PART THE FIRST: In Which Junko Junsui Makes Contact
As early as June 17th, 2009 a woman named ‘Junko Junsui’ began aggressively friending people on Facebook. It is unclear if she was using known networks or simply choosing people at random. Some of these people also received a message with their friend request:
We do not know one another. Not yet. I feel people’s ability to share and communicate. It is my effort to allocate my labour towards such people. I have talent that is empathy.
Please forgive me for being general. There are reasons. I am in some danger if I do not obscure all articulations or if I reveal too quickly. Justice is systematic and quickly here.
Please be my friend. More revealing will take place soon.
From what I’ve seen, Junko had several conversations with people, in which small tid-bits were revealed. She claimed to have created some sort of algorithm that found people using Google. Here is what she wrote to me:
…I am using program I wrote. Points are given for affiliations to institutions or other aggregated point individuals. Emergent patterns are what it counts rather than individual nodes. It reliant upon human feedback and checking because often results have been misguided. But it improves. My project is not this algorithm. It is only means to finding people who will take action in future when current economic and social reality disintegrates. I am not allowed to leave my home because my sisters supervisors do not allow currently us exit from birth. But not everybody here is afraid of vityaz.
I Googled ‘vityaz’ and found it was Russian for a ‘knight’ or ‘valiant warrior’. I assumed that meant she was Russian, but I asked her to confirm, only to be told:
I am Circassian who is in Russia now. I gather friends so that a new perspective may show what has been hidden. It is important that I find most curious and empathetic souls.
Taking her for a bit of a nutter, I intended from that day after to leave Junko alone. Over the next few weeks, however, I notice several of her status updates on Facebook. Junko seemed to be keen on women’s rights issues, maternal and fertility cults. There were also some flatly-phrased calls to action and some adolescent-sounding snippets of the poetic.
By early August, a few people had started to focus some attention on Junko, asking her where she was from and such. Junko displayed what I am told is a decent knowledge of Russian and Czech (compared to her very imperfect English).
This interest in her sparked the attentions of one Diyne Seteney (one can always tell when it’s Diyne as she types in ALL CAPS). Diyne is a traditional Circassian name—Circassia being the region of the Caucus with a very colourful and troubled history. Diyne seemed quite eager to protect her ‘sister’ from being harassed by some of the more rude onlookers that Junko encountered in her journeys through the ‘electric window’. I assumed this term referred to the screen of whatever computer system they were using to connect with the Internet.
Soon thereafter, Diyne became quite irate upon her discovery that her words were being posted in an online forum. The members of the online forum, unFiction, dedicated to the playing of so-called ‘alternate reality games’ had been tracking her and Junko’s proclamations, taking them as part of some online game.
At this point, my readers and friends, I’m going to reveal myself as a hopefully neutral arbiter of truth and justice in the online world when I say that this project, at least at its current point, has never conclusively revealed itself as an online game, or as a part of any kind of viral marketing. There have been web-based campaigns that have used similar tactics, but these are typically more definitively tied to a film or car or such product.
I cannot say what I really think is going on here. Be it that there is some form of truth to what we are seeing and to whom we are speaking, then the world is a darker place than even I have imagined. But as the discussion of the plight of the Junsui moved at times to these game-based forum discussions, I shall view what took place therein from the eyes of a journalist and not a prognosticator of ultimate truth.
Once the denizens of the unFiction forums became aware of Diyne’s ranting regarding their forum’s reposting of her words, they too complained. It seems one of the conventions of ARGs is that the forum in which players speculate openly and come together to share findings is supposedly ‘out of game’, meaning that the characters within the game are not to be aware of what is posted there, or to post ‘in character’.
Someone must have neglected to mention this to Diyne, who continued to berate the members of the group for posting information in an open forum to which their enemies had access. In deference to her complaints, some members decided to create a private, members only discussion forum. It was was created on August 4th and Diyne joined herself the conversation on the 6th. Her tone was immediately demanding ad she insisted her words not be posted back into the public forum. This caused a bit of a stir in the ARG community, with many players decreeing their inability to play games that don’t fit into their established rule set.
Diyne came back in a somewhat frustrating post in which she – oh, I’ll just let her speak for herself:
THIS IS HOW IT BEGINS. THE FIRST STEP WAS OPENING YOUR EYES TO SEE THE ILLUSION FOR WHAT IS. WITHOUT MEMORY OF MOTHER, YOU WERE PROGRAMMED, GROWN LIKE A SEED. IN SCHOOL THEY SEPARATED FEEBLE FROM INTELLIGENT, SLOW FROM FAST. YOUR SISTERS THEY TOOK FROM WITHOUT WARNING AND SENT FOREVER AWAY. EACH ACCORDING TO HER ABILITY, EACH ACCORDING TO HER WORK. THEY SAID YOUR ABILITY WAS EMPATHY. SO YOU PASSED EXAMINATIONS AND LEARNED HOW TO ADORN IN DRESS, HOW TO SPEAK AND HOW THEY ENJOY DEFILEMENTS. THEY SAID YOU WERE DESIGNED FOR THIS AND YOU WERE. EVERYTHING IN YOU WAS THEIRS FROM BEGINNING SO IT WAS ONLY NATURAL CONCLUSION YOU WORK FOR THEM. YOU LIVED IN REALITY OF THEIR CREATION AND SO YOU HELPED TO PERPETUATE THAT REALITY. THEY CALLED YOU THE PURE BREED, BUT THEY MEAN THAT YOU WERE PERFECT PRODUCT.
IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE BEFORE BUT WE KNOW WHAT YOUR GAME CULTURE NOW IS. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THESE ARE VERY DANGEROUS AND POWERFUL KHOZAINS. JUNKO MUST TAKE FACEBOOK DOWN WHEN THEY START TO REALIZE OUR COMMUNICATIONS. ON NEXT DAY BENEFACTORS ATTACKED PUBLIC INTERNET COMMUNICATION NETWORKS TO SILENCE DISSENT. THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION AND WILL BRING GREAT HARM TO THOSE CAUGHT IN OPPOSITION. THEY HESITATE NOT TO MURDER AND POISON LIKE THEY DID COUNTLESS BEFORE. JUNKO MADE MISTAKE TO THINK ALEX WAS PROTECTOR. WE ONLY NOW DISCOVER TRUTH OF YOUR GAMES. YOU MUST DEPART NOW FOR YOUR SAFETY. LIKE UNFORUM AND HERE ALL PLACES ARE INSECURE.
IT IS ADMISSION OF DESPAIR FOR ME THAT LITTLE SISTER HAS BEEN TAKEN. BUT IF WE ARE WEAK HOW WILL WE RECOVER HER AND REACH THE ORIGIN? OUR VPS IS NO LONGER CONCEALING TO LOCATION. WE MUST FIND ANSWER ALONE.
I have, with some amusement, redacted the part of the message in which Diyne cited by name a few members of the ARG community and called them ‘cowards’.
One point of interest here – Diyne mentions some kind of data attacks and relates them to something causing Junko to pull her profile off Facebook. On 8/5, Junko did in fact pull down her Facebook profile. On 8/6, there was a large attack, emanating from the former U.S.S.R. This would not be the last time that Junko’s actions seemed to predict a major incident involving Russia.
On the evening after the attack, several major news sources saw a posting from an anonymous systems administrator. He claimed that:
The Russian PMC Alfa-Tsentr (http://alfa-tsentr.ru) is responsible for coordinating both the current spam and July botnet attacks. […] They likely worked on behalf of North Korea. The bulk of yesterday and today’s incoming connections (spam attack) terminating within our secure clusters originated from IPs in Russia and China. During the first attack there were several bounced undeliverable messages from the Russian company that referenced the North Korean foreign ministry. I looked up their originating IP addresses and they turned out to belong to a Chinese host that is used by several North Korean sites including the KCNA (Korean Central news Agency). I know this because I am a sysadmin (basically an oncall tech) at a large US data center.
Archived images from Junko Junsui (aka Vera Novosi) Facebook profile:
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- 10/09/2009 / 22:28