EIR: You are very active on the Russia-Gate/Guccifer 2.0 issue. Recently, on Sept 17, you wrote about reaching out to the foreign embassies in London as “Phase 5” of your actions. Could you tell our readers how you’ve been weighing in on the Russia-Gate discussion, and other ways you’ve been acting to shape the debate and avoid a needless nuclear war with Russia?
Adam Carter: As you may know, I've been researching the topic of Guccifer 2.0 since the beginning of the year (after considering various anomalies and deciding to independently investigate). While quite a lot of new information has come about from this (with a lot of help from co-contributors and other analysis from independent researchers/analysts), the mainstream press have been unwilling to report on the discoveries.
Knowing that we're up against systems that have much to lose from the collapse of the erroneous mainstream narrative on Guccifer 2.0's origins (including budgets and contracts worth billions over time, reputations of politicians, reputations of many in the press, reputations of cyber security experts and firms, etc.), I've always known it was going to be an uphill battle that would take a long time.
So, when one of the more recent additions (from an analyst working under the pseudonym Forensicator) caught the eye of several VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) members and we subsequently had Forensicator’s work and some of the research from my site cited by them, I wanted to make sure we made optimal use of the opportunity to increase exposure of the research and evidence.
We were fortunate that Skip Folden reached out to us on behalf of VIPS, and since then, both Forensicator and I have tried to answer any of their questions and let them know of any of our new discoveries, test results, etc.
As you know, an article in The Nation (“A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack”) caused quite a stir recently too. It did make some conclusions that weren't necessarily stated in the original research it drew upon (likely from inference due to the archive contents and other information relevant to the date but not necessarily declared anywhere as a hack on that date) and it appears that a metaphorical third party statement, I believe, was reported as though it was a literal one.
In addition to researching and reporting on numerous discoveries made, I've always tried to consider strategy with regards to getting the information out. Throughout the past nine months, I’ve consistently considered such issues as dealing with media black-outs, propaganda, the use of logical fallacies to degrade and disrupt the information, and other factors. As part of that, I also planned several phases for my own efforts, with the latter phases being direct contact with politicians and, pending legal advice, possibly with DNC donors whose details were published (though I'm likely to leave that to a legal firm if I find one that wishes to pursue it).
When I saw other writers attack the article in The Nation (and in most cases through a strawman attack on the calculated transfer speeds and conclusions drawn from them) including presenting themselves as debunking the underlying research, I knew I had to make sure that as many of the articles that were unfair or deceptive were challenged and that those seeking to mislead their readers were skewered for every effort to manipulate.
While all that was going on (and as continues to crop up from time to time!), I noticed in a follow-up article that Skip Folden had mentioned sending a more detailed report (“Non-Existent Foundation for Russian Hacking Charge”) to the Office of the Special Counsel and Deputy Attorney General. Seeing his direct action reminded me of the fact that there was still a phase of the efforts I'd previously planned out that remained—phase #5: contact every foreign embassy in London (as I'm from the UK) and advise representatives of as many nations as possible about the likelihood of false attribution of Guccifer 2.0 to Russia and how it was being exploited by politicians and mainstream media to manufacture consent for war.
Knowing that Skip's report may remain unacknowledged and possibly ignored by the recipients, it seemed it would be a good time to draw attention from around the world on the investigations being carried out. I wanted to try to make sure there was increased scrutiny on the recipients of the report and how they are reacting to being provided notification of exculpatory evidence and of problems with the JAR and ICA reports (and so far, it looks like they've failed to acknowledge it).
So I wrote to every embassy that I could in London, to try to bring more attention to the issue, and to try to put some pressure on those that should be investigating thoroughly and in good faith.
EIR: What advice would you offer activists, on this issue, and more generally?
Carter: Failing to succeed is far better than failing to have tried at all.
If direct action is correspondence, try to draw public attention to the fact that recipients have been informed of and then put their inaction and disregard on a pedestal. Politicians and "deep state" institutions will try to ignore things that are inconvenient for them until doing so becomes damaging to their own reputations and sometimes you have to provoke a situation where you can demonstrate that someone is acting shamefully or betraying public trust.
Regarding online/social-media activism. There is an information war on: there are reputation management firms that are paid a lot to degrade information, to cause confusion and conflation, and to dispute claims through the use of logical fallacies. As such, it's good to be aware of their tactics, able to identify them quickly and call them out. I'd recommend the following links for some interesting and helpful information on the topic:
If engaging in direct action, try to always do things in a group, the bigger the better - it helps with confidence and makes it more difficult for activists to be singled out and unfairly treated.
EIR: Tell us about yourself, in terms of your motivations and decisions to put so much effort into this matter. How do you see your role in history?
Carter: I'm a citizen of the UK with interests in technology, digital arts, global politics, science, media and more. I've been in awe at America since I was a kid and over the last 15 years (due to 9/11 and the response from both our governments to it) have become fascinated by US politics (and the foreign policy objectives our nations seem to share in many areas).
For the past 15 years, I've worked in web site and web application development. While this is my primary area of expertise, I have a much broader interest in technology and try to stay up to date with new developments whether in development, 3D design or less creative (but still essential) fields such as information security.
Inherently in what I do, I'm defending clients from hackers, malware, botnets, etc and have written software that scans for malware from any website root it's installed on.
Going further back, in my teens, I disassembled & cracked software and more (back in the 16-bit era), I was no stranger to BBSs and did have a brief phase of being a black-hat. However, that was all a long time ago. I'm now a director of a business with two kids and a mortgage, and the closest I now come to mischief is having the audacity to call out what I strongly feel is—at least as far as it pertains to Guccifer 2.0—a false narrative built upon deceit.
So, essentially, you could say I'm an ex-hacker calling out a fake hacker.
Motivation To Investigate
Around December of 2016, I noticed Guccifer 2.0 was being cited a lot in the media alongside "Russian hacking is an act-of-war!" rhetoric and some specious claims about Putin ordering the hacking and/or directing the use of hacked materials. I noticed it become a highly polarizing issue and it got me thinking back to the many inconsistencies in the alleged hacker's actions and words, the blatant nonsense of the supposed "Clinton Foundation Hack," how weird it was that Guccifer 2.0 was supposedly a skilled hacker, yet, lacking the egotistic flair skilled hackers are renowned for, adopted the name of someone else and stuck "2.0" on the end. I then thought about the headlines Guccifer 2.0 had generated and how so much of the material he released was of little to no impact to the Clinton campaign or the DNC's leadership. It didn't make sense and yet this “hacker” was being used as part of the justification. To me, something just didn't seem right with it.
Towards the end of December, with time off work, my curiosity grew, I started searching, going back to old articles, trying to make more sense of what Guccifer 2.0 was. It was no good—everything was spread out and the facts I had gathered lacked chronological context. So, to get a better understanding of what Guccifer 2.0 was, I decided to construct a timeline with everything I could find in terms of primary and secondary sources relating to Guccifer 2.0, with dates, key revelations and including the links to the source articles and links to archived copies of the pages.
I read all the articles while gathering them (and eliminated tertiary sources that added nothing to the sources they were citing). I then read through everything in sequence again at the end.
It didn't take long before I found an enormous number of anomalies and inconsistencies where there shouldn't be any, as well as some odd correlations where none should exist. It was baffling, but one thing I was sure of was that this was not a genuine hacker nor was it someone who truly intended to hurt the DNC leadership or the Clinton campaign. (ThreatConnect discredited his breach claims, he never mentioned any of the significantly more damaging revelations exposed in the emails released by Wikileaks, and his leaks were mostly junk—and mysteriously, this supposedly skilled hacker could only produce material from the Democratic Party.)
Knowing that hackers are more prone to security lapses at the beginning of an operation and at points of excitement (I was able to predict the moment when Sabu of Lulzsec had been compromised by the FBI on the basis of something I've only ever seen occur with Compromised-Sabu and Guccifer 2.0), I decided to review the first batch of files and activities of Guccifer 2.0's on the day he emerged.
I then spotted Warren Flood's name, not just on one document but on three different documents, and something else—the document creation dates were all June 15 (the same day as this “hacker” emerged) and the three with Flood's name on them had identical creation times. (To be clear, Flood is very likely innocent and his name is likely to be an indicator of which computer was used to produce the initial pre-tainted template document.)
I thought it was odd because those that had reported on it seemed to have made no mention of it. In fact, an article published at Gawker actually misreported the date of the first document’s metadata.
Learning What Guccifer 2.0 Was
I started to see how Guccifer 2.0's behavior did more to undermine and distract from WikiLeaks than anything else and soon realized the significance of what I was looking at.
I then had an interaction with a user on Reddit (u/tvor_22) and, when looking at the initial documents Guccifer 2.0 released, he made a discovery that helped clarify what we were looking at. Essentially, the documents were constructed in a deliberate manner to have Russian language metadata and stylesheets in them.
Knowing this was an attempt to blame Russians for leaks and seeing that it was now being exploited by some who were coupling it up with hawkish rhetoric, I knew it needed opposing but also knew more investigation was needed as a strong multi-faceted argument would be required to go up against a well-established mainstream narrative (and one that had just been bolstered by various statements made by intelligence agencies and was aggressively promoted by many in the mainstream press).
I considered the facts:
- I knew Guccifer 2.0 was a lie of some sort.
- I'm outside of the US (so, was hopefully at less risk of interception or worse).
- I've successfully attributed a hack to perpetrators before.
- I'm probably less emotionally invested in the election outcome than most Americans, which may help carry out an impartial investigation.
- I already knew much that had been unreported or misreported.
- I was prepared to investigate in good faith, turning over every stone eventually and being transparent about discoveries made.
I thought as I'd already come this far and figured out things that had been missed, maybe trying to carry out a more extensive investigation and take things further wasn't necessarily beyond my capabilities.
I didn't welcome the risk, but the guilt I'd feel from allowing an unnecessary conflict to occur would be completely unbearable, especially when I knew I was in a better position to speak out about it than most.
While that, of course, means the path I've been walking the last 9 months hasn't been an easy one, there have been some very positive things too and it's these that give me the stamina and determination to keep pushing forward.
I've been extremely fortunate to have gained some valuable support and contributions from a number of talented and thoughtful people (sometimes directly through my site, sometimes separately through analysis they release on their own sites). Merging paths with some key members of VIPS as well as a highly proactive contributor to their efforts has also been a very welcome blessing too.
Regarding your question, "How do you see your role in history?" — I don't want my ego or personality to get in the way, especially not at such a critical time. Maybe one day I'll be able to contemplate that, but for now, I'm just someone that tried to do the right thing when they realized everybody had been lied to.
For now though … there's still much to do and still many that are yet to wake up.