Saturday, April 02, 2016

Palfrey's list: Was Ted Cruz a john -- or are we all getting Stoned again?

(This piece contains some original research, so I encourage readers to pass it along.)

The past is never dead...

As many of you may recall, I had a couple of long phone conversations with Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called DC Madam. For reasons no-one could quite understand, the Bush Justice Department decided to hammer her while leaving other DC sex workers free to go about their business. Her open letter to the Attorney General appeared in the pages of this humble blog (and nowhere else).

The oft-heard rumor was that one of her girls had serviced Dick Cheney. Unfortunately, the only source for that claim was Wayne Madsen, an unreliable writer who refused to offer any verification. Palfrey told me that she had no idea where Madsen got his information.

Palfrey argued that her service merely arranged dates between the clients and a number of women who operated independently. All actual sex was a separate arrangement between "the girls" and the clients. 

When she told me that she would pursue this line of defense, my heart sank. Other "madams" had tried the same approach: It never works. When the prosecutors want to slam your ass in jail, semantic gamesmanship won't save you.

I liked Palfrey. I'll never forgive myself for not calling her after her conviction, although I probably did not possess the words to alter her sad course. She killed herself on May 1, 2008.

When her legal troubles began, several dubious characters attached themselves to her story. One was Dan Moldea, whom I do not trust. Another was the aforementioned Wayne Madsen. Another was Brian Ross of ABC News, who initially told Palfrey that he would give her tale massive play -- and then decided that Palfrey's client list contained no notable names. (Actually, it did. One of them was David Vitter, who might well be Governor of Louisiana right now, if not for his involvement with Palfrey's "girls.") It is worth noting that, at the same time, Ross was also working with a very spooky "journalist" named Alexis Debat, who got into trouble for concocting "interviews" with Barack Obama and other worthies.

Weird as I am, I was probably the least weird writer to take Palfrey's side. I politely warned her about all three of these gentlemen. By then, of course, it was too late.

Another odd bird was Palfrey's own lawyer, Montgomery Blair Sibley, a "birther" who ran for President in 2012. (His campaign was so low-key that most people didn't even know he was running.) He considers Ted Cruz ineligible for the presidency:
“Assuming Cruz is a citizen, and it’s not certain he is, under no circumstances is he a natural-born citizen, because his father was not an American citizen at the time of his birth,” Sibley said.

“It doesn’t matter that he was born in Canada,” Sibley continued, “he would be ineligible to be president if was born on the Washington Monument, as long as he only had one parent who was a citizen.”
Sibley's definition of "natural born" is not mine. Let's leave it at that.

Sibley now says that Deborah Jeane Palfrey's client list may play an enormous role in the current presidential contest. Before proceeding, I should make one point very clear: Palfrey did not possess a list of names; she had phone records. Moreover, she had her lawyer send out copies of those records to various writers -- I was among them -- in the hope that we could match names to the numbers.
The lawyer who represented the D.C. Madam is asking the Supreme Court to lift a restraining order that prevents him from releasing phone records from his former client’s escort service, saying the records could influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential election.

A restraining order in place since 2007 has prevented Montgomery Blair Sibley from releasing the records — including names, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers — related to so-called “D.C. Madam” Deborah Palfrey’s escort business.

But he believes the public should have the right to see the records ahead of upcoming state primaries and the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

“It is my opinion that the material that is in my possession is relevant to the presidential election,” Mr. Sibley told The Washington Times in an interview Monday.
When I first encountered these words, my eyes bulged: Is Sibley talking about the same records that he sent me at Palfrey's request? (I believe that he did so before the gag order restricted him.)

I probably lost that package in my cross-country move, although there is some small chance that it lies hidden at the bottom of a box. But I was under the impression that Sibley had sent the exact same package to other writers, and that those records had also found an online home.

So what the hell is going on here? This article offers more clarification.
“When the Keystone Kop police came in to seize everything [from Palfrey’s house] they walked by these boxes saying Pamela Martin Associates telephone records, 1996-2006, and they just left them there,” Sibley says. “So I got my hands on them and released a portion of them.”

But about a third of the records were not released, he says.

“We held back these 5,000,” Sibley says. “I wanted to have something to negotiate with or surprise people at trial.”

Before trial, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler authorized subpoenas for cellphone companies requesting personal information. Verizon Wireless returned a list containing the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of about 815 people, Sibley says – a sizable subset of the 5,000 numbers not initially released.
This story now makes a little more sense, but not complete sense. The full list contained 15,000 phone record with no names attached. Various writers (including me) received a list of 10,000 numbers; 5,000 were held back. I don't see how Sibley could have sequestered the important numbers. Did he choose those 5,000 numbers at random? Also, I don't yet comprehend why those 815 numbers were singled out by the court.

But we know one thing: Those 815 listings eventually came to have names and other identifying information attached to them.

Those numbers and names from Verizon are now all online, although they are not yet Google-accessible. The moment we have a URL, I will provide a link -- but right now, it's all hidden.
According to Sibley, the files are triggered by a ticking 72-hour countdown clock. So, if something mysteriously “happens” to Sibley, the client records will auto-release to the internet and news outlets will supposedly receive a link to the file. Why would something “happen” to Sibley? Well, he claims that if the names in the records became public, it could seriously affect people connected to the 2016 election.
So how could these records affect the upcoming presidential election?

From the moment I first heard about this new wrinkle in the Palfrey story (via Rachel Maddow), it seemed obvious to me that Sibley was probably talking about Ted Cruz. Why Cruz? Two clues pointed in that direction:

1. Sibley doesn't seem to like Cruz very much.

2. Donald Trump's slimeball henchman Roger Stone, along with the National Enquirer, has been linked to a dubious story of Cruz's alleged infidelities. At this time, Ted Cruz is the key obstacle standing between Trump and a first-ballot nomination. Thus, there is an effort to smear Cruz with a sex scandal.

This right-wing blog claims that Anonymous has identified Cruz as the man in Sibley's sites. The hacker collective (presuming that we are talking about the "real" Anonymous) is using what appear to be the same records once given to yours truly. Nota bene: This is not the Verizon Wireless list which includes 815 names and social security numbers.

Some of the calls do indeed come from Texas. But so what? The list includes calls from all over the country. Why should we believe that the calls came from Ted Cruz? Look at the image (to your left): We do not even have the actual Texas number; all we have are numbers in DC and Maryland that some unknown party in Texas had called.

A link goes to this site -- previously unknown to me -- which is run by a pro-Trump "God-loving" patriot named Dianne Marshall. Being "God-loving," I'm sure that she would never, ever bear false witness. Only a heathen would so something so awful.

Marshall assures her readers that the Texas calls did indeed come from Ted Cruz. But where is the evidence? Marshall provides two links which allegedly "prove" her contention.

One goes to this Gawker report on Sibley's recent claims. Big problem: That article does not mention Cruz at all!

Another cite goes to this website, connected with a right-wing radio station. (Judging from their advertising, they don't seem to like Muslims very much. They also seem perpetually horrified by that demonic arch-fiend known to his minions as Saul Alinsky.)

Here is the "proof":
At least two Twitter accounts, one claiming to be affiliated with the hacker group anonymous, and another (since deleting their account after the tweet) have released documents claiming to be call logs of the late D.C. Madam. The Anonymous affiliated account sent out a message with his doc under the hashtag #cruzsexscandal that reads

"Hey Teddy Cruz
We dont DDOS
or bluff! will let the rest of you figure out the document!
11:44pm - 31 Mar 16

The latter tweet is unknown at this time.

Both have multiple phone numbers from multiple states, but the main thing they have in common is that they both have the TX(Texas) listings highlighted.
Is there any evidence that Ted Cruz made the calls in question? So far, I see none. So far, all I see is evidence that some unknown party applied a yellow highlighter pen to the letters "TX." And that's it. These anti-Cruz rumor-mongers have not yet acquired the all-important list of 815 numbers and names.

Dianne Marshall ungrammatically asks: "CRUZ WHY IS YOUR NUMBER ON THE LIST OF D.C. MADAM?" My response: What number? Ms. Marshall, you have yet to favor us with any actual digits.

Nor have I seen any firm evidence that the real Anonymous has anything to do with all of this. That mysterious reference to a deleted account is, in my view, very telling. Anyone can claim to be linked to Anonymous.

Here's the kicker: Anonymous has, in fact, targeted Donald Trump, whom they seem to despise. I strongly doubt that Anonymous would pick this key moment in the campaign to assail Cruz. Why would they want to assure that Trump gets the nomination on the first ballot? Would it not be in the interest of Anonymous to help the Republicans have an open convention?

It seems to me that right-wing operatives are up to their usual trickery, creating an incestuous hyperlink daisy chain which sends investigators clicking from site to site, forever promising hard evidence, but delivering only hints and conjecture.

Or perhaps something worse than conjecture. A smear.

I don't know who Sibley has been talking to, and I don't know if a genuinely important name appears somewhere in that list from Verizon. If that list does impact the election, I will not be surprised.

But right now, a familiar odor wafts around this affair -- a sickening lavender scent favored by a notorious dirty trickster linked to Donald Trump. I'm talking about an elegant dandy and conscience-free ratfucker who always casts the first Stone.


Anonymous said...

Sibley's definition of "natural born" is so idiotic it makes me question his judgement about other things.

stickler said...

The yellow highlighting is not from a pen applied to a paper record, but either applied to a pdf file generated from a digital record -- as opposed to a jpeg scan of a highlighted paper original -- or in the original digital document. Thus, doubtful as coming from Palfrey's box of paper records.

Joseph Cannon said...

Well, yeah, Stickler -- but that's not really the point. The point is, Ted Cruz' phone number is nowhere in sight, even though the Trump supporters are claiming that it is.

This is galling. I mean, I don't exactly want to come to the defense of Ted Freakin' Cruz, a man I cannot stand. But what choice do we have? A smear is a smear.

Anonymous said...

Quoting myself from elsewhere:

I rather doubt AT&T used different fonts on different lines of the same bill. In other words, they could at least make an effort not to do such obvious photoshopping.

Here's a real one of hers from 2003:

Yeah, so fake. You'd think these faker types would have learned about fonts after screwing up with RatherGate.


C. said...

FYI...the host filling in for Rachel Maddow discussed this tonight. Stay tuned.