5 Major Secrets Unearthed By the Last People You'd Expect

There's a general belief that huge secrets are only ever outed by equally large investigative efforts -- plucky journalists, hard-nosed government agents, whatever the hell we're all doing on Twitter these days. But as we've talked about before, sometimes the weirdest sources, from random nobodies to beloved wrestlers turned movie stars, can be Deep Throats for the strangest things. Like when ...

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5
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Hinted That Osama Bin Laden Had Been Killed Right Before Obama Announced It

The assassination -- or if you'd prefer, severe deadening -- of Osama bin Laden was the biggest military operation in recent history, partly because no one even knew about it until the shit had finished hitting the fan. But when President Obama revealed to the world that America's boogeyman was finally dead, little did he know that he'd been scooped by another guy famous for delivering precision strikes of his own -- notably, the people's elbow.

Oh dang, the McRib is back?TheRock/TwitterOh dang, the McRib is back?

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Over half an hour before the government spilled the beans, The "Dwayne Johnson" Rock announced to his Twitter followers that he'd "just got word that will shock the world," before alternately shouting and whispering lines from "The Star-Spangled Banner." When he was later asked how he found out about the raid, he clarified that his Navy SEAL cousin had learned about it and passed the word on. But how did he know he wasn't being trolled? He elaborated, "I got friends in high places ... it was a very interesting day ... the individuals who were there were proud to let me know."

Let him know, yes. Blast over Twitter, probably not. Here's hoping they aren't also fish food by now.

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4
Nosy Bloggers Unearthed Paul Manafort's Shady Business Dealings

If you're not up to speed on Paul Manafort, he's the ostrich-jacket-wearing assclown who's currently on trial for everything from obstruction to tax evasion to conspiracy against the United States of America. So it's weird that for such a high-level criminal mastermind, one of the first groups to dig into his legal troubles got started after they noticed that his house was looking a little dirty.

5 Major Secrets Unearthed By the Last People You'd ExpectSpencer Platt/Getty Images

They really cut down the budget for <i>Sesame Street</i>.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesThey really cut down the budget for Sesame Street.

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In February 2017, Katia Kelly was walking through her Brooklyn neighborhood when she saw a $3 million brownstone in a state of disrepair. After finding out that the property was owned by Manafort (who isn't merely rich, but "spent over a million dollars on business suits" rich), she spilled the beans on her blog and started to dig into the property's financial history. Eventually she stumbled upon a series of shady-looking transactions that looked an awful lot like he was trying to disguise the source of his money. Seems his fancy suits weren't the only thing he was laundering.

As you can't keep a good neighborhood watch down, Kelly asked around for help decoding the byzantine money trail and roped in two other neighbors, Matt Termine and Julian Russo. What they found was a string of loans, sales, mortgages, permits, and other activity concerning not only this particular dump, but several other Manafort-owned properties.

From there it gets a little complicated, but here’s the TL;DR version.The New York TimesFrom there it gets a little complicated, but here’s the TL;DR version.

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Figuring that this needed its own home on the web, they started a new blog to host their findings, which were immediately picked up by The New Yorker. It gets a little hazy about where the investigation went next, but the indictment against Manafort lists several properties identified by the team. The trio can neither confirm nor deny whether they've been contacted by a certain investigation led by Robert "Future Robert De Niro Academy-Award-Winning Role" Mueller.

3
A Random Twitter Detective Found Dylann Roof's Manifesto

On June 15, 2015, Dylann Roof walked into a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and murdered nine people. It was an attack so drenched in raw racial hatred that some pundits and politicians were forced to work extra hard to convince people that Roof wasn't a die-hard white supremacist. He was just, you know, some random armed loon who happened to be racist.

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Sure enough, when he was later charged with nine counts of murder, Roof chose an insanity plea ... a defense that didn't sit well with Twitter user Emma Quangel. She immediately set about ruining this human turd's day in the best way possible: by using his own (awful) words against him.

After someone pointed her to Roof's website, Quangel tried to access it, only to find that the web address was hidden behind a paywall of $49. So she paid the fee, later explaining that she considered it her "duty and obligation" to bring this guy down for such a low, low price. What she found behind the paywall was lastrhodesian.com, a website brimming with photos of Roof (wearing a Rhodesia badge, natch), random scribblings, and oh right, a .txt file containing his manifesto. Which we're reproducing here:

Legal said we couldn’t Photoshop an image if him getting railed by an angry hippo for this spot, so you’ll have to imagine it. Legal said we couldn’t Photoshop an image if him getting railed by an angry hippo for this spot, so you’ll have to imagine it.

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The manifesto documented not only how Roof came to be radicalized by internet hate groups, but also how he thought every minority group (especially black people) were gross and disgusting and not as great as white people, before declaring himself to be the hero who would save the world. It was your average Funnyjunk comments section rant.

After the site was discovered, Johnny Law soon caught on and it was digitally impounded until they could "verify the authenticity of the postings" -- a job made significantly easier by the fact that Roof plastered his terrible haircut and racist frog-esque eyeballs all over them.

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2
Kodak Discovered The Secret Nuclear Testing Program Because Photos Were Coming Out Blank

The Manhattan Project was the U.S. government's ultra-secret program to develop the world's first naked blue superhe- uh, nuclear weapons. While the Soviets were doing their best to get around the whole "secret" part, someone else ended up falling ass-backwards into this highly classified information: Kodak, also known as "the guys who couldn't make digital cameras work."

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Back in 1946, Kodak started receiving complaints from customers that the film they'd bought was coming out fogged (as in, you couldn't see squat). As none of these customers were living in the bombed-out ruins of Europe or Silent Hill, it was a mystery that Kodak eventually traced back to the corn husks used to pack the film during shipping. Namely, these husks contained trace amounts of a radioactive isotope, which was bukkaked on them via fallout from the Trinity nuclear test in 1945.

Kodak kept this quiet until the 1950s, when their scientists detected radiation levels 25 times over the recommended daily amount and complained to the National Association of Photographic Manufacturers, which referred them to the Atomic Energy Commission. After Kodak threatened to sue the government for screwing up their business, the AEC promised to keep Kodak (and other film companies) informed about the country's nuclear testing program, up to and including details of where they estimated fallout to rain.

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"Schools? Nah, they don't need to know this stuff. Farmers? Nah. People living near these sites? Haha, nah. The guys who make old-timey sexting possible? Get them security clearance ASAP."

1
Honda Unveiled A Classified USAF Stealth Bomber ... In A Car Commercial

It's pretty hard to come up with an original idea for a car ad, because it's all been done before. Awkward sports star endorsements? Done. Nonsensical pseudo-philosophical mumbo-jumbo? Been there. Trapping "real" people in a room with a live bear? Old hat by now. But one genre that for some reason never took off was "trolling the government by unveiling their super-secret stealth bomber to the world," as demonstrated by Honda here:

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Yep, that's a real secret aircraft they went and put on national television. The B-2 Spirit bomber was the USAF's pet project for years, but like your cat who keeps pissing on everything, it was a pet they went to great lengths to avoid admitting ownership of. This involved everything from dummy corporations to unmarked trucks to never telling suppliers what they were building. On the other hand, they used sketches of the top-secret stealth bomber in a newspaper recruitment ad, and even allowed one of the companies involved in producing the bomber to sell plastic models of it. OK, so maybe they weren't so good at the whole "secrecy" thing.

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Honda, then, picked up on this and took it to its logical extreme. They built a giant mock-up of the bomber and used it to advertise the forthcoming 1989 CRX Si under the tagline "Shrouded in secrecy for years, the stealth bomber will soon be introduced to the public. For the record, we introduced ours first."

As marketing strategies go, it's ballsy to piss off the people who could bomb your factories and still have plausible deniability. Dumb, but ballsy.

Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history that you should definitely subscribe to.

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