Child Porn Emailed to Activists to Try to Frame Them
by Sue Basko
See also about Luke Rudkowski receiving similar email
I have been assisting a group of activist men to whom someone emailed child porn in an attempt to set them up for criminal charges. Whoever is doing this is extremely sinister.
I am writing this to warn others to beware. I'll give specific info on what to do if it happens to you.
First, Luke Rudkowski, a media activist at We Are Change, was sent child porn via email while he was in Europe and crossing borders between nations. Luckily, he previewed the images and reported the situation to the FBI at the Embassy in the city he was visiting.
Then, Dan Johnson of PANDA (People Against the NDAA) received an email that looked like it was from Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers. Dan was suspicious of the email because he had heard about what happened to Luke Rudkowski. Also, the email was a tormail account, which is untraceable, and Dan did not know Stewart to use such an account. In addition, there were attachments.
Dan did not open the attachments, because he was suspicious of them. Instead, he gave access to his email account to a computer security expert. The expert opened the files in a live forensics environment, and saw they were child porn images. The method he used did not leave the files on his computer or drive. The metadata on the files was fixed to the names of Stewart and Oath Keepers, to make it look as if the pictures came from Stewart.
Two days later, the same scenario was repeated, with two men from different organizations. The same computer security expert examined those files, and found they were the same images as in the previous email, but the metadata on the images had been changed to match the name of the supposed sender and his organization.
Whoever did this attempted to set up both the men in whose names they were sending the emails, as well as the men who were to receive the images. This is evil to the max.
WHAT WE DID: I made a group report to the FBI on behalf of all the men, including the computer security expert. With all the information neatly arranged in one report, hopefully the FBI will be able to get some leads on who is behind these dastardly set-up attempts. The men are from all over the nation, so filing separate reports would have diluted the reports' effectiveness for law enforcement purposes. A good deal of forensics examination has already been done by the computer security expert, and hopefully, he will be able to share his information with the FBI.
WHAT TO DO IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU: If you receive such an email, try to get the files checked out by a security expert before you open them. In any case, you MUST make a report to the police or FBI, because there is child porn involved. It is illegal to view, possess, or pass child porn. The criminal penalties are extreme and include forfeiture of assets, including homes, cash, and personal belongings. Therefore, even the computer security person has to file a report.
By law, you are required to make the report to a law enforcement agency promptly, and to either destroy the images or make the images available to law enforcement. I'd say wait and see if they want the images before you destroy them. Also, don't delete the email until you file your report, because the routing information on the email may be helpful to police. Also, you need to alert the person whose name was put on the email as the sender. You need to let that person make a police report, too. They have been as victimized as you have, if not moreso.
If you receive such an email and open the files, you are likely to be shocked, or to feel shame, fear, or a desire to push this away and pretend it did not happen. You can't do that because you need to report it so you don't risk being caught up in child porn charges, even years down the line. If you need to go to therapy or seek other help to work out your shock over seeing the images and being set up, you should do that, but promptly make the police report. Keep in mind that someone is, in fact, targeting you specifically and trying to harm you terribly. Therefore, it may be wise to take extra safety precautions for yourself and your family.
WARNING SIGNS THAT AN EMAIL MAY CONTAIN CHILD PORN:
1) Use of tormail account or other untraceable email account.
2) Uses the name of someone you know, but from an email account you don't recognize.
3) Has jpegs or pdf files attached.
4) Has an email message that DOES NOT HINT at the files containing child porn, but encourages you to open the files and spread them to all your friends/ compatriots.
5) The email may have veiled threats against you or your group.
WHAT TO DO:
1) Don't open the files. Try to get help from a computer security expert.
2) If there is child porn, REPORT THE SITUATION TO THE POLICE OR FBI.
3) Share what happened to warn others.
4) Take care of yourself. Talk to a friend, get counseling if needed, take safety precautions for yourself and your family, etc.
PLEASE REMEMBER: A child porn image means a child has been victimized. A person who emails such images is participating in victimizing children, and is also trying to victimize you and/ or your associates. This is the sickest, most deranged sort of person. You need to stand up to this, report it, and try to help stop these crimes.