To Whom Does Justice Belong, The People We Appoint Or The People Who Appointed Them?

Our nation was founded on the belief…no the conviction that justice cannot be had when it remains in the hands of the select few. However we do appoint representatives and agencies to seek that justice on BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE lest everyone decide on their own what is legal or not legal and go about exacting their own justice. The only thing more dangerous than the order of tyranny, is the chaos of vigilanteism.

Even when the results of our JUSTICE SYSTEM may seem unsatisfactory, it is indeed just that we either accept it or work within the system to change it so that similar results never occur again. However, what if that which we agree is illegal and indeed harming others is ignored by the ones we appoint and look to to pursue due justice? When we abide such a culture in our legal system are we submitting to their authority or affirming and ultimately adopting their complacency?

What if the people appeal to all the channels and move up and down the chains of command only to be told nothing will be done, are they protecting the people they work for or the people they were appointed to protect them from?

When people finally step up to fight and put down the villain(s) the powers that be refuse to despite their call by the people to do so, are you taking justice into your own hands or are you simply refusing to let it fall by the wayside?

If the powers that be try to stop you, telling you it is their “business” to do such things and have chosen to let the crimes and thus injustices continue and so should you, yet you still chose to do what they wont, who is ultimately seeking justice and who is ultimately acting against it?

When the people take up the power to stop the villains the powers that be wont in order to put an end to the crimes they are allowing, are the people robbing the authorities of power or are the people taking back a power that is rightfully theirs already in order to keep from being robbed from justice that is also theirs?

In the end who is ultimately responsible for protecting the people rights and seeing that the people have a just society?

These questions can only be answered by first answering, does justice and the power to gain and maintain it belong to the entities the people created and appointed or do these things belong to WE THE PEOPLE?

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Sir, I have a warrant…for your mind

I recently started a very interesting online discussion with an acquaintance after he had share the following article, (Link to original posting with article attachment). It related to a MA high court ruling that said a suspect must turn over the password to an encrypted computer despite claims that doing so would violate the 5th Amendment.  This is raises a lot of questions and an included analogy regarding a warrant demanding the combination of a safe as support for the MA decision raised even more. After doing some cursory research before responding to my acquaintance, I came to the following conclusions shared below. What are your thoughts on the matter? I assure you its not a matter that should be thought out lightly and by no means avoided. ;

Prima facie I would disagree with  the safe combination analogy but can see how one would be compelled by such reasoning, especially and non-critical mind or a legal one looking for a short-cut. However, that reasoning based on the safe combo analogy begs the question.

After taking a few minutes to do some research before answering your question, I did find a few interesting things. The article failed to site any case law or precedent but only pointed out that the combo was subject to a warrant, however a warrant is NOT case law and are challenged daily.

As most know the Stare Decisis principle when applied to case law most applicable when it applies the decision of of higher court versus that of a lower court. That being said I found no US Supreme Court decision that would support the reasoning or even a safe combo analogy. If anything I found the opposite, an a 1988 ruling found in Jon Doe v The United States 487 U.S. 201 (108 S.Ct. 2341, 101 L.Ed.2d 184).   That case refers to a suspect being forced to sign consent forms to access bank account. The ruling supported the US.  In both the opinion and statements of dissent they used the safe analogy, however it did not decide on that specific situation in  the case. I believe that such a case in a supreme court would not be so cut and dry when the statement Justice Stevens, in his dissenting remarks comes into play;

“A defendant can be compelled to produce material evidence that is incriminating. Fingerprints, blood samples, voice exemplars, handwriting specimens, or other items of physical evidence may be extracted from a defendant against his will. But can he be compelled to use his mind to assist the prosecution in convicting him of a crime? I think not. He may in some cases be forced to surrender a key to a strongbox containing incriminating documents, but I do not believe he can be compelled to reveal the combination to his wall safe—by word or deed” (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/487/201)

So the questions that will have to be answered that is not addressed in the above case, are does the safe analogy in that 1988 case apply here since in and of itself was an analogy and not a ruling and does not that analogy beg the question?  Add to that, in both statements both agree the contents of ones mind should be defended by the 5th and that what the majority decided was that signing a consent form is not such an item.

All this should lead to the ultimate question, I’d imagine the Justices will have to answer. Though it is affirmed that signing a form may not be considered turning over the contents of ones mind, can he same be said about turning over a memorized password?

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Vol 8, No 1 (2014): Perspectives on Terrorism

behindtheyellowtape:

Great blog here. Be sure to check them out. Lots of great resources by top minds in the field.
I’m both flattered and honored they sought fit to include my recent article in their suggested links.

Originally posted on The Osint Journal Review:

Table of Contents
Introduction to the Issue

Welcome from the Editors

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Alex P. Schmid

Articles

Perspectives on Counterterrorism: From Stovepipes to a Comprehensive Approach

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Ronald Crelinsten

Analysing Terrorism from a Systems Thinking Perspective

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Lukas Schoenenberger, Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Mathias Beck

Evidence-Based Counterterrorism or Flying Blind? How to Understand and Achieve What Works

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Rebecca Freese

View original 172 more words

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How Has September 11 Come To Symbolize A New Era of Terrorism?

The following is my response to an essay question posed to me by my professor in a Study of Terrorism course I am currently in the middle of.  I decided to share it with you as I felt it not only answers the question well but also articulates my growing concerns as I continue to study and report on this “War on Terror” we are in the midst of as a nation and international community. 

I felt it was a good beginning to my desire and plan for BTYT to have an increased focus on terrorism and to investigate, analyze and report on the people and politics involved. 

How Has September 11 Come To Symbolize A New Era of Terrorism?

The September 11 attack became a symbol of a new era of terrorism in a number of ways.
First it clearly proved the accuracy of a predicted trend toward asymmetrical warfare tactics used by terrorists (Martin 2014). This essentially turned the dynamic between terrorists and government from that of criminal and law enforcement agency to opponents in a war. This was indeed seen as a war as shown by the birth of the term “war on terrorism”.

However unlike a war between two sovereign nations this was a war between a tangible
entity, the government and an intangible phenomena, terrorism. Which raises new questions about what are the rules of engagement and how is victory determined (Martin 2014)?

Another clear indicator that a new era had indeed been entered, was the change of tone in how terrorism and our responses to it shifted from that of preserving a citizens safety to preserving a nations security and in some ways its sovereignty. This is clearly indicated by the establishment of the Patriot Act.

These above changes alone has been enough to cause understandable worry and debate
among citizens and government. While protecting the safety and rights of a citizen can at times require just as much aggression as we may see today from those in government and law enforcement, such aggression was tempered by the underlying intention to protect the rights of all citizens with her victim or perpetrator.

However when that underlying intention is replaced by a need to protect the government’s security and sovereignty, that aggression is no longer tempered but in many ways fueled. This in turn leads to the personal rights of the citizens being protected to fade into the background leading to many complaints (many justified) of rights being trampled and raising the question of how far is too far when acting in defense of your government.

If this alone wasn’t enough to inspire worry, anger and fear, then how much more are those emotions magnified and aggression further encouraged by the third and possibly most disturbing change indicating we are indeed in a new era of terrorism.

Terrorism has been the source of concern by government and its citizens for centuries.
However there has always been a certain solace taken by what was believed to be a core axiom in our understanding of terrorism (Hoffman 2002). Brian Jenkins articulated this axiom best when he observed that “terrorists want a lot of people watching and listening and not a lot of people dead” (Jenkins 1975). This conventional wisdom however was wiped clean by Osama bin Laden on September 11 (Hoffman 2002) . It now became clear to many that terrorists want a lot of people watching and listening AND a lot of people dead.

These above-mentioned shifts changed everything. Not just for America but for the
international community at large.

America has served as both a symbol of strength and conscience for many nations. Their example has been and continues to be emulated or debated. Regardless of which, America continues to influence and shape many nations and their interactions within themselves and with one another.

However these two virtues of strength and conscience are now clearly at war with each other and further complicating the above-mentioned underlying questions of what rules to guide our actions in this new kind of war and what does victory look like?

If by some miracle terrorism is eradicated from the earth but the cost was a nation that demanded we forever give up many of the rights we fought and died for and enjoy today; then who has won?

If we have raised bar of strength in both deed towards people and example to the world yet lowered the bar of conscience, then what has been won?

How different will the world be when our message of democracy and freedom is among the casualties suffered in this “war on terror”?

How terrifying, rather, how tragic would it be if future generations look back at this point in history and clearly see a nation who fought and bled and even died out of refusal to surrender even a shred of their rights and freedom to national sharia only to have instead surrendered all or most of both to national security?

This “war on terror” is very real, and very complicated. The stakes have never been higher because this “war on terror” is now being fought on two fronts; the terror within our borders and the terror within our hearts….. And the world is watching.

Works Cited

Hoffman, Bruce. “Rethinking Terrorism and Counterterrorism Since 9/11.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 25.5 (2002): 303-16. Print.

Jenkins, Brian Michael. International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict. Los Angeles, CA: Crescent Publications, 1975. Print.

Martin, Gus. Essentials of Terrorism: Concepts and Controversies. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2014. Print.

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Backgound Story On Stephen Rakes

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By Joey Ortega and Sharon Branco

During our last broadcast on the Whitey Bulger case, we discussed the mysterious death of Shephen Rakes. Rakes was at one point set to testify for the prosecution to give an accounting of a claim that Whitey Bulger extorted Rakes to sell his liquor store to him.  However days before his death Rakes was informed that his testimony would not be used . It was our inquiry into this and his death that lead to even more questions and twists and turns that continues to define this case.  Her is what we have learned thus far.

  • In 1983, Stephen Rakes and his wife at the time, Julie Rakes, now Julie Dammers, were owners of  a liquor store in South Boston. They purchased a run down gas station in South Boston and turned it into a liquor store, at 295 Old Colony Ave. They had some construction work done on the property and opened in time for Christmas…the place was called Stippo’s Liquor Mart.  Stippo was a nickname for Stephen.
  • the story goes that Bulger and Weeks extorted Rakes to sell him the liquor store.  Bulger/ Flemmi and Weeks then made the liquor store their office and changed the name of course to the South Boston Liquor Mart.  90% of the story is true, but there was no extortion, it was a story spun by Rakes to get more money out of Bulger this is backed up by a 1999 document describing U.S. v. Stephen M. Rakes case#96:CR10131-001 (below) Image
  • According to Julie, she reached out to her uncle and Detective, Joseph  Lundbohm for help. Lundbohm said he knew of an FBI agent who may be able to help. That agent was John Connolly.
  • According to Julie, after the meet Lundbohm Reports to Julie that Connolly said he could help but would need her to wear a wire. She understandably refused.
  • Soon after Whitey summoned Stephen Rakes and informed him that he was aware of the feds being contacted and that he better drop the matter.

This lead to claims that Connolly gave Bulger a heads up. BTYT contacted Connolly for comment and he responded Julie’s uncle Lundbohm called Connolly and asked to meet with him.  They met at a restaurant called Linda Mae’s in Boston.  John told me the place was a hang out for cops. It was a nice place to eat, it just was popular with the cops off duty to grab a quick good meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Lundbohm knew other cops would see him with Connolly and word would get back to Bulger.  He wanted to scare Bulger and have the FBI look like the boogie man.

What further muddied the waters in trying to find out for sure what did or did not happen was the questionable background of Detective Lundbohm who would later be accused of a number of crimes, including racketeering.

It stood to reason that the prosecution maybe grew concerned that the amount of conflicting evidence and weak credibility gave them cause to pause and reconsider including him and his accounting in an already complicated case with a number of convoluted twists and turns that seem to come right out of a Mario Puzo novel .

To date we don’t know for sure how Rakes died. Let alone why but given what we now know, it seems nothing can be taken for granted. It would at first glance seem tempting to go with a “he got wacked” scenario but given that their were too many reasons to doubt that story and the fact that he was removed from the witness list prior to his death, it does not make sense to assume such a dramatic conclusion.

If one was to kill a witness for Bulger’s sake, why not go after one who will actually testify and may in fact influence the jury? Yet there were rumors that Rakes had a bombshell to add that may damn Whitey. Whether that is or whether it was even true, we may never know.

Regardless, we will continue to follow Rakes’ death investigation and kep you apprised of what we learn.

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THE MEET AT THE MERIDIAN

ImageBy Sharon Branco

 

Stephen Flemmi was Whitey Bulger’s criminal partner in the Winter Hill Gang.  Stephen and Whitey were also FBI informants.   Were Bulger and Flemmi told they would not be prosecuted for certain crimes?  Bulger’s early pre-trial defense claim was that he had immunity, and he was given that immunity by former organized crime strike force federal prosecutor Jeremiah T. O’Sullivan.   Did Bulger and prosecutor O’Sullivan have a meeting?  Investigative reports confirm they did. Strike Force Attorney (Assistant United States Attorney) O’Sullivan contacted Connolly and requested to meet Bulger and Flemmi. O’Sullivan’s primary concern being that, by protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution for their criminal activities in their RICO case, he might be placing the life of the key Race-Fix case witness (Anthony “Tony” Ciulla) in danger. Former Agent Connolly then set up the “meet” for the Meridian Hotel, right across the street from O’ Sullivan’s office in the McCormick Federal Building. At the meeting which Flemmi did not attend, Bulger gave his word that no harm would come to Ciulla from them, pointing out that they had no control over others who might want to harm the witness. O’Sullivan said that Ciulla’s relocation should prevent retaliation from the others, and his real concern was him (Bulger) and Flemmi.

 

More importantly, O’Sullivan assured Bulger that he and Flemmi could continue to operate their gambling and loan shark business as cover for their FBI informant activities in reporting on the New England Mafia – but that violence could not be tolerated and such conduct would be subject to prosecution. Bulger agreed this was fair.

 

Government witness, Stephen Flemmi, confirms this meeting at the hotel between O’Sullivan and Bulger sometime in 1979. Flemmi was debriefed and interviewed several times from Sept 16, 2003 thru October 2004. He was interviewed by Mass State Police detective Lt Stephen Johnson, and DEA agent Dan Doherty.

 

Flemmi 10/29/02, DEA-6, Pg. 74, Par 160:

 

Flemmi also noted that he and Bulger were going to meet directly with 0′ Sullivan to discuss the situation, but that this gathering was cancelled for some unknown reason. FLEMMI SAID THAT BULGER ACTUALLY MET (STRIKE FORCE ATTORNEY) 0’SULLIVAN AT A LATER DATE IN A HOTEL, AND ALTHOUGH HE (FLEMMI) WAS SUPPOSED TO GO HE DID NOT.

 

SHORTLY BEFORE INDICTMENTS WERE ISSUED ON THE CASE, BULGER WAS TOLD BY CONNOLLY THAT HE (BULGER) AND FLEMMI WOULD NOT BE PROSECUTED. FLEMMI NOTED THAT AT A LATER DATE S/A CONNOLLY DIRECTLY CONFIRMED TO HIM (FLEMMI), ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION THAT HE HAD RECEIVED FROM BULGER, REGARDING THE RACE FIX INVESTIGATION. FLEMMI ALSO TOLD CONNOLLY TO THANK O’SULLIVAN FOR O’SULLIVAN’S INTERCESSION. FLEMMI ADDED THAT THERE IS NO QUESTION IN HIS MIND THAT THE SOLE REASON, THEY (BULGER AND FLEMMI) WERE NOT INDICTED AND CONVICTED ON THE RACE FIX CASE, WAS BECAUSE OF THEIR INFORMANT STATUS.

 


 

 Flemmi, consistently, throughout ALL of his interviews and testimony, MAINTAINS THAT HE AND BULGER WERE AUTHORIZED TO ENGAGE IN NON-VIOLENT GAMBLING AND LOAN SHARKING AS COVER FOR THEIR INFORMANT ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT!

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Update on Bulger Trial – Prosecution Rests

ImageBy Sharon Branco

After 30 days of testimony and 62 witnesses, Assistant United States Attorney, Brian Kelly finally said, “at this time, the United States rests its case against Mr. Bulger.”    Bulger’s defense attorneys will present his defense beginning on Monday.   There are 15 witnesses Bulger’s defense plans on calling, 7 on Monday and 8 on Tuesday.    Will notorious Irish gangster Whitey Bulger take the stand in his own defense?   Defense attorney J.W. Carney stated to the court, the decision will be made sometime Monday.

The prosecution ended its case against Mr. Bulger with details of his capture in June 2011.  FBI agent, Scott Garriolla from the FBI’s Los Angeles Fugitive Task Force office explained to the jury how Bulger was tricked into a peaceful surrender.   Garriolla stated Bulger was cooperative showing the agents that came to arrest him all his guns, knives, fake ID’s, and hide outs in the apartment he shared with longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig.

Garriolla asked Bulger if he intended to use the guns for a shootout with cops.  Bulger stated no because he was concerned a stray bullet may hit someone.  Bulger asked for future consideration and leniency for his girlfriend in exchange for  his cooperation that day.    Bulger’s defense pointed out that the FBI office was only 3 miles from Bulger’s apartment!

Quid Pro Quo

Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi was Bulger’s criminal partner for 20 years.  He was also a FBI informant like Bulger.   He pled guilty in 2003 to 10 murders. He’s been in jail for 17 years.

Flemmi stated that he was an FBI informant and so was Bulger.  Flemmi testified that his relationship with the FBI was  “quid pro quo.”   Bulger’s defense attorney said isn’t that Latin for “rat?”   Flemmi answered back, “I don’t like that word, and Mr. Bulger doesn’t like it either.”  Bulger  looked up at that comment.

Defense was able to bring out of Flemmi that he lied in prior testimony before the grand jury and that while he was sitting in jail it crossed his mind that the government was looking for him to give up FBI agents.  Defense read off a list of FBI agents, then prosecutors objected.    Flemmi admitted he lied about John Connolly in the past about giving them (Flemmi and Bulger) information that led to murders. But Flemmi insisted he was not lying now.  FLemmi said Connolly gave us information and we acted on it.  The fact is Flemmi has given varying testimony in the past.  Why should the jurors believe him now.  Defense brought out that Flemmi had every incentive to lie.  He was spared the death penalty in OK and FL.  He was moved to better living conditions in prison.   Flemmi admitted he had a sexual relationship with his step-daughter.   Regarding the murders of two females, Debra Hussey and Debra David, Flemmi stated Bulger told Flemmi they both had to go, Bulger’s defense attorney said Flemmi killed Debra Hussey to prevent avalanche of sexually predator behavior from being revealed.

Whitey Bulger and Stevie Flemmi were not the first FBI informants that killed and they will not be the last.

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Irish Gang Wars: Quick Backgroud

I order to add some context to the Whitey Bulger case we are following we felt a short history lesson in its roots and that of organized crime in New England would be helpful.

The Irish Gang Wars

ImageBy Sharon Branco

The Irish gangs and the New England Mafia co-existed in the early 60’s but the peace between the Irish gangs wouldn’t last

Charlestown, Massachusetts 1961.  Charlestown is a historic town, one of the oldest Boston neighborhoods located north of Boston on the banks of the Boston Harbor and Mystic River.   The USS Constitution, a.m. “Old Ironsides,” is docked at the Charlestown Navy Yard and the Bunker Hill Monument is to the north.  On Halloween afternoon in 1961, the residents of Charlestown would be witnesses to a new historic happening, but this incident left no landmark to visit, it was the beginning of the Irish gang wars.

It was two o’clock on Halloween afternoon when Bernie McLaughlin of the McLaughlin Brothers gang walked towards Richards Bottled Liquors.  Casually observing the flurry of activity in the vicinity of a local utility street opening.  With the distraction caused by jackhammers and backhoes, he failed to notice a man with a yellow hard-hat emerging out of the other end of the gaping hole in the street.

Bernie was caught off guard, the man wearing  the hard-hat was Buddy McLean, from the McLean gang.   Buddy turned sharply and headed purposefully for Bernie.  Bernie desperately yelled, “Buddy, wait….hold it….we didn’t know….we woulda never…” 

Buddy didn’t want to hear no explanation.

“Tell it to the devil,” McLean yelled back as he pumped a slug from his .45 automatic weapon into Bernie’s eye socket and cheekbone.   He back-peddled along a sidewalk and fell to the ground from the impact.  McLean pumped more slugs into McLaughlin until he no longer moved.  A car pulled up and McLean jumped in and sped away.

Blood leaked from McLaughlin’s body  onto the sidewalk and into a nearby gutter.  The Boston police would estimate that close to sixty people witnessed the execution, but true to the Charlestown code of silence, nobody saw a thing.

The McLean gang  – They were from the Winter Hill section of Somerville, Massachusetts.  Headed by James “Buddy” McLean and Howard “Howie” Winter.  They were primarily hijackers, took part in the sale of untaxed cigarettes, loansharking and bookmaking.  They did not handle contract hits for the Mafia that was the McLaughlin domain.

The McLaughlin gang – Charlestown, Massachusetts.  George McLaughlin, Bernard “Bernie” McLaughlin, and Edward “Punchy” McLaughlin.  They ran most of the gambling at nearby Charlestown and much of the Boston waterfront.  They were also handling contract “hits” for the Mafia.

The McLaughlin’s were the Mafia’s useful, lethal idiots.  Local Irish hoodlums  didn’t trust the McLaughlins or the Mafia, but they would never admit it.  The term “hits” was actually coined in the Boston underworld of the 1950’s to describe the number of “contract” murders the McLaughlins carried out.

The Irish gang wars were a fairly welcomed war to the New England Mafia.  The New England Mafia was headed by Mafia Boss Raymond Patriarca who ran his business from his office on Atwells Avenue in Providence, Rhode Island.  His underboss was Jerry Anguilo located in Boston.   The New England Mafia controlled 70% of the organized criminal activity in New England during this period including the bulk of the gambling and loansharking but it wasn’t 100%.

Patriarca, along with Anguilo and Mafia capo Peter “Big Peter” Limone agreed that their strategy in the Irish gang wars would be: support both sides in the gang wars with guns, money and conversation.  The undisciplined, and super-violent Irish gangs would do the work for them.  When they killed each off, the Mafia would step in and take over.

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The Jester (th3j35t3r) Investigation Prologue- The Indictment of a Hypocrite….Myself

The Beginning……

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.

http://www.jango.com/music/Z0ph0kl3z?l=0

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”.

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rjngks

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.

A Revelation

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.

The Atonement

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.

The Transformation

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.

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