The following post is meant to provide some clarity and understanding of Barrett Brown’s story because if you’ve been following it on Twitter, or at least trying to, it’s a fairly convoluted one with alot of players. I’ll try to add more from time to time (no promises), but I wanted to at least give you some insight into Andrew Auernheimer (“Weev”) and Peter Thiel, Jennifer Emick and other individuals involved in her story such as William Welna and Laurelai Bailey, and more. I’ve added these events to my ongoing #OpISIS timeline which you can find HERE.
If you feel that something needs to be corrected in this post, feel free to reach out to me.
Finally, I want to be clear that I am not accusing anyone of being a fed or an informant. The following contains information about individuals who have absolutely worked or cooperated with FBI, all of which has been confirmed by court documents and leaked communications. This information, however, does not mean that they are currently assisting any federal or intelligence agencies, unless specifically noted.
Jennifer Emick vs. Anonymous
Excluding Jennifer Emick’s leaked messages and chats, virtually all of the following information about her story comes from Parmy Olsen’s “We Are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency.” I have no idea if what Emick and others told her are accurate, or even truthful, but this is the story that they (and Olsen) shared.
In 2008, Emick became interested in “Operation Chanology,” an Anonymous protest movement coordinated by hacktivists like Gregg Housh against the Church of Scientology:
When news of Chanology reached California, a married mother of four named Jennifer Emick decided to investigate…Emick was intrigued by the snippets of information she had heard about Chanology. When she was younger, a member of her family had become involved with Scientology and had had a harrowing experience, convincing Emick that the church was evil. Emick ended up becoming a writer who specialized in new religious movements and religious symbolism. By the time Chanology came along she was writing off and on about religion and esoteric issues for About.com, an informational website affiliated with the New York Times.
During Operation Chanology, Emick met Laurelai Bailey, an activist and WikiLeaks supporter who, unlike Emick, enjoyed Anonymous’ pranks and trolling more so than peaceful activism. Emick eventually became disillusioned about the collective.
You fight an evil cult you can’t be evil yourself. Then at some point they [Anonymous] said, ‘Well, why not?’” Emick seemed to revel in the drama and gossip, but she hated the threats and real-life mischief. What had happened to the well-behaved ethos at those first protests? Anonymous was becoming increasingly vindictive not only toward Scientology but to other Anons who didn’t agree with its methods.
According to Bailey, she realized that they had “starkly different views about Anonymous. Emick didn’t understand the darker side of chan culture and seemed to think Anonymous should focus on peaceful protest. The two hard-talking individuals began to have blazing public arguments.” After Emick publicly revealed Laurelai’s online identity, the relationship severed.
After their fallout, #LulzSec member, Ryan Ackroyd (a.k.a. “Kayla”), accidentally bumped into Laurelai while targeting Gregg Housh’s website:
By hitting Enturbulation, Kayla had caused collateral damage to Laurelai’s site. Laurelai explained that her site was an alternative to Housh’s, concentrating more on trolling. Kayla’s mood suddenly lightened. “Oh, sorry,” she said. “Why are you on the same server as those moralfags anyway?” Laurelai realized that Kayla hated moralfags…Kayla explained that she disliked the way the Chanology organizers had put a stop to black hat hacking. She believed that hitting Scientology with hard and fast attacks was more effective than a long, drawn-out protest. Laurelai felt an instant meeting of minds…
After their initial run-in, Ackroyd and Laurelai remained in contact. In February 2011, he sent a message to Laurelai stating that “she was in the middle of ‘owning’ a federal contractor called HBGary,” and sure enough, after HBGary Federal’s then CEO, Aaron Barr, told the Financial Times that he had infiltrated Anonymous, Anonymous unleashed a hell storm.
After emails from Aaron Barr and HBGary’s CEO were leaked to a public website, Ackroyd invited Laurelai to join #HQ, an “exclusive IRC channel” comprised of those who took part in the HBGary attack. However, unbeknownst to everyone in the room, Laurelai started logging their chats. We’re talking #Lulzsec members like Kayla, Topiary and Sabu.
Meanwhile, remember Jennifer Emick who had a falling out with Laurelai? Right. So, shortly after Anonymous destroyed Aaron Barr’s career, Emick, who had long ago become fed up with the collective’s activities, created a sock account on Twitter called @fakegregghoush, in order to social engineer hacktivists and collect identities behind the Anonymous mask. In addition to that:
[O]ne of the most prominent people criticizing Anonymous at that moment was doing so through Twitter, under the username @FakeGreggHoush. No one in #HQ knew the real person behind this account, which was created on February 16, the day after their HBGary e-mails viewer went live. This person was constantly making biting remarks and even threatening to expose the real names of the HBGary attackers on a specific upcoming date: March 19.
Jake Davis (“Topiary”) reportedly drew up a list of those suspected of running the @fakegregghoush account after speaking with the real Gregg Housh who correctly pointed the finger at Emick. Armed with the list that included Emick’s name, Topiary showed it to the #HQ group at which point Laurelai realized that they were “all the people who had supported her Scientology Exposed website,” previously. Despite the rift in their relationship, Laurelai became convinced that Emick was being framed by (the real) Gregg Housh.
After trying to clear the situation up with both Emick and the #HQ group only to have the @fakegregghoush account (Emick) falsely accuse her publicly of working with Housh, Laurelai decided that the best course of action would be to send the @FakeGreggHoush account the chat logs she copied proving that she didn’t work with Housh. Naturally it’s always a good idea to send sock accounts endless pages of incriminating evidence while thinking no one would be the wiser.
And FYI, that’s social engineering. When you have freaks online that continuously accuse you of things you didn’t do i.e. LizActivate, Kaidinn, someone, somewhere is hoping you’ll give up some goods to save your reputation. The more you know.
So yes, Laurelai sent the chat logs to @fakegregghoush (Emick) and as Olson put it, “[T]here was nothing that truly implicated Gregg Housh but plenty to implicate Sabu, Kayla, and Topiary in the attack on HBGary Federal.”
To make a long story short, around March 2011, Emick and a friend started a “digital security company” called Backtrace Security to essentially take these people down. Shortly thereafter, they had a journalist publish a doxing list of #LulzSec members that Emick had compiled. Although most of the names were incorrect, Sabu’s was only slightly misspelled.
Backtrace security onboarded people from the cyber security industry to help including former HBGary Federal CEO, Aaron Barr, and then they shared their research with the feds. Below is just one out of many examples of Emick speaking with her FBI handler, Agent Daniel “Prosek” (real name is Daniel Borsuk), one week after the FBI flipped Sabu:
And here’s Agent Borsuk telling Emick that William Welna (assistant researcher to Michigan State’s CIA-funded professor, Laura Dilley) not only called of him, Welna was expected to leak him chat logs via email. As you might remember from #OpISIS Part 1, Welna continued to communicate with Sabu after he was arrested in 2012, during which time he admitted that he was snitch-jacketing Brown in online forums.
So how does all of this pertain to Barrett Brown? I’m not going to pretend that I understand everything that went on during this time frame because I’m pretty sure I only understand about 5% at this point. What I can say is that Emick accused Brown of trying to swat her and like a whole bunch of female mental patients that hang around the activist community tossing about serious allegations, it appears that she produced zero evidence for her allegations. Despite that, her accusations led to Barrett being denied bail back in 2012. So that, and presumably the whole informant and Welna snitch-jacketing thing, along with these people attacking Brown’s then-girlfriend and her daughter etc. etc.
The Chanology movement was largely coordinated with the assistance of hacktivist, Gregg Housh, who helped write the the original press release called, ““Internet Group Anonymous Declares War On Scientology.” Approximately six years prior, Housh had been approached by the FBI for software piracy:
[Housh] conspired with others to engage in web software piracy. Software piracy involves the illegal copying, storing and distribution of copyright protected software across the Internet through a series of FTB, or File Transfer Protocol, computer servers known as Warez sites. Warez is the word used to by those involved to describe pirated software…The defendant, Gregg Housh, was a courier for one such warez server known as Shayol Ghul.” (“Factual Addendum to Plea Agreement,” United States of America v. Gregg Housh, U.S. District Court, D.N.H., ECF No. 11, page 14)
According to court documents, Housh got swept up in an FBI investigation that started in Chicago, Illinois and eventually extended to an undercover operation known as “Digital Piratez” run out of the Boston field office. Initially, a cooperating witness introduced federal agents to private IRC channels “established for and used by individuals who were associated with the warez server Shayol Ghul,” and the rest, as they say, is history.
So what does this have to do with Barrett Brown? Well, for one, Housh is the one who brought Aubrey Cottle (“Kirtaner”) into Brown’s projects.
Cottle, as we now know, openly admits to working with various law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He also allowed child porn on 420chan which, apparently, doesn’t seem to bother literally anyone else except for a handful of us who are still out here shaking our heads in disbelief that anyone would work with him or bring him into activist circles (like Housh and Ray Johansen). Or, how media outlets published stories falsely glorifying Cottle as the “founder” of Anonymous. It’s absolutely mind boggling.
Based on Brown’s tweets, it sounds like he didn’t realize that Housh cooperated with the FBI back in the mid-2000s, or that he didn’t realize the extent of that cooperation that even the U.S. government described as “significant.”
According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire:
Because [Housh] was a courier, and as such had factual information related to numerous others involved in software piracy, he was in a position to provide testimony against many targets; namely the owners and operators of warez sites which received software through him, or through the courier programs he wrote and authorized. Consequently, having his cooperation was leverage that was used, among many other factors, in obtaining pleas of guilty by others who owned or operated warez sites.
Housh cooperated with the FBI for at least four years, including with their initial investigation in Chicago, so the question remains if his “significant and useful” assistance led to the subsequent, undercover investigation run out of the Boston field office.
Housh agreed to plead guilty to one count of “conspiring to violate copyright laws,” and according to a June 2005 plea agreement filed by the U.S. government (my emphasis):
[The government] has determined that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the investigation of other persons who have committed offenses. Therefore, as long as the defendant is completely truthful, continues to cooperate fully and refrains from illegal conduct (except to the extent it may be specifically authorized in writing by the government) the government will file a motion pursuant to Section 5K1.1 of the Sentencing Guidelines…
“Continues to cooperate?” For how long? And I was hoping that the whole “you can break the law if we authorize it” part was just disturbing, boilerplate verbiage but I’m not so sure after a Google search failed to return a single hit. The problem is that this goes well beyond informing on your friends and/or associates and straight into undercover Sabu territory. More:
The defendant also understands that in the event he engages in illegal conduct (except to the extent it may have been be [sic] specifically authorized in writing by the government) after signing this Plea Agreement, the government may bring further or additional charges against [Housh]…
And in reality, Housh’s cooperation didn’t end with the plea agreement. In a 2005 court document about his supervised release, which was scheduled to run from approximately April 4, 2006 through April 3, 2008, special conditions included his consent “to the installation of systems that will enable the probation office or its designee to monitor computer use on any computer owned or controlled by the defendant.”
In case anyone is wondering, yes, the Church of Scientology’s web site was hit with DDoS attacks while Housh was still on probation and according to Olsen’s book, he was a “longtime Anon in his midthirties who had helped coordinate the first wave of major DD0S attacks by Anonymous in 2008, against the Church of Scientology.” Olsen mentioned that Housh agreed to cooperate with the FBI for a lesser sentence but there’s no mention that his computer was still being monitored (or, that the possibility existed that it could be) when Operation Chanology started.
On April 3, 2008, the court issued a summons for a final revocation hearing after Housh allegedly violated the conditions of his supervised release. This may have been in response to a February 10, 2008 protest that Housh attended at the Church of Scientology in Boston. Housh was ridiculously brought up on charges for disturbing the peace and disturbing a religious service at this so-called “religious” entity—an entity that’s estimated to be worth almost $2 billion, all of which is tax-free—and he eventually pled guilty in a Boston municipal court
The initial revocation hearing date was rescheduled for May 27th, but four days prior to the newly rescheduled hearing, the government canceled it altogether. This is the last entry in the docket.
As for the operation called “Digital Piratez” that Housh found himself entangled in, two other federal investigations were associated with it: Operation Bandwith and Operation Buccaneer. Folks, imma make this short and sweet because here comes that name again that none of you will speak out loud. Operation Buccaneer not only targeted a warez group called Razor 1911, it targeted individuals living overseas in countries like Norway where Ray Johansen allegedly lives. With that said, here’s a message that Johansen not only distributed back in 2018, but actually signed, stating that he’s a member of Razor1911, and the leader of a “crew” targeted by the FBI’s Operation Buccaneer.
As I’ve stated over and over again, here’s another guy like Aubrey Cottle who brags about hacks and cracks and whatnot, doesn’t disguise himself or where he lives, and yet is never arrested. And I don’t know what Johansen is talking about because two of the top leaders of Razor1911 were busted in 2004 (here and here), along with at least 40 other individuals “after an extensive undercover operation known as ‘Operation Buccaneer.'” Imagine 42 people looking at prison time and not a single one of them rats you out. I’m sorry, are we not allowed to talk about this yet?
August 2010: Chet Uber, Adrian Lamo and Project Vigilant
During the August 2010 DEFCOM conference, computer security specialist, Chet Uber, announced a new company that he started called Project Vigilant and, yes, this is the same guy “who held a press conference at DefCon on August 1 to boast about his role in helping Adrian Lamo turn Bradley Manning in to authorities.” According to forbes.com:
A semi-secret government contractor that calls itself Project Vigilant surfaced at the Defcon security conference Sunday with a series of revelations: that it monitors the traffic of 12 regional Internet service providers, hands much of that information to federal agencies, and encouraged one of its “volunteers,” researcher Adrian Lamo, to inform the federal government about the alleged source of a controversial video of civilian deaths in Iraq leaked to whistle-blower site Wikileaks in April.
Chet Uber, the director of Fort Pierce, Fl.-based Project Vigilant, says that he personally asked Lamo to meet with federal authorities to out the source [Chelsea Manning] of a video published by Wikileaks showing a U.S. Apache helicopter killing several civilians and two journalists in a suburb of Baghdad, a clip that Wikileaks labeled “Collateral Murder.”
And according to an article published by @emptywheel, Uber tried to contact HBGary CEO, Greg Hoglund, via email on June 23, 2010. Among the people that he copied on the email was Mark Rasch, a “former DOJ cybercrimes prosecutor who claims to be Project Vigilant’s General Counsel and who says he made key connections with the government on Manning.”
However, @emptywheel noted that “the multiple versions of Uber’s story of his involvement in turning in Manning are inconsistent,” and that “security insiders have suggested the whole Project Vigilant story may be nothing more than a publicity stunt…Uber may have been doing no more than cold-calling Hoglund just as he was making a big publicity push capitalizing on the Manning arrest.”
Lastly, @emptywheel stated (my emphasis) that the Project Vigilant story “looked more like a cover story for why Lamo would narc out Bradley Manning than an accurate story. And Uber’s email here and his DefCon press conference may well be publicity stunts. But then, that’s what Aaron Barr’s research on Anonymous was supposed to be: a widely publicized talk designed to bring new business.”
The article is short but juicy, and in reference to what I’ve been recently researching, I find the last sentence above extremely interesting and here’s why: Barr tried to infiltrate Anonymous to bring in new business; Uber may well have been blowing smoke to bring in business; and we just learned a few months ago that FBI Agent Jayson Chambers may have been funneling sensitive case information to a online “Nazi porn” troll in order to boost his private company’s profile.
It was literally in the private financial interest of anyone with a security/intelligence firm to tackle the Anonymous/WikiLeaks problem—or create one themselves that they could tackle—and I can only assume that operations like #OpIsrael and #OpISIS created the perfect opportunity. Forbes also reported:
According to Uber, one of Project Vigilant’s manifold methods for gathering intelligence includes collecting information from a dozen regional U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs). Uber declined to name those ISPs, but said that because the companies included a provision allowing them to share users’ Internet activities with third parties in their end user license agreements (EULAs), Vigilant was able to legally gather data from those Internet carriers and use it to craft reports for federal agencies. A Vigilant press release says that the organization tracks more than 250 million IP addresses a day and can “develop portfolios on any name, screen name or IP address.”
“We don’t do anything illegal,” says Uber. “If an ISP has a EULA to let us monitor traffic, we can work with them. If they don’t, we can’t.”
And whether that massive data gathering violates privacy? The organization says it never looks at personally identifying information, though just how it defines that information isn’t clear, nor is how it scrubs its data mining for sensitive details.
Honestly, this sounds like an early version of Aubrey Cottle and DDoSecrets. What I mean is that this sounds like Project Vigilant was protected because he was collecting data for U.S. intelligence agencies that they themselves would need a warrant to get.
Lamo was listed as a corporate officer of Project Vigilant and after he was found dead (undetermined cause of death) on March 14, 2018, the medical examiner who handled his autopsy found a sticker on his left thigh that read, “Adrian Lamo, Assistant Director, ProjectVigilant, 70 Bates Street, NW, Washington, DC.”
After digging further into corporate records, NPR found that at least one corporate officer listed was the former chief research officer at the Ames Laboratory. However, the man never heard of ProjectVigilant, “I’m not sure how they chose me, but certainly it was misappropriated with some kind of intent.”
Neal Rauhauser was also involved in Project Vigilant but the extent of his escapades, online trolling, f*cking with Barrett Brown, and even threats (including towards me)—from Brett Kimberlin, Weinergate, SWATgate, Jim Stewartson, and everything in between—and considering the duration of how long this has been going on seems almost too overwhelming to report on.
Tom Ryan and “Robin Sage”
Back in 2009, security specialists, Robin Casey and Thomas Ryan, created a fictional cyber-threat analyst named “Robin Sage.” Casey and Ryan’s choice in names stems from a U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC, a.k.a. the “Q Course) roleplaying exercise. The name itself, however, was originally derived from both Robbins, North Carolina, where the exercise takes place, and “former Army Colonel Jerry Sage, a World War II veteran and an Office of Strategic Services, or OSS officer who taught unconventional warfare tactics.”
Since 1974, Robin Sage, the culmination exercise for the SFQC, has been the litmus test for soldiers striving to earn the coveted Green Beret. (Prior to 1974, similar exercises were held under the name Devil’s Arrow, Swift Strike, and Guerrilla USA.) During Robin Sage, held across 15 rural North Carolina counties, soldiers put all of the skills they learned throughout the SFQC to the test in an unconventional-warfare training exercise. (source)
During their final instruction in Unconventional Warfare prior to infiltration of Pineland, the SF [Special Forces] candidates will study guerrilla warfare, sabotage, intelligence, and subversion. (source)
So, in 2009, Casey and Ryan created this fictional online character and an “entire social media background and history for Robin Sage, an attractive 25-year-old who claimed to be a cyber-threat analyst at Naval Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Virginia.” Then, “she” started connecting with people on the internet.
According to businessinsider.com:
She duped men and women alike — but mostly men — without showing any real biographical information. From December 2009 to January 2010, she acquired access to email accounts — one NRO contractor posted information on social media, which revealed answers to security questions on his personal e-mail — home addresses, family information, and bank accounts.
She learned the locations of secret military installations and was able to successfully determine their missions. She received documents to review, was invited to speak at conferences, and was even offered consulting work at Google and Lockheed.
Ryan purposely chose a relatively attractive woman because he wanted to prove how sex and appearance plays in trust and willingness to connect.
Right, so long-winded sentence to follow. The next time you want to come at me for pointing out a donkey face on the internet who infiltrates activist communities—usually privately and on a one-to-one basis—runs defamation and disinformation campaigns against activists and journalists, and manipulates her looks to such an extreme that you would never recognize her in real life in order to appear more trustworthy, try to keep this exercise in mind.
Fast forward two years after Ryan’s “Robin Sage” experiment when he infiltrated Occupy Wall Street by gaining access “to one of the group’s internal mailing lists, and then handed over information on the group’s plans to authorities and corporations targeted by protesters.” Authorities included the FBI cyber security team and the New York Police Department’s Computer Crimes Squad. Then he leaked it all to Andrew Breibart:
On Friday, Ryan leaked thousands of September17discuss emails to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who is now using them to try to smear Occupy Wall Street as an anarchist conspiracy to disrupt global markets.
At some point, Ryan came into contact with Project Vigilant’s Chet Uber and I only know this because a transcription of their phone call where they discuss Neal Rauhauser was released. I don’t know the specifics of their relationship or how they came to meet.
It’s also unclear to me how exactly he factors into this aside from playing the antagonist (infiltrating activist communities). From freebarrettbrown.tumblr.com:
In the meantime, my partners and I at Project PM continued to investigate what is now often termed the cyber-industrial complex – and we continued to be harassed in turn by both known and unknown parties. Tom Ryan, CEO of Provide Security and a friend of HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr, posted pictures on Twitter of what he believed to be my home (it was an apartment had I lived in previously).
Andrew Auernheimer (“Weev”) and Peter Thiel
Reporting on Weev is like reporting on Neal Rauhauser…where do you start? So, instead of trying to give you a complete biographical run down on him, I’m going to focus on what I’m familiar with in terms of my own research, and information about Weev and the PayPal 14 case that Barrett Brown recently posted on his Twitter.
On July 19, 2011, fourteen members of Anonymous (“PayPal 14”) were arrested on charges of “participating in denial-of-service attacks against online payment service provider PayPal.” According to wired.com:
The majority of the individuals were allegedly acting as part of Anonymous, a loosely connected group of online griefers who took credit for denial-of-service attacks last year against PayPal, Visa and Mastercard after the payment service providers announced they would stop processing donations intended for the secret-spilling site WikiLeaks.
As the case slowly made its way through the U.S. judicial system, in 2013, far-right political activist, Charles C. Johnson started working on oppositional research with GOP operative, Peter Smith. Smith was known for trying to plant stories in the media about Bill Clinton back in the 1990s, including “Troopergate, which led to other stories about Clinton’s “sexual impropriety” and Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit.
That same year, “Weev” went to prison for a hack that in my opinion wasn’t even a hack, but whatever. If you humiliate huge companies like AT&T, I guess you go to prison. He was released on April 11, 2014, and two videos posted on Dan Stuckey’s Vine account show that he was hanging out with both Stuckey and Dell Cameron that weekend. And if the name Dell Cameron sounds familiar, this is from my 2018 article, “Under Attack Part Eight: The Syria Files”:
On March 15, 2015, the Anonymous community came to a screeching halt after former Vice journalist Dan Stuckey, co-founder of TheSabuFiles.co, along with Dell Cameron and Andrew Blake, posted a Vine of himself and former FBI informant Sabu enjoying a leisurely soak in a hot tub. Sabu is heard saying on the video, “I’m with Dan Stuckey. Fuck Anonymous. We’re at fuckin’ Spa Castle. Expect my review soon, bitches!”
Yikes. That weekend, Weev also celebrated with his lawyer, Tor Ekeland, and Fox News blogger, Glenn Greenwald (that’s a joke, Glenn—the Fox News bit, that is). According to a tweet that Ekeland posted on April 11, 2014, there was a party that weekend at PiloSoft Inc., which is owned by Russian Aleksandr Pilosov and may or may not mean something. Follow this thread, it’s a doozie:
A month after Weev was released from prison new material published by Barrett Brown on Twitter shows that he was already working with Peter Thiel via “his people,” if not already directly.
On May 13, 2014, Weev contacted one of the PayPal 14 defendants, Mercedes Haefer, prior to sentencing, and tried to throw his weight using Peter Thiel, “Tell your people to stop shit talking PayPal mafia dudes while I talk to them and try to help ya’ll out…meeting with Peter Thiel’s right hand this week.” In case you’re not familiar with the term “PayPal Mafia,” it’s in reference to guys like Thiel (PayPal founder) and Elon Musk. :
And here’s a taste of what Weev told Haefer:
Can i get you to take ownershop of PP14 public relations, and say this isn’t your wish and its done without your consent because basically, peirre [Pierre Omidyar, funder and founder of The Intercept] is well liked, and if there’s perception that you people are attacking paypal mafia dudes they won’t want to help.
I want to help you get money. offer stands, but is a rapidly closing window. Thiel’s people are in town tonight. might not see them again.
i am asking it to stop because I thought your goal was to get restitution paid and get ahead in the world
i’m not expecting you to tell me anything, i’m just saying if you become a PR face for the PP14, disavow the pierre trash talk and start running a reasonable campaign, I can put my resources in insofar as manipulating the press and billionaires in your favor
ive met pierre, i like pierre, and he’s a friend of a close friend…”
ya’ll would be a lot more effective as mouthpieces for free speech and transparency and 4th amendment if you played this smart
Unless Weev was lying about his contacts which, based on his future activities, doesn’t remotely seem to be the case, he was in contact with Thiel and/or his people by 2014, if not earlier.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, Weev is a “white supremacist and anti-Semite, as well as a notorious American hacker and online troll.” He also writes for (or did) the Daily Stormer, a website that “aptly takes its name from the gutter Nazi propaganda sheet known as Der Stürmer.”
What I know about the Daily Stormer from writing about it over two years ago is that it was founded by fellow neo-Nazi, Andrew Anglin. Anglin is also an associate of Charles Johnson who reportedly asked Peter Smith for investment capital for his online platform “WeSearchr,” a fundraising website that helped raise money for guys like Anglin. Johnson denied that ever happened.
In 2015, Smith approached Johnson for assistance in his quest to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails on the dark web, and according to The Wall Street Journal with regards to his operation, “A longtime Republican activist who led an operation hoping to obtain Hillary Clinton emails from hackers listed senior members of the Trump campaign, including some who now serve as top aides in the White House, in a recruitment document for his effort.”
Some of the names included in Smith’s recruitment letter for the project included Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon, and Sam Clovis. In fact, Smith was reportedly a close friend of Clovis. The following is taken from Wikipedia (I’m not terribly familiar with Clovis so I left the source links in the quote but still do your own research, in fact, always do your own research):
In July 2017, Trump nominated Clovis to the post of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics, the USDA’s top science post. The nomination attracted attention because this post is traditionally filled by a scientist, and Clovis has no scientific background. A statute requires that nominees for the position be chosen from among “distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”
In October 2017, former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with the Russia government during the campaign. Papadopoulos was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. According to court records, Papadopoulos had been recruited to join Trump’s foreign policy advisor team in early March 2016 by a “campaign supervisor” later identified as Clovis.
In a meeting on March 6, Clovis reportedly told Papadopoulos that “a principal foreign policy focus of the campaign was an improved U.S. relationship with Russia,” but Clovis denies having said that. Over the next few months, Papadopoulos made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to arrange meetings or contacts between Russian officials and Trump or his campaign representatives. Clovis was identified as a campaign supervisor who encouraged Papadopoulos to travel to Russia and meet Russian officials to build relations with the Kremlin.
So that’s Sam Clovis, Peter Smith’s close friend. Smith also reached out to Matt Tait, a “cybersecurity expert who once worked for British intelligence,” regarding the missing emails. Tait alleges that Smith told him that “he had been contacted by someone on the Dark Web claiming to be in possession of the missing emails and Smith needed Tait to verify if they were authentic.” For more on Smith, as well as Erik Prince and Barbara Ledeen’s operation to find the missing emails, see:
After Smith approached Johnson about his project, Johnson put the word out to his network that included none other than Weev. Then there was the whole Gawker thing. From The Gatekeeper Files: Rise of the Alt-Right:
[B]efore Thiel ambitiously tried to burn WikiLeaks to the ground, he plotted on how to burn down the now-defunct, tabloid-style media outlet Gawker, after they deliberately outed him as gay in 2007. The public disclosure may have been a crappy move on Gawker’s part but it certainly wasn’t illegal and so Thiel retaliated by financing for years a lawsuit Hulk Hogan (yes, the wrestler) filed against the Gawker for publishing leaked videos of him having sex with his friend’s wife, with the hope of destroying them..,
Hogan’s lawsuit eventually destroyed the Gawker but before they imploded, an online harassment campaign called Gamergate which had been heating up in the late summer of 2015, brought Thiel into the orbit of the alt-right…
Charles C. Johnson, the far-right activist mentioned earlier who visited Assange in August 2017, and who would become a looming presence in the alt-right scene, was also in the middle of a $55 million lawsuit he himself had filed against the Gawker a few months prior to Gamergate. Months later he posted this statement on Facebook, “I want to make you a promise: Gawker will cease to exist in a year’s time. I can’t tell you how I know because that would break my word but I promise you it. Either Hulk Hogan or I will triumph over Gawker. It’s going to happen.”
Johnson, a former contributor to Breitbart News, denied any direct contact with Peter Thiel or Hulk Hogan although Forbes reported that someone at Harder’s Los Angeles firm confirmed Johnson had reached out to them. By June 2016, Johnson said that he had moved on from the litigation and was focused on his new crowdfunding platform called “WeSearchr,” a fundraising site that welcomed neo-Nazis like Andrew Anglin, the founder of The Daily Stormer.
As well as chumming around with white supremacists like Anglin and Richard Spencer, Johnson’s circle would later include key alt-right figures like Mike Cernovich and Cassandra Fairbanks, a political activist who writes for the far-right outlet Gateway Pundit, despite publishing derogatory stories about Johnson around the same as time Gamergate. It appears she changed her mind after the 2016 election.
When I published that article I believed at the time that it was Sam Biddle (former journalist at The Gawker and, yup, the same guy that ran a one-sided story that benefitted Jennifer Emick) and Johnson’s involvement in both Gamergate and Gawker lawfare, coupled with Peter Thiel’s secret financing of Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit, that led to the far-right crossing paths with Thiel. Obviously, I was wrong and now we know there was an association as early as 2014, if not earlier.
I also didn’t realize how many projects Weev and Charles Johnson had teamed up on. For instance, in October 2015, they worked together to release “hours of covertly filmed videos targeting Planned Parenthood officials and affiliates.” At the same time, Johnson was also teamed up with longtime Thiel associate and NATO’s golden boy, Jeff Giesea, who authored, “It’s Time to Embrace Memetic Warfare,” in 2015. Below is taken from The Gatekeeper Files: How One Conspiracy Brought Together a Consortium of Actors:
Jeffrey Giesea is considered an expert on “memetic warfare” and according to Buzzfeed, he helped create the “troll army that boosted Trump in the election.” However, he’s much more than that. While attending Stanford University, he edited the Stanford Review, a paper founded by Peter Thiel, CEO of Palantir Technologies, a software company that works with the Military-industrial complex and U.S. Intelligence agencies like the NSA. After graduation, Giesea went to work for Thiel Capital Management before joining Koch Industries’ public affairs office.
He has since become a “communication strategist and national security thinker” based in D.C., and at the “forefront of studying memetics in politics and diplomacy.” In 2017, NATO’s Allied Command Transformation’s OPEN Publications published a 2015 article written by Giesea entitled, “It’s Time to Embrace Memetic Warfare”…
At the time, Giesea was speaking more in terms of combatting enemies like Daesh but as Buzzfeed reported, he appeared very much involved in taking down Trump’s enemies during the 2016 election, more specifically, Hillary Clinton, through a company called MAGA3X..
According to OPEN, Giesea’s work received “notoriety in the national security community, resulting in requests to speak with the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, and the NATO Strategic Communications COE peer-reviewed Defence Strategic Communications publication. His article, “It’s Time to Embrace Memetic Warfare,” was actually featured in the Defence Strategic Communications’ first edition in which Janis Sarts, Director of NATO StratCom COE, mentioned Behavioural Dynamics Institute in the introduction:
“During the summer the COE trained 20 students from 11 different NATO nations in the Behavioural Dynamics Institute Advanced Target Audience Analysis methodology.”
For those of you who missed it, Behavioural Dynamics Institute was founded by Nigel Oakes, the owner of the parent company of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer’s now-defunct Cambridge Analytica.
When DeploraBall finally came to fruition in January 2017, it was attended by none other than Peter Thiel and the who’s who of the alt-right…including Jack Posobiec, Roger Stone, and Proud Boys’ Gavin McInnes who traveled to the event with Cassandra Fairbanks. And so it appears that the line between fascist ideology; alt-lite, pro-Trump, social media figures; and those directly associated with the 2016 Trump campaign and the U.S. Intelligence community, intersected with one another yet again, this time on January 19, 2017, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
In case everyone missed it, the first two paragraphs of Giesea’s “Memetic Warfare” paper reads, “‘The best way to counter ISIS is to unleash an army of trolls on them’, Charles C. Johnson joked over beers last spring. ‘I could totally mess with their recruiting and propaganda.’ Johnson is known as one of the Internet’s biggest trolls, the social media equivalent of an annoying gadfly or guerrilla warrior, depending on one’s perspective. He’s been banned from Twitter and is alleged to have spearheaded the rumors that triggered the downfall of the all-but-certain Speaker of the House of Representatives, third in line for the American presidency.”
While ya’ll have been distracted over the idea that Trevor Fitzgibbon infiltrated and now controls the entire world because bad actors desperately want you to believe this story for their own personal and messy reasons, some of us have been out here trying to warn you about what’s really happening and the people involved—and getting ruthlessly attacked for doing so.
After the 2016 election season’s far-right shenanigans like FBIanon, the never ending money laundering and child trafficking conspiracy theories about the Clinton Foundation that never panned out, the missing emails, Weiner’s laptop, Pizzagate, and Trump’s deflection from his own ties with Jeffrey Epstein, Charles Johnson celebrated Trump’s election victory over breakfast with Erik Prince the next morning. Thiel went on to become a member of Trump’s transition team while Johnson was rumored to be a consultant in a “non-official” capacity.
While Johnson does not have a formal position, FORBES has learned that he is working behind the scenes with members of the transition team’s executive committee, including billionaire Trump donor Peter Thiel. (forbes.com)
As for Peter Smith, on May 14, 2017, ten days after he went public about his operation to find the missing emails, he was found dead in a hotel room. The Peter Smith story, which ties into a similar operation that Erik Prince and Barbara Ledeen were simultaneously running, is one of the most underreported stories from the 2016 election. You can read more about here:
Three months after Smith’s death, which was ruled a suicide, Cam-Hoan Ton-That, an Australian hacker with a whole lot of ties to the far-right and powerful people in the tech industry, founded a facial recognition company called Clearview AI, Inc. According to The New York Times:
Then Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.
His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.
The New York Times also noted that “in addition to Mr. Ton-That, Clearview was founded by Richard Schwartz — who was an aide to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was mayor of New York — and backed financially by Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist behind Facebook and Palantir.” The company is also represented by Weev’s attorney, Tor Ekeland.
And this is what the author of The New York Times piece experienced while researching Clearview:
For a month, people affiliated with the company would not return my emails or phone calls. While the company was dodging me, it was also monitoring me. At my request, a number of police officers had run my photo through the Clearview app. They soon received phone calls from company representatives asking if they were talking to the media — a sign that Clearview has the ability and, in this case, the appetite to monitor whom law enforcement is searching for.
People involved with Clearview appear to have gone to great lengths to conceal their links to the company and each other. [Charles] Johnson, for instance, does not appear on any of the incorporation documents and has left little public trace of his association with Ton-That beyond a Facebook post. But multiple far-right sources who know Johnson told HuffPost that he and Ton-That were in close contact at least as early as 2016, and that Johnson told them he was working with Ton-That on facial recognition.
Johnson told one source late that year that he viewed the technology as a way to potentially “identify every illegal alien in the country.” In early 2017, Johnson introduced Ton-That to another source, saying he was a gifted coder he’d hired to build the facial recognition tool. Around the same time, Johnson stated on Facebook that he was “building algorithms to ID all the illegal immigrants for the deportation squads.”
Video and private messages obtained by HuffPost confirm that Johnson and Ton-That were collaborating on far-right schemes in 2016; by early 2017 at the latest, they were in contact about scraping social media platforms for the facial recognition business. At least two people who worked for Johnson took jobs with and worked for Clearview until late March, when the company claims to have severed ties with them after HuffPost reached out with questions.
On that note, approximately two weeks after Clearview AI was founded, Julian Assange inexplicably welcomed Johnson and former Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At this point it should come as no surprise to anyone that Rohrabacher has a history with Erik Prince that’s longer than the Texas border.
Less than three years after Johnson’s visit, Aubrey Cottle, a fed-collaborator, hacker, and former child porn distributor (via his 420chan), waltzed back into the Anonymous scene and was immediately (and falsely) crowned the “founder” of Anonymous by cooperating members of the press.
Just as bad was the fact that hacktivists like Gregg Housh and Ray Johansen brought Cottle into Barrett Brown’s activism circles and allegedly employed him in disinfo ops to sway two U.S. court cases under the guise of debunking Qanon, respectively.
In the last few months, leaked messages have revealed that Cottle was working with Weev:
At some point, Cottle also started working with Emma Best’s DDoSecrets, a platform for leaks that Johansen claims he flew to Massachusetts to help set up. It’s pretty much turned into #FedLeaks due to the fact they’ve been publishing information (private chats, identifying information, etc.) of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of private citizens in both the U.S. and Canada who are NOT neo-Nazis like they try to claim, making it that much easier for the authorities to disregard the burdensome process of obtaining a warrant.
Cottle has taken responsibility for the large majority of data dumps that DDoSecrets has published in the last year. And because he hides behind a left-leaning mask (he’s not) and most of the data he allegedly hacks comes from conservative and/or far-right social media platforms, his tactics are meant to undermine left-leaning politics and Antifa.
So there you have it. Regardless of what you think about Barrett Brown, if you can’t see the disturbing trend I just laid out for you and how individuals like Peter Thiel, Weev, and Charles Johansen have been here all along, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. I’ve watched members of the hacktivist/activist community and Anonymous, including a former admin for the @YourAnonNews account, shrug this stuff off entirely and then everyoe worries about infiltration (insert eye roll).
Disclaimer: Ten thousand more pages of disclaimers to follow.
If you were mentioned in this article because your associate(s) did or said something stupid/dishonest, that’s not a suggestion that you did or said something stupid/dishonest or that you took part in it. Of course, some may conclude on their own that you associate with stupid/dishonest individuals but that’s called having the right to an opinion. If I’ve questioned something that doesn’t make sense to me, that’s not me spinning the confusing material you’ve put out. That’s me trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense. And if I’ve noted that you failed to back up your allegations that means I either missed where you posted it or you failed to back your shiz up.
If I haven’t specifically stated that I believe (my opinion) someone is associated with someone else or an event, then it means just that. I haven’t reported an association nor is there any inference of association on my part. For example, just because someone is mentioned in this article, it doesn’t mean that they’re involved or associated with everyone and everything else mentioned. If I believe that there’s an association between people and/or events, I’ll specifically report it.
If anyone mentioned in this article wants to claim that I have associated them with someone else or an event because I didn’t disclose every single person and event in the world that they are NOT associated with, that’s called gaslighting an audience and it’s absurd hogwash i.e. “They mentioned that I liked bananas but they didn’t disclose that I don’t like apples. Why are they trying to associate me with apples???” Or something similar to this lovely gem, “I did NOT give Trish the thumb drive!” in order to make their lazy audience believe that it was reported they gave Trish the thumb drive when, in fact, that was never reported, let alone inferred.
That’s some of the BS I’m talking about so try not to act like a psychiatric patient, intelligence agent, or paid cyber mercenary by doing these things. If you would like to share your story, viewpoint, or any evidence that pertains to this article, or feel strongly that something needs to be clarified or corrected (again, that actually pertains to the article), you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
I cannot confirm and am not confirming the legitimacy of any messages or emails in this article. Please see a doctor if sensitivity continues. If anyone asks, feel free to tell them that I work for Schoenberger, Fitzgibbon, Steven Biss, the CIA, or really just about any intelligence agency because your idiocy, ongoing defamation, and failure as a human is truly a sight to behold for the rest of us.
If I described you as a fruit basket or even a mental patient it's because that is my opinion of you, it's not a diagnosis. I'm not a psychiatrist nor should anyone take my personal opinions as some sort of clinical assessment. Contact @BellaMagnani if you want a rundown on the psych profile she ran on you.
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