This investigation finds its beginnings in early 2013 with the Steubenville case involving the rape of a minor which then morphed into allegations of citywide corruption and the catapulted to new and dramatic level, when at the behest of media stalker, Michelle McKee, members of the hacking collective known as Anonymous injected themselves into this case.
The many events, wrongdoings, trauma and out right crimes perpetuated by these individuals as well as McKee is well documented in earlier parts of this and other blogs and I will look to you to refer back to them for any parts in which you need refreshing.
The Call To Chose Fight or Flight
In an effort to intimidate me off the case two cell groups, knightsec and nextsec sent after me as well as numerous hate blogs associated with Michelle McKee at the time were encouraged to discredit me, via libel and mockery and if need be more. I already had some background in cyber crime and the hacking world. My development as a private investigator led me to a specialty in stalking cases during a time when the internet use was reaching its peak.
That time in my career was a terrifying yet fascinating roller coaster ride of exploration and self-education. Over the years I began to meet true experts in this field who further helped me in my efforts to hone my skills as well as develop new ones. However as any infosec professional would tell you there’s always something more to learn and experts only remain experts as long as they continue to remain students as well. This was one of many rare traits this field had that intrigued and fascinated me. It still does to this day.
By the time the Steubenville/anonymous media fiasco hit the world, practically overnight, I had some degree of competence in the cyber crime area though I would never call myself an expert. However this new fight with a group of self-proclaimed hackers and vigilantes would eventually force me to not only questing my training but most of all my passion and resolve to continue to do what I set out to do.
The Threshold Into Unknown Waters
In the months that followed, my skills, resolve and especially my passion not only pass this test but were indeed strengthened and expanded. I began to further my education in the areas of Internet related crime and most specifically hacking. I surround myself with people much smarter and much more experienced than myself and began formalizing all the informal training I have received and finally breaking down and began actively pursuing some of those initials (CNEE, CNA, CEH, Security+, CISSP) that I feared would make me cocky and complacent as I have seen so many others fall victim to. However, the classroom time, online training hours and stacks of books I was inundated with didn’t change the fact that I was needed out in the field at the same time.
Not only did I have to deal with Anonymous’ efforts to sabotage and intimidate my team, endanger my family, and undermine my reputation, I had to stay on top of the Steubenville case and try to see to it that an already messy case be not made more so by the interference of these vigilantes. I also felt a need and obligation to help bring to justice many who were terrorizing members of that community and inflicting much greater harm than I and my team had ever suffered.
However it seemed favor was on me in some ways. Most notably was that although I didn’t have the benefit of my in class professors and mentors, I was not without benefit of expert guidance and encouragement. The most valued of them I wish I could thank out loud but it was a great personal risk that many of them helped me and guided me through many activities and actions that would eventually assist in putting an end to the Anonymous infestation in Steubenville and help assure those involved in criminal activity were properly identified.
Challenges and Temptations
Sometimes the most simplest of lessons are often the most easily forgotten and many times lead to the most disastrous of errors. Mama, one of my first Sunday school teachers always exhorted me to never forget that it is God who puts you where you are and that it is God who provides you with what you need so when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or under equipped to not let your fear lead you to try to seek more than what he has already given and to not go the way of the countless people described in so many Bible stories who unknowingly and sometimes knowingly sought after shortcuts and deals with the devil and then convince themselves of the need to succeed in a greater good to justify it.
It was during this time that I became aware of the Jester. He seemed revered and respected in so many different circles. He was hailed a “patriot hacker”, the dark night that may help turn the tide in what seemed like a hopeless war on terror and had the ire of Anonymous. I watched for a while as he tweeted his famous “Tango Down”s and his objection to the jihadi activities that provoked him to bring down the sites he said he did and I read many studies, articles and interviews with and about him.
Though at the same time there were some who seemed dissident among what appeared to be thousands of fans and supporters. The fans and supporters seemed so much louder. There was no shortage of negative blogs and tweets that all seem to stand in agreement about these few dissident voices and their obvious mental instability and their less than honorable motives provoking them to try to soil the good name of this their hero. It made it all the easier to dismiss them as well.
I mean how could somebody who hates terror and the hateful actions of so many extremist groups like Westboro Baptist Church be bad? I mean these horrible Anonymous people seem afraid of him as well. It was exactly what I needed….. Or what I thought I needed.
Little did I really understand how much I was in danger of falling victim to the same social dynamic that I had been exhorting some Steubenville citizens, main stream media and even Rosanne Barr to avoid. The constant juxtaposition of Anonymous and the overwhelming outrage at what appeared to so many as ignored rape, made it easy for them to ignore the obvious lies and self promoting actions of KYanonymous and his friends.
A seemingly shared desire to end what appeared to so many to be widespread corruption and disenfranchisement of young women made it easy for them to dismiss or ignore the increasing numbers of complaints against these thugs. The few innocent voices who asked for help as they were slandered, stalked, threatened or even attacked were outweighed by the ravaging voices of the public who would at times chastise them for lying about their heroes or being so selfish or petty as to try and point focus on their complaints in the midst of the larger issue. After all this was “about Jane Doe” this was “for Jane Doe”.
In my shared outrage against terrorism (cyber or otherwise) and hate groups and my perceived need for more help in a seeming unfair fight that was becoming exhausting, I began to become guilty of the same mistake. Through some outreach and the vouching of mutual acquaintances the Jester and I did become acquainted. All the logic and critical thinking and investigative acumen that I exhausted myself in sharply applying towards my fight against Anonymous and evidence gathering, lest the smallest of screw ups or oversights cause me to be squashed like a bug, went out the window when talking with the Jester.
I became a hypocrite and didn’t even know it. I was searching for some supernatural hero to help and mold me into his likeness. I become concerned that I would eventually buckle under to the seeming endless attacks lodged at me and my team, afraid I would be the cause of one of them being harmed, afraid that I would break the many promises made to locals to not let Anonymous run me off the case, and terrified that all I would have to show for the months of work put into investigating and reporting on The Jane Doe case, Steubenville, and its plight, would be Sandra Goddard and her clearly sick agenda to betray our team and and worse her own hometown, for the sake of personal vengeance, vanity, fame and greed.
Into the Abyss
My contempt for all that ugliness made me blind to my own as I became what I have exhorted desperate locals in Steubenville not to become….willing dupes, selling their soul in exchange for false hope. I forgot the truth in my very own catch phrase I would say at the end of each broadcast, partial justice is injustice.
I Not only allowed myself to take in his many claims and slogans without question, for a time I began to publicly parrot them in support of him. Even more and more entertained the idea of becoming just like him. In one of our inbox conversations I expressed a desire to be, as I recall, “for Israel (who at the time was under constant attack by antisemitic groups and “anons”) and to Anonymous, what you have become for America and to terrorists”. What an idiot and blind fool I had allowed a few moment of fear and self doubt to turn me into.
I was so close to distorting all that I have learned, grown to believe and value and even the new skills and knowledge I was gaining during this case for the sake of becoming “powerful” enough to no longer fear failure and defeat. Like so many other goodhearted but desperate men and women everywhere, I too was about to trade in my character integrity and identity for a mask.
I clearly needed to somehow be smacked back to reality. That slap in the face did come…… from The Jester.
A Death and Reawakening
On March 23, 2013 I was preparing for my broadcast that was to be feature “white hat” hackers, the good guys. 2009 DC three winner, Robin Jackson was to be my guest. At this point Robin, a longtime associate of the Jester, and myself has established a budding friendship. The Jester and I had established a consistent good rapport. In the second half of that interview with Robin, the subject of the Jester came up. Soon after that somebody claiming to be the Jester called into the show.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/behindtheyellowtape/2013/03/23/hacking-culture-infosec-the-white-hats (approx 95:00)
This was not the first time the Jester had made a public appearance of sorts though from what I understood it would have been the first time he made one via voice. It was well-known that given the many Jester imposters, that the he had an authentication process to assure people it was him and no one else. Given that no one really knew his real identity this was the only thing people can realistically can trust about him. Of course I did ask for authentication and he did give it via his Twitter account, even he admits that much.
It was an interesting conversation to say the least and definitely entertaining. It seemed clear to most that this person was either an incredibly eccentric personality for an incredibly intoxicated hacker. It proved to be a very entertaining ending to our podcast I was talked about online by many. Though days later he would claim it was not him. I didn’t bother disputing at the time but thanked him regardless since he did participate in some form and was helpful regardless.
I had begun writing music again and working on some new genres. I thought it would be an incredibly cool tribute to the Jester and that night, to take a series of memorable soundbites and put it to music I had just composed. It was to be a sort of anthem for him. He often claimed he avoided money donation offers but supported Wounded Warrior Project, and so on the off-chance that there was any market value for what I just created I released it as a preview track for an upcoming album I was working on. It hit iTunes first, then eventually to other major e-stores and live stream stations. I informed Robin and Jester that if there was any money to be made I would I would share it with them as well as give a portion of each sale to Wounded Warrior Project Jester’s behalf.
Don’t worry not trying to sell you. Here’s a link to hear free, lol.
In my embarrassing deluded state, I honestly thought I was doing a good thing for a lot of people. On the one hand I thought I was giving the Jester a cool and fun gift through this public and artistic show of honor and respect. Furthermore, I had reasoned that in a time where so many young people are feeling angry and disenfranchised and more and more to succumb to the temptation and allure that Anonymous offered them as an answer, that maybe what they needed was a different kind of dark hero of sorts to contrast the growing Anonymous publicity machine. I thought they needed someone who was far enough removed from the mainstream they have grown to disdain yet well within morality to keep them from becoming another bot net zombie that seemed to make up the majority of Anonymous.
Contrary, the claims of some, it was never about money. I knew enough about the music industry and knew many people within it to know that one generally doesn’t get rich off a single album release, let alone a single track.
People seemed to take to the song. Local fans and followers seemed to get a kick out of it. Kids as far as Korea seem to be streaming it. Every voice that was featured on the track got a kick out of it……except Jester.
He was absolutely livid. He began ranting things that didn’t make sense, at times he would claim that he resents people trying to make money off of his fame I assured him little to no money was expected to be made, and it would be shared. He would then move on to anger that I included his rant against Anonymous, telling me that I failed to understand the consequences of that if they heard it, I was even more confused since he’s renowned for his open contempt for Anonymous. It made no sense that he would now somehow appear for all intents and purposes, scared of what Anonymous would think or how they would react, the conversation went even more downhill from there, as he got more and more paranoid and said that he knew exactly what I was up to and what I was trying to do to him and that he was going to have to take action if I didn’t pull song. I said he was talking crazy and that I had given him no reason to think that I was out to get him but made every effort to show my support of him. I said that I will make every effort to try to address his concerns by making sure the descriptions on current publicity of the song (that was already well it an international release) would at least reflect his earlier denial.
However, I felt it would be a mistake for him since it would undermine his own Twitter authentication process and cast doubt on future public appearances and interviews be it via, voice, chat, etc. I asked him just to give me some time to try to work on this. By the next day I was able to make some adjustments on the ready existing publicity as well as made a number of public statements reflecting my purposes for the song and acknowledgment of his earlier denial that it was not him on the phone call. He saw one of those public statements via TwitLonger and even Favorite it. Then via a inbox chat, he seem to indicate he was okay when he gave a wink and “Peace”.
The next day, he again wrote me ranting as if nothing had changed and was still angry for the same things. Again I told him he was not making sense and was sounding crazy and paranoid. He again began making threats to take action against me if I didn’t take it down.
It was then that it really hit me. He wasn’t talking to me like an angry friend or acquaintance but like displeased master who demanded immediate obedience and clearly how he saw me now. I told him I had every good intention with him and that stupid song and made every effort to extend a hand in friendship but that he clearly fallen under the wrong impression that I was a fan boy or Jester worshiper beholden to his emotional whims. I told him to get a grip and remember who his friends are and that even Robin with whom he shares a much longer and deeper history and loyalty doesn’t see me or this project in the way in which he is accusing me. I told him I was glad to do what I could to make this right for everybody but that I won’t be ordered around nor threatened. That was pretty much the last of any friendly discussion between he and I.
I began to reflect on what had transpired. Spoke with the few people who knew him best, replayed our last conversation over again in my mind, I could find nothing to help me make sense of the crazy shift and paranoia.
I was already doing a series of shows on hacking culture, and wanted to do a feature piece on the Jester. Even then I thought perhaps I was going to put to rest some of the rumors that were going around regarding phony hacks, manufactured enemy websites, cyberbullying and more.
However, I was not going to make the same catastrophic mistake, I made by letting a misguided sense of loyalty and friendship keep me from looking into the facts, or scrutinizing noted inconsistencies, as I had done with Sandra Goddard. I wanted to make sure that people knew that whatever came out of my investigation would be the results of reason, logic and objectivity and weighed against good evidence.
Every effort to give the benefit of the doubt became harder each day as more and more inconsistencies are presented before me. Then came the May 2013 “hack” on what was believed to be a website owned by Westboro Baptist Church called godhatesoklahoma.com by the Jester and the publicity that followed. My efforts to fact check that case became the point of no return when it became abundantly clear that the site and the hack were bogus… and the Jester knew it.
I had opened the damn that for three years held back swelling evidence of fraud, lies, and cyberbullying, and the endangerment of innocent people, and quite possibly our nation, all for the sake of fame.
This was where personal reflection ended a the formal investigation began. It is there in the next post and the ones that follow where I layout the who Jester really is. You will see how an investigation that intended to analyze the persona, public actions and the resulting threats and attacks that followed revealed more and more what the Jester really is and why it also became an investigation to the man and the people behind the charade.
I began this series of blogs on this investigation in this personal and candid way, for number of reasons. One is to offer the reader the full story. To unmask myself as willingly as I’m willing to unmask the Jester. Most importantly it is my hope that by knowing the shortcomings and embarrassing confessions of this writer, the reader can then move on from here and simply examine the facts and the evidence that I offer you without the distraction of others to get you to focus on the one offering it.
Many will say I am “jealous of Jester’s “fame””. To this I answer, how can one truly refute that? I can say it is not true, which indeed is the case but then one can say I’m lying. Its an easy out that can’t be fully refuted and Jester and his damage control team know this.
Many will say, I’m just trying to get “famous” off the Jester. To this I answer, what the heck does that even mean? I have a show, and anybody with a show does want to grow an audience and expand its reach. Yet at the same time, if audience for audience sake was my goal then why go after the subjects I do, often at needless risk of backlash, such as this case? Why not go with the mainstream media exploitation of the same one or two cases from beginning to end and cultivating the soap opera overtones that seem to draw in people, facts be dammed?
Many will say, Joey is trying to make money. To this I say, who doesn’t want to make money doing what they love? Yet having a PayPal link proves nothing. I don’t demand or press for donations from listeners or those who come to us with requests to take on a case. At worst Ill mention it on rare occasions. Letting people know that we work for free because we love what we do and are passionate about in the justice we seek in each case. We pay for everything we do out of our own resources and will gladly continue to do so. But leaving an option for some to support us and help offset costs as they see fit is no different then the proliferation of donation links whether it be via paypal, bitcoin, etc, that you find on many other sites…including those owned by Jester and Anonymous (the ones who have tried to use such arguments) and even they more often than me will remind you of an opportunity to spend your money on them, whether it be donation or merchandise. Yet a single button makes ME a “fraud”?
Finally, many will say I am socially, psychologically and professionally unqualified to carry out this investigation. Some will say its because my company or investigative licensing, are no existent or invalid. A simple online search will prove this to be absolutely false. Some will say its because of my long hair, rumored sexuality, or likeness to some actor, or unfounded claims against my sanity. Well….If one really requires an answer these things before they even consider me credible on the subject at hand then they are not likely to understand anything I say anyway given that either their hate or ignorance is so severe that they are likely incapable of exercising the most basic of reason anyway.
A Closing Appeal
The bottom line is simple. Even if all of the above claims and the many others were to be true and in the most extreme or dramatic sense and it turns out that I am indeed some long haired, transgendered, flaming homosexual who desperately covets fame and the looks of Lou Diamond Phillips while, in the basement of my in laws hoping no one finds out about my illegal investigative firm and lack of investigative background, and staring at my Jester voodoo doll just knowing by taking HIM down that will be the key to at last changing it all AND finally afford some psych meds…….(catches breath…pant pant pant)……none of it will come close to PROVING anything I present to you as false. At best, it should inform you that it would not be wise to take me at my word alone, it would caution you to closely scrutinize what I present and weigh it against the external evidence……..The very thing I am telling you to do now, and what I always exhort my listeners and readers to do no matter what.
Whether I am the manifestation of all the baseless claims made by Jester and his fans in the hopes to divert people’s minds by trying to humiliate me or the Pope himself, the above exhortation remains valid.
The claims and accusations I make in this case, is based on clear reason and a preponderance of evidence. It is my hope that your decision to agree or disagree with part or all of what I present is also based on the same.
The Jester (th3j35t3r) Investigation Part 1- The Myths, Claims and Rumors……coming soon.