Documents that reveal discussions between UK and US trade representatives about the NHS, publicised by Jeremy Corbyn this morning and now fully known in the public domain, were first leaked on reddit over a month ago, as we reported earlier this morning.
However, we have now discovered that the documents were not just confined to reddit. They experienced a strange journey across the internet, before finally being given public attention by the Labour leader this morning.
After the original reddit post, a Twitter account was set up under the same name as the reddit profile – “gregoratior”. Starting on 23rd October, the account repeatedly posted links to the reddit page, sharing it with political parties, press teams, and journalists.
But before the first tweet had been sent at 12:48PM GMT on 23rd October, another reddit post in the German subreddit /r/de was made, at 10:14AM GMT.
The author of this post is a reddit user called Ostermaxnn, who set up the account on the same day they created the post. It is the only post or comment they have made to date.
The content and image of the German-language post, which focuses on America’s enthusiasm for a no-deal Brexit (mentioned in the leaked documents), is a copy of an article published on 23rd October at 11:10AM (timezone unknown, but likely to be Central European Time, GMT+1) to the Austrian news website Meinbezirk.at.
That article was still available to view earlier today, but after Scram News reached out to the publishers, it has been taken down. It is, however, still available on Google’s cache, and screenshots of the article from Google’s cache follow.
The author of the article on Meinbezirk is “Max Ostermann” of Braunau, Austria. The author has not contributed any other pieces.
On the same day, a user called Wilbur Gregoratior (also the name of the Twitter account @Gregoratior) posted a story to American-based website “Before It’s News”. The content was identical to the original reddit post. The story is timestamped 5:04AM, timezone unknown.
The story uses the same links as those in the reddit post – featuring screenshots of the report uploaded to image-hosting site Imgur.
Imgur metadata reveals the screenshots were uploaded on 18th Oct at 9:17AM, three days before the first reddit post.
Links to the original reddit post, containing the leaked documents, were also shared on 4chan – a social messaging board popular among the far-right.
The first post was uploaded to the /pol/ discussion board on 23rd October, though it received very little traction.
Metadata analysis of the PDF files uploaded by the whistleblower reveal they were all created at a similar time on the afternoon of 29th July 2019.
It is unknown what happened to the documents through August and September before their publication via reddit in October.
We not really any closer to knowing who the whistleblower is. But we do know they tried to capture public attention a month before Corbyn’s intervention. And, if journalists had paid more attention, the story could have been exposed much sooner.