SocraticGadfly: ShirtLost DumbShit Zach Haller, Actual Flatticus,Forensicator, VIPS, Seth Rich, Adam Carter, Assange,Consortium News conspiracy theory mongering

August 11, 2018

ShirtLost DumbShit Zach Haller, Actual Flatticus,
Forensicator, VIPS, Seth Rich, Adam Carter, Assange,
Consortium News conspiracy theory mongering

Been a while.

This is one of those posts where I throw a string of names in the header and then tie them together.

Here goes! (Without a net, even.)

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (sic) claimed, almost exactly a year ago, that the DNC emails (the original theft, not the later spearphising) could not have been done by Russkies. They claimed the download speeds of the data were too high, etc.

They wrote it up in Consortium News, then got Patrick Lawrence to do a write-up in The Nation.

Wellllllll ....

Not everybody in VIPS agreed. And, they were, reading between the lines, kind of pissed that that report had ZERO caveats about that. Their research relied on a stealthy alleged genius called Forensicator, someone allegedly named Adam Carter, and the fake news folks at Disobedient Media. Speaking of, in a piece from late September, Petulant Media recycles an old interview with Assange to try to prove that Forensicator has it all nailed.

Well, said minority, along with other people with both intelligence brains and intelligence skepticism like Scott Ritter, talked to Nathaniel Freitas, who wrote up a folo for The Nation about all their concerns. Basic information is here on my piece, "DNC emails — what if Seth Rich didn't do it?"

Well, in the last week, some shit has hit the fan over this issue, and it's time to unclog some toilets.

(Breaking update, July 9, 2019: A new Yahoo News bombshell says Russian intelligence, specifically its foreign intelligence agency, the SVR, was behind the Seth Rich conspiracy theories. Update, Dec. 1, 2019: CN's Twitter Whisperer claims that their interviewing Isikoff on their podcast proves they don't back conspiracy theories. Actually, it proves no such thing. Run a piece of his, unedited; that might be proof.)

Forensicator, if Computer Weekly is right, seems to be a front man for a British self-described black hat hacker and pro-Trumpist Tim Leonard, playing a persona as Adam Carter. Hell, he could be Forensicator, for all I know. To riff on VIPS, time stamps can be forged!

At a minimum, Duncan Campbell says Carter / Leonard was part of "the team that created Forensicator."

Update, which I missed soon after publishing this. Sputnik News and Elizabeth Vos, who is probably a Russian disinformation agent, have confirmed that Leonard is Carter, as has Leonard himself. 

(Update, Dec. 1: Vos, leading contributor for Petulant Media, is now also a contributor to Consortium News, further proof IMO of how far it's fallen.)

And, Campbell says that Bill Binney, at least, within VIPS, flipped his stance on the "impossible to download internationally claims" after taking a second look at the files, with Campbell. But Binney claims that Campbell misinterprets him. But, Binney himself misinterprets the VIPS statement. Per the "minority report" linked above, it's clear that not all of VIPS accepted that this had to be a hack, not a download. Maybe that's because the VIPS majority report, specifically Ray McGovern, relied on Carter.

(Update, April 8, 2021: Until reading Glenn Greenwald's "No Place to Hide," I didn't know Campbell's background. Well, Duncan Campbell, as the man who first exposed the GCHQ by name and the "Five Eyes," knows his shit. As a man earlier targeted for prosecution under Britain's Official Secrets Act, he has no love lost for the national security state or its smears. So, his pronouncements re the Seth Rich case, and his skill in getting the information, should be taken with the utmost seriousness.)

Also interesting, relevant and related? Per this piece, VIPS has a "steering group" and Thomas Drake ain't on it. But George Jatras, who arguably is part of the problem, not part of the solution on foreign policy duopoly thought, IS part of the steering group.

Techdirt notes that it and other sites poked holes in the VIPS majority claims from the start.  It also reminds those who might still be credulous that Comey (yes, him) reported in the last days of the Obama Adminstration that the RNC was also hacked, albeit only on old domains.

And, at The Intercept, Robert Mackey further refutes the claims Guccifer 2.0 was a Romanian, as well as, re Russian language issues, that it was a leaker inside the US.

Update, Feb. 23, 2021: Somehow I missed this, but back at the time in 2018, Campbell had ANOTHER piece, with even more interesting news. Binney, when confronted with enough counterevidence, admitted that any evidence, or "evidence," he allegedly had of Rich or Rich-ian downloading, rather than hacking, wouldn't stand up. But, he refused to drop what had become his and McGovern's "party line." McGovern wouldn't even say yes or no on whether their "evidence" was a fail; that silence says enough.

And, as for Disobedient Media lamenting an alleged "smear" of Leonard/Carter? Good for the goose, good for the gander — Bill Binney apparently believes in microwave mind control weapons; click through to the video of the show where he discusses this, also here, for more. (To be fair, there is information that microwave weapons can mess up your brain's operation, but NOT that they can do mind CONTROL. And, the show goes far beyond that. That link is about what may have happened to US Embassy personnel in Cuba; the most recent study indicates it's almost certainly psychogenic and that mind control weapons are a figment of Binney's imagination.) And, the person whose show he is on, Robert Duncan thinks this is a plot to remove gun rights. Of course, Robert Duncan also believes that HAARP is "Real" in the sense it's about more than than high-atmosphere weather investigation. And has been on "Coast to Coast" before, is into neuro-linguistic programming, etc. And, he may have fabricated credentials.

Update, Feb. 23, 2021: In that link in the previous paragraph of this update, at the end, in a pull-out box, Campbell notes how directly Petulant Media is connected to Russian intelligence.

And, McGovern? I dropped Consortium News from my blogroll in fair part after I learned that McGovern is BOTH a 9/11 "truther" AND a JFK conspiracy theorist. That said, if Binney believes half of what his pals do, he's an even bigger nutter than McGovern.

Between him and Binney, maybe we need to get rid of the CIA, and the NSA, to get rid of fruitcakes in the intelligence establishment. It's "Derp State," not "Deep State"!

More seriously, it "goes to credibility" to point these things out, as any lawyer would know.

Speaking of credibility?

Brian Feldman also weighs in, noting that the Lawrence piece seems to indicate that Forensicator looked at his metadata alone.

Here's the key part from the original Lawrence piece:

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.
So, VIPS bought a pig in a poke from Skip Folden. But, Folden himself was buying a pig in the poke from Forensicator and/or Carter. Got it?

That said, so did the minority side of VIPS. In its dissent report, it doesn't question buying this pig in a poke.

The majority, in response, doubles down on teh stupidz:
We think back to the evidence-free “assessments” 15 years ago before the attack on Iraq.
Exactly. You dudes just bought your own Curveball. Campbell agrees:
OK, as for the ex-spook duo leading the pig-in-a-poke buying, one final question or three or five:
1. How were you this dumb? (Well, being conspiracy theorists probably helps explain)
2. What would you say if someone said you weren't dumb but instead, at a minimum, willingly co-opted?
3. Did either of the two of you think, even if you were willingly co-opted, that you weren't in charge of this train?
4. Ray, who else if anybody, besides you, on VIPS talked to Carter?
5. Bill, aren't you a hypocrite on this whole "Deep State" if, per your Wiki page, you're the co-owner of a private intelligence firm which sells findings to the gummint?

Carter, meanwhile, has told me on Twitter that he'll prove Campbell wrong. "You'll see." Well, if Campbell is correct, making threats to the media ain't how you do it. Nor is blocking someone like me after I pointed out Binney's misrepresentations in a response.

You also, Tom Leonard, don't prove Campbell wrong by Tweeting from your Carter account. You've already conceded part of the game by doing that.

That said, I also want to add this update, also posted on my Seth Rich emails link above.

Further undermining Seth Rich conspiracy theorists? A simple Google Trends search, which shows his name had about zero searching before his July 10, 2016 murder. In other words, after his death, conspiracy theorists latched on to his death as a way of postulating an insider theft. And, whether this was a coordinated idea or not from the start, it became so soon after.

But, I still reject two-siderism, whether practiced by Hillbots, Trump Train riders, or a fellow-traveler version of two-siderism that McGovern peddled (and that a few Greens are peddling, too; more on that below.)

I do believe, more and more, that Russian officials likely meddled in our election. They did so NOT to elect Hillary Clinton. Vladimir Putin kept full radio silence during the 2016 election, and some Kremlin apparatchiks said they preferred Clinton. And why not? Even if she was perceived to be more hardline against Russia (that might have played out different in reality), she had a stability that Russian leadership knew Trump lacked.

In short, as Ryan Cooper notes? The 2016 election issues were about AMERICAN corruption. And, no, TrumpTrain riders, other wingnuts, and fellow travelers, no Deep State involved.

Idries Shah
Once again, Idries Shah:
“To 'see both sides' of a problem is the surest way to prevent its complete solution. Because there are always more than two sides.” 

Now, to some of the other players mentioned.

Patrick Lawrence? Contra smearers like Nancy LeTourneau from Washington Monthly, more sewer-like on some of this than Mother Jones, I don't see him as tilting pro-Russian. Hey may be a Bernie or Trump guy like H.A. Goodman. (Another Nation piece by him claimed that Trump would be successful in "accommodating" China. A massive trade war is a funny type of accommodation.) The Nation certainly isn't "pro-Russian," it's just not nutbar. Nancy LeTourneau strikes me as like Digby and other Hillbot bloggers, or Emptywheel, Bmaz, and the rest of the Kossack Dead End Kids.

The others?

Forensicator? A willing tool of deception. How much direct contact he had with people Leonard / Carter contacted, that is still unknown, but possible that direct contact was there. (If he's not Leonard / Carter himself)

Update, Feb. 23, 2021: Per the new-to-me Duncan Campbell piece, no, it's pretty clear that "Forensicator" IS Leonard.

Update, May 5, 2021: More info from this piece about the Mueller investigation about Wikileaks' contacts with Guccifer 2.0. Still unanswered for me: When did Assange have an idea he was dealing with Russkie intelligence?

Beyond unanswered at this moment, because of the RNC telling McCaul to shut up, what were the Russkies looking for, if anything in particular like with the DNC, on Republican computers?

I don't know what to think now of Shirtless Pundit ShirtLost DumbShit Zack Haller. He's too dumb to be of too much use to Carter. But, as the self-proclaimed chief carrier of the flame of old "friend" Actual Flatticus he could be more useful indeed.

Did Carter ever approach Flatty with any direct requests for help, fronting, etc.?

I doubt it. But, was Flatty his own sort of agent provocateur, not in the same way that Goodman might be (I think he was) but on his own?

His sister working at Patton Boggs, plus her leading the effort to launch the Church of St. Atticus of Flatulus, looks more suspicious now.

Per one Twitter friend:

Things that make you say Hummm?

For the wondering or unfamiliar, SCL Group is (and IS, not WAS) the British partner of Cambridge Analytica, per Wiki. The "IS not WAS" is per Wiki noting that a May promise to shut down, when the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica shit hit the fan, has yet to be honored.

I don't think even Flatty was that. But, who knows? Note dad's degree of connection to Trump, though his first choice for Prez in 2016 was Jeb! As for Leonard / Carter, THAT wouldn't surprise me at all. (And, that said, I don't know if Argh meant Flatty or Leonard / Carter.)

One or two more people to get in here.

Julian Assange, and Craig Murray.

Contra Elizabeth Lea Vos (or whatever her actual name may be) at Petulant Media, it was ONLY Craig Murray who explicitly denied that the Russians were Wikileaks' source. Assange, while hinting, etc. that Seth Rich was his source, never issued such explicit denials. And, when Murray DID, Assange essentially told him to shut up.

Craig Murray was at one time a legit critic of imperialist aspects of British foreign policy. Now, he's become little more than a toady and lap-dummy mouthpiece for Assange.

Assange? Not a Russian agent. No, Marcy Wheeler, he's not. Still bitter at Hillary Clinton for what he sees as her part in his Ecuadorean embassy exile. And willing to work with anybody. Had Assange wanted to know, he'd know all he could about Guccifer.

That said, this brings up the old issue of why Assange doesn't run leaks from people inside authoritarian countries. And, we're not just talking Russia. Where's the Chinese leaks? Pakistani ones? Saudi ones? Etc., etc.

As for me? I think the British government should drop all charges against Assange and pledge a safe conduct (if he trusts it) to wherever he wants to go, if a country will take him.

And, in case you don't know what I think about Ty Clevenger, lawyer for American Media Group and Ed Butowsky, click here. Ditto on DNC fraud lawyer Jared Beck, whose either a huge idiot or maybe got paid to throw the case, given how bad it is. He's not only a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist but a David  Hogg conspiracy theorist. Amazing how this has drawn conspiracy theorists like shit draws flies.

Update, Nov. 22, 2019, related to that and Crowdstrike:

Back to the original.

What's finally sad is that the number of conspiracy theorists plus general nutbars trying to deny Russians did anything are actually making Hillbots look sensible. Some of them are scared that maybe Trump was a pawn, even if that doesn't look true. Others surely know Trump is a plutocrat, and probably a money-laundering one at that, but are still invested in his "man of the people" populism. And others? Leonard / Carter? Petulant Media? Stand by.

Oh, and if not block, the mute button on Twitter will get used for alleged leftists uncritically retweeting people like that. I already have a couple in mind. And have now done so with one, a Green Party activist-level member of whom I already suspected such leanings.

Finally, after repeated attempts to comment on Patrick Lawrence's new piece, using multiple handles and multiple email accounts, I believe Consortium News is screening comments by email address.

I got two comments up, but ... both are NOT by my normal email account, edited with a "-noactualspace-" in the middle, used long ago to throw off spammers, or, after that, with the base version of the email.

Using a secondary email, I could post with both my actual name and the SocraticGadfly handle, though. Interesting.

(Update, Dec. 1, 2019: I mentioned that to Consortium News' Twitter Whisperer in light of my rhetorical question type comment about them no longer allowing links in comments. He said I was lying; I said it was a rhetorical question based in part on banning, while responding that he or she was lying about CN not running conspiracy theories.)


Update, Oct. 4: The DOJ, independently of Mueller, has indicted seven GRU agents on grounds of being connected with hacking the DNC and other sites. Four of the seven are also accused by the Dutch of trying to hack the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons. They were expelled from the country earlier this year. The US indictment also accuses the seven of targeting the US and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Also, Forensicator has broken blogging radio silence to respond to Campbell. I don't claim to be expert in all the technical details. But "Forensicator," whether a real person or not, hasn't addressed the non-technical issues, like glossing over Freitas' follow-up to Lawrence, ignoring Binney's flop, and ignoring Binney and McGovern being conspiracy theory nutbars. That response took a full month after Campbell's report. Forensicator also doesn't address the claim of Drake that Binney et al, as I translate him, found their own "Curveball." In fact, Drake's name is nowhere in the full piece.

With that, I don't need to try to wade through the technical issues.

Meanwhile, a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist faults Mueller for not interviewing Julian Assange, Craig Murray or Kimdotcom.

First, rightly or wrongly, I doubt Assange would tell the truth. And, on this issue, it would be wrongly. I meant the "rightly or wrongly" based on his fear of extradition, a fear which I support. Craig Murray was at one time an independent-minded person. He's become little more than an Assange flunky. Kim Dotcom faces extradition to the US on fraud charges and is on that grounds not a credible witness, plus would, like Assange, almost surely be uncooperative.

Said person, on Twitter, didn't deny he's a Seth Rich conspiracy theorist, so I blocked him.


Update, Dec. 21: Actually admitting he made an eight-timezone mistake on metadata, Forensicator tries to spin this into new proof Guccifer 2.0 was in the US not Russia. That's a follow-up on an earlier piece where he claimed that, because of his alleged earlier misreading of timestamps, which actually showed Guccifer in Russia, this was deliberately planted.

So, according to Forensicator, Guccifer is a genius a few months ago, but now an idiot. Forensicator doubled down on the genius claims shortly after his now-alleged misreading.

After that, but before his brand-new "I made a mistake" but "Now I'm going to judo-flip that with massive motivated reasoning" piece, Forensicator went on the attack against Campbell. Given that his alleged mistake is, from somebody with his alleged skill level on analyzing hacking, metadata, etc., why should we believe any part of his attack on Campbell?

I don't know whether Leonard/Carter created Forensicator, per Campbell's claim. But, it's certainly possible. And, given the bullshit of his newest post, the ideas spouted there would do nothing to disconfirm that.

Also since the last update here, I've apparently finally hit ShirtLost DumbShit over the head enough on Twitter that he blocked me.


Update, April 12, 2019: Wikipedia has a pretty decent Guccifer 2.0 roundup.

Further, indirect proof the original emails were hacked not leaked? Even before Assange started releasing the first set, Joseph Mifsud told the Trump campaign about Russians having email "dirt" on Clinton.


Update, June 21, 2019: The fact that the Russians attempted to hack, but with a few exceptions, failed to hack, GOP computers is good indirect support for the idea that the Democratic emails Assange had before the Russian spearphishing were hacked, not leaked. It's good evidence that wingnuts on the right and a motley crew of left-liberal and leftist wingnuts on the other side both don't like to talk about.

The paper Reality Winner leaked is good indirect evidence of Russia's overall plan for meddling. Unfortunately, as one of those #TheResistance types, Winner misread Russian general meddling into Putin-Trump collusion.


Updates, early 2020:

Decided to do some Googling, and using DuckDuckGo, got some interesting results.

Here's one from early September 2017 already calling bullshit. This person also offers a bit more background on Vos. Western Australia. How close of a circle to Caitlin Johnstone is it? She also notes how Vos, Forensicator and Carter managed to coordinate so well despite multiple time zones separating each of them. And yet more from Jane Doe here, with more on the coordination between the "trio," indicating more clearly yet there was no "trio."


Update, Dec. 9, 2020: The fact that RNC computers as well as DNC ones were hacked undercuts the Seth Rich leaker thing right there. Unfortunately, for a while, I listened too much to bullshit artists like Aaron Maté (you ARE, on this, Aaron, shut up!) who said "cloud computing" and "mirrors" etc. were no substitute for the real thing. Well, when you use cloud servers, Aaron, that IS the real thing. If you're that much of a gasligher, you too can go fuck yourself along with Clevenger. If you're that much of an idiot, again, shut up. Ditto for anybody else repeating that nonsense.

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