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Shaving With Occam's Razor

The Glenn Greenwald story has been all over the blogosphere today. I posted what I considered (and still consider) to be the most likely scenario given all the known (and unknown) facts of the story revealed to this point. Later Paul addressed one of the responses to my post here.

There's been a significant development...

In a response to my post (and Glenn's denial) at Ace Of Spaces I found a link to one of the many bloggers who went scurrying to their logs or comment listings to search for the IP address associated with Glenn's residence in Brazil. One such blogger was Verum Serum, who noted the following:

Update 7/20: Don't miss this scoop from Ace of Spades HQ. It appears Mr. Greenwald has been defending himself around the web using aliases. I wasn't worthy of one of Mr. Greenwald's "special defenders", however I checked the logs and discovered that Mr. Greenwald did come by. He arrived 9 minutes after I published this post, looked at my "About" page, then went back to the post itself and exited. The referrer was Technorati "Glenn Greenwald blogs" a real time list of every blog mentioning Glenn. Apparently, he keeps a pretty close eye on anyone who might be using his name in vain.

That Verum Serum post was published 7/19, so the visit from "Glenn" occurred Wednesday around noon.

Unless Verizon has seriously expanded its coverage area, I'm pretty sure that Glenn Greenwald was in America when that visit was made. I know this because I got an e-mail from him this evening and checked the headers.

Of course it's possible that Greenwald himself made that visit to Verum Serum, then packed his bags and headed off to the airport; caught a red-eye to arrive in New York this morning; situated himself at home then "conveniently" responded to an e-mail he imagined I would be sending. Or he could have disconnected from the cushy wireless network and made an incredibly expensive international call to dial-in to a slow dial-up connection and to respond to my e-mail, knowing that I would look at the headers and deduce that the message came from a US ISP...

Seems kind of far fetched, no?

On the other hand, someone at Glenn's house, with a strong affection for him and his blogging persona, and oblivious to the timelines presented in the previous paragraph, may have been doing what they do every day - tracking mentions of their favorite blogger and checking out what's being said about him.

An excellent case has been made that all comments in praise of Greenwald have come from the same source IP address. The case that has not been made is that they came from Glenn himself.

If it turns out (as appears likely) that he was not in Brazil when every single "sock puppet" comment was made then the increasingly convoluted theories being advanced to explain the story fall apart, because (at this point) the claims still seem to be that ALL the comments were made by Glenn.

Think back to the Rathergate story. Remember the straining on the left to prove that there was some device from the 1970's that could have produced those memos? Machine by machine each new theory was shown to be improbably then impossible. In the end the simplest solution - that the documents were created in Microsoft Word - was shown to be not only the cleanest explanation, but also the only possible explanation.

That's where this is headed...

Update: In the event that I'm wrong about Greenwald's location this week, it in no way invalidates my contention that the only thing proven in this whole affair is that the comments in question come from a single IP address. The author of the comments has not been established, and I suspect they never will be. I'll use a little example to illustrate.

Last night I was sitting in the living room with my my wife, who was on the other side of the room. We were both working on our own individual laptops. Since we have a $49 Linksys wireless router installed, to the outside world we are coming from the same IP address. I've got no idea what she was actually doing online, but if she was reading and commenting on blogs, A) I wouldn't know, B) Someone might be able to piece together my association with her comments if I too had commented at a site she commented at, and C) The chances of her knowing about (B) are exactly 0%. You could say she made a comment or I made a comment, but you would never be able to prove which of the two of us left a comment.

Update 2: I was wrong about his location - seriously wrong. Prompted by a different kevin's comment below, I went back and re-examined the headers from the e-mail and found something I'd overlooked; an originating address that matches Glenn's residence in Brazil. The Verizon address was an intermediary SMTP server. E-mail header reading is always a bit tricky, but it generally will give up the originating machine; the trick is to parse through all the extra junk and figure out the source.

We return you back to all the particular points we've made about the case to date.


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Comments (64)

You can't tell from email w... (Below threshold)
Jethro:

You can't tell from email where the person was when sending it. It could have been sent via webmail from anywhere ob earth.

But it wasn't. You can sen... (Below threshold)

But it wasn't. You can send via lots of avenues, but initial address the message was submitted from is very hard to fake.

Kevin:When I've se... (Below threshold)

Kevin:

When I've sent mail while on the road, it shows up as coming from my "home" ISP mailserver IP, not the location of my laptop. It's all according to how the provider sets up their mail protocols.

In other words, you have no idea where he sent that message from.


As an example: I just sent ... (Below threshold)

As an example: I just sent one email from one of my email accounts to another. The "origin" in the header shows it as coming from a server a couple of hundred miles from here.

Kevin,Thanks for n... (Below threshold)
John:

Kevin,

Thanks for noticing. I had the same thought you did, i.e. we could resolve the whole thing if we could answer one question: Where was Glenn Wednesday? In fact I left that question in his comments.

I was pretty irritated by Glenn's labeling of the SWIFT story photoshops that appeared on Malkin's site (including one of mine) "hate mongering." Still, there's a difference between being a hysteric and being a liar. He is definitely the former, but I don't think he's the latter. Unless some new info comes to light, I think it's likely that Glenn's significant other is the one making sock puppets on his behalf.

Ooh, I just verified what c... (Below threshold)

Ooh, I just verified what cirby said. I have a mail account in Dallas (and I'm in La right now). I just sent myself an email through dallas, and it identifies the originating ip as the dallas mailserver. I could have done it from Brazil and it would have looked exactly the same.

He's still on the hook.

Heh, I just remembered I ha... (Below threshold)

Heh, I just remembered I have a verizon account. Mail sent through it to another email account gives the ip of 206.46.252.48, which isn't my ip address. You'd better update this post with 'disproven' fast! Fisks are getting ugly these days :)

Now that he's under to micr... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Now that he's under to microscope and he's been handed a possible alibi, considering what is at stake, he might do things to reinforce that alibi.

Kevin,Glenn Greenw... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Kevin,

Glenn Greenwald departed the United States on June 22, 2006 and hasn't come back since. If you want to know how I know that and more, send me an Email.

I take back my comment now ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I take back my comment now that I see the timing doesn't fit. My comment was based on Kevin's post and the details Kevin posted, only. What's gone on at other sites, idk.

But since this has been put under the microscope, any data since that time from any side has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Was my previous message del... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Was my previous message deleted or did I forget to hit the post button?

>When I've sent mail while ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>When I've sent mail while on the road, it shows up as coming from my "home" ISP mailserver IP, not the location of my laptop. It's all according to how the provider sets up their mail protocols.

>In other words, you have no idea where he sent that message from.


OK Folks... Unlike many of you I know a bit about SMTP. I, myself, own and operate 3 mail servers (you know like in my own place of business) and I run probably 10 for various customers.

This is just wrong. (OK technically he is right but that is only by hapenstance. The point he is making is wrong.)

Let's start where is is right.

YES if you are on the road and you use your home ISP's mail server (via SMTP athuntication) your originating SERVER will be the same.

-That's not Kevin's point.-

If you read RFC 822 (the thing that defines email headers, go ahead and google it) the lowest "Received: from" header will be the IP of the WORKSTATION the mail was sent from. ie: his laptop.

So if you are on the road and using your ISP's mail server then YES it will still show that server (duh) but it will ALSO show YOUR IP. (don't argue with me go google it)

But you can save the time googling, just think about it... Do you think we send mail WITHOUT tracking the IP it came from? I don't think so.

NOW_ If he used webmail (vs a mail program) he can spoof the IP but Kevin told me on the phone it was a POP mailer. Considering what I know of Kevin's background, he understands the difference.

--------

In conclusion. Kevin and I have not proven a negative but you guys are WAY WAY WAY away from proving he is the sock puppeteer. In fact all indications are he is not.

See also Kevin's subject of this post.


BTW if someone wanted to ki... (Below threshold)
Paul:

BTW if someone wanted to kill this theory, it is easy to do. (Although I don't care enough to bother, I'm convinced.)

The originating IP is in Brazil. All indications point to the fact he goes to Brazil often. Greenwalds whereabouts are often in the news. (you know, his book tour)

If there is a post from that IP while he is at a booktour even this theory is officially dead.

Any of you willing to challenge your own beliefs? If so go do the digging.

Geeze this guy is getting l... (Below threshold)
_Jon:

Geeze this guy is getting lots of publicity for free.

I've seen him write some really hatefuly, mean, harmful things. I'm suprised and dissapointed he is getting this much screen space here and elsewhere.

He's a meanine and a troll.
Let's - as they say - move on. Please.

Kevin Re you r upd... (Below threshold)
gmax:

Kevin

Re you r update, now you are the one that is stretching.

But even if his gay lover did every single post, that still is pretty damning. Think about it. If your wife went on a bunch of blogs defending you pretending to be other people and never disclosing the fact she was in fact your housemate, would you get a raft of shit from readers? You bet you would. Everyone would assume you had significant control over the actions of your spouse. It aint different cuz they are gay.

And why would someone who is not Greenwald need more than one pseudonym? Wouldn't "Sweetcheeeks" work for every post on multiple blogs? Its only when its Grenewald does the sockpuppetry start to make sense ( in a juvenile and twisted way but still some logic to it).

NOW_ If he used webmail ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

NOW_ If he used webmail (vs a mail program) he can spoof the IP but Kevin told me on the phone it was a POP mailer. Considering what I know of Kevin's background, he understands the difference.

Many webmail programs won't show the originating IP of the computer in the header only the IP of the webmail SMTP server. For example, Gmail's headers will only show the IP of Gmail's server, not the originating desktop. Yahoo, on the other hand, does include the originating IP in the header.

Kevin:If you wouldn'... (Below threshold)

Kevin:
If you wouldn't mind, it would be a great idea to post the full headers of Glenn's email here in another update so that the rest of us networking geeks can take a crack at offering an explanation. At the moment, your Razor is pretty thin gruel, to mash two metaphors together in a haphazard fashion.

And actually, come to think... (Below threshold)

And actually, come to think of it, since evidence has been offered that Glenn has been in Brazil since late June with nary a return, I think it is you who needs to explain the obviously outlying circumstances surrounding a single email "originating" in the U.S., given that all of his other traffic and posts (which he's owned up to) show him to be in Brazil.

Yes I would mind...<p... (Below threshold)

Yes I would mind...

Here's what I'm confortable releasing.

Return-path:
Envelope-to: [email protected]
Delivery-date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 17:44:20 -0400
Received: from [206.46.XXX.XXX] (helo=XXXXXXX.verizon.net)
by srv.wizbangonline.net with esmtp (Exim 4.52)
id 1G3gJg-0001It-13
for [email protected]; Thu, 20 Jul 2006 17:44:20 -0400

From there it went to the server that handles mail for his domain.

Do a WHOIS for 206.46.0.0 if you want to know about that network - it the same information as the device IP's in the class space. BTW Verizon owns GTE.

What's the evidence that he is in Brazil right now? How do you explain his e-mail from last night?

Hmmmm.Of course th... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

Of course the alternative theory requires that Greenwald's house is packed to the rafters with bloggers.

Kevin:I'm working of... (Below threshold)

Kevin:
I'm working off of Baggi's statement above in re: Greewald's current geographic disposition.

In any event, the "received from:" header entry means nothing - it's the last mail gateway on VZ's network before it hopped to yours.

If you're not willing to offer up the full headers showing definitively that Greenwald's mail actually originated inside the United States, I'm going to have to go ahead and assume that you nicked yourself with the ol' Razor and are calling out people with very little evidence to support your assertions.

Steven that's a distinction... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Steven that's a distinction with no difference. My point was that if he were using a webmail system that shows an IP (excite.com) it could be spoofed. Since it was POP mail that it really doesn't matter to this story.

You're graping at straws.

Kevin:GTE has a ma... (Below threshold)

Kevin:

GTE has a massive block of servers, and they run a good amount of service in Brazil (and, indeed, worldwide). The fact that the mail originated at a Verizon SMTP server shows pretty much nothing.

Kevin:GTE has a ma... (Below threshold)

Kevin:

GTE has a massive block of servers, and they run a good amount of service in Brazil (and, indeed, worldwide). The fact that the mail originated at a Verizon SMTP server shows pretty much nothing.

Paul,No offense, b... (Below threshold)

Paul,

No offense, but anyone with a linux disk can set up a mail server in 10 minutes, and it certainly doesn't make them experts in the field. I skimmed rfc 822 and found no reference to rules regarding the ip of the writer of the email. Rather, it discusses the original SMTP sender, which is the mail server.

Kevin Aylward, would you be comfortable saying if the reverse lookup of the originating ip gave a vmsXXX.XXX.verizon.net hostname? That would indicate that you are seeing his mail server, and offer no support to his actual location. If it were showing his personal account, the reverse lookup would give XXX.dsl.verizon.net or XXX.dialup.verizon.net, and you would be absolutely correct in your analysis.

I believe that Paul is incorrect and could not tell me my ip address if I sent him an email without having the logs of my SMTP server, but I'm more than willing to test it! Paul, please send me an email to blogagog at yahoo, and this can be quickly put to rest.

Of course, it will only debunk this post's proof that Glenn was not in Brazil to post sock-puppet comments, not prove he wrote them.

>No offense, but anyone ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>No offense, but anyone with a linux disk can set up a mail server in 10 minutes, and it certainly doesn't make them experts in the field. I skimmed rfc 822 and found no reference to rules regarding the ip of the writer of the email. Rather, it discusses the original SMTP sender, which is the mail server.

OH- Right... Greenwald (a reporter) setting up a Linux SMTP server just to spoof an email to Kevin is SOOOOOO much more probable that his partner defending him

sigh

Paul:I think you mis... (Below threshold)

Paul:
I think you misunderstood - he's calling Kevin's bona fides into question, not claiming that someone spoofed VZ's mailserver setup.

Of course the alternati... (Below threshold)

Of course the alternative theory requires that Greenwald's house is packed to the rafters with bloggers.

See that's the problem you have when you're relying on technical theories from folks with no knowledge of networks.

You could (but better not or I'll ban you :-)) leave 5 comments in a row here, each under a different name. At our end we would know that there were 5 comments made with different names all orgiginating from the same IP address. If someone else in your house (assuming you have a router or other internet connection sharing system [Windows XP has it built-in]) left a comment it would appear to us to be coming from your address to.

if we're using Occam's razo... (Below threshold)
M:

if we're using Occam's razor here, and with it fairly well established that the only reasonable origins of the various comments are the boyfriend or Greenwald himself, does anyone doubt that Greenwald is the simplest and most likely cuplrit? have you read the comments left by the various psuedonyms?

Here's <a href="http://scie... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Here's another analysis and slightly different explanation:

This isn't even slightly hard to explain. Ryan, Ellison and Ellers posted on July 13 or later. Wilson posted on July 12. The two IP addresses are dynamic ones from the same ISP in Rio. All that happened was that the IP address for Greenwald's household changed on July 13, as sometimes happens with dynamic IP addresses.

Kevin: If GG's bo... (Below threshold)
kevin peters:

Kevin:
If GG's boyfriend is the sock puppet why doesn't Glenn just tell him to fess up and get this boring incidient over with. The strained attempts to invent alternative theories are possible but the most simple answer regarding the available facts seems to be that someone at Glen's house is a sock puppet. If it is not Glenn he must know by now who it is. By not having his boyfriend come out and claim authorship all he does is allow the notion that he wrote the messages to linger on. Let the truth come out so this can be over with.

All of this talk about POP3... (Below threshold)

All of this talk about POP3 disqualifying a webmail setup is bollocks, as well. Most webmail tools now rely upon IMAP, but if you're looking for performance, POP3 is the way to go.

How bored are we? I mean c... (Below threshold)
tarheelcon:

How bored are we? I mean could someone trot Pelosi or Dean out for a speaking engagement so they can drop some asinine statement about conservatives to give us something different to talk about?

OR

Could Cheney or Bush make some cryptic but valid statement about Presidential term limits so we can watch DailyKos or MyDD implode?

Wait-- let me get this stra... (Below threshold)
ace:

Wait-- let me get this straight. You are claiming proof of Greenwald's innocence based on someone getting a REFERRAL from a Glenn Greenwald Technorati post?

Right... because no other human being could possibly search technorati for Glenn Greenwald.

Yeah, Kev. We sure wouldn't want people leaping to conclusions based on sketchy evidence.


Care to explain to the question in the jump to this post: http://ace.mu.nu/archives/187204.php?

Briefly: Why is that in a thread Greenwald is known to have read, following a post attacking Greenwald (again-- it is known he read it), Greenwald somehow found the self-restraint to avoid defending himself, but fortunately his boyfriend "Ellison" did, on a morning Greenwald is known to have been trolling other conservative blogs arguing with people?

I'm beginning to suspect bad motives here, frankly.

The theory you claim is sim... (Below threshold)
ace:

The theory you claim is simpler and more elegant, by Occam's Razor:

Glenn Greenwald, known to be blogging that morning and trolling other conservative blogs, and also known to have read the thread, for once DOES NOT respond, but fortunately his boyfriend does under the alias "Ellison" (similar to other sock-puppet names, like "Thomas Ellers" and "Rick Ellensburg," all American-sounding, not Brazillian sounding, aliases, btw)) does respond, bragging about Greenwald's accomplishments in a way that would have been embarrassing for Greenwald to do himself.

Here's the theory you find "too convoluted:"

Greenwald was trolling blogs that morning, saw an attack on his resume, felt embarrassed about puffing himself up under his own name, and so he posted about himself under the name "Ellison" (as in Ellison's Invisible Man), and the boyfriend had not a damn thing to do with it.

Oh yeah-- your explanation is so much simpler, Kevin.

Ace apparently can't consid... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ace apparently can't consider the possibility that Greenwald decided to write a lengthy post on his own blog in response to the attacks on his resume instead of bothering to comment on the post at Ace's blog, while his partner continued to defend him under pseudonyms (are they really sock-puppets if the name doesn't change on each blog but different names are used on different blogs?) Greenwald did in fact write a lengthy post in response to the attacks on his resume, by the way.

OH- Right... Green... (Below threshold)
OH- Right... Greenwald (a reporter) setting up a Linux SMTP server just to spoof an email to Kevin is SOOOOOO much more probable that his partner defending him

Uh... what? That's not at all what I said, or even implied. That statement was merely a reply to your snide remark, "OK Folks... Unlike many of you I know a bit about SMTP. I, myself, own and operate 3 mail servers..."

Sorry that it was condescending, but I have a problem with people who start off a discussion with a statement like, "Unlike many of you I am really smart." Dunno why :)

Kevin Aylward has my email and my actual ip address right now, so hopefully we can resolve this issue up or down right now without any more attempted condescension *stares at Paul*.

mantis:Or, on the ... (Below threshold)

mantis:

Or, on the other hand, Greenwald could just be a bit nutty, careless, and self-involved. He did something stupid because he thought nobody would notice. That's what usually happens with these sock-puppet things.

Ace, Hot Air, and a number ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ace, Hot Air, and a number of others still cannot grasp the fact that people on multiple computers in the same household can have the same IP. They keep babbling on about how the timeline is too close, and there is no way that Glenn got off his computer and someone else got on it so quickly (which is silly on its own, as if there must be some lengthy transition time between users). Two computers in one house? That can't be possible!

I also like this from Ace's post:

Now, if Greenwald DID know his boyfriend was doing this, under multiple names, well then, he's complicit in the deception.

Oooh! You get him Ace! Take him to the Blog Crimes Tribunal and have him strung up for his complicity in this dastardly anonymous commenting!

Or, on the other hand, G... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Or, on the other hand, Greenwald could just be a bit nutty, careless, and self-involved. He did something stupid because he thought nobody would notice. That's what usually happens with these sock-puppet things.

I think it's clear that he's self-involved. Nutty or careless I haven't seen evidence of. The part I have trouble with is that Greenwald has absolutely no problem using his own name in defending himself on conservative blogs, he does it all the time. Why would he bother to also post under a number of pseudonyms? It makes no sense. I can certainly see the boyfriend/partner, who probably did not want to be identified as such, becoming involved in this imbroglio to defend Glenn. Why he used a different name for each blog, who knows? Maybe he's a novelist and just likes making up names.

On that note, if you read Ace's post its interesting to see how many assumptions he makes about Greenwald's partner without knowing a single thing about him other than his nation of origin. Ace apparently thinks that foreigners cannot learn to write in English as well as English as a first language speakers (what if the Brazilian boyfriend lived in the US thru his childhood? What if he's just good with languages? Not possible!). He thinks that people do not involve themselves in their lover's blogs, or at least that in his experience they don't, so they must not, as Ace's experience is universal.

Oops! I was wrong, and Kev... (Below threshold)

Oops! I was wrong, and Kevin found my ip address in the header. I see now what I did wrong, only going back as far as 'originator'. Also, I didn't read Kevin's update saying that the message was in fact from Brazil and the discussion was already resolved.

Hopefully, two wrongs make a right :)

The part I have trouble ... (Below threshold)

The part I have trouble with is that Greenwald has absolutely no problem using his own name in defending himself on conservative blogs, he does it all the time. Why would he bother to also post under a number of pseudonyms?

...because he started to realize that he was crashing and burning in his attempts, and had a "clever plan" to make himself seem smarter?

I've seen this happen too many times over the years. You'll get some guy who's absolutely damned certain that he's always right, and when that bit of self-doubt creeps in, he can't trust anyone else to make the "right" arguments," so he makes someone up.

Note, for example, the Hiltzik case.


Mantis,Right... I ... (Below threshold)
ace:

Mantis,

Right... I can't grasp that people can all be using different computers in the same home.

Okay.

That's right. I mean, hey, I'm sharing an IP even as we speak, but I can't grasp that.

On the other hand, the other person in my home is not obsessively tracking down references to "Ace of Spades" and defending my honor on websites.

Oh wait, he is. This post was actually written by someone else. Forget it.

I dont' assume the Magic Bo... (Below threshold)
ace:

I dont' assume the Magic Boyfriend CAN'T speak and write English as a native.

However, I have no evidence he can, either.

But Greenwald obviously can.

Thus, on this point, we have evidence for one theory, and no evidence for another. Just a possibility.

You idiots keep making assumptions in favor of Greenwald. You have possibilities, not evidence, which you assume must be the case.

If we're talking about the "most likely" theory, we are talking about the theory which has the most evidence for it.

We know Greenwald argues on rightwing AMERICAN political blogs. We do not know that about the Magic Boyfriend. You assume the latter anyhow.

We know Greenwald writes English as a native speaker. We do not know that about the Brazillian born Magic Boyfriend. You assume the latter anyhow.

We know Greenwald read the Ace of Spades post in question, based on his remarking about it on another blog. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend ever even heard of Ace of Spades. You assume the latter anyhow.

Etc., etc., etc. You jerkoffs are so smug about what you "know" and what is "most likely," but you are the ones assuming a ton of facts not in evidence.

Ace,From <a href="... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ace,

From your post earlier today:

I don't know if the timeline will exactly hang our boy, but it might be harder for him to claim Protective Boyfriends were just stealing the computer between his postings to make quick defensive comments as "Ellison."

So you can grasp that, yet your pushing the "stealing the computer" angle. Seems pretty dishonest to me.

Mantis:The real prob... (Below threshold)

Mantis:
The real problem with all of this is that it has the potential to impugn all bloggers' credibility, left or right. The more Hiltziks and Frischs we find and expose to sunlight before the MSM catches wind and tries to make a headline out of 'em ("Bloggers: Are they trustworthy?").

More:We know Green... (Below threshold)
ace:

More:

We know Greenwald was home at his computer that morning. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend was at home. You assume the latter anyway.

We know that Greenwald has a job allowing him to work from home. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend does, or if he would be on the way to work when a sock-puppet comment was written. You assume he was anyway.

We know that Greenwald was on the computer during the time in question. We do not know if the Magic Boyfriend was. You assume the latter anyway.

We know that Greenwald was trolling rightwing sites on the morning in question. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend was. You assume the latter anyway.

Etc.

You seem to know a lot of "facts," Mantis, which don't really seem to be, you know, "Facts."

You jerkoffs are so smug... (Below threshold)
mantis:

You jerkoffs are so smug about what you "know" and what is "most likely," but you are the ones assuming a ton of facts not in evidence.

I've entertained the possiblity of the boyfriend posting comments in defense of Greenwald. I never once said I know anything, jerkoff. I would lean towards believing Greenwald over you because a) Greenwald has no problem posting in defense of himself using his own name, and b) you have no evidence that he posted under other names. You do have a lot of speculation about the (magic?) boyfriend based on nothing. Not very convincing.

More? Why not.We ... (Below threshold)
ace:

More? Why not.

We know Greenwald obsessively checks most references to Greenwald on the Internet. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend does the same, or with the same obsessive intensity. You assume the latter anyway.

We know Greenwald obsessively rebuts attacks made on him on rightwing blogs. We do not know the Magic BOyfriend does the same. You assume the latter anyway.

We know that Greenwald reads particular rightwing blogs, apparently at least several times a week. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend reads these particular blogs at all. You assume the latter anyway.

We know Greenwald is very thin-skinned and defensive about attacks made on him. We do not know the Magic Boyfriend is equally dedicated to defending the honor of Glenn Greenwald. You assume the latter anyway.


Tell me, Mantis, is there a goddamned thing you actually KNOW, or is it all "it could be this way, ergo it must be this way"?

"Two computers in one house... (Below threshold)
M:

"Two computers in one house? That can't be possible!"

Mantis, it is not that it is not possible (and admittedly i think Ace initially implied that it was). it is what is most likely. certainly the most likely scenario is that it is Greenwald himself. and Greenwald (or the boyfriend or any of the pseudonyms) has not attempted any clarification. this could easily be resolved if GG was willing to answer various questions such as does he have a router, two computers in house, did he or the boyfriend make the posts, were they both in the house all day or not.

Tell me, Mantis, is ther... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Tell me, Mantis, is there a goddamned thing you actually KNOW, or is it all "it could be this way, ergo it must be this way"?

Considering I never said it "must be" any way, and I don't assume all of things you accuse me of, your posts here are all flailings at strawmen. I don't know who made those pseudonymous comments any more than you do. I am inclined to believe Greenwald based on what I've seen. You assume a great deal more than I do, including that two computers cannot be in use at Greenwald's home ("Protective Boyfriends were just stealing the computer between his postings"). He never claimed anyone stole his computer, you assumed that because either it didn't cross your mind that two computers could have the same IP, or you're full of shit. Can you guess which one I think is true?

The point is that neither of us know. I'm inclined to believe Greenwald when he says someone else in his household made the comments, probably the boyfriend. You're inclined to believe he made the comments himself. Where I take issue with you is all the bullshit you sling to support your conclusion despite the lack of evidence.

I know of quite a few couples who blog or comment on blogs and would readily come to their partner's defense, either under their own name or anonymously if that was how they normally post. It's seems to me that the explanation that Greenwald's boyfriend is not a blogger, but reads his blog and sometimes comments either there or on other blogs, anonymously, is entirely reasonable. It may not be true, but it's reasonable. Why he would post under different names on different blogs, I don't know. In any case, unless you get some evidence that conclusively backs up your assertions, I'm going to assume you (and Pat, and Dan, and Bob) are on a silly obsessive witch hunt in order to, as Pat says, "bring this douchebag down". Good luck.

By the way, why is the boyfriend magic, exactly? Because he may be commenting anonymously/pseudonymously? I do that, am I magic?

it is what is most likel... (Below threshold)
mantis:

it is what is most likely. certainly the most likely scenario is that it is Greenwald himself. and Greenwald (or the boyfriend or any of the pseudonyms) has not attempted any clarification. this could easily be resolved if GG was willing to answer various questions such as does he have a router, two computers in house, did he or the boyfriend make the posts, were they both in the house all day or not.

Why should he be compelled to do so? Is it not possible that he does not want to involve the boyfriend, who if he was making the comments was trying to remain anonymous, any more than he already is? Is it not possible that the boyfriend made the comments without Greenwald knowing about it, and Greenwald is kind of pissed at him for creating this whole mess due to his amatuerish blog commenting, and he doesn't want to air his dirty laundry across the blogosphere? There are a great deal of possibilities here, but many on the right (excepting Kevin, of course), are anxious to condemn him for something they can't prove he did.

Why he would post under ... (Below threshold)
M:

Why he would post under different names on different blogs, I don't know.

and pretend to be emailing Glenn to get his answers to questions in a false attempt to distance himself from him. so did GG email the boyfriend sitting in the same house?

and pretend to be emaili... (Below threshold)
mantis:

and pretend to be emailing Glenn to get his answers to questions in a false attempt to distance himself from him. so did GG email the boyfriend sitting in the same house?

Or he lied about the email because otherwise he would have info that would closely link him to Greenwald, which he did not want. Maybe. If so, though, it's like I said, very amateurish.

and this is not a court of ... (Below threshold)
M:

and this is not a court of law and beyond a reasonable doubt is not the standard here. the question is credibility. as many of us get a good bit of our information and opinion/analysis from blogs, i believe it is important to point out where the author seems to be a fraud. i have seen enough to shift the burden to Greenwald.

and this is not a court ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

and this is not a court of law and beyond a reasonable doubt is not the standard here. the question is credibility. as many of us get a good bit of our information and opinion/analysis from blogs, i believe it is important to point out where the author seems to be a fraud. i have seen enough to shift the burden to Greenwald.

And I'm willing to bet that you have never seen Greenwald as credible, and your motivation is not to see that credibility is maintained in the blogosphere, but rather to go after Greenwald because you don't like him, most likely because of your politics. Just a guess, though.

I would also note that if you are in fact concerned about getting quality analysis/opinion and information, it would behoove you to try to make substantive objections to Greenwald's writing, not to claim he has no credibility because he used pseudonyms while commenting on other blogs. How does that in any way affect the substance of his writing? Are you really saying that if Greenwald provides analysis of a ongoing constitutional law case his analysis is not credible because he posted information (accurate information, I might add) about his CV under a different name? How does that compute?

By the way, I post comments... (Below threshold)
mantis:

By the way, I post comments under a name other than my given one. Does that make my comments incredible, M?

as one of my posters pointe... (Below threshold)
ace:

as one of my posters pointed out, Greenwald's defenders used to offer up his resume as proof that he was right about substantive issues. I.e., they offered his personal credibility as evidence his substantive points were true.

Now that his credibility is in dispute, they whine, "Deal with his *substance.*"

What substance? Bush sucks? The extremists are plotting to round liberals up and shoot them?

BTW, I never said it was *impossible* the Magic Boyfriend wrote these messages. (I have dubbed him this in honor of the Magic Bullet.) I said it was very unlikely, and that there is absolutely no evidence for it. If he's been making posts, why doesn't Glenn point out some of his work so we can compare with the sock-puppet posts?

But the fact that something is just barely possible hardly makes it the "most likely scenario."

And given the chain of assumptions one must make to even make this possible, I'd say Occam's Razor favors the Greenwald explanation, not the Obsessively Protective Native-Speaking-Englsh Brazillian-But-Obsessed-With-American-Politics Magic Boyfriend theory.

By the way, I post comme... (Below threshold)
M:

By the way, I post comments under a name other than my given one. Does that make my comments incredible, M?

Mantis, certainly not. and anonymity is not the issue here. i have no idea what Ace of Spades' real name is, but i read him regularly. and obviously, i simply post under an initial (i need to come up with a less lame pseudonym myself). although i do believe those who choose to identify themselves carry more credibility.

you have continued to post here as Mantis, Ace as Ace, Kevin as Kevin, me as M, etc. it would be different however, if you created 4 different identities here simply to counter another commenter. that would be disengenuous, and yes drastically reduce your credibility. i can at least deal with one consistent "Mantis."

as to your earlier question, i actually don't think i have ever read a Glenn Greenwald post, only recently having seen his name start to pop up at various places. i don't know if he was credible in the first place. i'm not inclined to bother to find out now for someone self-important and simultaneously insecure enough to need the adulation and support of ficticious fans. (and glancing at his blog, his posts look very long, and i have a short attention span. not Instapundit short, but short.) regardless, i imagine that i would not like his politics. i don't like those of Kos either, but wouldn't see him stooping to this kind of thing. if someone like the Powerline guys or Ace started to do this, i like to think that i would feel the same way. although perhaps different sides have to help keep the other in line, which is not necessarily a bad thing. scrolling the comments to GG's brief and buried post on the subject, clearly many of GG's fans (to the extent they actually exist independent of GG) don't seem bothered in the least.

as one of my posters poi... (Below threshold)
mantis:

as one of my posters pointed out, Greenwald's defenders used to offer up his resume as proof that he was right about substantive issues. I.e., they offered his personal credibility as evidence his substantive points were true.

Now that his credibility is in dispute, they whine, "Deal with his *substance.*"

Ah, "they". No point in arguing the point made when you can lay the old "guilt by association" noose on someone, eh Ace? Please point to any place where I claimed Greenwald was right about substantive issues because of his resume. You won't find one, because I don't do appeals to authority. Enough of that strawman.

What substance? Bush sucks? The extremists are plotting to round liberals up and shoot them?

Great sum-up of Greenwald's writing. Let's see if I can do the same for your blog. What substance? Greenwald's teh Ghey? I like tits? Helen Thomas is ugly? (Sorry, I had to scroll down quite a bit to get past your total obsession with Glenn Greenwald)

I said it was very unlikely, and that there is absolutely no evidence for it.

You have not said why it is unlikely, however. And you have provided absolutely no evidence that Greenwald made the comments either.

If he's been making posts, why doesn't Glenn point out some of his work so we can compare with the sock-puppet posts?

Well, I speculated about that above, but why don't you ask Glenn?

But the fact that something is just barely possible hardly makes it the "most likely scenario."

Both scenarios are equally as likely at best. I would say Greenwald's explanation is more likely because he has no qualms about defending himself under his own name. Given that you admittedly know nothing about the boyfriend other than his nationality, your assessment of "barely possible" seems pretty damn empty.

And given the chain of assumptions one must make to even make this possible, I'd say Occam's Razor favors the Greenwald explanation, not the Obsessively Protective Native-Speaking-Englsh Brazillian-But-Obsessed-With-American-Politics Magic Boyfriend theory.

What chain of assumptions? That Greenwald's partner knows how to speak and write in English? Wow, that's a whopper. Btw, I've read the comments in question, and they are merely about Glenn's book and Glenn's blog; they reveal no obsession with American politics. If there is an obsession there, it is with Glenn Greenwald. Hard to imagine that coming from his boyfriend. Inconceivable!

So, how 'bout those Cubs?</... (Below threshold)
Matt:

So, how 'bout those Cubs?

Can't we just agree that Greenwald is a complete tool? His supposed credibility was blown by the fact that he has long touted himself as some sort of center-right intellectual, but he can no longer stand idly by while Bushitler ruins the country (Can you say Andrew Sullivan?)

M,Ok, I can see yo... (Below threshold)
mantis:

M,

Ok, I can see your argument on credibility. I will note that from what I've seen the commenter used different names on different blogs, but used the same name within each blog, but I don't know if that lessens the offense any (at least within the blog there's consistency). I may be wrong on this, there are a lot of posts (an obscene amount, in fact) on this topic.

There are a few interesting things in your post though:

i don't like those of Kos either, but wouldn't see him stooping to this kind of thing.

You can't see Kos doing this, but you can see Greenwald doing it, even though you admittedly do not read his blog?

scrolling the comments to GG's brief and buried post on the subject,

It's the fourth post down on the first page, how is that buried? Further, it's over 2000 words long? How is that brief?

In any case if it turns out that he didn't leave the comments, that his partner or someone else did, either with his knowledge or without, does his credibility still suffer? Or is he, as Ace puts it, "complicit in the deception"?

So, how 'bout those Cubs... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

So, how 'bout those Cubs?
Can't we just agree that Greenwald is a complete tool?

Agreed.

My Give-A-Shit meter is pegging so low, it's digging a hole towards China right now.

Mantis,sorry, i've... (Below threshold)
M:

Mantis,

sorry, i've been on the road.

You can't see Kos doing this, but you can see Greenwald doing it, even though you admittedly do not read his blog?

you're right. that point doesn't make a lot of sense. i don't really read Kos either. i was just trying to pick someone whose politics i was pretty sure i don't agree with. i suppose anyone could do it. i can see Greenwald doing it only because the evidence that i have seen seems clear enough. i suppose i would be inclined to give someone whom i have read for a long period of time more of the benefit of the doubt. i still think i would lose a lot of respect for that person.


It's the fourth post down on the first page, how is that buried? Further, it's over 2000 words long? How is that brief?

regarding what i referred to as his brief and buried post on the subject, the subject that i was referring was the sock puppetry allegation. it was a 2000 word post defending himself from all sortsof attacks that i didn't know anyone was making. the sock-puppet defense was only 2 paragraphs at the very end of that long post that really didn't directly address the issue.

In any case if it turns out that he didn't leave the comments, that his partner or someone else did, either with his knowledge or without, does his credibility still suffer? Or is he, as Ace puts it, "complicit in the deception"?

if Ace is living somewhere in his mother's basement (as is likely) and it comes to light that he has her going around under different identities touting how he is one of the top bloggers in the world and that anyone who disagrees that his posts on time-travelling sandwhiches are the best deli related posts ever are just jealous, i would probably visit his moron-blog much less. it doesn't take much credibility to post on dungeons and dragons, but it takes integrity to post about Mr. Paul Anka. in fairness, it would probably take someone who didn't like Ace to bother looking into something like that.

clearly by the time he posted his defense, he knew that either he or his partner (much less likely in my opinion) had been making ingratiating comments about GG all over the place. if the latter were the case, he could probably prove it quite easily and just admit that this ifs really embarrassing. that it was the partner rather than Greenwald seems unlikely at best. that it was the disengenuous partner AND Greenwald knew nothing whatsoever about it seems much less likely.





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