Just before Christmas, I discovered #pizzagate. It was on a Sunday and I had nothing to do while riding in a car so I read Twitter. Before I go on I have to set the stage as briefly as possible.
#pizzagate emerged as an internet conspiracy theory after John Podesta’s e-mails were published by Wikileaks. The e-mails go back to 2007. It’s a stack of almost 6000 messages including a phishing message addressed to John Podesta! Mr. Podesta was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and he is… errr… how do I put this delicately… a lawyer (with all the day to day computing limitation that it implies).
Now that I will never get another contract making intranets for law firms, let me continue.
Around Dec.1, ALL the big media outlets suddenly seized on this new citizen investigation and vehemently denied that it had any legs. They did this for days publishing incredibly similar articles saying #pizzagate was debunked and tied it to the problem of “Fake News”. The media also wrapped up this controversy into a very precise strawman argument: “Crazy people on the internet think Hillary Clinton and John Podesta are running a child sex trafficking ring out of Comet Ping Pong’s basement.”.
- There is no clear indication Hillary Clinton is involved in the relationship between John Podesta and James Alefantis, owner of Comet Ping Pong.
- There is no obvious coordinating of criminal activities in John Podesta’s e-mails. By that I mean something that could be used by a forensic accountant to show “pay-to-play”.
- Comet Ping Pong doesn’t have a basement.
So if you strategically choose to frame #pizzagate this simple way, and only the mainstream media has, it’s very easy to dismiss #pizzagate. At no time in history have so many big news outlets collaborated to convey the exact same message time and time again about a subject, let alone an emerging internet conspiracy theory.
But what is #pizzagate really?
It’s an ongoing investigation by thousands of citizens who have lost faith in the media to keep politicians and elites accountable, who have lost faith in the justice system’s desire to prosecute offenders, notably those who commit crimes against the most powerless victims, small children. #Pizzagate is a conspiracy theory but it doesn’t function like a traditional conspiracy theory at all. The most famous and entertaining internet conspiracy theories are based on creative writing. However, #pizzagate is built on supporting documentation that includes thousands of documents published by the people of interest themselves. #Pizzagate is about a group of people who have been indiscreet and overshared too much information on social media over the past 10 years! People have been bragging about their misdeeds (real or imagined) on social media forever but this specific phenomenon is new. Right now #pizzagate hinges on the credibility of its protagonists as researchers try to find out if those who call each other pedos, joke about cannibalism, objectify babies, worship Satan or use pedophile symbols are SERIOUS or simply the least funny people on Social Media. But this article is about cyber security, so let’s tackle this first.
(All links below will open in another tab and display mainstream news media articles and primary sources. Aside from hard to avoid terms, given the topic, the content is safe for work.)
While I was reading articles that touch on the child abuse epidemic in the United Sates at the same time as the Obama administration is screaming “The Russians Hacked The Election!!“ something occurred to me. Over the past 10 years dozens of mainstream articles have been published telling us that tens of thousands of government employees are using their e-mail address to solicit sex on Adult Friend Finder and Ashley Madison. We learn that government employees are incapable of not watching porn at work. In addition, 5,200 Pentagon employees were listed as having videos of child abuse on their work computer. All of these stories were buried, and never followed-up on. You can Google various combinations of “child p0rn” with ANY Federal government service to find lists of specific cases over the years. Then, use Bing to gain an appreciation of how Google is censoring content that relates to these topics! This content is very grim and saddening. Today, as huge child abuse rings are getting busted in Canada and Norway, mainstream media in the U.S. has avoided reporting on this and The Washington Post, ABC News and The New York Times have even deleted articles about these recent operations from their news sites. But one thing remains certain, government employees are actively preventing their system from being secure by going to sketchy websites and exposing their networks to malware and their own private information to hackers. Also, today, every single American government employee can be tracked, blackmailed or compromised by anyone who can cross reference the Office of Personnel Management hack with those of hacked hookup-centric dating sites and even a popular forum called “Lolita City” (link purposefully avoided). Also, remember this incredible news about an FBI investigation gone wrong. And it doesn’t stop there. In their rush to accuse Russia of hacking the elections (for which there is only flimsy evidence) American authorities floated the idea that Russian malware was found at a station on the U.S. power grid. However, it was later learned that this malware was found on a laptop brought in by an employee. We hope that one day The Washington Post prints a retraction about all the fake news they publish about “fake news” to protect the people they have pool parties with.
Having read hundreds of documents wilfully shared by dozens of #pizzagate persons-of-interest (articles, art, photos, comments, biographies, administrative documents and e-mails), I can categorically say that:
- Pizzagate is a worthy investigation that paints the picture of a complex criminal organization, one that is replicated in all major cities in the world.
- People who are investigating pizzagate are not crazy or insane, contrary to what professional journalists are trying to tell you.
- The space inhabited by pizzagate researchers is bi-partisan. As a fervent anti-Trump person, I do not feel like an outsider, or very different from them. Partisanship doesn’t come up unless “pizzagators” are loudly wishing and hoping that Trump will allow the FBI to pursue this investigation.
- It would take tens of thousands of man hours and millions of dollar to replicate the work that has been done for free, by regular people like you and me. This may cement #pizzagate as the most subversive yet patriotic act ever conducted by (mostly) American civilians who don’t even know each other!
Next, I will write about the ethical side of #pizzagate, where random people call out other random people on social media, not to shame them about shooting a lion, but to mount a massive pitchfork revolution.
Most of the articles and references used to create this article comes from http://voat.co/u/pizzzagate which is a very polite research group that uncovers amazing leads on a daily basis. But be forewarned, #pizzagateis quite the unbelievable train wreck that you will have trouble looking away from.
EDIT #1: I have updated the references to “child p0rn” to videos of child abuse which may be a more fitting term.
EDIT #2: I have been asked what kind of documents can be found on research sites. voat.co is a moderated forum with a very strict content policy. It does not contain content that is NSFW and researchers collaborate to make sure no links to illegal documents are ever posted. It is understood that actual video proof of crimes are available but that none of it should be accessed withing the scope of the citizen investigation. The FBI has the equipment and the properly trained and supported staff to gather and examine proof of crimes. The scope of the investigation covers Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) which is discussed in my follow-up to this article.