Thursday, March 04, 2010

Who is Zaki Bucharest?

People in the Portland area have been rightly concerned about an interesting case that happened at Portland State University:

A professor claims that Associated Students of Portland State University Chief of Staff Zachry (Zaki) Bucharest is an "FBI informant and agent provocateur," who is trying to incite students to violence.

A commenter on the Willamette Week Online site claims that Bucharest is "member on [sic] nearly all the Muslim student groups at PSU."

Another commenter in the same thread provides this link to a YouTube profile she claims is his. There's no way of linking the two, other than circumstantially, however. (A little discourse analytics suggests it may in fact be the same person.) I note that the name on the YouTube profile transliterates roughly to "Itzhak Perez."

The same commenter provides a link to his MySpace page, where he uses the handle "Born Zacharias...Ramon." The picture makes it pretty clear that "Zacharias...Ramon" is almost certainly the same person as in the pictures on the Daily Vanguard article and the ASPSU profile page. (I'm personally not convinced that "Bucharest" is anybody's actual family name.)

Things get a little murky from here. You see, whoever Zachry Bucharest/Zacharias Ramon is, he has no digital backtrail whatsoever. In the linked articles, there are a few people who vouch for having known him for a couple of years, but a little investigation turns up almost precisely nothing, except for a bunch of rabid right-wing and/or anti-semitic websites ranting about Zionist scum or whatever.

If you Google "Zachry/Zachary/Zaki Bucharest," you find pretty much nothing other than his ASPSU page, the linked articles, and the aforementioned foaming websites.

If you Google the e-mail given on Bucharest's ASPSU page, you find basically the same thing. Same with the phone number.

If you look at his MySpace page, you'll find he has no blog posts, one friend (and seven deleted friends), and basically no activity. (I can't cop to having the world's most active MySpace, either, since I've basically forgotten about it for over a year now, I think, but my profile doesn't exactly look quite so phoned-in.)

Even Googling under all the variations of any of his names/aliases I could think of (and all the spellings I could think of) in Hebrew -- which would possibly turn up any Israel-based online presence -- turns up precisely nothing.

He has no blog comments, no YouTube comments (that I can see, anyway), no visible e-mails, no web page, no nothing. Even looking for him strictly under PSU-sanctioned stuff doesn't find you much.

My thoughts on this are that either he's the most successful case of internet anonymity ever, or the guy doesn't actually exist. In either case, I think that raises more questions than it answers...