Ok-so-how did they get the nudes of the 14 year old girl onto (Dave Burgess’) computer? You lost me here….
Dear White Devil,
Okay, let me give this one more shot. I know you and I probably disagree on this but we should at least try to reason together, none the less. And, I apologize if this runs long. I will try to give you the briefest answer I can.
The question should not be “how did they (meaning the feds) get the nudes of the 14 year old girl onto his computer?” I am sure you didn’t mean to ask that. Because the answer is somebody copied them. They were not on a computer. They were on a backup drive. Which, even if you think Burgess is absolutely guilty and the cops never cheat, raises the question: “Backed up from where?”
The prosecution asserted that there were something like 65,000 images of child pornography on Burgess’ two backup drives. Something like 13 or 14 images of a girl he knew were entered into evidence against him. The government argued that it chose those images because they provided a bullet proof link between Burgess and the girl. I think that is kind of pat right there but at the same time the government itself raises the question of linkage.
In the first story I wrote on this case I wondered who these children were and where they came from. And one way (there are several ways) you investigate that is with something called “metadata.” Depending on the file being examined, and the software you use to uncover metadata, the metadata can tell you almost the entire history of that file – starting with where, when and who created it and who modified that file ever after that.
(Right now, if you are running Windows, open Windows Explorer, pick any file on your computer, right click the file and left click properties. What you see is the most basic of metadata. You can find that just using a really crappy operating system. Software exists that can use metadata to trace a photo back to the “plug and play” camera that took the picture.)
As far as I know Burgess’ attorney never looked at the metadata for all of those 65,000 images. I would have, and I would have looked for incongruities. Files that were modified after the file was out of Burgess’ possession, for example, but not limited to that. I would have surveyed the metadata to see where this crap came from because where it all came from remains a mystery. It doesn’t seem to have come from any computer Burgess owned or to which he had access. Burgess has said that the incriminating and vulgar captions on some of the photos were generated with a kind of software he never owned or used.
About eight months ago I called Burgess’ former attorney and one of the questions I wanted to ask him was “Do you know what metadata means.” Never got the chance to ask him that.
The government did have some metadata on the photos, files, it entered into evidence. But look, it is much easier to manufacture phony metadata on 13 files than on 65,000.
As to how the incriminating photos came to be – how could there be partially nude photos of a girl Dave Burgess knew if he did not take them? I think that is what you are asking. Somebody had to take those picture, right?
Well no. Actually, nobody had to take them. And the most obvious answer to that possible mystery is called Photoshop. If you know what Photoshop is. The captions were generated with Photoshop. Right now, somewhere in cyberspace is a photo of Laura Bush giving Dick Cheney a blow job but it still does not prove that she actually did that. Photographic evidence is no longer photographic evidence, okay? If you know what I mean?
Look, I know you think Burgess is a pedophile. What I am trying to say to you is that the evidence is really not as strong as it might seem to be. And obviously, incontrovertibly, a huge, expensive, sophisticated effort was made by the Alberto Gonzalez Department of Justice to “get Dave Burgess.” It was the effort that went into getting him that is most suspicious to me.
Let me just warn you that you do not know what is on your computer right this minute. There are areas on your hard drive called “slack space” that your operating system cannot see. Just for one real obvious example. But if there is something there and your computer is seized EnCase will find it during the evidence preservation phase of the search.
Worse, starting after September 11, 2001 the Bush Administration persuaded virtually all hardware and software manufacturers to engineer features into their products that allow anybody with a certain security clearance to access, surveil and manipulate the data on your computer. Not just Dave Burgess’ computer. Your computer.
All due respect to good federal cops everywhere. Near the end of the Bush Administration there were certain elements of the Department of Justice that were much more interested in making cases than in doing the right thing. Okay? Can we agree on that? Motorcycle clubs and their members are targets. Mosques are off limits for civil right reasons but it is open season on bikers. Okay? Have you noticed this, too?
Burgess was a squeaky wheel. Many authorities did not like him. I do not have and never will have a smoking gun. But I think there is a ton of circumstantial evidence that Burgess was framed. I think, given enough time, I could prove method, opportunity and motive for the framing of Dave Burgess.
But what happened instead was the government used circumstantial evidence to prove method, motive and opportunity that Burgess was obsessed with child pornography. Near the end of the trial, the prosecutor got Burgess’ estranged wife on the stand. She testified that she had known Burgess for decades and she just didn’t think the crime of which he was accused was something he would do. Then the prosecutor, said something like, “But you don’t know what he does and thinks when he is all alone in his room, do you?”
In a nutshell, that was the government’s case.
And, I think the same logic can be used against the government. I might not be able to prove that the Department of Justice framed Dave Burgess. But I certainly cannot prove that they did not.
“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me-and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.”
Stay in touch. I will try to be more succinct next time.