SOURCE: Arsenal Consulting

April 02, 2012 08:00 ET

Boston-Based Arsenal Consulting Finds New Evidence of Electronic Forgery in Critical Turkish Coup Plot Case

Distinguished Harvard Professors Dani Rodrik and Pinar Dogan Hire Computer Forensics Firm to Investigate Documents Attributed to General Cetin Dogan

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Apr 2, 2012) - Arsenal Consulting (, providers of exceptional computer forensics services that leverage powerful technologies and techniques to uncover smoking gun evidence, today announced they have found new proof of digital forgery in Turkey's politically sensitive "Sledgehammer" case. Pinar Doğan and Dani Rodrik, well-known Harvard professors, and daughter and son-in-law of the lead defendant in the case, General Çetin Doğan, hired Arsenal Consulting to investigate the contents of a hard drive seized from a military base, as well as CDs entered into evidence by Turkish prosecutors. The findings have already created a media stir in Turkey, where the court stood ready to pronounce their verdict without proper validation of the digital evidence.

Turkish prosecutors contend that in 2003, the 300+ defendants plotted a coup, code-named "Sledgehammer," against the newly-elected AKP government. They claim CDs delivered to a newspaper, and subsequently to the prosecution by an anonymous informant, contained evidence of the plot and were prepared for the alleged leader of the coup, General Çetin Doğan, in advance of a military seminar held in March of that year. The CDs were said to have been burned in 2003, and the documents they contain "created" between 2002 and 2003. The CDs contain elaborate plans for overthrowing the new Turkish government, fostering unrest, mosque bombings, and downing of a Turkish fighter jet in a false-flag operation. Defendants have maintained throughout the trial that the coup documents are forgeries and have argued that the incriminating evidence was purposely grouped with genuine military documents and leaked voice recordings from the seminar to make them appear genuine.

A year and a half after receiving the evidence, the Turkish court made forensic images of the CDs available to the defendants and their attorneys. Rodrik and Doğan had already identified scores of anachronisms and discrepancies in the contents of the coup plot documents, which made it clear that the documents were forged. However, the digital evidence had not been properly examined, so they sought out the independent expertise of a U.S.-based computer forensics expert to review the contents of the CDs as well as a hard drive containing similar data that was later entered into evidence by the Turkish prosecutors.

"As researchers, we understand the importance of solid analysis and sound inference," Rodrik explains. "So it was critical to us that we hired a forensic team who were thorough and rigorous in their analysis and provided evidence that could not be challenged."

In its initial report on the investigation, Arsenal Consulting has concluded that dates and times related to at least 76 documents found on CDs #11 and #17 (CDs referring directly to the coup) have been electronically altered. Arsenal Consulting also concluded that the dates and times related to when the CDs were burned had been forged.

"The earliest that CDs #11 and #17 could have been created is mid 2006," says Mark Spencer, President of Arsenal Consulting. "It is simply not possible that documents purportedly last saved and subsequently burned to CD in 2003 would contain references to XML schemas and the Calibri typeface, which were not introduced until Microsoft Office 2007."

"The evidence is clear and incontrovertible," adds Doğan. "To incriminate the officers on trial, the forgers backdated the PC on which they created the documents and burned the CDs."

Arsenal Consulting's investigation of the Sledgehammer evidence is ongoing, and Spencer says he has serious concerns about the authenticity of all the documents under examination, due to the evidence tampering that has been uncovered thus far.

Arsenal's initial forensic report can be found here:

About Arsenal Consulting
Arsenal provides comprehensive computer forensics services to a broad base of clients that include law firms, corporate organizations, and government entities. Leveraging forensic techniques refined through years of research, testing, and design, Arsenal's expertise and battle-tested methodologies are critical to preserving and analyzing electronic evidence in ways that withstand technical and legal scrutiny. Using the most powerful tools and methodologies, they uncover smoking guns that others simply cannot.

Dani Rodrik is the Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. His writing on international economics, economic development, and political economy has been published extensively. He was awarded the inaugural Albert O. Hirschman Prize of the Social Science Research Council in 2007 and has also received the Leontief Award for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought, honorary doctorates from the University of Antwerp and Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, and research grants from the Carnegie Corporation, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation. Rodrik is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, Centre for Economic Policy Research (London), Center for Global Development, and Council on Foreign Relations. His 1997 book Has Globalization Gone Too Far? was called "one of the most important economics books of the decade" in Business Week. He is also the author of One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth (Princeton 2007) and of The New Global Economy and Developing Countries: Making Openness Work (Overseas Development Council, Washington DC, 1999). His most recent book The Globalization Paradox was published by Norton in 2011.

Dr. Pinar Dogan is a Lecturer in Public Policy and the Harvard Kennedy School. Her areas of research include industrial organization, economics of networks, regulation and competition policy with an emphasis on the telecommunications industry. She received a master's degree in mathematical economics and a PhD in economics from University of Toulouse, France. Prior to joining the Kennedy School, she taught at Koc University, Istanbul. She is a frequent guest at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications, Paris, and has been a visiting scholar at Public Utility Research Center, Florida. Her personal blog regarding the Sledghammer case can be found here:

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