On July 31, 2018, ComputerWeekly published a hit-piece primarily targeting me by journalist Duncan Campbell. The article propagated flawed conspiracy theories, numerous false claims and blatant smears, targeted associates and threw third-party researchers under the bus. The article didn't tackle any of my research and ultimately fed lies to ComputerWeekly's readers.
The efforts to unduly attack reputation involved distortions, baseless allegations, claims that are demonstrably false and even claims that we can show Campbell would have known to be false and misleading.
In addition to this, Campbell could only have gotten closer to 'doxxing' his target by publishing their home address. To me, it seems he has tried to publicly expose me to the greatest extent he could feasibly get away with, all while trying egregiously to mislead the public about my character.
My identity was already volunteered to the US Department of Justice at the end of 2017 in connection to evidence that was referenced in a report sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller a couple of months earlier (long before Campbell's hit-piece was published). Campbell's actions at the time also interfered with the availability of evidence referenced in the report.
Campbell's core argument also fails to actually debunk the conclusions of Forensicator's that he seems to be objecting to (his attempts to delegitimize are based on speculation rather than directly relating to what the evidence shows) and in some cases even disregards evidence when it's inconvenient to narrative.
Forensicator debunked Campbell's conspiracy theory in "The Campbell Conspiracy"
Forensicator debunked Campbell's timestamp tampering theory in "The Campbell Coincidence"
I've also explained some of the background about why I think Campbell's efforts were driven by revenge and that, long before his article was published, he appears to have been determined to sabotage Forensicators work and my reputation (following me writing a rebuttal to an article he and James Risen co-authored).
The Spin: Pro-Kremlin
Reality: Campbell is saying those questioning the evidence or presenting evidence that conflicts with the RussiaGate narrative are inherently "Pro-Kremlin" and as the first part of my series of articles responding to this shows, I'm not the only person Campbell makes this false assumption about, another Brit has been targeted by him too. It is, simply, use of the "false cause" logical fallacy being employed as a "name-calling" device, one that Campbell relies on often. In reality, people from America, Australia, Canada and the UK have independently investigated and reported on various discoveries throughout 2017-18 and their findings haven't supported theories that Campbell has faith in. The "pro-Kremlin" label is a baseless accusation and one that Campbell fails to actually provide evidence of in his article.
The Spin: Pro-Trump / Posing As A Democrat
Reality: I've never encouraged anyone to vote for Trump and have criticized Trump and his policies so it's clear that this is a distortion (a "pro-Trump Troll" that doesn't actually say anything at all that's pro-Trump clearly is a flawed premise to anyone with the capacity to think critically).
While I have posted to "r/the_donald" it has mostly been responding to Guccifer 2.0 and other technology-oriented RussiaGate issues being discussed, occasionally as a result of my work being shared there by third parties (I've posted to correct misconceptions or responded to questions people have asked). What Campbell seems to willfully ignore is that I actually spent more time interacting with subs related to Sanders and if anything had prevented me from launching my site, my initial report outlining my findings would have been released by moderators of a Sanders related subreddit that I entrusted to be a back up protocol for it's release. My history on Reddit shows very clearly I was a Sanders supporter, it's something I've conceded in my own articles and in an interview.
Campbell absolutely refuses to accept this despite an abundance of evidence to support it (and having all of this pointed out by myself long ago) and just outright lies about me in a way that suggests he wants the left, specifically, to refuse and reject information from me and to have a misconception that I'm aligned with their opponents when the truth is that, since around December 2016, I ceased to express any affiliation with any political party or candidate and staunchly reject the notion of affiliating with any party or candidate in the future.
The Spin: Pretending To Be An American
Reality: I did express solidarity with other Sanders supporters, probably used "we" quite a lot while referencing those I felt allegiance with at the time but I never stated that I was an American. Also, for a bit of critical context, I should point out that on Twitter, at the precise time Campbell has been critical of, I only had about 4 or 5 followers. Additionally, just about everyone who has come to know me through my work has only ever seen me claim to be from the UK which people have been pointing out to Campbell on Twitter.
The Spin: Far-Right
Reality: Campbell has tried to assert that me speaking to someone about Guccifer 2.0 and that person having tweeted about Daily Stormer being censored separately from that (which was news to me until I saw Campbell's article!) somehow means something significant.
This is purely an effort to push guilt-by-association-where-irrelevant, a trick depended on in the article Campbell authored with Risen in The Intercept back in November 2017.
Additionally, Campbell had previously claimed that my "d3f.uk" site was linking to "extreme Trump/Putin" sites and to "far-right" sites. He's referring to a site that linked to a few sites like Circa, OAN & Judicial Watch but that also linked to Humanist Report, Sane Progressive, Jimmy Dore show, Jamarl Thomas (Progressive Soapbox), Tim Black, Caitlin Johnstone, We Are Change and others that are very clearly not right-wing. (It even pulled in news from Democracy Now!)... and yet Campbell still pretends he can't figure out that I'm not a right-winger!
The Spin: Started Working With Right-Wing Activists
Reality: The only people who saw my work prior to it's release were moderators with the "Way Of The Bern" subreddit (what I considered to be a home on Reddit at the time I started researching). I asked that they make my initial report available if I disappeared. They are left-wing, not right-wing.
The first third-party study I reported on was in February 2017 and was written by u/tvor_22 (who I communicated with via Reddit). He was certainly not right-wing.
The next incident of working with or reporting on third party studies came in June 2017, when Forensicator first contacted me. Forensicator doesn't seem to have partisan affiliation and the other person I started working with around that time was Elizabeth Lea Vos, co-founder of Disobedient Media. In the 2016 US general election Vos was a Sanders supporter who ended up voting for Jill Stein, last time I checked neither Sanders nor Stein were right-wing candidates.
What is true, is that I have spoke with left wing, right wing and independent reporters and researchers in my quest for information and that, due to the implications of what has been uncovered, my work has found favour with the right-wing more than the left.
Claiming I started out working with mostly right-wing activists is false and appears to be part of Campbell's efforts to have left-leaning individuals dismiss my work through encouraging a misconception about my political leanings.
The Spin: Antisemite?!
Reality: I noticed that Guccifer 2.0's online activity seemed to avoid times that would have had him working on the Sabbath and questioned the religions of those I had suspicions about, none of which is antisemitic. Of course, Campbell tries to draw attention to this, to use it as a point out-of-context, straight after pointing out that I spoke to someone about G2, etc that at some other point in time, unbeknownst to me, posted an anti-semitic remark.
It's fairly clear what Campbell's doing here and is a part of trying to condition readers into forming false perceptions based on irrelevant correlations in the most desperate and ridiculous effort I've ever seen of trying to push a perception that someone is "far-right" and antisemitic when their history shows that's a completely false perception to hold about them.
The Spin: Forensicator Is Invented
Reality: Forensicator's work and my own are notably different in style, we both have unique characteristics in our own writing and communications and even the most basic analysis of this will easily show that we're two different people.
I am flattered that Campbell thinks I'm Forensicator or that I've got the capacity to somehow invent someone that demonstrates capabilities I don't possess. It is an interesting but inherently flawed conspiracy theory and one that seems to be fairly obvious to those familiar with the work Forensicator and I have produced.
The Spin: Binney Changed Position
Reality: ComputerWeekly were advised to check on how Campbell was portraying third parties. They didn't bother to check, they misrepresented others and even distorted testimony from Bill Binney into a smear. Binney has provided clarification where he was misrepresented.
However, ComputerWeekly seem reluctant to correct their article even when those they misrepresent have spoken out and clarified their true positon.
Jason Ross (LaRouche PAC) interviewed Bill Binney:
Many have come away from reading Campbell's article thinking that Bill Binney has headed in a different direction to Forensicator because Binney has stated that we can't be sure the transfer on July 5th 2016 was from the DNC. However, this actually means that Binney is stating what Forensicator clarified back in August 2017, so, it seems that Campbell tricked readers into perceiving divergence/division where it doesn't exist.
The Spin: Fabricated / Manipulated Files On G-2.space
Reality: Campbell's careful choice of phrasing on this has led many of his readers to think that I had manipulated or fabricated something. However, all I have done is mirror files that Guccifer 2.0 had released, they are identical to those hosted on Guccifer 2.0's blog (and I have long argued that the evidence is indicative of deliberate manipulation). Campbell has chosen to phrase this in a way that is ambiguous when it comes to the responsibility for fabrication/manipulation and because his hit-piece tries to villify me, readers assume I'm guilty of it. (Campbell uses the abiguity his phrasing introduces to trick readers into believing something he hasn't actually stated!)
In summary, Campbell misappropriated a statement made by Bill Binney regarding Guccifer 2.0's manipulation/fabrication efforts and simply exploited it.
Campbell simply presented testimony in a manner that served to mislead his readers.
Binney has since confirmed he was NOT referring to me engaging in fabrication/manipulation.
ComputerWeekly was advised that their portrayal of Binney's position was wrong prior to publication.
The Spin: The "Tip-Off" File
Reality: Campbell asserts that a "tip-off" file was provided by an anonymous source. However, this was simply an early version of Forensicator's work that was on my site because we were seeking peer review at that time.
Campbell claims it was edited for "propaganda effect" but doesn't qualify what he means by this. It's unsurprising he avoids specificity here because, in reality, Forensicator continued working on it and produced far more content in a manner that remained consistent with that document.
In fact, changes Forensicator did subsequently make to the relevant content actually made the final report less sensational than the draft, not more.
The Spin: "Disinformation Manuals"
Reality: Campbell states that my site contained "disinformation manuals". What I was actually linking to has been re-hosted at g-2.space, it includes studies and books about disinformation and deception but these are studies and it includes the IPA's "How To Detect Propaganda" and "Detecting Deception: Current Challenges and Cognitive Approaches" as well as sites such as "Your Logical Fallacy Is", "Your Bias Is".
My site linked to resources to encourage people to think critically and be skeptical as well as be informed of the information warfare strategies they face online. Essentially, my intent is to have people resilient to disinformation/propaganda and capable of spotting disinformation operations by their use of tactics and techniques.
Additional Third Party Reporting/Coverage
The Despicable Doxxing Of Adam Carter (Mark McCarty)
Disinformation and propaganda are identified by form: by devices, techniques and tactics employed.
Bullying, harassing, doxxing, distorting, smearing and using slander to manipulate service providers of who you claim to be investigating is not ethical investigative journalism, it's sabotage and is completely inexcusable.
ComputerWeekly has simply lied to it's readers.
They've made no effort to correct any of the mistakes, baseless accusations and outright lies they've propagated and were advised that there were going to be issues with the article's accuracy ahead of publication.
When later challenged on the many errors in the article (a list of over 40 was sent, some with supporting evidence), ComputerWeekly's editor-in-chief Bryan Glick responded with a series of statements that all began with "We believe" and "In our opinion". Glick was unable to cite any examples of "pro-Kremlin" or "disinformation".
Glick should inform his readers that Campbell's article is based on beliefs and opinions, that several claims made in the article have been debunked and should apologize to his readers for lying to them as well as to the researchers and whistleblowers unduly undermined by his publication of a blatantly deceptive hit-piece.
The hit-piece's headline alone contains two baseless accusations.
UPDATE: On December 18, 2018, Forensicator published a brief report outlining another indicator of activity in the East coast time zone discovered in files Guccifer 2.0 modified AND published on July 6th 2016.
With this being prior to Rich's murder, it will be interesting to see which conspiracy theory Campbell thinks this new evidence was intended to prop up or whether he'll see the flaws in his own conspiracy theory.
If the conclusion is that it was "planted by the GRU" then they would have had no need to leave behind an even more obscure indicator retroactively implying East coast activity in the NGP-VAN archive released in September 2016. They could have just brought attention to the existing (July 6, 2016) timezone indicator (and would have made an effort to do that approximately two years ago... but, of course, that never happened!)
UPDATE: On January 14, 2019, Campbell posted even more false claims on Twitter. The sad thing about this is that in the weeks prior to these tweets of Campbell's, he and his partner (Matthew Fowler) were informed of the additional evidence discovered (via Twitter and Reddit) regarding July 6, 2016. So, Campbell should have known in advance that the statements he was making here were false.
Campbell has not responded to this and seems to just ignore everything that challenges the narrative and conspiracy theory he's constructed and promoted over the past year.
UPDATE: On February 25, 2019, Forensicator posted a new article covering a discovery originally made by a third party in August 2018 (not long after Campbell's hit-piece was published) regarding yet another central timezone indication, this time relating to the "HRC_pass.zip" file released by Guccifer 2.0 in June 2016.
We now have 6 unique types of indication of activity in US timezones: from email, from timestamp offsets between 7z/RAR archives (CF/NGP-VAN archives), from blogging activity, from Twitter activity, from tracking changes on documents, from a document edited with LibreOffice and from local/universal times in the ZIP archive mentioned above.
The evidence is in the public domain and it's verifiable.
UPDATE: On June 7, 2019, Forensicator debunked Campbell's "Timestamp Tampering" theory. Now, both Campbell's conspiracy theory and the technical theory supposed to bolster it have been challenged.
UPDATE: On October 4, 2019, NBC News Published Fake News & Pushed False Claims Using Campbell As A Source. I asked NBC News editors and author to substantiate their claims with evidence, they refused to respond.
UPDATE: On January 1, 2020, I asked Duncan Campbell to substantiate claims in the NBC News article and reference the "proof" supposedly supporting this. I also asked for a response to Forensicator's article challenging the "Timestamp Tampering" theory. He didn't respond. (NBC News Editors, etc. were CC'd in on that communication).
UPDATE: On January 22, 2020, I asked the same questions and also asked for a response to a third party pointing out that Campbell had knowingly made false claims in his ComputerWeekly article. (NBC News Editors and ComputerWeekly's editor in chief were CC'd in on that communication). Neither editors, author nor source have been able to substantiate critical claims they made regarding "fake documents" and the supposed "proof" of this that they claim exists. They have, of course, all refused to respond.
UPDATE: On May 2, 2020, Links to evidence were sent to ComputerWeekly's editor in chief, investigations editor and around ten other staff. The evidence showed that the publication had made false claims about digital forensics evidence, that they had wrongly denied the existence of multiple pieces of evidence that corroborate the work of those they smeared and also evidence of their author making claims he would have known were false due to his past communications (ie. evidence of disinformation).
UPDATE: On July 27, 2020, ComputerWeekly's editor in chief was notified of a problem with Campbell's "timestamp tampering" theory and proposed "merging" scenario that had been discovered showing Campbell's theory introduced its own chronological anomaly.
UPDATE: As of December 2020, ComputerWeekly's editor in chief and investigations editor are now both stonewalling, won't confirm receipt of verifiable evidence sent to them and they have refused to correct proven inaccuracies. In doing so, they have betrayed claims and assurances made by the editor in chief in August 2018 regarding the accuracy of their article. Not only has the hit-piece disgraced Campbell, it's also impacted on the credibility and integrity of two of the publication's editors.
Duncan Campbell demonstrably engaged in public disinformation and despite evidence proving that claims he made were false (and this being pointed out to him) he has made no effort at all to correct any of the falsehoods he has disseminated.
ComputerWeekly editors Bryan Glick and William Goodwin have allowed themselves to be disgraced by this. They failed to fact check their article properly (too focused on reinforcing smears and not caring to verify their author's technical claims). They fed false technical claims to their readers as well as a broken technical theory wrapped in a debunked conspiracy theory. They have concealed the existence of multiple pieces of digital forensics evidence that corroborate those they've smeared (in fact, they have falsely denied it's existence). They fed lies and distortions to their readers about technical analysis and the positions/conclusions of analysts and they have acted disgracefully in their handling of facts and evidence since publication.
Tim Leonard (aka "Adam Carter")