The truth about the #CliveLewis ‘leader site’ – he’s not the only one (and more fishiness)

Last weekend, the Sunday Times published an article claiming that former Labour Shadow Cabinet member Clive Lewis had registered two websites in readiness for a leadership bid on 29 June last year, just days after being appointed to the Shadow Cabinet. Lewis had denied any involvement in the registration of the sites.

lewis denies.png

Many might think, ‘well he would say that, wouldn’t he?’  On the contrary, it is extremely credible.

Because he’s not the only senior Labour MP to have ‘leader’ websites registered against his name – some on the same date and others only a day later.

Mob-handed?

The SKWAWKBOX has heard reports of a large number of registrations at the same time and invites any readers who know of specific examples to contact the blog, but for now we’ll look at one example for which full details are available.

Not many will remember it now, but Wigan MP Lisa Nandy was forced to deny claims she was planning a leadership bid, which she did in the form of a rebuke to the unknown person responsible:

nandy blasts.png

Clive Lewis’ sites were registered on 29 June 2016 and Nandy’s 30 June. It would be an odd coincidence for a string of MPs’ ‘leadership challenge’ sites all to be set up, independently, within a few hours of each other.

Timestamps and time-travel?

There are also a number of odd points about the different sites supposedly set up by Lewis. Here are the time-stamps for the creation of the two of the Lewis sites for which an exact timestamp is available:

cl3

The two separate sites were created at exactly the same time – to the 100th of a second. No single person could do that – and it would be as good as impossible for two individuals to do it.

So it seems the sites were created using an automated system – which strongly suggests it was not set up by an MP or his parliamentary team.

But that’s not the only odd thing about the timestamps. Look at the updated timestamps of each site:

cl4

Not only were the sites updated only 3 seconds apart – they were also updated seven hours before they were created.

If it were a timezone difference, even that would suggest it wasn’t done by Lewis, as it would have to be in the mid-USA or similar to be 7hrs earlier on the clock at the same moment. But it’s not, because the ‘Z’ indicator shows the timezone is ‘Zulu’ – and Zulu means GMT, or UTC as it’s now more correctly called.

So, by some odd coding, tampering or glitch, the sites were updated before they were created – and only 3 seconds apart – which again suggests some kind of specialist or automated system.

What’s in a name?

The final indicator that Lewis is not the creator of the sites is simple – his name is on them.

Anyone can have a site set up anonymously for a few pounds, so if Lewis was indeed setting up for a future leadership challenge, it would be a piece of cake not to have his name associated with it. It’s also very easy to put someone else’s name on a registration.

So the fact that Lewis’ name is there suggests someone wanted you to see it – which Lewis himself almost certainly wouldn’t.

Maybe, maybe not

So, if it wasn’t Lewis, who was it? It’s almost impossible to tell – but it’s worth noting that Lisa Nandy’s fake site was set up via a ‘registrar’ company called Identity Protect. There is an array of registrars to choose from – the ‘Lewis’ sites were done via a US one – but, a few months earlier, the anti-Corbyn organisation Labour Tomorrow set up its website in advance of its launch. And also used Identity Protect. Maybe something, maybe nothing. But worth knowing.

Means, opportunity and.. motive?

It’s clear that someone else could have set up the sites with Clive Lewis’ name – and, given the evidence above, it looks probable that they did. But why?

Lewis’ site was set up 29/6 – just two days after Angela Eagle resigned and a day before she was revealed to have set up her own leadership challenge site before she resigned amid crocodile tears. Given that she would almost certainly have known she was ‘busted’ on the 29th before the papers went to press, the series of fake sites for other leading Labour figures could well have been a form of retaliation.

It’s also notable that the claims about the site were broken by the Sunday Times – a publication owned by Rupert Murdoch – when Lewis is taking legal action against Murdoch for defamation.

It’s also likely, given the proven and reported targets of the scam, that an attempt was being made to ‘nobble’ potential future leadership candidates in the eyes of their otherwise-likely supporters – both among the membership and, just as importantly, among the fellow MPs they would need to support their nomination in order to stand.

Finally, Lewis – at least so far – appeared to feel initially that left-wingers targeted him. Which would be exactly what right-wing agents provocateur would want. Divide and conquer.

Edit 28/7: Clive Lewis contacted the SKWAWKBOX to advise that the Guardian was wrong in its assertion that he felt it was done by left-wingers and had since corrected its article. More details here.

So there is no shortage of potential motive for someone to attempt to tar Lewis and others with a ‘disloyalty brush’.

Means, motive and opportunity – and fingerprints all over it that may be too smudged to identify the culprit beyond doubt, but which certainly don’t look like Lewis’.

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16 responses to “The truth about the #CliveLewis ‘leader site’ – he’s not the only one (and more fishiness)

  1. http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/why-has-this-revolting-little-toad-got-my-email-address

    Another bit of Fishiness !! … Blair sent me an Email ! …. How did he obtain my email address ? ….. Then added me on a face book page I have never seen or heard of before along with 167 of my friends …. When I informed them all and showed the Email which named the Face Book Page called Open Britain they went to take their names off the site as they had never seen this page before and certainly would NOT put their name on a page endorsed by Chuka Umunna and Roland Rudd http://powerbase.info/index.php/Roland_Rudd

    Like

  2. you are doing a magnificent job now we have to break on MSM
    we have always been outwitted by the manipulators in the shadows despite showing evidence of security and other groups to LP leadership if they showed interest they were expelled by Mandelson using right wingers in their union or if LP staff sacked with gagging clause. out the guilty m
    embers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You are doing a wonderful job Mr Skwawkbox. Fake social media accounts to try and demoralise us and fake websites to undermine MPs. Somebody is getting desperate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The truth about the #CliveLewis ‘leader site’ – he’s not the only one (and more fishiness) | Sid's Blog·

  5. Just want to address the timestamps from a more technical standpoint. I do agree it’s odd that multiple Labour MPs would have leadership sites registered within a very close time of each other (though if you could populate this article with more sources about those rather than just vaguely mentioning it, that would be great).

    In terms of the two timestamps being the same, I think there’s a pretty simple explanation. On most domain registration sites, you can select multiple domains to buy at the same time (in fact, many domain registrars give you special offers if you do purchase multiple domains at once). This would mean you could register two or more domains at exactly the same time and they would have exactly the same registration date, as the actual registration on the server is done by a computer.

    In terms of the mismatched creation and update, I think that’s simply a server error. Registrars are responsible for managing their own WHOIS servers, and handling all of the issues that exist when it comes to using time on computers (DST and the fact that the way we calculate time/date is non-decimal especially cause a lot of problems when it comes to translating that for a computer). In this case, the registrar (who is responsible for keeping and updating the WHOIS server) is ENOM, based in Utah, who are seven hours behind us, and the registrant (who handles DNS servers, among other things) is UK2.NET, who are based in the UK.

    As UK2.NET would be responsible for handing over the two timestamps to ENOM, it would be very easy for a bug in the code to result in one of those values being entered into the database with the wrong timezone attached.

    Apologies for the essay, I just feel that if I’m going to rebuke something I need to back it up with an actual explanation. Again, I don’t think this means there isn’t something odd going on, but I think your argument about domain registrations and timestamps may be a little off and is misleading.

    In terms of credentials, I have been developing websites and using domain registrars for over ten years, and I used the website domainhistory.net to get all of the information about the domains.

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  6. actually it could have just been someone who thought they could make a quid or two by buying site names that they thought might be wanted in the future. There are a lot of firms and people who do that. So if and when Lewis decides to go for leader, he has to go to the speculator site buyer and pay two whack!!

    Like

  7. Interesting.
    The question, as always, is cui bono – who benefits?

    Not Clive Lewis, who may henceforth be viewed with suspicion by the Labour leadership, party members and his constituents.

    Not Corbyn and his team, as they may wonder who they can trust.

    Not the Labour party’s prospects for election, as it allows the “challenge to Corbyn”, “Labour disarray” narratives to drip on for more weeks – especially as it’s about the only story about Labour the right-wing press wants to run.

    Compare the Tories: former leader slams current leader, but AFTER the by-election. And UKIP: leading donor wants the party run the way he wants…. but neither of these stories, let alone what this government is doing to the country, is apparently as worth covering as this.

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  8. Pingback: #CliveLewis: Guardian got it wrong, the right is attacking me, not the left | The SKWAWKBOX·

  9. Web dev here. This has no bearing on who registered the domains, but it is entirely credible that two domains could be registered by an individual and have identical timestamps, if the two domains were registered together, as when purchasing multiple domains.

    If domains about separate MPs were registered at the same time as each other, by the same individual or organisation, then that would indicate a bigger campaign.

    Like

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