Dan Degenstien, Editor
See Disclaimer at bottom
January 12, 2024
In a late afternoon email whose subject didn't include a date, which would allow it to be easily differentiated from other emails sent every week, Com. Tech. for the Executive Council of Media Services for the Government of Saskatchewan, Daphne Panio, sent a brief email containing only fourteen words. The subject and message of the email were skillfully written to manage expectations and not lead readers to jump to wild conclusions or create a premature panic. It also contained a single document attachment. A Word Document formatted as .docx, the widely accepted standard for long-format documents. This document was the real purpose of the Government update.
The document contained important late-breaking information about the Government's upcoming schedule. The urgency was apparent given the brevity of the message. Like an SOS message sent from a sinking ship in the dead of night, the message was packed with only the most relevant info and spared any unnecessary words that might be misleading or confuse a poised-to-panic public.
Twenty-four words were all it took
Some minds may have been at ease at the news. Others may have been set into a dread spiral comparable to the thoughts of a sane man being checked into an asylum for the crazed and unwell.
Inside the document
Along with the headline, working double-duty as the subject, which was already included in both the subject and body of the email, was a time frame. A window of linear time in which the rest of the document was certain to pertain. The important dates in this case begin with January 14th. A full two days in the future.
Editors note: This information, though extremely urgent, was delivered nearly 24 hours EARLIER than any other news release ever received by any news outlet in the history of recorded time.
Typically important events are only known by government officials LESS than 24 hours before the event takes place and they are incredibly expeditious informing news outlets via email within mere seconds of verifying their plans.
The pace at which events take place often means reporters have to drop everything to rent especially fast cars or even book private planes to arrive at events just in time to get a poorly worded quote, overhear irrelevant questions, and take photos of Officials or Politicians standing in front of noisy, distracting backgrounds that have little to do with the event. In some cases, employees of the officials and locals involved often aren’t able to even wear respectable clothing or close-toed shoes due to the fast-paced nature of these unexpected events.
One might question the actual urgency of this January 12th message given all the extra time allocated to Editors and Journalists to prepare.
Studies have shown that news released on Fridays is largely overlooked, if not completely ignored and that governments, who are required to publicize facts, and corporations that have not-good news, are known to intentionally wait until Friday to inform their public or send out news releases. But that could not possibly be the motivation here. It just doesn't fit the pattern. If anything, this was released DESPITE that.
Employees working late into Friday afternoon, and definitely not because they forgot to do it earlier in the day, designed a carefully worded message that was clear, and concise. It simultaneously was the beginning of a message, and implied it was the end of the message and that you may have missed the message altogether. Boiled down to just fourteen words, like the scant email body, this official release read in bold lettering:
Please note: There are no public events from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20, 2024.
They say no news is good news. This could not be mistaken for that, even under the most optimistic circumstances. This was news of no news. And that could only be bad news.
While trying to read between the lines of this, obviously coded, message, our investigators noticed something interesting about the document. Allow me to paint a picture to better explain this particular docx.
As journalists, we use documents day in and day out, so we know a lot more about them than most people, especially real estate developers. I’m going to use some technical language, but I’ll try to make it easy to understand.
Imagine a document is like a person. A human person can break down into three major parts. Using common industry language we call the parts: The brain-skuller (1), the heart cage of bones (2), and the shinny earth toucher (3). These might be too confusing to refer to so we’ll use some more pedestrian words as analogues. So the brain-skuller is where we put document information that appears at the top of every page of the document. We’ll call this a “HEADER” This Jan. 12th document was missing a “HEADER”, so no further investigation is needed there unless its absence is part of some deeper meaning. Ichadoc-x (the headless document).
the "heart cage of bones" is where the important information is. We’ll call this the “BODDER”. It’s that part that is different on every page of a document.
Finally, we have the “shinny earth toucher”. This is the information that appears below everything else, and for simplicity's sake, we’ll call it the “FOOTY”. It is this section that our investigators were so intrigued with.
Upon closer inspection, this “bottom” area of the document appeared to contain hidden information. Likely something the public was never intended to see as it was significantly smaller than the rest of the text and not bolded, even semi.
First, a code. “CC:”
We are still running this through decryption software 24/7 to determine its meaning. We set aside a special team to determine any possible meaning to its verbal reading “ see see colon.” They were the first team to flush out any solid leads, and it’s the avenue we are pursuing most but we are still open to other conclusions.
Next was a name, “Julie Leggott.” This was next to the “CC:” but we aren’t assuming that’s relevant. Our instinct is that it’s an anagram for “juggle toilet”. Perhaps a code within a code.
Next was another “name.” “Matthew Glover.” This one is most likely “volt wheatgerm.” The agricultural implications of this are far beyond the scope of this article, but rest assured we have our best researchers looking into it.
Penultimately was a line of explicit instruction. It read: “For more information, contact – Daphne Panio”. This docx document is announcing to those in the know to somehow contact Daphne with their deciphered code to receive further instructions. Or maybe the code along with the Bodder message is all the instruction they need. If there are decidedly NOT “public” events, perhaps a “private” event is now on someone's agenda.
Maybe the most interesting part of this whole thing is the long number following Panio’s name. It’s a 10-digit code that doesn’t match any obvious numbering conventions. It reads - 306-787-7653. We’ve tried decoding it in conjunction with other parts of the message - “see see colon 306”, “787 wheathgerm toilet”, etc. But so far nothing meaningful has turned up.
Lastly, a line of text that is clearly the date they sent this document. Likely intended to make it appear like a ‘typical’ document.
This story will be updated as it develops.
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