DAY ONE: OCTOBER 4, 2018
October 4, 2018, marked WikiLeaks’ twelve-year anniversary and to celebrate the occasion they posted a “Quest of Random Clues” for its followers on Twitter. I’m not sure if we’re seeing another publicity move for an upcoming publication but just in case I figured I would start covering it like I did Vault 7.
So WikiLeaks first clue (above) has this long string of letters and numbers and a drawing of what is obviously a mole. And even though the first assumption might be that WikiLeaks is calling out an infiltrator, @greekemmy posted two insightful links (this and this) about the origins of WikiLeaks’ hourglass logo and the mole drawing. After reading the articles, it seemed like WikiLeaks had creatively pointed their followers in the direction of where it all began. As Emmy put it, “Back to the beginning – Happy 12th Birthday WikiLeaks, the pioneering online Library, a refuge for persecuted documents wanting to break into the light :-).”
But what about the numbers and letters? First, head over to a hexadecimal to text converter like this one and put in the WikiLeaks code. The hex to text converts to “三五七一七五六三八, 一三九五三四九二六六.” Now, put that in Google translate. You get this:
“Three five seven one seven five six three eight, one three nine five three four nine two six six”
In other words: 357175638, 1395349266. Initially I did what folks on Reddit did, used it as coordinates, and came up with Tokyo, Japan. One poster there noted that on Mapquest the coordinates pointed to Nishi Tokyo Data Center also known as the “West Tokyo Data Center” which is owned by Canon. Apparently the data center provides,
“…next-generation reliability and solutions to support the future IT infrastructure….it handles cloud services, all manners of IT and server services to major companies in Japan and from around the world.”
I didn’t check to see if that’s correct so here’s the website if you guys want to check it out yourselves.
I always think it’s important to look at what WikiLeaks (and very often other accounts) posted before or after clues so looking at October 4, 2018, they tweeted about their latest publication, “Dealmaker: Al Yousef,” a secret document about a billion dollar arms deal between French company GIAT Industries SA (renamed Nexter Systems) and the United Arab Emirates here and here.
They also discredited Lian Tech Meng’s accusations that WikiLeaks had published banking information about Anwar Ibrahim and retweeted a March 8, 2017 Speigel Online article that discussed the CIA’s “secret hacking arsenal” which was revealed in WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 publications. For those keeping track at home, March 8, 2017 was the day after WikiLeaks began “its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named ‘Vault 7‘… the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.”
Then they retweeted more than a few of their Vault 7 tweets from last year about the United States’ CIA “hacker base in Europe,” also known as the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt (see here, here, and here). WikiLeaks then addressed the allegations that “GRU hackers on diplomatic passports drove in EU to conduct WiFi attacks” on the OPCW in the Hague. They added, “Such attacks do occur. WikiLeaks revealed a giant CIA hacker base in Frankfurt…”
For a link to Dutch military slides about the alleged GRU attack go here.
And then there’s Bloomberg. In case you missed it, yesterday they published the story, “The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies” in which they reported on exactly what the headline implies — the Chinese government has been spying on American companies like Apple and Amazon by implanting microchips in the supply chain. As @realKyleOlbert pointed out, “…the real threat posed by hostile state intelligence services far exceeds the overinflated, headline-making threat of whistleblowers …there’s a very clear, present danger that industrial supply chains & software pipelines are being infiltrated for state intel purposes.”
Apple, Amazon, Supermicro all denied the assertations in Bloomberg’s article. Meanwhile, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs took a different approach,
“China is a resolute defender of cybersecurity. It advocates for the international community to work together on tackling cybersecurity threats through dialogue on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Supply chain safety in cyberspace is an issue of common concern, and China is also a victim. China, Russia, and other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization proposed an “International code of conduct for information security” to the United Nations as early as 2011. It included a pledge to ensure the supply chain security of information and communications technology products and services, in order to prevent other states from using their advantages in resources and technologies to undermine the interest of other countries. We hope parties make less gratuitous accusations and suspicions but conduct more constructive talk and collaboration so that we can work together in building a peaceful, safe, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace.” —Translated by Bloomberg News in Beijing
I’m not sure that they actually denied anything in this statement but I do appreciate them essentially calling out the United State for possibly doing the same thing. And I don’t want you to think I’m getting off track because I’m not, I promise. WikiLeaks retweeted Apple’s response to Bloomberg’s article here and then tweeted,
“While Apple and Amazon have denied BusinessWeek’s ‘China spy chips’ story, which also has other errors, such attacks do occur. For example, #Vault7 has 27 references to CIA conducted supply chain attacks.”
So, I’d say for day one we’ve got ourselves the subject matter: Spying, hacking, and Vault 7.
DAY TWO: OCTOBER 5, 2018
When I saw “Mythic Airplanes” the first thing I thought of was rendition airplanes and tweets put out previously by @AnonScan about the one that had been deployed for Edward Snowden (see also #N977GA). I might have been onto something because @BellaMagnani posted,
“Well, Shannon airport ‘played vital logistical role’ in the #CIA renditions project: [link to irishtimes.com included] They’d be ‘mythical airplanes’…See Reprieve’s ‘Renditions Inc’ [link to reprieve.org included]
But let’s back up for a moment. The reason anyone is talking about Shannon airport in Ireland is because WikiLeaks clue, “2u55fq73azn2lhzm.onion,” is a photo of Shannon Airport’s Terminal 2.
In Sara Brady’s book “Performance, Politics, and the War on Terror: ‘Whatever it Takes,'” she remarked on US-Ireland “bilateral aviation agreements” and Shannon airport,
“As we landed and began and began to taxi toward the terminal, I noticed an unmarked jet on the tarmac. Immediately my petty annoyance changed to curiosity, because Shannon is used by the US military as a stopover. Rendition flight? I wondered.”
She went on,
Shannon airport is a site of visibility and invisibility. It is located in a neutral country, Ireland, that involves itself in the war-making of another country, the United States…The US military personnel that wait in its terminal can be seen, and yet the CIA personnel, private jets, and very possibly human cargo that also land and takeoff from Shannon are most decidedly unseen.” (See ShannonWatch.org)
Truthout.org‘ called it, “Ireland’s Gateway to Torture” and all you have to do is google this stuff to see that Shannon really does work hand in hand with the U.S. government — more particularly with the CIA.
So, could this be what WikiLeaks is eluding to? A rendition plane marked for Julian Assange has landed at Shannon?
WikiLeaks put out a second clue today and I totally feel like this is something really easy that we all learned in second grade math about patterns but, yeah. No idea.
However, @greekemmy Google image searched the clue and apparently “Ted Cruz presidential campaign, 2016” showed up. Wut? When I googled it, I got meetcircle.com, an online service that helps manage parental controls and internet filtering (boooring, I think?), and circle.com, a crypto finance company.
Someone did mention that the shapes are different colors but I’m not that tech saavy to know what they’re talking about. And here’s another tweet that shows what the colors actually are (Head’s up, I cannot confirm that this is true)…
…and then somebody else mentioned more hex codes when it came to the colors.
So we have so far (maybe) clues that link to a Tokyo data center, spying, hacking, the Shannon airport, Ted Cruz, and the colors of shapes. Besides Cruz having an Irish-Italian mother, I’m lost.
UPDATE: Oh boy. It’s been about fifteen minutes since I published this and we’ve already got ourselves some updates! @AnonScan posted this tweet approximately thirty minutes ago about Apple and the China hack using microchips in the supply chain. Then they tweeted this video showing Trump boarding Air Force One with toilet paper on his shoe and yes, insert any emoji of your liking here. I don’t know if these have to do with the “Quest for Random Clues” but the second tweet did contain this code:
…with a link to M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes.” You might remember that Julian Assange posted the same video and code back on December 31, 2017.
I don’t believe that anyone has figured out what the code means so if you have any ideas, post them on Twitter.
Stay tuned (again).
UPDATE: Check out @ChateauRuby’s tweet — she posted a video showing that the circles and stars are definitely colored.
Part Two → “WikiLeaks Quest of Random Clues Days 3-4”