is on the same status as physical war, Obama might declare the U.S. to have been invaded by Russia when former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails were copied by someone in Russia.

It’s a hot issue now between Russia and the United States, and so, for example, on the same day, June 14th, Reuters headlined “Moscow denies Russian involvement in U.S. DNC hacking”, and reported that, “Russia on Tuesday denied involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee database that U.S. sources said gained access to all opposition research on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
In previous times, espionage was treated as being part of warfare, and, after revelations became public that the U.S. was listening in on the phone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, espionage has become recognized as being simply a part of routine diplomacy (at least for the United States); but, now, under the new NATO policy, it might be treated as being equivalent to a physical invasion by an enemy nation.
At the upcoming July 8th-9th NATO Summit meeting, which will be happening in the context of NATO’s biggest-ever military exercises on and near the borders of Russia, called “Atlantic Resolve”, prospective NATO plans to invade Russia might be discussed in order to arrive at a consensus plan for the entire alliance. However, even if that happens, it wouldn’t be made public, because war-plans never are.
The origin of this stand-off between the U.S. and Russia goes back to promises that the West had made in 1990 to the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, not to expand NATO up to the borders of Russia, and the West’s subsequent violations of those repeatedly made promises. Gorbachev disbanded the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact, on the basis of those false assurances from Western leaders. Thus, Russia is surrounded now by enemies, including former Warsaw Pact nations and even some former regions of the Soviet Union itself, such as Ukraine and the Baltic republics, which now host NATO forces. NATO is interpreting Russia’s acceptance of the Crimeans’ desire to abandon Ukraine and rejoin Russia following the 2014 Ukrainian coup, as constituting a showing of an intent by Russia to invade NATO nations that had formerly been part of the Soviet Union and of the Warsaw Pact, such as Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia; and this is the alleged reason for America’s Operation Atlantic Resolve, and the steep increase in U.S. troops and weapons in those nations that border on Russia.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Ex-general says NATO-Russia nuclear war ‘possible within a year’

NATO’s former deputy military chief in Europe says his book, a fictional story which describes a nuclear war with Russia over the Baltic nations taking place in 2017, is based on an “entirely plausible” scenario.
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General Sir Richard Shirreff, from Britain, served at the second-highest NATO military office in Europe between 2011 and 2014. He says his experience acquired in the alliance of war-gaming future conflicts helped him model the narrative for the book.

According to his scenario, starting next year Russia would first occupy Ukraine to secure a land route to Crimea and then invade the three Baltic nations, all of which are members of NATO. The move, Shirreff argued, would be driven by the perception of NATO’s weakness and Russia’s opposition to what it sees as the alliance’s attempts to encircle it.

“We need to judge President [Vladimir] Putin by his deeds not his words,” the retired general told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “He has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it.”

The supposed invasion of Georgia in 2008 was Russia’s response to a Georgian attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia, which started with the killings of Russian peacekeepers stationed there to prevent such hostilities. Russia responded by defeating the NATO-trained Georgian Army and withdrew. Moscow later recognized South Ossetia as a sovereign state, formalizing its de facto independence from Georgia that had been in place since the 1990s.

The supposed invasion of Ukraine in 2014 was Russia’s use of its troops, which were legally deployed in Crimea under a treaty with Ukraine, to prevent hostilities after an armed coup in Kiev. The Crimean people, who overwhelmingly opposed the new Ukrainian government and its nationalistic leanings, voted in a referendum to part ways with Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

If Russia used military force against any NATO members, the entire alliance would be obliged to declare war on Russia. The US is the most powerful member of NATO and has the world’s biggest military force. According to Shirreff, Russia would use its nuclear arsenal to counter NATO’s response.

“Be under no illusion whatsoever – Russian use of nuclear weapons is hardwired into Moscow’s military strategy,” he said, omitting the fact that NATO’s nuclear nations – the US, Britain and France – have always kept a pre-emptive nuclear strike as a possible option. Russia dropped its pledge not to use nuclear weapons first in 1993.

A scenario of conflict between Russia and NATO members over one of the Baltic states was earlier explored by the BBC in a film, which focused on decision-making at a British advisory body responding to the crisis. In the film, the stand-off escalated into a full-scale nuclear conflict and the advisers contemplating an option to destroy Russia’s biggest cities with Trident missiles.

STATE DEPARTMENT INSTALLS BANKSTER PUPPET IN BRAZIL

Interim president worked as an informant for US intelligence

Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com – MAY 13, 2016

The Rothschildowned magazine, The Economist, describes Michel Temer as Brazil’s “unplanned” president.

The 75-year-old law professor, who played a key role in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, became the South American country’s acting president on Thursday after Rousseff was suspended by the Senate on corruption charges.

Temer’s rise to power, however, is not merely a happenstance event—it was arranged by the US State Department in much the same way the puppet government was put into place in Ukraine.

On Friday, the whistleblower website WikiLeaks released an unclassified yet “sensitive” cable revealing Temer acted as an embassy informant for US intelligence and the military.

Capture

One of the two WikiLeak documents was sent to the US Southern Command in Miami. In the document, Temer talks about the political situation in Brazil during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He predicts his party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, would rise to power.

“Michel Temer, a Federal deputy from Sao Paulo who served as president of the Chamber of Deputies from 1997 through 2000, met January 9 with CG and poloffs to discuss the current political situation,” the document, dated January 11, 2006, states.

“Temer criticized Lula’s narrow vision and his excessive focus on social safety net programs that don’t promote growth or economic development.”

In other words, Lula rejected the neoliberal agenda favored by Washington.

The New York Times reported on Thursday Temer’s interim presidency “could cause a significant shift to the political right in Latin America’s largest country.”

Brazil, while not as overtly socialist as Cuba and Venezuela, has been ruled by the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) since 2002.

Dilma Rousseff, described as Brazil’s socialist “Iron Lady,” bucked the neoliberal trend. “Rousseff’s victory has significant implications for the world’s financial markets,” The New Yorker reported on October 28, 2014.

“Rather than embracing austerity policies during the Presidential race, Rousseff promised to maintain the welfare benefits and social services that the Workers’ Party has introduced since 2003, when her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, came to power. Now that Rousseff is back in power, some analysts believe that the country is facing the possibility of a financial crisis, as much of the foreign money that was invested there during the boom years seeks an exit.”

It was feared Brazil would default on its debts and become another Argentina, which would have a significant impact on foreign banks and overseas markets, including in the United States. Between 1998 and 2002, Argentina suffered a depression and, to the horror of the financial elite, resorted to alternative currencies and dropped the peso’s fixed exchange rate to the US dollar.

According to Silas Malafaia, a television evangelist and author, Temer will “sweep away the ideology of pathological leftists” and bring the country back into the orbit of Wall Street.

Restoring the balance favored by the financial elite is not, as The Economist would have it, an unplanned event.