Exposing Richard Silverstein: The Day After
Wednesday evening Seattle time, DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein went to bed a content man, having just revealed my real name and identity to the world.*
On Thursday morning Seattle time, DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein woke up, perhaps brushed his teeth, and learned after going online that he was a laughing stock. The blogger, who is regularly cited by mainstream publications as a source of secret information about Israel, had been taken in by a couple of mails from an “anonymous source”, an obviously fake Facebook profile, and his desire to do me harm.
The question for him was how to respond. Taking down his post would remove the evidence of his shoddy fact-checking, leaving an indelible stain on his credibility, but at the same time would vindicate my stated belief that this would be his likely course of action. Besides, the post had already been spread far and wide.
No, he could not do that.
Instead, Silverstein tried to turn this around and make this all about me using a fake Facebook account!
Yesterday, I reported in a post that I believed I had exposed the real identity of Aussie Dave, author of the Israellycool blog. It appears that he invented a fake identity in order to perpetrate a hoax on me. It boggles the mind that he went to the immense amount of trouble he did to perpetrate this hoax. It tells you how much free time he has on his hands to engage in all the subterfuge that was necessary to fool me. It tells you precious little about me, but quite a lot about him.
Dave thinks he’s a genius because I fooled me. What he doesn’t realize is that in his blog post, he proudly admits that he created a hoax Facebook account for a non-existent person using the photo of a real person, a clear violation of Facebook rules. Here’s how he bragged about it:
David Loeb is a fake name. The photo in the Facebook profile I set up is of basketballer Jordan Farmar…I used his photo deliberately…
I included in the profile my supposed address (Beit Shemesh)…as well as the URL of this blog to connect David Loeb to it.
I’ve reported him to Facebook for doing this. I hope there will be repercussions and that he doesn’t have a real Facebook account. If he does, perhaps Facebook will express its displeasure with idiots like him exploiting company for his own tomfoolish purposes.
Dave moans in his post that I not only violated his privacy by posting what he wanted me to believe was his home address, but that I potentially endangered him. Which is funny because he doesn’t mention that he not only published my home address and phone number, but my wife’s employer and her work phone. UPDATE: He’s now claiming that commenters at his site published links to my private information, which is also a lie since the actual information (not links) is still there as clear as day. I have a screenshot and know the link as well but prefer not allowing others to access it freely. He also lied when he claimed that he hadn’t pubished the information. Blogger have the ability to publish or not publish comments. We all make those choices. When someone writes a comment and you publish it, you’ve taken responsibility for doing so. Except if you’re Aussie Dave, then you haven’t taken responsibility for anything.
He and his allies are trying to embarrass Jillian York, a staffer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who correctly warned me that his Facebook account appeared to be fake. They’re claiming that I exposed the private details of an individual in violation of EFF guidelines and that York is somehow guilty of violating her employer’s mission statement calling for protection of the privacy of bloggers. This is yet more nonsense since Aussie Dave created a publicly accessible Facebook account to which anyone had access and which displayed his alleged address for anyone to see. Not only that, but the account is fake as is virtually all the information in it.
Dave of course doesn’t mention the recent incident when he hoaxed himself, seeking to believe that my brother had been arrested for being a welfare cheat. The only truth to his fantasy was that someone with my extremely common last name had been arrested for such a crime. He created an entire post in which he gleefully, hopefully speculated that the perpetrator might be my brother. He even searched through my online photo galleries, finding a photo of my brother-in-law and speculating that because he had the same first name as the welfare cheat that they might be the same person. They weren’t. Not a word from Dave about this violation of the privacy of my brother-in-law, a totally innocent party in his charade.
There’s a larger point here as far as I’m concerned. It’s that doing what I do is complicated because I have to trust my sources and go with my gut about their credibility. Yes, I can do some elementary research to determine their credibility. But in the end, you have to decide whether or not to take a jump. Usually, the times when I’ve been hoaxed are when I decide to trust people I’ve never dealt with before and whose bona fides aren’t clear. That’s what happened in this case.
I’ve said before that I’ve made mistakes in trusting a few hoaxsters (luckily only two as far as I know). Luckily those mistakes have been few. Now we can add this one to the previous ones. When you report stories that I do, there is always the chance that you will make mistakes. Some will involve discrete points in an overall story. Others will be larger and more serious errors. I’ve never claimed to be perfect. In fact, I think conceding mistakes shows readers that you are human and have nothing to hide.
Dave wrote in his post that he believed I would take down my earlier post exposing him because I would be embarrassed. Not at all and I certainly won’t. Both because I want readers to know that I’m transparent; and because I want people to see what he has done and judge him for it. I want people to understand the pains that the pro-Israel Islamophobic blog world takes to smear its opponents. And the nastiness of their methods and outcomes. Aussie Dave now has the distinction of being the James O’Keefe of the pro-Israel Islamophobic blog world. He and all his supporters may be proud of his methods of lying and deception.
Allow me to address some of Silverstein’s claims:
- The Dave Loeb Facebook account was disposable, created solely to set up this “sting.” I couldn’t care less that it has been removed from Facebook.
- I did not go to an “immense amount of trouble he did to perpetrate this hoax” at all. It took all of 20 minutes to create the fake Facebook profile with one friend (!), perhaps 5 minutes to capture the screenshot and upload it to my blog, and my contact spent no more than that corresponding with Silverstein. An hour’s worth of work at most.
- There was really not that much “subterfuge necessary to fool” Silverstein. Just one email and a Facebook profile with a clearly fake photo and only one friend. I am actually surprised he fell for it so easily, which just goes to show you the extent of his fact-checking of sources.
- I reiterate that I have never myself posted his contact details. Commenters have linked to places on the web where he has, and at least one commenter (like in the previous post) has posted the details. I see no need to delete these comments since Silverstein is not anonymous and has posted these details himself. Furthermore, the commenters have not expressed any desire to harm him, which I would utterly condemn.
- Nor have I published his wife’s employer’s phone number. I have linked to her LinkedIn profile.
- Jillian York is director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting free speech online and protecting the rights of bloggers to remain anonymous. One would think someone in her capacity would discourage Silverstein from undermining my online privacy. Instead, she expressed her pleasure at the idea of me being outed. While her excuse was the information was public anyway, the following tweet speaks volumes.
Given we have never convered previous to this, one can only assume she feels this way due to my politics. In any event, I suggest you read this post.
- My post on Silverstein’s possible familial connection to a scammer in Seattle was not me “hoaxing myself”, but rather conjecture. As I stated at the time, even if there was no such connection, the post still illustrated how the anti-Israel crowd fabricate in order to pursue their antisemitic or anti-Israel agendas. Just as Silverstein’s exposure of my “identity” did.
Silverstein can try to spin this any way he likes, but at the end of the day, he clearly demonstrated that his “scoops” are not characterized by even the most basic of fact-checking, but rather a strong desire to pursue his anti-Israel agenda.
Update: Anti-Israel blogger Max Blumenthal has joined Silverstein’s cheer squad – about 12 hours after his “exposure” of me was already shown to be bunk.
He may want to re-evaluate his rankings.
And here I was thinking Blumenthal, as repugnant as his views are, was somewhat internet savvy.
* Granted, I am just a blogger and not exactly a Head of State, but I have been threatened on many occasions and hence need to be careful about protecting my privacy online