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#112 The Prophet


After Andrea is attacked by a stranger in Mexico City, she just wants to figure out who the guy was. Investigating this question drops her right into the middle of one of Mexico’s biggest conspiracies.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey quick warning: this episode has descriptions of sexual assault and violence. If doesn't mean you want to hear you just give it from get my reply and There always feel a kind of a cop out to me when people say the internet sucks the internet bad, because while we agree is absurd that the same place we offer jokes and news is also the place where we have to wade through death threats and racism,
and like endless endless bickering, but it always was gonna weirdly known the internet like that's us. Those are the people who we know and see every day behaving the way they want to behave under the cover of darkness. Like it's a mirror. It's our responsibility, that's what I've always believed. But what, if that wasn't true? What are you ve had? The internet was bad not just of the people on it, but because powerful people were designing it to be that way. What are you ve found out? I was part of somebody's plan. This is a story about a person who met the people behind the plan for names, Andrea Unwell and she's, an american reporter who covers Mexico. I was based in Mexico City for several years and now I float between the border region and Mexico City. I go back and forth and what are you white? What are usually cover normal? I cover politics: corrupt and drug war, I'm kind of on the drug beat so the thing that habitat it actually happen on a day off, you think you're walking, condenser her neighbourhood, Mexico City. I,
Remember very vividly that I was walking down the street kicking myself and just thinking you know what have I been doing for the last six months. Why haven't I've been leaving the house and walking around its? You know we're walking by the park and everything's beautiful and people are low. Thing it's a great day and I was literally having that fought when out of nowhere, she feels strangers, hands, blubber, dress and pulled down her underwear. She drops to the pavement- and I do this three sixty and there's nobody behind me in the skies running away and like slow motion and I'm not chasing after harmonies. Just rotting aware big, I turned a corner any vanishes. Andrea stands up, shucks round no witnesses. The sky is just attacker in broad daylight and there's nothing. You can do about it like thy blamed.
Self, basically like why. Why am I wearing these shoes? Why didn't they chased the guy? In any case, this these thoughts lasted for a few seconds, and I started walking just ready to continue with my day, and then I saw that there was a camera pointed out exactly where this had happened in front of a build So I saw that camera and then I looked around and saw another Cameron. I looked around and saw another camera. There were just cameras everywhere and two right then, and there she comes over the plan after blowing off some seem with an angry tweed. She decides, I'm gonna get the surveillance and so she starts knocking on doors until she finds this building manager. Who says yeah? Absolutely you can have it. He lets take it off the monitor using herself on the video short. You see, Andrea alone on the street. You see the guy is your answer behind her and attacks as he flees. He runs towards the camera. So you get this blurry glimpse of his face
then there's just a moment where you look back towards Andrea use your pulling her underwear back on and looking round on the street even watching it feels kind, illegal violation, but Andrea write, a new tweed she ass. If anybody can help identify this end yet and she posts it along with the video, do feel weird. Just like Putting that online, like letting people see you in a way. In a moment we are being attacked. Yak aside, I well. I mean I wanted people to believe that it was real because I had tweet add when it happened. This does happen and people were Blake, not believing as I just could not rob my had around the fact that people were accusing me of like making. This thing are particularly because street, Harassment is notoriously bad. My scarcity, nine out of every ten women, have experienced sexual violence on their daily commutes and police. Rarely prosecute people do this.
Actually last year, the merest big solution was to hand out whistles that women could blow if they felt unsafe. So Andrea knows that the guy who did this to her fully expect to get away with that and she just decides. She is second ass because at that point you know, like my initial fear, just became like rage I really wanted to get the guy. It turns out she's an when she pulled. Video. She mealy search hearing from all these women who are just as man she has thousands of tweet started pouring in faster than you can scrawl. I mean it's fifteen for second, it is going, and you can't even read them all. All these women across Mexico, responding with their own stories of reflect violence, is like I was a proxy, is like a vessel for all of this. Just impotence, I think, is the thing
lake shut man. We ve been silence, but here somebody who's talking, so I go. Go, go, go for you now! It's like almost boom accuracy, loading DNS, you'll, put his castle them very annoying and made the leopard Now more than morning. She live on the nearest, Alias keep you in Sudan, it we did not gonna, believe unbearably steely were handles concern, ITALY overnight is becoming household names and Andrea will be the first to tell you she's, a weird poster child. For this moment. She's american now makes again and what happens on the street is bad, but it's not even. Worse thing that had happened during the past year, but the fact that she sang even this Shouldn't happened to him on the street that feels audacious and her supporters. Aside, we are gonna help you find this guy and within forty eight hours they have a suspect This local Youtube celebrity in it and Doni a charter,
Now it is Indonesia, look like the guy in the surveillance footage. Some heresy builds in complexion, the real thing that makes them a guilty. A sin is the actual show that he house it's a prank, show called master. You're, one of them Mazur troll. A show where a bunch of people watch jackass and there like- let's make this but dumber and meaner. So the pranks are stuff don't run up to an old lady and hid her with an inflatable hammer. Another one is still go up to women and friends. Kiss them and then run off and the like to pull men's pants they run a pull man. They pulled underpants and spank them and the place where all these pranks were found was Condesa Aundrea neighbourhood and don't even out a video officially denying responsibility, but you could tell he and his crude didn't mind the negative attention. They are actually train,
about the new tv show they had from that weak. They were really thrilled about the publicity and law. Thing at living living it up. You know they I'm uploaded one video where they go around like pulling men's, pants down and said. If you thought some lying hysterical, hag would stop us will you are wrong? Similarly, I have you heard me thought when there was about whether that was not a huge went down under Donnie. They have now stumbled on stage for the sort of culture or that we have every other week in America. And you know how these go. It's my pants pursuit cast of Hamilton, its Lena Dunham verse for some reason. A local know, kill animal shelter and the two of them and and Andrea you're, just like perfect foiled for each other, like and don't you like. The chauvinist with the offensive tv show, Andrea's the feminist internet writer
rate article has got how shows like that or problematic, and it's exactly the car crash. You expect team and don't has now he did. He not do it. Entrees a fraud he's a liar team. Andrea, actually circulates a petition and gets the master. Troll tv show cancel Fighting goes on for weeks and its even bigger story, because the Mexico City police are involved, which is crazy, because the Mexico City police do not investigate crimes like this. Only seven out of a hundred crimes in Mexico or even We certainly a petition and gets the master troll TV show cancelled fighting goes on for weeks and its even bigger story, because the Mexico City police are involved, which is crazy, because the Mexico City police do not investigate crimes like this, only seven out of a hundred crimes in Mexico or even reported. But now when Andrei goes the prosecutor's office, they live tweed that she is being attended to. That eight second video of the attack it becomes like the Kennedy assassination film
the course of those weeks lake frame by frame by frame, doing like side by side in really really trying to look. Unlike at one point, I was looking for a touch that may or may not have been on his arm, and you know I was looking at the shirt that he was wearing that looked like maybe a logo, the skull and then going through all of his photos, trying to figure out like a shirt like thought. What is the closer? He, whereas vast the skies wearing a vast? poor Andrea is anxiously watching the video, the stuff ray she's in its actually turning into a kind of nightmare. Andreas are getting these death threats, not that she hadn't gotten deathrays before, but these are different. Not just like you now I'm gonna rape, you badge it's more like photos of lake skinned animals and like dad women- and you know, video message as saying I know where you live in the boss gave the order.
Yes, this version saying, if you don't forget what happened, will cut your little face. We do what we want respect your life and that of your friends But what really scares Andrea are the pictures they send of themselves young men. With dead eyes staring into the camera holding Guns Mexico's a country where only criminals and cops have guns. So when you think he's got guns that just kind of shows you that you're dealing with the level of like were either dealing with an authority or we're dealing with somebody who's like involved in drug cartels. It was only later that the strangeness of all this would sink for her in what possible world did. It makes sense that her accidently getting a month old tv show cancelled, would piss off these kinds of people, and this much
also they seemed like an organised group, for instance, when they wanted to attack her. They had the signal they'd retweet, one of her tweets and just attach one word, o hall, which means eyeball and it just means, look so I would see under a tweet that I would post somebody would tag a troll and say all com and then that trawl would between that and then his whole network of thousands of twitter followers to go direct. After me, and then everybody knew jump on, do at three little messenger answer. Yes, absolutely, and that would proceed slew of death threats and rape threats there's this one. Guy Andrea has passed a prophet who, each up again and again he probably had about aid thousand followers and a very large network of people, he was you know interacting last
she had twitter to shatter the countdown that does not face him at all. I then he saw him reemerged immediately as a new account which very rapidly accumulated tens of thousands of followers. And then search to bleed into the real world degradation eating in a restaurant and pasta, profit tweets a map of the area or the time she just walk. Out in town and she gets another three with her location. The same with the message finish her off. She started telling the only place where she's even save our house and then one day she's at home in our apartment. I was in my living room. I was sitting at my computer, which is over by a window and noticed like agree, light in my eye and realised that there was like, green laser on my forehead. And then I stood up and dark
Then moved away and the leaves are followed me across the room at so creepy. It felt like I like a we know where you live Andrea's had it, she gives up her apartment, she gives way or cat. She leaves the country she just not safe there anymore and then comes the final humiliation. This whole time. Please have had additional surrounds footage of the attack, but Andrea hasn't been allowed to see it now. They're saying she might get too, but there is a catch beneath her to come back to Mexico and go in front of a judge or something called a preliminary trial. Essentially with this means that for the first time Andre will be publicly saying, I think, and only did it and then and only then the judge might decide to release the surveillance village. So she agrees to do this and, while she's in the air there's no internet on the, I back makes Mexico. She actually misses the Big NEWS, which is that in Donny
has found his own surveillance footage of the attack, and you can very clearly see that it was not him. He tweets the video and rage cycle begins again I land and I'm the biggest piece of shit. That's ever walk the earth and Doni is now the real here of the story. Andreas, the villain, who tried to take him down the cops, completely drop the investigation, the actual culprit, whoever he is, will never be found. Andrei cannot believe that this is where things have ended up by the time this was over. I was near suicidal. To be honest, I could not believe what had happened in I was just I was horrified
horrified. The first you just try to stay off the internet. To not read anything about what it happened to her, but it didn't take long for she realized. She said a question like we're: had all those people who are attacking her come from, who was pasta prophet? Who are his followers? What was going? on here and as she started wonder about this Shiraz, had one clue she could follow, which was at the trolls you to do this thing or their tender pictures of this random guy and they say he's the one who attacked you, not Indonesia, at the time She dismissed it because she knew they were lying, but now she started wonder: who is that guy? Why they want to set him up sown in those photo exchanges in the sub tweets and in the comments I start to get a picture of, you know I realise the guy's named. Let's say Jose, that's on his name, but let's call it was. I
and then I just keep watching weeks, go by months go by, and then I learned that his name is Jose Philippe and then a few more weeks go by a few more months go by, and then I see a last name, so you know over just really being vision, and unaware. Eventually, I pieced together a full name. The full name gets into a facebook page. The facebook page helps repeats together. The skies life.
The thing that cracks it is when she knows it. Sometimes these accounts there harassing Jose dont com has become pasta, passer profit. She finds Jose phone number and one night at a hotel in Mexico City suicides and concentrating on all act but Vandemark Gouty tat, you see, maybe I can go on and what our policy to combat these island, random, alchemists us after the break, pasta, profit. This episode is broad view by better for it a new podcast from HTTP hosted by Francesca Ramsay. We all make mistakes better, for it looks at how
stakes, have shaped the lives and careers of visionaries and business leaders and helps them think differently about what their working for you'll hear from an entrepreneur who ventured out on his and so I went out. I took seven hundred dollars. I had in the bank, but my own pickup truck, took some flyers business cards and later I had a business and in aid our role breaker, whose learned why we all care about work in the first place, you deprive the word the do you want to be able to tell your friends about it. You want to be able to feel like you're, making a different you'll hear how they work their way through their mistakes and came out better for him
The non Spotify or wherever you get your PA, casts welcome back to the show. So before the break, Andrei Noel was about to meet pasta, profit she's at the hotel, barge waiting formed, she's watching different strangers come through the door and finally, he enters then. For me, it was like seeing a godless. That's like this guy walks, and I knew his face like so well at this point is short: he sold chubby scouted baby face. He sits down across from her and they began a very long conversation posture profit for reasons that will become clear did not want to be interviewed for the story, but here's what Andrea has happened next. The first thing we did was call a church is, of course, because you know I brought
his account- and he didn't like that, and then he also threatened to kill me- and I didn't like that- you were forgotten. My main motivation and talking to him was of course I just wanted to know why I just wanted to know why all of this it happened because okay I'll explain everything that happened to you happened because you were a pawn in a much bigger plan and he says he wants to tell her about that plan because he feels like at a certain point then just went to far he was basically a door opening into all this world that ice had spent the previous year only like poking out from from the sidelines and not really fully understanding for years. Andrea had heard about this conspiracy theory that the mexican government had some
The way to manipulate what news people ended up seeing on the internet not sent ship something sneak here and pasta profit told her these rumours their trip. I know because this is the way that I do and so Andreas thirty eight a picture of how this worked. Not just this one conversation, but in many more she would have passed a profit and in many Our view should have with other people who have been involved in this whole system, so As far as Andre can tell here's how this whole thing started in the year, two thousand a completely unprecedented thing happened. It makes him politics, which is that appear. I the party hood.
Ruled Mexico for seventy one years uninterrupted they lost a presidential election. Nonetheless, the next one they are desperate and when the next campaigns he's inserted, these mysterious help wanted adds, started pure online job opportunities for young internet savvy people with an interest in politics. I talked to a woman who actually ended up answering one of these adds we're gonna collar Sophie we'd disguised her voice. I want to an interview- and I asked me things like: I knew how to use twitter. If I knew what was a hash star- and I told yes, yes and then they heard me and they began working like three days after my interview, so survey shows up first day work. The office is actually a house in the neighborhood. The shooting sky sketchy ensures that her job he's gonna be to get young people to vote for the purest Canada Enrique pending the ETA.
Where they have you tweet under your own personal account, or did they have an account they wanted you to use. You know they gave us a lot of accounts. In my case, I have three a boy. There were people that have more like five received. There were people that only have one, but there were fake accounts. You could not use your twitter account for anything anything anything because he was like, secret, for we reach out to multiple people, the pure. I know them were able to provide this comment for the story Sophie and a hundred other that worked alongside her. Their job was to amplify good news about pending the ATO and bury the bad news. And for the people in her office and the many other offices like hers, the techniques for bear The bad news were kind of fascinating, Andrea her hands on a bunch of the internal emails where this is described, but basically Employment in these offices, you are given meticulous plans for how to fill the internet with white
noise. So in the morning you arrive at your dusk and they'll be an our by our strategy, beginning, let's say: eight a m: we're gonna launch the hashtag happy, whatever diet as next would be happy. Tiger dont, you hate it when and then would be hashtag my mom just told me or like hashtag. I've never felt better than it serve its ideal in the blanks and arable mad lives means the domain actually like a lot of american twitter yeah, so they were basically doing the kind work russian trolls would later due in the american life and fill the internet, was spam and then have a bunch of fake people promoting opinions. But none of that strategy wasn't it So is there be a piece of news that which is too big to drown out like when the guardian released a story alleging that the Pierre I had been bribing? The country's big tv now working changed for good courage,
for something that they create a massive diversion online. They make up an event, so you know they call them smoke screens and you can see it like bullet point. Turn away they columns. Mongolia out, I mean there's no they're they're, not shy about the terminology. Not pretending like I mean, that's the relief, the thing that surprised me as how explicit and blatant the languages that they're using so a combination of smoke screens that can be like actually think they can Justin Bieber, when that article came out they kill Justin Bieber area, but they ve done that. A bunch of times, as you can see them, killing, Bieber's, three or four times so Andrei actually corrected herself later. It turns out that that time after the guardian story didn't kill me word they pretended to cancel one of his concerts other times he was not so lucky and if every diversion failed, they still had one more tool. They just started fight. They treat some offensive vitriolic, hashtag and in hope,
Did the ensuing argument drowned out any other conversation, so it will be like fuck gaze and there you go and all these people jump on do, but instead of saying, hey, everybody loves the present ages. Opponent you're, like hey, does everybody love Wednesday and hate gay people, unlike through like banality and viciousness, you can just like flood the room set. No real conversation takes place. Chocolate, and so that's the whole strategy, and you can see it hour by hour by hour so for three months. So if he kills a bunch of celebrities and pretends to be a bunch of different people who really love Pena Nieto and then it why and its election day and on election day, something happens it's over. That is not the kind of Faubourg thing. I beg you got it media to actually wins the pr. I is back in power, you think so
and a lot of our co workers were stunned, they are that the final results of the elections we cry in the bog centre in the wealth under we cry yeah, because within wanted to pay anything, you need to win, but about we were working for. He was a very strange thing, but we thought that the evening that love is the weather was linked to win, so it felt safe to do a job that you didn't agree with, because if you didn't think you would matter yeah exactly yeah.
So penny ETA takes office and undress as it afterwards things change some smart Percinet appear. I realises oh no. We built a super risky system here. There's a paper trail of pay, sobbing contracts, the runs from us to our marketing agency to hundreds of people like Sophie, which is a huge problem, because what we're doing here is against the rules until they build this new system which other parties quickly adopt. Now you take your money, you give it your engines he, but instead of hiring a bunch of people they contract out to a very small network of anonymous free. Answer freelancers, like pasta, profit. So to explain what we're talking about is a network of freelancers who are basically face less. You know We have to know each other's names. They just know each other's username there and these what's up groups and they share information. There's no way to treat
stock. The money there's no way to know where it's coming from pasta prophets of mercenary he doesn't have political loyalty, is every to promote or target anybody. As long as the money is good the money is really good he's, as you can make a thousand dollars for getting a political hashtag trend and and he can do that's the thing that makes him good at his job is that he has this huge volunteer army by us I'd this volunteer army that made up of Mexico's most notorious internet troublemakers. There are these groups of their facebook groups that exist in Mexico that have gathered hundreds of thousands of lake young young children like twelve years old thirteen year olds. Fourteen
The kids in these groups to the kind of kids would be unfortunate in the. U S daily, sharing means any like trying to impress each other with excessive imaginative acts of cruelty. The most notorious one is called a halt. Legion. Their logo looks like Pepe the frog, but on steroids the quickest way to explain what they're like in the aftermath of a horrific school shoe, you may go asked you Haug. Legion started publicly bickering with another similar group sing the shooters one of Argyle, not yours anyway, HAWK Legion. They also happen to be pasta, profits Army he's what they call in Mexico. Like a traveller o koyo like an old, you know like he was too old to be one of them, but he was their boss he's our admin, so they do a lot of stuff to get into his good favor because they want to be cool. They want to be exact if possible, even ass, when he gets you do something.
Mean or crawler mischievous, their game, but remember he needs them to help him. Do his professional political work so and here's how he explained to me and say you ve got three hundred kids at your disposal. These kids want to spend their day sharing. Momo is and having lulls. So obviously, these kids aren't gonna sign out just move this really boring. Political spam all day, he'll say we're. Gonna do this! For fifteen minutes, everybody at an everybody, get on at the rest of the day as resource resource, meaning Haug, Legion, gotta! Do what Hockley didn't actually like doing harassing people which finally answered the question that abroad, Andrea all the way to pass to profit. Ina, specifically, I asked him why it he threatened to kill because that was accustomed question that I had yet angering
and on here, essentially, explained that, as his exact quote was. It was for love of the sport, the sport yeah I was resource. I was for love of the sport. I got told by a bunch of twelve year olds. How did you feel finding out? You seem chagrined more than anything I mean what I mean. What can I say about this? You know it's just so It's been so confusing and once I finally did figure it out, I mean you feel like the biggest idiot and the world, everything scared her so much the pictures passengers the thing with the laser pointer, even the fact that they knew where she was. Sometimes there are just a bunch of kids who liked a trailer some of them probably lived in our neighbourhood, the more scared she got, the funnier wise to them.
The only person who had been that amused was pasta profit after a while, he started to feel bad like they ve gone too far, and so he tried to cut ties with them it's kind of like the mafia I realized, and that you can vote terribly leave. So then he became a target, which is why the kids had been sending Andrea his picture trying to frame him. But in doing so they made a mistake. They left a breadcrumb that Andrei could follow back to pass the prophet back to them back. Whole system. They were part of a system where Mexicans we're getting an internet. There was more toxic and more horrible and politicians were making it that way, so they could distract them so Andrea has bent low. You're, leaving everything she can't about how the system works. He's showed us the hundreds of documents, she's playing to publish, demonstrating everything that she's learned. Her timing couldn't be better its election season, we're about to just decide that you know the future of Mexico and it could go
a number of ways we can stick with the ruling party, which has shown itself to be brutal and horrific, or we could go with like the leftist populist lead, our whose often compared to like US that is type. You know I can remember a time that was quite as distant decisive as right now and so Andrea find yourself in familiar treacherous territory. She's got to go out in public and say this thing that she knows will piss off a lot of people draw fresh balls I honour back. She has Haug. Legion is acting like when she published and then. Obviously, the rest of the story is when I like start pointing fingers at a lot of these super filthy politicians and the president of the fucking country, so yeah, I'm a little bit nervous, but whose money you're talking about like the hell storm that you're very possibly about work into. Unlike
I can hear that you're smiling what's that about. Well, ok, so for me it is incredibly satisfying to have an answer to a question to a series of questions to We have reached an understanding of something that I did not understand. You know it's like becoming an expert thorough menaced you mean, like this obscure behind strange thing and you don't quite know what again and then, a year later you know you you got it. Hundred new out reports for the daily beast,
requires hosted by me Peter vote now. School men are sure, is pretty terminating the event. Damietta mercury are editors him Howard national production help from Crystal Rebel sure as hell from Sarah Saracens. The shows makes Rick Matthew, ball backtracking by me, El Harris and appropriate down are in turn his Anna fully our theme. Music is the mysterious break master cylinder, Matt, we were as snow before you get cigarette, having first birthday fits Nagel, if you you can use our website. I repeat that when you ve been more emphasis to show and Spotify Apple pie, gas or under That's that you recorded the show onto if you're, really old fashioned. Thanks for listening, we'll see you next week, We should really have a themes, are
you and me you- and I wine or the universe. Looking first of the inference that's terrible You're gonna get too soon. That's it STAR Wars backwards, no star wars, but you started on the dominating my dear the directions. No, that's Indiana Jones, which was with you, the turkish star wars for some reason. the first, notes of two thousand won t t and the golden girls. That fits perfectly nice job theme song achieved which no are you
Do three not stand. We ate Stanley actually with a Wigan glasses you'd make a great Estelle. Gary Where are you writing those never mind? You know it's just a girl. Me I couldn't have gotten I with rooms geek our Sakharov in the nineties, that what of it? eighty nineties, like a hundred fifty years old So why do? I remember it so clearly.
Transcript generated on 2020-02-13.