January 26, 2010

Ellie Light Writes Jawa But Dodges Questions About Who "She" Is [UPDATE: Steward Fesses Up?]

UPDATE: Winston Steward now claims he's Ellie Light. He's a "healtchare worker". Who just happens to know how to fake IPs from all over the world. Right.

And he's married to the woman he first claimed was Ellie Light. He outed her, you see. The love of his life. His wife.

Who, it turns out, he isn't divorced from.

But he didn't want to expose himself for fear of violence from all you crazy right-wingers. Blaming her? No problem.

None of this makes any sense. I call shenanigans. We have not gotten to the bottom of this.

In all the years I've been tracing IPs from wanna-be-terrorists, I've never had that many different IPs from the same person in that short of time.

Never.

I'm not saying Winston Steward wasn't involved. But he had help. Either that, or the man has some mad skillz.

Case. Not. Closed.

Thanks to John.

Oh, Director Blue has a good summary to put this into context. Why does it matter, you say? Because Astroturfing is right out of David Axelrod's playbook.

And you remember when he hit the astroturfing play button hard the last time? Right after McCain announced Palin as his running mate and he led Obama (for the first and only time) in the campaign.

Obama is on the ropes again. Time to pull out the ol' standard playbook?

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"Ellie Light" has written me several emails over the past few days. Unfortunately, all of the older emails got diverted to my spam account. But on a whim I wrote "her" back. Surprisingly, "she" responded.

All of the emails produced different IP addresses, so that method of finding out who the real "Ellie" is is out.

The three prevailing theories as to who "Ellie Light" really is are that:

1) She is Barbara Brooks -- a concerned Obama fan who felt justified in lying about her address to 60+ newspapers
2) "She" is Barbara Brooks ex-husband Winston Steward -- a douchebag trying to pass himself off as Brooks and getting her in some sort of trouble.
3) She is not one person, but a sockpuppet character created by a group of people as part of an organized astroturfing effort to garner support for the Obama agenda

I'm not ruling out any of the above, but the letters I received from "Light" might suggest that #2 may be part of the answer. Here's one of the emails:

Mr. Shackleford,

I'm not sure if the website at the bottom of your email is really yours, but I'm not interested in mixing it up with people who satirize Islam. I'm not Moslem, but I don't find that sort of activity very helpful.

ellie

My response:
I just want to know the truth. Who. Are. You? Are you Barbara Brooks? Winston Stewart?

I'll remind you that YOU emailed me -- or, at least someone emailed me from this account.

And then again from "Ellie":
I apologize for emailing you before I understood what your website specifically does. In the future, I'll be more careful.
So, from these emails "Ellie" has decided "she" doesn't want to talk to me anymore. Even though we exchanged emails after those quoted above. Nevertheless, the reason "she" gives for evading my questions is my satirizing certain aspects of Islam.

How is this instructive? It may be nothing, but checking on Winston Steward's Kos diary one finds that he has a certain tender place in his hippie heart for Gaza:

I would like some input regarding organizations that are actually on the ground inside Gaza providing aid.
So, there's my two cents. It's evidence -- and maybe thin -- not proof that Ellie Light might really be Winston Steward. They both seem to have that kind of Cindy Sheehan/Craig Corie (Rachel's Dad) vibe to them.

But let me point out a few things here.

First, IP spoofing isn't impossibly hard -- but it isn't the kind of thing most people would be able to do without some major preparation. I know, I know what you computer geeks are going to say -- but what techies fail to grasp is that just because something seems simple enough to you it doesn't mean it's going to be simple for all of us.

The fact that each and every email I got from "Ellie Light" was from a different IP suggests that the person/persons behind the emails was either a) already tech savvy or b) went through a great deal of trouble to cover their tracks.

Which is why it made no sense to me that "Ellie Light" would send me an email from an IP address in Brazil (calling Glenn Greenwald!) and then do me the courtesy of also sending me "her" home phone number in Southern Los Angeles County, CA. That makes no sense.

So, what I want to know is: what kind of business is Steward in? Because unless he's an IT guy or a hacker in his spare time than I just don't see some hippie IP spoofing from all over the world (Saudi Arabia was one of them, ha ha funny that!).

Which suggests organization. And if it's organization we're looking after, then I might have to revisit Dan Riehl's theory.

Anyway, see also The Plain Dealer and Ben Smith who are also getting mixed signals.

As for why anyone should "much care anymore"? I'll let Ace have the last word:

It means that for two straight years Obama and his zealots have waged a massive propaganda war on the world to convince us all that Obama was inevitable and then, after having been elected, was massively popular. All of this was done to demoralize his opposition, and to delegitimze opposition as "fringe." And also to discourage his opposition from voicing that opposition in the first place, because if you're convinced that you're all alone in opposing Obama, you tend to shut up about it.
I know I've been out of the loop on this, and I'm probably missing some key points, but if you have something to add do me a favor and drop a comment or email me. Preferably email me from an address other than ellie.light@yahoo.com!

UPDATE: Lileks too. (thanks Chris)

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:58 PM | Comments |