Quagmire: Sock Puppet Theater III

Ace has found yet another sock with button eyes and lipstick lips defending Glenn Greenwald. But there’s a twist this time–“Rick Ellensburg” made Greenwald’s arguments before Greenwald himself made them (er, in his own name).

The Magic Boyfriend theory–that a housemate of Greenwald’s posted all these comments in all these names–doesn’t really work if one of the puppets made arguments Greenwald himself hadn’t made yet, but did make within a fairly short timeframe. And that’s what Ace has found.

I’m going to borrow a Greenwaldian construction and say,

To recap: Five different names posted from Greenwald’s IP, defending him using similar syntax and structure, and often between posts and comments made under Greenwald’s own name, across several blogs criticizing Greenwald. And we know that Greenwald is fairly obsessive about checking in on blogs criticizing him and shouting back (which is typical of a fairly new blogger who is unaccustomed to seeing one’s name and arguments shredded with glee, and Greenwald has only been blogging for about 9 months). In one case, the gap between Greenwald and a sock puppet commenting is 9 minutes. In another, the gap is 20 minutes. If you’re only concerned with the IP and the gaps, it’s possible that a housemate posted the comments. If there’s more than one computer on the router in the house, it’s even possible for comments and posts under more than one name to be posted nearly simultaneously. It’s possible. But what the above locks in is that all of the identities are posting to several blogs–blogs Greenwald definitely reads–from the same house, if not necessarily from the same computer.

But then, there’s the syntax argument–that the sock puppets and Greenwald deploy similar arguments in similar styles to the point that they all appear to be the same person. Ace has shown that that argument holds up very well. Writing style is a very individual thing; very few people share blog reading habits, similar reactions to criticism, and then follow on with similar writing styles to rebut criticism.

Greenwald has yet to offer a serious defense, conceding that the comments came from his house and insinuating that a housemate posted them. He hasn’t explained the short gaps between comments or the fact that the puppets and he share writing styles, the latter of which casts some strong doubt on Greenwald’s assertion that a housemate posted the comments. Thus far, Greenwald’s defense is not good enough. It doesn’t meet all of the charges against him, and concedes the one fact that aims the entire case at his own home. As a lawyer, Greenwald surely knows that no jury would see his defense so far as anything more than a perfunctory case offered by a disinterested advocate who knows his client is hiding something.

If I’m on the jury, at this point I convict based on the circumstantial case: Greenwald is guilty of sock puppetry.