For the folks at home, the story I was working on was going to be published by the Daily Beast in Spring 2024. Everything was in place then we had to go to both Wikipedia and the National Archives for comment, as required by law. Archvies wouldn't speak to us and Wikipedia threatened to sue, I suspect because of what we had found out about their administrators. The piece had mainly been about administrator abuse, using tools on Wikipedia to trace ip addresses, dox people's identities then harass them in real life. The Oberranks clusterf*** was a big part of the story, but not the entire story. The real beef of the article was about female editors on their site being stalked and even assaulted after having their identities revealed online by administrators. I found several cases of that including a woman who was stabbed outside her home in Mexico City by a stalker who had researched who she was off of her Wikipeida profile.
Daily Beast backed out because of the lawsuit threat, but I still have the whole story and might one day sell the rights. For now, its back to Eastern Europe covering real news.
Pretty straight forward libel laws in US publishing code. If you publish a news story about a person or entity, you have to go to them for comment, otherwise they can sue you for libel. As I said in my OP, when we did that for this story, NARA refused to comment and the Wikipedia Foundation threatened to quash the story with a lawsuit. BTW, the ship is not sunk on this. A rewire will probably clear up the libel fears with Daily Beast but I won't have to do it until I get back from Poland at the end of the year.
The war in Israel certainly has changed my life a bit. I am stationed in Poland these days but have asked to go cover the fighting. As a Jew myself, I have a personal interest in this since I have family in Haifa and used to do summer courses in Jerusalem. Nasty business going on right now, that's for sure.
I gave Daily Beast my story, I'm not sure if they will run it or not. You have to remember the Oberranks case is something of old news, as it happened five years ago in 2018. Oscroft and his internet activities were more recent, but he's been quiet now for about two years since I think he actually got a bit scared after his name started popping up on law enforcement radars. I've confirmed he was talked to at least once by law enforcement, mainly about his obsession with the U.S. government worker (Hughes) who he had convinced himself was Oberranks.
Hughes probably did operate that account about fifteen years ago from what I can tell, but was one of several people who did. Oscroft and his buddies don't like it when their narrative gets spoiled, and refused to ever admit, even with the evidence staring them in the face, that the Oberranks account was clearly being operated by more than one person. It was actually Goodman (DGG) who confirmed that for me in one of our interviews and had himself spoken to two of the people who operated the account.
For those wondering, the end game of Oscroft appeared to be blackmail, or some kind of weird plan where he was going to fly to the United States and confront Hughes in person literally at the front door of the National Archives and be some kind of Wikipedia hero - that's how crazy that guy is. He never went through with his plan since, like I said, law enforcement started taking an interest in him especially after it appeared he really did have a plot to travel internationally to a US federal building in Washington DC. What's really ironic is that when all the s**t was going down, Hughes didn't even work at the National Archives anymore.
Also, gotta remember, Oberraks/Hughes was only a small part of my story. In three years of research, I found over two dozen cases where Wikipedia administrators had misused their authority, traced ip addresses, and stalked people in real life. Two of the worst cases ever were CommanderWaterford, who some on Wikipedia actually tried to bankrupt as well as a user named Eustress who apparently there was some type of plan to kidnap and rape. Not to mention Henrettia Gonzalez, who never told me her user name, but was attacked outside her apartment in Mexico City after a Wikipedia administrator traced her ip address and gave the information to her attacker.
It's actually a wonder no one has been killed yet by some of the people on that web site.