Monday, May 28, 2012

The Breitbart spooks

In right-wingerland, it's Let's-Make-Brett-Kimberlin-Famous day, part 2. (A couple of posts down, we discussed the first Kimberlin Day.) Although this business may strike you as silly or overblown, comedies may become tragedies. And the most tragic outcome of all would be to give a Romney administration an excuse to spy on the left.

So attention, attention must be paid.

Basically, a lot of Breitbart-linked right-wing bloggers are claiming that they have been attacked by a conspiracy of left-wing terrorists. Supposedly, these Obama-loving bounders use Caller ID spoofing (a real thing) to bring the cops charging to the homes of innocent right-wing bloggers.

The Breitbarters are also claiming -- without offering any proof, so far -- that this conspiracy is led by one Brett Kimberlin.

As we noted in earlier posts, this Kimberlin fellow has become a right-wing bete noire. In the rightist imagination, this former con (and con artist) is a Leader of the Left -- even though actual left-wingers never heard of him. I'm not sure why the right has focused on this guy, although there does appear to be some sort of personal contretemps between Kimberlin and a right-wing lawyer. I haven't really followed the details of that.

Let's look at the timing. Then let's ask ourselves that famous question: Cui bono? Who benefits?

A few days ago, right-wing blogger Patterico -- a.k.a. Los Angeles prosecutor John Frey -- revealed that he had been victimized by a similar caller ID spoofing gambit at some point last year. Frey's column sent dozens and dozens of rightist bloggers into high dudgeon. En masse, and without evidence, they all insisted that this was the dastardly doing of Evil Kimberlin, funded by Evil Soros and Evil Streisand.

We're all familiar with the way right-wing writers all suddenly start saying the exact same thing at the exact same time, like robots. And that's how May 25 became Let's Make Kimberlin Famous Day.

Frey further said that the caller ID spoofing gambit is a common left-wing tactic called "SWATting." Where does that term come from? From the late Andrew Breitbart, supposedly. We're supposed to believe that Breitbart knew the terminology, sources and methods of the great left-wing terror conspiracy.

Then, just as the brouhaha over Kimberlin Day 1 died down, the cops showed up at the home of a Red State writer euphoniously named Erick Erickson. This attack followed just a little too closely after the great Day of manufactured frenzy. Which leads us to that famous question:

Cui bono? Cui freakin' bono, dudes?

How could anyone on the left possibly benefit from such nonsense?

The benefit to the right, by contrast, should be clear even to a child.

Now, maybe Evil Kimberlin (who is hardly my idea of gentleman) really did do it. Maybe he's Just That Crazy. Maybe he decided that he had nothing better to do than to give the right a propaganda triumph.

Or maybe -- just maybe -- the rightists decided to give themselves a propaganda triumph. Gee. Ya think?

Let's put it this way: Suppose a lefty blogger were "SWATted." What theory of the event would become immediately popular in BreitbartWorld?

Caller ID can be spoofed by pretty much anyone. That part's easy. Framing someone else takes more skill. I have reason to suspect that something of the sort is in the offing (see below), so right now I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Spooked up. Many of you may not understand what we are dealing with. The Breitbart group is not just a propaganda network: They're spooks -- private spooks. They're in the business of covert ops.

Does that statement sound paranoid? Allow me to offer you some hard, irrefutable proof in the form of a document which comes from the team of Breitbart's dirty trickster James O'Keefe. (Also see here.)

As you may recall, O'Keefe has pulled a lot of shady stunts, including a Watergate-ish attempt to eavesdrop electronically on a senator. Andrew Breitbart claimed that O'Keefe was not an employee, even though he (Breitbart) paid him (O'Keefe) regularly. Hidden financing and plausible deniability are standard tactics for covert operatives.

You will have a very thorough understanding of the caller ID spoofing brouhaha once you've read how O'Keefe planned to fake out CNN. Here is his plan to "spoof CNN and get them to report on a topic that is entirely false."
Spoofing CNN

We should entice them with some video that they want to believe. The media has been in a frenzy for the past few years on a relatively small number of topics and subjects.

1. Tea party racism
2. Arizona racism
3. Sarah Palin
4. GOP leadership scandals
If we were to offer CNN evidence of racism, playing on these currently relevant issues, and produced enough supporting evidence to prove the claim we make, have them write a story and then prepare our allies to pounce, it could be a good way to undercut their credibility.

Things we could do to entice them:

1. False video evidence
2. False textual evidence and documents
3. False interviews

The false video evidence, for one, could be focused on the incident with Congressman John Lewis where he said he was called a "nigger" by tea party protestors, even though the video evidence disproved his claim.

Spoofing video evidence proving Lewis' claim, along with a good story that the tea party had suppressed such evidence, might be enough for CNN to report on the story.
The document goes on to describe exactly how the video evidence could be ginned up.
The danger is, of course, that the lie becomes the official truth, and so it would be necessary to immediately deconstruct this story on friendly networks and media outlets. The goal isn't to draw out the scandal after all, rather just to embarrass CNN by having them report a false story. So immediately reporting on the falseness of the story would be key...
Uproariously, O'Keefe calls his operation Project Veritas.

Obviously, what he is up to is not "investigative journalism." This is spook stuff, pure and simple. And I really must congratulate him: This document is a fairly professional job -- not up to CIA standards, but still rather better than his clumsy maunderings in the senator's office.

Again, read the whole document. Then look back at the Erickson/Frey claims of caller ID spoofing. Then ask yourself: Cui bono?

Get real: There is no left-wing terror organization, and any attempt to create that impression is straight out of the Frank Kitson playbook. There are no private left-wing intelligence operatives of any kind in the United States. If liberals had their own version of Project Veritas, I would have heard of it by now. You would have heard of it too. O'Keefe freely plays his games without any fear of being countered by an opposite force.

Some attention -- not enough -- has been paid to a related O'Keefe scheme in which he planned to "seduce" a CNN correspondent named Abbie Boudreau. But the conspiracy outlined above is more germane to our present discussion.

A long time ago, a reader wrote to me and said that Breitbart used the word "BIG" on all of his sites because the word is actually an acronym: Breitbart Intelligence Group. I didn't (and still don't) take that claim seriously. Nevertheless, I find the nomenclature amusing and will henceforth employ it. All in good fun.

Dragging me into this. The post you are reading right now is one that the Breitbart Intelligence Group probably wanted me to write. Earlier today, I got a comment which had a very familiar ring:
What a strange, hilarious spin you are putting on this Kimberlin thing! The people who have teamed up to defend the first amendment rights of a blogger by exercising their rights, *those* people are crazy. Uh-huh. If the shoe was on the other foot, you'd call them heroes. Hell, you're a blogger too, you should be joining them.

After being on the wrong side with Weinergate, you'd think you'd be a bit more careful. Now that there has been another "SWATing" incident, meaning another sheriff department can corroborate that it happened, are you still going to act confident that they're making it up? What if the police investigation concludes that it's real, what then?

After Weinergate, you should be more careful. They were right before.
This text reminds me of certain comments I got during the Weinergate affair -- specifically, of the time I was flooded with messages directing me to the work of the Mighty Seixon, a long-time GOP operative (posing as a "liberal," a la Lee Stranahan) who created an entire damned blog just to counter what I was saying. Roughly ten seconds after that blog was conjured into existence, I received comments informing me of Seixon's work. Throughout the scandal, I received other missives which, in essence, held out hoops that I was meant to jump through.

Basically, the comment reprinted above was meant to bait me into writing the very post you are reading now. In all likelihood, the BIG bloggers want to have some fun at my expense. It's not a major thing for them, just a sideline amusement.

C'est la vie. They can't harm me in any way. They simply refuse to understand that my motives are not their motives. I have no ambition, I write only to write, I don't ally myself with any cause or group, and I'm not playing the kind of games that they love to play. This blog will continue as always.

So why does this post exist? To give the Project Veritas memo wider publicity.

Something wicked this way comes. The comment contains one line which we may consider a slip-up: "...are you still going to act confident that they're making it up?" Until just now, I never expressed any confidence that the caller ID spoofing scandal was concocted. Indeed, in my previous post, I stipulated that the spoofed phone call was real.

Whenever the BIG righties pull a stunt like this, they always have one of those moments. You know -- like when Tony Perkins gets all jumpy as he starts talking to Janet Leigh about his mother.

I'm troubled by this bit of Noman Bates-y bean spillage: "What if the police investigation concludes that it's real, what then?"

Dude! You're talking too much. Learn to be more subtle.

It seems very likely that the Veritas gang wouldn't have initiated a stunt like this unless they have already concocted a plan to mislead the cops and make the charge against Kimberlin stick. How could they accomplish that trick? Right now, I can't guess. But the whole business is clearly engineered. (Remember, Breitbart had obtained all of the incriminating photos well before the Weiner scandal even broke; they knew the endgame before the opening moves.)

Maybe Project Veritas has confederates among the constabulary. That sort of thing has happened before: I used to live in L.A., and I well recall the Ramparts scandal. (There have long been rumors that the cops who showed up at the Watergate were somehow "in on it." I don't recall the details, and I don't know how credible those rumors were. Another post, perhaps.)

Keep in mind what Frey does for a living. He must have contacts. Just sayin'.


dakinikat said...

Seems like there's a right wing school for wannabe Donald Segrettis out there in right blogistan. Brings new meaning to the term CREEPs.

Propertius said...

Speaking as someone who used to do telephony for a living:

They're lying.

911 doesn't rely on CNID (the proper term for "caller id"). It uses ANI, just like WATS services do. ANI is not susceptible to "caller id spoofing".

Rich said...

Some of these techie maneuvers r baffling to a neanderthal like me. But I get the O'Keefe playbook -- one part Watergate, one part Honey Pot, add strong doses of racisto tude. That Lee Harvey Oswald look-alike has to b seriously connected since he should have been locked up for the office invasion of Mary Landrieau alone.

Joseph Cannon said...

Propertius...please tell us more.

What do you think is going on? What is causing those cops to show up at those private residences? How can such a thing be done? Did it actually happen?

Propertius said...

Well, if the police were really responding to a 911 call, then the simplest explanation is that they placed the call themselves and they're faking the whole thing. Of course, making a false police report is a crime, so they might not be willing to go that far. The alternative (and even simpler) possibility is that there was no call, and no police response, and they're just lying. What astounds me is how even intelligent and relatively sensible right-wingers like Glenn Reynolds are getting suckered by this story.

I should point out that my comment about ANI really only applies to traditional phones - VOIP services, for example, are pretty readily hackable.

Anonymous said...


What? Can this possibly be? A leftwing blog finally pointing out the obvious for all to see? That Breitbart and crew appear to be a bit spooky and up to spooks work?

The left admitting that what Oswald, I mean O'Keefe is up to is not just innocent shits and giggles?

To the other bloggers out there of a left persuasion... hopefully you will gain the cajonal fortitude to do what Joe here is doing, and stop gulping down bullshit and taking cues from the right on the limits of what you can and can't investigate.

An asshole who runs around clandestinely creating bullshit edited videos of Democrats and Democratic institutions and who never gets punished for it... is not your standard run of the mill asshole. How hard is that to understand?

Don't believe me? Get yourself a telephone repair costume and a hidden video camera and walk into your nearest federal building and try to start repairing phones and bugging offices and see if you can get your charges reduced as O'Keefe did. If you are black or brown, tell your loved ones goodbye first, because you will be gone for awhile and will problably wind up at Gitmo where repressed Bible thumpers will shove objects up your ass.

See, if you are Breitbart boy toy James O'Keefe you live a charmed life where the powers that be allow you to run around trying to entrap Democrats... kind of like those Russian spies running around America with the FBI's blesssing from 2001-2010.


Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, the game plan you list on how O'Keefe planned to head fake CNN... you know what that sounds a lot like? It sounds like the Trayvon Martin shooting in which the original theme was reversed using a slow reveal that changed the story from being sympathetic to Trayvon to sympathetic to the shooter. When it first happened I found it really odd how obvious bullshit was being mixed in with real news to the point where I just pretty much tuned out unable to tell what was truth and what was bullshit. My gut says that this was more sinister than it is being portrayed. The slow reveal of Zimmerman's wounds had me starting to wonder. Why was a stranger there shooting the bloody scalp of the back of Zimmerman's head in the middle of the night? If I had just witnessed a guy shooting someone in the middle of the night... the last thing I would do is walk up to that guy and start video taping him. That was odd to me. Also the fact that it is in Florida doesn't help.

Speaking of Florida... we now have another murky news story from Florida... Drudge has laid off the "black women who love fried chicken" stories for today and is just going with :


Doesn't Matt Drudge live in Florida? Along with fellow mindfuckers Rush Limbaugh and Mann Coulter? Convenient for him I guess to be so close to all of the action. Ask the 9/11 hijackers.

Apparently there is this drug that makes you want to take off your clothes and eat people. So say the Florida cops.

This kind of reminds me of the KONY-2012 dude... didn't he also strip naked and discredit himself? Didn't the rightwing machine then try to use the Kony thing to try to discredit the media and liberals who had just gotten all teary eyed watching the Kony 2012 video on youtube? Alex Jones went after Angelina Jolie and George's Clooney's participation in the GIT KONY campaign and how they had gotten duped by Obama's liberal media machine.... interesting times...


live sport said...

very nice