I like to be as transparent as I can in writing and running this site, which sometimes involves revealing things other bloggers in my position might not. So this post is in that vein. In some ways, this blog relies on the “kindness of strangers.” I don’t personally know some of the people who pass on tips and scoops to me. I have to rely on their past reputation if they’ve worked with me before; or the credibility of the information they’re offering if they haven’t.
For the past several months, a reader/commenter calling himself Dedi Rozenthal has posted comments regularly. He’s riled me and other commenters up quite a bit with his right-wing comments. But there was nothing remotely close to causing me to ban him.
However, a few weeks ago he began offering information about intelligence-related stories, which is a subject I’m very interested in. I did some research and discovered that if this commenter is indeed Rozenthal, then he’s a retired colonel in the Israeli air force. Frankly, I’ve never known of any colonel in the IDF offering intelligence information to a lefty blogger. But at the start, the information, which related to corruption involving Gabi Ashkenazi, seemed quite plausible. Since it didn’t reflect well on the IDF, I figured anyone offering the information to me within the IDF would have no reason to do so if it was false.
But then Dedi brought me a story claiming five Israeli Palestinians had been secretly detained and one of them, a minor, had died. I reported this story too in the spirit of pikuach nefesh, because I thought lives might be in danger. Afterward, it turned out that key details of the story couldn’t be authenticated.
Around that time, he brought me an even more ‘amazing’ story which claimed to expose the identity of the head of the Israeli intelligence unit which created Stuxnet. There was a side story about the allegedly stunning 25 year-old woman, Noia Dar Artzi, who commanded the unit engaging in multiple affairs with subordinates, and the son of a friend who was drummed out of the unit for filing a sexual harassment complaint. He worked up a whole life history for Dar Artzi that sounded impressive. Though the idea of a woman of 25 commanding one of the IDF’s premier cyber-warfare units gave me pause.
Given the problems I discovered with the earlier story, I held off on publishing the Stuxnet story. It just seemed too wild to believe given that his earlier information hadn’t panned out. But I had to hand it to Dedi. He knew how to spin a yarn. And like all lovers of literature, I like a good story.
Then Dedi claimed he was coming to California and would bring with him a package containing incriminating e mails Ameer Makhoul had sent which proved he was a Hezbollah agent. My Israeli friend even wrote me that he’d shipped off the package to me. But I never received it and I told him so.
Then came the clincher. Dedi started warning me about people hacking our e mails and wanted me to get a new e-mail address to write to him. When I refused, he told me that when he’d returned to Israel someone (I think he was implying it was the American authorities or possibly Israeli) gave him the package back and told him never to do it again.
It was at that moment that Dedi lost all usefulness to whoever put him up to this charade (if anyone did). Now, it’s possible that Dedi, or whoever he is, did this of his own initiative. Or it’s possible he has an intelligence connection of some sort. At any rate, his goal was clearly to discredit me and my work. So the reason I write all this is to let you know that there may be times you get a story wrong or are fooled. And if you do, it’s because you tried your hardest to vet it given the inherent limitations of writing a blog in the U.S. about Israeli intelligence matters. And something got by you.
Dedi was pretty good, I’ve got to hand it to him. Far more credible than other jokesters who in the past came to me claiming to know the date of the coming Israeli attack on Iran. Dedi worked into his narrative death under torture, illicit sex, computer hacking and other skullduggery. It was perfect for the age. But ultimately he couldn’t carry it off. Alas, poor Dedi, we thought we knew him well.
UPDATE: There is evidence that the person/s behind this hoax is/are active in the threads of at least one other progressive blog, so I thought it worthwhile to expose the IP addresses, e mail addresses and other information about those who’ve proven to be frauds in connnection with this and earlier incidents at my blog.
‘IlanP’ used the e mail address email@example.com and IP 188.8.131.52
‘Arijay’ used the e mail address firstname.lastname@example.org and IP 184.108.40.206
“Tired of Shenanigans” using this e mail address email@example.com and the following IPs:
This IP has also been used by the merry little band of hoaxsters:
He/they clearly have access to an an array of e mail addresses and IPs, so the above list is by no means exhaustive. But if you have any commenters using these IPs be forewarned.
I also wanted to let my readers know that I’ve had a Google Adsense ad tower in this blog’s sidebar (it’s not the ad tower at the top of my sidebar, which is a separate entity) since it began in 2003. No more. Some malicious hasbarist has click bombed my ads and Adsense has punished me with banishment. This will no doubt give the Rotterites or other juvenile delinquents who would engage in such fraud great pleasure. Until they realize that the small amount of income I was earning from Google Adsense will be more than offset by my readers replacing it with direct donations. So please, show the bastards that they don’t own the web and don’t get to damage my reputation without paying a price. I’d love to collect from you ten times what I’m losing from Adsense ad revenue. To participate, go to the Paypal button and give as generously as you can.
If you’re a potential advertiser, you can still advertise here through the Blodads/Blogging Liberally ad network.