Just about the last person on Earth whose word — on anything — should be believed is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
For the past month, he has been denying that his government had anything to do with the cyberwar on Sony Pictures that exposed and destroyed files, emails and other data. The perpetrators threatened to continue releasing information and wreaking havoc if Sony didn’t pull its movie “The Interview,” which is about an assassination attempt on Kim.
It seemed like an obvious conclusion. Who else would have a burning interest in making sure “The Interview” never gets seen but Kim himself and his cronies?
The FBI publicly linked North Korea to the raid on Sony’s network. The perps, the self-proclaimed Guardians of Peace, whose initials interestingly are GOP, certainly sounded like they were acting on behalf of that government’s interests.
So when Sony last week pulled the movie from its planned Christmas Day release, all manner of criticism fell on Kim’s government, and his entire country suddenly faced mysterious and crippling Internet outages.
But what if the whole incident was a scam, a public relations ruse to boost box office on a truly bad movie and help Sony make its money back?
The hacker group Anonymous has posted on the Internet that it doesn’t believe North Korea was behind this particular hack. In itself, that’s easily dismissed because Anonymous is a semi-secret group of cyber-bullies with their own agenda.
But then security experts began saying that there was a chance that the hack was an inside job, based on the hackers’ apparent intimate knowledge of the Sony networks’ infrastructure.
Also, the so-called Guardians of Peace didn’t mention North Korea or “The Interview” in their initial threat to the studio, which stated in part: “We’ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all your internal data including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release data shown below to the world.”
The software used by the Guardians of Peace and that used by North Korea in previous cyber-attacks is similar, according to the FBI, but other computer experts have said there are enough differences to suggest the possibility that someone is spoofing a North Korean attack to divert the world’s attention.
Certainly, Sony and its executives are not without enemies, but the suggestion of an inside job is bolstered by the pattern of data theft and deletion, which some security experts say doesn’t suggest a competitor’s involvement.
The biggest piece of evidence that the Sony hack could have been an elaborate PR scheme, though, is that after making national news by pulling “The Interview” from its schedule, Sony turned around yesterday and announced that it would be distributing the film, on December 25 as originally planned, in select theaters and over video on demand services.
The fanfare and publicity from Sony’s decision to fight back could drive “The Interview” into the black and possibly even make a considerable profit for a film that by all appearances looks to be dull as dirt.
Now, this is all in the realm of what the lamestream media like to dub as conspiracy theory. That’s the key phrase the media has used through the years to train Americans to ignore what their intuition is telling them.
Without further proof, conspiracy theory is where this story will stay, and outlets such as Slate are already running articles assuring readers that there’s nothing to see here beyond the official story of a North Korea hack.
That’s where things get truly troubling, as the “official” story line across multiple media outlets is leaning toward this being an act of war.
The Obama Administration has a propensity for cooking up situations in foreign lands that it can use to drive its agenda. Recall the “Arab Spring,” in which the U.S. lingered in the background while allies and mercenaries overthrew the governments of Libya, Egypt and other countries. Recall the alleged nerve gas attack on rebels that Obama tried to gin up into an excuse to go to open war in Syria before the rest of the world was ready for it. Recall the anti-Muslim video that the Administration tried to blame for its mess in Benghazi.
The Administration has been consistent in sticking to the story of a North Korea hack, but Obama’s statements on the subject have been noticeably nonchalant, for example, urging people to go to the movies a day after alleged threats on theatergoers were widely reported.
It may just have been Obama’s trademark laziness setting the tone, but at the very least he gives the impression of knowing something he’s not telling the public, and reasons to believe anything this Administration says are few.
Inside job? PR stunt? Government scheme? Or is it really just North Korea being stupid and belligerent (also highly believable)?
I guess we’ll find out, if Obama begins rattling the saber for war on North Korea or if he just lets Sony do it for him.