Thursday, August 15, 2019

How did poster at 4chan, anonymous message board popular with right-wing trolls and white nationalists, scoop the world on the death of Jeffrey Epstein?


Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan

Some 40 minutes before Jeffrey Epstein's death broke on mainstream news outlets -- and before federal officials made the announcement -- it appeared at an anonymous message board favored by far-right trolls and white nationalists. How the news first appeared on 4chan remains a mystery and has helped heighten conspiracy theories swirling around the alleged sex trafficker's death.

At first, the post was thought to have come from an employee of the New York City Fire Department, but that does not appear to be the case. From a report by Jane Lytvynenko, of BuzzFeed News:

The New York City Fire Department looked into whether an employee posted about Jeffrey Epstein’s death on a notorious internet message board prior to officials announcing it to the public, BuzzFeed News has learned.

After telling BuzzFeed News the post was "under review," an FDNY spokesperson said authorities "determined this alleged information did not come from the Fire Department."

"An investigation is a formal act which brings about a process which includes interviewing witnesses, serving notice, determining credibility of witness statements — and that was not warranted nor did it take place here. This determination was made after a review of the incident. We looked at the information provided by [a BuzzFeed News] reporter and we looked at our own records and there was no match," said FDNY spokesperson Frank Dwyer, who added that the FDNY's Office of Healthcare Compliance conducted the review. "It doesn't match our medical records."

Authorities want to know who created the 4chan post, according to  report at NBC News:

Less than an hour before the first news reports surfaced that Jeffrey Epstein had been found unresponsive in his jail cell, a post about his death mysteriously appeared on a far-right message board.

Authorities now want to know who was behind the post, which contained medically accurate details about the financier and accused sex trafficker. . . .

"[D]on't ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this," the post reads. The text was accompanied by an image of Pepe the Frog, an internet meme that is popular among far-right internet trolls. (See image at the end of this post.)

Troll posts looking to capitalize on the initial post immediately began pushing elaborate conspiracy theories about body doubles, which were later refuted by the original poster.

How did a 4chan user scoop some of the world's most vaunted news organizations with his "Don't ask me how I know" post? Reports BuzzFeed:

That message was posted 38 minutes before the first tweet about Epstein’s death from Aaron Katersky, an ABC News reporter, at 8:54 a.m. Five minutes later, the main ABC News account tweeted an article about Epstein's death.

After publishing the post, other 4chan users egged on the author. When they expressed doubt, the original poster added more information to the discussion thread, including a detailed breakdown of the procedures allegedly used to resuscitate Epstein, which suggest the poster may have been a first responder, medical worker, or otherwise privy to details about efforts to resuscitate the disgraced financier.

Dwyer told BuzzFeed News he “could not verify the accuracy” of information in the 4chan post. But he said any medical professional who divulges patient information without consent is in violation of a federal health privacy law, HIPAA, and that FDNY would look into it.

The 4chan poster appears to know his stuff about emergency-medical procedures. From BuzzFeed:

The full details of Epstein’s death won’t be known until the final coroner’s report is released, meaning the 4chan post laying out the alleged treatment he received cannot be fully verified. An EMS expert contacted by BuzzFeed News said the details in the post are consistent with standard practices. Information released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons also appears to line up with some of what was posted on 4chan.

Dr. Keith Wesley, an emergency medicine physician who has authored several EMS textbooks and articles, viewed the 4Chan post at BuzzFeed News’ request and said it lays out standard procedures for paramedics.

“This sounds like standard American Heart Association guidelines, which most EMS agencies use,” Wesley said.

Part of the post refers to “telemetry advised bicarb.” According to Wesley, this could mean the first responders were also speaking with the hospital as they were trying to resuscitate their patient.

“Telemetry implies the paramedics were in contact with a medical control hospital who then gave orders to give Sodium Bicarbonate, bicarb which is designed to reverse the acid buildup in the blood from prolonged cardiac arrest,” Wesley said in an email.

“If one of the medics posted this separately that’s a breach of protocol,” he added. “If there was identifying information on the patient, that is a violation of Federal HIPPA law.”

The 4chan post seems to come from an insider's point of view. How that insider wound up on 4chan might be the question of the moment:

The 4chan user made six posts about Epstein’s death. One of them claimed that attempts to resuscitate Epstein were made for 40 minutes before he was transported to the hospital, at which point medical personnel tried to revive him for another 20 minutes. Those details are at least partially consistent with the information regarding Epstein’s death that have been publicly released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“Pt transported to Lower Manhattan ER and worked for 20 minutes and called. Hospital administrator was alerted, preparing statements,” said the 4chan post.

“Staff requested emergency medical services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued,” said a statement released by the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons on Saturday. “Mr. Epstein was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff.”


4chan post about Jeffrey Epstein's death

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The story of Epstein's death just keeps getting stranger and stranger.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a story from UK Sun re: the Epstein-4chan story . . .

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9718518/epstein-death-posted-4chan/

Anonymous said...

This does seem to suggest Epstein did, in fact, die. Maybe that's progress.

Anonymous said...

@6:47 --

Not so sure about that. I could see a scenario where white nationalists knew about a plan to kidnap Epstein, with all the medical lingo being a hoax to make the public think he had died.

Anonymous said...

This tells me that white nationalists and right-wing loons knew in advance that Epstein was going to be killed. Sounds like they were part of a murder conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

That Metropolitan Correctional Center looks like a scary place on the outside. I can only imagine how awful it looks on the inside.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like authorities are making a lackadaisical effort at finding who posted this stuff at 4chan. I'd suggest they work a little harder on it. It might prove to be not such a big deal. But then again, it might.

Anonymous said...

What can you expect from a DOJ whose recent "leaders" have included Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions, Eric Holder, Michael Mukasey, and Alberto Gonzalez? What a pitiful bunch.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:22 --

Don't forget that "great" Missourian, John Ashcroft

legalschnauzer said...

From WaPo story about Epstein autopsy:


“Jeff Epstein autopsy found multiple neck bone fractures, which can be caused by suicidal hanging -- but are more commonly found in homicidal strangulation."

Anonymous said...

I am an emergency physician and I can tell you this was indeed posted by someone involved in the emergency medical world. The language and vernacular are consistent with our typical reporting of such events. The care they describe is spot on for what I would have done. This could have been an ED nurse, physician or EMS person. It is clearly a HIPAA violation and the disclosure will have stiff consequences (local and federal) for both the individual and the organization they are employed by. This happens all the time with VIPs - no one can keep their mouth shut and patient's privileged health care details are leaked - not usually to this extent, but still leaked nonetheless.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:00 a.m. --

Thanks for your insights. Lots of strange stuff swirling around the Epstein death.